The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed - Coming in December and available for pre-order now
Page 4 of 9 FirstFirst 123456789 LastLast
Results 91 to 120 of 254
  1. - Top - End - #91
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by RatElemental View Post
    I'm a bit at a loss as to how Evil wins out on empathy. Can you elaborate?
    Good doesn't care what you think, it cares what's *right*. You think a dead baby float is tasty, Good just doesn't care. Evil can empathize with a broader range of motivations and feelings about issues.

    Recent OOTS may disagree, but afaict RAW Evil can, in theory, empathize with Good without turning Good more readily than RAW Good can empathize with Evil, like, at all.

    Now, sure, some sort of perfect empathy machine might - might - end up the perfect Good. But a *practical* good lacks the capacity for broad-range empathy that a practical evil can possess.

    Speaking of… many might argue that evil has greater practice with by virtue of having greater need for the bluff / empathy pair. I'm not making that argument, mind - it's just one I've heard.

    More anecdotally, which one understands humanity better: the angel who tells you what's right, or the demon/devil who temps you to do what's wrong?

  2. - Top - End - #92
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lord Raziere's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Gender
    Male2Female

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Good doesn't care what you think, it cares what's *right*. You think a dead baby float is tasty, Good just doesn't care. Evil can empathize with a broader range of motivations and feelings about issues.

    Recent OOTS may disagree, but afaict RAW Evil can, in theory, empathize with Good without turning Good more readily than RAW Good can empathize with Evil, like, at all.

    Now, sure, some sort of perfect empathy machine might - might - end up the perfect Good. But a *practical* good lacks the capacity for broad-range empathy that a practical evil can possess.

    Speaking of… many might argue that evil has greater practice with by virtue of having greater need for the bluff / empathy pair. I'm not making that argument, mind - it's just one I've heard.

    More anecdotally, which one understands humanity better: the angel who tells you what's right, or the demon/devil who temps you to do what's wrong?
    Chaotic Good disagrees.

    after all, it can defy any rules in pursuit of good, therefore it defies your RAW rules or it wouldn't be Chaotic because it would following rules.
    My Fan Fiction:
    To Catch A Mew
    A Kalos based pokemon fan fic. Now up to Chapter 24!



  3. - Top - End - #93
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2018

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    "What does evil encourage?" You have asked the wrong question. There question is, what does Good encourage that makes it less resistant to forces that break the party apart. And the answer to that question is "caring".
    Why is reinforcement the wrong question, and punishment the right one? Reinforcement is--scientifically--more effective than punishment.

    See, Good cares about things - things other than party unity. It has to. Evil doesn't.
    I completely disagree. Evil certainly cares about things other than party unity. Or, rather, one thing. Itself. That's literally part of its definition: selfishness.

    See, Good may be more about "Forgiveness and overlooking past mistakes", but Evil is more about overlooking current mistakes. The party wants to spare creatures that might well turn and slaughter the innocent villagers? Evil can live with that, for the sake of party unity. Can good?
    Depends! It's a complicated situation. Moral questions do not have cut-and-dried answers--if they did, we wouldn't have spent thousands of years debating them.

    As to your other characteristics, I'd say that Evil wins Empathy, Law wins the Collective, and the last one *would* be Chaos, except Evil wins Empathy, and thus is more successful at it.
    Quote Originally Posted by RatElemental View Post
    I'm a bit at a loss as to how Evil wins out on empathy. Can you elaborate?
    I'm with RatElemental. You're gonna have to defend basically all of those.
    PHB: " 'Good' implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.
    'Evil' implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master."
    BOVD lists the following things (in addition to more obvious ones like murder) as Evil actions: "Bullying and Cowing Innocents," "Greed," "Bringing Despair," "Using Others for Personal Gain," without any list of exceptions or extenuating circumstances. In fact, the last of those explicitly says (BOVD, p 9, emphasis added):
    "Whether it's sacrificing a victim on an evil god's altar to gain a boon, or simply stealing from a friend, using others for one's own purposes is a hallmark of villainy. A villain routinely puts others in harm's way to save his or her own neck--better that others die, surely.
    The utter selfishness of an evil character rarely leaves room for empathy. He is so consumed with his own goals and desires that he can think of no reason not to succeed at the expense of others. At best, other creatures are cattle to be used, preyed upon, or led. At worst, they are gnats to be ignored or obstacles to be bypassed."

    That's a pretty thorough damning of the notion that Evil is better at empathy, purely based on the actual text, I'd say. I'm very interested to see how you would counter that, Quertus.

    Or consider this section, from the BoED (p 11):
    "When conflict arises, as it certainly will at times, good charac-
    ters must use every diplomatic means available to avoid the out-
    break of violence, whether between nations, smaller groups, or
    individuals. In the D&D universe, if one side’s goals are actually
    evil, a relatively simple commune spell can make that abundantly
    clear. Diplomacy might not always work, but the outbreak of
    violence is not just a failure of diplomacy, it is a failure of good
    and a victory for evil."

    Diplomacy and understanding--at all social levels--are to be pursued as thoroughly as possible before resorting to violence. The purpose of diplomacy, in this context, is to achieve mutually-satisfactory outcomes so that violence or other undesirable outcomes do not occur. Unless you think otherwise?

    Edit: To combine two posts into one response.
    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Good doesn't care what you think, it cares what's *right*. You think a dead baby float is tasty, Good just doesn't care. Evil can empathize with a broader range of motivations and feelings about issues.
    I disagree. Practical Good does care what another's values are; I already demonstrated that myself when talking with Red Fel in the other thread.* I have long held, as a central tenet of the code of every Paladin I've ever played, that it is a lesser victory to defeat Evil, and a (much, much) greater victory to redeem it--and the BoED agrees with me. Redemption requires respect, compassion, understanding. You cannot achieve that by caring nothing for what others think.

    You're taking a strawman--Stupid Good of the crusading, burn-the-heathens, take-no-prisoners, "God shall know His own" type--as though it represents all Good everywhere all the time. It doesn't. O'Chul is explicitly Lawful Good, and we all agree he is. Yet he is very much interested in understanding people, getting through to them, and communicating with them in terms they grasp and on ground they appreciate. Miko is the kind of "Good" you describe--and she lost her powers specifically because her conduct strayed too far from Good.

    Recent OOTS may disagree, but afaict RAW Evil can, in theory, empathize with Good without turning Good more readily than RAW Good can empathize with Evil, like, at all.
    Your "in theory" voices a lack of confidence in your position. Also, remember (as I said originally) the difference between empathy and sympathy: to sympathize with someone is to understand what they feel; to empathize with someone is to feel their feelings as if they were your own. As noted in the above quote, Evil is rarely capable of empathy. Sympathy, certainly, but sympathy is a far less useful thing for social-group cohesion than empathy.

    More anecdotally, which one understands humanity better: the angel who tells you what's right, or the demon/devil who temps you to do what's wrong?
    Neither, because neither is acting in an empathic context. Knowledge of the feelings and nature of a being are not, and cannot by itself be, empathy. Empathy means you actually do feel what another feels. You don't just know they're in pain, you don't just wish they weren't in pain (that's pity), you actually feel pain yourself because they feel pain. You take in the feelings of others and express them yourself (albeit usually to a lesser extent, since they're vicarious).

    A demon or devil feels no empathy at all for the people they tempt, generally speaking--because they see the beings they tempt as beneath them. Dehumanizing (or "desapientizing," since we're not talking about humans only) is an Evil thing, and is one of the things that blocks empathy--you can't empathize with something you don't see, on at least some minimal level, as a being of equal footing. (To be fair, many demons and devils are likely to point to natural advantages they have, like immortality, innate magic, and higher mental and physical abilities, in order to justify desapientizing the people they tempt, but such justification does not change the underlying act.) I mean, it's literally in the description of temptation in the BoVD (p 9):
    "TEMPTING OTHERS
    Tempting good individuals to do wrong is an evil act. Plots with this goal are largely the purview of demons and devils that seek to corrupt mortals in order to taint their souls. The products of a tempter's work are larvae, the physical manifestations of evil souls on the Lower Planes (see Chapter 7). Larvae are valuable to fiends; in fact, they are a form of currency in their own right."

    Tempted souls aren't people. They're money--objects. Objects don't have feelings, so you can't empathize with them, though because human beings IRL are incredibly good at projecting, we sometimes can't help thinking of objects as having personhood and thus empathizing with that fictitious person. See, for example, this image.

    *Which, just so we're clear, was an extremely pleasant, edifying, and constructive experience, even with the purple-text sprinkled in. I am still flattered that he felt so compelled to respond, and that his response was beyond reproach for maturity and composure.

    Edit II: Electric Boogaloo
    Okay, it looks like no one can agree on which thing one means when one uses the words "empathy" and "sympathy." I have found at least three sources for either reading, so it's clearly a contentious issue. I highlighted the words originally because, when I used them, I meant "empathy" as "actually feeling what others feel, albeit vicariously and therefore likely to a lesser extent." "Sympathy," as I use the term, means cognitive understanding of what a person feels, and why they feel it. Though Merriam-Webster's definitions leave things rather in limbo, it does recognize that "empathy" is understood to be the stronger, more intuitive experience, while "sympathy" is used more loosely and usually indicates that two people already do feel the same things because they were affected similarly by a given event.

    In either event, neither a tempter demon/devil, nor a proclaiming cherub, is acting in an empathetic or sympathetic capacity, regardless of the meanings you assign to the words. They are not there to share the emotional state of the person in question, nor are they (in all but the rarest circumstances) meaningfully able to feel the same feelings by dint of experiencing the same events in similar ways. The angel almost certainly isn't actually engaged in an activity that involves the recipient's emotions in the first place--after all, an angel is a messenger--so the contrast doesn't apply in the first place. As for the tempter, knowing what a being's emotions are, and how its nature may be manipulated to achieve the end you desire, is not how anyone meaningfully defines either "empathy" or "sympathy."
    Last edited by ezekielraiden; 2019-09-17 at 11:17 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #94
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RatElemental's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Gender
    Male2Female

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Good doesn't care what you think, it cares what's *right*. You think a dead baby float is tasty, Good just doesn't care. Evil can empathize with a broader range of motivations and feelings about issues.

    Recent OOTS may disagree, but afaict RAW Evil can, in theory, empathize with Good without turning Good more readily than RAW Good can empathize with Evil, like, at all.

    Now, sure, some sort of perfect empathy machine might - might - end up the perfect Good. But a *practical* good lacks the capacity for broad-range empathy that a practical evil can possess.

    Speaking of… many might argue that evil has greater practice with by virtue of having greater need for the bluff / empathy pair. I'm not making that argument, mind - it's just one I've heard.

    More anecdotally, which one understands humanity better: the angel who tells you what's right, or the demon/devil who temps you to do what's wrong?
    If a good person stops an evil person from eating a baby, who is empathizing with the baby, and the people who care about the baby? You shouldn't have to be able to empathize with the kind of person who enjoys killing babies to be able to be more empathetic than him, because he's losing that race anyway by not caring about all the people he's hurt getting his dead baby fix.

    Further, being good at bluff does not entail being empathic, it entails being good at understanding and manipulating how people think. Sociopaths are commonly good at manipulating people, but lack of ability to empathize is literally what defines sociopathy.

  5. - Top - End - #95
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ElfPirate

    Join Date
    Sep 2018

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by RatElemental View Post
    Further, being good at bluff does not entail being empathic, it entails being good at understanding and manipulating how people think. Sociopaths are commonly good at manipulating people, but lack of ability to empathize is literally what defines sociopathy.
    Not necessarily disagreeing with your claim, but as a psychology student I do feel compelled to get pedantic for a second.

    Sociopathy/psychopathy is defined by lack of guilt (as the most extreme form of Antisocial Personality Disorder), not lack of empathy. Difficulty empathizing is a very common trait, though I have seen it theorized that psychopaths are actually very empathetic and just capable of turning it off in certain circumstances (I don't recall whether the theory said that was as a conscious decision or merely triggered by the situation).

    I'd also like to note that it's entirely possible (and even common) for a sociopath/psychopath to be neutral or good.
    Last edited by PoeticallyPsyco; 2019-09-18 at 01:10 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Darths & Droids
    When you combine the two most devious, sneaky, manipulative, underhanded, cunning, and diabolical forces in the known universe, the consequences can be world-shattering. Those forces are, of course, players and GMs.
    Quote Originally Posted by OgresAreCute View Post
    Realism, the natural predator of D&D mechanics.
    Optimization Trophies

    I'm forming a team to walk for suicide prevention. Donations or simply spreading the word are both extremely welcome. All donations go to Out of the Darkness, the non-profit organizing the walk.

  6. - Top - End - #96
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2018

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by RatElemental View Post
    If a good person stops an evil person from eating a baby, who is empathizing with the baby, and the people who care about the baby? You shouldn't have to be able to empathize with the kind of person who enjoys killing babies to be able to be more empathetic than him, because he's losing that race anyway by not caring about all the people he's hurt getting his dead baby fix.

    Further, being good at bluff does not entail being empathic, it entails being good at understanding and manipulating how people think. Sociopaths are commonly good at manipulating people, but lack of ability to empathize is literally what defines sociopathy.
    Indeed, it's a defining part, though not the only one. Sociopathic and psychopathic individuals are absolutely not the sum total of Evil people in D&D land (that would be far too few, even with my belief that a majority of people are neutral/unaligned). But it's pretty much impossible to be sociopathic or psychopathic and be Good, while it's very easy to be either of those and Evil, possibly guaranteed. "Altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings" is literally the antithesis of some of the criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder, the official medical diagnosis that covers both sociopaths and psychopaths, and it's worth noting that you don't need to disrespect the law to exhibit APD. (As of the newer DSM-5, sociopathy and psychopathy, while still not defined conditions as such, now do have some medical relevance; the manual's guidance suggests that sociopaths tend toward greater aggression and more instability, while psychopaths tend to be cold, unable to feel empathy or possibly any real emotions, and extremely adept at controlling and manipulating people. I'd argue that that's a very good description of most devils and demons!)

  7. - Top - End - #97
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    I feel like empathy was the wrong choice of word. Tolerance would have been a better choice.

    Evil can abide good.
    Good can not abide evil.

    Evil is characterized by satisfying one's own desires at the expense of others. As an evil character you would not likely make any personal sacrifice - bodily, financially, or otherwise - to help a stranger without some sort of incentive, though you might stand by and watch your party help an innocent so long as their sacrifice came at no expense to you. You might scoff at them and tell them they're wasting their time on that worthless meat sack, but you wouldn't be obligated to stop them.

    Good is characterized by self-sacrifice for the well-being of others. As a good character you would more likely put yourself in harm's way to mitigate the suffering of others. If you saw a couple of thugs roughing up a guy in the street to steal the loaf of bread he just bought from the bakery down the street, you could not reasonably sit by watching evil people doing evil things. After all, the only thing that's necessary for evil to win is for good to do nothing. As a good character you'd be obligated to jump in and help him, while your evil traveling companion scoffs and tells you that you're wasting your time on that worthless meat sack.

    Evil is inherently self-centered, and the fact that each character has his own goals and desires gives the alignment itself the potential to have very personal implications for individual characters. They may want fame, or wealth, or power, or maybe they just enjoy the suffering of others. Depending on how the situation reflects on the character in question, evil typically has the luxury of using the "What you're doing doesn't hinder me in the pursuit of my goals, so I'm fine with it" excuse. An evil character should be willing to harm others in order to achieve his goals, but he doesn't necessarily have to go out of his way to harm others in circumstances where doing so would not be beneficial to him in some way.

    Good is inherently self-sacrificing. Good doesn't care about a particular character's personal ambitions. Their ultimate goal is the same - if someone is in need, good is compelled to help. Good doesn't have the luxury of being able to pick and choose when it's appropriate to be good in the way that evil is able to bide its time for the opportune moment to strike. When an evil character performs an evil act he's generally choosing to perform that act, whereas when a good character performs a good act it's because he's being called to perform that act. Ignoring the call of someone in need means turning your back on your good alignment. The inward-focused nature of evil and the outward-focused nature of good are why evil characters can generally be more flexible in their actions than good characters without jeopardizing their alignment.

  8. - Top - End - #98
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2018

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by PoeticallyPsyco View Post
    Not necessarily disagreeing with your claim, but as a psychology student I do feel compelled to get pedantic for a second.

    Sociopathy/psychopathy is defined by lack of guilt (as the most extreme form of Antisocial Personality Disorder), not lack of empathy. Difficulty empathizing is a very common trait, though I have seen it theorized that psychopaths are actually very empathetic and just capable of turning it off in certain circumstances (I don't recall whether the theory said that was as a conscious decision or merely triggered by the situation).

    I'd also like to note that it's entirely possible (and even common) for a sociopath/psychopath to be neutral or good.
    Most resources I can find explicitly state a lack of empathy as at least a likely feature. See:
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/b...and-sociopaths
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/b...lled-sociopath
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/b...al-personality
    (note these are from 3 different, accredited authors, and do reiterate the tenuous link between clinical diagnosis and these colloquial terms)

    https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320142.php
    https://journals.sagepub.com/stoken/...gVmoiiDLI/full (To whit: "Meanness describes a constellation of attributes including deficient empathy, disdain for and lack of close attachments with others, rebelliousness, excitement seeking, exploitativeness, and empowerment through cruelty.")

    And while it's both technically out of date and not actually using the word "empathy," the DSM-IV entry on ASPD does speak of a "lack of remorse," "deceitfulness...for personal profit or pleasure," and "reckless disregard for the safety of others," all of which are at least related to lacking a care for the feelings of others.

    How would you square being psychopathic, given the above descriptions, with the explicit PHB statement that, " 'Good' implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings"? ASPD--whether or not it hard *requires* a total lack of empathy or just a deficiency of it--certainly seems to reflect major deficiencies in all three of these areas. Reckless endangerment of others, "disdain for...close attachment with others," cruelty. All of that sounds pretty incompatible with the PHB description of Good.

  9. - Top - End - #99
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RatElemental's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Gender
    Male2Female

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by PoeticallyPsyco View Post
    I'd also like to note that it's entirely possible (and even common) for a sociopath/psychopath to be neutral or good.
    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Sociopathic and psychopathic individuals are absolutely not the sum total of Evil people in D&D land (that would be far too few, even with my belief that a majority of people are neutral/unaligned).
    I was not attempting to link any condition with being evil, I was attempting to show there was no link between being convincing and being empathetic. Or, rather, to be pedantic myself: Empathy is not a necessary condition to be convincing. It may well be a sufficient condition.
    Last edited by RatElemental; 2019-09-18 at 02:17 AM.

  10. - Top - End - #100
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lord Raziere's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Gender
    Male2Female

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaern View Post
    I feel like empathy was the wrong choice of word. Tolerance would have been a better choice.

    Evil can abide good.
    Good can not abide evil.

    Evil is inherently self-centered, and the fact that each character has his own goals and desires gives the alignment itself the potential to have very personal implications for individual characters. They may want fame, or wealth, or power, or maybe they just enjoy the suffering of others. Depending on how the situation reflects on the character in question, evil typically has the luxury of using the "What you're doing doesn't hinder me in the pursuit of my goals, so I'm fine with it" excuse. An evil character should be willing to harm others in order to achieve his goals, but he doesn't necessarily have to go out of his way to harm others in circumstances where doing so would not be beneficial to him in some way.

    Good is inherently self-sacrificing. Good doesn't care about a particular character's personal ambitions. Their ultimate goal is the same - if someone is in need, good is compelled to help. Good doesn't have the luxury of being able to pick and choose when it's appropriate to be good in the way that evil is able to bide its time for the opportune moment to strike. When an evil character performs an evil act he's generally choosing to perform that act, whereas when a good character performs a good act it's because he's being called to perform that act. Ignoring the call of someone in need means turning your back on your good alignment. The inward-focused nature of evil and the outward-focused nature of good are why evil characters can generally be more flexible in their actions than good characters without jeopardizing their alignment.
    Let me take on the challenge of arguing against this.

    Where does Neutral fall into this? can Neutral abide evil? and neutral can also have this luxury of non-hindrance? therefore, if the evil character doesn't do enough evil, are too smart about their pursuing their selfish goals, they are neutral, for they avoid harming altogether, reasoning that any gain from such a thing wouldn't be worth it- thinking it through, it would always have a cost that would come back to bite them.

    furthermore, evil isn't always about GAIN. It can also be about, what other people LOSE. for example lets look at an evil racist character, who can't tolerate another races existence, who goes out and kills people for being that race. they don't gain anything from it, they might gain some enjoyment of out of it, but it feeds into their hatred to keep on killing and getting into stressful situations to kill more people. they don't care what they gain, its that other people exist that they don't like are there so they go out of their way to kill them to be rid of something they hate from the world. some evils doesn't just want to succeed- they want others who go against how they think the world works to be crushed. Lex Luthor isn't evil because he wants to be the greatest human, he is evil because he wants to crush Superman for daring to be a good person and hates the thought of Superman stealing his thunder. The Joker isn't evil just because he gains enjoyment from what he does, but because he wants to destroy everything sane and rational people value so they all become just as broken as he is. Freeza isn't just evil because he wants immortality, he is evil because he can't stand other people being different from or defying him in any way so he kills and tortures them just to motivate them to obey him more.

    in this way, evil is all consuming. Evil is obsessive, connects everything back to their personal negative issue about the world, because they just have to compare everything to them. They just have to project their own feelings and force them on others. the greatest most memorable villains are ones that go out of their way to ruin something of others, to MAKE it all about them, because to say a villain can go "well that doesn't hinder me" is to give a villain too much credit and think they can recognize that the world is larger than the, and that they are only one person within it and that other people have things that don't relate to their own issue- when that isn't true. a villain is all about forcing their own personal issues on the world and not realizing thats what they are doing. an evil mindset can be one where they can't tolerate even the appearance of weakness or something that goes against what they believe, or whatever other issue they have.

    for example, lets say a there is a orphan child who is given some bread by a hero. the neutral man who was once an orphan themselves goes "well that doesn't impact me, so I'm going to go make money." but the villain? oooh they are like "I was never given bread by a hero when I was an orphan! Why do they get bread and not me!? Why does she get to have it better! SHE SHOULDN'T HAVE IT BETTER! DIE!" then they kill the child. or they "No, its all about survival of the fittest! they are weakening her with the kindness! Its time to kill this child, the infection of compassion has already got her." things like that.

    sure, a villain could be smart enough to act like the neutral man. could be. but those instances are rare. most evil people aren't all that smart, honestly, in fiction. the kind of self-aware intelligent evil able to restrain themselves like that should honestly be a rare and odd thing- self restraint is a positive trait after all and inherently tips them towards being a better person than someone who can't restrain themselves. a big part of being good is being aware and introspective enough to realize when they make mistakes and fixing them, and while a hero can be dumb, if they make too many mistakes, not restrained enough and don't fix them, thats a ticket into neutral or evil if their mistake is big enough and they don't do anything to correct it because they are too stupid to, the same for sociopaths who while can be good, are incapable of feeling guilt and thus incapable of learning from their mistakes and thus correcting them. dumb or sociopathic characters therefore have to perfect being good on the first try or they will probably gradually fall.

    basically? lack of self-restraint is a big trait of many of the most memorable and enduring villains we know of. and self-restraint and self-correction is a positive trait that puts one closer to being good, and while a good person will be called to not tolerate certain things, most people probably won't tolerate them either, and thus a good person is more likely to have the self-restraint to figure out how to solve a problem smartly rather than do it any way that makes them seem intolerant or uncaring. this is where kindness and compassion comes in, these are vital virtues because its not just about giving people stuff or whatever, its about asking them what how they are feeling, what their pain is, trying to understand what is bothering you so that they know what they can do about it. Good listens to your problems. Good is patient. Good tries to understand what it is that is holding you back from being a better person so they can help you with it and thus allow you to live your life better.

    So much is said about the combative holy crusader side of good- but no one seems to consider the healers who go forth to do nothing but heal. the bards who go a ruined town so they can collect peoples stories and ride back to the cities to bear the news to others by singing heartbreaking songs so that others can help, the druids who work tirelessly to make sure people live comfortably without harming the land they live because both are important, the humble monk who helps former criminals redeem themselves in a monastery, the wizard who works tirelessly to set new academies of education not just in magic but in all knowledge so that people can do things to avoid danger that they'd fall prey to in ignorance. all of these require restraint and an acceptance of other people not being the best and that they need to be taught to better their lives and thus forgive people for this or that. good is more than a sword striking a monster, more than what it does not tolerate- it is the people that tolerate all the pain in the world to make that world better.
    My Fan Fiction:
    To Catch A Mew
    A Kalos based pokemon fan fic. Now up to Chapter 24!



  11. - Top - End - #101
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    @ezekielraiden - you've made me really think. Kudos. After a bit of thought, I've realized that the issue is one of "fluff and crunch".

    See, all the alignment stuff in the PH? It's fluff. (I mean, taken literally, there are 6 best alignments, and the other 3 are the most dangerous alignment. When, clearly, Lawful Evil is both the best and the most dangerous alignment.) Whereas the "perform x actions of y type, and you're going to Hell" is crunch. It's actionable RAW, whereas the PH just has 5e-style "mother may I" fluff.

    Even so, my posts have wandered a bit between "raw" and "as played" and "platonic ideal of" - sometimes in ways that are obviously correct in context; other times, not so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Why is reinforcement the wrong question, and punishment the right one? Reinforcement is--scientifically--more effective than punishment.
    Well, I've failed to be properly pedantic.

    Before I write more, let me restate my understanding of the opposed high-level claims:

    Good is better at forgiveness after the fact, therefore Good is better for party unity.

    Evil is better at acceptance in the moment, therefore Evil is better for party unity.

    Sound right?

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    I completely disagree. Evil certainly cares about things other than party unity. Or, rather, one thing. Itself. That's literally part of its definition: selfishness.
    Well, I'd argue that any party that cannot be argued to be of benefit to any but the most short-sighted of Evil, then the party is already dysfunctional, and the group needs to step in and fix things. Unless "the party is a curse, a loadstone around your neck" is actually the game people signed up to play.

    So, yeah, ignoring that one niche type of game, where Evil may not be appropriate, reasonable Evil can still be built to put the party first.

    Note that I'm not talking about any arbitrary Evil - I am specifically talking about making characters designed and optimized to maximize party cohesion. And, in that race, both IMO and IME, Evil wins.

    If your goal is to build a character, optimized for maximum party cohesion, in a good group that will bump dealing with actively dysfunctional parties to the metagame layer, then Evil is the best foundation upon which to build this character. Because Good can turn anything into an argument; Evil can turn anything into an agreement.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Depends! It's a complicated situation. Moral questions do not have cut-and-dried answers--if they did, we wouldn't have spent thousands of years debating them.
    So, back to my original question: when one Good character looks at this complicated situation, and *believes* differently than the party regarding what is Good, can they simply ignore their belief, (say) letting all those innocent villagers die for the sake of party unity?

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    I'm with RatElemental. You're gonna have to defend basically all of those.
    PHB: " 'Good' implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.
    'Evil' implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master."
    BOVD lists the following things (in addition to more obvious ones like murder) as Evil actions: "Bullying and Cowing Innocents," "Greed," "Bringing Despair," "Using Others for Personal Gain," without any list of exceptions or extenuating circumstances. In fact, the last of those explicitly says (BOVD, p 9, emphasis added):
    "Whether it's sacrificing a victim on an evil god's altar to gain a boon, or simply stealing from a friend, using others for one's own purposes is a hallmark of villainy. A villain routinely puts others in harm's way to save his or her own neck--better that others die, surely.
    The utter selfishness of an evil character rarely leaves room for empathy. He is so consumed with his own goals and desires that he can think of no reason not to succeed at the expense of others. At best, other creatures are cattle to be used, preyed upon, or led. At worst, they are gnats to be ignored or obstacles to be bypassed."

    That's a pretty thorough damning of the notion that Evil is better at empathy, purely based on the actual text, I'd say. I'm very interested to see how you would counter that, Quertus.
    Start with a character with Empathy. Have him live the life of an adventure. Have him slaughter dozens of sentient beings every long rest; more on a good day. How long do you think he'll remain Good?

    Good men adventurers can rarely stomach empathizing with all the beings that they kill for long. Whereas Evil delights in suffering, and can enjoy empathizing with their prey.

    Do you appreciate life? Yes? That's good. Because I take no pleasure in taking a life if it's from a person who doesn't care about it.

    The Illithid performance eater - arguably the pinnacle of empathy - isn't exactly on Good's Christmas shopping list.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post

    Or consider this section, from the BoED (p 11):
    "When conflict arises, as it certainly will at times, good charac-
    ters must use every diplomatic means available to avoid the out-
    break of violence, whether between nations, smaller groups, or
    individuals. In the D&D universe, if one side’s goals are actually
    evil, a relatively simple commune spell can make that abundantly
    clear. Diplomacy might not always work, but the outbreak of
    violence is not just a failure of diplomacy, it is a failure of good
    and a victory for evil."

    Diplomacy and understanding--at all social levels--are to be pursued as thoroughly as possible before resorting to violence. The purpose of diplomacy, in this context, is to achieve mutually-satisfactory outcomes so that violence or other undesirable outcomes do not occur. Unless you think otherwise?
    There are plenty who believe that the purpose of compromise is to make everyone equally unhappy. Just how many babies per year do you let the monster slaughter and sew into its skin, how many brains per year do you let the Illithid consume? If both these monsters need these things for their survival, how do you try to find a compromise?

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Your "in theory" voices a lack of confidence in your position. Also, remember (as I said originally) the difference between empathy and sympathy: to sympathize with someone is to understand what they feel; to empathize with someone is to feel their feelings as if they were your own. As noted in the above quote, Evil is rarely capable of empathy. Sympathy, certainly, but sympathy is a far less useful thing for social-group cohesion than empathy.
    Again, I reverse that - those with Empathy are unlikely to remain Good. Evil can delight in the suffering it causes; Good cannot.

    But, yes, there are a few things, like remorse, that empathizing with could be dangerous to the cause.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Neither, because… the tempter, knowing what a being's emotions are, and how its nature may be manipulated to achieve the end you desire, is not how anyone meaningfully defines either "empathy" or "sympathy."
    Fair enough. I view my tempers as really getting inside someone's head, and delighting in feeling their anguish, the same way some people are wired to sleep when caffeinated. But that's certainly not a required PoV for them to work.

  12. - Top - End - #102
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Beholder

    Join Date
    Jun 2014

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by OGDojo
    Paladins are Zealots of their Gods, some to the extreme of killing evil in their vicinity like rogues and other characters.
    Quote Originally Posted by Biggus
    I think OGDojo has the right of it though, that when people think of LG, they think of Paladins or other similar religious zealots.
    People really need to stop perpetuating this dumb stereotype, both those criticizing it and those playing it. Paladins are not zealots, zealots are zealots. If anything Paladins are less likely to be zealots because there is nothing in the Paladin code that says anything about their religion. A worst case scenario is that one might see their religion's leaders as the only 'legitimate authority' they have to respect, but even so the rest of their code specifies behavior that runs counter to being fanatical and uncompromising, unless their religion is one that's... fanatical and uncompromising about helping the needy.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFamilyRaven
    Paladin's Code of Conduct
    Pathfinder more or less fixed this in an acceptable (to me) way. The 3.5 version is:

    While she may adventure with characters of any good or neutral alignment, a paladin will never knowingly associate with evil characters, nor will she continue an association with someone who consistently offends her moral code.
    The Pathfinder version is:

    While she may adventure with good or neutral allies, a paladin avoids working with evil characters or with anyone who consistently offends her moral code. Under exceptional circumstances, a paladin can ally with evil associates, but only to defeat what she believes to be a greater evil. A paladin should seek an atonement spell periodically during such an unusual alliance, and should end the alliance immediately should she feel it is doing more harm than good.
    Negotiating would presumably be to find an outcome that avoids a greater evil, or harm to innocents, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWitch
    Why do you think it's illegal to play in the street? It's to keep people from needlessly getting hurt.
    Not... exactly. ^_^ Streets existed before cars. Horses, bikes, pedestrians, etc all shared the streets even when cars first became a thing. When people in cars started killing pedestrians, the public went after the cars, not the people. Automobiles were dangerous metal death machines that needed to be more tightly regulated, limited mechanically so they were unable to go faster than certain speeds, so on and so forth. Some places were going to ban cars entirely as too dangerous.

    The new auto industry at the time knew cars were going to be big business, and engaged in widespread media manipulation, pretty sophisticated for its time. They turned the victims into the perpetrators, started the myth that streets were for cars and anybody out in the street was no better than a criminal trying to interfere in the law abiding driver's ability to get things done.

    It's actually a pretty perfect example of how law can and is manipulated by non-good actors, and how 'lawful good' can fall in line. Without the manipulation of public perception, wholly to escape liability and maximize profits for the auto industry, we might have a world with fewer, slower cars, more advanced public transportation systems as the norm, etc. Or we might not. Either way, whatever the realities are now, the reason we aren't allowed to play in the street is because the rich wanted to get richer and the people were easily duped. ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by John05
    IME, Lawful Good gives too many people the impression of a:

    - milquetoast
    - follower
    - "nice guy"
    Two of the most iconic Lawful Good guys in non-D&D fiction are Captain America and Superman (even though I argue that Superman is Neutral Good, nobody ever seems to agree). Does not compute.

  13. - Top - End - #103
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    The empathetic good character stays empathetic and good by emphasizing with the innocent people saved from the sentient evil beings that the good person kills (in order to protect those innnocent people) between long rests. The good person thus retains empathy. The evil person never had empathy. They see the party as rocks. They see enemies they kill as rocks. They see the innocent beings the enemy might kill as rocks. And all the rocks are interchangeable. The LE being would have no qualms about betraying the party in order to trade up to a better party (one that more efficiently achieves the LE being’s goals). That is not conducive to party unity.
    Last edited by Particle_Man; 2019-09-18 at 10:52 AM.

    Light the lamp not the rat LIGHT THE LAMP NOT THE RAT!!!

  14. - Top - End - #104
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaern View Post
    I feel like empathy was the wrong choice of word. Tolerance would have been a better choice.

    Evil can abide good.
    Good can not abide evil.

    When an evil character performs an evil act he's generally choosing to perform that act, whereas when a good character performs a good act it's because he's being called to perform that act. Ignoring the call of someone in need means turning your back on your good alignment. The inward-focused nature of evil and the outward-focused nature of good are why evil characters can generally be more flexible in their actions than good characters without jeopardizing their alignment.
    This states the majority of my opinions on the subject better than I have explained them. Kudos!

    Evil can accept people doing good acts; good cannot abide evil. Thus, yes, evil is better for party unity, because it can tolerate more. Evil is more tolerant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaern View Post
    Evil is characterized by satisfying one's own desires at the expense of others. As an evil character you would not likely make any personal sacrifice - bodily, financially, or otherwise - to help a stranger without some sort of incentive, though you might stand by and watch your party help an innocent so long as their sacrifice came at no expense to you. You might scoff at them and tell them they're wasting their time on that worthless meat sack, but you wouldn't be obligated to stop them.

    Evil is inherently self-centered, and the fact that each character has his own goals and desires gives the alignment itself the potential to have very personal implications for individual characters. They may want fame, or wealth, or power, or maybe they just enjoy the suffering of others.
    As long as you're creating the character, why not make something like "wants the party to succeed" to be the thing that the evil character wants?

    Now, where I disagree with you is on the issue that evil won't do good, won't make sacrifices themselves. Some platonic idea of evil might not, but an evil person absolutely will. How many murderers or cutthroat companies donate to charity? Even people who actively dislike the idea of helping people can still feel the social pressure to help out (and then complain to "dear Abby" about how they're being bullied into being good). Someone who donates their time to homeless shelters, and then poisons their enemies? That's not an inherently incoherent character concept. It just ties into how flexible Evil can be, because Evil is a choice, and does not preclude behaving altruistically.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-09-18 at 02:44 PM.

  15. - Top - End - #105
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Red Fel's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    As long as you're creating the character, why not make something like "wants the party to succeed" to be the thing that the evil character wants?
    This, a million times over. One of the chief complaints about Evil characters is when the player justifies a jerk move with "it's what my character would do," but this cuts both ways - you are the author of your character. What your character would or would not do is entirely your choice. And that includes wanting the party to succeed.

    You can be exploitative - the party's success makes the members, including you, grow stronger. You can be cynical - as long as the party succeeds, I can use them to avoid consequences for my actions. You can be corrupting - as the party succeeds with my aid, they start to see the value of Evil methods. You can even be affable - I want the party to succeed because they are my friends, and that transcends alignment.

    But first and foremost, if you're playing Evil, you want to want the party to succeed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Now, where I disagree with you is on the issue that evil won't do good, won't make sacrifices themselves. Some platonic idea of evil might not, but an evil person absolutely will.
    Preach!

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    How many murderers or cutthroat companies donate to charity?
    Those orphans are a tax deduction!

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Even people who actively dislike the idea of helping people can still feel the social pressure to help out (and then complain to "dear Abby" about how they're being bullied into being good).
    Wrong "A"-name, but yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Someone who donates their time to homeless shelters, and then poisons their enemies? That's not an inherently incoherent character concept. It just ties into how flexible Evil can be, because Evil is a choice, and does not preclude behaving altruistically.
    Precisely. Evil could do it for good press, to disguise their deeds, or simply because doing these things contributes to their ultimate goals. Evil can perform acts of Good to get the job done. It's Good that's expressly prohibited from doing Evil.

    Now, back on point? The only issue I have with Lawful Good is the writing. The fact is, there's nothing wrong with Lawful Good in concept. There's something wrong with Lawful Stupid, or Awful Good, but that's been covered. There's a lot wrong with the Paladin class as written, especially with regard to its code, but that's been covered too.

    No, my issue is with where the writers take the concept. Face facts, LG is considered by the writers to be "best" Good. If you look at the alignment grid as two spectra, each with an end the writers like and one they discourage, L is to C as G is to E. That is, Chaos is the "Evil" of the L-C spectrum. It's been discussed to death, but the origins of alignment in D&D start with the positive forces of Law versus the wicked forces of Chaos. L is the small-g good guys, C is the small-e bad guys.

    So, naturally, Lawful and Good, the two "best" alignments of their respective spectra. They get married and have a beautiful Gerber baby named LG, and it's perfect. The writers, in an effort to show just how much better LG is than the other alignments, create Exalted feats.

    Now, Exalted is ultra-Good. It's literally so Good it hurts. And it's Lawful, because of course it is. Mind you, they say "Any Good alignment," but conceptually, they're all basically Lawful. There are Vows, which - let's be honest - don't exactly jive with a Chaotic mindset. There's Servant of the Heavens, where you swear allegiance to the Tome Archons, paragons of LG. There are ostensibly ones that are designed for Chaotic types - Words of Creation can be used to enhance Bardic Music, or you could swear yourself to the Guardinals instead of the Archons - but conceptually, you're holding yourself to an extremely exacting and precise, more-Good-than-Good standard, and that looks Lawful from almost any angle.

    They don't call it Lawful. They take pains to suggest it works for anyone Good. But let's be honest - it's Lawful. Because, to the authors, Lawful is Good. LG is "best" good. LN is just robots. And LE is Evil because it perverts Law.

    And that's what irks me. The writing. Most alignments have their own merits. But the key merit of LG - as the writers seem determined to show us - is that it's the best alignment.

    And, uh, I don't know if you've heard of me, but... I disagree with that sentiment.
    My headache medicine has a little "Ex" inscribed on the pill. It's not a brand name; it's an indicator that it works inside an Anti-Magic Field.

    Blue text means sarcasm. Purple text means evil. White text is invisible.

    My signature got too big for its britches. So now it's over here!

  16. - Top - End - #106
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Segev's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    And that's what irks me. The writing. Most alignments have their own merits. But the key merit of LG - as the writers seem determined to show us - is that it's the best alignment.

    And, uh, I don't know if you've heard of me, but... I disagree with that sentiment.
    I imagine you feel a little sleighted that CE is considered the most evil alignment, too. As if they somehow had more ideological purity in their villainy than LE!

    But you're absolutely right; the tendency to treat Law as more good than Chaos, and Chaos as more evil than Law, to treat the LG and CE corners as more opposed and further apart than the LE and CG corners, is irksome.

    Personally, I take it a step further; I think NG and NE are the epitomes of their respective moral axes. NG is where you find "the best alignment" (if you're defining "best" as "most good," at least). NE is where you find "the worst alignment" (again, defining "the worst" as "most evil").

    LG is less good than NG, because it will give up some "good" for order's sake. CG is less good than NG, for much the same (but opposite) reason: it will give up some good for the sake of avoiding imposing controls on one's own or others' actions.


    I mean, if you want a serious answer, from the perspective of morality, to the OP's question, the problem with LG is just that: it will give up on doing the right thing, sometimes, in order to maintain order.

  17. - Top - End - #107
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RatElemental's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Gender
    Male2Female

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    I mean, if you want a serious answer, from the perspective of morality, to the OP's question, the problem with LG is just that: it will give up on doing the right thing, sometimes, in order to maintain order.
    And on the flip side, it will sometimes give up on maintaining order to do what's right. Some of the arguments in this thread have been really on point in pointing out that the point of LG (at least sometimes) should be that the character recognizes that bad laws can exist.

    The different approaches to the alignment can be, probably not exhaustively, summed up as "Thinking that Law is Good" and "Upholding Good as Law."
    Last edited by RatElemental; 2019-09-18 at 06:01 PM.

  18. - Top - End - #108
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

    Join Date
    Dec 2018

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post

    I mean, if you want a serious answer, from the perspective of morality, to the OP's question, the problem with LG is just that: it will give up on doing the right thing, sometimes, in order to maintain order.
    I disagree with this. Lawful Good is about using Lawful means to achieve Good ends, just as Chaotic Good is about using Chaotic means to achieve Good ends. Both seek to achieve Good. Each has a bias. A Lawful person tends to trust authority too much, but if shown an authority is corrupt, they will try to defeat it. A Chaotic person tends to mistrust authority; if the authority is truly offering the best solution, they will (reluctantly) fall in line.

    A Neutral Good person isn’t free of bias: no one is. Their bias simply doesn’t neatly fall into the Lawful or Chaotic categories.

  19. - Top - End - #109
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Looking back over a gaming life of over 30 years, I think a lot of the issues come from what I'm going to call simple* characterisation.
    A table with simple characterisation is more likely to be one where character's personalities were not built to be able to adventure together.
    Paladins are more likely to be dark and edgy and emphasise law or bright and shiny and always right (just ask them)
    A table with simple characterisation is unlikely to have an evil character for very long before that character has to go or the campaign ends. These table are more likely to have (and need) a "No evil characters" rule
    Evil characters are more likely to be in an evil campaign where the reason the PCs stay together is hand waved as "We can kill more stuff and win more loot together" and accept that characters do whatever they do and as long as it doesn't affect my character that's fine.

    *simple, as against sophisticated. Sophisticated characterisation requires (but does not always come with) maturity of the player as a roleplayer. I want to emphasise that sophisticated isn't better, it's more complex and that's not what everybody wants or needs even if they can do it.
    It includes:
    1 - Understanding that a roleplaying game is a shared experience and one's character will be part of the experience for the other players as well
    2 - That a game which is not enjoyed by everyone won't run for long
    3 - That a game will often work better (provide more fun for more of the players) when character personality and player- group dynamic clash, its better to bend the character and these clashes can often be prevented by a good session 0 type conversation around everyone's characters and the style of game it will be.
    4 - Alignment is not the same as personality or motivation You can build a character and then align based on that or you can choose an alignment and make sure the character fits
    5- Shades of grey are interesting story elements, not traps for the paladin (unless the paladin's player and the GM want to do a fall-and-redemption plot.
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


  20. - Top - End - #110
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Segev's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by patchyman View Post
    I disagree with this. Lawful Good is about using Lawful means to achieve Good ends, just as Chaotic Good is about using Chaotic means to achieve Good ends. Both seek to achieve Good. Each has a bias. A Lawful person tends to trust authority too much, but if shown an authority is corrupt, they will try to defeat it. A Chaotic person tends to mistrust authority; if the authority is truly offering the best solution, they will (reluctantly) fall in line.

    A Neutral Good person isn’t free of bias: no one is. Their bias simply doesn’t neatly fall into the Lawful or Chaotic categories.
    By the same token, though, Lawful Good is about viewing order to be good, just as Chaotic Good is about viewing freedom to be good. A Lawful Neutral person is more Lawful than a Lawful Good person. A Neutral Good person is more Good than a Lawful Good person. Lawful Good people accept the notion that there is no way to always achieve Good; they believe Law is the best way to avoid unintentional harm, so they adhere to it, accepting that it will occasionally still require unrighteous occurrences due to circumstances. The rules can bend, but if you break them, you invite greater evil than if you follow them.

    The moral axis isn't somehow "stronger" than the ethical one. Having a non-neutral moral alignment doesn't automatically make your ethical alignment secondary.

  21. - Top - End - #111
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2015

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    I imagine you feel a little sleighted that CE is considered the most evil alignment, too. As if they somehow had more ideological purity in their villainy than LE!

    But you're absolutely right; the tendency to treat Law as more good than Chaos, and Chaos as more evil than Law, to treat the LG and CE corners as more opposed and further apart than the LE and CG corners, is irksome.

    Personally, I take it a step further; I think NG and NE are the epitomes of their respective moral axes. NG is where you find "the best alignment" (if you're defining "best" as "most good," at least). NE is where you find "the worst alignment" (again, defining "the worst" as "most evil").

    LG is less good than NG, because it will give up some "good" for order's sake. CG is less good than NG, for much the same (but opposite) reason: it will give up some good for the sake of avoiding imposing controls on one's own or others' actions.


    I mean, if you want a serious answer, from the perspective of morality, to the OP's question, the problem with LG is just that: it will give up on doing the right thing, sometimes, in order to maintain order.
    So you are telling me that the NG lumi that wants to exterminate each and every thing that is evil aligned Or lies(so a Good aligned person who lies is a valid target for lumi) are among the most good people?

  22. - Top - End - #112
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Crake's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2011
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Precisely. Evil could do it for good press, to disguise their deeds, or simply because doing these things contributes to their ultimate goals. Evil can perform acts of Good to get the job done. It's Good that's expressly prohibited from doing Evil.
    Performing good for evil purposes (to mask you from suspicion for example) is in itself a tainted act which strips the goodness away from what you do, because you're doing it with the express purpose of enabling future evil acts, thus in a way it actually becomes an evil act.

    Now of course, an evil person could still perform a truly altruistic, good act, because being evil is really just the sum of someone's deeds, and not a presciptive element that determines the person's acts, but good done for the purpose of masking evil doesn't count.

    But you see, the same could be said for the flipside. An inherently good person could likewise be driven to perform an evil act, while still being overall good. Beating someone within an inch of their life because they performed unspeakable acts to your daughter for example, is an evil act, but one would not call an otherwise benevolent and altruistic person evil for doing so. Sure it would be a "mark on the record" so to speak, but good can still be permitted to perform evil without instantly becoming evil themselves. They can even perform evil to get the job done, and then go ahead to atone for their sins, which I believe is pretty much what the entire concept of the grey guard paladin is based around.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Now, back on point? The only issue I have with Lawful Good is the writing. The fact is, there's nothing wrong with Lawful Good in concept. There's something wrong with Lawful Stupid, or Awful Good, but that's been covered. There's a lot wrong with the Paladin class as written, especially with regard to its code, but that's been covered too.

    No, my issue is with where the writers take the concept. Face facts, LG is considered by the writers to be "best" Good. If you look at the alignment grid as two spectra, each with an end the writers like and one they discourage, L is to C as G is to E. That is, Chaos is the "Evil" of the L-C spectrum. It's been discussed to death, but the origins of alignment in D&D start with the positive forces of Law versus the wicked forces of Chaos. L is the small-g good guys, C is the small-e bad guys.

    So, naturally, Lawful and Good, the two "best" alignments of their respective spectra. They get married and have a beautiful Gerber baby named LG, and it's perfect. The writers, in an effort to show just how much better LG is than the other alignments, create Exalted feats.

    Now, Exalted is ultra-Good. It's literally so Good it hurts. And it's Lawful, because of course it is. Mind you, they say "Any Good alignment," but conceptually, they're all basically Lawful. There are Vows, which - let's be honest - don't exactly jive with a Chaotic mindset. There's Servant of the Heavens, where you swear allegiance to the Tome Archons, paragons of LG. There are ostensibly ones that are designed for Chaotic types - Words of Creation can be used to enhance Bardic Music, or you could swear yourself to the Guardinals instead of the Archons - but conceptually, you're holding yourself to an extremely exacting and precise, more-Good-than-Good standard, and that looks Lawful from almost any angle.

    They don't call it Lawful. They take pains to suggest it works for anyone Good. But let's be honest - it's Lawful. Because, to the authors, Lawful is Good. LG is "best" good. LN is just robots. And LE is Evil because it perverts Law.
    Most of the official literature I've read (notably the PHB descriptions) always refers to Lawful characters as following A law, not the law. Whether it be a personal code of conduct, the traditions of his lineage, the codes of his order/school of teaching, they follow that, or at least try to. Any character who "follows a code of conduct", but actively seeks to pervert it to suit their whims isn't actually following said code, and this is actually chaotic. A lawful person, evil or good, would adhere to their code regardless of their personal whims. So, as you say "LE is Evil because it perverts the Law", that's not at all what lawful evil is, that's what chaotic evil is. Lawful evil on an individual level, is an individual who's personal code of conduct allows for, or even actively encourages evil, but the individual will still follow that code, even when it might be sometimes inconvenient.

    Thus, realistically, a better way of looking at lawful vs chaotic (at an individualistic level with regards to conduct anyway) would be disciplined vs whimsical.

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    I mean, if you want a serious answer, from the perspective of morality, to the OP's question, the problem with LG is just that: it will give up on doing the right thing, sometimes, in order to maintain order.
    This follows the same flawed mentaility that lawful means following the laws of the land. A lawful good person who follows a non-lawful good code is going to have a bad time. I think this mostly stems from people reading the paladin code of conduct, which is in fact rather self contradicting in that it requres the paladin to uphold the laws of the land, but a normal lawful good individual is lawful good because they follow a good code, and thus following their code should never actually come in conflict with performing good.
    Last edited by Crake; 2019-09-19 at 03:32 AM.
    World of Madius wiki - My personal campaign setting, including my homebrew Optional Gestalt/LA rules.
    The new Quick Vestige List

    Quote Originally Posted by Kazyan View Post
    Playing a wizard the way GitP says wizards should be played requires the equivalent time and effort investment of a university minor. Do you really want to go down this rabbit hole, or are you comfortable with just throwing a souped-up Orb of Fire at the thing?
    Quote Originally Posted by atemu1234 View Post
    Humans are rarely truly irrational, just wrong.

  23. - Top - End - #113
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lord Raziere's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Gender
    Male2Female

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    So you are telling me that the NG lumi that wants to exterminate each and every thing that is evil aligned Or lies(so a Good aligned person who lies is a valid target for lumi) are among the most good people?
    the best source I can find on lumi says they are often lawful neutral. I'd hardly consider a NG one likely to follow typical lumi behavior.
    My Fan Fiction:
    To Catch A Mew
    A Kalos based pokemon fan fic. Now up to Chapter 24!



  24. - Top - End - #114
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2015

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    the best source I can find on lumi says they are often lawful neutral. I'd hardly consider a NG one likely to follow typical lumi behavior.
    I am sorry for getting wrong the alignment of lumi.

  25. - Top - End - #115
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2018

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    I apologize in advance for the wall of text...

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    @ezekielraiden - you've made me really think. Kudos. After a bit of thought, I've realized that the issue is one of "fluff and crunch".
    The point of any good discussion, so I'm glad to facilitate that.

    See, all the alignment stuff in the PH? It's fluff. (I mean, taken literally, there are 6 best alignments, and the other 3 are the most dangerous alignment. When, clearly, Lawful Evil is both the best and the most dangerous alignment.) Whereas the "perform x actions of y type, and you're going to Hell" is crunch. It's actionable RAW, whereas the PH just has 5e-style "mother may I" fluff.

    Even so, my posts have wandered a bit between "raw" and "as played" and "platonic ideal of" - sometimes in ways that are obviously correct in context; other times, not so much.
    That's...hm. On the one hand, you make very good points. On the other, where does this leave us with the "alignment RAW" problem? Because this sounds like you're in essentially the same boat as me--variably applying either RAW, active-play, and platonic ideals as warranted--but it seemed, at least in the other thread, that that was a problem, and we needed to stick to RAW entirely. If your position isn't one where the buck stops at RAW and only RAW, then I think we have a more fruitful but far less definite discussion, because we'll almost surely differ on which parts require adherence to RAW and which parts require active-play/platonic-ideal analysis.

    Good is better at forgiveness after the fact, therefore Good is better for party unity.

    Evil is better at acceptance in the moment, therefore Evil is better for party unity.

    Sound right?
    Sort of? I do think the contrast of forgiveness vs. acceptance is an interesting one, and helps break us out of possibly-conflicting uses of the word "compromise." Good doesn't accept compromises on ideals, but is actively interested in compromises (that don't affect those ideals too much) with people, as people are inherently worthy of Good's attention, with "people" being pretty broadly defined in most cases. I think a key disagreement we have is over how much Evil is willing to compromise its ideals. Because I DO think Evil has ideals, in much the way that (for example) St. Augustine (or possibly Aristotle?) noted that wicked people cannot be totally devoid of virtues or they would be ineffectual people. Whereas it seems like many here take the position that, essentially, there is no action whatsoever, or few enough to ignore as a rounding error, that can meaningfully make you less Evil, but enormously more actions that can make you less Good than actions that maintain or advance your Good-ness. And I don't accept that--I'm willing to agree that there are a variety of ways to fall, but not willing to agree that as a measure of valid actions, Good is so overwhelmingly more restricted than Evil that Good is (as noted before) merely the alignment for idiots who accomplish nothing. In a certain sense, it's St. Augustine's (or Aristotle's, can't remember) argument in reverse: smart Evil certainly prioritizes effectiveness, but there's a large excluded middle between "prioritizes effectiveness over literally anything else" and "woefully ineffective at everything."

    So, yeah, ignoring that one niche type of game, where Evil may not be appropriate, reasonable Evil can still be built to put the party first.

    Note that I'm not talking about any arbitrary Evil - I am specifically talking about making characters designed and optimized to maximize party cohesion. And, in that race, both IMO and IME, Evil wins.
    Why is only Evil allowed to optimize for party cohesion? Why does Evil get to pursue unity without any limits? (I'm going to hit this point a lot, so it may be worthwhile to just respond once rather than to every version separately.)

    Evil can turn anything into an agreement.
    Yeah, this is exactly what I'm talking about. I don't buy this. I don't buy that Evil is totally uninhibited. Either there are (and I think RAW says so) or there should be (and both alignment-in-play and platonic-idealism surely say so) lines that Evil should not be willing to cross, just as there are lines for all three of the other alignment elements. The lines may be fuzzier or broader for some alignments than others, but they have to exist. Otherwise, we end up with, again, "X is the alignment for chumps, Y is the alignment for people who accomplish things," and that's clearly not RAW or RAI for any of the alignments.

    So, back to my original question: when one Good character looks at this complicated situation, and *believes* differently than the party regarding what is Good, can they simply ignore their belief, (say) letting all those innocent villagers die for the sake of party unity?
    In this relatively manufactured situation? Maybe not. Personally, I'd be advocating for the Roy-watching-Belkar scenario. If we can't just let them stay here, and we can't just kill them, and we can't just drive them away, and we can't hand them over to someone more competent, and we have no hope of extracting durable promises from them, then it is our responsibility to keep watch over them until such time as that watch can be transferred (e.g. to a druid grove, local Cleric temple/monastery, constabulary, etc.) or reasonably released (e.g. we're 500 miles away in an area where no innocents have any reason to be, yet it's reasonably safe for a gaggle of sapient monsters to hang out and live for a while.) Responsibility doesn't mean lacking creativity, after all.

    However...are you 100% certain that no such situation can occur, even for smart, competent Evil? Because it seems to me like you're implying that with this line of questioning. Is Evil really so flexible that there is nothing whatsoever that friendly/amicable Evil would never be willing to do? Because that Evil sounds, frankly, completely unrealistic and unlike anything any real person could ever achieve, being simultaneously more generous, caring, and helpful than the goodest of Good, yet also more ruthless, selfish, and demanding than the darkest Neutral.

    Start with a character with Empathy. Have him live the life of an adventure. Have him slaughter dozens of sentient beings every long rest; more on a good day. How long do you think he'll remain Good?
    So, are you saying it's just impossible to be a Good character? That, again, would seem to be saying that the RAW is wrong, since it very clearly talks about long-term Good characters who are adventurers, and even engage in violence.

    Good men adventurers can rarely stomach empathizing with all the beings that they kill for long. Whereas Evil delights in suffering, and can enjoy empathizing with their prey.

    Do you appreciate life? Yes? That's good. Because I take no pleasure in taking a life if it's from a person who doesn't care about it.

    The Illithid performance eater - arguably the pinnacle of empathy - isn't exactly on Good's Christmas shopping list.

    [AN: Brought here because it's related] Fair enough. I view my tempers as really getting inside someone's head, and delighting in feeling their anguish, the same way some people are wired to sleep when caffeinated. But that's certainly not a required PoV for them to work.
    I don't think anyone would say Schadenfreude is a form of empathy. Joy in another's pain, whether in the relief form ("oh thank goodness it was someone else") or in the sadistic glee sense, doesn't communicate anything like "empathy" to me.

    There are plenty who believe that the purpose of compromise is to make everyone equally unhappy. Just how many babies per year do you let the monster slaughter and sew into its skin, how many brains per year do you let the Illithid consume? If both these monsters need these things for their survival, how do you try to find a compromise?
    Compromise only goes so far--for anyone. Unless you're willing to say that an Evil character should always be willing to "compromise" to exactly the same extent--sacrificing all of their valuables, even their lives, just so someone else can get a bite to eat or clothes to wear? Which circles back to the "why are we only looking at Good in its absolute worst cases, either foolishness, or the most extreme possible problem, but looking at Evil in its absolute best cases, where it's stripped of every possible issue or flaw?

    Why does Evil have completely unbounded potential for cooperation, but Good only ever gets its least cooperative elements emphasized?

    (As for compromising with an Illithid, that involves finding sources of food that don't require sapient sacrifice. I have, in fact, played a Paladin willing to compromise with vampires--as long as those vampires were willing to stop behaving like predators and dominators, and start behaving like citizens. Remarkably, it worked, and not only did they not betray my character's trust, they genuinely worked to make a place where vampires and regular living mortals could live together peacefully. Working with illithids requires similar willingness to consider food-sources that aren't people. Past editions have included things like brain moss, which is sufficiently nutritious to keep illithids fed without needing to kill people, particularly if supplemented with the brains of non-sapient apex predators now and then.

    There is no compromising with baby-skin-stitching monsters, but that's clearly a cartoonish Evil, isn't it? Party cohesion need not apply.)

    Again, I reverse that - those with Empathy are unlikely to remain Good. Evil can delight in the suffering it causes; Good cannot.

    But, yes, there are a few things, like remorse, that empathizing with could be dangerous to the cause.
    See above. Enjoying suffering at all isn't Good, I agree on that. But I don't think sadism or Schadenfreude are "empathy." Yes, they have some relationship to knowing and understanding the feelings of others.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    This, a million times over. One of the chief complaints about Evil characters is when the player justifies a jerk move with "it's what my character would do," but this cuts both ways - you are the author of your character. What your character would or would not do is entirely your choice. And that includes wanting the party to succeed.

    You can be exploitative - the party's success makes the members, including you, grow stronger. You can be cynical - as long as the party succeeds, I can use them to avoid consequences for my actions. You can be corrupting - as the party succeeds with my aid, they start to see the value of Evil methods. You can even be affable - I want the party to succeed because they are my friends, and that transcends alignment.
    Are there no lines whatsoever that Evil cannot cross?

    But first and foremost, if you're playing Evil, you want to want the party to succeed.
    So Evil is just the alignment of desiring success, and everything else is the alignment of desiring failure? Again, this trivializes alignment entirely, and emphatically disagrees with RAW, actual-play, and platonic-idealist ideas, to use Quertus' terms. Evil doesn't get to claim exclusive domain over "being effective." Otherwise the books would be explicitly saying that Good just is stupidity, and you've made it quite clear that you don't think that. Stupid Good is certainly a thing, but nothing I have read of your posts indicates the belief that being Good is identical to being stupid. It's costly, dangerous, or distracting, but not stupid--and if that's the case, it definitely sounds like Evil can't have a monopoly on "seeking success."

    Precisely. Evil could do it for good press, to disguise their deeds, or simply because doing these things contributes to their ultimate goals. Evil can perform acts of Good to get the job done. It's Good that's expressly prohibited from doing Evil.
    So Evil entails no limits whatsoever? I reject that both on RAW grounds and on philosophical grounds. If "Evil" simply means "not having limits," then you have washed "Evil" out until it means nothing at all. No alignment, not even Neutral, should be allowed to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, as often as it wants, without bound or limit.

    Now, back on point? The only issue I have with Lawful Good is the writing.
    Then you and I are completely in agreement. As LG is often written, it is often insufferable, prudish, tattling, sycophantic, dogmatic, boorish, and so closed-minded it's a wonder those minds haven't collapsed into black holes (or perhaps they have...) That writing is as distinct from the spectrum of valid LG characters as the crappy writing of basically every alignment. Lawful Evil all too often gets painted as paranoid, shortsighted, intolerant, petty, querulous, treacherous, etc. Far too many people act like Moff Tarkin and Maleficent are what all LE individuals try to be, and it's to their double detriment: both because it closes their minds to interesting characters, and because it makes them unable to see the evil living among them that has admirable traits as well as evil ones. As Captain Picard put it: "Villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well-camouflaged."

    Face facts, LG is considered by the writers to be "best" Good. <snipping plenty of good examples> And that's what irks me. The writing. Most alignments have their own merits. But the key merit of LG - as the writers seem determined to show us - is that it's the best alignment.

    And, uh, I don't know if you've heard of me, but... I disagree with that sentiment.
    I think this loops back into something I obliquely mentioned earlier (or perhaps in the other thread): one of the core problems with the writing for the Paladin class is that it strongly implies (but never outright states) that being a Paladin makes you automatically worthy of respect from everyone. I think this is an enormous part of why Paladins go so wrong as often as they do. The assumption that you deserve respect automatically is almost always a flaw, regardless of who or what is making that assumption. (I have certain religious exceptions, but those require that you've already bought into the basic premise to begin with, meaning it still always required ground work, never a mere fiat declaration with nothing to back it up.)

    Lawful Good does not specially deserve respect. No alignment deserves respect without thought. Each person not only can, but should, earn respect through their deeds. How any alignment achieves that respect varies, of course, but any element of alignment can. Plus, petty Evil is easy, so it doesn't really merit much respect--but none of us is really interested in talking about petty Evil here. Petty Good really doesn't make much of an appearance in D&D writing, and that too may be part of the fault here, for failing to show the parts of Good that really are easy, like being nice to your wait-staff or tipping the bellboy.

    So, believe it or not Red Fel, I pretty much unequivocally share your disagreement with this writing pattern. I prefer Lawful Good over all alignments, and absolutely work to see it enacted in most games I'm a player in. But that doesn't make LG any more, nor any less, "deserving" of respect than any other alignment. Earning your party-mates' respect is a vitally important thing for any alignment, but particularly proselytizing ones, and I suspect both of us have some interest in that!

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    A Lawful Neutral person is more Lawful than a Lawful Good person. A Neutral Good person is more Good than a Lawful Good person.
    This I emphatically disagree with. Likewise, the idea that a Lawful Neutral person is more Lawful than a Lawful Evil person, etc. One can still be entirely Lawful Good, and yet when truly hard-pressed, consistently choose Good over Law. One can be truly Chaotic Neutral, and yet when truly hard-pressed, consistently choose Evil over Good. Alignments are not straightjackets. Celia's end speech is a perfect example of this, showing a genuinely Lawful Good society that is capable of remaining purely Lawful and purely Good while admitting fault in the laws. Roy is another; he frequently uses Chaotic means to achieve Lawful ends, and yet a literal being of pure Law and Good expressly states that his pattern of behavior befits someone genuinely seeking to be Lawful and Good, not Good with a side of Lawful but actually both things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    I mean, if you want a serious answer, from the perspective of morality, to the OP's question, the problem with LG is just that: it will give up on doing the right thing, sometimes, in order to maintain order.
    I consistently play LG characters. I have, in fact, been repeatedly identified by my friends as being the LG guy, the group's natural Paladin (and, thankfully, explicitly NOT the Lawful Stupid nor Stupid Good type of Paladin). I have never--not once--given up on doing the right thing just to maintain order in any LG character I play. Order exists to serve the Good. Mortal law derives its justice from a higher Law. As Lije Bailey once said to R. Daneel Olivaw of the Law from the Bible, that doesn't really admit being legally enforced: “It is in a sense higher than any law can be.”

    Order is a tool. To at least my brand of Lawful Good, order is far and away the most useful tool for achieving Good. It permits consistent outcomes, and drags actions that are often done in secrecy out into the light, where they may be scrutinized and, if necessary, corrected. But ultimately, every law exists for a function. Unlike we mortals, who may never truly know what our purpose is, our telos, laws are inherently written with a purpose, and Lawful Good says that that purpose must always be the Good, in one form or another. A law that serves no function whatsoever is at best a humorous artefact, and at worst an impediment that should be removed. (And, in general, I see it as perfectly Lawful to want elegance in a legal system--which can mean striving for maximum effectiveness with the minimum number of laws needed. Parsimony is neither inherently Lawful nor inherently Chaotic, given that it's literally the idea behind Occam's Razor, a commonly-used heuristic in one of the most lawful things humans have ever done, science.)

    A law that actively fights its intended function has negated itself, and the only lawful action available is to oppose it until it is fixed, replaced, or removed, whichever is relevant. Since Lawful Good only accepts Good (in some form) as a valid purpose for any law, a law that fails to serve or actively fights against the Good is inherently unacceptable and not only can be, but MUST be opposed. That doesn't mean that you challenge the acceptability or validity of Law as a whole--just those laws which fail to adhere to acceptable functions. This is where concepts like Civil Disobedience comes in. You reject the individual law for its wrongness, but you accept the punishment for breaking it, because you still accept the validity of the system in which that law is found. Perfectly Lawful, and yet opposed to a particular law because of its faults; as Dr. King put it, "[A]ny man who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail in order to arouse the conscience of the community on the injustice of the law is at that moment expressing the very highest respect for law."

  26. - Top - End - #116
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Red Fel's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Are there no lines whatsoever that Evil cannot cross?
    I mean, Evil is kind of defined by the willingness - nay, eagerness - to cross lines. It's a pretty big part of what Evil is. So, pure Evil, I'd say... no, no such lines.

    Now, Evil plus another alignment component - Lawful or Chaotic - may have lines. But those are lines of the ethical spectrum, not the moral one.

    Also, Evil may have standards. Those are personal, not alignment-based. A particular Evil may have lines that he or she personally doesn't cross, for various reasons.

    But, objectively, in a vacuum? No, no lines. Not really.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    So Evil is just the alignment of desiring success, and everything else is the alignment of desiring failure? Again, this trivializes alignment entirely, and emphatically disagrees with RAW, actual-play, and platonic-idealist ideas, to use Quertus' terms. Evil doesn't get to claim exclusive domain over "being effective." Otherwise the books would be explicitly saying that Good just is stupidity, and you've made it quite clear that you don't think that. Stupid Good is certainly a thing, but nothing I have read of your posts indicates the belief that being Good is identical to being stupid. It's costly, dangerous, or distracting, but not stupid--and if that's the case, it definitely sounds like Evil can't have a monopoly on "seeking success."
    Just because Evil is "X" does not make non-Evil "not X." Saying that Evil desires success does not mean, for example, that Good desires failure.

    Also, I didn't say that Evil is the "alignment of desiring success." Evil is, as I have often noted, the alignment of ruthlessness beyond ruthlessness. Good cannot be truly ruthless - there has to be some compassion, some mercy to its actions. Neutral can be ruthless, because it performs its role irrespective of harm or benefit to others. But Evil engages in ruthlessness and generally derives some satisfaction from the harm it causes. That's the distinction between Neutral and Evil again - the "excess" I've mentioned in the past.

    Evil is the alignment of ruthlessness beyond ruthlessness. Evil will do whatever it takes - ruin however many lives, destroy however many kingdoms, wage however many wars and release however many plagues - to achieve its aims.

    Evil doesn't get to claim exclusive domain over "being effective," but it can generally be more effective than alignments hampered by morality, obligation, or compassion, because it is not typically limited by those things.

    Naturally, there is a cost. Evil may be more effective, but the more effective it is - by abandoning moral limits - the less desirable its methods become. That's the exchange.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    So Evil entails no limits whatsoever? I reject that both on RAW grounds and on philosophical grounds. If "Evil" simply means "not having limits," then you have washed "Evil" out until it means nothing at all. No alignment, not even Neutral, should be allowed to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, as often as it wants, without bound or limit.
    You can reject whatever you want. But the second sentence does not follow the first - not having limits doesn't mean meaningless. The word "unlimited" has a definition. And the third sentence perfectly encapsulates why Evil is Evil - nobody should be allowed to do whatever they want, but Evil does.

    Just try to stop us.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Then you and I are completely in agreement. As LG is often written, it is often insufferable, prudish, tattling, sycophantic, dogmatic, boorish, and so closed-minded it's a wonder those minds haven't collapsed into black holes (or perhaps they have...) That writing is as distinct from the spectrum of valid LG characters as the crappy writing of basically every alignment. Lawful Evil all too often gets painted as paranoid, shortsighted, intolerant, petty, querulous, treacherous, etc. Far too many people act like Moff Tarkin and Maleficent are what all LE individuals try to be, and it's to their double detriment: both because it closes their minds to interesting characters, and because it makes them unable to see the evil living among them that has admirable traits as well as evil ones. As Captain Picard put it: "Villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well-camouflaged."
    To be fair, a lot of what you've described is how LG is played, not how it's written. I and others have said - upthread and elsewhere - that this is a player problem. But, yes, the shining hero and paragon of virtue does become an increasingly two-dimensional archetype when written that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    I think this loops back into something I obliquely mentioned earlier (or perhaps in the other thread): one of the core problems with the writing for the Paladin class is that it strongly implies (but never outright states) that being a Paladin makes you automatically worthy of respect from everyone. I think this is an enormous part of why Paladins go so wrong as often as they do. The assumption that you deserve respect automatically is almost always a flaw, regardless of who or what is making that assumption. (I have certain religious exceptions, but those require that you've already bought into the basic premise to begin with, meaning it still always required ground work, never a mere fiat declaration with nothing to back it up.)
    A large degree of this, yes. Paladins are heaped with so much divine favor - despite the fact, as I often have to repeat, that they are not generally obligated to follow a deity - that it comes across as them basically being The Chosen Class. Despite, you know, being one of the worst mechanically. A lot of players will see this and make that leap, ignoring the fact that respect is earned. The best Paladin players I've seen use that effectively - their characters are humble, warm, and helpful, and people admire them for these traits, not because they took a level in one of the worst core classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Lawful Good does not specially deserve respect. No alignment deserves respect without thought. Each person not only can, but should, earn respect through their deeds. How any alignment achieves that respect varies, of course, but any element of alignment can. Plus, petty Evil is easy, so it doesn't really merit much respect--but none of us is really interested in talking about petty Evil here. Petty Good really doesn't make much of an appearance in D&D writing, and that too may be part of the fault here, for failing to show the parts of Good that really are easy, like being nice to your wait-staff or tipping the bellboy.
    Seconded.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    So, believe it or not Red Fel, I pretty much unequivocally share your disagreement with this writing pattern. I prefer Lawful Good over all alignments, and absolutely work to see it enacted in most games I'm a player in. But that doesn't make LG any more, nor any less, "deserving" of respect than any other alignment. Earning your party-mates' respect is a vitally important thing for any alignment, but particularly proselytizing ones, and I suspect both of us have some interest in that!
    I believe it. I'm very convincing.
    My headache medicine has a little "Ex" inscribed on the pill. It's not a brand name; it's an indicator that it works inside an Anti-Magic Field.

    Blue text means sarcasm. Purple text means evil. White text is invisible.

    My signature got too big for its britches. So now it's over here!

  27. - Top - End - #117
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

    Join Date
    Dec 2018

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    By the same token, though, Lawful Good is about viewing order to be good, just as Chaotic Good is about viewing freedom to be good. A Lawful Neutral person is more Lawful than a Lawful Good person. A Neutral Good person is more Good than a Lawful Good person. Lawful Good people accept the notion that there is no way to always achieve Good; they believe Law is the best way to avoid unintentional harm, so they adhere to it, accepting that it will occasionally still require unrighteous occurrences due to circumstances. The rules can bend, but if you break them, you invite greater evil than if you follow them.

    The moral axis isn't somehow "stronger" than the ethical one. Having a non-neutral moral alignment doesn't automatically make your ethical alignment secondary.
    Why do you conclude that the moral axis isn’t stronger than the ethical one? My experience has been that Lawful Good characters tend to work better with Chaotic Good characters than they do with Lawful Evil characters.

  28. - Top - End - #118
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Beholder

    Join Date
    Jun 2014

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus
    Evil can accept people doing good acts; good cannot abide evil. Thus, yes, evil is better for party unity, because it can tolerate more. Evil is more tolerant.
    Except as has been pointed out numerous times, this is not the case. Good and Evil are not binary values, good and evil creatures are not uniform in their perception or behavior, so on and so forth. Otherwise good people tolerate the existence of evil all the time, they just don't tolerate all evil, all of the time. You keep using examples like eating babies and raising armies of undead, but these are not representative of all or even most evil PCs.

    If good could not abide evil then the Paladin code would have no reason to even bring it up, because it'd be the default expectation. There would be no good aligned people in entire nations where slavery is legal, yet that is objectively not the case (whatever people with modern sensibilities might want to claim). Evils great and small exist in every city in the world in reasonably large numbers, and yet good people live there day by day without rioting in the streets, smiting their neighbors, and otherwise refusing to tolerate any evils in their presence. Good people can not only tolerate evil, they can commit evil acts, because people aren't perfect examples of an alignment. Where the line is depends on a lot of variables (mostly your DM) as to whether you're actually a Good person anymore, but this idea that good people are paragons of virtue is silly in the extreme.

    Evil is a choice, and does not preclude behaving altruistically.
    Uh... I don't think you understand what altruism is. If you're doing something because of social pressure is not altruistic.

    Someone who works at a homeless shelter because of an altruistic desire to help the poor with no consideration for how it reflects on them or what it gives them, but also poisons their enemies or otherwise does some evil stuff, could just as easily be Neutral. Or they could be an evil person who does some good things (see above re: where the line is). I'm still baffled that you can see an evil person who sometimes does good things for good reasons while still being evil but can't see a good person who sometimes does evil things while still being good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel
    No, my issue is with where the writers take the concept. Face facts, LG is considered by the writers to be "best" Good.
    Disagree 100%. The writers have been pretty clear, ime, that Neutral Good is the "best" Good, because Law and Chaos both require you to take other crap into consideration in your interpretation of Good.

    Stuff about Exalted Deeds.
    Again, disagree 100%. The idea that Vows don't exactly jive with a chaotic mindset is just as silly as the idea that good and evil characters are defined as some kind of platonic ideal. A chaotic person is entirely capable of taking a vow, just like a lawful person is entirely capable of ignoring law enforcement or other authority figures. A chaotic person is entirely capable of having a personal code while utterly disdaining the codes of conduct imposed by society. They don't have to, but they can. Exalted Deeds has Vows because those vows require dedication, and that kind of dedication is something not limited to or representative of Law or Chaos.

    And LE is Evil because it perverts Law.
    Your bias is showing more than the writers, it feels like.

    "A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank. He is loath to break laws or promises. "

    Nothing about that says literally anything about being evil because of perverting the law, and that's the very first thing they write about Lawful Evil in the PHB.

    The people who treat Lawful Good as the most Good are a problem, but they tend to be table players more than WotC writers. As was noted previously the fact that 'Good' only has one class dedicated to it, and that class is Lawful Good, can promote that perception (point to you, sure), but the actual problem is that people have a tendency to take that to mean more than it does. Nobody ever seems to have their opinions of Neutrality swayed by the Druid. :p

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev
    Personally, I take it a step further; I think NG and NE are the epitomes of their respective moral axes. NG is where you find "the best alignment" (if you're defining "best" as "most good," at least). NE is where you find "the worst alignment" (again, defining "the worst" as "most evil").
    Yeah, this 100%. Which it straight up says in the alignment descriptions in 3.5, and even more explicitly in Pathfinder.

    Quote Originally Posted by RatElemental
    The different approaches to the alignment can be, probably not exhaustively, summed up as "Thinking that Law is Good" and "Upholding Good as Law."
    This. God this. I play at a table with at least two players whose RL perceptions are so oriented towards the idea that Law = Good and Good = Law that sometimes I want to strangle them. >_>

    Quote Originally Posted by patchyman
    Why do you conclude that the moral axis isn’t stronger than the ethical one? My experience has been that Lawful Good characters tend to work better with Chaotic Good characters than they do with Lawful Evil characters.
    Some Lawful Good people will place more emphasis on Law because they believe tha, say, societal good will flow from the social contract and agreed upon laws that come with it. Some Lawful Good people will focus more on doing Good, and their Lawful nature will express itself more in personal choices than their expectations for other people or even society as a whole.

    My whole issue with Paladins is that I believe they should put Good first, Lawful second. They are Lawful because of the combination of their code, their honor, etc, but these things exist for the purpose of seeing Good done. A Paladin shouldn't hesitate to break the law if they feel it's necessary in the pursuit of Good, even if the law in question isn't inherently unjust, though I do prefer the Pathfinder definition of their code where a Paladin isn't expected to be an idiot about it.

  29. - Top - End - #119
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    I mean, Evil is kind of defined by the willingness - nay, eagerness - to cross lines. It's a pretty big part of what Evil is. So, pure Evil, I'd say... no, no such lines.

    Also, Evil may have standards. Those are personal, not alignment-based. A particular Evil may have lines that he or she personally doesn't cross, for various reasons.

    But, objectively, in a vacuum? No, no lines. Not really.
    I wanted to lead with this, and hit it from another angle. Because, when you are designing a character to work with a party, Good has limits on how you can build it, lines that it won't cross. Whereas Evil gives you much more freedom to optimize your design process, to make a character that will work with the party.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    The point of any good discussion, so I'm glad to facilitate that.


    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    That's...hm. On the one hand, you make very good points. On the other, where does this leave us with the "alignment RAW" problem? Because this sounds like you're in essentially the same boat as me--variably applying either RAW, active-play, and platonic ideals as warranted--but it seemed, at least in the other thread, that that was a problem, and we needed to stick to RAW entirely. If your position isn't one where the buck stops at RAW and only RAW, then I think we have a more fruitful but far less definite discussion, because we'll almost surely differ on which parts require adherence to RAW and which parts require active-play/platonic-ideal analysis.
    When building a character with a personality - as opposed to a caricature of an alignment or a personification of an alignment - it's a different argument, a different set of criteria. So it's more… that we're having multiple discussions, that are trying to pretend to be one discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Sort of? I do think the contrast of forgiveness vs. acceptance is an interesting one, and helps break us out of possibly-conflicting uses of the word "compromise." Good doesn't accept compromises on ideals, but is actively interested in compromises (that don't affect those ideals too much) with people, as people are inherently worthy of Good's attention, with "people" being pretty broadly defined in most cases. I think a key disagreement we have is over how much Evil is willing to compromise its ideals. Because I DO think Evil has ideals
    I certainly agree that acceptance and forgiveness are good ways of wording the differences.

    Does evil have "ideals"? Sure. But…

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Evil certainly prioritizes effectiveness, but there's a large excluded middle between "prioritizes effectiveness over literally anything else" and "woefully ineffective at everything."
    Evil prioritizes - or can prioritize - certain things (success, effectiveness, etc) higher than Good can. This includes "the party's effectiveness" or "success at working with the party".

    As i keep trying to point out, "the problem with (Lawful) Good" is that when its morals come into conflict with its effectiveness as a party member, it is less able to simply choose party cohesion.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Why is only Evil allowed to optimize for party cohesion?
    It's not. Hopefully, anyone who chooses any characteristic - including any alignment - will attempt to optimize their character concept to work with the party.

    Problem is, by choosing "Lawful Good", you've maximally hamstring yourself for this task - much like someone who enjoys an optimization challenge choosing a weaker chassis to optimize to try to reach the party balance range has intentionally made their job harder.

    It's not that Good cannot be optimized, or that Good cannot work with the party - it's that Good has a lower ceiling than Evil.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Yeah, this is exactly what I'm talking about. I don't buy this. I don't buy that Evil is totally uninhibited. Either there are (and I think RAW says so) or there should be (and both alignment-in-play and platonic-idealism surely say so) lines that Evil should not be willing to cross, just as there are lines for all three of the other alignment elements. The lines may be fuzzier or broader for some alignments than others, but they have to exist. Otherwise, we end up with, again, "X is the alignment for chumps, Y is the alignment for people who accomplish things," and that's clearly not RAW or RAI for any of the alignments.
    Start with some Good character. Then add in a number of unrepentant murders (of, say, people who killed his family members, or even of otherwise good people who were in the way of someone else saving the world) sufficient to, by RAW, make them Evil. They can still have - or not have - any of their former "good" behaviors, but, by RAW, they are Evil, are they not?

    Yes, they have a line that they cannot cross: they cannot repent and atone for those murders. Otherwise, they can be whoever you want them to be. Whoever will make them work best with the party, if that's your goal.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    However...are you 100% certain that no such situation can occur, even for smart, competent Evil? Because it seems to me like you're implying that with this line of questioning. Is Evil really so flexible that there is nothing whatsoever that friendly/amicable Evil would never be willing to do? Because that Evil sounds, frankly, completely unrealistic and unlike anything any real person could ever achieve, being simultaneously more generous, caring, and helpful than the goodest of Good, yet also more ruthless, selfish, and demanding than the darkest Neutral.
    Checking context…

    Ah. I'm saying that if evil has put "work with the party" as their priority, they can overlook things that Good cannot.

    Perhaps it's easier to see if we replace "party" with "country". Imagine an evil super patriot who would do anything for their country. If they believe that the right thing is to let some foreigners live, but their country has decided to kill them, do you believe that they'll make a fuss? Do you believe that a Good character wouldn't (or mightn't)?

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Compromise only goes so far--for anyone. Unless you're willing to say that an Evil character should always be willing to "compromise" to exactly the same extent--sacrificing all of their valuables, even their lives, just so someone else can get a bite to eat or clothes to wear? Which circles back to the "why are we only looking at Good in its absolute worst cases, either foolishness, or the most extreme possible problem, but looking at Evil in its absolute best cases, where it's stripped of every possible issue or flaw?
    I think I'm trying to look at the ceiling for both.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Why does Evil have completely unbounded potential for cooperation, but Good only ever gets its least cooperative elements emphasized?
    PR? Because many people (historically) only discuss the floor of Evil, and overlook the downsides of Good?

    When comparing the ceiling, when comparing the best one can optimize them to work with a party, Evil does have completely unbounded potential for cooperation, whereas Good's least cooperative elements need to be emphasized.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    As for compromising with an Illithid, that involves finding sources of food that don't require sapient sacrifice. I have, in fact, played a Paladin willing to compromise with vampires--as long as those vampires were willing to stop behaving like predators and dominators, and start behaving like citizens. Remarkably, it worked, and not only did they not betray my character's trust, they genuinely worked to make a place where vampires and regular living mortals could live together peacefully. Working with illithids requires similar willingness to consider food-sources that aren't people. Past editions have included things like brain moss, which is sufficiently nutritious to keep illithids fed without needing to kill people, particularly if supplemented with the brains of non-sapient apex predators now and then.
    Kudos. Most Good, as played, wouldn't even consider this.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    So Evil is just the alignment of desiring success, and everything else is the alignment of desiring failure?
    No, evil is the alignment of *prioritizing* success. Or it can be.

    That's kinda the point of evil - it can prioritize anything. Note that "anything" can include "the party's success" or "efficiency working with others". Good is a bit more… constrained in its options.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-09-19 at 07:43 PM.

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

    Join Date
    Jul 2019

    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    To join the discussion, the problem with LG is the same as any alignment the way some people play it, seriously any alignment can be bad, I once had a guy rationalize that it was okay for him to send a teenager to hell because they spit on his shoes, because true neutral characters responds to things the way those things interact with them, since spitting on his shoe was a hostile action he could respond with the hostile action of sending a minor to literal hell.


    I also need to point Raistlin from dragonlance, he's about as evil as a protagonist gets (even when he was wearing the red robes), he still helped out with the war of the lance because, despite what he says, he still cared about his friends. Evil =/= inability do good, merely that that a majority of your actions, methods or goals are evil.

Posting Permissions

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