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  1. - Top - End - #121
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus
    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.
    Only because, as usual, you're presenting specifically limited good vs unlimited evil. As if every evil character is down for whatever, whenever, wherever, despite that not being the case for the vast majority of evil characters. If the design goal is 'A character that will work with the party.', part of the process is always going to involve asking the question 'What kind of party is it?', because otherwise the only universal fit is a character so vile that literally nothing is ever going to be off limits. That's not 'evil characters', that's a very specific type of evil character.

    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.
    Only if you've chosen a very specific kind of Lawful Good character. Once again so much of your position requires that every Good character (Lawful Good in this case) is a rigid, unyielding bastion of Law who's also maybe kind of good.

    Ah. I'm saying that if evil has put "work with the party" as their priority, they can overlook things that Good cannot.
    See above re: Only a very specific kind of evil.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden
    Why does Evil have completely unbounded potential for cooperation, but Good only ever gets its least cooperative elements emphasized?
    See above. Quertus seems to treat every evil character as if they are absolutely, purely evil with zero consideration for any other aspect of their character or personality. When presented with the idea that a Lawful Evil follower of Hextor and a Chaotic Evil follower of, say, Orcus will probably have pretty drastic and unresolvable conflicts, he handwaved it off as "Let's leave personality and religion out of it." more or less.

    So he doesn't mean 'evil is better at cooperating' he means that since good characters can't tolerate his evil character eating babies, but his baby eating evil character can tolerate them saving an orphanage, evil is more cooperative than good. As if there aren't plenty of evil characters who would balk at, or even kill you for eating babies. :p

  2. - Top - End - #122
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychoalpha View Post
    Only because, as usual, you're presenting specifically limited good vs unlimited evil. As if every evil character is down for whatever, whenever, wherever, despite that not being the case for the vast majority of evil characters. If the design goal is 'A character that will work with the party.', part of the process is always going to involve asking the question 'What kind of party is it?', because otherwise the only universal fit is a character so vile that literally nothing is ever going to be off limits. That's not 'evil characters', that's a very specific type of evil character.
    While you are correct that you can make LG characters who are willing to work with almost anyone, I think if we took a random sample of 100 LG characters made by people on this forum and 100 characters of each of the evil alignments made by people on this forum, I think a larger chunk of the LG characters would have issues working with a mixed alignments party.
    Only if you've chosen a very specific kind of Lawful Good character. Once again so much of your position requires that every Good character (Lawful Good in this case) is a rigid, unyielding bastion of Law who's also maybe kind of good.
    Again, statistically this is just more common than with Evil builds. Doesn't apply to all LG characters, but a significant chunk of them.
    So he doesn't mean 'evil is better at cooperating' he means that since good characters can't tolerate his evil character eating babies, but his baby eating evil character can tolerate them saving an orphanage, evil is more cooperative than good. As if there aren't plenty of evil characters who would balk at, or even kill you for eating babies. :p
    Ironically I think evil's greatest weakness is a consistent failure to cooperate for the common good. So a lot of individual evil characters have a relatively easy time cooperating with Neutral and Good people, even working for 'good' purposes, as long as it happens to benefit them personally, but once evil people are on top that same selfishness makes it much harder to establish the social and institutional glue of common purpose that holds together Good factions. Evil characters are much more likely to betray their own. Again - this varies from individual to individual, but if you took the same 100 characters of each alignment, that's what you would generally find.
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  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    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.)
    Red Fel already addressed most of your points far more eloquently than I could, but I feel this one deserves special mention.

    In this thread and the other, the main argument is not that Evil is better at being a party member than Good; that is highly subjective after all, and ultimately just a matter of opinion/personal preference. It's that Evil can be a good party member. Arguments that Evil is better in some ways (or even most/all ways) are merely facilitating that larger argument (kind of like taking something to its logical extreme for the purposes of an argument). The fact that Good can also optimize for party effectiveness is therefore irrelevant, because while of course Good characters can be good party members, the point is that an optimized Evil character can be too.
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  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Let's make this really simple: the party is an Illithid Savant, a homicidal cannibalistic spider chick, an honorable knight, a pacifist Druid, and a Kender.

    It's easy for me to envision an Evil character to join this party. But, IMO, it's much harder to optimize a Lawful Good character to make them work with this group.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychoalpha View Post
    Only because, as usual, you're presenting specifically limited good vs unlimited evil. As if every evil character is down for whatever, whenever, wherever, despite that not being the case for the vast majority of evil characters.
    Every evil character? No. The evil character I've optimized to work with this particular party? Yeah, he's down with this party.

    More specifically, "the actions I need to take to work with this party" - for any arbitrary party - are most likely to cause alignment problems for which alignment? (My answer is either Lawful Good or Dedicated to the Balance Neutral.) The only thing that could cause alignment problems for Evil is seeking atonement for what made them evil in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychoalpha View Post
    If the design goal is 'A character that will work with the party.', part of the process is always going to involve asking the question 'What kind of party is it?', because otherwise the only universal fit is a character so vile that literally nothing is ever going to be off limits. That's not 'evil characters', that's a very specific type of evil character.
    Imagine a super patriot, but for "the party" instead of for some country. Totally Evil, willing to do absolutely anything for the party, right or wrong. Works with any (non-dysfunctional) party.

    Not what I was aiming for, but it also works.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychoalpha View Post
    Only if you've chosen a very specific kind of Lawful Good character. Once again so much of your position requires that every Good character (Lawful Good in this case) is a rigid, unyielding bastion of Law who's also maybe kind of good.
    Here we have moved from "optimal" to "the process of getting to optimal", to the "look at 100 examples of x". Very few Lawful Good characters in the wild will work with a murderous, brain-eating Illithid Savant. It is very difficult to optimize and play a character who you have chosen to write "Lawful Good" on their character sheet, then come to terms with working with such beings. But it can be done - see the whole "brain moss" solution. "Lawful Good" is the challenge mode of cooperation.

    Can you create an optimized Lawful Good character who can work with the sample party I gave above? Even if you can, I'll wager it'll be more of an optimization challenge than me developing an evil character to work with them was.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychoalpha View Post
    Quertus seems to treat every evil character as if they are absolutely, purely evil with zero consideration for any other aspect of their character or personality. When presented with the idea that a Lawful Evil follower of Hextor and a Chaotic Evil follower of, say, Orcus will probably have pretty drastic and unresolvable conflicts, he handwaved it off as "Let's leave personality and religion out of it." more or less.
    Half right. I am saying leave personality and religion out of the question of what Evil is, conceptually, able to be optimized for. Can a genocidal dwarf hater work with dwarves? Who cares. That's irrelevant to the question of whether (and with how much difficulty) one can create a Good (or Evil) character to work with a given party.

    (And, no, I think alignment is the worst thing to happen to role-playing in the history of RPGs, and generally play a personality with zero consideration for alignment unless forced to. But, since we're taking alignment here, let's talk alignment, and not muddy the waters with extraneous baggage.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychoalpha View Post
    So he doesn't mean 'evil is better at cooperating' he means that since good characters can't tolerate his evil character eating babies, but his baby eating evil character can tolerate them saving an orphanage, evil is more cooperative than good. As if there aren't plenty of evil characters who would balk at, or even kill you for eating babies. :p
    Of course they would. But, if you're trying to optimize to work with a baby eater, would you start by writing "Lawful Good" on your character sheet? Or do you agree that Lawful Good limits your tolerance capabilities?

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by PoeticallyPsyco View Post
    the main argument is not that Evil is better at being a party member than Good; that is highly subjective after all, and ultimately just a matter of opinion/personal preference. It's that Evil can be a good party member. Arguments that Evil is better in some ways (or even most/all ways) are merely facilitating that larger argument (kind of like taking something to its logical extreme for the purposes of an argument). The fact that Good can also optimize for party effectiveness is therefore irrelevant, because while of course Good characters can be good party members, the point is that an optimized Evil character can be too.
    Well, yes, there is that. Because Evil deserves good PR, and recognition for its ability to be a good party member. But, for this thread in particular, to understand the problems with Lawful Good, we really have to take it a step further, and help people understand why Lawful Good is the worst alignment. Just being equal to Evil falls short of this thread's purpose.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-09-20 at 09:52 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #125
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by FearlessGnome
    While you are correct that you can make LG characters who are willing to work with almost anyone, I think if we took a random sample of 100 LG characters made by people on this forum and 100 characters of each of the evil alignments made by people on this forum, I think a larger chunk of the LG characters would have issues working with a mixed alignments party.
    I think we've already covered the problems inherent in people's perceptions of LG and what a LG character entails more than a few times in this thread. I'm not trying to argue that there aren't limitations imposed by being Lawful Good, depending on what type of Lawful Good you are, but to argue that they're so much greater than the issues a Lawful Evil character would face.

    Again, statistically this is just more common than with Evil builds. Doesn't apply to all LG characters, but a significant chunk of them.
    If we're just talking about 'the characters people create' then people are always going to be the problem. Not alignments, not classes, just players who are too lazy to play LG as anything other than Paladin-esque or evil as anything more defined than 'I do what I want and eat babies'.

    Quote Originally Posted by PoeticallyPsyco
    In this thread and the other, the main argument is not that Evil is better at being a party member than Good
    Er... except that Quertus started both threads, and in both has repeatedly said literally exactly that multiple times. If the person starting the threads continually hammers at a specific point, it's kind of weird to argue that it's not the point. It's not facilitating a larger point it is the point, since people have said on numerous occasions in these threads: 'Yeah, evil characters are capable of being good party members.' It's not even something I've seen being disputed. The only thing that's really under dispute is that evil is so much better at it that Good, and Lawful Good in particular, pale by comparison. :p

    I can't even play LG characters long term, I find it exhausting and my characters tend to be NG/CG/N/NE, and I've never found alignment to be an issue for party coherence. Mind, we play Pathfinder not 3.x, so even if we end up with a Paladin in the party there's some kind of story that makes him or her putting up with a party member of evil alignment necessary. And like magic we work it out, because we're there to play a game together, and cooperation means more than just 'you have to let me do whatever I want' or 'you can't do anything I don't want you to'.

  6. - Top - End - #126
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychoalpha View Post
    Er... except that Quertus started both threads, and in both has repeatedly said literally exactly that multiple times. If the person starting the threads continually hammers at a specific point, it's kind of weird to argue that it's not the point. It's not facilitating a larger point it is the point, since people have said on numerous occasions in these threads: 'Yeah, evil characters are capable of being good party members.' It's not even something I've seen being disputed. The only thing that's really under dispute is that evil is so much better at it that Good, and Lawful Good in particular, pale by comparison. :p
    Um, unless I'm missing something, this thread was started by Bartmanhomer and the other was started by Conradine. I will admit that I was perhaps too sweeping with my claim that no one is arguing Evil is better than Good. Likewise, upon reflection, I think all the claims I saw that "true" evil was incapable of being a good party member were in the Conradine thread instead of this one.
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  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by PoeticallyPsyco View Post
    In this thread and the other, the main argument is not that Evil is better at being a party member than Good; that is highly subjective after all, and ultimately just a matter of opinion/personal preference. It's that Evil can be a good party member. Arguments that Evil is better in some ways (or even most/all ways) are merely facilitating that larger argument (kind of like taking something to its logical extreme for the purposes of an argument). The fact that Good can also optimize for party effectiveness is therefore irrelevant, because while of course Good characters can be good party members, the point is that an optimized Evil character can be too.
    Except that the specific thing I was arguing against was ABSOLUTELY NOT "Evil can totally get along with the rest of the party." Because if it had been that, I never would have argued. I 110% agree that, if you aren't beholden to any other restrictions besides "this character has to be some kind of Evil," you can almost always make a character capable of working with whatever party.

    I was arguing against, "Evil is always better for getting along with the party." (Implied "smart/practical/effective" in front of Evil has since been accepted as a gentleman's agreement--I won't use Stupid Evil as a counter-example, and they won't use Stupid Good as a counter-example, since we both agree that any "Stupid X"/"X Stupid" alignment is naturally bad for the party and thus not a useful discussion point.) Note the italicized words: "always better." It's not just that Evil is capable of cooperation--that's a no-brainer, otherwise things like the Evil Overlord trope would be logical contradictions. It's not just that Evil will slot into some parties Good can't. It's that, if your goal is party cohesion, you will never ever do better with Good than you will with Evil.

    If your point has only been "Evil can optimize for party cohesion too!" then I have literally never intended to argue with you, because you are completely right. If your point is that everyone else has just been arguing an extreme case for a more acceptable lesser thing, then I would say you are either demonstrably wrong/mistaken, or if you're somehow right, that all the people that have been arguing this extreme case have rather poorly made their case for the general thing by barely touching it and usually ignoring it as much as possible.

    Edit: That said, I appreciate you presenting this, as it's helped me understand what the others really were arguing. I had thought it was "Evil is more capable than Good, so it's better for party unity." I think the actual argument--though please correct me if I am wrong!--was that Evil slots into more parties than Good does, and is thus better in a "statistical reliability" kind of sense. That is, it doesn't matter what the party is or wants to do, an Evil character can be drafted that will fit.

    I don't really agree with that. I think there are parties and contexts where an Evil character would never fit in. To give an example, one I've floated as an idea for real gaming groups in the past: a party of devotees of various Good deities, sent by their deities on a mission together. Even if they aren't all Clerics/Paladins (and thus aren't required by any game rules to be non-Evil), I find it more of a stretch than I'm willing to accept that someone specifically selected by a powerful, knowledgeable deity for a mission would actually have Evil alignment without the deity knowing. Sure, I can totally buy that there are evil people in any church hierarchy--even those of Bahamut or Pelor, the gods most likely to get called goody-two-shoes. I don't buy that a character can start off being selected, personally, by one of those deities while also being ~secretly eeeevil!~ Can they drift that way? Absolutely! Can they have behaviors or tendencies that, if allowed free expression, could be or lead to Evil? Again, absolutely.

    So, does the argument that Evil is always better for party unity than Good rest on there being no parties where an Evil character just wouldn't work? If it doesn't, does it still require that in order to avoid issues of line-drawing and deciding which of two nebulous conceptual spaces is "bigger" or "more likely" (both of which are incredibly personal judgments, and probably beyond our ability to account for, even with powerful statistical tools)?
    Last edited by ezekielraiden; 2019-09-21 at 08:19 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #128
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Edit: That said, I appreciate you presenting this, as it's helped me understand what the others really were arguing. I had thought it was "Evil is more capable than Good, so it's better for party unity." I think the actual argument--though please correct me if I am wrong!--was that Evil slots into more parties than Good does, and is thus better in a "statistical reliability" kind of sense. That is, it doesn't matter what the party is or wants to do, an Evil character can be drafted that will fit.

    I don't really agree with that. I think there are parties and contexts where an Evil character would never fit in. To give an example, one I've floated as an idea for real gaming groups in the past: a party of devotees of various Good deities, sent by their deities on a mission together. Even if they aren't all Clerics/Paladins (and thus aren't required by any game rules to be non-Evil), I find it more of a stretch than I'm willing to accept that someone specifically selected by a powerful, knowledgeable deity for a mission would actually have Evil alignment without the deity knowing. Sure, I can totally buy that there are evil people in any church hierarchy--even those of Bahamut or Pelor, the gods most likely to get called goody-two-shoes. I don't buy that a character can start off being selected, personally, by one of those deities while also being ~secretly eeeevil!~ Can they drift that way? Absolutely! Can they have behaviors or tendencies that, if allowed free expression, could be or lead to Evil? Again, absolutely.
    This actually happened in a game I was in. We (the good party) were hired by a Silver Dragon to do X. A new player made a new character that was evil. The Silver Dragon used divination magic to determine whether each of us was worthy and flat out insta-killed killed the evil character for not being worthy (after the character lied to the Silver Dragon, raising the Silver Dragon's suspicions). So yes, that is an example where an evil character did slot into the good party. The player made another (good) character, so that worked out.

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  9. - Top - End - #129
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Particle_Man View Post
    This actually happened in a game I was in. We (the good party) were hired by a Silver Dragon to do X. A new player made a new character that was evil. The Silver Dragon used divination magic to determine whether each of us was worthy and flat out insta-killed killed the evil character for not being worthy (after the character lied to the Silver Dragon, raising the Silver Dragon's suspicions). So yes, that is an example where an evil character did slot into the good party. The player made another (good) character, so that worked out.
    Sounds pretty cool to me, but I've always liked silver dragons (and golds--the mustachioed look always appealed to me.) Bit sad that their character got iced, but Shadowrun has "never cut a deal with a dragon" as a rule for a reason :P

  10. - Top - End - #130
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychoalpha View Post
    Er... except that Quertus started both threads, and in both has repeatedly said literally exactly that multiple times. If the person starting the threads continually hammers at a specific point, it's kind of weird to argue that it's not the point.
    Now, if you had said that I had made the craziest posts, or the most opinionated posts, or the most bombastic posts? Well, I'm getting far too senile to remember such details, so I would have just shrugged, and said, "sounds like me".

    But claiming that I started both threads? I mean, I've forgotten about threads I've created before, but I'm pretty sure I didn't create either of these threads.

    But, yeah, I did say that that Evil is more easily optimized for party unity than Lawful Good.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Except that the specific thing I was arguing against was ABSOLUTELY NOT "Evil can totally get along with the rest of the party." Because if it had been that, I never would have argued. I 110% agree that, if you aren't beholden to any other restrictions besides "this character has to be some kind of Evil," you can almost always make a character capable of working with whatever party.
    Thank you for the vote of support there. Normally, that's what I'd be aiming for, and we'd be in complete agreement. But, sadly, that doesn't help explain what's *wrong* with Lawful Good.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    I was arguing against, "Evil is always better for getting along with the party."
    Oh, we're in agreement here, too. Evil is certainly not "always better", in the "every evil is better than every good" kind of way. Both can fall at party unity.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    It's not just that Evil is capable of cooperation--that's a no-brainer, otherwise things like the Evil Overlord trope would be logical contradictions. It's not just that Evil will slot into some parties Good can't. It's that, if your goal is party cohesion, you will never ever do better with Good than you will with Evil.
    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Edit: That said, I appreciate you presenting this, as it's helped me understand what the others really were arguing. I had thought it was "Evil is more capable than Good, so it's better for party unity." I think the actual argument--though please correct me if I am wrong!--was that Evil slots into more parties than Good does, and is thus better in a "statistical reliability" kind of sense. That is, it doesn't matter what the party is or wants to do, an Evil character can be drafted that will fit.
    That's much closer to what I've been trying to say, yes. But let's nudge nuiance a bit.

    If I pick a random party, and your challenge is to design a character that will work with them, but you have to pick an alignment before you see the party, would you consider it not just more likely but easier to succeed if you start with Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    I don't really agree with that. I think there are parties and contexts where an Evil character would never fit in. To give an example, one I've floated as an idea for real gaming groups in the past: a party of devotees of various Good deities, sent by their deities on a mission together. Even if they aren't all Clerics/Paladins (and thus aren't required by any game rules to be non-Evil), I find it more of a stretch than I'm willing to accept that someone specifically selected by a powerful, knowledgeable deity for a mission would actually have Evil alignment without the deity knowing.
    Wrong question. You just asked, "will they fit with a specific plot hook (chosen by a good deity)", not "will they work with the party".

    So, I'll play your evil manservant. No, I wasn't chosen for this quest, but I'll darn well keep you alive on it, or die trying.

    Or your evil conjoined twin brother/sister. The gods chose you, so obviously I'm coming along, too.

    Silly examples, maybe, but hopefully they successfully illustrate that working with the *plot hook* is not the same as working with the *adventure*, let alone with the *party*.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    So, does the argument that Evil is always better for party unity than Good rest on there being no parties where an Evil character just wouldn't work? If it doesn't, does it still require that in order to avoid issues of line-drawing and deciding which of two nebulous conceptual spaces is "bigger" or "more likely" (both of which are incredibly personal judgments, and probably beyond our ability to account for, even with powerful statistical tools)?
    You've lost me there. Is this bit still relevant?
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-09-21 at 02:10 PM.

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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus
    But, if you're trying to optimize to work with a baby eater, would you start by writing "Lawful Good" on your character sheet? Or do you agree that Lawful Good limits your tolerance capabilities?
    If you're trying to optimize to work with a 3.5 Paladin, would you start by writing "Chaotic Evil" on your character sheet? If you're trying to optimize working with a character who engages in practices that are antithetical to an evil companion, would you start by writing "Evil" at all?

    But claiming that I started both threads? I mean, I've forgotten about threads I've created before, but I'm pretty sure I didn't create either of these threads.
    See below. I thought you created this one, but I probably just saw the 'most recent post' when I was first clicking on it and got mixed up. I wasn't referring to the same 'other thread' Poetically was, we just got wires crossed there. Apologies for the confusion.

    If I pick a random party, and your challenge is to design a character that will work with them, but you have to pick an alignment before you see the party, would you consider it not just more likely but easier to succeed if you start with Lawful Good?
    If I don't get to know anything about the party beforehand, I'd probably just go with True Neutral and try to play a character who just doesn't feel super strongly about any extremes of alignment. :p

    Quote Originally Posted by PoeticallyPsyco
    Um, unless I'm missing something, this thread was started by Bartmanhomer and the other was started by Conradine.
    Nah, I missed that this thread wasn't Quertus'. It was very similar to another one he'd started and contained many similar arguments from a thread about why people didn't want evil PCs or some such. My bad.

    See above re: my getting mixed up about who started this thread. I probably just glanced at it before my first post and saw Quertus as the most recent poster. Again, apologies for the confusion.

    ----

    I don't really go in for random parties, personally. Whether or not there are any glaring issues that will come up and be an insurmountable problem between PCs is something I prefer to find out about and work around ahead of time, and if someone is going to want to play a character that presents such issues (baby eating tendencies, Paladin codes, etc) they'll speak up and we'll see if it presents any problems for other players or the DM.

    That's not to say that conflicts don't arise, but fundamentally incompatible party members is just... not fun for me or most of the people I've played with.

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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post

    More specifically, "the actions I need to take to work with this party" - for any arbitrary party - are most likely to cause alignment problems for which alignment? (My answer is either Lawful Good or Dedicated to the Balance Neutral.) The only thing that could cause alignment problems for Evil is seeking atonement for what made them evil in the first place.
    not really. an evil character will balk at as much stuff as a good character.
    an evil character willl have conflict with the party if the party decides to do charity, to help people with insufficient compensation, to not murder somebody who's just in the way...
    heck, my group is risking that problem right now, with the evil party member who is losing the drive to do pursue the main plot because the rewards are not worthwile, and would rather use the time to study new spells.

    you can work an evil character in a good party, or a good character in an evil party. if it's exalted good or vile evil, then you really cannot, both ways. but really, you are claiming that all party conflict is generated by good characters because they are asking people to not do stuff, while evil is fine with doing anything and is only not fine with not doing stuff, is a distorsion of reality.

    it's like country A invaded country B, and ccountry B asked country A to stop, and you claim that country B is creating conflict, because country A is merely exherting its freedom by moving troops where they feel like it, while country B is iimiting that freedom. or that it's my fault if I have problems with thieves, because thieves never try to tell me what to do.

    And if your character is specifically dedicated to the party, to the detriment of anything else...
    well, first of all, this is a very, VERY specific kind of evil, and not representative of evil as a whole. and it's even hard to justify how the character could have developed such attachment to what were, until shortly before, a bunch of total strangers.
    and second, when the party has higher goals, the character still can conflict with them. the character may try to stop a party member from taking an extra risk for a good cause.
    we were there a few weeks ago, when we had called the cavalry to deal with a big bad that's still above our level, and two good characters decided to stay behind when the rest of the party teleported away because they were still in goood shape and the cavalry may have needed help, to which the evil wizard objected because, who cares about mooks, let's get away from here, we did our job.

    so I refute, on multiple levels, the proposition that evil party members do not create conflict.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Thank you for the vote of support there. Normally, that's what I'd be aiming for, and we'd be in complete agreement. But, sadly, that doesn't help explain what's *wrong* with Lawful Good.
    Sure, though at this point the thread now has two different simultaneous discussions ("what's wrong with LG" and "is Evil beneficial to party cohesion"). As noted, I had gotten rather caught up in the latter.

    Oh, we're in agreement here, too. Evil is certainly not "always better", in the "every evil is better than every good" kind of way. Both can fall at party unity.
    Glad we agree there, though I do feel the "is Evil beneficial to party cohesion" convo has, on the pro-Evil side, rather stridently argued that Good is strictly worse and Evil is strictly better. But we'll get to that.

    That's much closer to what I've been trying to say, yes. But let's nudge nuiance a bit.

    If I pick a random party, and your challenge is to design a character that will work with them, but you have to pick an alignment before you see the party, would you consider it not just more likely but easier to succeed if you start with Lawful Good?
    There is insufficient data for a meaningful answer. I don't mean that flippantly. After all, "slot into a random party" simply isn't a relevant criterion for actual play most of the time, because people usually don't try to draft up a character prior to joining groups they know absolutely nothing about. And exactly what "easier" means is a painfully open question all on its own. After all, even Red Fel admits that the Evil characters he advocates are consciously and actively circumscribed, requiring careful thought to construct as rationally-acting agents. That would seem to imply that it's a non-trivial effort to create such a character. Finally, there's the issue of what each player is comfortable doing; for me, an Evil character will almost without fail be harder, because I genuinely feel icky when I play Evil characters or even do Evil things as a non-Evil character! Given all of that, I don't think we can make any kind of firm statement; the best we can manage is that it may be easier to play an Evil character if you're in the unusual situation of needing to draft a character for a party you know literally nothing about....and that's a statement that tells us very little.

    Wrong question. You just asked, "will they fit with a specific plot hook (chosen by a good deity)", not "will they work with the party".

    So, I'll play your evil manservant. No, I wasn't chosen for this quest, but I'll darn well keep you alive on it, or die trying.

    Or your evil conjoined twin brother/sister. The gods chose you, so obviously I'm coming along, too.

    Silly examples, maybe, but hopefully they successfully illustrate that working with the *plot hook* is not the same as working with the *adventure*, let alone with the *party*.
    I don't really know that I, as a DM, would accept any of these things. Conjoined twins are going to be a nightmare to play mechanically, as they would have to share HP and have all sorts of other problems. How did a Good character get a genuinely Evil manservant? That's really fishy, I'd need an extremely good explanation for that--and why, again, a Good deity would choose someone with that kind of manservant. I can't imagine a deity would be totally unaware of such an association.

    But my intended question to answer wasn't "will the character work for this specific party?" It was, rather, "are Evil characters always compatible with all parties?" Because if we could answer that question yes, or at least struggle and fail to come up with even one example, then you'd have a pretty ironclad case that Evil is easier to use, regardless of all the hypersubjective/deeply-personal vagueness that I covered above, simply by dint of being able to say "there is no party where it's just not possible to play an Evil character and have it make sense."

    You've lost me there. Is this bit still relevant?
    My intent was to respond to the statements made by (IIRC) you and others about the flexibility of Evil--more or less, that Evil can adapt to all situations, ergo all parties, and therefore is categorically easier to use than Good, which may have cases where it can't adapt. By attempting to show that there was at least one place where it really didn't (and still doesn't) make sense to me that an Evil character would fit in, even a hyperflexible and supremely pragmatic Evil, I was attempting to show that both alignments (Good and Evil, not specifically LG vs. Evil generally) have places that just can't be made to work, and thus we are unable to make categorical statements about the ease of one or another.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    stuff
    Hmmm… I think just about everything in your response us predicated upon the same misunderstanding of my position.

    I am not saying that every Evil charter is better for every party.

    I'm not even saying that one particular Evil character is better for every party.

    I'm saying that, what is wrong with Lawful Good is that, if you have to pick the alignment first, then learn what the one particular party you have work with is, then pick/build the character, that Lawful Good will have, not just the lowest success rate, but the hardest time with the "pick/build the character" step.

    Now, admittedly, that may not be the case for you in particular, because a) you have a strong psychological aversion to playing Evil; and b) you are actually good at playing cooperative Good, able to quickly respond how you could work with an Illithid.

    So, I would need to water my statement down with weasel words, saying something more like, "for any player reasonably capable of playing any alignment, the average expected difficulty & chance of success at creating a character to work with a particular non-dysfunctional party chosen at random would be lowest for Lawful Good" in order to be accurate.

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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post

    I'm saying that, what is wrong with Lawful Good is that, if you have to pick the alignment first, then learn what the one particular party you have work with is, then pick/build the character, that Lawful Good will have, not just the lowest success rate, but the hardest time with the "pick/build the character" step.

    Now, admittedly, that may not be the case for you in particular, because a) you have a strong psychological aversion to playing Evil; and b) you are actually good at playing cooperative Good, able to quickly respond how you could work with an Illithid.
    As far as I am aware, good-aligned parties are much more common than evil-aligned ones. so a good character will be more likely to fit with his party than an evil one, simply because it's more likely that the party will be good.
    this may not be your experience, if you routinely play with illithids and drows (by-the-book drows, not chaotic good rebeles drows). and it is even possible that I am wrong here, and the most common alignment is not good but "murderhobo claiming to be good".

    anyway, the whole line of argument is moot because that's not how one builds a character. Generally there is session 0, where the tone of the campaign is agreed, and then the characters are made. And if it is agreed to play an evil campaign where your party will be a bunch of demon-worshippers, you don't make a palain. while if it is agreed on an exhalted campaign, you don't bring a murderous illithid.

    you yourself say that balance must always be made to the table, that the power level of a character must be appropriate for the table depending on the power level of the other characters and the campaign. alignment is the same thing. the moral stance of a character must be appropiate to the moral stances of other characters and the campaign.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    So, I'll play your evil manservant. No, I wasn't chosen for this quest, but I'll darn well keep you alive on it, or die trying.
    How, exactly, would you play an evil manservant? (Sounds like a hilarious idea, really, but how would you even notice that a loyal manservant who doesn't betray everyone in the end is evil? Does he secretly torture his master's enemies? Or does he just have a very evil backstory and doesn't regret what he did?)

    This hypothetical evil manservant might get fired if one of the paladins on the hypothetical quest detects that he is of evil alignment.

    So, yeah, an evil character might be more flexible when it comes to who he is willing to work with, but I think if the party isn't like Order of the Stick, but rather less willing to tolerate the murder of random gnome merchants and the like, an evil character could get kicked out of a Good party rather fast. With an "evil backstory but doesn't do any evil right now" character, the question is if he wouldn't work just as well if he was neutral.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus
    So, I would need to water my statement down with weasel words, saying something more like, "for any player reasonably capable of playing any alignment, the average expected difficulty & chance of success at creating a character to work with a particular non-dysfunctional party chosen at random would be lowest for Lawful Good" in order to be accurate.
    It still wouldn't be accurate, because you're wrong, because you're still treating alignments like characters and ignoring anything that interprets or modifies how that alignment interacts with the world or expresses itself in a character.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden
    Glad we agree there, though I do feel the "is Evil beneficial to party cohesion" convo has, on the pro-Evil side, rather stridently argued that Good is strictly worse and Evil is strictly better.
    My suspicion is that much of this has to do with the vast majority of gaming tables running Good parties, or with Good characters in them, and that some people are put out by not being able to play Evil characters (or being severely curtailed in their evil actions when they do), and thus 'Good' (and 'Lawful Good' as the most obvious example of an alignment who'll tell other people what they can't do) is at fault for not putting the party cohesion ahead of their objections to baby eating or raising whole villages as undead or whatever else said evil characters want to get up to. How dare they, right? ;D

    Like... Quertus used an Illithid Savant as an example of a 'random party'. That's an ECL 15 monster before prestige class levels, and it's a Lawful Evil Aberration from a race widely known for their enslavement of any and every sentient species they come across, who are routinely depicted as betraying virtually every agreement they've ever made with anyone, because their Lawful nature begins and ends with their devotion to Mind Flayer society and considers literally no one else to be anything more than food, labor, or sometimes hosts for their young.

    I feel like there's a pretty wide spectrum of characters whose problems teaming up with this would be just as immediate as any Lawful Good character, regardless of their alignment. :p

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    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    How, exactly, would you play an evil manservant? (Sounds like a hilarious idea, really, but how would you even notice that a loyal manservant who doesn't betray everyone in the end is evil? Does he secretly torture his master's enemies? Or does he just have a very evil backstory and doesn't regret what he did?)

    This hypothetical evil manservant might get fired if one of the paladins on the hypothetical quest detects that he is of evil alignment.

    So, yeah, an evil character might be more flexible when it comes to who he is willing to work with, but I think if the party isn't like Order of the Stick, but rather less willing to tolerate the murder of random gnome merchants and the like, an evil character could get kicked out of a Good party rather fast. With an "evil backstory but doesn't do any evil right now" character, the question is if he wouldn't work just as well if he was neutral.
    The key issue there isn't that there's an Evil character doing Evil, it's that there is a Paladin in the party. By your own acknowledgment, if the Evil character has "evil backstory but doesn't do any evil right now," nobody in the party should have an issue - except the Paladin.

    Fact is, there are contexts where a character who could slot into any party in a vacuum nonetheless won't work in this case. There are character concepts that actively preclude one another. If you have a sun-and-life-friendly healbot in a party and want to bring in a Necromancer, they're probably going to side with the Cleric of Pelor over the Dr. Frankenstein. If you have a party of Elves, bringing in a Cleric of Gruumsh is probably a bad idea. Kender are right out.

    If you bring a Paladin into the party, you are making an alignment choice for everyone. By contrast, if you bring an Evil character - of any stripe - into a party with a Paladin, the party gets to make the choice - keep the Paladin, or side with the new guy.

    Now, not all LG works like Paladins work. And I say "Paladins work" with a sense of irony. But as Paladins are the iconic emblem of LG, and as many people tend to play LGs the way they play Paladins, this is a concern, if not always an issue.

    Back to what Themrys was saying, though, I've covered this in the handbook. An Evil character in service to a Good party can benefit the party a lot. That Evil Wizard they captured? Now that he's a prisoner, it would be immoral to kill him. Do you really think breaking his fingers will be enough? If he gets loose, he'll only cause more trouble. That's what Token Evil Teammate is here for. They may dislike what he did, but they can't disagree with the result - that guy needed killing.

    King of Nowhere makes the right point. This stuff is - or should be - typically agreed at Session Zero. If Able makes a character, Baker makes his LE bestie, and Cain makes an LG Paladin, Able and Baker outnumber Cain. If Cain insists that Baker's character leave the party, Able and Baker can point out that they have a reason to adventure together - they have no reason to include Cain's character. Conversely, if Able makes a character, Baker makes his Paladin bestie, and Cain makes, say, a Necromancer, Cain is still the odd man out.

    Not that the table should be allowed to dictate your character choices, at least not entirely. But you should be creating characters with the other players - and PCs - in mind, and with an eye on party cohesion, not party disruption. If your character is the one that sticks out, either change your character or give the other PCs a reason to want you around. In the case of an exclusionary character - like a Paladin, who blocks other characters from the party - it means being really awesome at what you do. Similarly, in the case of an Evil character, it means being essential, so that nobody even entertains the notion of booting and replacing you.
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    Red Fel: That's how every non-convention (where it's a big pot of randos and everybody just ignores there being a Paladin and a Cleric of Hextor in the same group because reasons and it's only a one-shot) campaign I've played since high school has worked. Well, usually the DM gives us specifics about the campaign he or she wants to run and any restrictions that will apply to races/classes/alignments/etc, and then the players work it out from there.

    Again though, I can't stress enough that Pathfinder is the way to go. Any number of modules and campaigns, both prefab and created, tend to involve some great and absurd evil threatening the land, and the Pathfinder version of the Paladin code makes a specific exception for teaming up with evil to defeat greater evil. As long as the evil of your PC runs counter to the evil of the campaign antagonists, and you can be circumspect in your doings of evil while with the party, there's no reason a Paladin can't run through an entire campaign with an evil character. It won't always be comfortable, there'll be arguments, but it's not an insurmountable issue.
    Last edited by Psychoalpha; 2019-09-22 at 11:20 AM.

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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Back to what Themrys was saying, though, I've covered this in the handbook. An Evil character in service to a Good party can benefit the party a lot. That Evil Wizard they captured? Now that he's a prisoner, it would be immoral to kill him. Do you really think breaking his fingers will be enough? If he gets loose, he'll only cause more trouble. That's what Token Evil Teammate is here for. They may dislike what he did, but they can't disagree with the result - that guy needed killing.
    See - I've gotta disagree with you here. Being a Good character in a D&D setting doesn't mean following modern police procedure.

    I played a LG Samurai (in Pathfinder - where unlike 3.x they don't suck) and had no problem executing those who had attacked him. That's the punishment for banditry etc.

    He actually did it all the time. Due to backstory reasons (father was enchanted to do bad stuff and the clan was disgraced/banished) he actually mostly did nonlethal damage to everyone, and once the fight was over he'd have the wizard check to make sure they hadn't been brain-controlled. As long as they hadn't been, my samurai would slit their throats. No muss, no fuss. Totally remained an LG chracter.

    Now - he'd make sure to make it quick and relatively painless. No torture etc. But performing an execution is not inherently evil, and I wouldn't have any problem with playing a paladin the same way either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    But performing an execution is not inherently evil, and I wouldn't have any problem with playing a paladin the same way either.
    Neither would Gary Gygax:

    Paladins are not stupid, and in general there is no rule of Lawful Good against killing enemies. The old adage about nits making lice applies. Also, as I have often noted, a paladin can freely dispatch prisoners of Evil alignment that have surrendered and renounced that alignment in favor of Lawful Good. They are then sent on to their reward before they can backslide.

    An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is by no means anything but Lawful and Good. Prisoners guilty of murder or similar capital crimes can be executed without violating any precept of the alignment. Hanging is likely the usual method of such execution, although it might be beheading, strangulation, etc. A paladin is likely a figure that would be considered a fair judge of criminal conduct.
    Also:

    Mercy is to be displayed for the lawbreaker that does so by accident. Benevolence is for the harmless.
    I'm dubious on the strangulation thing, seems too much like torture, and I feel like with most things there's plenty of leeway for how any given Lawful Good character would feel about this, but I also think it's absurd to assume every Lawful Good character would refuse to execute someone who surrendered regardless of their crimes or the danger they pose, or that all Lawful Good would be against the death penalty, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    See - I've gotta disagree with you here. Being a Good character in a D&D setting doesn't mean following modern police procedure.

    I played a LG Samurai (in Pathfinder - where unlike 3.x they don't suck) and had no problem executing those who had attacked him. That's the punishment for banditry etc.
    +1 on that. My lawful good(ish) monk has killed several humanoid opponents he could have chosen to take alive, though he's never seriously hurt a prisoner; generally the rationale given is "they made their choice, and I acted accordingly". Main bosses who could not be safely contained in prisons would probably not get a chance to surrender either. similarly, the party paladin didn't have many qualms against hurting evildoers.

    truly, only lawful stupid paladins create major problems. even reasonably-played paladins are ok, as long as you don't take literally the "won't associate with evil characters" part. Every group I've been in that had to face the problem has read that clause as "won't help his associates pursue evil goals, but is perfectly ok cooperating with evil people towards reasonable goals" (granted, it''s only 2 groups, but still).


    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    How, exactly, would you play an evil manservant? (Sounds like a hilarious idea, really, but how would you even notice that a loyal manservant who doesn't betray everyone in the end is evil? Does he secretly torture his master's enemies? Or does he just have a very evil backstory and doesn't regret what he did?)
    Easy: character A is a noble and an assassin, character B is his loial butler who helped him perform his job, hid the bodies, and so on. Or the loial butler of an evil wizard, or that kind of stuff.
    You also can take the "tragic past" path that you implied, like "this guy was a street urchin, grew up to a life of crime, became a robber and a murderer. than character A hired him as his manservant. Character B is much better off in that job than he was in the slums, so he's grateful to character A and will follow him anywhere, but he's still an unrepentant murderer and will kill for character A"
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    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    Easy: character A is a noble and an assassin, character B is his loial butler who helped him perform his job, hid the bodies, and so on. Or the loial butler of an evil wizard, or that kind of stuff.
    I believe the 'evil manservant' thing was in terms of being adjunct to a good character, not another evil character.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    See - I've gotta disagree with you here. Being a Good character in a D&D setting doesn't mean following modern police procedure.

    I played a LG Samurai (in Pathfinder - where unlike 3.x they don't suck) and had no problem executing those who had attacked him. That's the punishment for banditry etc.
    Oh, no, I agree with you there - self-defense is indeed a thing in D&D. Lethal force in self-defense, same. I'm not talking about that.

    Note my hypothetical: "That Evil Wizard they captured." At this point, he is not actively attacking them - he is a prisoner. And D&D is pretty specific about that - killing a helpless prisoner is murder, and Evil. That's an objective standard of Evil, under D&D terms. Pretty unambiguous.

    That's what I mean. You know that Evil Wizard will escape. You know that until he does, while he's in your custody, he'll be watching you, studying you, learning your weaknesses. You know he won't engage you fairly; he'll wait until you're vulnerable, escape, and attack. Unfortunately, your Good party members - having, for whatever reason, captured him instead of killing in self-defense - can't actually kill him now that he's a prisoner.

    But your Token Evil Teammate? Oh, he absolutely can. And will. And he'll be doing you all an undeniable favor.

    That's the point. He can do what the rest of the team - especially the LG - can't. That's how you play him. Willing to work the moral gray areas that benefit the party, that the rest can't touch because morals. That's how you play that character.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel
    And D&D is pretty specific about that - killing a helpless prisoner is murder, and Evil. That's an objective standard of Evil, under D&D terms. Pretty unambiguous.
    Does that appear anywhere but Exalted Deeds? Because I'm dubious that executing prisoners is evil in D&D, and they are by definition helpless. Also, while it's been a while since he was the defining guy for it, but my quotes from above were straight from Gary Gygax and he seems pretty confidant that a Lawful Good character can execute a prisoner if their crimes warrant it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Note my hypothetical: "That Evil Wizard they captured." At this point, he is not actively attacking them - he is a prisoner. And D&D is pretty specific about that - killing a helpless prisoner is murder, and Evil. That's an objective standard of Evil, under D&D terms. Pretty unambiguous.

    That's what I mean. You know that Evil Wizard will escape. You know that until he does, while he's in your custody, he'll be watching you, studying you, learning your weaknesses. You know he won't engage you fairly; he'll wait until you're vulnerable, escape, and attack. Unfortunately, your Good party members - having, for whatever reason, captured him instead of killing in self-defense - can't actually kill him now that he's a prisoner.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psychoalpha View Post
    Does that appear anywhere but Exalted Deeds? Because I'm dubious that executing prisoners is evil in D&D, and they are by definition helpless. Also, while it's been a while since he was the defining guy for it, but my quotes from above were straight from Gary Gygax and he seems pretty confidant that a Lawful Good character can execute a prisoner if their crimes warrant it.
    I'll +1 Psychoalpha. I don't remember reading anywhere that executions are an evil act. I think that there is one particular Paladin Oath for a particular deity against it (goddess of redemption or something) - but that's the closest I can think of.

    And Red Fel - if you read the rest of my example beyond what you quoted, you'll see that my LG Samurai didn't only kill foes in combat. He intentionally knocked them out, made sure that they weren't under compulsion, and then he slit their throats. He did it on the regular. No one had any problem with it (including other good characters) and the GM only told me that it might be an issue in certain places, such as within a city etc. No threats of losing my LG status for not following 21st century police procedure.

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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    The “necessary evil pc” seems like a bad read of a fantasy set up. If there is a means that society has for dealing with evil wizards without killing them (from anti-magic zones to intelligence draining ravages (if Red Fel can refer to BoED so can I) and then prisons, to helms of opposite alignment) then it makes practical sense for lg people to hand the evil wizard over to those authorities. No evil pc needed. High fantasy has lots of things like that.

    If in the other hand, we have a lower power setting and there is nothing like those society based controls, then killing the captured evil wizard makes sense for LG people because of the need to protect innocents (and themselves) from the evil wizard. Killing the evil wizard might be an unfortunate but necessary last resort if the lawful good society has no other way to preserve itself. Then the LG person can kill the evil wizard prisoner (or turn him over to the lg society to execute). No evil pc needed.

    The odd state where the evil pc is needed to kill the evil prisoner while the lg play stupid, keep their dainty hands clean, and look the other way doesn’t sound very lg. Me leaving the prisoner alone with Big Tony and having loud conversations with my fellow pcs to drown out the screams of the dying prisoner doesn’t sound much better than me killing the prisoner myself, if there really is no other societal option. And even a naive pc fooled by the evil pc once is unlikely to keep being fooled: “Golly, why do all the prisoners die when Big Tony is left alone with them?” is not a flattering portrayal of most PCs.
    Last edited by Particle_Man; 2019-09-22 at 03:23 PM.

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  28. - Top - End - #148
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychoalpha View Post
    Does that appear anywhere but Exalted Deeds? Because I'm dubious that executing prisoners is evil in D&D, and they are by definition helpless. Also, while it's been a while since he was the defining guy for it, but my quotes from above were straight from Gary Gygax and he seems pretty confidant that a Lawful Good character can execute a prisoner if their crimes warrant it.
    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    I'll +1 Psychoalpha. I don't remember reading anywhere that executions are an evil act. I think that there is one particular Paladin Oath for a particular deity against it (goddess of redemption or something) - but that's the closest I can think of.
    BoED, yeah. And I'll grant you, BoED (and BoVD) did some frankly stupid stuff with the alignment system. But that said, if it's in a book, it's RAW, unless we're specifically excluding said book. And "I don't like it" - and for the record, frequently neither do I - doesn't change that.

    Quote Originally Posted by CharonsHelper View Post
    And Red Fel - if you read the rest of my example beyond what you quoted, you'll see that my LG Samurai didn't only kill foes in combat. He intentionally knocked them out, made sure that they weren't under compulsion, and then he slit their throats. He did it on the regular. No one had any problem with it (including other good characters) and the GM only told me that it might be an issue in certain places, such as within a city etc. No threats of losing my LG status for not following 21st century police procedure.
    "My LG character did it and my GM had no problem with that" is not the same as "This is an action permissible to LG." It only means "This is an action permissible for my character, at that time."

    Or, more broadly, anecdotes are not rules.

    Look, I'm not saying you can't play Lawful or Good that way. But accept that doing so deviates from RAW (for certain definitions of RAW), and is therefore a house rule.

    You can have house rules. You should have house rules. There's a lot of broken crap that does not work and basically needs houseruling.

    But the key point is that, as written, an Evil character can do things that a Good character can - or perhaps should - not do. That is part of what allows an Evil character to be useful to the party. That's kind of the point.

    Yes. You could run a game where straight-up genociding anything with green skin is non-Evil, and walking into any house to smash their vases and loot their rupees is the act of a hero, and nobody bats an eye when you break treaties and execute the helpless. You legitimately can, and if it sounds like I'm saying otherwise, I'm not. And if you do that, yeah, there's no advantage to having a Token Evil Teammate. Because, frankly, at that point your party is basically kinda Evil already. You can say that you're not, but that's a house rule.

    From the perspective of the common ground - the rules as written, the rules in the books - there are lines that the Good characters in your party should not be crossing, even if it would benefit them to do so. Especially then. There are lines that the Lawful characters in your party should not be crossing, even if it would benefit them to do so. Especially then. That's what your Token Evil Teammate is there for. To help.

    Let us help you.
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  29. - Top - End - #149
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    BoED, yeah. And I'll grant you, BoED (and BoVD) did some frankly stupid stuff with the alignment system. But that said, if it's in a book, it's RAW, unless we're specifically excluding said book. And "I don't like it" - and for the record, frequently neither do I - doesn't change that.
    It's been a long time since I looked over BoED (I didn't read it deep - since I thought it was mostly crap) but did it actually say that ALL good characters had to follow those rules? Or just exalted characters?

    From what little I remember, it mostly had rules for playing "exalted" (IMO: stupid good) characters rather than general requirements for all good characters. I thought I remembered reading that prisoner thing as an exalted requirement and making me decide that exalted characters weren't for me.

    And my Samurai was in a Pathfinder game anyway, so wacky BoED rulings wouldn't apply.

    Edit: I just checked BoED - and I was right. That whole section of the book, which includes the bit about always giving mercy, is prefaced with "They are the meat and drink of the exalted hero, and should serve as an inspiration for how to play a character of good alignment...". So - definitely not a requirement for all good characters - just an inspiration for them. Which is a vague way of saying that not doing them doesn't preclude goodness.
    Last edited by CharonsHelper; 2019-09-22 at 03:49 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #150
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Despite one rather impressive showing for team Good (figuring out a way to work with an Illithid), all the other instances of people saying, "I don't see how that could work" is a better answer to "what is wrong with Lawful Good", a better demonstration of their intolerance in action, than I could ever hope to give.

    The average player is neither sufficiently skilled at not in the right mindset to look for ways to make Lawful Good work. As evidenced not just by my own extensive experience, but by the number of times Playgrounders - a site which generally bats above average, IME - have gone on record (in this thread, and others) saying that they don't see how (Lawful) Good could work with X.

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    you yourself say that balance must always be made to the table, that the power level of a character must be appropriate for the table depending on the power level of the other characters and the campaign. alignment is the same thing. the moral stance of a character must be appropiate to the moral stances of other characters and the campaign.
    Sure. But the problem is, "alignment" is a poor substitute for "personality". The same Good that cannot condone Evil bringing some evil dragon eggs into town, endangering the citizens, *also* cannot condone the Good character who accepted the "surrender" of the young evil dragons, and wants to leave them able to threaten the town. Good is not some huge unified front. And this brings up another problem with Lawful Good, as played: players often just assume that a group of similarly-aligned characters will automatically get along, when, in reality, this doesn't hold true.

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    How, exactly, would you play an evil manservant? (Sounds like a hilarious idea, really, but how would you even notice that a loyal manservant who doesn't betray everyone in the end is evil? Does he secretly torture his master's enemies? Or does he just have a very evil backstory and doesn't regret what he did?)
    Either of your examples is perfectly workable. And, yes, they were loads of fun.

    It's not about it being "noticeable". It can be fun when just some people notice - much like when you recognize the GM's description of the "ancient artifact" as a refrigerator or a car, and get to watch everyone else interact with it in ignorance.

    Or it can be fun when people notice, but turn a blind eye ("OK, I'll talk." "What did Batman say to him?" "You don't want to know.")

    Or it can be fun when everyone notices, and you have interactions like, "no, we will not sully this divine quest by <insert perfectly reasonable suggestion, like torturing prisoners for information, or stealing the McGuffin we need>.”

    Or it can be fun when no-one notices ("huh. It really is fortuitous that <insert person who stood in the way of our quest> died of natural causes last night. The gods must be watching over us.")

    Quote Originally Posted by Themrys View Post
    With an "evil backstory but doesn't do any evil right now" character, the question is if he wouldn't work just as well if he was neutral.
    It's not about actions, it's about attitude. "I'm asking, what are you prepared to do?".

    A smart Evil character doesn't necessarily take the same actions to avoid the necessity of torturing the prisoners for information that a smart Good character has to. Because the smart Evil is prepared to torture them for information, if he has to.

    Or, more fun, the smart Evil manservant may be *more* desperate to make sure that the party doesn't get into such a situation - simply to protect their own hide, for their master's reputation, or even to protect their master's "purity".

    Honestly, the evil manservant is one of the coolest concepts that I've had the good fortune of getting to see from many angles.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2019-09-22 at 03:56 PM.

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