Page 5 of 8 FirstFirst 12345678 LastLast
Results 121 to 150 of 231
  1. - Top - End - #121
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

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

    On the subject of Villain, Antagonist, or Opponent:

    https://wetranscripts.dreamwidth.org/139457.html
    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

  2. - Top - End - #122
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    ... Excuse your pathetic species?

    Granted, a whimsical dictator with absolute power and a tendency to change the law on impulse is not Lawful; I'll readily grant you that. But to say that this isolated example that you've created encompasses all tyrants is an insult to every hard-working iron-fisted ruler who toils over paperwork day-in, day-out, to make sure that the empire continues to run smoothly, thank you very much. That argument undermines the entire point of what you were saying mere sentences prior - that alignment is (or should be) nuanced and complex, a frequently confusing latticework of overlapping layers subject to multiple levels of interpretation. To suggest that, and then turn around and suggest, "Except for tyrants, because they're all whackjobs, am I right?" is just disingenuous.

    Seriously. Stop dissing my ingenues.
    NSIS, but... to me the key point there is that any person possessing absolute fiat to interpret and enforce the law as they see fit, and in the evil "quadrant" of the chart, just isn't going to result in the rule of law. Lawful Evil tyrants can be imagined, but I don't know if a real human being is capable of such a thing.

    Heck, I don't know if anyone given the power to interpret and apply any set of rules at their sole discretion without any appeal or recourse on the part of those so ruled against can be trusted to be consistent and fair.
    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

  3. - Top - End - #123
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    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
    On the other axis, part of the problem is that (IMO at least) absolute Law is stagnation, and absolute Chaos is formlessness. Choosing either one alone leads to the end of everything. If you actually choose "good" over everything else, then you're looking at what... Neutral Good?
    The absolute limit of a pure Good universe is probably something like solipsism. You want a system where no harm or evil is even possible, but also one that doesn't particularly constrain or amplify self-determination. So you wrap everyone in a partial solipsistic illusion where they can do whatever they want but anything bad they do forks their reality and let's them continue on believing they've had their way while fully protecting others from the consequences - including even things like emotional harm from abandonment.

    Then over time the solipsisms gradually present events in such a way as to try to align the moralities of their inhabitants.

    So basically, imagine a railroaded game where you can always choose how you act but you can't really influence the outcomes unless they're from the approved list.

  4. - Top - End - #124
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    2D8HP's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    San Francisco Bay area
    Gender
    Male

    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
    On the other axis, part of the problem is that (IMO at least) absolute Law is stagnation, and absolute Chaos is formlessness. Choosing either one alone leads to the end of everything....

    Yes.

    "Chaos is not wholly evil, surely?" said the child. "And neither is Law wholly good. They are primitive divisions, at best-- they represent only temperamental differences in individual men and women. There are other elements..."
    "

    ..which was published in 1975 in the UK, and 1976 in the USA, and '76 was when Gygax added "good" and "evil" to D&D Alignment in an article that I first read a copy of it in the 1980 "Best of The Dragon" which reprinted the original article; in the Strategic Review: February 1976

    Poul Anderson invented Law vs. Chaos in '53 for Three Hearts and Three Lions (which had a Dwarf on the side of Law, and Elves on the side of Chaos, Anderson's Elves were not Tolkien's Elves, though they drew from the same well. The "Ranger" is from Tolkien, the "Paladin" is from Anderson).

    Anderson had Law on the side of most of humanity, and "the hosts of Faerie" on the side of Chaos. When Chaos was ascendant latent Lycanthrope became expressed for example.

    Michael Moorcock adopted Law vs. Chaos for his Elric stories, and it was his works that were far more known by those of us who played D&D in the 1970's and '80's.

    While Moorcock's 1965 novel Stormbringer had the triumph of Chaos being humanity's doom, by '75 he was clear that humanity would suffer under extreme Law as well, and "The Balance" was to be sought.
    Spoiler: More Alignment history'
    Show
    So, the "rules" on alignment and everything else are up to each individual table:

    Dungeons and Dragons, The Underground and Wilderness Adventures, p. 36
    : "... everything herein is fantastic, and the best way is to decide how you would like it to be, and then make it that way."

    AD&D 1e, DMG, p. 9
    : "..The game is the thing, and certain rules can be distorted or disregarded altogether in favor of play...."

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    AD&D 2E, DMG, p. 3: "At conventions, in letters, and over the phone, I'm often asked for the instant answer to a fine point of the game rules. More often than not, I come back with a question -- what do you feel is right? And the people asking the question discover that not only can they create an answer, but that their answer is as good as anyone else's. The rules are only guidelines."

    D&D 3.5 DMG, p. 6: "Good players will always realize that you have ultimate authority over the game mechanics, even superseding something in a rulebook."

    D&D 5e DMG, p. 263
    :: "...As the Dungeon Master, You aren't limited by the rules in the Player's Handbook, the guidelines in this book, or the selection of monsters in the Monster Manual..."


    A History of "Alignment" in Dungeons & Dragons

    Part One: The War between Law & Chaos

    For the Dungeons & Dragons game, Arneson and Gygax got Law vs. Chaos from stories by Poul Anderson and Michael Moorcock.
    Okay, in the novel Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson,

    which was published before and inspired Moorcock's "Law vs. Chaos" conflict in the Elric and Corum novels, and Anderson expressly conflated Holger's struggle against Morgan le Fay and the "Host of Faerie" with the battle against the Nazis in our world.

    Now in the 1961 novel (based on a '53 short story) Three Hearts and Three Lions, we have this:

    "....Holger got the idea that a perpetual struggle went on between primeval forces of Law and Chaos. No, not forces exactly. Modes of existence? A terrestrial reflection of the spiritual conflict between heaven and hell? In any case, humans were the chief agents on earth of Law, though most of them were so only unconsciously and some, witches and warlocks and evildoers, had sold out to Chaos. A few nonhuman beings also stood for Law. Ranged against them were almost the whole Middle World, which seemed to include realms like Faerie, Trollheim, and the Giants--an actual creation of Chaos. Wars among men, such as the long-drawn struggle between the Saracens and the Holy Empire, aided Chaos; under Law all men would live in peace and order and that liberty which only Law could give meaning. But this was so alien to the Middle Worlders that they were forever working to prevent it and extend their own shadowy dominion....."

    .which suggests that Law vs. Chaos is about "teams" in a cosmic struggle rather than personal ethics/morality, which is how the terms are used in the old Stormbringer RPG, and would be my usual preference.

    Before D&D, Gygax & Perren had Law vs. Chaos in the Fantasy appendix to the Chainmail wargame:I suppose it waa inevitably when Greyhawk added Paladins that were "continual seeking for good" but I think that adding "Good" and "Evil" to "Alignment" was a mistake, and it was better the way the predecessor of D&D, Chainmail had it as:

    "GENERAL LINE-UP:
    It is impossible to draw a distanct line between "good" and "evil" fantastic
    figures. Three categories are listed below as a general guide for the wargamer
    designing orders of battle involving fantastic creatures:

    LAW
    Hobbits
    Dwarves
    Gnomes
    Heroes
    Super Heroes
    Wizards*
    Ents
    Magic Weapons

    NEUTRAL
    Sprites
    Pixies
    Elves
    Fairies
    Lycanthropes *
    Giants*
    Rocs
    (Elementals)
    Chimerea


    CHAOS
    Goblins
    Kobolds
    Orcs
    Anti-heroes
    Wizards *
    Wraiths
    Wights
    Lycanthropes*
    Ogres
    True Trolls
    Balrogs
    Giants *
    Dragons
    Basilisks

    * Indicates the figure appears in two lists.
    Underlined Neutral figures have a slight pre-disposition for LAW. Neutral
    figures can be diced for to determine on which side they will fight, with ties
    meaning they remain neutral."




    So it was clear that it's sides in a wargame, not an ethics debate.

    But the turning of a heavily house ruled Chainmail into what we now call a "role-playing game", brought character behavior in the mix:

    Dave Arneson wrote that he added "alignment" to the game he made up because of one PC backstabbing another

    "We began without the multitude of character classes and three alignments that exists today. I felt that as a team working towards common goals there would be it was all pretty straight forward. Wrong!

    "Give me my sword back!" "Nah your old character is dead, it's mine now!"

    Well I couldn't really make him give it to the new character. But then came the treasure question. The Thieves question. Finally there were the two new guys. One decided that there was no reason to share the goodies. Since there was no one else around and a +3 for rear attacks . . .. well . . Of course everyone actually KNEW what had happened, especially the target.

    After a great deal of discussion . . . yes let us call it "discussion" the culprit promised to make amends. He, and his associate did. The next time the orcs attacked the two opened the door and let the Orcs in. They shared the loot and fled North to the lands of the EGG OF COOT. (Sigh)

    We now had alignment. Spells to detect alignment, and rules forbidding actions not allowed by ones alignment. Actually not as much fun as not knowing. Chuck and John had a great time being the 'official' evil players.
    They would draw up adventures to trap the others (under my supervision) and otherwise make trouble"


    And here's in 1974's Gygax & Arneson's Dungeons & Dragons: Book1, Men & Magic



    (Orcs can be Neutral as well as Chaos, as can Elves, Dwarves/Gnomes as well as Law, and Men may be any)

    And "Law, Chaos, and Neutrality also have common languages spoken by each respectively. One can attempt to communicate through the common tongue, language particular to a creature class, or one of the divisional languages (law, etc.). While not understanding the language, creatures who speak a divisionsl tongue will recognize a hostile one and attack."

    Easy "detect alignment"!

    Originally there were three classes; "Cleric", "Fighting-Men", and "Magic-User" (as in "wake up the user, it's time to cast the daily spell"). Clerics didn't have any spells at first level, but they could "turn" some undead (a bit like a 5e Paladin really), and other than hints that "Law" Clerics, and "Chaos" Clerics were in conflict, there wasn't much info on what was meant until the Paladin class was introduced in La Chanson de Roland the 1975 "Greyhawk" supplement (which also introduced Thieves hmm... what a coincidence funny that). From "Greyhawk":
    Charisma scores of 17 or greater by fighters indicate the possibility of paladin status IF THEY ARE LAWFUL from the commencement of play for the character. If such fighters elect to they can become paladins, always doing lawful deeds, for any chaotic act will immediately revoke the status of paladin, and it can never be regained. The paladin has a number of very powerful aids in his continual seeking for good......".
    (Ok this is the fun part the special powers which include......PSYCH! Back to the restrictions)
    "Paladins will never be allowed to possess more than four magically items, excluding the armor, shield and up to four weapons they normally use. They will give away all treasure that they win, save that which is neccesary to maintain themselves, their men and a modest castle. Gifts must be to the poor or to charitable or religious institutions , i.e.not tho some other character played in the game. A paladin's stronghold cannot be above 200,000 gold pieces in total cost, and no more than 200 men can be retained to guard it. Paladins normally prefer to dwell with lawful princess of patriarchs, but circumstances may prevent this. They will associate only with lawful characters"
    Huh? What's lawful? What's chaotic? What's associate? And what is this charitable? I don't believe PC's know this word.
    Well...helpfully there are some clues:
    " Chaotic Alignment by a player generally betokens chaotic action on the player's part without any rule to stress this aspect, i.e. a chaotic player is usually more prone to stab even his lawless buddy in the back for some desired gain. However, chaos is just that - chaotic. Evil monsters are as likely to turn on their supposed confederate in order to have all the loot as they are to attack a lawful party in the first place".
    OK Paladins are "continual seeking for good", "All thieves are either neutral or chaotic - although lawful characters may hire them on a one-time basis for missions which are basically lawful" "Patriarchs" (high level Clerics) "stance" is "Law", and "Evil High Priests" "stance" is "Chaos". So we can infer that Law = Good, and Chaos = Evil in early D&D, which fits how the terms were used in novels Gygax cited as "inspiration", first in Anderson's "Three Hearts and Three Lions", and than later in Moorcock's "Stormbringer" (though Moorcock eventually in his novels show that too much "Law" is anti-human as well, which is probably why Gygax added the separate Good-Evil axis so you could have "Lawful Evil" and "Chaotic Good" alignmemts later).

    I'm gonna stress that I didn't know Anderson's novel when I first played D&D in the very late 1970's, and I'd bet that most other players didn't either, but knowledge of Moorcock's Elric was far more common then, from comic books!:





    If you've read the "Elric" series, from which D&D "borrowed" much of this, you may remember that Elric visits a "world" (plane/dimension/alternate reality) of "Chaos" and finds a whirling cloud, in-which creatures and objects sometimes flash in and out of existence. He also visits a "world of Law" which is nothing but a grey mist.

    [BTW, a nice 21st century use of the Law vs. Chaos trope is in Genevieve Cogman's Invisible Library series, in which different worlds (alternate realities) have more or less "Chaos" or "Law".

    Heavy Chaos worlds are ruled by the Fey, who are the main antagonists, Law world's are ruled by (often hidden) Dragons, and we are told that while too much Chaos is worse, with too much Law humans are controlled by Dragons and not free.].

    Part Two: Enter Good & Evil

    1976's Eldrich Wizardry supplement added the Mind Flayers which were the first monters that were explicitly both "lawful" and "evil", and it could be a coincidence but Michael Moorcock in A Quest for Tanelorn wrote:

    "Chaos is not wholly evil, surely?" said the child. "And neither is Law wholly good. They are primitive divisions, at best-- they represent only temperamental differences in individual men and women. There are other elements..."
    "

    ..which was published in 1975 in the UK, and 1976 in the USA, and '76 was when Gygax added "good" and "evil" to D&D Alignment in an article that I first read a copy of it in the 1980 "Best of The Dragon" which reprinted the original article in the;
    Strategic Review: February 1976



    Quote Originally Posted by THE MEANING OF LAW AND CHAOS IN DUNGEONS & DRAGONS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIPS TO GOOD AND EVIL

    by Gary Gygax

    FEBRUARY 1976

    Many questions continue to arise regarding what constitutes a “lawful” act, what sort of behavior is “chaotic”, what constituted an “evil” deed, and how certain behavior is “good”. There is considerable confusion in that most dungeonmasters construe the terms “chaotic” and “evil” to mean the same thing, just as they define “lawful” and “good” to mean the same. This is scarcely surprising considering the wording of the three original volumes of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. When that was written they meant just about the same thing in my mind — notice I do not say they were synonymous in my thinking at, that time. The wording in the GREYHAWK supplement added a bit more confusion, for by the time that booklet was written some substantial differences had been determined. In fact, had I the opportunity to do D&D over I would have made the whole business very much clearer by differentiating the four categories, and many chaotic creatures would be good, while many lawful creatures would be evil. Before going into the definitions of these four terms, a graphic representation of their relative positions will help the reader to follow the further discourse. (Illustration I)

    Notice first that the area of neutrality lies squarely athwart the intersection of the lines which divide the four behavioral distinctions, and it is a very small area when compared with the rest of the graph. This refers to true neutrality, not to neutrality regarding certain interactions at specific times, i.e., a war which will tend to weaken a stronger player or game element regardless of the “neutral” party’s actions can hardly be used as a measure of neutrality if it will benefit the party’s interest to have the weakening come about.

    Also note that movement upon this graph is quite possible with regard to campaign participants, and the dungeonmaster should, in fact, make this a standard consideration in play. This will be discussed hereafter.

    Now consider the term “Law” as opposed to “Chaos”. While they are nothing if not opposites, they are neither good nor evil in their definitions. A highly regimented society is typically governed by strict law, i.e., a dictatorship, while societies which allow more individual freedom tend to be more chaotic. The following lists of words describing the two terms point this out. I have listed the words describing the concepts in increasing order of magnitude (more or less) as far as the comparison with the meanings of the two terms in D&D is concerned:

    Basically, then, “Law” is strict order and “Chaos” is complete anarchy, but of course they grade towards each other along the scale from left to right on the graph. Now consider the terms “Good” and “Evil” expressed in the same manner:

    The terms “Law” and “Evil” are by no means mutually exclusive. There is no reason that there cannot be prescribed and strictly enforced rules which are unpleasant, injurious or even corrupt. Likewise “Chaos” and “Good” do not form a dichotomy. Chaos can be harmless, friendly, honest, sincere, beneficial, or pure, for that matter. This all indicates that there are actually five, rather than three, alignments, namely

    The lawful/good classification is typified by the paladin, the chaotic/good alignment is typified by elves, lawful/evil is typified by the vampire, and the demon is the epitome of chaotic/evil. Elementals are neutral. The general reclassification various creatures is shown on Illustration II.

    Placement of characters upon a graph similar to that in Illustration I is necessary if the dungeonmaster is to maintain a record of player-character alignment. Initially, each character should be placed squarely on the center point of his alignment, i.e., lawful/good, lawful/evil, etc. The actions of each game week will then be taken into account when determining the current position of each character. Adjustment is perforce often subjective, but as a guide the referee can consider the actions of a given player in light of those characteristics which typify his alignment, and opposed actions can further be weighed with regard to intensity. For example, reliability does not reflect as intense a lawfulness as does principled, as does righteous. Unruly does not indicate as chaotic a state as does disordered, as does lawless. Similarly, harmless, friendly, and beneficial all reflect increasing degrees of good; while unpleasant, injurious, and wicked convey progressively greater evil. Alignment does not preclude actions which typify a different alignment, but such actions will necessarily affect the position of the character performing them, and the class or the alignment of the character in question can change due to such actions, unless counter-deeds are performed to balance things. The player-character who continually follows any alignment (save neutrality) to the absolute letter of its definition must eventually move off the chart (Illustration I) and into another plane of existence as indicated. Note that selfseeking is neither lawful nor chaotic, good nor evil, except in relation to other sapient creatures. Also, law and chaos are not subject to interpretation in their ultimate meanings of order and disorder respectively, but good and evil are not absolutes but must be judged from a frame of reference, some ethos. The placement of creatures on the chart of Illustration II. reflects the ethos of this writer to some extent.

    Considering mythical and mythos gods in light of this system, most of the benign ones will tend towards the chaotic/good, and chaotic/evil will typify those gods which were inimical towards humanity. Some few would be completely chaotic, having no predisposition towards either good or evil — REH’s Crom perhaps falls into this category. What then about interaction between different alignments? This question is tricky and must be given careful consideration. Diametric opposition exists between lawful/good and chaotic/evil and between chaotic/good and lawful/evil in this ethos. Both good and evil can serve lawful ends, and conversely they may both serve chaotic ends. If we presuppose that the universal contest is between law and chaos we must assume that in any final struggle the minions of each division would be represented by both good and evil beings. This may seem strange at first, but if the major premise is accepted it is quite rational. Barring such a showdown, however, it is far more plausible that those creatures predisposed to good actions will tend to ally themselves against any threat of evil, while creatures of evil will likewise make (uneasy) alliance in order to gain some mutually beneficial end — whether at the actual expense of the enemy or simply to prevent extinction by the enemy. Evil creatures can be bound to service by masters predisposed towards good actions, but a lawful/good character would fain make use of some chaotic/evil creature without severely affecting his lawful (not necessarily good) standing.

    This brings us to the subject of those character roles which are not subject to as much latitude of action as the others. The neutral alignment is self-explanatory, and the area of true neutrality is shown on Illustration I. Note that paladins, Patriarchs, and Evil High Priests, however, have positive boundaries. The area in which a paladin may move without loss of his status is shown in Illustration III. Should he cause his character to move from this area he must immediately seek a divine quest upon which to set forth in order to gain his status once again, or be granted divine intervention; in those cases where this is not complied with the status is forever lost. Clerics of either good or evil predisposition must likewise remain completely good or totally evil, although lateral movement might be allowed by the dungeonmaster, with or without divine retribution. Those top-level clerics who fail to maintain their goodness or evilness must make some form of immediate atonement. If they fail to do so they simply drop back to seventh level. The atonement, as well as how immediate it must be, is subject to interpretation by the referee. Druids serve only themselves and nature, they occasionally make human sacrifice, but on the other hand they aid the folk in agriculture and animal husbandry. Druids are, therefore, neutral — although slightly predisposed towards evil actions.



    "As a final note, most of humanity falls into the lawful category, and most of lawful humanity lies near the line between good and evil. With proper leadership the majority will be prone towards lawful/good. Few humans are chaotic, and very few are chaotic and evil"

    - Gary Gygax

    So the article added the "good and evil axis", but made clear in this graph:


    ..that creatures don't just exist on one of nine points of ethics/morality, there's a range:

    Also in the article Gygax states:

    "Placement of characters upon a graph similar to that in Illustration I is necessary if the dungeonmaster is to maintain a record of player-character alignment. Initially, each character should be placed squarely on the center point of his alignment, i.e., lawful/good, lawful/evil, etc. The actions of each game week will then be taken into account when determining the current position of each character. Adjustment is perforce often subjective, but as a guide the referee can consider the actions of a given player in light of those characteristics which typify his alignment, and opposed actions can further be weighed with regard to intensity....

    ....Alignment does not preclude actions which typify a different alignment, but such actions will necessarily affect the position of the character performing them, and the class or the alignment of the character in question can change due to such actions, unless counter-deeds are performed to balance things.
    "


    So in general "Law" was the side of humanity, and "Chaos" was on the side of the supernatural in Anderson and early Moorcock, and very early D&D, but 'Good" and "Evil" complicate matters.

    Per Gygax, I infer from that "Alignment" didn't control the PC's actions, PC actions are a guide to what "Alignment" the DM rules a character is for game effects.

    So leave the entry blank, and let the DM deal with the alignment claptrap (frankly as a player I'd rather keep a character possessions inventory sheet and foist the "stats" on the DM anyway)!

    But oD&D was just "guidelines", nothing was "official" until Advanced Dungeons & Dragons which was a completely different game!
    Quote Originally Posted by Gygax
    "No royalties for you Arneson! Mine all Mine! Bwahahaha!
    Wait, what's that Blume?"


    Part Three: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

    Fitting as a "bridge" between oD&D, and AD&D, the 1977 "Basic Set" had a "5 point Alignment system" (Lawful Good, Lawful Evil, Chaotic Good, Chaotic Evil, and Neutral), but the 1978 Players Handbook had the full "nine-points" that we know today.
    Spoiler: the 5-point system of the 1977 "bluebook".
    Show
    CHARACTER ALIGNMENT

    Characters may be lawful (good or evil), neutral or chaotic (good or evil). Lawful characters always act according to a highly regulated code of behavior, whether for good or evil. Chaotic characters are quite
    unpredictable and can not be depended upon to do anything except the unexpected -- they are often, but not always, evil. Neutral characters, such as all thieves, are motivated by self interest and may steal from their companions or betray them if it is in their own best interest. Players may choose any alignment they want and need not reveal it to others. Note that the code of lawful good characters insures that they would tell everyone that they are lawful. There are some magical items that can be used only by one alignment of characters. If the Dungeon Master feels that a character has begun to behave in a manner inconsistent with his declared alignment he may rule that he or she has changed alignment and penalize the character with a loss of experience points. An example of such behavior would be a "good" character who kills or tortures a prisoner.

    So...

    Quote Originally Posted by 1978 PHB
    ALIGNMENT

    After generating the abilities of your character, selecting his or her race, and deciding upon a class, it is necessary to determine the alignment of the character. It is possible that the selection of the class your character will profess has predetermined alignment: a druid is neutral, a paladin is lawful good, a thief can be neutral or evil, an assassin is always evil. Yet, except for druids and paladins, such restrictions still leave latitude - the thief can be lawful neutral, lawful evil, neutral evil, chaotic evil, chaotic neutral, neutral, or even neutral good; and the assassin has nearly as many choices. The alignments possible for characters are described below.

    Chaotic Evil:
    The major precepts of this alignment are freedom, randomness, and woe. Laws and order, kindness, and good deeds are disdained. life has no value. By promoting chaos and evil, those of this alignment hope to bring themselves to positions of power, glory, and prestige in a system ruled by individual caprice and their own whims.

    Chaotic Good:
    While creatures of this alignment view freedom and the randomness of action as ultimate truths, they likewise place value on life and the welfare of each individual. Respect for individualism is also great.
    By promoting the gods of chaotic good, characters of this alignment seek to spread their values throughout the world.

    Chaotic Neutral:
    Above respect for life and good, or disregard for life and promotion of evil, the chaotic neutral places randomness and disorder.
    Good and evil are complimentary balance arms. Neither are preferred, nor must either prevail, for ultimate chaos would then suffer.

    Lawful Evil:
    Creatures of this alignment are great respecters of laws and strict order, but life, beauty, truth, freedom and the like are held as valueless, or at least scorned.
    By adhering to stringent discipline, those of
    lawful evil alignment hope to impose their yoke upon the world.

    Lawful Good:
    While as strict in their prosecution of law and order, characters of lawful good alignment follow these precepts to improve the common weal. Certain freedoms must, of course, be sacrificed in order to bring order; but truth is of highest value, and life and beauty of great importance. The benefits of this society are to be brought to all.

    Lawful Neutral:
    Those of this alignment view regulation as all-important, taking a middle road betwixt evil and good. This is because the ultimate harmony of the world -and the whole of the universe - is considered by lawful neutral creatures to have its sole hope rest upon law and order. Evil or good are immaterial beside the determined purpose of bringing all to predictability and regulation.

    Neutral Evil:
    The neutral evil creature views law and chaos as unnecessary
    considerations, for pure evil is all-in-all. Either might be used, but both are
    disdained as foolish clutter useless in eventually bringing maximum evilness to the world.

    Neutral Good:
    Unlike those directly opposite them (neutral evil) in
    alignment, creatures of neutral good believe that there must be some regulation in combination with freedoms if the best is to be brought to the world - the most beneficial conditions for living things in general and intelligent creatures in particular.

    True Neutral:
    The "true" neutral looks upon all other alignments as facets
    of the system of things. Thus, each aspect - evil and good, chaos and law - of things must be retained in balance to maintain the status quo; for things as they are cannot be improved upon except temporarily, and even
    then but superficially. Nature will prevail and keep things as they were meant to be, provided the "wheel" surrounding the hub of nature does not become unbalanced due to the work of unnatural forces - such as
    human and other intelligent creatures interfering with what is meant to be.

    Naturally, there are all variations and shades of tendencies within each alignment. The descriptions are generalizations only. A character can be basically good in its "true" neutrality, or tend towards evil. It is probable
    that your campaign referee will keep a graph of the drift.of your character on the alignment chart. This is affected by the actions (and desires) of your character during the course of each adventure, and will be reflected on the graph. You may find that these actions are such as to cause the declared alignment to be shifted towards, or actually to, some other.
    Anyway, the '79 DMG recommended graphing a PC's Alignment, and if they slipped into a new one they'd lose one level of experience, "If the alignment change is involuntary (such as caused by a powerful magic, a curse etc.), then the character can regain all of the losses (level, hit die, etc.) upon returning to his or her former alignment as soon as possible and after making atonement through a cleric of the same alignment - and sacrificing treasure which has a value of not less than 10,000 g.p. per level of experience of the character."

    That'll teach those pesky PC's not to stray!



    Oh and "Until the character has again achieved his or her former level of experience held prior to change of alignment, he or she will not be able to converse in the former alignment's tongue nor will anything but the rudest signalling be possible in the new alignment language."


    1e AD&D DM's were always supplied with pizza with the correct toppings!



    (Not really, I have no memory of those rules ever being used).

    Wisely the 1981 "Basic rules" went back to Law/Neutral/Chaos, which was retained in the
    Spoiler: 1991 "Rules Cyclopedia"
    Show
    Alignment
    An alignment is a code of behavior or way of
    life which guides the actions and thoughts of characters and monsters. There are three alignments in the D&D® game: Law, Chaos, and Neutrality. Players may choose the alignments they feel will best fit their characters. A player does not have to tell other players what alignment he or she has picked, but must tell the Dungeon Master. Most Lawful characters will reveal their align-ments if asked. When picking alignments, the characters should know that Chaotics cannot be trusted, even by other Chaotics. A Chaotic character does not work well with other PCs.
    Alignments give characters guidelines,to live by. They are not absolute rules: characters will try to follow their alignment guidelines, but may not always be successful. To better understand the philosophies behind them, let's define the three alignments.
    Law (or Lawful)
    Law is the belief that everything should follow an order, and that obeying rules is the natural way of life. Lawful creatures will try to tell the truth, obey laws that are fair, keep promises, and care for all living things.
    If a choice must be made between the benefit of a group or an individual, a Lawful character will usually choose the group. Sometimes individual freedoms must be given up for the good
    Lawful characters and monsters often act in predictable ways. Lawful behavior is usually the same as "good" behavior.
    Chaos (or Chaotic)
    Chaos is the opposite of Law. It is the belief
    that life is random and that chance and luck rule the world. Laws are made to be broken, as long as a person can get away with it. It is not important to keep promises, and lying and telling the truth are both useful.
    To a Chaotic creature, the individual is the
    most important of all things. Selfishness is the normal way of life, and the group is not important. Chaotics often act on sudden desires and whims. They have strong belief in the power of luck. They cannot always be trusted. Chaotic behavior is usually the same as behavior that could be called "evil." Each individual player must decide if his Chaotic character is closer to a mean, selfish "evil" personality or merely a happy-go-lucky, unpredictable personality.
    Neutrality (or Neutral)
    Neutrality is the belief that the world is a balance between Law and Chaos. It is important that neither side get too much power and upset this balance. The individual is important, but so is the group; the two sides must work together.
    A Neutral character is most interested in per-
    sonal survival. Such characters believe in their own wits and abilities rather than luck. They tend to return the treatment they receive from others. Neutral characters will join a party if they think it is in their own best interest, but will not be overly helpful unless there is some sort of profit in it. Neutral behavior may be considered "good" or "evil" (or neither).
    Alignment Behavior
    Take this situation as an example: A group of player characters is attacked by a large number of monsters. Escape is not possible unless the monsters are slowed down.
    A Lawful character will fight to protect the
    group, regardless of the danger. The character will not run away unless the whole group does so or is otherwise safe.
    A Neutral character will fight to protect the
    group as long as it is reasonably safe to do so. If the danger is too great, the character will try to save himself, even at the expense of the rest of the party.
    A Chaotic character might fight the monsters or he might run away immediately—Chaotics are, as always, unpredictable. The character may not even care what happened to the rest of the party.
    Playing an alignment does not mean a character must do stupid things. A character should always act as intelligently as the Intelligence score indicates, unless there is a reason to act otherwise (such as a magical curse).
    Alignment Languages
    Each alignment has a secret language of passwords, hand signals, and other body motions.
    Player characters and intelligent monsters always know their alignment languages. They will also recognize when another alignment language is being spoken, but will not understand it. Alignment languages have no written form. A character may not learn a different alignment language unless he changes alignments. In such a case, the character forgets the old alignment language and starts using the new one immediately....


    Unfortunately 'Law' was "usually "Good"', and 'Chaos' was "usually Evil", but "not always".

    I still see the point of Alignments in the Monster Manual, but now that D&D has dropped ""Alignment Languages", I'm not sure what the point is of players writing one on their character record sheets, as "Ideals", "Flaws", "Bonds", etc. seem to replace "Alignment" as a role-playing aide.
    Grim specter of noogie hangs like shroud over us all


    Extended Sig




    PBP's

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeJ View Post
    Does the game you play feature a Dragon sitting on a pile of treasure, in a Dungeon?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    You're an NPC stat block."I remember when your race was your class you damned whippersnappers"
    Snazzy Avatar by Honest Tiefling!

  5. - Top - End - #125
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    hamishspence's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2007

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

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    the books make it very clear that the E and CE alignments aren't for players. Basically just an us and them dichotomy.
    3e and 2e took the same approach - evil alignments for players was always a variant, and never the standard. 4e BoVD, like 3e BOVD, discusses this variant, while emphasising that standard games won't use it.
    Marut-2 Avatar by Serpentine
    New Marut Avatar by Linkele

  6. - Top - End - #126
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    gkathellar's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Beyond the Ninth Wave
    Gender
    Male

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

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    The absolute limit of a pure Good universe is probably something like solipsism. You want a system where no harm or evil is even possible, but also one that doesn't particularly constrain or amplify self-determination. So you wrap everyone in a partial solipsistic illusion where they can do whatever they want but anything bad they do forks their reality and let's them continue on believing they've had their way while fully protecting others from the consequences - including even things like emotional harm from abandonment.

    Then over time the solipsisms gradually present events in such a way as to try to align the moralities of their inhabitants.

    So basically, imagine a railroaded game where you can always choose how you act but you can't really influence the outcomes unless they're from the approved list.
    I think Elysium already fits this purpose pretty well: it's a place so genuinely and purely happy that it's difficult to place into the context of a world where evil exists. Just as Hades robs the mortal mind of the ability to imagine anything but sorrow and misery, time in Elysium causes a person to forget that struggle and conflict sometimes have a purpose.

    In general, though, I think it's worthwhile to avoid establishing a rule of equivalence between the opposed alignments. There are certain parallels that work (such as Hades and Elysium), but they're concretely different and they should look have their own identities.
    Quote Originally Posted by KKL
    D&D is its own momentum and does its own fantasy. It emulates itself in an incestuous mess.

  7. - Top - End - #127
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

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

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    The absolute limit of a pure Good universe is probably something like solipsism. You want a system where no harm or evil is even possible, but also one that doesn't particularly constrain or amplify self-determination. So you wrap everyone in a partial solipsistic illusion where they can do whatever they want but anything bad they do forks their reality and let's them continue on believing they've had their way while fully protecting others from the consequences - including even things like emotional harm from abandonment.

    Then over time the solipsisms gradually present events in such a way as to try to align the moralities of their inhabitants.

    So basically, imagine a railroaded game where you can always choose how you act but you can't really influence the outcomes unless they're from the approved list.
    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    I think Elysium already fits this purpose pretty well: it's a place so genuinely and purely happy that it's difficult to place into the context of a world where evil exists. Just as Hades robs the mortal mind of the ability to imagine anything but sorrow and misery, time in Elysium causes a person to forget that struggle and conflict sometimes have a purpose.

    In general, though, I think it's worthwhile to avoid establishing a rule of equivalence between the opposed alignments. There are certain parallels that work (such as Hades and Elysium), but they're concretely different and they should look have their own identities.
    Thanks for reminding me of the outer planes part... I tend to forget those because just the moral/ethical part of Alignment makes me cringe.

    The attendant cosmological elements of Alignment are just another reason why it's so frustrating (for me at least) when incorporated into a setting or an actual campaign.
    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

  8. - Top - End - #128
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

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

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    I think Elysium already fits this purpose pretty well: it's a place so genuinely and purely happy that it's difficult to place into the context of a world where evil exists. Just as Hades robs the mortal mind of the ability to imagine anything but sorrow and misery, time in Elysium causes a person to forget that struggle and conflict sometimes have a purpose.

    In general, though, I think it's worthwhile to avoid establishing a rule of equivalence between the opposed alignments. There are certain parallels that work (such as Hades and Elysium), but they're concretely different and they should look have their own identities.
    Elysium is kind of interesting, because it explicitly sacrificed the completeness of it's goodness to trap and contain some unknown cosmic threat in it's third layer. So in a way, even in a setting with extremes of concepts, pure Good wasn't able to exist within the setting without being at least sightly pushed away from its utmost extreme.

  9. - Top - End - #129
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

    Join Date
    Jul 2016

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

    2d8hp, that was quite informative.

    Thanks, it was a great read.

  10. - Top - End - #130
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    2D8HP's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    San Francisco Bay area
    Gender
    Male

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Calthropstu View Post
    2d8hp, that was quite informative.

    Thanks, it was a great read.

    Your very welcome, and thank you!

    Grim specter of noogie hangs like shroud over us all


    Extended Sig




    PBP's

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeJ View Post
    Does the game you play feature a Dragon sitting on a pile of treasure, in a Dungeon?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    You're an NPC stat block."I remember when your race was your class you damned whippersnappers"
    Snazzy Avatar by Honest Tiefling!

  11. - Top - End - #131
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RedMage125's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    I'm on a boat!
    Gender
    Male

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

    OP:
    Good BBEGs are very possible. I've done one, and my inspiration came from this quote by C.S. Lewis:

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”
    Red Mage avatar by Aedilred.

    Where do you fit in? (link fixed)

    RedMage Prestige Class!

    Best advice I've ever heard one DM give another:
    "Remember that it is both a game and a story. If the two conflict, err on the side of cool, your players will thank you for it."

    Second Eternal Foe of the Draconic Lord, battling him across the multiverse in whatever shapes and forms he may take.

  12. - Top - End - #132
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Gender
    Male

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    You dismiss my point then validate it...
    Your exact words did not make the point you think they did. If you think I'm validating your point, at most that shows that the argument is about your exact words rather than their spirit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid
    Anybody who says "how I use alignments is right, and how you use it is wrong" is full of it, because alignment is vague and subjective. It is all a matter of interpretation.
    Which is again because the rules specifically leave it so and call out for interpretation, at least in 1st edition AD&D. That is, your interpretation of alignment rules is more correct than others because it has support from the rules.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid
    If you want vile things to be considered "Good" in your campaign due to technicalities and loopholes, then you are fully able to do that as a DM. But you can't say "This is how the rules say alignment should work" (unless you are specifically saying "the rules allow me to make alignment work any way I want")
    I say they are, and that they are in this context.
    My specific points throughout the discussion have been that "the rules allow for this". The actual point of contention by and large has been "is it a good thing the rules allow for this?", because of the idea that if alignment rules differ from someone's real-life morals, this demonstrates a flaw in the rules.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid
    You can not objectively codify "greater good", it will always require a subjective interpretation. Always.
    And this is where I simply disagree as far as games are concerned. If you were right, you couldn't have a computerized alignment systems like Nethack and ADOM have. We have such systems, and hence you are wrong.

    Though I'll note it's not because their rules escape the need for interpretation, it's because once they have been interpreted (by a machine, through machine language), they are objective.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid
    It is broken if you make it simple, and it is broken for other reasons if you make it complex. If you have it as a vague background idea for "fluff" and don't aggressively inforce it, then it is fine. If you don't run games where "Good" aligned PCs are constantly judged by ridiculous moral dilemmas, then it is fine.
    You haven't really demonstrated how the system is supposed to be "broken".

    As for "aggressively enforcing", there's only three situations where alignment is supposed to be enforced:

    1) the player chose to play a character type which has its in-game roles and powers defined in respect to serving some higher power or ideal, such as a Paladin, Druid, Cleric or Warlock. In these cases, the enforcement is meant to reflect in-game dissatisfaction of those powers and ideals.
    2) the player is not playing their character according to their proclaimed alignment, at which point the GM can declare them to be of a more fitting alignment and give them an XP penalty. A special case of this is when a player is inconsistent at playing any kind of alignment, when the stacking penalties may effectively doom a character. This too is meant to reflect in-game wrath of the gods, and is also a tool to stop players from gaming the class-based rules above, and the magic-based rules above. This category of enforcement is largely gone from 3rd edition onwards.
    3) in respect to some magical items, feats, monsters etc. fantastic objects with a traditionally moral dimension to them.

    Nothing about this requires moral dilemmas to be constant part of the game, but there are only few ways to completely remove the chance of a moral dilemma from screwing over a character:

    1) No moral dilemmas ever. No decision ever involves conflict between characters' values.
    2) No-one ever plays character types which are defined by their morals. No knights in shining armor, no druids concerned with balance of good and evil, no priests held to a high standard by their god etc.
    3) No class features, spells, magic items or other supernatural thingamajobs reliant on a character's moral nature. No arrows which pierce evil, no magic clouds which can only carry the pure-of-heart, no sacrificing the innocents to summon demons etc.

    So which of these, if any, matches your idea of reducing alignment to "vague background fluff" and why would it be desireable?
    "It's the fate of all things under the sky,
    to grow old and wither and die."

  13. - Top - End - #133
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Gender
    Male

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

    I claim that it is possible to have a Good party opposing a Good nemesis who is objectively doing the wrong thing.

    Picture this: The King of Farbanks has been spirited away by devils. The Paladin Queen wants to get him back, and is preparing to launch an invasion of the Abyss. This is certainly in keeping with the pseudo-Arthurian morality which paladins are partly based on, and destroying devils is Good. However, it's also a terrible idea and most other Good characters should want to prevent it. Unfortunately, paladins can be very stubborn, especially when they're in charge, so diplomacy is unlikely to work. Unless the party can disrupt her plans in some way, the Queen of Farbanks is going to get a tremendous number of people killed.

    Reasonable PCs might include:
    A representative of the Oligarch of Barram, responding to the Queen's military buildup. After all, Farbanks has a history of crusading against its neighbours.
    A Master of the Spellweaver's Guild. In order to get her army into the Abyss in the first place, the Queen is undermining the Guild's perfectly sensible (and Good) ban on Abyssal conjurations, by sanctioning individual spellcasters to research the necessary spells.
    A peasant or townsman who knows that many of his neighbours may not return from this war, and famine is a distinct possibility.

  14. - Top - End - #134
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Hjolnai View Post
    I claim that it is possible to have a Good party opposing a Good nemesis who is objectively doing the wrong thing.

    Picture this: The King of Farbanks has been spirited away by devils. The Paladin Queen wants to get him back, and is preparing to launch an invasion of the Abyss. This is certainly in keeping with the pseudo-Arthurian morality which paladins are partly based on, and destroying devils is Good. However, it's also a terrible idea and most other Good characters should want to prevent it. Unfortunately, paladins can be very stubborn, especially when they're in charge, so diplomacy is unlikely to work. Unless the party can disrupt her plans in some way, the Queen of Farbanks is going to get a tremendous number of people killed.

    Reasonable PCs might include:
    A representative of the Oligarch of Barram, responding to the Queen's military buildup. After all, Farbanks has a history of crusading against its neighbours.
    A Master of the Spellweaver's Guild. In order to get her army into the Abyss in the first place, the Queen is undermining the Guild's perfectly sensible (and Good) ban on Abyssal conjurations, by sanctioning individual spellcasters to research the necessary spells.
    A peasant or townsman who knows that many of his neighbours may not return from this war, and famine is a distinct possibility.
    If she's willing to put the kingdom and its people and its neighbors through all this to get one person back... is she good to begin with?
    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

  15. - Top - End - #135
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    hamishspence's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2007

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

    "Go to extreme lengths to rescue someone who needs rescuing" is a pretty standard thing.

    Heinlein, for example, commented on how much human mythology makes use of it, and how "several people die trying to rescue one person" is a very common headline.
    Marut-2 Avatar by Serpentine
    New Marut Avatar by Linkele

  16. - Top - End - #136
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

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

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    "Go to extreme lengths to rescue someone who needs rescuing" is a pretty standard thing.

    Heinlein, for example, commented on how much human mythology makes use of it, and how "several people die trying to rescue one person" is a very common headline.
    Funny thing... I considered Saving Private Ryan more of a war farce than a heroic war movie, which was only tempered by the final scene with Ryan at least showing a full realization of just how much had been sacrificed, how many men had died, to make sure he lived.
    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

  17. - Top - End - #137
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Marlinspike

    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
    Your exact words did not make the point you think they did. If you think I'm validating your point, at most that shows that the argument is about your exact words rather than their spirit.
    Or maybe that you are missing the point...

    Which is again because the rules specifically leave it so and call out for interpretation, at least in 1st edition AD&D. That is, your interpretation of alignment rules is more correct than others because it has support from the rules.
    I'm assuming that the rules you are referring to are speaking to the DM when they say that, otherwise that sentence makes no sense at all. But even if that is the case... yes, yes a DM has final say of how the rules are interpreted for alignment. If they want their players to like them, they should make sure everyone is ok with their interpretation, but at the end of the day, it is their call.

    But that is not relevant for this debate, because the people posting on this thread are not playing with each other. We have multiple DMs here running multiple games. You can not say that your interpretation of the rules is more correct than someone else on this board for their game.

    As a result, arguing on this board over which interpretation is correct is utterly pointless. We can discuss the implications of different interpretations, but we can't assert that ours is the correct one.


    My specific points throughout the discussion have been that "the rules allow for this".
    I completely agree

    And this is where I simply disagree as far as games are concerned. If you were right, you couldn't have a computerized alignment systems like Nethack and ADOM have. We have such systems, and hence you are wrong.
    I guess if you want to railroad the heck out of your players, you could accomplish this, but that would create other problems.

    The only reason computer games allows for alignment measurement is that they provide discreet options for every scenario. You can only say these specific things, you can only do these specific things etc. When there is a list of specific things, you can make a decision on each and every one of them ahead of time.

    With a TTRPG, there are way more options and way more variety than a CRPG. You can't codify every choice that the PCs might make.


    As for "aggressively enforcing", there's only three situations where alignment is supposed to be enforced:

    1) the player chose to play a character type which has its in-game roles and powers defined in respect to serving some higher power or ideal, such as a Paladin, Druid, Cleric or Warlock. In these cases, the enforcement is meant to reflect in-game dissatisfaction of those powers and ideals.
    2) the player is not playing their character according to their proclaimed alignment, at which point the GM can declare them to be of a more fitting alignment and give them an XP penalty. A special case of this is when a player is inconsistent at playing any kind of alignment, when the stacking penalties may effectively doom a character. This too is meant to reflect in-game wrath of the gods, and is also a tool to stop players from gaming the class-based rules above, and the magic-based rules above. This category of enforcement is largely gone from 3rd edition onwards.
    3) in respect to some magical items, feats, monsters etc. fantastic objects with a traditionally moral dimension to them.
    1)Alignment needs to be enforced. You can't get your powers if you don't follow the ideals
    2) If the GM gives someone (who doesn't fit #1 above) a penalty for not following a couple of letters on their character sheet... then the GM is a power tripping jerk. Just change the PC's alignment and leave it at that.
    3) Pretty much the exact same as #1. A power is tied to an ideal... you can't use the power without the ideal (e.g. a sword that only works for good characters)

    The "aggressively enforcing" comes in when a GM starts micro-managing a player with a Paladin PC, and starts punishing him for not behaving perfectly all the time. "that comment you made to the mayor was slightly rude...", or "there was that one time where you walked by a homeless person without offering them money..."

    Nothing about this requires moral dilemmas to be constant part of the game
    Kinda the point I was making. The problem is when GMs decide to make moral dilemmas a constant part of the game.

    Some people like playing with moral dilemmas. It can make the game interesting, but when the GM punishes the players for not making the choice that the GM subjectively interpreted as the best option...

  18. - Top - End - #138
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Luccan's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    The Old West
    Gender
    Male

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

    You would think, if good were objective, than an objectively good person would (at least try) to do good things. Not "everything they do is good because they're Good", but "because they are Good, they do good things". If you were to simplify it massively, let's say the Good-Evil axis in D&D is "Adopts Puppies" to "Kicks Puppies". Just because your alignment is "Adopts Puppies" and you do things to further the cause of "Adopts Puppies", doesn't mean kicking puppies to get others to feel bad and adopt them is an "Adopts Puppies" action. You are still objectively kicking puppies, you just think it's the best was to help for some reason.

    So, similarly, just because you believe yourself to be doing what is best, does not make you Good. As others have pointed out, true Good v. Good conflict is different than Good v. Evil.

    Edit: Not to say a Good person can't make mistakes or a person who wants to be Good can't realize the error of their ways. It's just that things like crusades, particularly against provably non-Evil faiths, are pretty clearly non-Good.
    Last edited by Luccan; 2018-02-09 at 01:14 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    All Roads Lead to Gnome.

    I for one support the Gnoman Empire.
    I have a homebrew: A couple Generic Classes (Now with a new Feat and ACF!)

    Avatar by linklele

  19. - Top - End - #139
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2010

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Sporeegg View Post
    I am in a mood for thought experiments as of lately. My latest thought was.

    1. In D&D it is often mentioned that 'good' is a cosmic force, as in: good deities, good outsiders.

    2. Good is objective, it is an item or person's determinable quality

    So in theory, similar to a well written villain with a good goal whose values are completely shifted into 'vile' deeds i.e. slaughter everyone in the city so they cannot be turned into undead. be pulled on its head?

    A good creature does evil things for the sake of good with such efficiency and effectivity that it is just silly not doing the "dubious thing" to further the cause of good (maybe force their good god onto everyone so people receive spells and abilities that can improve their lives, even if it means killing of vast majorities of rivaling faiths?

    How would you build a campaign around an (L/N/C) good villain, be it outsider, divine caster or other? Caveat would be that the creature would not loose their "good" alignment or status short of DM fiat and/or good reasoning behind them being ultimatively evil.
    Well, I'd say that such a character would be Evil, but....

    Yes, antagonists who have at least ostensibly good goals make for wonderful adversaries.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

  20. - Top - End - #140
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Gender
    Male

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

    Quote Originally Posted by sabernoir View Post
    Alignments in D&D are completely broken and make no sense whatsoever. In this case, I'm not certain how you could do this. If someone does something (e.g. smash in an innocents skull) for the greater good, is it even evil?
    A bit late to the party here, but I recall Gary Gygax once said that a Good aligned Paladin could kill a villain directly after that villain repents, guaranteeing that the villain could not fall to evil again- and still maintain paladinhood. Meaning you waited until someone was saved, then killed them, and it's still a good act.

    This is around the same time Elves couldn't be resurrected (They had no souls) and Paladin was human-only, mind.

    To that end, yes it would be possible to have a Good BBEG. If Evil is going around seducing people to the cause (Literal succubi even) your good BBEG could be killing people, inquisition-style, prior to their "Infection" so they would have the best afterlife, and it would still be a "Good" act.
    Last edited by Acanous; 2018-02-10 at 07:35 AM.
    "You want to see how a Human dies? at ramming speed."

  21. - Top - End - #141
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Acanous View Post
    A bit late to the party here, but I recall Gary Gygax once said that a Good aligned Paladin could kill a villain directly after that villain repents, guaranteeing that the villain could not fall to evil again- and still maintain paladinhood. Meaning you waited until someone was saved, then killed them, and it's still a good act.

    This is around the same time Elves couldn't be resurrected (They had no souls) and Paladin was human-only, mind.

    To that end, yes it would be possible to have a Good BBEG. If Evil is going around seducing people to the cause (Literal succubi even) your good BBEG could be killing people, inquisition-style, prior to their "Infection" so they would have the best afterlife, and it would still be a "Good" act.
    And thus another variation on Alignment that leads straight to an ugly "morality".

    "Kill them all, Good will know its own."

    Ugh.
    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

  22. - Top - End - #142
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2014

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

    A "good BBEG" is oxymoronic. "Evil" is in the description.

    You can however, of course have a principally good aligned character in opposition to the party. If the party is good, the opposition can come from other places - most immediately apparent being the law-chaos axis. The conflict can come of something strictly personal - such as vengeance, or any number of other sources, like love, misunderstanding, disagreement in method, take your pick.
    My attempt at non-awful fumble rules
    Arcane Archer minimal fix
    Expanding the Pathfinder Called Shots system
    ͼͽ

  23. - Top - End - #143
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    hamishspence's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2007

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Acanous View Post
    A bit late to the party here, but I recall Gary Gygax once said that a Good aligned Paladin could kill a villain directly after that villain repents, guaranteeing that the villain could not fall to evil again- and still maintain paladinhood. Meaning you waited until someone was saved, then killed them, and it's still a good act.
    One of the Mods did theorise that Gygax was joking in that particular case, a few threads back:

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...ts#post7554049

    But you have to be careful, part of that thread he's plainly joking.
    Which part was that?
    where he says about killing a recently converted person to keep them from backsliding, for example, that seemed like his dry humor at work.
    Marut-2 Avatar by Serpentine
    New Marut Avatar by Linkele

  24. - Top - End - #144
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Gender
    Male

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

    the part about backsliding might have been a joke, but he goes on to say in a few different ways that Paladins can kill prisoners and still be good.
    "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is by no means anything but Lawful and Good. Prisoners guilty of murder or similar capital crimes can be executed without violating any precept of the alignment. Hanging is likely the usual method of such execution, although it might be beheading, strangulation, etc. A paladin is likely a figure that would be considered a fair judge of criminal conduct. "

    So I unno. Maybe he was couching some of it in humour, but he had some pretty firm ideas about alignment, that seem internally consistent.

    "Mercy is to be displayed for the lawbreaker that does so by accident. Benevolence is for the harmless. Pacifism in the fantasy milieu is for those who would be slaves. They have no place in determining general alignment, albeit justice tempered by mercy is a NG manifestation, whilst well-considered benevolence is generally a mark of Good. "
    "You want to see how a Human dies? at ramming speed."

  25. - Top - End - #145
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    hamishspence's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2007

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

    That's why I prefer BoED - mercy is something you can, and should, at least try to grant everyone - not just the "accidental lawbreaker".
    Marut-2 Avatar by Serpentine
    New Marut Avatar by Linkele

  26. - Top - End - #146
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Suttle's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2018

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

    Create a society that is comfortable but flawed.

    The good BBEG wants to bring the apocalypse, but not in the sense of destroying the world but destroying this evil and unfair society, the heroes are powerful figures whose power and comfort depends on the status quo, they fight the villain.

  27. - Top - End - #147
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Segev's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location

    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.
    This only “works” if you change half-fiends to fiends; they aren’t, and don’t have the [evil] tag. By-the-book Paladins can work with by-the-book tieflings and half-fiends (provided said fiend-blooded individuals are not evil-aligned) without issue. And can’t slaughter them as “never evil to kill them” for the same reason they can’t just up and murder out of nowhere everybody who they pass on the street that pings on Detect Evil.

  28. - Top - End - #148
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    This only “works” if you change half-fiends to fiends; they aren’t, and don’t have the [evil] tag. By-the-book Paladins can work with by-the-book tieflings and half-fiends (provided said fiend-blooded individuals are not evil-aligned) without issue. And can’t slaughter them as “never evil to kill them” for the same reason they can’t just up and murder out of nowhere everybody who they pass on the street that pings on Detect Evil.
    Reminds me of a gaming story I heard way back... about a Paladin PC who immediately attacked anything that pinged Evil.

    Until the day that that a young woman, 15 or 16, came running up to the party, and pinged Evil, so he yelled out "Fiend" or "Devil" or whatever, and attacked. She died on the first hit.

    Turns out she wasn't Evil, it was {Dread Artifact} in her possessions... she was the only person "good" enough to carry {Dread Artifact} around without being corrupted by it, and on the way to destroy it or lock it away or whatever, her guards had all been killed by cultists or whatever. So, having escaped the ambush, she'd come running to the famous paragon of goodness and his friends...

    (This came up in one of those "is it fair to set Paladins up to fail" discussions.)
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2018-02-11 at 12:19 PM.
    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 - #149
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    This only “works” if you change half-fiends to fiends; they aren’t, and don’t have the [evil] tag. By-the-book Paladins can work with by-the-book tieflings and half-fiends (provided said fiend-blooded individuals are not evil-aligned) without issue. And can’t slaughter them as “never evil to kill them” for the same reason they can’t just up and murder out of nowhere everybody who they pass on the street that pings on Detect Evil.
    Tieflings yes, but the Half-Fiend template changes the recipient's alignment to Evil so paladins can't associate with them. We can do this same construction with a city of redeemed fiends like the succubus paladin if the [evil] tag is the only thing at issue here.

    Sadly, the way BoED/BoVD are written makes it easy to find problematic stuff even outside of context. It isn't 'never evil to kill fiends', but actually 'always a Good act to kill fiends'.

    The more interesting point is, I suspect any hard-coded system that assigns a moral valence to actions with only a finite horizon of context, designed to summarize a particular moral intuition, can always be broken by a sufficiently different context than the rule was written for (broken meaning that the original author of the rule will conclude that it fails to return the correct verdict). I probably have to add that the moral intuition must care at least a little bit about outcomes, even if it's not fully utilitarian or consequentialist. Of course the context that does this may be highly unlikely (a city of reformed fiends; your average trolley problem; etc).

  30. - Top - End - #150
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    hamishspence's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2007

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

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    Tieflings yes, but the Half-Fiend template changes the recipient's alignment to Evil so paladins can't associate with them.
    The MM does say that not every "Always Evil" creature is in fact Evil - that they are capable of changing alignment.

    In the section for each Alignment subtype, it says that the creature's "actual" alignment does not have to match it.

    Also, "Associate" generally means "accept as a member of your adventuring party".

    Quote Originally Posted by NichG View Post
    We can do this same construction with a city of redeemed fiends like the succubus paladin if the [evil] tag is the only thing at issue here.

    I don't know about a city of redeemed fiends, but we know that in D&D there was an army of redeemed fiends - led by K'rand Vahlix:

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph.../AscendedDemon
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2018-02-11 at 12:33 PM.
    Marut-2 Avatar by Serpentine
    New Marut Avatar by Linkele

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •