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

    The thing is though that those racial societies are the minority. For every Evermeet churning out CG elves, there are a proportional number ending up that way despite growing up in Waterdeep, or Cormyr, or Baldur's Gate, or Neverwinter etc. Ditto Halflings, Dwarves, and Gnomes - and in those locales, many gods hold sway (even some evil ones) rather than the culture being dictated by those of their races. Shouldn't the ones from those societies be predominantly neutral then, defying their monster manual entries en masse?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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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 Psyren View Post
    The thing is though that those racial societies are the minority. For every Evermeet churning out CG elves, there are a proportional number ending up that way despite growing up in Waterdeep, or Cormyr, or Baldur's Gate, or Neverwinter etc. Ditto Halflings, Dwarves, and Gnomes - and in those locales, many gods hold sway (even some evil ones) rather than the culture being dictated by those of their races. Shouldn't the ones from those societies be predominantly neutral then, defying their monster manual entries en masse?
    Then how do you know that drop raised away from Lolth still trend CE? The only counterexample is those that worship Ellistrae.

    All you’ve really got here is more “ culture matters” arguments, not that they trend good naturally. Certainly not that they trend evil only because of gods, while everyone godless trends good.

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

    The thing is, deities in D&D aren't, for the most part, just culture... they're active forces in the daily and political lives of their followers. The priest of Chauntea has significant power as a representative of Chauntea, not just because other people worship Chauntea, but because Chauntea grants him power to do things in Chauntea's name, and in Chauntea's interest. When you get into societies where a particular pantheon of a general alignment has a lot of influence (like the Seldarine), then those societies are going to be pushed in that direction by those agents. If someone stands up and starts advocating for a position that they oppose, they're going to argue against it, with the culture and magical force of their deity backing up their arguments.
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  4. - Top - End - #184
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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 Segev View Post
    Then how do you know that drop raised away from Lolth still trend CE? The only counterexample is those that worship Ellistrae.

    All you’ve really got here is more “ culture matters” arguments, not that they trend good naturally. Certainly not that they trend evil only because of gods, while everyone godless trends good.
    You're right - but we simply don't have a significant number of non-Lolth drow or non-Kurtulmak kobolds to go by.

    As Mark mentioned though, it's not really possible in these settings to separate culture from the divine. The only settings where that is possible barely have deities at all, and coincidentally those are the ones where the "usually/always X" gets subverted. (i.e. Eberron/Ravenloft.)
    Last edited by Psyren; 2018-02-13 at 01:41 PM.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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  5. - Top - End - #185
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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 Mark Hall View Post
    The thing is, deities in D&D aren't, for the most part, just culture... they're active forces in the daily and political lives of their followers. The priest of Chauntea has significant power as a representative of Chauntea, not just because other people worship Chauntea, but because Chauntea grants him power to do things in Chauntea's name, and in Chauntea's interest. When you get into societies where a particular pantheon of a general alignment has a lot of influence (like the Seldarine), then those societies are going to be pushed in that direction by those agents. If someone stands up and starts advocating for a position that they oppose, they're going to argue against it, with the culture and magical force of their deity backing up their arguments.
    Isn't that what I just said? I get the feeling people are arguing with me because they think I'm saying something I'm not.

    Let me try to outline the discussion as I am replying to it:

    • Rousseau was brought up, and D&D races were said to fit his model of a tabula rasa with a slight trend towards good.
    • I pointed out that there isn't such a slight trend; we have evil races, too.
    • It was argued that, no, that doesn't disprove the slight trend towards good, because evil races are a product of their cultures.
    • I agreed that that was possible, but that, if so, it's probable that good-aligned races are also the product of their cultures.
      • Thus, I argue, that the "slight trend towards good" is not demonstrably present.
    • Gods were brought up, and their influence on societies. This was said to be why evil cultures are evil and evil races turn out evil: their gods enforce it.
    • I agreed that this was possible, but that in that case it is equally probable that good gods made good cultures good, and thus the good races turn out good for that reason, not due to some slight trend towards goodness inherent to all creatures (but squashed by evil cultures/gods where they hold sway).


    Now, Mark Hall and Psyren seem to be trying to convince me that evil gods can and do have influence, if I'm parsing their arguments and apparent purpose correctly. (If I'm not, I apologize.) I am reacting with bafflement because this is like trying to argue with me that water is wet, as if I were somehow disagreeing with that when I say that fire is hot.

    I agree: gods are influential in a number of ways.

    My thesis is that the tabula rasa of an individual creature is either without "slight trend" towards any alignment, or that the "slight trend" is towards whatever their monster manual entry says they "usually" or "always" are. In other words, I'm arguing that, if there is a "slight trend" towards an alignment for an elf, it's towards CG, and for an orc, it's towards CE. That the orc is not possessing a "slight trend towards goodness," under any circumstance.

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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 Psyren View Post
    You're right - but we simply don't have a significant number of non-Lolth drow or non-Kurtulmak kobolds to go by.
    Going by Races of the Dragon, a fairly significant minority of kobolds aren't devoted to Kurtulmak but to Io, who is TN.
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Another note: There's a simple reason why you're more likely to see a Evil Elf or Dwarf than a Good Orc or Hobgoblin... because evil societies have less qualms about killing someone who deviates. A LN or NE Hobgoblin can function in Hobgoblin society, but a LG or CE one is going to have a lot of problems... they either don't have the necessary bloodthirstiness to advance, or they don't play the game well enough to keep their position. But a CE or LG elf? Elves are more likely to let them off, or not chase them if they've left. The LG elf is unacceptably uptight, but no one is going to kill him for it. The CE elf might be able to hide in society for quite a while. But the LG hobgoblin is probably going to get killed by someone he showed mercy to.
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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 Mark Hall View Post
    Another note: There's a simple reason why you're more likely to see a Evil Elf or Dwarf than a Good Orc or Hobgoblin... because evil societies have less qualms about killing someone who deviates. A LN or NE Hobgoblin can function in Hobgoblin society, but a LG or CE one is going to have a lot of problems... they either don't have the necessary bloodthirstiness to advance, or they don't play the game well enough to keep their position.

    When it comes to "rising to the top" the number can be quite high though.

    In Races of the Dragon, 10% of Kobold communities have Good power centres (Kobolds are Usually LE)

    In Races of the Wild, only 7% of Elven communities have Evil power centres (Elves are Usually CG)

    Maybe Kobolds are more tolerant of Good, than Elves are of Evil?
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2018-02-13 at 01:56 PM.
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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 Segev View Post
    Rousseau was brought up, and D&D races were said to fit his model of a tabula rasa with a slight trend towards good.
    That isn't quite what Rousseau/BoED is saying though, and sorry if I came off as saying that. He's saying everyone has the potential for redemption and goodness, not that they will absolutely/universally go that way absent any cultural or external forces. Without those influences* they will probably end up neutral, but the potential for good is always there even for the Always Evil (non-subtyped) races, and it remains even for the ones that HAVE been acting on their evil upbringing with gusto for a very long time. That's what BoED is getting at.

    *"Without those influences" being mostly a moot point, since it translates in most cases to "without religion" - a paradigm that D&D settings by and large don't bother exploring.
    Last edited by Psyren; 2018-02-13 at 02:15 PM.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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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 Psyren View Post
    That isn't quite what Rousseau/BoED is saying though, and sorry if I came off as saying that. He's saying everyone has the potential for redemption and goodness, not that they will absolutely/universally go that way absent any cultural or external forces. Without those influences* they will probably end up neutral, but the potential for good is always there even for the Always Evil (non-subtyped) races, and it remains even for the ones that HAVE been acting on their evil upbringing with gusto for a very long time. That's what BoED is getting at.

    *"Without those influences" being mostly a moot point, since it translates in most cases to "without religion" - a paradigm that D&D settings by and large don't bother exploring.
    Oh, sure. I don't disagree that all of them have the potential for redemption. Nor the potential for falling to depravity.

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

    Indeed, every individual can both rise and fall (even angels can fall and devils rise.) But rising is still harder - and so a book that reminds people of that Rousseau-ian possibility, so they don't view murderhoboism as the only course of action for every evil creature they come across, has value - that's all I'm saying.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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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
    When it comes to "rising to the top" the number can be quite high though.

    In Races of the Dragon, 10% of Kobold communities have Good power centres (Kobolds are Usually LE)

    In Races of the Wild, only 7% of Elven communities have Evil power centres (Elves are Usually CG)

    Maybe Kobolds are more tolerant of Good, than Elves are of Evil?
    Or Lawful creatures are more likely to build power centers than evil ones. An elf who goes evil will likely go CE (based on the general "deviations are less likely to be 4 steps than 2 on the alignment chart"), while a kobold who goes good will likely be LG.
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    The figures given were that 4% of elf power centres were CE, 2% were NE and 1% LE

    For Kobolds, 5% were LG, 4% NG, and 1% CG.

    In both cases, only 1% were "the opposite to the standard alignment".

    Gnomes (Usually NG) have a much higher tolerance of Evil than the usually CG elves.

    Gnome power centres: 5% are LE, 5% are NE, 5% are CE
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    The specific numbers seem arbitrary to me beyond "evil elf communities exist" I doubt the designers put much more thought into the statistics than we are, if not less.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Most alignment threads here make the point that just one act won't change a person's overall alignment on its own. So I can see a BB"E"G who's mostly a good person, but who the party has to stop because of something he's doing at his lowest moment.
    I imagine Elminster's standard day begins like "Wake up, exit my completely impenetrable, spell-proofed bedroom to go to the bathroom, kill the inevitable 3 balors waiting there, brush my teeth, have a wizard fight with the archlich hiding in the shower, use the toilet..."
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    The specific numbers seem arbitrary to me beyond "evil elf communities exist" I doubt the designers put much more thought into the statistics than we are, if not less.

    I was thinking more "There are more good kobolds in charge of kobold communities - than there are evil elves in charge of elven communities"

    that the idea that "being good makes it virtually impossible to rise high when most of those around you are evil" isn't all that well founded. Difficult, yes, but not impossible.



    To sum up: Some Good races in D&D make it harder for Evil people to rise to the top, than their Evil counterparts do for Good people.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2018-02-13 at 03:42 PM.
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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 NovenFromTheSun View Post
    Most alignment threads here make the point that just one act won't change a person's overall alignment on its own. So I can see a BB"E"G who's mostly a good person, but who the party has to stop because of something he's doing at his lowest moment.
    An interesting point and theory, but generally speaking, if you've earned the Big Bad Evil Guy title, it's not "one act at your lowest moment." You've got to be doing something that takes plenty of premeditation. And likely sparking a lot of conflict through acts that are recognizably...problematic...to get the PCs' attention in the first place. So by the time they reach you, you're probably not a good man who has made one mistake anymore.

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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 NovenFromTheSun View Post
    Most alignment threads here make the point that just one act won't change a person's overall alignment on its own. So I can see a BB"E"G who's mostly a good person, but who the party has to stop because of something he's doing at his lowest moment.
    A single heinous act CAN change your alignment though, especially you don't repent/atone for it. This is even RAW (per FC2), but we see it in fiction as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    To sum up: Some Good races in D&D make it harder for Evil people to rise to the top, than their Evil counterparts do for Good people.
    I think it's just harder for Evil to rise in general.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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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 Psyren View Post
    A single heinous act CAN change your alignment though, especially you don't repent/atone for it. This is even RAW (per FC2), but we see it in fiction as well.
    There was large amounts of debate about whether Miko's Fall included a change of alignment - with many arguing that she was still LG.


    FC2's "heinous act that instantly changes alignment" is signing a Pact Certain that promises one's soul to the Nine Hells.


    DMG also supports more generally, the possibility of instant alignment changes as exceptions (but still possible exceptions) to the general rule that alignment change is slow. The example given was "wholehearted repentance" that caused instant change from Evil to Good - but the reverse - wholehearted embrace of villainy, is also feasible.

    BoVD has a "Only the vilest of villains are willing to do this" act - destroying a soul.

    2e also had an example specified of an act "for which the GM is justified in instituting an instant change to Evil alignment" - burning down a village (to contain a plague outbreak).

    So, there's plenty of precedent for "instant alignment change" even though we are also told that it is not usual.
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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
    FC2's "heinous act that instantly changes alignment" is signing a Pact Certain that promises one's soul to the Nine Hells.
    That's certainly a good example, but not actually what I was referring to: per FC2, if you have a corrupt score of 4+ you're destined for the lower planes unless you atone. The Pact Certain you mentioned is an instant 7, but so are some non-pact behaviors like "murder for pleasure" and "inflicting indescribable torture."

    I won't rehash the Miko thing here but I agree with your other examples.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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    Default Re: If Good is a tangible and objective force, shouldn't a good BBEG be possible?

    Does a single heinous act, regardless of motivation or circumstances, automatically change who the character is inside, even if they don't relish doing it and regret having done it?
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    BoVD has a "Only the vilest of villains are willing to do this" act - destroying a soul.
    Not in D&D, but in another game, I had a character who did that -- destroyed a soul, intentionally.

    But the soul in question was of an individual who had the power to reincarnate over and over, to come back and grow into their memories and powers in each new life, getting stronger and more driven and more evil and more sadistic with each new lifetime of experience.

    Was my character evil?
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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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 Psyren View Post
    per FC2, if you have a corrupt score of 4+ you're destined for the lower planes unless you atone.
    Actually the figure is 9+. "Being destined for the lower planes" doesn't mean your alignment is now Evil though.

    3+ is the point where you require an atonement spell in addition to "nonmagical atonement". But it's the total corruption, not specifically one act of corruption, that needs to be 4 or higher. 4 instances of "humiliating an underling" and the corruption becomes only magically removable.


    "A character with a corruption rating below 3 can reduce it to 0 by giving up all benefits gained from the act of corruption, offering a sincere apology to those harmed, providing full restitution, and making a donation to the spiritual advisor's church. The required amount is a percentage of the penitent's current wealth based on the original reward rating, as specified on the Faustian Pacts Wealth Rewards table (page 24). In addition, the spiritual advisor must assign an active gesture of repentance, such as self-scourging, fasting, a period of silent retreat, or a dangerous quest against the forces of evil, depending on the nature of the deity."

    "A character with a corruption rating of 4 or higher must employ all the above remedies and also receive an atonement spell to ransom back his soul from Baator"

    "Any lawful character who dies with a corruption rating of 9 or higher goes to Baator, no matter how many orphans he rescued or minions of evil he vanquished in life."
    And in the Hellbred section (chapter 3)

    "Sometimes a soul recognises the great evil he committed in life and wishes to repent. Most of these unfortunates become spectres that haunt Dis, repenting only as they realise their true fate. Others ascend to the heavens, having sought forgiveness before it is too late. Hellbred fall in the middle. They repent in the moment before their condemnation to Hell, yet too late to find salvation. The lords of good and justice, suspicious that the condemned soul merely seeks to escape for selfish reasons, instead reincarnate the individual to give him one last chance at salvation."
    And from DMG:

    "it's possible (although unlikely) that the most horrible neutral evil villain has a sudden and dramatic change of heart and immediately becomes neutral good."
    My interpretation of the above statements is:

    LG character who gains 9 corruption points (through minor evil acts each time) who has not yet repented those acts, will be "destined for the 9 Hells" yet still be LG. Because sin outweighs good, not because they're no longer LG.
    LG character who has gained 9 corruption points and is repentant and has not yet removed the corruption points when they die (perhaps a devil, getting wind of their repentance, murders them) becomes a Hellbred.

    Corruption less than 9 - up to the DM - who may choose to focus more on alignment. They might send a Corruption 8 LG character to Celestia - and it would not strictly contradict any of the above statements. Technically, despite the phrase "ransom back your soul from Baator" for removing corruption, only Corruption 9+ characters are in the "Baator or Hellbred" trap.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Not in D&D, but in another game, I had a character who did that -- destroyed a soul, intentionally.

    But the soul in question was of an individual who had the power to reincarnate over and over, to come back and grow into their memories and powers in each new life, getting stronger and more driven and more evil and more sadistic with each new lifetime of experience.

    Was my character evil?
    Depends how much the DM cares about that BOVD statement. In non-D&D games, they might not care at all, even if they've heard it.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2018-02-13 at 06:09 PM.
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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
    Actually the figure is 9+. "Being destined for the lower planes" doesn't mean your alignment is now Evil though.
    I read it differently. "Ransom back your soul from Baator" - means it's heading there if you don't do anything, and that is 4+.

    9+ I took to mean "intervention of a deity."

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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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 Psyren View Post
    I read it differently. "Ransom back your soul from Baator" - means it's heading there if you don't do anything, and that is 4+.

    9+ I took to mean "intervention of a deity."
    15+, you're Red Fel and taking over?

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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 Psyren View Post
    I read it differently. "Ransom back your soul from Baator" - means it's heading there if you don't do anything, and that is 4+.

    9+ I took to mean "intervention of a deity."
    It's possible. I was going with the most generous possible interpretation for the player.


    Given that it is possible to have a Pact Certain disallowed after death (due to coercion or failure to "deliver the goods"- but still be condemned on unrelated grounds if your Corruption or Obesiance score is appropriately high combined with your alignment (much diabolical laughter then ensues) I would say that just signing it, while it resets your afterlife destination, doesn't actually change your Corruption score - Pact Certain is separate from "regular Corruption"
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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
    Not in D&D, but in another game, I had a character who did that -- destroyed a soul, intentionally.

    But the soul in question was of an individual who had the power to reincarnate over and over, to come back and grow into their memories and powers in each new life, getting stronger and more driven and more evil and more sadistic with each new lifetime of experience.

    Was my character evil?
    Arguably, it was the only way to stop him. And, well, it's possible to kill someone (or destroy their soul) and regret the necessity of doing so, while still acknowledging that necessity.
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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
    Not in D&D, but in another game, I had a character who did that -- destroyed a soul, intentionally.

    But the soul in question was of an individual who had the power to reincarnate over and over, to come back and grow into their memories and powers in each new life, getting stronger and more driven and more evil and more sadistic with each new lifetime of experience.

    Was my character evil?
    Not D&D Evil, since not D&D... Even outside of rules and wonky specifications of morality, cosmology matters a lot for this kind of thing - you have to have some idea of what a soul is and what it means to destroy it, and that's not going to be the same in every setting.

    In D&D it's kind of self-serving of the cosmos that destroying a soul is considered the vilest of vile deeds since destroying or at least recycling souls is what the afterlife is for. Perhaps it's that vile because souls actually can't be created and it reduces the total amount of soul-stuff in existence to go around or some other very abstract kind of environmental harm. But perhaps its just considered that vile because that person just denied the cosmological forces who get to define alignment a bit of their lunch, and they're prickly about that kind of thing. Or perhaps its the symbolism of it and what that means psychologically to the perpetrator.

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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
    Not D&D Evil, since not D&D... Even outside of rules and wonky specifications of morality, cosmology matters a lot for this kind of thing - you have to have some idea of what a soul is and what it means to destroy it, and that's not going to be the same in every setting.

    In D&D it's kind of self-serving of the cosmos that destroying a soul is considered the vilest of vile deeds since destroying or at least recycling souls is what the afterlife is for. Perhaps it's that vile because souls actually can't be created and it reduces the total amount of soul-stuff in existence to go around or some other very abstract kind of environmental harm. But perhaps its just considered that vile because that person just denied the cosmological forces who get to define alignment a bit of their lunch, and they're prickly about that kind of thing. Or perhaps its the symbolism of it and what that means psychologically to the perpetrator.
    Which would kinda take us back to Alignment being a big indicator that "the cosmos" is setting rules that have nothing to do with actual morality, but are instead purely for the benefit of "the cosmos"... and presenting them to mortals as "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 Segev View Post
    Then how do you know that drop raised away from Lolth still trend CE? The only counterexample is those that worship Ellistrae.
    Not true, there is an Underdark city comprised primarily of arcane spellcasting drow that do not kowtow to Lolth specifically- and are CE.
    The Jezzred Chaulsin worship Vhaeraun, HATE Lolth, and are CE.
    Also related, the Cormanthor Drow of House Jael're are CE.

    3 different groups of non-Lolth drow that are CE.

    Quote Originally Posted by NovenFromTheSun View Post
    Most alignment threads here make the point that just one act won't change a person's overall alignment on its own. So I can see a BB"E"G who's mostly a good person, but who the party has to stop because of something he's doing at his lowest moment.
    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    An interesting point and theory, but generally speaking, if you've earned the Big Bad Evil Guy title, it's not "one act at your lowest moment." You've got to be doing something that takes plenty of premeditation. And likely sparking a lot of conflict through acts that are recognizably...problematic...to get the PCs' attention in the first place. So by the time they reach you, you're probably not a good man who has made one mistake anymore.
    It was my impression that the OP was asking about an antagonist who is Good. Some people mistakenly interpret the "E" in "BBEG" as "End" (as in "end boss"). Which is why I posted with that C.S. Lewis quote:
    “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.”

    To me, a Good Antagonist is most compelling NOT because he has "done something evil" or is "at a low point", but rather when he is at the height of his Crusade of Good. An antagonist who-through his Crusade of Good has become oppressive even to people who are Neutral-and thus needs to be reigned in-but he is so wholly devoted to this Good, that he must be stopped forcefully, because he refuses to be swayed by what he sees as "catering to lesser evils".

    THAT'S a "Good BBEG" to me.


    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    A single heinous act CAN change your alignment though, especially you don't repent/atone for it. This is even RAW (per FC2), but we see it in fiction as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    There was large amounts of debate about whether Miko's Fall included a change of alignment - with many arguing that she was still LG.
    And I am one of those who would argue such, especially consider the following:

    1) While Miko was wrong in her assumptions, her act of slaying her liege lord was still done out of the pretext of being the will of the 12 gods to do Good.
    2) She utterly rejected the temptations of further degradation or falling.
    3) She continued to seek guidance from the 12 gods in doing their will
    and, most telling...
    4) Soon assures a dying Miko that she WILL get to see Windstriker again, which means she is going to a LG afterlife.

    People frequently confuse "lost paladin powers" with "changed alignment". They forget that these are separate things. One sometimes causes the other, but they are not necessarily things that have to happen together. A pre-4e paladin who EITHER A) Changes alignment from LG or B) intentionally commits an evil act, loses her powers. These are separate, potentially mutually exclusive things.

    So, to use 3.5e...a paladin who commits even one evil act loses her powers, but that not suddenly an exception to the 3.5e DMG's rule (page 134) that Alignment Change Is Gradual. Now, that paladin may feel indignant that her powers were stripped. She may become disenfranchised with her former ideals, feeling that she was entitled to better treatment for what she did in service to them, and she may begin to think, feel, and act different than she did when she was a paladin. THAT would be when she changes alignment, by the RAW.

    In contrast, a paladin does NOT fall for "committing a single chaotic act". BUT, if she commits enough of them, then by the RAW for alignment change (DMG, 134), her alignment become Neutral Good, and she loses her paladin powers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Does a single heinous act, regardless of motivation or circumstances, automatically change who the character is inside, even if they don't relish doing it and regret having done it?
    By the 3.5e RAW, no. And neither would it be supported narratively, especially since you have specified that the character "shows regret". The 3.5e PHB clearly states that no one is perfectly within their alignment all the time.*

    But the act itself is still Evil.

    *I find it necessary to mention that paladins are an EXCEPTION. they are held to a higher standard of behavior, wherin a single act can have DRASTIC consequences, even if it does not change their alignment.
    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Which would kinda take us back to Alignment being a big indicator that "the cosmos" is setting rules that have nothing to do with actual morality, but are instead purely for the benefit of "the cosmos"... and presenting them to mortals as "morality".
    You're actually on the right track, here. One more little nudge...

    The "cosmos" thing refers to the line in the 3.5e PHB in which it explicitly states that "Good and Evil are not different points of view, they are the forces that shape the cosmos". And this is supported narratively and mechanically throughout the rest of that edition. Good/Evil/Law/Chaos are dispassionate, objective cosmic forces. They are not swayed by excuses, justification, or debate. They permeate the cosmos in such a way that they are present, in small or in large quantities, in sentient beings. Only non-sentient beings who do not have these cosmic energies as part of their physiology, are exempt from interaction with these cosmic energies.

    In D&D terms, mortal "morality" is, more precisely, how mortals interpret dedication to these forces. Which is why a mortal may perceive something to be "Good", when it might be "Neutral" or even "Evil" by the objective, cosmic forces. By and large, most mortal moral mores (that's a fun tongue twister) are correct. People believe selfless dedication to helping other is Good, the cosmos agrees. But there ARE certain instances where "mortal morality" does not line up. A mortal may volunteer to be turned into an undead guardian-such as a mummy-to eternally guard the tomb of his beloved liege lord, but the creation of an undead creature (by 3.5e alignment rules) is one of those unequivocally evil acts. So while that mortal's free will was not impugned upon, and his eternal service was voluntary, and his culture may even deem what he did as "good" (as it is a noble sacrifice), bu the "cosmic" alignment mares, it was Evil.

    Does that help?
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