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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    In Eberron, Queen Aurala is Neutral Good. She desires nothing more than peace and prosperity to all who live within Galifar. She treats allies and enemies fairly at all times, and advocated ceasefires early and often.

    It just so happens that she believes that the only way to achieve her dream is to conquer the rest of the Five Nations, and has been advocating ceasefires in large part for the purpose of getting additional time to train war-wizards to bring to the field.

    King Kaius the Third, Evil (Secretly Vampire) King will crush anyone and everyone who could possibly get in the way of his goal. He considers every under-handed move and act of evil that could bring him closer to it.

    It just so happens that his goal is the end of all wars. He's tired. They cost him dearly. They cost his country dearly. They took away everything that mattered in his life. So he will end all wars, forever, no matter the cost.

    Either one could be the patron of an adventuring party. Either one could be their primary opponent. The objective forces of 'Good' and 'Evil' really don't matter, when all the PCs care about is what makes their lives better.

    To make a more literal example, let's say an extremely powerful Eladrin decided that money was the root of all evil, and sought to exterminate it at all costs. The absurdly wealthy adventurers who are losing all the benefits of an economy as a result of its actions would certainly view this Eladrin as their personal nemesis, even if the Eladrin is acting in accordance with the objective principle of 'Good.'
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Good being a force means it's abusable. Cast enough good spells, extract all the good out of a good outsider, cast an alignment changing spell. Do as much evil stuff as you want while the character's soul pings good. Good being a physical thing instead of an idea means it's cheap and manipulable. Crack open a bottle of the good juice and keep rolling evil while being good.

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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Easily. Take a prime world where Baator sent Erinyes to interbreed with the population centuries ago and now 10% of people there are half-fiends and most are tieflings to some degree. Now mix with D&D paladin 'you cannot compromise with fiends in any form under any circumstances' codes plus 'killing a fiend is never an evil act' and you've got a genocidal maniac who nevertheless qualifies as Good by the book.
    Half-fiends and tieflings aren't fiends though - by definition, a fiend is an Outsider with the Evil subtype (not just an Outsider who happens to be Evil), and half-fiends don't have the Evil subtype.
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Half-fiends and tieflings aren't fiends though - by definition, a fiend is an Outsider with the Evil subtype (not just an Outsider who happens to be Evil), and half-fiends don't have the Evil subtype.
    Now we get into the weeds. BoED p8 says that, with respect to giving evil creatures a chance to redeem themselves, Good (or even Exalted) characters can reasonably assume that they don't even need to make an attempt on creatures with an 'Always Evil' alignment (here Half-Field is interesting because the base creature just has to be non-Good, so the Always Evil aspect of the template can actually apply to someone who hasn't actually performed any irredeemable Evil actions).

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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elbeyon View Post
    Good being a force means it's abusable. Cast enough good spells, extract all the good out of a good outsider, cast an alignment changing spell. Do as much evil stuff as you want while the character's soul pings good. Good being a physical thing instead of an idea means it's cheap and manipulable. Crack open a bottle of the good juice and keep rolling evil while being good.
    That's the exact way an evil person thinks though

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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by ArlEammon View Post
    That's the exact way an evil person thinks though
    Pretty much. They don't fit the idea of good, but good isn't an idea. It's not subjective. It's a metaphysics that can be altered/harnessed with magic/stuff.

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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Now we get into the weeds. BoED p8 says that, with respect to giving evil creatures a chance to redeem themselves, Good (or even Exalted) characters can reasonably assume that they don't even need to make an attempt on creatures with an 'Always Evil' alignment
    While it does say "there's only the barest glimmer of hope" - that's enough that you need a justification for violence other than "their alignment" - especially given that a lot of D&D media does make use of nonevil, "Always Evil" beings, like chromatic dragons. Or even fiends in some cases.

    Either way, the "violence should be primarily directed against Evil beings" principle of Good, is still context-sensitive - an evil being might not actually be guilty of anything serious - (if the setting uses "Evil is common", or if the being has been magically turned evil).

    Strongly Good characters recognise this sort of thing - and reserve their violence for situations when it's called for - not every evil being gets the violence.
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    It seems to me that the conclusion to this thread is that good people can do terrible things if they believe it's right or necessary, or come into conflict with like-minded ones even without it. Adding some sort of "objective Good" to the equation is, as usual, neither necessary nor helpful and only gets in the way.
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    While it does say "there's only the barest glimmer of hope" - that's enough that you need a justification for violence other than "their alignment" - especially given that a lot of D&D media does make use of nonevil, "Always Evil" beings, like chromatic dragons. Or even fiends in some cases.

    Either way, the "violence should be primarily directed against Evil beings" principle of Good, is still context-sensitive - an evil being might not actually be guilty of anything serious - (if the setting uses "Evil is common", or if the being has been magically turned evil).

    Strongly Good characters recognise this sort of thing - and reserve their violence for situations when it's called for - not every evil being gets the violence.
    Given that the premise of this thread is a villain whose basis is interpreting by-the-book Good in a way that makes them an antagonist, I think a character that basically squeezes by on legalese and playing by the letter of alignment fits with that. They're not a good person but, because Good is an objective cosmic force, they happen to check the boxes necessary to maintain that alignment - even, potentially, to maintain Exalted status.

    As long as its the specific actions themselves which are either bad enough to induce motion down the chart, rather than subtle readings of the psychology and intent behind them, you can readily have someone who conspires to set up situations where all of the atrocities they want to commit will be, in the moment and in the cosmic sense, sufficiently justifiable. It won't look 'good' to others, but that's kind of the point - a character like that exists in order to shine light on the mismatches between a fixed objective system and the fluidity of the actual context people find themselves in.

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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Problem is, if you're using violence against "Evil but not guilty" beings, for dubious reasons, then legally speaking, that may qualify as Murder - and morally speaking, Murder is an exceptionally Evil act that guarantees the loss of Exalted status.

    As 3.5's Eberron Campaign Setting rulebook stressed "Just because somebody is Evil, does not mean you can simply attack them without consequence"

    Any Evil act guarantees the loss of Exalted status (and therefore, the loss of any "Exalted feats".
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Just because a legal code and a moral code both use the word "murder" doesn't mean that a "murder" in one counts as a "murder" in the other.

    In some interpretations of Alignment, one can literally be guilty of being Evil, while at the same time few legal systems consider "being Evil" a crime.

    And the disagreements between editions, settings, and supplements just highlights the issues at hand with the concept of Alignment.
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Problem is, if you're using violence against "Evil but not guilty" beings, for dubious reasons, then legally speaking, that may qualify as Murder - and morally speaking, Murder is an exceptionally Evil act that guarantees the loss of Exalted status.

    As 3.5's Eberron Campaign Setting rulebook stressed "Just because somebody is Evil, does not mean you can simply attack them without consequence"

    Any Evil act guarantees the loss of Exalted status (and therefore, the loss of any "Exalted feats".
    D&D's definition of Murder isn't the legal one. It's in BoVD, p7, and one of their examples is basically that killing a green dragon just because it's there isn't murder, because "in a fantasy world based on an objective definition of evil, killing an evil creature to stop it from doing further harm is not an evil act. Even killing an evil creature for personal gain is not exactly evil ..." - the 'further harm' here is totally assumed, not specified in the surrounding text context. Also, p8, "Destroying a fiend is always a good act." Full stop. Guilty or not guilty, it doesn't matter so long as the victim of violence is a fiend. Also, next sentence: "Allowing a fiend to exist ... is clearly evil."

    Additionally, from BoED "Certainly demons and devils are best slain, or at least banished, and only a naive fool would try to convert them". And from BoVD p6, "A glabrezu convinces a good character that the townsfolk are all fiends that must be destroyed, so the character pours poison into the town's water supply. Is that evil? Probably not".
    Last edited by NichG; 2018-02-03 at 01:23 PM.

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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Recently my main group faced an antagonist. Was it a good BBEG? You judge.

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    This setting has neither fixed alignment, nor objective "good" or "evil". It also lacks a permanent afterlife--all dead creatures go to the Shadows, where they live a reflection of their previous life for a while until they dissipate, vanishing entirely. Only the truly strong souls can make a permanent foothold on the Astral Plane and become demigods.


    He was an ancient silver dragon who believed (sincerely) that the absence of a real afterlife was a cosmic injustice. He spent his life fighting tyranny and overthrowing dictators. He ruled a kingdom of mortals benevolently and justly, showing mercy to the repentant and helping the poor. He accepted the burden of the souls of the dying righteous, with the intent to carry them (psychopomp-style) into the afterlife he was trying to create. Those that would not repent and had committed too severe of crimes (murder, rape, blood magic, necromancy) he granted oblivion, taking and feeding on their souls.

    He did all this with the goal to gather enough power to use a cosmic-level artifact (at the cost of his entire existence, past and future) to make a wish that would establish objective good and provide a place of rest for the souls of the righteous, while granting merciful oblivion to the souls of the wicked. He did not know (or refused to accept) that doing this would seriously upset the energy flows that the universe depends on and weaken it against all sorts of threats. His hijacking of souls (even for a good cause) was also distorting the magic flows all around the world, leading to the breakdown of planar stability.

    The party, who reached the artifact before he did, met him outside the gates of the city where the artifact was. They disagreed both about the side-effects of his desire and about who would decide what righteousness meant. They also opposed the imposition of an objective good on the universe. He agreed to negotiate with them in a demiplane (despite having an overwhelming advantage) so that if it came to battle his army and the city would be safe from collateral damage. The party ended up realizing that he had failed to carry the souls of those "righteous" people--he had been unknowningly feeding on them and they were already dispersed beyond saving. They convinced him of that, and he self-destructed (lost control over the soul energy he wielded) out of sheer self-loathing for what he had done.

    He was a good person, seeking good ends through good (or at least not evil) means. Yet, the party was at unalterable loggerheads with him and were willing to fight.
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    D&D's definition of Murder isn't the legal one. It's in BoVD, p7, and one of their examples is basically that killing a green dragon just because it's there isn't murder, because "in a fantasy world based on an objective definition of evil, killing an evil creature to stop it from doing further harm is not an evil act. Even killing an evil creature for personal gain is not exactly evil ..." - the 'further harm' here is totally assumed, not specified in the surrounding text context.
    It follows it up with "this only applies to creatures of consummate, irredeemable evil"

    So, killing an evil human commoner, based merely on Detect Evil, "to stop them from doing further harm" can still qualify as an Evil act, an act of Murder. Same with a tiefling. Though maybe not a chromatic dragon, or a currently evil-aligned half-fiend.
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    It follows it up with "this only applies to creatures of consummate, irredeemable evil"

    So, killing an evil human commoner, based merely on Detect Evil, "to stop them from doing further harm" can still qualify as an Evil act, an act of Murder. Same with a tiefling. Though maybe not a chromatic dragon, or a currently evil-aligned half-fiend.
    That's why I had to specify fiendworld for the villian's actions to be big enough to actually qualify as a BBEG. Otherwise they'd just be a one-off zealot.

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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Consensus View Post
    Yeah on first blush it SOUNDS compelling, but it is really taking away autonomy from people, if it the group was about providing the choice for people to be killed quickly and painlessly to enter the after life then it would be moral, but a lot harder for an adventuring group to object to.
    That's more of a Lawful/Chaotic issue than a Good/Evil issue.

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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    That's more of a Lawful/Chaotic issue than a Good/Evil issue.
    No, it's pretty much a Good/Evil issue.

    Regardless of their supposed justification, they're engaged in the mass slaughter of people who've done nothing to deserve death and who have not chosen to die.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2018-02-04 at 12:30 PM.
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    The OP seems to posit someone good committing crimes in the name of good, but a more likely villain would be someone LG doing lawful acts in the service of good, which is against the (CG) questgiver/party's ideals, or vice versa.

    For example, the LG king of Lawland has conquered the nearby areas of Nolawzone and imposed the somewhat strict laws of his kingdom on the lands. Some of the CG residents don't like this, and decide to rebel. Now you have two options, either the king hires some adventurers to put a stop to these rabblerousers threatening to bring anarchy and destruction, or the rebels hire the adventurers to put a stop to the "harsh" new rules.
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    The problem with good people fighting other good people is that they both will/should want the fighting to end with the least amount of suffering and damage - and so negotiating ought to naturally take over when passions cool down. A good opponent should almost always be willing to stop hostilities and talk it out. So the challenge with a "big good guy villain" would be more figuring out how to compromise a solution to the problem, since they will be motivated to avoid having people get hurt. How to convince their people to be at peace with each other and coexist in a way beneficial to all will be their goal. If it isn't, can we call them "good"?

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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Regardless of their supposed justification, they're engaged in the mass slaughter of people who've done nothing to deserve death and who have not chosen to die.
    You can argue that The Afterlife Does Not Work That Way (in a given setting), but if you find yourself in a setting where death really is better than life, the cult's pro-murder ideology becomes objectively correct. If dying is better than living, then everyone deserves death simply because people in general deserve to have good things happen to them whenever that can be arranged without hurting someone else. In real life, there is a moral obligation to rescue people in danger (when you can do so safely) and to avoid killing people (if at all possible) because life is superior to death. If you make death superior to life, you end up with an obligation to kill and an obligation to avoid prolonging lives. That's very weird from an intuitive perspective, since death is pretty much never better than life, but intuitions can be misleading when you get into fictional situations.

    What's left is the question of consent; ie. "How bad does a situation have to be before it's okay to rescue someone who has not asked for help? What if they explicitly refuse to be rescued?" That's very much a question of personal autonomy vs. communal welfare, which is a classic Law vs Chaos thing. "Always try to get informed consent from all involved parties before doing anything important." is a valid ethical stance to take, but it's also a very Chaotic one, in the D&D sense where Chaos is the (idiosyncratically named) side of Freedom and Personal Liberty and Not Forcing People To Do Things Which They Do Not Wish To Do.

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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    The problem with good people fighting other good people is that they both will/should want the fighting to end with the least amount of suffering and damage - and so negotiating ought to naturally take over when passions cool down. A good opponent should almost always be willing to stop hostilities and talk it out. So the challenge with a "big good guy villain" would be more figuring out how to compromise a solution to the problem, since they will be motivated to avoid having people get hurt. How to convince their people to be at peace with each other and coexist in a way beneficial to all will be their goal. If it isn't, can we call them "good"?
    They may very well not be someone you'd call 'good', while still being Good. That's the thing about objective morality.

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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    You can argue that The Afterlife Does Not Work That Way (in a given setting), but if you find yourself in a setting where death really is better than life, the cult's pro-murder ideology becomes objectively correct. If dying is better than living, then everyone deserves death simply because people in general deserve to have good things happen to them whenever that can be arranged without hurting someone else. In real life, there is a moral obligation to rescue people in danger (when you can do so safely) and to avoid killing people (if at all possible) because life is superior to death. If you make death superior to life, you end up with an obligation to kill and an obligation to avoid prolonging lives. That's very weird from an intuitive perspective, since death is pretty much never better than life, but intuitions can be misleading when you get into fictional situations.

    What's left is the question of consent; ie. "How bad does a situation have to be before it's okay to rescue someone who has not asked for help? What if they explicitly refuse to be rescued?" That's very much a question of personal autonomy vs. communal welfare, which is a classic Law vs Chaos thing. "Always try to get informed consent from all involved parties before doing anything important." is a valid ethical stance to take, but it's also a very Chaotic one, in the D&D sense where Chaos is the (idiosyncratically named) side of Freedom and Personal Liberty and Not Forcing People To Do Things Which They Do Not Wish To Do.

    Chaos, Law, "benefit" calculations, offsetting obligations... doesn't matter... running around killing people against their will, when they've done nothing to deserve death, is simply wrong.
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    It's funny, I think you've actually asked a very interesting question and haven't realized it. The general content of your post isn't anything new, we've seen "Can my evil good guy be a good evil guy?" a thousand times. But your actual question remarks on Good being a tangible, objective force. 3.5's Magic of Incarnum proves that Good and Evil are as real as Fire and Water, and our moral concept of good and evil is like hot and wet. Angels are created from the fabric of Good, so it is literally tangible.

    So I think the question you should be asking isn't "Can I have a Good Guy as my campaign villain" but instead "Can I have an Evil Guy who weaponizes physical Good?" That would be akin to a Water Elemental weaponizing fire. Now do I know HOW a BBEG would weaponize Good? No. But I think that's the interesting question to investigate.

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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    They may very well not be someone you'd call 'good', while still being Good. That's the thing about objective morality.
    I guess I'm saying "Good" isn't the right word for the faction if they don't actually act good. It's just confusing. They could be "Heaven" or "Angels" or whatever, and someone's expectations of the connotations of those terms could totally be subverted regarding the degree of "goodness" they really represent. But saying "Good" isn't actually all that good, and "Evil" isn't really evil...well it's just unnecessarily misleading.

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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nettlekid View Post
    It's funny, I think you've actually asked a very interesting question and haven't realized it. The general content of your post isn't anything new, we've seen "Can my evil good guy be a good evil guy?" a thousand times. But your actual question remarks on Good being a tangible, objective force. 3.5's Magic of Incarnum proves that Good and Evil are as real as Fire and Water, and our moral concept of good and evil is like hot and wet. Angels are created from the fabric of Good, so it is literally tangible.

    So I think the question you should be asking isn't "Can I have a Good Guy as my campaign villain" but instead "Can I have an Evil Guy who weaponizes physical Good?" That would be akin to a Water Elemental weaponizing fire. Now do I know HOW a BBEG would weaponize Good? No. But I think that's the interesting question to investigate.
    I had a similar, but slightly different thought when reading some people's attempts to describe a horrid "good" BBEG... If the BBEG pinged as "good", that doesn't change the fact that they are Evil, they are just Evil effectively disguised as Good.

    The "Good" is a mask, or a tool used to forward their evil objectives.

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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudd View Post
    I guess I'm saying "Good" isn't the right word for the faction if they don't actually act good. It's just confusing. They could be "Heaven" or "Angels" or whatever, and someone's expectations of the connotations of those terms could totally be subverted regarding the degree of "goodness" they really represent. But saying "Good" isn't actually all that good, and "Evil" isn't really evil...well it's just unnecessarily misleading.
    It's a consequence of any kind of rigid set of definition-based rules. It might be that in 99% of cases, someone who maintains a Good alignment is a nice person, cares about others, protects and upholds the sanctity of life, etc. But when you push the context or the literal reading of the rules, then you can fit a lot of really horrific and awful behavior into that 1%. Causing death is always Evil? No problem, if I want to create someone horrific I have someone who is empowered to prevent Death, and their moral calculus tells them that any death they don't prevent is one they caused (since they are totally able to prevent it), and now when they forcibly prevent anyone from dying no matter what level of pain and suffering the person is experiencing then they can be quite horrific indeed.
    Last edited by NichG; 2018-02-05 at 03:19 AM.

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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Chaos, Law, "benefit" calculations, offsetting obligations... doesn't matter... running around killing people against their will, when they've done nothing to deserve death, is simply wrong.
    What does 'deserve death' even mean, if not that it is better to kill them than to not kill them? This doesn't have to be a utilitarian/cost-benefit thing.

    If you put a Kantian in this world and explain to them how it works, murder becomes the maxim that they will should become universal law. If it is universally better to die than to live, a Good person should will that all creatures in the universe die and then set to work making it so. If you bring a Stoic to this world, they would be very comfortable with the whole suicide cult thing since a Stoic is supposed to be indifferent to injury and death as part of the whole Stoic ethos of the unconquerable will being unruffled by everything. A return to the divine is perfectly logical. Hedonism? "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!" is not a philosophy that fears death if everyone who dies goes to Super Valhalla where they can eat, drink, be merry and fight vikings in the afterlife. Even Virtue Ethics doesn't have anything particularly negative to say about dying, if dying does not prevent you from behaving virtuously in the afterlife.

  28. - Top - End - #58
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Yes and you're 40 years late to the party. 1st edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide gives an example of two warring nations with Lawful Good leaders, and that just the beginning.

    An option would be to have a conflict of interest along an axis that is not Good versus Evil - with Law versus Chaos being the obvious, codified alternative.

    An example would be a Lawful Good leader seeking to found a nation, rallying together people, creating punitive systems and codifying natural rights in law - with Chaotic types in opposition because they see this new system as smothering personal liberty and individual creativity and because they see the demands of adherence to a group as fostering a form fascism, classism or other form of oppression.
    I want to expand on this for a moment: yes, good is "objective" in D&D, but only in the sense that there is an attitude of benevolence that can be objectively defined as Good. Our attitudes do not define our circumstances, however; they can only ever shape how we respond to things. Alignment in D&D is not a faction or an agenda: it is an attribute of how one relates to the conceptual space we call the Outer Planes.

    Genuinely good people can end up at each other's throats because their interests place them in opposition to one another. That they'll be more inclined to treat each other with dignity and humanity in the course of their opposition does not mean they can reconcile their differences merely by flashing the "moral person" club card. If you offend someone, they will be offended. If you oppose someone, they will be opposed. And if you and that person are both willing to fight for your beliefs, as good people sometimes are, you're going to fight. When you scale up to cities or nations, with the attendant concerns of resources, political stability, and obligations to one's people ... things get messy.

    Even on the Upper Planes, good beings are not necessarily all buddy-buddy. The celestial elves in Arborea and the celestial dwarves in Celestia most likely find each other insufferable. They both get along with the celestial gnomes, but in the way you get along with a distant cousin you don't really like. Yes, the "forces of good," are able to stay out of each other's ways and even collaborate to a degree - but Talisid and Zaphkiel and Morwel don't sit council with one another, because they think key parts of each other's ideologies are wrong. A larger perspective can mean less squabbling over petty details, but it can also mean a clearer understanding of why you and that other guy are, despite both being nice people, never going to get along.

    (For a good media illustration of this concept, I recommend Maou to Yuusha. It opens with the Hero attacking the Demon King's castle, and the Demon King pointing out that this is the behavior of an assassin.)

    So yeah, a Lawful Good antagonist is totally plausible. Just don't expect them to be blowing up buses full of orphans.
    Last edited by gkathellar; 2018-02-05 at 10:11 AM.

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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    The celestial elves in Arborea and the celestial dwarves in Celestia most likely find each other insufferable. Yes, the "forces of good," are able to stay out of each other's ways and even collaborate to a degree - but Talisid and Zaphkiel and Morwel don't sit council with one another, because they think key parts of each other's ideologies are wrong.
    That said, they can tolerate one another's differences better than they can tolerate Evil from beings on the same Law-Chaos axis.

    Zaphkiel can "tolerate Morwel's Chaos" far better than he can "tolerate Asmodeus's Evil".

    Morwel can "tolerate Zaphkiel's Law" better than she can "tolerate Demogorgon's Evil" - hence her whole "invading the Abyss" thing mentioned in Fiendish Codex 1. Nothing like that takes place for "invading Celestia" - because that's not the way Good paragons work.
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    What does 'deserve death' even mean, if not that it is better to kill them than to not kill them? This doesn't have to be a utilitarian/cost-benefit thing.
    "Deserve death" as shorthand for the line between killing or murder, and "let's not get distracted by a tangent into the cases like self-defense or immediate defense of others situations", where the person being killed is about to do or clearly will continue to do grievous harm, or has done such ongoing grievous harm that they clearly can't be trusted to not keep doing it. (IRL examples of the latter probably cross the line into politics, but exist in spades.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Grek View Post
    If you put a Kantian in this world and explain to them how it works, murder becomes the maxim that they will should become universal law. If it is universally better to die than to live, a Good person should will that all creatures in the universe die and then set to work making it so. If you bring a Stoic to this world, they would be very comfortable with the whole suicide cult thing since a Stoic is supposed to be indifferent to injury and death as part of the whole Stoic ethos of the unconquerable will being unruffled by everything. A return to the divine is perfectly logical. Hedonism? "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!" is not a philosophy that fears death if everyone who dies goes to Super Valhalla where they can eat, drink, be merry and fight vikings in the afterlife. Even Virtue Ethics doesn't have anything particularly negative to say about dying, if dying does not prevent you from behaving virtuously in the afterlife.
    None of that matters.

    It is not their decision whether or not another person is "better off" dead, or "better off" alive -- that is that other person's decision and their decision alone. And if they run around killing random people "for their own good", that makes them plain old evil, regardless of how good they think they are.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2018-02-05 at 10:09 AM.
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    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.

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