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    Default The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    Of all the alignments, I've repeatedly heard that the one that players should not have access to is chaotic evil. I've heard a lot of reasons for it and seen examples of games ruined by player actions. I never thought a CE character could work with the good guys in a story. However, it looks like he's managed to pull it off. I'm mostly just impressed that you made it work Giant. I still think it takes more talent than most people have to make a CE character work in a game, but it's interesting to see a case where it does.

    If he can do that, maybe he could potentially write a story with Aquaman in it that didn't have the circumstances cater to him or give him/rely on the bland "super strength/super durability" syndrome so many characters seem to have.
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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    Belkar is largely kept in line because of Roy. CE respects power as authority, and Roy can not only stomp Belkar flat, but Belkar knows that Roy is willing to do so. So Belkar follows him. This is not a situation that most players would want to find themselves in, so it doesn't work for most games (not that when Roy is dead, and Haley is unable to intimidate Belkar in the same fashion, he -does- start to "ruin the game" as his actions become disruptive, random, and eventually lead to the group ditching him.)

    Belkar's "fake" character development helps him stay a meaningful part of the group as well, and is also not a likely decision a player would make.

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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    He also spent a significant portion of the story under the Mark of Justice, so his evil behavior was limited. But also, like UsaSatsui said, he was being forced into obeying the rules, either through Miko tying him up and dragging him and the Order to Azure City, Roy threatening him, the Mark of Justice, and a trick designed to activate the mark. As a player, this would be extreme railroading just to keep him from disrupting the game.

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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    To be honest, this story is completely different from a game.

    Remember when Belkar stabbed an important NPC (the oracle) to death? When he kept attacking a party member (Durkon) who everyone believes to be a nice guy? When he messed up the Azure City trial by going rampaging through guards?
    There's plenty more. It makes for an awesome story, but really, I don't think it works that well in a game. It could be done, sure. It's not impossible. But you'd need really good communication and agreements for it, or a player like that will ruin your game.
    The useful thing about stories is that the characters don't need to enjoy it ;)

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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    There is nothing inherently negative with having a CE character in a group of otherwise good characters - the first problem is that many CE characters are played as insane and stupid, and the second problem is that many players of other alignments don't give the CE character anything to work with (generic insults, lack of trust even when trust should have been earned by their actions already, etc) goading the CE character until they lash out and claim that it was because CE doesn't work with a group.

    In groups where CE is played sanely (don't jump into a pond to kill all the ducks just because there is a pond with ducks in it) and intelligently (don't screw over the people that are helping you get rich) they can fit in nicely - doing the dirty work that others in the group might not be able to stomach - where the rest of the table treat them as a respected party member and not an NPC.

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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by dancrilis View Post
    There is nothing inherently negative with having a CE character in a group of otherwise good characters - the first problem is that many CE characters are played as insane and stupid
    I think a lot of players who *choose* to play CE in a group they know consists of Good characters are probably intending to do it to grief the others, rather than because they want to stretch their role-playing muscles. It's the same principle behind the awkward player--you know the kind, we've all seen them--who insists on not following the plot laid down in the scenario because "my character wouldn't do that"...

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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    It's kind of an extrapolation on the points he makes in this article.

    Yes, we all know that there are no players behind the Order; it's not a game, it's just a world that runs (in part) on game rules. But I think the core point still stands that Burlew nudges Belkar's decision making so that he chooses what best serves the story (which, thus far, has been him continuing to fight as part of the Order). For example, he could very easily and very much in character have betrayed Haley back in Azure City, but Rich found a way to avoid that while still keeping in character. He let Belkar's short-term desires (hurling an angry cat in Tsukiko's face) blind him to what might've been a more personally satisfying route in the long-term. Just as Miko was, at least in part, an example of the wrong way to play a Lawful Good character (insisting everyone go your way and responding to challenges with threats and ultimatums), Belkar is an example of the right way to play a Chaotic Evil character (find plausible reasons why your character would decide to stick with his allies).
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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    I rarely hear players complain as much about Chaotic Evil as much as they do about Chaotic Neutral.
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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    That's because it's harder to justify curb-stomping a CN character to death.

    But it's been my experience that, no matter what the char sheet says, most PCs are played as Apathetic Neutral rather than any shade of Good. I know I've been guilty of that often enough.

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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    I thought it was more that CN characters were considered the easiest alignment to play a stereotypical randomly acting murderhobo PC with, by appealing to alignment as a "justification".

    Which I would actually argue is better in some ways than playing that same sort of character with a character sheet that claims they're really LG, but that's another topic.
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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    yes, the probem with the alignment system is not the alignmment system, it''s the restrictive way some people read it. in particuar the evil alignment; people think anyne with the "evil" label is some sort of mass murdered and forgets that about oone third of people are. evil is generally selfish, and as long as an evil character has an interest in behaving, he will behave.
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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Watcher View Post
    Just as Miko was, at least in part, an example of the wrong way to play a Lawful Good character (insisting everyone go your way and responding to challenges with threats and ultimatums), Belkar is an example of the right way to play a Chaotic Evil character (find plausible reasons why your character would decide to stick with his allies).
    I've seen plenty of Chaotic Evil characters that work fine within a party, although I'm not sure how many truly stick to the "Chaotic Evil" side of things.

    Belkar has always stuck by the party by finding excuses consistent with his personality to do so and that is the way to play a chaotic evil character within a D&D game. However, there are many ways in which Belkar is "that guy" at the table. The guy that refuses to take the game seriously, refuses to play according to expectations, and does things that purposely screw things up.

    Belkar has not only killed the Oracle, a random gnome, multiple Azure city guards, fought Miko, but he has refused to allocate skill points in a rational manner, used a critical ability score as a dump stat, failed the order constantly when they would rely on him and is basically constructed as the sort of character only a purposely disruptive, anti-social player would run. Post "fake character growth" Belkar has radically transformed, and is now being an occasional annoyance while playing more along the lines of a team player. These changes, however, leads many, including myself, to think Belkar is heading for an alignment change and a redemptive end.

    Those facts make Belkar less an example of how to play a Chaotic Evil character in an actual D&D group, and more an example of how a group of patient players and DM can turn a lone anti-social personality into a team player that makes the weekly tabletop sessions that much more enjoyable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Watcher View Post
    But I think the core point still stands that Burlew nudges Belkar's decision making so that he chooses what best serves the story....
    The core point by the OP is that this is a model of a chaotic evil player character in an actual D&D game. Belkar is a co-protagonist of a story who is simply called a "PC" because OOTS is a highly meta post-modern fantasy patische of such a game.

    For Belkar to be such a model, he would have to act in a manner that a hypothetical player could realistically do to further the D&D game. However, Belkar furthers the plot strictly by accident (in fact, it happens in spite of his intentions), as his sort of disruptive behavior in Azure city or at the Oracle is far more likely and is in fact aimed at derailing the plot and often would result in group-breakup or player-ejection. Belkar's actions works out only because 1) this is a work of fiction with the plot planned out in advance, and that 2) Rich's storytelling skills are matched by a tiny minority of DMs.
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    d6 Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    As we all know Paladins must be lawful and good.

    Someone posted on line that they got to the bottom level of the prison where zero level people were being housed.

    The stairs were trapped this player said you are all free to go. Let the peasants trip the traps and walked up safely over the dead bodies claimed he was still Lawful and good even though he did not mention the traps or give warning about the danger.

    I disagree he won the debate.
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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Murk View Post
    To be honest, this story is completely different from a game.

    Remember when Belkar stabbed an important NPC (the oracle) to death? When he kept attacking a party member (Durkon) who everyone believes to be a nice guy? When he messed up the Azure City trial by going rampaging through guards?
    There's plenty more. It makes for an awesome story, but really, I don't think it works that well in a game. It could be done, sure. It's not impossible. But you'd need really good communication and agreements for it, or a player like that will ruin your game.
    The useful thing about stories is that the characters don't need to enjoy it ;)
    I have to agree here. Belkar did a lot of the "typical CE character stuff" that would have broke the party if it were not a story but a real game

    The Giant hasn't found a way around the problem, his solution is to simply have the rest of the party moan and go along with it.
    Last edited by SoC175; 2015-06-28 at 02:34 PM.

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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    That's because it's not a "problem". The Giant is controling everything Belkar does. At any point he could have just ditched Belkar while plotting out the overall strip. The idea that he hasn't found a solution to the problem of Belkar is based off a massive misunderstanding of how stories work. Belkar will never do anything that breaks the plot, because the author is in complete control of all the characters. As mentioned above, Belkar's chaotic evil actions will always be geared towards those that forward the plot, because why on earth would you break your own story? He might do things that hinder the characters, but only because that obstacle was needed to move them in a certain direction, not because Rich rolled some dice and suddenly found Belkar ruining a plot critical moment.

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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by gooddragon1 View Post
    If he can do that, maybe he could potentially write a story with Aquaman in it that didn't have the circumstances cater to him or give him/rely on the bland "super strength/super durability" syndrome so many characters seem to have.
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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by NerdyKris View Post
    That's because it's not a "problem". The Giant is controling everything Belkar does. At any point he could have just ditched Belkar while plotting out the overall strip. The idea that he hasn't found a solution to the problem of Belkar is based off a massive misunderstanding of how stories work. Belkar will never do anything that breaks the plot, because the author is in complete control of all the characters. As mentioned above, Belkar's chaotic evil actions will always be geared towards those that forward the plot, because why on earth would you break your own story? He might do things that hinder the characters, but only because that obstacle was needed to move them in a certain direction, not because Rich rolled some dice and suddenly found Belkar ruining a plot critical moment.
    I think you are going too far there. There is a "problem" of Belkar in the sense that Belkar was conceived of and then introduced very early on, before the development of the story or plot in this case, as having a personality that would naturally lead him to into conflict with said story. Author's have to deal with their characters as being disruptive to the story as well. There's a reason some popular side characters, like Falstaff in certain Shakespeare plays, or Miko in OOTS, are removed from the story early on rather than have them stick around, and that's because there's no natural way to keep them in a way that serves the overall story, plot, or whatever it is Rich says he's interested in at the moment.

    When author's fail to use their characters for the story, and instead start to mold stories around the characters, you can have stories that develop in an entirely different direction (the original "Happy Days" TV series was intended to focus on the Dad and Fonzie was supposed to be a one-off), or things get totally messed up, like
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by denthor View Post
    As we all know Paladins must be lawful and good.

    Someone posted on line that they got to the bottom level of the prison where zero level people were being housed.

    The stairs were trapped this player said you are all free to go. Let the peasants trip the traps and walked up safely over the dead bodies claimed he was still Lawful and good even though he did not mention the traps or give warning about the danger.

    I disagree he won the debate.
    Well, you were right to disagree. If the Paladin KNEW about the traps and didn't stop the peasants, he acted strongly lawful evil. Still, it could have been worse: looting the peasants would have made him more chaotic, too.

    I can imagine a few absurd reasonings why he'd say it was lawful, but GOOD? If the situation was as you described it, I can't ever imagine how he won a debate about this? What where his arguments?
    Being loud and obnoxious about it (and threatening to stop being the one who pays for booze and pizza) is the only way I can imagine how he won a debate about the situation as you described it.
    Or, you weren't able to properly protest and the debate was rather one-sided.

    Even then, a decent DM won't let that slide or even award XP for creativity. Depending on the circumstances, sending innocent peasants into certain death merits an immediate fall from grace for the paladin.

    or, in short: huh?
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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Onyavar View Post
    Well, you were right to disagree. If the Paladin KNEW about the traps and didn't stop the peasants, he acted strongly lawful evil. Still, it could have been worse: looting the peasants would have made him more chaotic, too.

    I can imagine a few absurd reasonings why he'd say it was lawful, but GOOD? If the situation was as you described it, I can't ever imagine how he won a debate about this? What where his arguments?
    Being loud and obnoxious about it (and threatening to stop being the one who pays for booze and pizza) is the only way I can imagine how he won a debate about the situation as you described it.
    Or, you weren't able to properly protest and the debate was rather one-sided.

    Even then, a decent DM won't let that slide or even award XP for creativity. Depending on the circumstances, sending innocent peasants into certain death merits an immediate fall from grace for the paladin.

    or, in short: huh?
    Im going to second that huh? I cannot possibly imagine how knowingly leading innocent and unarmed captives through traps to their deaths would be anything other than an evil act. Even if they were just wounded there is a strong argument to be made.
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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    I think another important distinction between PCs in a campaign and characters in a story is in how relevant success is to either group. In an RPG campaign, you want to work toward success as a group, because, well, the party is responsible for its own fate. In a story, however, the author knows how the plot is supposed to turn out, what directions it has to take. What I mean is - if a PC in a campaign is causing the group to get defeated, or throwing a wrench in their plans, or wrecking up the adventure's sequence, that's disruptive. However, in a story, the same behaviors may not be disruptive at all... if the result of said actions is what the author intended all along. Sure, that character is causing mayhem to the people around them... but the mayhem is supposed to be there. It'll make for a more interesting story, somehow. Maybe it will introduce the right amount of tension, or raise the stakes. Maybe it will get the heroes in the right track by accident. Maybe it will have unforeseen consequences later on that are necessary for the plot to go where it needs to. All those things become possible when the same person (the author) is responsible for deciding everything - what each character does, what the consequences of those actions are, and which factors are unknown to characters and readers but which might influence the course of events. And an orderly story is a boring story - people need to screw everything up once in a while. It's all right as long as the screw-up will kick the plot-train into the right track.

    As for characters becoming "unpredictable" and "making their own decisions" - to me, that happens because we authors are just human, after all. A good story is an extremely complex machine, full of lots of moving parts - characters, background elements, events, and so on. When you create one of these parts, you may fail to realize how it's going to interact with some other important part later on - you just don't have the brain power to run the complex machinery of the story through a simulation of all possible scenarios, of course. So sometimes you do come to a point where you have character A in situation Q, and from all characterization A has received so far, it really sounds like she's probably thinking of doing action X - and, as the author, you know X will screw up everything you planned for the story. In that situation, you have two options: 1) have A do X anyway. Who knows, maybe you can work the ensuing complications into an interesting sub-plot, and still achieve whatever result you had previously planned for through other means. Or 2) have A do Y, which is also consistent with A's characterization, but doesn't screw up the plot. That's the solution Grey Watcher alluded to. People are complex, they may react in different ways to the same situation. The obvious is never the only option. Maybe you can get your character to do something else instead. In either case, it becomes a sort of a puzzle - you need to figure out an inventive way out of a tight spot.

    Me? I love chaos, so I often go with option 1. Or even option 3 - do action Z which, although also consistent with the characterization, is something nobody would've seen coming, and which screws the plot up even more. I like the challenge of not having things go my way. As for the plot I planned for? Yeah, I'll get there... or maybe I'll find some other more interesting plotline along the way, and explore that instead
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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    I'd give lots of credit to the DM who went

    "Yes, your teammate just killed the only NPC who could help you, but you've totally forgotten about it and have to play as if you have no idea what happened"

    That would be very fun and very frustrating.

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    Default Re: The giant has done something I thought impossible with 3.5

    I think Belkar would work if he has a *player* who is good at playing RPGs, and GM who discusses character development with the player.

    So he's playing a CE character. The GM thinks this will cause problems, but he says that his character respects rule by the strong and will go with the party's decisions as they can force him to obey if they want. Most of the time, he does.

    He and the GM roleplay a mini-adventure while he's dueling Miko in Azure City, which they realise will make for a fantastic end to the trial when they both crash through the ceiling. And everyone hates Miko by that point, after all.

    He and GM discuss how the aftermath of that will go, and he decides the Mark of Justice would be an interesting RP opportunity.

    I mean, the player is not perfect and screws up a lot (killing the gnome trader for no reason, for instance). But ultimately, he's the one deciding to be a bit limited to make the game work, rather than being railroaded by the GM.

    I've known people who play their characters this way, almost as a character in a novel who undergoes an interesting story rather than having to triumph all the time. And the GM has in this case managed to do it while keeping it fun for the other PCs, because their stories don't depend on Belkar's, and he's not hogging the spotlight.

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