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    GnomePirate

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    Thumbs up How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    I know alignment doesn't actually matter that much in D&D, but to some it does. Like my group, for instance. If my character sheet says "Alignment: Good" on it, I want to make sure I live up to it when I roleplay my character. I don't just want to do it to maintain my Holy Status or use the mechanics or whatever, I want to roleplay my character as a good guy. Especially since everyone else in my group seems to be playing Chaotic Neutral.

    In case you're wondering, the setting the D&D takes place in is of my friend's design. I don't really know much about it yet, but he said that the premise of the game is that we're fighting dragons and taking their treasure. For starters, I don't think my char would hoard all the dragon wealth to himself, but rather donate it to charity or something. And since I'm the only "good" guy in the group, I'd prefer to lead by example rather than force a conversion out of people. Cuz I think when a character shifts alignment mid-campaign that is a really cool thing, it's interesting, but it's no good if the alignment shift is forced. I want this character to be memorable for his goodness.

    So, any advice on how to play a good-aligned character? I'd appreciate it.

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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    So for starters good doesn't necessarily mean being a philanthropist 100% the time. If you're killing dragons and taking their treasure, then as a player you're probably going to need some of that wealth to buy better gear. Although if you did want to go down that route, if you're running 3.5 you could always take the Vow of Poverty feat. That being said, if you're good aligned character genuinely believes they can aid a noble cause by donating some of their wealth, they would most likely do so. Just remember to balance it against your needs as a dragon hunter.

    Another thing to consider is that a good character might not necessarily be motivated to slay dragons for their hordes, so talk to your DM about possible motivations for entering into the dragon hunting profession.

    As for more general advice? I mean, I've never found roleplaying good aligned characters to be terribly difficult, I just play them as people who genuinely care about the plight of others and do what they can to help. They may not always be nice, and most often they're not naive, but they all derive a sense of satisfaction from helping others. I use my characters' backstories to flesh out their why they act like they do, so perhaps you should think of something that occured in your characters life that motivated them to be such a good aligned person.

    The main thing to note is that you shouldn't be dogmatic with your ideology. That gets old real quick and is not particularity fun for anyone else.
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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    Be friendly to others and step in if someone is getting attacked or threatened. There's not much more to it.
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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    Be willing to assist others at the cost of your own personal well being. It's an incredibly broad description which means that characters can only encompass some parts of the good alignment and still be Good. For example, someone who doesn't donate their wealth to others but is still willing to put themselves in harm's way to help them, even without reward (but it doesn't mean they won't accept a reward if given). You can also be a total ascerbic jerk, as long as your (selfless) actions speak louder than your words.

    It's a proactive alignment that makes it easy to follow adventure hooks and thus the default for a reason.

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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    Quote Originally Posted by tensai_oni View Post
    Be willing to assist others at the cost of your own personal well being. It's an incredibly broad description which means that characters can only encompass some parts of the good alignment and still be Good. For example, someone who doesn't donate their wealth to others but is still willing to put themselves in harm's way to help them, even without reward (but it doesn't mean they won't accept a reward if given). You can also be a total ascerbic jerk, as long as your (selfless) actions speak louder than your words.

    It's a proactive alignment that makes it easy to follow adventure hooks and thus the default for a reason.
    Yeah. Basically this. Good characters put the welfare of others before their own. If someone asks you for help, and you don't have a serious legitimate reason to think they are like, double crossing you or leading you into a trap, you should, at the very least, FEEL BAD about not helping them. You might, for example, already be helping someone else with something more urgent/important, but it should require serious thinking to decide to ignore someone who needs assistance you could render. How far you are willing to take this is of course a matter of personal belief - most good aligned characters probably wouldn't sacrifice their lives for someone else, but some will.

    But yeah, for most useful intents and purposes, you can think of D&D's Good/Evil axis as a "altruism/selfishness" axis.

    It's also not a terrible idea to read through Order of the Stick and look closely at O-Chul.
    Last edited by Airk; 2017-12-07 at 09:57 AM.

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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    As others have said, help others without selfish motivation. Helping others is the reward of a good person-you don't have to be grandiose or hand over every last gold to every orphan you see, but help when and where you can, as appropriate. Good also stands up to evil-you don't have to instantly smite every evil person you see or wander the streets to intervene in petty crime, but you should denounce or express disapproval for evil(and even some nongood acts). Even the reserve and quiet good people will feel uncomfortable around evil or evil acts.

    Good is really easy to play, so long as your entire party is not a bunch of wantonly evil psychopaths. Also remember, good does not mean nice. Good people are compassionate and care about others deep down, but you don't have to be that on the surface. You can be the gritty hard ass with a heart of gold.

    Here is a guide to the best alignment of good, although there are other ones for boring and snooty good
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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Be friendly to others and step in if someone is getting attacked or threatened. There's not much more to it.
    Being friendly is optional.

    The key to "good" is a willingness to sacrifice for others - whether that's through protection or charity or whatever. A Good character is motivated by making the world a better place (not necessarily by 'changing the world') and will also avoid evil acts (aka harming others except in self defense). A character that is motivated by making the world better, but does so without concern for harming others, is generally Evil in D&D terms (those often make the best villains).

    Quote Originally Posted by Airk View Post
    Yeah. Basically this. Good characters put the welfare of others before their own.
    Note the bolded part. A character willing to harm one person for the benefit of another is not evil. If a Good person sees a starving person, they will feed that person out of their own purse - they won't just turn around and steal bread for them!
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2017-12-07 at 11:37 AM.
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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    In general, I would say that good characters try to behave in a way that has a net positive impact on other people, in a non-abstract sense.

    Take two hypothetical magistrates, one LG, and one LN, both of whom are empathetic, dutiful, and very lawful in every sense of the word. Both are tasked with sentencing a petty criminal who is just trying to feed his family. The LN magistrate sympathizes, but is not unusually lenient because of a belief that the social order has an intrinsic value. The LG magistrate sympathizes, but is not unusually lenient because of a belief that the social order is important to the safety, happiness, and general wellbeing of people like the petty criminal and his family members.

    It's worth noting that belief is not enough, here: self-delusion and rationalization need not apply. What's critical is a genuine interest in and consideration for the welfare of other people.
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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    Take the well being and dignity of others into consideration and prioritize it as high as you are good. Being pragmatic and smart about it is all well and good but don't make up too many excuses for why "this time it's ok to be selfish"
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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    Take two hypothetical magistrates, one LG, and one LN, both of whom are empathetic, dutiful, and very lawful in every sense of the word. Both are tasked with sentencing a petty criminal who is just trying to feed his family. The LN magistrate sympathizes, but is not unusually lenient because of a belief that the social order has an intrinsic value. The LG magistrate sympathizes, but is not unusually lenient because of a belief that the social order is important to the safety, happiness, and general wellbeing of people like the petty criminal and his family members.
    Also an option: The LG magistrate sympathizes and is unusually lenient because he realizes that a system where people are forced to steal just to feed themselves and their families is broken in some way and needs fixing. It's probably that fixing part is why he's a magistrate in the first place.

    Although once again that is an option, because there are different ways to be good, and none of them is the "correct" one, at least not the only correct one.

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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    Quote Originally Posted by tensai_oni View Post
    Also an option: The LG magistrate sympathizes and is unusually lenient because he realizes that a system where people are forced to steal just to feed themselves and their families is broken in some way and needs fixing. It's probably that fixing part is why he's a magistrate in the first place.

    Although once again that is an option, because there are different ways to be good, and none of them is the "correct" one, at least not the only correct one.
    Or, alternatively, the LG magistrate gives the lightest sentence he is allowed under the law, or assigns a punishment that might help the thief get on their feet rather than just tossing them in jail (i.e. sentencing them to service under a local tradesman, or as a servant to a minor noble known for helping to get people back on their feet--community service to fulfill their debt to society while simultaneously putting them in a place where they can earn enough to not have to steal). LG might push just to the edge of what the law allows in order to help someone, but I doubt they'd treat repeat offenders or those who took advantage of that type of kindness as lightly.
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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    All alignments, at their extreme, can be seethingly evil. Propably the good ones are actually worst.

    If you want a G as part of your alignment, then thinking good isn't gonna cut it - your actions make you good. You need to actually get out there, help old ladies, rescue kittens, do charity work, fight evil.

    A sufficiently extreme LG regime would require all citizens to follow this ideal, on pain of punishment if they fail to do so. They would call for crusades against the ungodly - anyone failing to live up to those same ideals. Since it's a Lawful regime, there might very well be strict expectations of precisely how good you need to be. It would also, most likely, be a police state.

    Of course the point is that LG can be too extremist to actually be good. Not that it need be. Nor that it should be. But having the variety available is important, I think. Otherwise, everyone is just forced boring due to their alignment.

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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    All alignments, at their extreme, can be seethingly evil. Propably the good ones are actually worst.

    If you want a G as part of your alignment, then thinking good isn't gonna cut it - your actions make you good. You need to actually get out there, help old ladies, rescue kittens, do charity work, fight evil.

    A sufficiently extreme LG regime would require all citizens to follow this ideal, on pain of punishment if they fail to do so. They would call for crusades against the ungodly - anyone failing to live up to those same ideals. Since it's a Lawful regime, there might very well be strict expectations of precisely how good you need to be. It would also, most likely, be a police state.

    Of course the point is that LG can be too extremist to actually be good. Not that it need be. Nor that it should be. But having the variety available is important, I think. Otherwise, everyone is just forced boring due to their alignment.
    Nope, try again. Good recognizes that people are human. What you described is effectively Lawful Evil.

    Also, I fail to see how this is "actually worse" than an ACTUAL Evil society.

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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    Any decent, honest normal person with XXI century morals would be good enough, really.

    If you think theft, banditry and piracy are wrong, that rulers should work for the benefit of their charges and not oppress them or steal them blind, that it is wrong to kill, hurt, enslave or despise people for their race, culture or religion, that it is wrong to abuse or exploit children, that it is wrong to sexually harass people, if you treat others respectfully and take care of your family, if you help your friends when they are in need, if you don't mock and despise people who are less fortunate or poorer than you are, if you are willing to sometimes give a bit of the wealth you don't need to help others rather than spend it recklessly...

    ... well, that's good enough to me. You are better than 99 % of our ancestors...

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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    "Don't let your morals get in the way of doing what's right."
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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    There are many ways to be "good."
    Chastising party members when they do harmful things and generally trying to steer other pc's and npcs towards good deeds is one way.
    Forgoing more profitable ventures and getting the party to rescue children with little hope of major reward, freeing slaves that you come across, defending travelers and otherwise putting yourself in harm's way to save others is noble and good.
    Other ways is philanthropy as you mentioned, spending time in cities helping out at orphanages, going to goodly temples and helping to tend the sick and injured etc.
    Another way is to seek out evil and destroy it. This does not HAVE to be fatal, in fact offering evil a chance at redemption would be a nice quirk. Taking these evil dragon's ill gotten gains as compensation for the damage it has done and donating it to fix said damage, then redirecting said dragon's actions toward good would be quite the feat. Redeeming an evil dragon is extremely rare, success would make even the gods notice you more likely than not.

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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    Just... play a person who cares about others?
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    Quote Originally Posted by legomaster00156 View Post
    Just... play a person who cares about others?
    Caring about others can manifest itself in many possible ways. I know one person who volunteers at soup kitchens, while another always scrounges up donations to places.
    Still, you need to limit the scope, and defining how THIS character 'cares about others' is part of the fun.

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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    Quote Originally Posted by Airk View Post
    Nope, try again. Good recognizes that people are human. What you described is effectively Lawful Evil.

    Also, I fail to see how this is "actually worse" than an ACTUAL Evil society.
    Clearly you need to read more Dragonlance.
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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    Clearly you need to read more Dragonlance.
    1.-Dragonlance is weird in that "Good" and "Bad" are just sides in a war, rather than actual moral/ethical outlooks... its all about the colour of the hat you are wearing, really. There are plenty of somehow decent people fighting on the side of darkness, and crap****s fighting against them...

    2.-In the Dragonlance setting the side of Balance is the REAL Good side. Even the Good deities support Balance. It is bizarre... the Gods of Good had to throw a meteorite against Krynn and to allow Evil to rise again, in order to restore Balance and save the world...

    I see that a lot in the Anglosphere's woks fiction... stuff like Angels vs Demons, and either Angels are as bad as Demons or even worse, but they are still the "Good" side, because "Good" is just the name of their faction...
    Last edited by Clistenes; 2017-12-07 at 07:40 PM.

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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    Clearly you need to read more Dragonlance.
    Regarding the Kingpriest and Istar, I would say a society so sure of and obsessed with its own "goodness" to the point Istar was, and did the things Istar did, is not good at all, no matter what alignment they considered themselves to be.

    Same with the Silvanesti and to a lesser extent the Qualinesti- what with all their sneering down their noses at the "lesser" races, their self-righteousness, congratulating themselves on their own "goodness", believing themselves to be beyond reproach simply because the gods made them first, turning their back on other people in need because "they're not elves and need to solve their own problems since they made them to begin with", they came across to me as being "not good in any sense of the word" no matter what the books had to say about the elves being a "good" race.

    In short, being good isn't simply an informed attribute - if you don't do good acts, but instead do evil ones, you're evil, no matter what you "identify" as.


    As for how to play good, I think it's important to remember some things good is not required to be: dumb, weak, or nice.

    If you can get your hands on 3E's Book of Exalted Deeds, it has some useful information, even if it is overall far from perfect.
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    I think that the dragonlance novels are a perfect example of "stupid good".
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    And the Idea that evil needs to rise again for the balance or whatever is one of the dumbest things I ever heard of and why I lost interest in the dragon lance series. I digress.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    Any decent, honest normal person with XXI century morals would be good enough, really.

    If you think theft, banditry and piracy are wrong, that rulers should work for the benefit of their charges and not oppress them or steal them blind, that it is wrong to kill, hurt, enslave or despise people for their race, culture or religion, that it is wrong to abuse or exploit children, that it is wrong to sexually harass people, if you treat others respectfully and take care of your family, if you help your friends when they are in need, if you don't mock and despise people who are less fortunate or poorer than you are, if you are willing to sometimes give a bit of the wealth you don't need to help others rather than spend it recklessly...

    ... well, that's good enough to me. You are better than 99 % of our ancestors...
    That's mostly neutral.

    Not doing evil isn't sufficient enough to be good, and everybody is nice to their friends.

    Well, almost everybody.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    That's mostly neutral.

    Not doing evil isn't sufficient enough to be good, and everybody is nice to their friends.

    Well, almost everybody.
    As the characters gain power and the ability to change the world around them, they will have to make choices and to turn their beliefs into actions. But as a starting point, you aren't required to start a crusade against slavery in other countries at level one.

    You don't need to be a saint from day one. You can start small...
    Last edited by Clistenes; 2017-12-07 at 08:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    As the characters gain power and the ability to change the world around them, they will have to make choices and to turn their beliefs into actions. But as a starting point, you aren't required to start a crusade against slavery in other countries at level one.

    You don't need to be a saint from day one. You can start small...
    And one could say a smart good-aligned person knows to act within their sphere of influence, i.e. a level 1 doesn't start right out from the gate on a crusade to end slavery, attacking slave markets and caravans, trying to break the chains of slavery everywhere they find them, because they realize they are only one person and to do such is likely to get them killed... and how are you going to end slavery if you're dead?

    No, an intelligent person who wishes to combat slavery would only take action that is within their power to actually accomplish, taking greater and more decisive actions as their power and influence grows.
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    The Lord of the Rings is not a trilogy, because words mean what they mean, and cannot be arbitrarily redefined just because you're lazy and/or careless. Or, put another way: Infer we shoe to gobble the blueberry jazz musician? Spleen! Water crackers pontificate when sebum roasts merrily for the lagoon.

    You can either roll a DIE (singular), or multiple DICE (plural).

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    Quote Originally Posted by vasilidor View Post
    I think that the dragonlance novels are a perfect example of "stupid good".
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    And the Idea that evil needs to rise again for the balance or whatever is one of the dumbest things I ever heard of and why I lost interest in the dragon lance series. I digress.
    The whole idea of "evil has to be allowed to exist and cannot be ultimately wiped out because 'balance'" is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard.

    Going to Dragonlance again as an example- in that setting, one of the reasons given why there "must" be balance between good and evil, is that if good prevails and dominates, it becomes intolerant and oppressive, yadda yadda. Well, "Good" isn't good anymore if that happens, right? In fact, one of the tenets of DL's "balance" is "Good redeems its own"; intolerance generally disdains to attempt redeeming those who've "fallen away", but instead oppresses them by punishing harshly their every minor difference and disagreement.
    Intolerance and oppression are features of evil alignments, not good ones.
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    The Lord of the Rings is not a trilogy, because words mean what they mean, and cannot be arbitrarily redefined just because you're lazy and/or careless. Or, put another way: Infer we shoe to gobble the blueberry jazz musician? Spleen! Water crackers pontificate when sebum roasts merrily for the lagoon.

    You can either roll a DIE (singular), or multiple DICE (plural).

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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    Quote Originally Posted by Airk View Post
    Nope, try again. Good recognizes that people are human. What you described is effectively Lawful Evil.

    Also, I fail to see how this is "actually worse" than an ACTUAL Evil society.
    Good and evil are entirely subjective - there isn't a regime on earth that doesn't consider itself good.

    The worst regimes in the world are mostly kleptocracies, where a ruling elite grab the entire production and wealth of a given nation for themselves. Utter evil is rare, nazi Germany and the Soviet Union being honestly anomalies.

    On the other hand, throughout history, there has never been a good country.

    The case for good is really bad - it's mostly make believe =)

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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    Good and evil are entirely subjective - there isn't a regime on earth that doesn't consider itself good.

    The worst regimes in the world are mostly kleptocracies, where a ruling elite grab the entire production and wealth of a given nation for themselves. Utter evil is rare, nazi Germany and the Soviet Union being honestly anomalies.

    On the other hand, throughout history, there has never been a good country.

    The case for good is really bad - it's mostly make believe =)
    Neither of those were "utter evil." Hitler and the Holocaust were truly despicable yes, but if you think the entire German government was evil because of one man's obsession of wiping out a race of people think again.

    Yes, the Holocaust was terrible. But there was a lot of good done by the Nazi party. And the country truly had a genuine greivance. The treaty of Versaii so badly hurt the german people that they literally could no longer support themselves. Hitler, by pretty much tearing it up, almost single handedly brought prosperity back to Germany.
    Yes, it was madness what he did. Yes, that madness infected the whole country. But if you look at it from a perspective of an entire country truly suffering as Germany did after WW1, it becomes... understandable. It is easy to villify 70 years after the fact. You never had to live through something like that.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    Actually changed my mind.
    Last edited by Kaptin Keen; 2017-12-08 at 07:10 AM.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: How to Play a Good-Aligned Character

    Quote Originally Posted by Calthropstu View Post
    Neither of those were "utter evil." Hitler and the Holocaust were truly despicable yes, but if you think the entire German government was evil because of one man's obsession of wiping out a race of people think again.

    Yes, the Holocaust was terrible. But there was a lot of good done by the Nazi party. And the country truly had a genuine greivance. The treaty of Versaii so badly hurt the german people that they literally could no longer support themselves. Hitler, by pretty much tearing it up, almost single handedly brought prosperity back to Germany.
    Yes, it was madness what he did. Yes, that madness infected the whole country. But if you look at it from a perspective of an entire country truly suffering as Germany did after WW1, it becomes... understandable. It is easy to villify 70 years after the fact. You never had to live through something like that.
    Uh.

    No, it's still f-ing evil. The fact that you are in a Very Bad Situation does not, in fact, justify doing terrible things. "Understandable" is not the same as "not evil."

    And to Kaptin Keen: And I sincerely doubt that kleptocracies think of themselves as "good". They probably don't really think of things like that at all, but I doubt that any of them actually think they're doing good. They are serving themselves and they know it. They just don't see anything "wrong" with that. Which again, is not the same as being good or even THINKING of yourself as good.
    Last edited by Airk; 2017-12-08 at 10:45 AM.

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