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  1. - Top - End - #91
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    The robot example is 100% relevant because it is about a real world person responding to a situation, and when we play d&d we are real world people playing the game.

    A player (real world person) should have a real world moral reaction (gut feeling) in response to discussing infanticide (in game). Even though it isnít real (just like the robot isnít a real child).
    You neglect the fact that the knowledge that an example is unreal changes the real moral reaction.

    This is not hypothetical. We know it. Completely psychologically normal people who never go on to commit violent crimes will cheer for their friends to slaughter realistic human-like opponents in videogames. They do so because they know the virtual characters are not real and hence treating their deaths morally in the same way as deaths of real people would be absurd.

    A psychologically normal person will never mistake arguments for infanticide of xenomorphs, orcs, devils or other fictional evil beings, as having any validity towards real humans. The only real exception goes for people who buy into alarmist rhetoric and believe said fictional evil beings are stand-ins for real people.
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  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    ...Lets say someone builds a robot that .... acts exactly like a small child....
    In that case it passes the Turing test

  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    I am not talking about ďin gameĒ morals. I agree with you that a character could in theory kill evil babies without moral repercussions.

    I am talking about players. We as players should be cautious about playing a game where we discuss infanticide as a good thing. If you stop to think about the actions of your character, it should instinctively make you feel uncomfortable (not your character, you)
    Currently I am in a 1st edition campaign playing a lawful good ranger and after writing my background I spent time with the DM what kind of morals the ranger would have. I think if every player does this it would avoid threads about alignments. Sit down with the DM and discuss what your character believes and what their goals are. I gave the DM my beliefs and values are for my ranger and lawful good was a good fit.

    I think if every player does this it would avoid threads about alignments and maybe avoids having players doing things in character that would make other players uncomfortable

  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    In that case it passes the Turing test
    Not necessarily. The robot would have to: look like a child, cringe like a child, cry like a child and repeat some pre-recorded phrases like "please stop"... it wouldn't need to show any level of intelligence.


    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    You neglect the fact that the knowledge that an example is unreal changes the real moral reaction.
    Yes, but only to a limited degree. People cry when watching movies. They get mad when something happens to their favorite character in a book. They get scared watching a horror flick... people's instinctive moral reactions are still there when they know it is fiction.

    This is not hypothetical. We know it. Completely psychologically normal people who never go on to commit violent crimes will cheer for their friends to slaughter realistic human-like opponents in videogames. They do so because they know the virtual characters are not real and hence treating their deaths morally in the same way as deaths of real people would be absurd.
    True again. But most people have a limit on how far they can stretch that detachment. Some people find those games horrifying as is... others can handle them. But if you change the scenario in the game from "slaughter realistic human-like opponents", to "slaughter realistic frail seniors who beg for mercy and feebly try to escape"... then most of the cheering stops.

    A psychologically normal person will never mistake arguments for infanticide of xenomorphs, orcs, devils or other fictional evil beings, as having any validity towards real humans.
    Looking at the responses to this thread, many people are saying that killing those babies would be wrong (in game). Are you suggesting that those people are psychologically unhealthy?

    I agree that "in game" it could be morally acceptable, I also think that "in game" it is possible for a species with free will to be "always evil"... but the more I tried to justify that position, the more uncomfortable I became with the words I was typing, because of the real world parallels that could be drawn... so I had to stop.




    Quote Originally Posted by jk7275 View Post
    Currently I am in a 1st edition campaign playing a lawful good ranger and after writing my background I spent time with the DM what kind of morals the ranger would have. I think if every player does this it would avoid threads about alignments. Sit down with the DM and discuss what your character believes and what their goals are. I gave the DM my beliefs and values are for my ranger and lawful good was a good fit.
    Making sure that all players and the DM are on the same page as to what is acceptable "in game behavior" is always a good idea. Even if it isn't related to "evil" behavior. I for instance don't like playing games with a Kender character.
    Last edited by Aliquid; 2018-01-11 at 04:36 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post

    Making sure that all players and the DM are on the same page as to what is acceptable "in game behavior" is always a good idea. Even if it isn't related to "evil" behavior. I for instance don't like playing games with a Kender character.
    Not that I'm a proponent of the alignment system but killing a Kender is NEVER an Evil act
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  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    You've never played a game where a PC has leaned around a corner and lobbed a fireball into a room full of Gnolls, only to find out after the fact that it included a bunch of whelps?

    ... despite them being fully aware the the humanoids in the lairs had whelps in them, and specifically giving them chances to get away in previous encounters. But just getting caught up in the moment and not thinking about it in this case.

    Dealing with the "what do we do with evil race's children we find in their lairs" question was a staple in a lot of older D&D modules.

    (Edit: Clearly I missed this is a response to a response to this basic concept. /sigh. Or very slightly different, since I'm talking about it having happened on accident.)
    Yeah, I'm talking about games where characters that are supposedly "good" stick decapitated heads on sticks and wave them around, giggling like ten year olds. Using the game as an excuse to imagine depraved crap.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

  7. - Top - End - #97
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    Not necessarily. The robot would have to: look like a child, cringe like a child, cry like a child and repeat some pre-recorded phrases like "please stop"... it wouldn't need to show any level of intelligence.
    You're moving the goalposts. The premise was that it "acts exactly like a small child"

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    BoVD doesn;t count. Firstly because the general consensus is that the game designers were tripping when they wrote BoVD and BoED and more importantly because it's canon that fiends, and demons especially, spend most of their time killing other fiends; this is apparent in the Fiendish Codices, the Manual of the Planes, and about a dozen Planescape supplements.
    And I forgot to mention the first time that Fiendish Codex 2 also states that before they started fighting the Blood War the Baatezu were good

  8. - Top - End - #98
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    You're moving the goalposts. The premise was that it "acts exactly like a small child"
    Honestly the Turing Test isn't very hard to pass when dealing with a child under the age of 5.
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  9. - Top - End - #99
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    You're moving the goalposts. The premise was that it "acts exactly like a small child"
    The robot acts exactly like a small child within the context of the scenario given. I though that was assumed. That was my intent and if the message didn't go through, it was due to lack of clarity on my post, not "moving goalposts".
    Last edited by Aliquid; 2018-01-11 at 07:03 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #100
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Passing the Turing Test is more about appearances than about what's under the hood.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    Planet Mercenary RPG Discussion

  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    That is just the opposite of my experience. I have seen far less backstabbing in games without alignments.
    Being evil is not a crime. Killing things for being evil is evil.
    Killing things for being evil is the best, especially if they happen to be centaurs that have a chance to drop million-gold-piece gems that you can then turn into XP, allowing you to gain dozens of levels per hour

  12. - Top - End - #102
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by D+1 View Post

    It does have a very useful purpose. Not everybody needs it for that purpose, but in my personal experience it's the players who want to completely eliminate it who are most likely to have their PC's act like complete random, disruptive-to-the-game, nutburgers.

    Oh thank god I'm not the only one

    I swear, in my experience, every time someone says we should get rid of alignment it's something along the lines of "What do you MEAN my Lawful Good fighter is now Evil?! Just because I burnt down the orphanage, sold half the kids into slavery and slowly tortured to death the other?! Alignment is STUPID!"

    I know it's an unfair bias but after all this I just can not take alignment complaints seriously, it always seems to be people wanting their characters to be horrible people who do horrible things for horrible reasons, but balk at the idea that they aren't a shining paragon of virtue as they dump enough Black Lotus Extract to put the Tarrasque into a coma into the villiage well because a crotchety farmer was rude to them.
    Last edited by Enixon; 2018-01-11 at 11:48 PM.

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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    A lot of fictional monsters are dangerous right from birth (xenomorph face-huggers, for instance). D&D is the odd man out.
    I imagine Elminster's standard day begins like "Wake up, exit my completely impenetrable, spell-proofed bedroom to go to the bathroom, kill the inevitable 3 balors waiting there, brush my teeth, have a wizard fight with the archlich hiding in the shower, use the toilet..."
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  14. - Top - End - #104
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    Yes, but only to a limited degree. People cry when watching movies. They get mad when something happens to their favorite character in a book. They get scared watching a horror flick... people's instinctive moral reactions are still there when they know it is fiction.
    Sure, fiction can trigger real emotions. Majority of people still understand that the target of the emotion is unreal and do not act in the same way as if the target is real. Majority of people who cry at movies do not, for example, lobby against future movies having bad or sad things happen to their characters. They do not actually rush to help these people either. A lot would actually argue that the bad and sad things happening to the characters is necessary for good fiction, because it makes them cry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid
    True again. But most people have a limit on how far they can stretch that detachment. Some people find those games horrifying as is... others can handle them. But if you change the scenario in the game from "slaughter realistic human-like opponents", to "slaughter realistic frail seniors who beg for mercy and feebly try to escape"... then most of the cheering stops.
    Oh, for sure, at some point you cross the line where you start squicking people too much for them to enjoy the fiction. But do not confuse emotional response of visceral disgust for moral disgust. People often use the former as basis for latter, but as with the above example of people crying at movies, most people still do not act anything like if the virtual people being killed are real.

    Also, "realistic frail seniors who beg for mercy and feebly try to escape" is a different category than always evil speculative species, such as xenomorphs, orcs, or demons, or even the much broader category of realistic humanlike opponents. The emotions caused are hence also different. Nevertheless, there are plenty of realistic, frail seniors in fiction of games which have been murdered by psychologically normal people. Hint: all it takes is for the senior to be sufficiently vile person for people to stop giving crap of their virtual human rights.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid
    Looking at the responses to this thread, many people are saying that killing those babies would be wrong (in game). Are you suggesting that those people are psychologically unhealthy?
    First, "abnormal" =/= "unhealthy".

    Second, not all the people you refer to actually base their notion on the idea that fictional scenarios ought to be treated morally the same as real life - they base their notion of in-game rules, which is a different argument.

    Of the rest, I'd actually claim majority fall in the category of "buys into alarmist rhetoric and thinks the fictional beings are stand-ins for real people".

    It would not surprise me at all, though, if all posters who so argue in this thread are psychologically abnormal in some respect. We are talking of a tiny subset of people in a highly eccentric niche hobby. I don't have stellar reason to expect them to be normal in any other respect either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid
    I agree that "in game" it could be morally acceptable, I also think that "in game" it is possible for a species with free will to be "always evil"... but the more I tried to justify that position, the more uncomfortable I became with the words I was typing, because of the real world parallels that could be drawn... so I had to stop.
    So congratulations, you engaged in mental gymnastics and it caused you to fall victim to alarmist rhetoric. The underlined part is you admitting that.

    Here, let me offer you a remedy: unless you can scientifically solve all the problems with the concept of "free will" that exist in real life, your justifications are purely speculative and cannot be applied to real life. That is, the real life parallels aren't unless you actually prove them. Stop worrying about it.

    ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Passing the Turing Test is more about appearances than about what's under the hood.
    You are right and we have fairly dumb chatbots which already pass the test. Using such chatbots to enliven videogame characters has already been suggested and likely implemented.

    No decrease in amount of virtual genocides has been detected.
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  15. - Top - End - #105
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    *adjusts glasses* Um, actually, you said "I have heard," but yeah, fair point.
    Well played.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Here, again, is where I disagree. It's such a gross overgeneralization, in my mind, that more complex moral and ethical outlooks are precluded, because - again - the books draw explicit lines, irrespective of circumstance or justification.
    But those alignment defintions can encompass larger varieties of personality types and quirks than many people credit them for. And while there are "explicit lines" for specific ACTS, no single act "insta-changes" one's alignment. No individual ONLY commits acts that are within the definition of alignment, which is why it's descriptive, and not prescriptive.

    On an entirely unrelated note, my inner Grammar-Nazi is delighted by your use of "irrespective" instead of a non-word like "irregardless".
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    First, let me clarify: In this context, when I use the term "arbitrary," I mean the "because we said so and that's final" definition of the word, not necessarily the "unsupported and baseless" definition of the word. For example, slavery is obviously an Always Evil act, for perfectly logical reasons. By contrast, killing an Always Evil creature is an Always Good act, irrespective of context or justification. Again, see my admittedly reductio ad absurdum argument about Always Evil babies. I cannot conceive of a circumstance in which it would be an act of absolute, unquestionable Good to kill a baby. You can offer whatever justifications you like - it will grow up to murder, it naturally produces continent-annihilating toxins, whatever - and maybe you could make an argument. But you're still killing a baby, and under arbitrary alignment, there are contexts where that action is unquestionably Good.
    hamishspence covered a great deal of this, but to clarify: By 3.x rules (the last edition to clearly state things like this), killing "a creature of consummate, irredeemable evil", even for selfish reasons (such as profit) is a "non-evil act". Which is not the same as an "Always Good" act.

    Furthermore, Frozen_Feet made a great point on this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    A psychologically normal person will never mistake arguments for infanticide of xenomorphs, orcs, devils or other fictional evil beings, as having any validity towards real humans. The only real exception goes for people who buy into alarmist rhetoric and believe said fictional evil beings are stand-ins for real people.
    As he points out, fictional evil beings need not be measured by the same metrics we use in RL. Yes, by modern, Real-World standards, where we place emphasis on "nurture" over "nature", we believe in the inherent innocence of babies. But in a world with dragons, sorcerers, psions, beholders, and, more to the point-actual, objective, and quantifiable Evil-the prospect of living creatures (even humanoid ones) that are genuinely inherently Evil (capital "E") is one that we should not discount, nor should we allow ourselves to be So trapped by our Real-World preconceptions that we myopically ignore that D&D standards may be different.

    To clarify, I am not speaking in favor, necessarily, of "killing babies". Merely that it is genuinely POSSIBLE in a D&D world for such an act to not necessarily be unquestionably Evil.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Another example, which you point out, is spells with an [Evil] tag. Casting those makes you Evil, or indicates that you are the sort of Evil being who would cast such spells. This is true regardless of context or justification. By way of illustration, the Deathwatch spell carries the Evil tag. This means that using it, for any reason, is an Evil act. But what if you're a triage doctor using it to determine quickly which patients need your life-saving treatments the most? That's pretty clearly a Good act. Nope, doesn't matter, Always Evil.
    The cleric spell Status does the same thing, without "drawing on the energies of undeath" to do so. Creation of Undead, by any means, is, in 3.x, an Unquestionably Evil act. For reasons that are very clear (check your BoVD under "Defining Evil"). Since creating them by ANY means is an Evil act, it follows logically that the spells which ONLY result in the creation of undead (Animate Dead, Create [Greater] Undead come to mind) have the [Evil] tag. It's internally consistent and coherent. Now, Deathwatch, a Necromancy spell, specifies that it taps into the "energies of undeath" (or something like that) in order to function. So the [Evil] tag on that one makes sense as it is tapping into energies that ARE inherently Evil. Although, to be fair, casting that spell is a much more minor act of Evil than, say, burning down an orphanage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    That's my point. D&D RAW has defined certain actions as Always Evil, or Always Good, irrespective of context or justification. And that last clause is problematic, because it prevents any moral complexity or nuance. The Trolley Problem is a moral dilemma because it asks the question - is it acceptable to commit one murder to save multiple lives? D&D RAW removes the nuance by stating explicitly: "Murder is an Evil act." Therefore, no, it is not acceptable, full stop.
    D&D also specifies a definition of Murder that is: "killing of an intelligent creature for nefarious purpose: theft, personal gain, personal pleasure, or the like"

    The Trolley problem in D&D morality would-fist of all-place the onus of Evil act of the person who tied all 6 people to the tracks to begin with. The person standing at the switch had the binary [lesser evil act or greater evil act] choice, wherein even choosing to do nothing results in the greater evil occurring. In D&D, that is completely separate from "intentionally commiting an evil act". Now the Fat Man variant, where one must choose to push an otherwise innocent bystander (who was not in harm's way) in front of the trolley to save 5 people, THAT is where you go into the intentional committing of one evil act in order to save more lives.

    kyoryu pointed out:
    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    But guess what? People, even Good people, can *and do* commit Evil acts. Committing an Evil act to save many, many people may still be Evil, but probably won't twig your alignment, particularly if the individual feels remorse and guilt over their actions. The only real issue is when the person commits this act and feels totally justified and "yup, did the right thing!" A Good person just won't commit a significant Evil act, or one without a good reason, and will prefer to take the problems themselves rather than push them on others. But there are situations, sure! A Good character might steal to save starving orphans if all other options had been exhausted - but they'd still regret doing it, and would try to make amends in some way.

    Now, a Paladin might Fall for that, true... but that's exactly why Atonement exists. If you're a Paladin that has done something Evil, even if necessary, the guilt of that should weigh you down, until some way of making amends for it (the spell) has occurred.
    The whole point of Paladins was that they are held to SUCH a high standard of Good (big "G") that even committing one Evil act intentionally makes them fall from grace. In the Trolley Problem Fat Man variant, the paladin's only recourse is to jump in front of the trolley himself, using his armored corpse to slow and stop the trolley.

    And of course, there is the Fat Villain variant, wherein the fat man who may be pushed in front of the trolley to stop it from killing 5 people is also the very person who tied those people to the track in the first place. While this is a valid moral conflict in real life, by D&D morality it is morally acceptable to hurl said villain to his death to save the people he was trying to kill, since he is-for all intents and purposes-in the middle of his plan to kill them, and you would be stopping him.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Agreed in part, disagreed in part. Paladin auto-fall scenarios are the fault of a jerkbag DM, true. However, they can only exist by RAW because alignment mechanics permit them. It's like this: If I push you off of the top of a building to your death, there's no question I am a murderer. But if there were no gravity, it would not have been possible for me to do so. That doesn't absolve me of blame for your death, but it explains the context in which it was possible for me to kill you.

    Alignment mechanics are a tool for jerkbag DMs to engage in jerkbag tactics. They are not the only tool, but they are a powerful one, and removing them does neuter a jerkbag DM's ability to be a jerkbag, at least to a small extent.
    I have to completely disagree with you here, because the tool is not the problem. My own experience with a super-controlling DM had nothing to do with alignment. His low level (lvl 5 or 6) players were exposed to a battle that featured literally epic-level villains, which we had no hope of defeating, until his (also epic-level) NPC came around and pulled our collective butts out of the fire. After which, said "savior" NPC forced a special "DM fiat" lycanthropy on the party which forced them all (I say "them" at this point, because I left the game, but some of my friends continued to play) to do the "pack leader's" bidding. If they refused, he could remotely-at any time-force a lycanthropic change of shape, completely rendering them under his slavish control. Mind you, the DM ruled that since said NPC was epic-level, the paladin party member's normal immunity to lycanthropy was overridden, but also since she was basically being forced to do his bidding, she never fell for her actions, either.

    A DM intent on being a jerkbag is going to use ANY tool at his disposal to be a jerkbag. That, or he's going to fiat-handwaive said tool into existence. Just because some DMs use alignment mechanics to be jerkbags is NOT a valid indictment of flaws or failings in alignment mechanics themselves.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Why not both? Yes, definitely, blame jerks for being jerks, but if we have the means to make it harder for them to be jerks - i.e. removing alignment mechanics - why not use those means?
    And yet removal of alignment mechanics also takes away the positive benefits of them. Among which, like I mentioned in my first post, is that alignment mechanics give mechanical voice to classic fantasy tropes in an objective manner. Holy weapons (and spells); Evil as a tangible, detectable thing; the oppressive effects that the Lower Planes would have on Good people...these are all alignment mechanic dependent.

    You're suggesting throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Aren't 5e Orcs "Always Evil?" I may be misremembering, mind you.
    5e evil humanoid races do NOT have the same level of free will as PC races do, this is explicit in the rules. As I recall, Orcs constantly feel the whisperings of Gruumsh in their minds. Half-orcs do, too, but they can resist it easier due to the thinning of their orc blood.

    While I do not think this is carte blanche to "kill orc babies", I do think it bears some consideration to what we discussed above, about not measuring these monster races by a rwal-world human metric. They literally DO NOT HAVE Free Will as we recognize it. What does that truly mean for the morality of their actions? What about the morality of actions taken against them? All I can say for certain is that a modern metric based off of Real World Human mores may not be applicable.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Also, do Dragons count as "mortal races?" Because 3.5e True Dragons have the "always" marker next to their alignments. Black Dragon, always CE; Blue Dragon, always LE; Green Dragon, always LE; Red Dragon, always CE; and so on.
    3.x categorized dragons as "creatures of consummate, irredeemable evil". So...no?
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Do Undead count? 3.5e Vampires, for example, are intelligent Undead - capable of thinking, feeling, and so forth - yet are listed as Always Evil (any). This means that you could theoretically have a Vampire who runs a hospital, cares for the sick and the feeble, saves countless lives, and is able to work tirelessly through the night (due to that whole lack of sleep thing), yet killing said Vampire is still an unquestionably Good act, because Always Evil.
    2 general rules that are major factors to consider here:
    1- ALL undead, even Good aligned ones, radiate as Evil under a Detect Evil spell. Reasoning for this falls into the rules regarding how creation of undead is an Evil act no matter what, and therefore the magicks that animate their bodies (even the incorporeal ones) are Evil. Note that I say "magicks" and not "spells", because even a wight who was created by another wight is animated by Evil energies.
    2- The "Always" tag for alignment means 99% or more of creatures of that type match that alignment. Your VERY NARROW (which I'm sure you can admit) example of a Vampire could still exist in D&D rules.

    Mind you, even using a modern viewpoint to look at a vampire makes some kind of "evil" likely. This is a being who is now forced to feed off the blood of the living to sustain its existence. It is a soulless shell of its former self, not even necessarily inhabited by the original spirit of the person whose body it was (Libris Mortis supports this). Even if a vampire was dedicated to trying to retain its former mindset, outlook, and morality (i.e. alignment), it makes sense that it would gradually become more and more morally callous, as it justified what it had to do to survive. It's a slippery slope, to be sure.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Okay, let's put aside Dragons or Undead. What about Sphinxes? In 3.5e, the Androsphinx is Always CG, the Hieracosphinx is Always CE. These are intelligent Magical Beasts - not Constructs, not cosmically-formed Outsiders, not inherently-Evil Undead, not ageless Dragons, just intelligent Magical Beasts - which are Always alignment. Do they count?
    You got me there. I don't know why sphinxes are "always X" alignment. That defies my understanding of them, save that cryo- and heiraco- sphinxes are savagely driven by baser animal instincts, but intelligent enough to revel and delight in rapaciousness and slaughter.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    BoVD doesn;t count. Firstly because the general consensus is that the game designers were tripping when they wrote BoVD and BoED and more importantly because it's canon that fiends, and demons especially, spend most of their time killing other fiends; this is apparent in the Fiendish Codices, the Manual of the Planes, and about a dozen Planescape supplements.
    Who says BoVD doesn't count? you?
    While a great deal of the crunchy bits are unbalanced out the wazoo, and the art is absurdly "adult" without rhyme or reason, a great deal of the fluff is solid. The entire Chapter on "The Nature of Evil" does not contradict anything in the PHB, or later works. In fact, it fleshes out, in more detail, the WHY on a great number of topics. It's still a first-party rules source, and is ABSOLUTELY valid. ESPECIALLY when discussing alignment.


    Quote Originally Posted by NovenFromTheSun View Post
    A lot of fictional monsters are dangerous right from birth (xenomorph face-huggers, for instance). D&D is the odd man out.
    I'd argue that xenomorph face-huggers entirely lack moral agency, though. They're basically Vermin with ant INT of "-".
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post

    The cleric spell Status does the same thing, without "drawing on the energies of undeath" to do so. Creation of Undead, by any means, is, in 3.x, an Unquestionably Evil act. For reasons that are very clear (check your BoVD under "Defining Evil"). Since creating them by ANY means is an Evil act, it follows logically that the spells which ONLY result in the creation of undead (Animate Dead, Create [Greater] Undead come to mind) have the [Evil] tag. It's internally consistent and coherent. Now, Deathwatch, a Necromancy spell, specifies that it taps into the "energies of undeath" (or something like that) in order to function. So the [Evil] tag on that one makes sense as it is tapping into energies that ARE inherently Evil. Although, to be fair, casting that spell is a much more minor act of Evil than, say, burning down an orphanage.
    I think the changeover from 3.0 to 3.5 also plays a part. The Healer class (required Good alignment), and the Slayer of Domiel PRC (Exalted good) both had Deathwatch on their class list, and both came out very early in 3.5.

    In 3.0, Deathwatch did not have the [Evil] tag.

    Maybe an alternate "lifewatch" spell, using positive rather than negative energy, could be what these classes/PRCs get, as a fix - so that (in the Slayer's case) they don't Fall for casting a spell that they get automatically?

    Status is different enough from Deathwatch that it's difficult to use it exactly the same way - to identify characters at low hit points in need of a heal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    Well played.

    But those alignment defintions can encompass larger varieties of personality types and quirks than many people credit them for. And while there are "explicit lines" for specific ACTS, no single act "insta-changes" one's alignment. No individual ONLY commits acts that are within the definition of alignment, which is why it's descriptive, and not prescriptive.

    On an entirely unrelated note, my inner Grammar-Nazi is delighted by your use of "irrespective" instead of a non-word like "irregardless".
    That's a fair point. I thought I did clarify this, but if I didn't:

    1. I intended to emphasize that there were Always Good/Evil acts, not that any single act constituted an automatic and instant change to alignment. My personal position on the matter is that acts, even particularly egregious or heinous ones (i.e. genocide) don't change alignment, but rather reflect an already-changed mindset, but that's beside the point.

    2. I agree that no individual only commits a single species of act. I would qualify that, however, that where a being is considered inherently, immutably X, where X is an alignment or alignment component, that creature is most likely, at any given time, performing acts consistent with its alignment.

    And I prefer Grammar Fascist, thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    hamishspence covered a great deal of this, but to clarify: By 3.x rules (the last edition to clearly state things like this), killing "a creature of consummate, irredeemable evil", even for selfish reasons (such as profit) is a "non-evil act". Which is not the same as an "Always Good" act.
    Fair distinction, and actually one I've made in the past, so I concede that. However, calling it a "non-Evil act," where it otherwise would be Evil, still ignores context and justification, which I continue to assert are important.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    Furthermore, Frozen_Feet made a great point on this:

    As he points out, fictional evil beings need not be measured by the same metrics we use in RL. Yes, by modern, Real-World standards, where we place emphasis on "nurture" over "nature", we believe in the inherent innocence of babies. But in a world with dragons, sorcerers, psions, beholders, and, more to the point-actual, objective, and quantifiable Evil-the prospect of living creatures (even humanoid ones) that are genuinely inherently Evil (capital "E") is one that we should not discount, nor should we allow ourselves to be So trapped by our Real-World preconceptions that we myopically ignore that D&D standards may be different.

    To clarify, I am not speaking in favor, necessarily, of "killing babies". Merely that it is genuinely POSSIBLE in a D&D world for such an act to not necessarily be unquestionably Evil.
    I won't argue that fictional races are stand-ins for real people. (Even when, as is occasionally the case, they are constructed around stereotypes of real people.) However, my position is that, if a creature is possessed of free will, it has (or should have) the ability to defy its baser instincts. And further, my position is also that the aura a creature radiates, or the circumstances of its birth or creation, are not reflective of its actual self if it is capable of freely choosing to evolve past those factors.

    Let us assume, for example, that there is a mortal, mammalian race called Smeerp. As with most mammals, Smeerp babies are almost entirely helpless until they reach maturity and can use tools and language. Smeerps are "Always Evil," not in the "always means, like, 99% of the population" sense, but in the always Evil sense. Adventurers come upon a Baby Smeerp. Is killing a helpless baby, in this context, a non-Evil act?

    We can define Evil as a matter of mindset - that is, you are Evil because you intend Evil with your actions. This is a baby, and therefore cannot form intent; that won't fly. We can define Evil as a matter of conduct - if you consistently or readily perform Evil actions, you are Evil. This is a baby, and like a Pokemon, it only knows four moves: Eat, Sleep, Poop, Scream. (Scream is super-effective!) It is incapable of performing an Evil act, unless you count rupturing eardrums. So that's not an argument, either. The only argument is that it is inherently, irredeemably Evil, and therefore killing it is always a Non-Evil act.

    That's my point. Even setting aside the fact that infanticide from a real-world perspective is atrocious, there is no context in which this baby is actually Evil except that the writers have decreed it to be so. That is not a position based in reason. Yes, even if we know for a fact that this baby will grow up to become inherently Evil, it is not now Evil. It is, by any and all definitions, an innocent, and under the same RAW that says that killing an inherently Evil being is always Non-Evil, killing a helpless innocent is always Evil. The logic is contradictory.

    And again, it's a problem that if a creature is capable of free will, by all logic it should have the ability to overcome its alignment impulses. Yes, I suppose that's why "Always X" means "like, 99% of the time," but that makes the statistic frustrating and far less useful than it has any right to be anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    The cleric spell Status does the same thing, without "drawing on the energies of undeath" to do so. Creation of Undead, by any means, is, in 3.x, an Unquestionably Evil act. For reasons that are very clear (check your BoVD under "Defining Evil"). Since creating them by ANY means is an Evil act, it follows logically that the spells which ONLY result in the creation of undead (Animate Dead, Create [Greater] Undead come to mind) have the [Evil] tag. It's internally consistent and coherent. Now, Deathwatch, a Necromancy spell, specifies that it taps into the "energies of undeath" (or something like that) in order to function. So the [Evil] tag on that one makes sense as it is tapping into energies that ARE inherently Evil. Although, to be fair, casting that spell is a much more minor act of Evil than, say, burning down an orphanage.
    But it's still an act of unquestionable Evil, irrespective of context or justification. I keep using that phrase, because I think it matters. If one wishes to argue that D&D's alignment system allows for complexity and nuance, one must allow for situations in which one can do bad things for good reasons, or good things for bad reasons. The triage medic using Deathwatch is an example of the former - doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. In most narratives, this character is, at worst, a conflicted antihero, using unorthodox methods to help people. In D&D, a person who is willing to consistently tap into the "energies of undeath" is strictly Evil, irrespective of why he does it. That doesn't allow for nuance. That's what I mean by arbitrary - by Rule of God, that character is now Evil, full stop.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    D&D also specifies a definition of Murder that is: "killing of an intelligent creature for nefarious purpose: theft, personal gain, personal pleasure, or the like"

    The Trolley problem in D&D morality would-fist of all-place the onus of Evil act of the person who tied all 6 people to the tracks to begin with. The person standing at the switch had the binary [lesser evil act or greater evil act] choice, wherein even choosing to do nothing results in the greater evil occurring. In D&D, that is completely separate from "intentionally commiting an evil act". Now the Fat Man variant, where one must choose to push an otherwise innocent bystander (who was not in harm's way) in front of the trolley to save 5 people, THAT is where you go into the intentional committing of one evil act in order to save more lives.
    Pretty sure that killing a helpless target also qualifies. Per terminology, a "helpless" character is "otherwise completely at an opponent's mercy." The nature of the trolley problem is such that the lone man on the side track is necessarily at your mercy, so I'm pretty sure he'd count as helpless. Again, I could be misremembering.

    Totally agree on the fat man variant, though. Cold-blooded.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    kyoryu pointed out:

    The whole point of Paladins was that they are held to SUCH a high standard of Good (big "G") that even committing one Evil act intentionally makes them fall from grace. In the Trolley Problem Fat Man variant, the paladin's only recourse is to jump in front of the trolley himself, using his armored corpse to slow and stop the trolley.
    Funny story, I had a DM who tried to use that scenario as a test for characters to join the Harpers. (My character took the third option, and jumped onto the track himself. This was before I took philosophy. Go fig.)

    And no, my character was not a Paladin. CN PsyWar, if memory serves.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    And of course, there is the Fat Villain variant, wherein the fat man who may be pushed in front of the trolley to stop it from killing 5 people is also the very person who tied those people to the track in the first place. While this is a valid moral conflict in real life, by D&D morality it is morally acceptable to hurl said villain to his death to save the people he was trying to kill, since he is-for all intents and purposes-in the middle of his plan to kill them, and you would be stopping him.
    Oh, sure, throw villains on the tracks. Just all the time. Not like we're people or anything.

    Racist.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    I have to completely disagree with you here, because the tool is not the problem. My own experience with a super-controlling DM had nothing to do with alignment. His low level (lvl 5 or 6) players were exposed to a battle that featured literally epic-level villains, which we had no hope of defeating, until his (also epic-level) NPC came around and pulled our collective butts out of the fire. After which, said "savior" NPC forced a special "DM fiat" lycanthropy on the party which forced them all (I say "them" at this point, because I left the game, but some of my friends continued to play) to do the "pack leader's" bidding. If they refused, he could remotely-at any time-force a lycanthropic change of shape, completely rendering them under his slavish control. Mind you, the DM ruled that since said NPC was epic-level, the paladin party member's normal immunity to lycanthropy was overridden, but also since she was basically being forced to do his bidding, she never fell for her actions, either.

    A DM intent on being a jerkbag is going to use ANY tool at his disposal to be a jerkbag. That, or he's going to fiat-handwaive said tool into existence. Just because some DMs use alignment mechanics to be jerkbags is NOT a valid indictment of flaws or failings in alignment mechanics themselves.
    Again, fair position. I agree that a jerkbag is a jerkbag is a jerkbag, and will find whatever means are available to be one. I am not faulting the alignment mechanics for the conduct of the jerkbag. But I am saying that alignment mechanics are among the tools of the jerkbag, and taking some of those tools away at least frustrates his aims a little.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    And yet removal of alignment mechanics also takes away the positive benefits of them. Among which, like I mentioned in my first post, is that alignment mechanics give mechanical voice to classic fantasy tropes in an objective manner. Holy weapons (and spells); Evil as a tangible, detectable thing; the oppressive effects that the Lower Planes would have on Good people...these are all alignment mechanic dependent.
    Holy weapons can still function - just deal their damage to Undead or Outsiders or what-have-you. Make them X-Bane weapons, which is honestly closer to many "classic fantasy tropes" than more generically "Holy" weapons. Hodr's twig doesn't kill Baldr because it's a magical godslaying weapon, it kills him because it's the only thing that never swore to not hurt him. The Master Sword, the Sword that Seals Evil, doesn't magically annihilate all Evil beings - it specifically frustrates the designs of Demise and his reincarnation(s), Ganon. Heck, it doesn't even work against Vaati - Link needs the Four Sword for that job. Per the "classic" tropes, the hero's magic weapon is designed for one very special purpose, not a broadly-applicable purpose.

    Evil as a tangible thing can still function as well - Detect Magic exists. You can easily adjust Detect Evil to become Detect X, where X could be anything from Fey, to Undead, to Dragons, to Aberrations. Likewise, the "oppressive effects" you describe can be a magical aura or localized curse. Again, it makes more sense from a classical perspective - the character is reacting to that thing which is his narrative antagonist. The hero sworn to slay Dragons recognizes their smell; the exorcist senses the intrusion of the Lower Planes into our world; the Dhampyr recognizes the taint of his father's ilk. There are ways to express this that have nothing to do with alignment.

    Just as one could argue that Status is a non-Evil version of Deathwatch, I can argue that you can accomplish a lot of these things without alignment mechanics, and do so in a way that is often more authentic to "classic fantasy tropes." Instead of, "I sense a strong aura of Evil here," you could have, "This room is colder than it should be," or "I have a sudden feeling of foreboding," or "Uncle has... the willies." You can do it in other ways.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    You're suggesting throwing the baby out with the bath water.
    To be fair, I was the one suggesting sparing the baby, if you'll recall. You were on the other side of that argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    5e evil humanoid races do NOT have the same level of free will as PC races do, this is explicit in the rules. As I recall, Orcs constantly feel the whisperings of Gruumsh in their minds. Half-orcs do, too, but they can resist it easier due to the thinning of their orc blood.
    But Half-Orcs can resist it, because fiat. Because the writers said so. (And because 5e wanted to avoid the moral dilemmas of non-Evil monstrous races.) My point is that Orcs are a mortal race that is inherently Evil, which we explain away by saying that they're robots.

    Problem: Robots aren't Evil, they're robots. They're incapable of forming intent, instead following programming. It's also why animals are generally Neutral. Either Orcs have enough free will to choose Evil, in which case they can also choose Not Evil, or they don't, in which case they are robots and therefore Not Evil. It's a self-defeating argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    While I do not think this is carte blanche to "kill orc babies", I do think it bears some consideration to what we discussed above, about not measuring these monster races by a rwal-world human metric. They literally DO NOT HAVE Free Will as we recognize it. What does that truly mean for the morality of their actions? What about the morality of actions taken against them? All I can say for certain is that a modern metric based off of Real World Human mores may not be applicable.
    I agree that a modern metric based on real world mores may not be applicable. My issue, aside from what I described above, is with the creation of a universe in which this concept even exists; it is logically inconsistent.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    3.x categorized dragons as "creatures of consummate, irredeemable evil". So...no?
    Again, I have issue with this. Are they intelligent creatures that can change their minds, or are they robots?

    In Dragonlance, the Noble Draconians were created from a Chromatic Dragon base. Magic was used on Chromatic Dragon eggs that allowed them to (1) hatch as dragon-people, and (2) not be inherently Evil. So clearly, it's not genetic, or at least not so much that a little magical tampering can't bypass it.

    Dragons aren't Undead, created by inherently Evil means. They're not Evil Outsiders, formed of the inherent Evilness of the cosmos. They're physical creatures, if ageless and ineffable. There shouldn't be anything inherently Good or Evil about them, aside from this racial tendency. We can't even say it's a result of Tiamat's influence, because other races in 3.5 have their own deities, and are able to ignore that influence (see e.g. Orcs and Gruumsh, Elves and Corellon, Humans and Zarus).

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    2 general rules that are major factors to consider here:
    1- ALL undead, even Good aligned ones, radiate as Evil under a Detect Evil spell. Reasoning for this falls into the rules regarding how creation of undead is an Evil act no matter what, and therefore the magicks that animate their bodies (even the incorporeal ones) are Evil. Note that I say "magicks" and not "spells", because even a wight who was created by another wight is animated by Evil energies.
    2- The "Always" tag for alignment means 99% or more of creatures of that type match that alignment. Your VERY NARROW (which I'm sure you can admit) example of a Vampire could still exist in D&D rules.
    1. What aura they radiate is (or should be) irrelevant. You can put a spell on an item or person to make it radiate with an aura completely inconsistent with the item or person itself. Yes, I'll concede that Undead are formed from Negative Energy, which (by author fiat) is inherently Evil, and therefore they radiate that same Evil. That should not, however, automatically mean that the subject is in fact Evil.

    2. This is, again, a problem. If "Always" means "except, you know, for Drizz't," then it becomes increasingly meaningless. In that case, why even have an "always" metric - isn't "often" or "usually" enough? If you want to say that the race has a strong disposition towards an alignment or alignment component, fine, but saying "Always" and then qualifying, "But not always always," is a cop-out and renders the term meaningless.

    And yes, I will admit to using a very narrow example. If the goal is to challenge a rule which should apply universally, showing an exception, no matter how narrow, demonstrates that it cannot.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    Mind you, even using a modern viewpoint to look at a vampire makes some kind of "evil" likely. This is a being who is now forced to feed off the blood of the living to sustain its existence. It is a soulless shell of its former self, not even necessarily inhabited by the original spirit of the person whose body it was (Libris Mortis supports this). Even if a vampire was dedicated to trying to retain its former mindset, outlook, and morality (i.e. alignment), it makes sense that it would gradually become more and more morally callous, as it justified what it had to do to survive. It's a slippery slope, to be sure.
    Sure, I'll give you that. But "callous indifference" and "active Evil" are two points on a spectrum, and they're not equivalent. For example, the deathstyle of a Lich, aside from the "unspeakably Evil" action(s) necessary to become one, seems to be more Neutral than Evil - focused on research to the exclusion of all else.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    You got me there. I don't know why sphinxes are "always X" alignment. That defies my understanding of them, save that cryo- and heiraco- sphinxes are savagely driven by baser animal instincts, but intelligent enough to revel and delight in rapaciousness and slaughter.
    I know, right? I admit, I was just sort of digging around for examples when I found that one, and it just struck me as weird. Go figure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    If one wishes to argue that D&D's alignment system allows for complexity and nuance, one must allow for situations in which one can do bad things for good reasons, or good things for bad reasons. The triage medic using Deathwatch is an example of the former - doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. In most narratives, this character is, at worst, a conflicted antihero, using unorthodox methods to help people.
    That's pretty much the approach Heroes of Horror (3.5 D&D splatbook) takes - using Evil means to Good ends, and being "a flexible Neutral character".

    The general rule that consistently committing Evil acts makes you an Evil character, can be bent somewhat - especially if those Evil acts are small, and the character's Good acts are equally consistent.
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Holy weapons can still function - just deal their damage to Undead or Outsiders or what-have-you. Make them X-Bane weapons, which is honestly closer to many "classic fantasy tropes" than more generically "Holy" weapons. Hodr's twig doesn't kill Baldr because it's a magical godslaying weapon, it kills him because it's the only thing that never swore to not hurt him. The Master Sword, the Sword that Seals Evil, doesn't magically annihilate all Evil beings - it specifically frustrates the designs of Demise and his reincarnation(s), Ganon. Heck, it doesn't even work against Vaati - Link needs the Four Sword for that job. Per the "classic" tropes, the hero's magic weapon is designed for one very special purpose, not a broadly-applicable purpose.

    Evil as a tangible thing can still function as well - Detect Magic exists. You can easily adjust Detect Evil to become Detect X, where X could be anything from Fey, to Undead, to Dragons, to Aberrations. Likewise, the "oppressive effects" you describe can be a magical aura or localized curse. Again, it makes more sense from a classical perspective - the character is reacting to that thing which is his narrative antagonist. The hero sworn to slay Dragons recognizes their smell; the exorcist senses the intrusion of the Lower Planes into our world; the Dhampyr recognizes the taint of his father's ilk. There are ways to express this that have nothing to do with alignment.

    Just as one could argue that Status is a non-Evil version of Deathwatch, I can argue that you can accomplish a lot of these things without alignment mechanics, and do so in a way that is often more authentic to "classic fantasy tropes." Instead of, "I sense a strong aura of Evil here," you could have, "This room is colder than it should be," or "I have a sudden feeling of foreboding," or "Uncle has... the willies." You can do it in other ways.
    Not jumping into the whole debate, but 5e basically does this (without renaming things). The 5e detect evil and good would be better named detect non-mortals--it detects fiends, celestials, undead, elementals, and fey. Has no effect on mortals at all. Same with the protection from evil and good spell. Paladins have Divine Sense, which functions as a stronger detect evil and good. There are a few items that react differently based on alignment as well as a single creature (the sprite) who can detect alignment. Other than that, only being on the alignment-based planes has a direct mechanical effect on alignment.

    It's enough that I've dumped alignment as a mechanical thing for my setting--it's descriptive only. Not even angels and fiends have a fixed alignment. Solves a lot of problems, IMO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Oh, for sure, at some point you cross the line where you start squicking people too much for them to enjoy the fiction. But do not confuse emotional response of visceral disgust for moral disgust. People often use the former as basis for latter, but as with the above example of people crying at movies, most people still do not act anything like if the virtual people being killed are real.
    The thing is though... if the game suddenly switches to "frail seniors who beg for mercy", and all the cheering stops, except for one guy who keeps going "yeah! Ha! Smash those seniors. ha, ha, ha... *sigh* look at them beg". Many people would feel uncomfortable around that person, and worry about his mental health.

    What I'm saying is that being ok with in game infanticide is a similar thing (although to a much lesser degree). i.e. most people seem to feel uncomfortable with it, and will look at you (or me) funny if we say "what's the big deal, it's a goblin"

    Also, "realistic frail seniors who beg for mercy and feebly try to escape" is a different category than always evil speculative species, such as xenomorphs, orcs, or demons, or even the much broader category of realistic humanlike opponents. The emotions caused are hence also different. Nevertheless, there are plenty of realistic, frail seniors in fiction of games which have been murdered by psychologically normal people. Hint: all it takes is for the senior to be sufficiently vile person for people to stop giving crap of their virtual human rights.
    There are always boundaries, and the boundaries are different for everyone. Some people think that the most vile person just needs a hug, and they will turn nice...

    Of the rest, I'd actually claim majority fall in the category of "buys into alarmist rhetoric and thinks the fictional beings are stand-ins for real people".
    I would suggest another category: people who can't comprehend someone different than them.

    The quickest example I can think of is the Extrovert who can't grasp that their Introvert friend truly doesn't want to go to the party and would rather stay home and read. No matter how many times you explain it to them. For them, the party is way more fun, therefore it must be more fun for everyone... and anyone who says otherwise must be forcefully brought to the party to show them that they are wrong.

    Many people can get past that mental hurdle (some people are different than me), but they still can't imagine a sentient creature that isn't human.

    The vast majority of the time that I see people talking about other species in a game (alien, or monster or whatever), they really describing the difference on a superficial level. They are in effect describing a human with a costume. For them the Orc, or Elf, or whatever for them is still a "human" underneath it all. They can't truly imagine a different species that would think and act completely differently than a human. And this is why they can't imagine such a creature being "always evil"... because that would mean that a human could be "always evil", and they don't want to go there.

    So congratulations, you engaged in mental gymnastics and it caused you to fall victim to alarmist rhetoric. The underlined part is you admitting that.
    Not quite. My concern is more that (as above), there are people that can't separate fantasy creatures with humans... and as such when I say "monster babies can be evil", they subconsciously hear "human babies can be evil", and I don't want them to hear me saying that... even if that isn't what I mean. My concern is more the perception of others than my own perception.

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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    This thread has already shown us the main reason Alignment is bad:
    - it means different things in different editions

    BECMI vs AD&D vs 3e vs 4e vs 5e Alignment can mean hugely different things, and people often assume something from one or the other. For example, people frequently bring 3e Alignment baggage to 5e ... and pretty much anything you thought you knew about Alignment from 3e is baggage when you get to 5e.

    A second reason not so prevalent in this particular thread so far, but still common:
    - people bring their own preconceptions of good and evil to the table, and to a lesser degree lawful and chaotic

    When people talk about Alignment, they typically bring it own personal definitions to the table, which thoroughly muddies the waters. For example, in the last two editions, even thinking about some 'axis' as separate Alignment 'objects' doesn't even make much sense. In 4e it was Law and Chaos. In 5e none of the Alignments have components broken down into explicit axis separation outside of examples of associated Ideals, and any thinking about Alignment in terms of individual actions, especially on a single axis, is complete conjecture and personal assumptions.

    Edit: I still like it in 5e anyway, but that's because I find that once it is explained as a component of personality motivations (along with Personality Trait, Ideal, Bond and Flaw), it's useful tool to help players that are willing to get in character (as opposed to playing an avatar of their own personality) do so. Those who don't want to do that don't need to worry too much about personality traits. (They can do the normal thing and write a backstory instead, saying how awesome their surrogate them was before play even began. )

    Also because it gives me an easy way to ban excessive 'Evil' behavior. I can point at the three evil behavior associations, and say "please don't have your PC behave like that on a regular basis, in my personal judgement".
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2018-01-12 at 11:19 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    The whole point of Paladins was that they are held to SUCH a high standard of Good (big "G") that even committing one Evil act intentionally makes them fall from grace. In the Trolley Problem Fat Man variant, the paladin's only recourse is to jump in front of the trolley himself, using his armored corpse to slow and stop the trolley.
    From a deontological view, not interfering is neutral - the Paladin is not morally culpable for the events up to this point, he's not the idiot that set up the trolley problem. There's no Good answer, but there's an Evil one.

    From a utilitarian view, the correct answer is to kill the one person.

    The big problem is that it's a thought experiment, not a real situation, and in anything resembling a real situation there's any number of other solutions that can at least be attempted - the thought experiment limits the responses to two to ask a question (or, more likely, try to make a point against deontological viewpoints).

    The simplest alternate solution is to ask the one to sacrifice themself - making them the agent, and letting them make the decision about their own life, a decision which should be theirs. Even if you pull the lever at their request, that's a neutral act. Beyond that, in any actual scenario there would certainly be other actions that could be taken to try to save everyone's life. That's the nature of thought experiments.

    I kind of prefer one of the original versions of the trolley problem, where a magistrate is faced with the dilemna of framing and executing an innocent person in order to stop mob violence over an unsolved crime. It's the same fundamental question, but I prefer the framing.

    The reason I prefer the deontological viewpoint when running D&D is simple - it's easy to adjudicate. In the trolley problem, sure, from a utilitarian point of view, 1 > 5. But what if the one could have saved 100 people with whatever research they were working on? The deontological view avoids this issue entirely, comes up with reasonable answers in the vast, vast majority of instances, and the areas that are a bit questionable would be grey areas under pretty much any moral system.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2018-01-12 at 11:34 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    5e evil humanoid races do NOT have the same level of free will as PC races do, this is explicit in the rules. As I recall, Orcs constantly feel the whisperings of Gruumsh in their minds.
    Even if they wear a hat made out of foil?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Even if they wear a hat made out of foil?
    As a total side-note, there was a study at MIT about the effectiveness of tinfoil hats for stopping aliens (or the government) from reading your mind. End conclusion was that the tinfoil hat actually amplified the signal and made it easier to read your mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    As a total side-note, there was a study at MIT about the effectiveness of tinfoil hats for stopping aliens (or the government) from reading your mind. End conclusion was that the tinfoil hat actually amplified the signal and made it easier to read your mind.
    One can argue that the typical tinfoil hat doesn't have the right shape to form a Faraday cage and thus would act as an antenna instead of isolating the head.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    True again. But most people have a limit on how far they can stretch that detachment. Some people find those games horrifying as is... others can handle them. But if you change the scenario in the game from "slaughter realistic human-like opponents", to "slaughter realistic frail seniors who beg for mercy and feebly try to escape"... then most of the cheering stops.
    I believe that was the premise of Tom Fulp's videogame DisOrderly

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    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    I think the changeover from 3.0 to 3.5 also plays a part. The Healer class (required Good alignment), and the Slayer of Domiel PRC (Exalted good) both had Deathwatch on their class list, and both came out very early in 3.5.

    In 3.0, Deathwatch did not have the [Evil] tag.

    Maybe an alternate "lifewatch" spell, using positive rather than negative energy, could be what these classes/PRCs get, as a fix - so that (in the Slayer's case) they don't Fall for casting a spell that they get automatically?

    Status is different enough from Deathwatch that it's difficult to use it exactly the same way - to identify characters at low hit points in need of a heal.
    BoED and Miniatures Handbook (home of the Healer) have a publishing date of only 3 months after the first printing of the 3.5e Core Rules. They are both rife with mistakes that fell through the cracks during transition. This is actually one of the more well-known examples.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    That's a fair point. I thought I did clarify this, but if I didn't:

    1. I intended to emphasize that there were Always Good/Evil acts, not that any single act constituted an automatic and instant change to alignment. My personal position on the matter is that acts, even particularly egregious or heinous ones (i.e. genocide) don't change alignment, but rather reflect an already-changed mindset, but that's beside the point.
    And yet, one does not "commit genocide" as a single act. What may have started with a single killing-no matter how justified it may seem-turned into a crusade to kill more of that race/species, until the killing was-itself-the goal. It was during that period of time wherein the genocide was being committed that the mindset (and thus alignment) would have changed. So yes, by the time genocide had fully been committed, the person was already Evil.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    2. I agree that no individual only commits a single species of act. I would qualify that, however, that where a being is considered inherently, immutably X, where X is an alignment or alignment component, that creature is most likely, at any given time, performing acts consistent with its alignment.
    And yet why is that somehow jarring to you? In Real Life, I am most likely to be found doing things that are well in keeping with my character. of course, by a D&D metric I would absolutely be judged as Lawful Neutral, so maybe that's my discipline, adherence to routine, and overall predictability. Are Chaotic people less likely to be doing chaotic things due to their chaotic nature? Would them doing such things make them less chaotic? This could be a deep rabbit hole, better stop.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    And I prefer Grammar Fascist, thank you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Fair distinction, and actually one I've made in the past, so I concede that. However, calling it a "non-Evil act," where it otherwise would be Evil, still ignores context and justification, which I continue to assert are important.
    Context IS important, and you're missing the fact that even that statement has a contextual qualifier. Which is: that this maxim of "killing this creature is always a non-evil act" can ONLY apply to a creature of "consummate, irredeemable evil", such as a chromatic dragon, or a fiend. No humanoid is ever so far gone into depravity and evil to qualify as such. If you conspire to assassinate the Dread Emperor (from BoVD, guy who kept children chained to his armor) for the sole purpose of taking his wealth, it's an Evil act. Because it's murder. By the same token, if you plan to sneak in and take him by surprise and kill him (because he'd otherwise overpower you) because it's the right thing to do, and you want to free his slaves and spare future generations from being preyed on by him, then killing him is either good or neutral. So context IS important.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    I won't argue that fictional races are stand-ins for real people. (Even when, as is occasionally the case, they are constructed around stereotypes of real people.) However, my position is that, if a creature is possessed of free will, it has (or should have) the ability to defy its baser instincts. And further, my position is also that the aura a creature radiates, or the circumstances of its birth or creation, are not reflective of its actual self if it is capable of freely choosing to evolve past those factors.
    I bolded something here that I believe is the lynchpin of why we are debating (and let me say, it is AMAZINGLY refreshing to have a polite alignment debate for a change).

    What I must posit to you is: What if it isn't? What if-and this is relevant in the case of 5e orcs and such-the creature, although it possesses humanlike intelligence, it does NOT have free will? Or at least, Free Will in a manner which we-in real life-would recognized as such? That's a clincher, isn't it? This is a fantasy construct, not the real world. In the real world, something without sentience (like a robot or an animal) cannot have moral agency. And anything WITH sentience (humans, and maybe some more intelligent apes and dolphins), we BELIEVE chooses it's actions by Free Will. But Fantasy need not adhere to that. You can have sentient, thinking beings (orcs, goblinoids, etc) that do not have Free Will. And you can rebut that with "because fiat" all you want, but it's in the RAW. And as a construct of fantasy, that makes it true (since all house rules are impossible to account for, the only valid baseline for discussion on what is true or not is the RAW).

    And how do you judge those creatures that are not capable of choosing to evolve past those factors? The <1% of outliers of "Always" alignment are usually not because they somehow "chose to be different/better", but usually reflect those beings that were affected by outside sources (jam a Helm of Opposite Alignment on a Balor, or a Trumpet Archon), or they are simply aberrant, i.e. they were born/formed/created that way (cue the Lady Gaga).

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Let us assume, for example, that there is a mortal, mammalian race called Smeerp. As with most mammals, Smeerp babies are almost entirely helpless until they reach maturity and can use tools and language. Smeerps are "Always Evil," not in the "always means, like, 99% of the population" sense, but in the always Evil sense. Adventurers come upon a Baby Smeerp. Is killing a helpless baby, in this context, a non-Evil act?

    We can define Evil as a matter of mindset - that is, you are Evil because you intend Evil with your actions. This is a baby, and therefore cannot form intent; that won't fly. We can define Evil as a matter of conduct - if you consistently or readily perform Evil actions, you are Evil. This is a baby, and like a Pokemon, it only knows four moves: Eat, Sleep, Poop, Scream. (Scream is super-effective!) It is incapable of performing an Evil act, unless you count rupturing eardrums. So that's not an argument, either. The only argument is that it is inherently, irredeemably Evil, and therefore killing it is always a Non-Evil act.

    That's my point. Even setting aside the fact that infanticide from a real-world perspective is atrocious, there is no context in which this baby is actually Evil except that the writers have decreed it to be so. That is not a position based in reason. Yes, even if we know for a fact that this baby will grow up to become inherently Evil, it is not now Evil. It is, by any and all definitions, an innocent, and under the same RAW that says that killing an inherently Evil being is always Non-Evil, killing a helpless innocent is always Evil. The logic is contradictory.
    I need more context to accept this, or, like the sphinx, it is jarring to me. All of the "Always x alignment" from the 3.5e rules that I am familiar with make sense to me (except sphinxes now, curse you). And none that I am aware of are "mortal" humanoid races. your example is indeed monstrous. But even it is jarring with how most actual examples in D&D work. Just because it's POSSIBLE to create-by homebrew-a mortal mammalian race with an "always evil" tag, doesn't reflect a failure in the default rules.


    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    And again, it's a problem that if a creature is capable of free will, by all logic it should have the ability to overcome its alignment impulses. Yes, I suppose that's why "Always X" means "like, 99% of the time," but that makes the statistic frustrating and far less useful than it has any right to be anyway.
    Just for emphasis, but that outlier doesn't always reflect that some portion (1% or less) come by that deviation NATURALLY. The very existence of Helms of Opposite Alignment precludes any one creature type EVER being able to be "100%" any one alignment.


    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    But it's still an act of unquestionable Evil, irrespective of context or justification. I keep using that phrase, because I think it matters. If one wishes to argue that D&D's alignment system allows for complexity and nuance, one must allow for situations in which one can do bad things for good reasons, or good things for bad reasons. The triage medic using Deathwatch is an example of the former - doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. In most narratives, this character is, at worst, a conflicted antihero, using unorthodox methods to help people. In D&D, a person who is willing to consistently tap into the "energies of undeath" is strictly Evil, irrespective of why he does it. That doesn't allow for nuance. That's what I mean by arbitrary - by Rule of God, that character is now Evil, full stop.
    You're neglecting the rest of the rules regarding alignment shifts, though. Committing an objectively Evil act in order to commit an objectively Good act means you are committing BOTH. You have committed an Evil act AND a Good act. As per 3.5e's rules in the DMG though (page 134) "Indecisiveness Indicates Neutrality". Someone willing to use Evil means to accomplish Good ends is usually Neutral, or will become Neutral if their outlook is such that they justify them. Which is totally in keeping with any other examples of that.
    Spoiler: related side note
    Show
    If you click on my profile and look for threads that I have started, I made a long and involved character concept based on the idea of a genuinely non-evil necromancer (and I mean a necromancer SOLIDLY within the trope, a guy who is willing to raise the undead to use as his servants and soldiers, but is not Evil). The dude is Lawful Neutral, and in most respects of his personality and outlook, one would think him Lawful Good. Save that he is completely willing to use Evil magicks (that he knows are evil, but finds culturally acceptable...read the link if you're interested) on those that are wicked and deserving of punishment. As an aside though, he would never violate a properly buried corpse, even one buried under a religion other than his, because his ethos dictates that final death is restful, peaceful, and inviolate.


    Personally, as a DM, I put use of Deathwatch pretty low on the Evil Acts scale, much like Protection From Good, and saving lives pretty moderate-to-high on the Good scale, so if I was your DM, that triage medic would get a small net positive. But by the RAW, it's a wash. The point being, that your triage medic would NOT be Evil from doing that.


    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Pretty sure that killing a helpless target also qualifies. Per terminology, a "helpless" character is "otherwise completely at an opponent's mercy." The nature of the trolley problem is such that the lone man on the side track is necessarily at your mercy, so I'm pretty sure he'd count as helpless. Again, I could be misremembering.
    Firstly, killing a helpless target is not auto-evil, Hold Person/Animal/Monster renders a target "helpless".

    More importantly, if you did not tie ANY of those people to the track to begin with, you are presented with a choice A) do nothing, take no action, and 5 people die, or B) flip a switch, causing one person who was not one of the original 5 to die. Here even failure to choose results in the greater amount of death. But more importantly, you are not being given this choice until the train is almost upon them. There's a distinction between "Kill 5 or kill 1" and "let 5 die, or save them by letting one different one-who is also in mortal danger by the hand of the villain-die". I thought about this some more, and here's where it gets messed up...I realized, that, by a 3.5e Paladin metric (wherein the paladin cannot try and throw himself in front of the trolley, let's say he's inside a Wall of Force), the only thing the paladin can do is NOT pull the lever. Since paladin's only fall for "intentionally committing an Evil act" or for "changing alignment from LG". The paladin may be wracked with guilt for letting those people die, but he didn't kill them, and he couldn't bring himself to intentionally kill the other man by his own hand. And more to the point, his lack of action won't immediately alter his entire outlook on life.


    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Totally agree on the fat man variant, though. Cold-blooded.
    I think that's the only one relevant for D&D morality, though. Because there, you actually have to harm someone who wasn't already inside the villain's deathtrap. An innocent bystander, whose only crime is being fat enough to bring a runaway trolley to a full stop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Funny story, I had a DM who tried to use that scenario as a test for characters to join the Harpers. (My character took the third option, and jumped onto the track himself. This was before I took philosophy. Go fig.)

    And no, my character was not a Paladin. CN PsyWar, if memory serves.
    Nice

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Oh, sure, throw villains on the tracks. Just all the time. Not like we're people or anything.

    Racist.
    I thought you were the advocate for Lawful Evil?

    Whoever said Lawful Evil = Villain? You assumed that, which says more about your stance on Evil than it does about mine.

    Now who's racist?

    And on the note of Evil, my mindset this entire time would be that what the Villain doesn't tell the hero in the Trolley dilemma is that the 5 people are actually all unrepentant pederasts and murderers, and the single guy on the other track is a kindly old priest. Don't give up that detail until AFTER they try to save the net of 4 lives. BWAHAHAHAHA! *burp*...excuse me.


    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Again, fair position. I agree that a jerkbag is a jerkbag is a jerkbag, and will find whatever means are available to be one. I am not faulting the alignment mechanics for the conduct of the jerkbag. But I am saying that alignment mechanics are among the tools of the jerkbag, and taking some of those tools away at least frustrates his aims a little.
    Maybe it's because I find more positives in alignment than you do. I don't want to fault a tool that I, personally, find useful in a constructive way. Both as a player and as a DM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Holy weapons can still function - just deal their damage to Undead or Outsiders or what-have-you. Make them X-Bane weapons, which is honestly closer to many "classic fantasy tropes" than more generically "Holy" weapons. Hodr's twig doesn't kill Baldr because it's a magical godslaying weapon, it kills him because it's the only thing that never swore to not hurt him. The Master Sword, the Sword that Seals Evil, doesn't magically annihilate all Evil beings - it specifically frustrates the designs of Demise and his reincarnation(s), Ganon. Heck, it doesn't even work against Vaati - Link needs the Four Sword for that job. Per the "classic" tropes, the hero's magic weapon is designed for one very special purpose, not a broadly-applicable purpose.
    The Master Sword is-in most games-more effective against EVERYTHING. Even your mention of Demise from Skyward Sword is incorrect, the fully formed Master Sword is more effective against regular foes than the Goddess Sword was. In Breath of the Wild, it is extra effective against any creature directly allied with Ganon's power (all tainted Guardians, for example, but not the training guardians inside the shrines). Holy Avengers as widely-effective tools of "Good" in general are a staple of D&D.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Evil as a tangible thing can still function as well - Detect Magic exists. You can easily adjust Detect Evil to become Detect X, where X could be anything from Fey, to Undead, to Dragons, to Aberrations. Likewise, the "oppressive effects" you describe can be a magical aura or localized curse. Again, it makes more sense from a classical perspective - the character is reacting to that thing which is his narrative antagonist. The hero sworn to slay Dragons recognizes their smell; the exorcist senses the intrusion of the Lower Planes into our world; the Dhampyr recognizes the taint of his father's ilk. There are ways to express this that have nothing to do with alignment.


    Just as one could argue that Status is a non-Evil version of Deathwatch, I can argue that you can accomplish a lot of these things without alignment mechanics, and do so in a way that is often more authentic to "classic fantasy tropes." Instead of, "I sense a strong aura of Evil here," you could have, "This room is colder than it should be," or "I have a sudden feeling of foreboding," or "Uncle has... the willies." You can do it in other ways.
    I mean the players enter the area and the place "stinks of Evil". Where "Evil" is a tangible force. One that a champion of good need not be specifically a dragon slayer, knight of the chalice, or exorcist to detect. Heroes should be able to broad in range. I like "Evil" being tangible in and of itself. I feel that alignment mechanics allow that concept to have mechanical voice in a manner which is not dependent of DM fiat.


    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    To be fair, I was the one suggesting sparing the baby, if you'll recall. You were on the other side of that argument.
    ROFL

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    But Half-Orcs can resist it, because fiat. Because the writers said so. (And because 5e wanted to avoid the moral dilemmas of non-Evil monstrous races.) My point is that Orcs are a mortal race that is inherently Evil, which we explain away by saying that they're robots.

    Problem: Robots aren't Evil, they're robots. They're incapable of forming intent, instead following programming. It's also why animals are generally Neutral. Either Orcs have enough free will to choose Evil, in which case they can also choose Not Evil, or they don't, in which case they are robots and therefore Not Evil. It's a self-defeating argument.

    I agree that a modern metric based on real world mores may not be applicable. My issue, aside from what I described above, is with the creation of a universe in which this concept even exists; it is logically inconsistent.

    Again, I have issue with this. Are they intelligent creatures that can change their minds, or are they robots?
    Okay, I put all this together because you ARE using a modern metric based on real world mores.

    You are equating any humanoid that "isn't an automaton" with "has free will". And what I am trying to tell you that is difficult is that since this is fantasy, there exists a possibility of something that is neither. A thinking, sentient, speech-capable humanoid with society and culture...that does not have Free Will as we understand it by Real World standards (that is, the ability to decide for itself whether or not to behave a certain way). We are also mortal, and cannot comprehend the span of a deity's mind. Gruumsh clearly allows orcs to fight and kill each other, so he's not monolithic, and they clearly exercise individuality, if not a small measure of free will (no caps). But they are powerless to resist the call of Gruumsh. Maybe it's only when violence erupts around them, who knows? But for whatever reason, in whatever manner, they don't get the same choice we as humans do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    In Dragonlance, the Noble Draconians were created from a Chromatic Dragon base. Magic was used on Chromatic Dragon eggs that allowed them to (1) hatch as dragon-people, and (2) not be inherently Evil. So clearly, it's not genetic, or at least not so much that a little magical tampering can't bypass it.
    Isn't it disingenuous to use that example, when REGULAR draconians-who ARE all evil- are made the same way from corrupted metallic dragon eggs?
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Dragons aren't Undead, created by inherently Evil means. They're not Evil Outsiders, formed of the inherent Evilness of the cosmos. They're physical creatures, if ageless and ineffable. There shouldn't be anything inherently Good or Evil about them, aside from this racial tendency. We can't even say it's a result of Tiamat's influence, because other races in 3.5 have their own deities, and are able to ignore that influence (see e.g. Orcs and Gruumsh, Elves and Corellon, Humans and Zarus).
    Depending on how deep into dragon lore from which edition you go into. In 4e lore, yes Chromatics (and even Metallics who allow too much greed or Envy into their hearts) DO fall under the sway of Tiamat. In 2e (Council of Wyrms), the behaviors ARE learned, but the education starts in the egg. So by the time you SEE a hatchling-even right as it comes out the egg, it's already quite indoctrinated into the means and methods of its subtype. I believe 3.5e went down a similar route, but it's been a long time since I read the Draconomicon.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    1. What aura they radiate is (or should be) irrelevant. You can put a spell on an item or person to make it radiate with an aura completely inconsistent with the item or person itself. Yes, I'll concede that Undead are formed from Negative Energy, which (by author fiat) is inherently Evil, and therefore they radiate that same Evil. That should not, however, automatically mean that the subject is in fact Evil.
    Detect Evil detects the presence of evil magick in them, yes? A CG vampire would still also radiate Good as well as Evil. Destroying them would STILL eliminate the presence of Evil in the world, would it not?
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    2. This is, again, a problem. If "Always" means "except, you know, for Drizz't," then it becomes increasingly meaningless. In that case, why even have an "always" metric - isn't "often" or "usually" enough? If you want to say that the race has a strong disposition towards an alignment or alignment component, fine, but saying "Always" and then qualifying, "But not always always," is a cop-out and renders the term meaningless.
    Alternately, "Always, but not always" creates a general maxim, but leaves room for specific hedge-cases that can be exceptional standouts. A Lich cleric of a Neutral Good deity, or an Evil Gold Dragon-by virtue of their exception to the norm-stand out and are memorable. I will remind you, that when Driz'zt first appeared, he was COOL.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    And yes, I will admit to using a very narrow example. If the goal is to challenge a rule which should apply universally, showing an exception, no matter how narrow, demonstrates that it cannot.
    But I showed that even your narrow example still works in the framework of the ruleset in question (3.5e). Because your case could BE that <1% exception. BOOM. Done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Sure, I'll give you that. But "callous indifference" and "active Evil" are two points on a spectrum, and they're not equivalent. For example, the deathstyle of a Lich, aside from the "unspeakably Evil" action(s) necessary to become one, seems to be more Neutral than Evil - focused on research to the exclusion of all else.
    And one of my favorite NPCs I've ever made is just that. A lich who was a human diviner and historian, wanted more time, became a lich, and now sits in seclusion in an undead-infested ruin (it keeps nosy neighbors at bay), while he scries on the world and records new History books, which he magically makes copies of and donates to libraries around the world. He's true neutral, and he only kills in self-defense (he's had to kill a few thick-witted paladins in self-defense). The evil act to become a lich was "a necessary evil" by his standards.
    The fact that he's so unusual MAKES him neat.

    5e liches made them so that they must constantly feed on souls. Bernard the lich would sadly never do that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    I know, right? I admit, I was just sort of digging around for examples when I found that one, and it just struck me as weird. Go figure.
    Nice catch, though.

    I'm all for defending alignment at NEARLY every turn, but there were a few mistakes and some inconsistencies here and there. I enjoy when a genuine inconsistency like this is found, because the ones that the more rabid anti-alignment people bring up aren't actually inconsistent at all (I particularly like shutting down the claim that undead creation being evil is "circular").
    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Even if they wear a hat made out of foil?
    That may indeed...FOIL...Gruumsh's plans *raises pinky finger to lips*
    Where do you fit in? (link fixed)

    RedMage Prestige Class!

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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    In a way, this thread (and every thread just like it on any forum anywhere) is kinda evidence of why and how alignment is bad.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    Planet Mercenary RPG Discussion

  29. - Top - End - #119
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Italy
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    In a way, this thread (and every thread just like it on any forum anywhere) is kinda evidence of why and how alignment is bad.
    Because people can't stop arguing about it? Seems more like a problem of people to me. Heck, peoople keep arguing about religion, about culture, and about morality, so maybe we should remove THOSE things too? In fact, I could equally say that something so prone to arguments is a good thing, because
    1) it makes people feel strongly, and 2) it makes them think.

    But, I think the purpose of alignment is for those people who want to play without much involvment. Some of us like to face a campaign with serious moral questions and quandaries. Others are just in there to bash stuff, and having a spell that tells you which targets are acceptable saves a lot of hassle. In fact, reading the monster manual, I figure that's the main focus of the rules. And so many spells and mechanics are designed to flat-out remove all other "distractions" so that one can focus more on bashing monsters (read: creatures that a spell say it's ok to kill).
    We who love more complex stuff are actually a minority. We are more represented on the internet because we are the ones who care enough about this stuff to go write about it in the internet. We are also knowledgeable enough that we can alter the system to suit our needs. Most people hhave more basic needs and they don't care enough to change the system, so they made the system to cater to them. Also consider that those people are the most likely to buy manuals; we can ask and look on internet, and we can homebrew anything we want anyway.
    In memory of Evisceratus: he dreamed of a better world, but he lacked the class levels to make the dream come true.

    Ridiculous monsters you won't take seriously even as they disembowel you

  30. - Top - End - #120
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    In a way, this thread (and every thread just like it on any forum anywhere) is kinda evidence of why and how alignment is bad.
    Anecdotal evidence, but I never have alignment issues in my games. I can cut off a thumb and still count up on one hand the number of times alignment has been a genuine problem in a game I've been in as a player or run over the past 40 years. And half of those were simply poorly considered instances of DM's allowing assassins in the same party with paladins. The only place I EVER see it being a real problem is on web forums. And then much of it is the fact that the players simply DON'T COMMUNICATE why a character is doing what they're doing, or the DM has everyone on double-secret alignment probation so he can whack them with punishments for random transgressions out of the blue, and the rest is caused by DM's who are stupidly convinced that it is their mission in life to simply make a paladin PC impossible to play.

    Granted, the older editions do nobody any favors in presenting alignment, but mostly I only see alignment being a problem because people go out of their way to make it one.

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