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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    psilontech's Avatar

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    Default Alignment Question...

    Is Alignment set up as being the way that the character views himself, or the way others view him? If it is from another's point of view, what should you use, as truth varies greatly from person to person.

    Say I have a wizard who views himself as good, and acts as good in most fashions, you know, not harming innocents, helping out those who need it, not being a greedy b***ard, etc, but sometimes utilized undead to do his bidding? Would that make him neutral, or even evil, or would his origional perception of himself as an upholder of good and protector of the weak (of course, using the corpses of 'evil' people or monsters to make his undead)?
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    Sucrose's Avatar

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    Default Re: Alignment Question...

    You should ask your DM. It doesn't really matter for people whose classes don't have alignment restrictions; your character is your character.

    As for the default, it's neither your character's perceptions nor anyone else's, save an omniscient being who understands the fundamental workings of the universe. Alignment in D&D is assumed to be objective, so your character's alignment doesn't depend upon anyone's opinions. You're supposed to use the descriptions of the alignments that WOTC provides, but many players find it inadequate.

    Thus, you should just put down what you personally think best represents your character.

    For your specific example, RAW says that he's probably evil, since Animate Dead has the [evil] descriptor, but many DMs would houserule otherwise.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Alignment Question...

    as sucrose said, it depends on your DM really but as the PH says its how the multiverse sees you, good and evil, law and chaos are tangible and "real things" and they can hurt you as well as aid you (outsiders). And at later levels you can go to the outer planes and see the "alignments"
    in their physical forms

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Jade_Tarem's Avatar

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    Default Re: Alignment Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by psilontech View Post
    Is Alignment set up as being the way that the character views himself, or the way others view him? If it is from another's point of view, what should you use, as truth varies greatly from person to person.
    Actually, the way the default rules are set up, it's how the all-knowing DM views the character that determines thier alignment after characters are generated. You can alter this for your games if you like, but by the RAW, the DM's (and thus, the "truth") viewpoint is what matters.

    Say I have a wizard who views himself as good, and acts as good in most fashions, you know, not harming innocents, helping out those who need it, not being a greedy b***ard, etc, but sometimes utilized undead to do his bidding? Would that make him neutral, or even evil, or would his origional perception of himself as an upholder of good and protector of the weak (of course, using the corpses of 'evil' people or monsters to make his undead)?
    Entirely up to your DM. Mostly, if you're basically good, and do good things, and only do bad things or use dark magic for good purposes (I know it's a "ends justify the means" statement, but it's a minor evil of a minor spell to aid a good cause) then typically the DM will not adjust your alignment. Most DMs don't bother over things like that, but be warned: not all DMs are the same. Some will say that only a neutral wizard, or a wizard with at least one alignment factor as neutral or evil, would do that, some don't care, and some will scrap the current alignment system entirely in favor of no alignment at all or thier own system.

    Me? I'd say that casting the occasional animate dead doesn't count against you (bear in mind that a paladin, by the rules as they are, is constrained to stop you or fall, but once again a DM may make an exception) until you start trying to make armies of them or seem to be enjoying it a little too much. That's just me, though.

    One thing though - your own perceptions do not matter to your alignment in the slightest. You can convince yourself that you're doing good, but actions, not intents, are what shape alignment.
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    TheOOB's Avatar

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    Default Re: Alignment Question...

    Alignment isn't about how anyone views you, it's how magic based around morality and ethics effects you, nothing more. A good person is someone for whom a holy smite deals no damage and an unholy blight deals full damage, and evil person is the opposite, and a neutral person is somewhere in the middle.

    Same goes for law and chaos.

    Basically, when determining alignment, don't take personal philosophies, world views, social norms, ect, into account. When a magic spell searches the character's soul, does it find them to be a fundementally good, evil, chaotic, lawful, or neutral person.

    For example, like your above example, the wizard is a good person, sure he uses evil means to reach his goals, but overall he is promoting the cause of good. Unless you are a paladin a good person is perfectally allowed to perform evil acts for the cause of good, so long as the "greater good" doesn't start becoming a justification for being an evil bastard, you are fine, though the paladins might not like you.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Alignment Question...

    As has been said, how you view yourself has nothing to do with alignment. Alignment is based on your actions and the universe sets the rules you are judged by.
    Used sparingly and carefully I don't think animate dead warrants an alignment change, but if using dark magic becomes a habit or you are careless with it a shift to neutral (or even evil if it gets extreme) could be in order. Note that the character may still view himself as good even after the shift.
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    Default Re: Alignment Question...

    I view alignment as "meta-game" reality of what your character really is. Other characters may view you differently, but that doesn't change your alignment. On the other hand, your character could convince himself that he is an alignment other than what he really is. Neither of these change the alignment, only one's perception of the alignment. However, if the character thinks himself Netural Good for example, and then actually starts to play as NG, then his alignment would shift. However, a character thinking himself NG, but actually playing as CN, would still be CN.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Alignment Question...

    I'll agree with Jade, Innis, Sucrose, and Tallis have said.
    To emphasize Tallis's point, unless your character is quite mad, even an evil character probably views himself as good, because he "understands the motivations behind his actions" and more often than not excuses them as "necessary".

    I would also be very careful about that undead stuff, and talk with your DM about it. Personally, my feelings (which may not be same as your DM's) are that if you start animating undead all willy nilly so that they can be your house servants, then yeah, you're disrupting the natural order of things, and dabbling in magic that is quite evil. If you are animating a few dead corpses that were trying to kill you before they became corpses, and they are only animated for the duration of the encounter, I'm likely to call it evil still, but to be lenient to you on things like alignment shifts. Just don't do it too often.

    What you are describing sounds like a habitual necromancer who isn't necessarily out for "world domination" but finds animated corpses useful to do things like take damage and protect him. I'd probably still call him evil, but with a small "e".
    Sorry, I'm starting to ramble now. Talk to your DM, he's the one running your game, not us.

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    Matthew's Avatar

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    Default Re: Alignment Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jade_Tarem View Post
    Actually, the way the default rules are set up, it's how the all-knowing DM views the character that determines thier alignment after characters are generated. You can alter this for your games if you like, but by the RAW, the DM's (and thus, the "truth") viewpoint is what matters.
    Exactly. Don't worry about the Alignment of your Wizard, that is up to the DM. All you need to do is play your Character the way you want.
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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Orc in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Alignment Question...

    I agree with with many of these people; it's the DM who looks at your character's intents and actions and decides whether they make you good, evil, or neutral.

    If I were the DM, it would depend on how often you used animate dead. Once in a while? Neutral, maybe even good if it was very infrequent. Every time you ran into a dead body? Probably evil.
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