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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: I like alighnment

    Quote Originally Posted by moritheil
    We by our modern standards of morality would have real problems saying a guy who razes cities full of people is "good." But that is not what D&D alignment is.
    Quote Originally Posted by Exemplars of Evil
    Whether they hate a person, a country, or a whole race of creatures, villains motivated by hatred are implacable and intolerant, capable of dreadful acts in pursuit of destroying the object of their disgust. They aim to do maximum violence to their hated foes, and they might go so far as to commit genocide or mass murder to achieve their ends.
    D&D alignments are a lot of things; they are objective in-universe, they are significantly influenced by heritage, and they determine whether a creature is deserving of mercy and protection.

    They are not a blank cheque to slaughter innocents, and that is exactly what it means to indiscriminately destroy a city. Even a city of "Always Evil" creatures, by RAW has at least 5% of their population as non-Evil, plus children who are always presumed innocent.

    A Neutral character might(!) get away with this kind of behavior if they showed remorse after being confronted with the tolls of their actions. In any of my campaigns, that is a one-way ticket to the Evil side of the pool.

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    Default Re: I like alighnment

    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    Not really?

    Look at Mechanus. Law is about discipline, calculation, and careful examination of yourself and your goals. Strict codes of honor and procedure. A Lawful warrior should ideally fight with precision and intelligence, or at least use rote techniques drilled into them during training.
    This is implying that law is intelligent than chaos isn't. Which is actually not true at all. You can follow the law and the codes of society, be as honest as Abe and still get worked up and emotional in combat

    Also that is one, completely inhuman version of lawful in action.

    Take one of my favorite fictional characters: Lucius Vorenus. He's a stoic, intelligent, believes in the old Roman laws above all else even what is actually beneficial to him.

    He also can fly into some very murderous rages because he is in fact human, has emotion, and anyone can channel their anger into violence, it is rather easy. If I were to build him he would be Lawful Neutral, and would have a level of Barbarian (mixed admittedly with Warblade to get some White Raven maneuvers and Diplomacy skill he was a Senator).

    Bards don't have to be chaotic. They can be neutral.

    But seriously, the Bard's requirement is based on the traditional perception of artists as free spirits. I think a lot of DMs would be willing to give you an exception on the requirement if you want to play a lawful bard, but it misses the point of the class in my view.

    Just have them be a Neutral Bard who became Lawful after they had to pay more attention to theory as a Virtuoso or Sublime Chord. It's less of a headache and keeps the flavor intact.
    How is playing a lawful bard missing the point of the class? It's a guy that performs magic by singing/dancing/playing instruments/orating. Why would I have to go through hoops to play a lawful person that does that? Also how is just saying "yeah go ahead and play the lawful bard" more of a headache than making your player jump through hoops to play the character they want to?
    Last edited by Dienekes; 2012-04-27 at 10:26 PM.

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    Default Re: I like alighnment

    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    D&D alignments are a lot of things; they are objective in-universe, they are significantly influenced by heritage, and they determine whether a creature is deserving of mercy and protection.

    They are not a blank cheque to slaughter innocents, and that is exactly what it means to indiscriminately destroy a city. Even a city of "Always Evil" creatures, by RAW has at least 5% of their population as non-Evil,
    And this is known by who? By the DM? Sure, the all-knowing DM has all the facts. By the players? Maybe, maybe not (plenty don't stop to think about such things.) By the character? No guarantees, there.

    plus children who are always presumed innocent.
    If you're insisting on using RAW, that's not RAW at all. I just searched the entire alignment section for mentions of children, and the only mention is in LE, where LE villains pretend that letting children go makes them better (it doesn't.)

    Some lawful evil villains have particular taboos, such as not killing in cold blood (but having underlings do it) or not letting children come to harm (if it can be helped). They imagine that these compunctions put them above unprincipled villains.
    You seem to be a little indignant at my classification of a mass murderer as "good by the fast and dirty DnD rules," which to me suggests that you aren't separating this completely from real-world concepts of morality.

    A Neutral character might(!) get away with this kind of behavior if they showed remorse after being confronted with the tolls of their actions. In any of my campaigns, that is a one-way ticket to the Evil side of the pool.
    Everything in the Good alignment text I quoted talks about the character of the individual, correct? Their beliefs, their actions in the context of their beliefs, and so forth, are what determine alignment. It does not say that the factual accuracy of their beliefs determines alignment.

    Now, I'm having to guess a bit about what this hypothetical elf does and does not believe to be true. I'm guessing in the most consistent way possible, because otherwise you're trying to pin an alignment to some sort of inconsistent madman, which may or may not even be doable (though it would mean I got the "Chaotic" part right.)

    So: first item up, he believes strongly in doing good. He will lay his life down for his fellow elf because he can identify with his fellow elf as another person. This points to good.

    Second item: he doesn't have any regard for nonelves (in this case, humans.) In trying to reconcile this with the first, I surmise that he has difficulty thinking of humans as sentient lifeforms. He does not acknowledge them as persons. In this he is very wrong, factually, but this offers an explanation consistent with his first trait. He can lay down his life for his fellow elf and raze cities of nonelves and have no conflict between the two because in his mind he is doing what is best for people. He is honestly trying to do good, as evinced by his willingness to sacrifice himself for even a stranger who is an elf. (This would be different if he was only willing to sacrifice for a fellow follower of the same deity, or part of the same family, or something - LEs can make that kind of sacrifice without blinking. But an LE won't sacrifice for an unaffiliated person.)

    I can offer yet another explanation for this behavior, where the elf is a utilitarian: yes, it's terrible for humans to die, but it's also terrible if he doesn't prevent some tragedy that will happen if he doesn't raze the city. (This is how the eldar work in 40k.) So he's really just choosing which group gets to die, and sooner over later.

    Obviously, you can make your own interpretation of this elf that doesn't give him the benefit of the doubt but instead argues that he willingly slaughters innocents. Neither this interpretation nor my interpretation above is better or more accurate, because this information is missing from the original post. That's why I said, "I see an argument for him being CG," not, "he is absolutely CG." I wrote that he could be CG. But it depends on what he really believes, which we don't know. We are forced to guess by limited information.

    Aside: how literally do we interpret "life" here? Do you think it would make a human being evil to be willing to kill, say, an ants' nest in order to build an orphans' shelter? Strictly by RAW, that human is no more and no less evil than a mass murderer.

    Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.
    Above, I suggest that the point of differentiation is how the character recognizes the situation, but I suppose there are other ways of doing it too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    "Cold is better for cooking food than heat!"=wrong. As simple as that.
    Quote Originally Posted by moritheil View Post
    But we even have real world examples of cold cooking, so is it so unreasonable to say that in a fantasy world that could be the norm and that cold COULD be better than heat for cooking?

    You can produce several million pounds of Tarrasque steak every day! (Better hope he's edible.)

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: I like alighnment

    Quote Originally Posted by moritheil View Post
    Remember, the system is an abstraction with a specific purpose. We by our modern standards of morality would have real problems saying a guy who razes cities full of people is "good." But that is not what D&D alignment is.
    Like Vitruviansquid, you appear to have a concept of What D&D Alignment Is that is untainted by any D&D book's actual words on the subject.
    Quote Originally Posted by moritheil View Post
    You seem to be a little indignant at my classification of a mass murderer as "good by the fast and dirty DnD rules," which to me suggests that you aren't separating this completely from real-world concepts of morality.
    That would probably be why Water_Bear is right and you're wrong.

    "Separating this completely from real-world concepts of morality" will not lead you anywhere useful, where D&D alignment is concerned.

    Repeating that an elf who doesn't value human life can be good "by RAW" doesn't change the simple fact that the briefest glance into the relevant section of the Player's Handbook should tell anyone that RAW permits nothing of the sort.
    Above, I suggest that the point of differentiation is how the character recognizes the situation, but I suppose there are other ways of doing it too.
    Confronted with a direct quote from RAW, you're wibbling. The book doesn't say "Evil characters consider themselves to debase or destroy innocent life."
    Last edited by Kish; 2012-04-27 at 10:38 PM.
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    "You are what you do. Choose again, and change." --Miles Vorkosigan

    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

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    Default Re: I like alighnment

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Like Vitruviansquid, you appear to have a concept of What D&D Alignment Is that is untainted by any D&D book's actual words on the subject.
    RAW, every time you step on an ant, or your fireball sails off into the bush and kills plants, you are committing an act morally indistinguishable from slaughtering orphans. That's RAW, right there. RAW only looks at "life." I quoted it. So if you want to take that to its logical conclusion, that would mean like 99% of the world commits evil acts on a regular basis, because they can't help it. (Do you kill things and eat them, or benefit from the killing of things so that you can eat? Yes? By strict RAW, you are evil.)

    My solution is to note that factual accuracy is also something that the character can't necessarily help, and look at what the character intended. As I said, you can come up with other ways of breaking the deadlock. Neither are technically right by RAW, because they aren't RAW.

    That would probably be why Water_Bear is right and you're wrong.
    That would be why Water_Bear responds strongly to my post, and you share his bias, so your knee-jerk response is that he must be right and I must be wrong. But both of us are going out of RAW; he is doing so in a way that preserves his ability to think of these rules as morality, and I am doing so in a way that preserves my ability to think of these rules as abstract rules of D&D.

    "Separating this completely from real-world concepts of morality" will not lead you anywhere useful, where D&D alignment is concerned.
    I firmly disagree. As I asserted previously, Good and Evil in D&D are "Red Team, Blue Team," unless you're actually trying to play in a morality play. If you are, that's cool and I certainly won't stop you. But for those who aren't trying to agonize over it, it is quite useful to treat good and evil this way.
    Last edited by moritheil; 2012-04-27 at 10:44 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    "Cold is better for cooking food than heat!"=wrong. As simple as that.
    Quote Originally Posted by moritheil View Post
    But we even have real world examples of cold cooking, so is it so unreasonable to say that in a fantasy world that could be the norm and that cold COULD be better than heat for cooking?

    You can produce several million pounds of Tarrasque steak every day! (Better hope he's edible.)

  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: I like alighnment

    This thread has quickly become an example of why alignment is bad.

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    Default Re: I like alighnment

    Quote Originally Posted by moritheil View Post
    RAW, every time you step on an ant, or your fireball sails off into the bush and kills plants, you are committing an act morally indistinguishable from slaughtering orphans. That's RAW, right there. RAW only looks at "life." I quoted it.
    Interesting claim you're making there. Either you're saying that there is only one word, of one syllable, in all the D&D books, about the alignment system...or you're claiming to be able to prove a negative. More than that, a negative existence of words which actually exist inches away from the word "life" which you're taking out of context.
    That would be why Water_Bear responds strongly to my post, and you share his bias, so your knee-jerk response is that he must be right and I must be wrong.
    No, see--I say that he's right and you're wrong because you're saying that "Rules As Written" support something that they plainly don't. "Cold is better for cooking food than heat!"=wrong. As simple as that.
    I firmly disagree.
    Yes, I got that you disagree that the book says what it says.
    Last edited by Kish; 2012-04-27 at 10:53 PM.
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    "You are what you do. Choose again, and change." --Miles Vorkosigan

    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

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    Default Re: I like alighnment

    I take offense to the implication that only a lawful warrior can be cool and calculating, or that a chaotic one must fly into a mindless rage.

    I'll begin by saying that my alignment is essentially established, both by myself, friends (and enemies), and various tests (in short, it's as concrete as possible). However, I'm curious what you make of it; give me your best guess.

    Firstly, I'm a musician. I probably play music for about four hours any given day- both at professional gigs, and playing for the hell of it. I compose music not dissimilar to Stravinsky, and do so with absolutely no regard for any modern (or classical) conventions. I've variously learned nearly half a dozen instruments for no reason beyond it sounding fun. However, I also fence (the sport, not the lawn care). And when I fence, I focus completely on that. I'm strategizing almost faster than I can consciously perceive- certainly faster than my opponent usually can. I fight with precision and intelligence, utilizing all of the drills taught to me. I'd be insulted if anyone implied that emotion entered into my mind as I fought.

    So, tell me. Am I lawful, or chaotic, or neutral? Which pigeonhole am I best suited for?
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  9. - Top - End - #39
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    Default Re: I like alighnment

    Most of the problem with the alignment system is some people want to play out their violent psychopathic fantasies (some hyperbole but not entirely) yet resent their character would be labeled Evil. In less obviousness but part of the same point, Lawful Good is subconsciously considered the epitome of being The One True Way, The Righteous, The Hero, but resentment is there when told their actions is not Lawful Good either because they want to be called Lawful Good when they're not or despise that Lawful Good is considered such Righteousness in the first place such that because they're not Lawful Good and they know they're not they hate being considered lesser beings because of it.

    The resentment is there because players inherently have their own real life morals and ethics which are The One True Way for them, and when such philosophy wouldn't be Lawful Good in D&D terms they blame the alignment system as broken.

    The rest of the problem is those who use the alignment system as a straight jacket/get out of jail free card. Straight jacket are for those who use alignment to dictate behavior with no deviation and punish you for not playing correctly and get out of jail free card for those who are jerks and use their character's alignment as justification to play a donkey cavity female hygiene product sack of feces.

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    Default Re: I like alighnment

    Quote Originally Posted by Jade Dragon View Post
    This thread has quickly become an example of why alignment is bad.
    I'd rather say that this thread has quickly become an example of why people wanting other people to play the game the way they play it is bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Interesting claim you're making there. Either you're saying that there is only one word, of one syllable, in all the D&D books, about the alignment system...or you're claiming to be able to prove a negative. More than that, a negative existence of words which actually exist inches away from the word "life" you're taking out of context to build a house of cards.
    Neither thing. I merely point out the difficulties presented by the alignment system in reconciling that statement - difficulties which can be overcome by interpreting the rules a certain consistent way. I acknowledged, early on, that there were other interpretations, but I don't think that this interpretation is unworkable; thus, it's legitimate.

    No, see--I say that he's right and you're wrong because you're saying that "Rules As Written" support something that they plainly don't. "Cold is better for cooking food than heat!"=wrong. As simple as that.
    But you're arbitrarily using a definition of innocence that supports your own preconceptions of morality. I have a real problem with dragging that into a fantasy game unless everyone else at the table is agreed upon it.

    See, if you think "obviously cold can't be better for cooking food than heat" is a tenet that does not need to be stated, then that constitutes something you aren't able to suspend disbelief about. But we even have real world examples of cold cooking, so is it so unreasonable to say that in a fantasy world that could be the norm and that cold COULD be better than heat for cooking? I'd say that your assertion "cooking=heat" is an excellent example of how if you're not careful you wind up dragging preconceptions into things.

    Yes, I got that you disagree that the book says what it says.
    No, I disagree that what you think the book says is the only right way to interpret it. Furthermore I disagree with the idea that your own concept of morality (that you use in real life) should necessarily be linked to treatment of morality in D&D, for precisely this reason: it causes these kinds of arguments over what "feels" wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    "Cold is better for cooking food than heat!"=wrong. As simple as that.
    Quote Originally Posted by moritheil View Post
    But we even have real world examples of cold cooking, so is it so unreasonable to say that in a fantasy world that could be the norm and that cold COULD be better than heat for cooking?

    You can produce several million pounds of Tarrasque steak every day! (Better hope he's edible.)

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    Default Re: I like alighnment

    I may have been overly confrontational before, so I'm going to say this first; I did not mean to insult you, or anyone else, when I said that razing a city is mass murder and an evil action in D&D. I will try to be more even-tempered in my explanation below.

    It is an Evil action to kill an innocent being indiscriminately. This ought to be evident based on the PHB description, but if not then I direct you to the Book of Exalted Deeds, Book of Vile Darkness, Champions of Ruin, Champions of Valor, and Exemplars of Evil.

    The description "Always X" explicitly means that ~95% of the population has that alignment, but the rest have other alignments. I think we can agree that non-Evil and Good NPCs are Innocent in a cosmic sense, and that children should logically be lumped in with them as (with rare exceptions like Unholy Scions) they don't have the ability to commit evil and arguably do not get alignments at all until the age of majority.

    With regards to the "incorrect beliefs" argument, where the perpetrator doesn't know that the people they kill "count," the fact is that characters should be expected to know better. As my earlier Exemplars of Evil quote shows, and is found elsewhere, bigotry is considered a minor Evil act in D&D and acting on that hatred is a heinous act of violation and evil.

    So, with that reasoning, burning down a city of intelligent beings is going to be a heinous act even without considering the sheer suffering such an act would cause. Just the fact that you are killing those 5% of non-Evil adults and 99.99% of Innocent children is more than enough to say it is something which displays a lack of respect for the life and dignity of others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    I may have been overly confrontational before, so I'm going to say this first; I did not mean to insult you, or anyone else, when I said that razing a city is mass murder and an evil action in D&D. I will try to be more even-tempered in my explanation below.

    It is an Evil action to kill an innocent being indiscriminately. This ought to be evident based on the PHB description, but if not then I direct you to the Book of Exalted Deeds, Book of Vile Darkness, Champions of Ruin, Champions of Valor, and Exemplars of Evil.
    Yes, I do agree! But here is where I think you (and possibly your supporter) missed my point - that term, innocent, is not well defined! Kids are not defined as innocent, and the RAW even goes so far as to suggest that sparing kids so as to not murder innocents is a delusion of villains that makes them think that they are less evil. Slaughtering baby red dragon hatchlings, in many interpretations, is a good and noble act, and the RAW doesn't contradict that except in BOED (which presents alternate rules for redeeming things that are irredeemable in core.)

    The description "Always X" explicitly means that ~95% of the population has that alignment, but the rest have other alignments. I think we can agree that non-Evil and Good NPCs are Innocent in a cosmic sense, and that children should logically be lumped in with them as (with rare exceptions like Unholy Scions) they don't have the ability to commit evil and arguably do not get alignments at all until the age of majority.
    No, emphatically not. To do so is to bring our presuppositions over real world morality into it. It could just as easily be true that non-alignment-typed children are born evil (after all, kids are mean to each other) and need to grow up to be capable of making the choice to be good.

    If you want to define kids as innocent, you are free to do so - in your own campaigns. And other people are free to define them as automatically guilty, or neutral, or whatever they want. RAW does not define innocence. Therefore a campaign where human paladins descend on a goblin encampment and slaughter everyone without troubling their alignment (much like the OOTS storyline itself) falls within acceptable interpretations of RAW.

    With regards to the "incorrect beliefs" argument, where the perpetrator doesn't know that the people they kill "count," the fact is that characters should be expected to know better.
    If that's what the group you're playing with agrees upon, sure. But if you're going to tell me there's no interpretation of that hypothetical elf wherein he's CG? Sorry, there's so much wiggle room there that I can't agree with you - I see several ways he can be CG, for given interpretations of the alignment rules.

    As my earlier Exemplars of Evil quote shows, and is found elsewhere, bigotry is considered a minor Evil act in D&D and acting on that hatred is a heinous act of violation and evil.
    In my first example the elf doesn't hate humans; he just doesn't understand that they are people capable of feeling pain and suffering, and worthy of respect and forbearance. He thinks of them as a human might think of plants.

    So, with that reasoning, burning down a city of intelligent beings is going to be a heinous act even without considering the sheer suffering such an act would cause. Just the fact that you are killing those 5% of non-Evil adults and 99.99% of Innocent children is more than enough to say it is something which displays a lack of respect for the life and dignity of others.
    But I told you he doesn't think of them as intelligent beings when I first posited the example. (I said he couldn't recognize they were "sentient," but I assume we are getting at the same idea.) He doesn't understand his act is evil, and he did it not out of hate, but in the spirit of doing good and kindness to other people, which to him necessarily means other elves (remember my analogy of killing an ant colony to build an orphanage?)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    "Cold is better for cooking food than heat!"=wrong. As simple as that.
    Quote Originally Posted by moritheil View Post
    But we even have real world examples of cold cooking, so is it so unreasonable to say that in a fantasy world that could be the norm and that cold COULD be better than heat for cooking?

    You can produce several million pounds of Tarrasque steak every day! (Better hope he's edible.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Othesemo View Post
    So, tell me. Am I lawful, or chaotic, or neutral? Which pigeonhole am I best suited for?
    And this is the point at which I generally tell people that it's just an abstract system of rules made to categorize characters and tell us how they interact with spells. Actual people are complex enough to give such a system fits. Thus, I am an advocate for mentally replacing "good" and "evil" with "blue team, red team."

    Quote Originally Posted by navar100 View Post
    The resentment is there because players inherently have their own real life morals and ethics which are The One True Way for them, and when such philosophy wouldn't be Lawful Good in D&D terms they blame the alignment system as broken.
    You're right, but I think it's even more fundamental than that. The question I would say this hinges on is, does something have to make sense to us in order to be true? Because some people can handle a nonsensical world, and some people really can't. Their games are going to be different.

    Personally, I feel a lot of results that DnD spits out at us, or asks us to accept, make no sense. (Fireballs produce tremendous heat, but no pressure change? Come on.) This is where willingness to suspend your own ideas about reality comes into play. People react to that absurdity differently, and can tolerate different amounts in different places. How you or I react to that absurdity may put us at odds with how other people feel things should be handled.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    "Cold is better for cooking food than heat!"=wrong. As simple as that.
    Quote Originally Posted by moritheil View Post
    But we even have real world examples of cold cooking, so is it so unreasonable to say that in a fantasy world that could be the norm and that cold COULD be better than heat for cooking?

    You can produce several million pounds of Tarrasque steak every day! (Better hope he's edible.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by moritheil View Post
    I'd rather say that this thread has quickly become an example of why people wanting other people to play the game the way they play it is bad.
    yep. a practice known as badwrongfun.

    wow! that's cool as hell! thanks for posting that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scowling Dragon View Post
    [*]UNLESS the person is just SO pure or so evil that thier souls begin to register. A genocidal warlord with the blood of thousands almost literaly on his hands, with a strong sadistic streak is such a hateful and vile creature that his soul begins to become demonic even BEFORE he enters hell. He becomes a demon in a mortal shell
    with all of the things that others have mentioned, the standard for alignment threads, I wanted to mention something that has always been a problem for me with alignment and I never see brought up.

    there doesn't really exist RAW any sort of degree for alignment. I forget which splat, but one of the books says that an inkeep who waters down his beer is NE (I think)

    so, between him and say, for example, a mind flayer, who is more NE? well, going by RAW, neither of them.

    I'm not saying that they need to introduce a 100 point scale or anything, just that it seems to be a sort of problem, especially since some books, like the fiendish codices show how an alignment can shift with certain acts. how do you know what your starting point is?

    again, I'm not saying that these questions have (or need) an answer, just that with the system as-is, they can't really have one derived.

    personally, in my games, I try not to make alignment a big deal. as you'd imagine, neither I nor my players notice anything missing.
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    Default Re: I like alighnment

    Quote Originally Posted by Vitruviansquid View Post
    Nobody in the Song of Roland asked if Baligant donates a lot of money to a kitten orphanage, or how much joy Roland derived from killing people. Baligant was capital-E Evil because he was a Saracen and Roland was capital-G Good because he was a Christian, and that was that.
    Palomides in Le Morte d'Arthur is a Saracen knight that serves under Arthur. Moors were integrated in medieval culture throughout just about the entire period. The actual crusades, which the Song of Roland is connected to? Much of the first one consisted of Crusader states were allying with Islamic states* to fight other crusader states and Islamic states were allying with crusader states to fight other Islamic states. The third involved the fall of the Fatimid dynasty at the hands of other states and internal forces. Actual history isn't so simple, and assuming that actual medieval people always thought of things in black and white with no consideration of nuance is incredibly inaccurate. Nuance was lost in much of the literature, and yet to a large extent it is still there - look at Le Morte d'Arthur, and the conflict between Lancelot and Gawain. Nobody is really positioned as Good or Evil, both are sympathetic, and the reason they conflict is due to the characters being developed.

    As such, that particular argument collapses. If you want to argue that alignment works well representing the shallow understanding of the middle ages largely inferred from Renaissance works where Renaissance historians tried to make themselves look better by trashing the period, then fine, do so. That holds up perfectly. However, I, for one, would prefer not to argue that something is fine because it resembles a group the way another group painted them in immensely self aggrandizing works.
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    Just going to point out here, you DO get varying shades of evil when you use Detect Evil, as showcased in the "Aura of Good/Aura of Evil" descriptors.

    This, of course, is based entirely on hit die, and not on actual evil acts at all, (Aside from that an Evil cleric is going to glow more evil than an evil barbarian, presumably because of his link to higher evils)
    but you as a paladin can see "This is a very weak evil aura" (Lv 1 evil commoner) as opposed to "This evil aura is overwhelming!" (Balor)

    If the paladin strikes an unarmed civilian who is not in the process of an evil act, he's going to fall, regardless of that civilian's alignment. (It's in the paladin code)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    there doesn't really exist RAW any sort of degree for alignment. I forget which splat, but one of the books says that an inkeep who waters down his beer is NE (I think)

    so, between him and say, for example, a mind flayer, who is more NE? well, going by RAW, neither of them.
    Not necessarily true. If the inn keeper has at least 11 HD, then he is more evil than the 8HD mind flayer. The mind flayer is faintly evil under a detect evil spell, whereas the 11HD inn keeper is moderately evil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Acanous View Post
    If the paladin strikes an unarmed civilian who is not in the process of an evil act, he's going to fall, regardless of that civilian's alignment. (It's in the paladin code)
    That's ok. The Paladin can just walk into the barkeeper's establishment during business hours and smite him without a problem.

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    Last edited by Deophaun; 2012-04-28 at 12:27 AM.

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    Default Re: I like alighnment

    Quote Originally Posted by Acanous View Post
    Just going to point out here, you DO get varying shades of evil when you use Detect Evil, as showcased in the "Aura of Good/Aura of Evil" descriptors.

    This, of course, is based entirely on hit die, and not on actual evil acts at all, (Aside from that an Evil cleric is going to glow more evil than an evil barbarian, presumably because of his link to higher evils)
    but you as a paladin can see "This is a very weak evil aura" (Lv 1 evil commoner) as opposed to "This evil aura is overwhelming!" (Balor)

    If the paladin strikes an unarmed civilian who is not in the process of an evil act, he's going to fall, regardless of that civilian's alignment. (It's in the paladin code)
    you are right, but that's exactly was what I was talking about. say there's a 12th lvl character who's commited a few petty evil acts, just enough to push him over the E threshold versus say a level 6 evil paladin of some sort who has devoted his life to moustache twirling acts of senseless meanness.

    the "strength" of their alignment, so to speak, is, as you said, based on character level rather than their actual (alignment) acts. do you get "more" LG/CE/etc as you level up? well, not necessarily, no.


    Quote Originally Posted by Deophaun View Post
    Not necessarily true. If the inn keeper has at least 11 HD, then he is more evil than the 8HD mind flayer. The mind flayer is faintly evil under a detect evil spell, whereas the 11HD inn keeper is moderately evil.
    that's exactly my point though. watering down your beer is not worse than taking prisoners and using them for slave labor and eugenics experiments. this more than the other stuff has been alignment's biggest failing for me.
    Last edited by Venger; 2012-04-28 at 12:27 AM.
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  19. - Top - End - #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    that's exactly my point though. watering down your beer is not worse than taking prisoners and using them for slave labor and eugenics experiments. this more than the other stuff has been alignment's biggest failing for me.
    Tell that to a dwarven paladin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jade Dragon View Post
    What's alighnment?

    Anyway, if you do use alignment, the color wheel tends to be better. Black is not Evil, White is not Good, and you can pin down Batman with it. Lord_Gareth's interpretation isn't very good (you only have five colors. How do you get two or three colors for yourself, two allied colors, and two enemy colors?), but just get Primary/Secondary/Tertiary colors (only Primary is required) and you're good. You can put Batman in any alignment except NE/CE, but with color wheel, he's White/Blue for lighter interpretations, and White/Black or White/Black/Blue or White/Blue/Black for darker ones.

    But alignment causes problems. It's another one of those things that causes conflicts and people getting kicked out.
    In my defense, we (the thread) have started moving in the direction of having only your primary color count for what few mechanical purposes have survived. I just haven't archived it/written a new thread with edits in general yet.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
    Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.
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  21. - Top - End - #51
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    Well, if you're a Dwarven paladin, watering down beer could very well be a smiteworthy offense.

    As far as I'm conserned, the alignment system is really only missing two things:
    1: a standard system of measurement. This is currently left up to the DM, and you get all kinds of things from alignment rubberbanding to detect-and-die campaigns.
    2: it is easier to be evil than good. The writers expected players to be "Good guys", and while they opened up the OPTION to be (Or become) Evil, it was seen as undesireable to do so.
    Neutral should be the "Easy" alignment. Good and Evil require dedication to principals and goals, and constant drive towards them. Law and Chaos the same.

    As far as the hit dice thing goes, it is a flaw, but I can see why they did it that way. Bubs the lv 1 Evil Commoner might kick a dog. That matters to Bubs and the Dog. If Bubs kicked a Cat, bubs would die.

    Phil the Bandit Lord is a lv 6 Rogue. He's a big bad dude, not the kind of guy even the local Law enforcement wants to take on. His evil acts effect an entire community, but probably just in one area. The Kingdom can still rally up a squad of knights to deal with him, and a suitably large angry mob can take him down.

    James the lv 12 Evil Cleric is capable of purpetraiting evil acts all across the country, and if he REALLY tries at it, the globe. There might be 3-4 NPCs capable of taking him on in the whole world. He is a serious threat that affects entire nations. Rallying groups to oppose him is difficult, and he's going to be causing some serious damage and take a long time to actually bring down.

    Frank the lv 17 Evil wizard is going around killing gods. His evil acts effect the entire multiverse. He could easilly conquer an entire plane, and if he put any effort into it at all, you'd need direct divine intervention in order to slow him down. Stopping him would require an overdeity, and so long as there's evil gods in the pantheon, too, you're unlikely to see that happen.
    Rallying adventurers to oppose Frank is going to be a very difficult prospect, as he's liable to hear about it and kill you before you ever actually pose a threat. Frank is a Big Bad Evil Guy.

    The reason Detect Evil works off of hit dice, is because of how big an impact your evil actions create. If you're a normally-good adventurer, who hit level 12 and started doing evil things, nobody's going to care about that kitten you saved last week, they're going to care more about that trade ship you just burned down, causing food scarcity and riots in another city.

    Now, most DMs don't actually transition your theatre of operations based on level. They are supposed to, but there's no hard rule saying "This is the level where PCs step up to heroes of the town, heroes of the country, heroes of the plane" and you'll normally see adventurers running around at lv 12 with the same horse-drawn wagon full of stuff they had at lv 6. This is -Because that's easy-, and is in itself a -Neutral- act. Good and Evil adventurers should be constantly striving to make a change to the world. Same with Law/Chaos.

    Of course, that's *My* opinion as a DM, and without an objective alignment measurement system, it only applies to my games.

  22. - Top - End - #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord_Gareth View Post
    In my defense, we (the thread) have started moving in the direction of having only your primary color count for what few mechanical purposes have survived. I just haven't archived it/written a new thread with edits in general yet.
    I'd really like to see more of your color wheel theory. Also, have you given any thought to how a M:tG rpg would work? 'cause I'd like to see your interpretation of that, too.

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    On alignment:

    The main problem I have with alignment is that the system is conceptually loose but mechanically strict.

    Conceptually, good and evil and lawful and chaotic are not terms which we as players have a clear or even mutual understanding of. Individuals might have their own ideas, and individual groups might share commonality of thought, but as a community? Not so much. Well, maybe that doesn't matter. Some vague, loose, and sometimes contradictory or nonsensical ideas on alignment might not be a problem. I mean, it's not like it actually has an in-game effect, right?

    ...oh.

    Mechanically, alignment is strict. Different spells and abilities have different effects on characters of different alignments. Certain classes can lose abilities if their alignment changes. Certain classes are not even an option for characters of specific alignments. Suddenly, players have incentive to be this alignment or that alignment. They have penalties for being the wrong alignment. Now, it is profitable for players to take alignment seriously, because alignment questions have serious consequences. When alignment isn't clearly defined, but has clear consequences, that's a foundation for conflict.
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  23. - Top - End - #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fatebreaker View Post
    I'd really like to see more of your color wheel theory. Also, have you given any thought to how a M:tG rpg would work? 'cause I'd like to see your interpretation of that, too.
    It would work extremely poorly and to the complete displeasure of those who enjoy either M:tG, RPGs, or both.

    That being said, setting a game in an M:tG world, which is not the same thing, might work out. In a lot of cases the worlds themselves have gotten away from a lot of the flavor that would limit them from translating to other systems or at least make it very annoying to do so (such as drawing mana from land). For example, you could probably run Ravnica in 3.5 or Legend with zero fuss as long as you're willing to re-skin a few things.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chilingsworth View Post
    Wow! Not only was that awesome, I think I actually kinda understand Archeron now. If all the "intermediate" outer planes got that kind of treatment, I doubt there would be anywhere near as many critics of their utility.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acanous View Post
    If the paladin strikes an unarmed civilian who is not in the process of an evil act, he's going to fall, regardless of that civilian's alignment. (It's in the paladin code)
    It's in the BoED, in various references that state that its evil to "go to war" with evil creatures when you have no evidence of actual wrongdoing, and to target non-combatants during a justified war against evil.

    It's in Eberron Campaign Setting where it states that not every Evil creature deserves to be attacked by adventurers (the examples given were an innkeeper and a lawyer)

    It's in Dragon Magazine 358: August 2007: Paladin Guide (page 93)

    "Any violent acts the paladin undertakes must be motivated by good intentions and undertaken in such a way as to minimise damage (a paladin may not slay every evil creature she sees in the hopes of preventing future violence). She cannot levy violence against noncombatants, children, or helpless creatures, even evil ones"

    But oddly, the PHB doesn't say much about it. In fact, some people could interpret "punish those that harm or threaten innocents" as allowing killing as a punishment even if it took place in the past and the person you want to punish is unarmed and unthreatening to anyone right now.
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    Default Re: I like alighnment

    OK, first off, i love the alignment system. it offers a framework to roleplay your character.

    A few problems do exist with ti (but hey, what doesn't have problems in dnd 3.5). 1) people thi the alignment is static and guiding. Im my opinion alignment is flexible. a shift in alignment because of in game actions for me counts as character growth. 2) people think alignment is limiting and in it's binary nature inhibits people to take actions, Im my opinion, a character acts and it's alignment represents the nature of the last few actions a character makes. Exceptions to this rule are paladins and exalted characters. they are obviously influenced in their alignment, but they are also the epitome of good (works for the evil sides too, they are the paragons of a certain alignment). alignment, when used well, can offer a guideline on how to act when you have a certain alignment. It give you a hand in how a character of comparable alignemnt acts, it doesnt tell you directly how to behave. 3) aligment justifies certain acts. again, except for paladins who actually have abilities to discern and eradicate evil, alignment does nog justify a genocidal action against a certain group of certain aligned people. In simpler words, no it si nog ok to justify murder by "he was evil, duh" or any comparable excuse. However, it should make it easier to atone for sins agaisnt those people when it happens. 4) peopel think alignment is absolute. No, alignment is subjective. if you are good aligned, evil people are compared to you evil. Whe you are neutral aligned, evil is comparably less evil then in the example before. Evil in the last example is just a person who cares a bit less about the baclash of certain ections then a neutral character.

    I know some things I said have allready been said, but it's ahrd to give change of half a copper piece on 2 cp

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    Default Re: I like alighnment

    I think the alignment system has its merits, as long as you see it as a continuum rather than a straighjacket. Many of my characters border two or more alignments, and that's okay.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Repeating that an elf who doesn't value human life can be good "by RAW" doesn't change the simple fact that the briefest glance into the relevant section of the Player's Handbook should tell anyone that RAW permits nothing of the sort.
    No, the relevant sections of the Player's Handbook permits exactly that.

    Look on page 103, the right-hand column, and read the last paragraph. Specifically focus on how "few people are completely consistent". An otherwise Good elf can remain Good while not placing any value on human life, because being Good does not necessarily mean you are Good in every aspect of who you are.

    Likewise, an otherwise Evil character can have traits more commonly associated with Good, such as caring for orphans, the poor, the outcasts. Raistlin Majere is an example of just such a character.

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    Default Re: I like alighnment

    Look, I get that people want the rules to be unambiguous and clear, and that its fun to see what you can allow under the exact wording of the rules.

    But really, come on.

    Is it Good, by any definition of that word, to stab babies? Especially when D&D makes it abundantly clear that there is no guarantee, even with Evil Outsiders, that they will become monsters?

    The various alignment source-books are filled with examples of Good behavior being merciful and respectful of non-Evil life, and repeatedly urge against Detect-and-Smite behavior.

    And what does it say about us as a hobby if we need to told explicitly that killing children is wrong? Maybe it's just me, but my group usually just rules off infanticide right off the bat. I feel like I've wandered into an Anti-D&D Chick Tract or something...

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    Default Re: I like alighnment

    Quote Originally Posted by Scowling Dragon View Post
    Killing unarmed people? Thats wrong. Capturing is the word. A paladin can still be unwavering in his pursuit of law and justice and kindness. Just the methodology is weird.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jade Dragon View Post
    This thread has quickly become an example of why alignment is bad.
    Yeah. I like alignment, but it's fluff. Citing anything by RAW is pointless because it's fluff. Argument is worthless because the arguments are in the pointless RAW...
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