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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Particle_Man
    then it makes practical sense for lg people to hand the evil wizard over to those authorities
    I mean, for some LG people I guess. >_>

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel
    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.
    Okay, having gone back to look at it, and unless we're looking at completely different parts, I think you're either misunderstanding or misrepresenting what's said there.

    The section of BoED that talks about not harming or executing helpless prisoners is, first and foremost, in a section called 'EXALTED DEEDS'. Even leaving out arguments about how it calls itself out as 'the meat and drink of exalted heroes' and that for purposes of this book 'Exalted' has meaning well beyond merely 'good', this section only presents the actions and their explanations as examples of concrete good. Nowhere does it define not acting in accordance with all of them as evil.

    Even leaving out that the section is talking about the most good and how to play characters along that vein, the section on Mercy only says that showing mercy to an unrepentantly evil character is a good trait, not that executions of prisoners are inherently evil.

    It does say that 'Good characters must offer mercy and accept surrender no matter how many times etc etc' but unless you're going to treat the sum of BoED and BoVD as the definitive, declarative rules for how anyone with a good or evil alignment must act, that's more flavor than rule. Both books are full of statements like that, and if they were even remotely RAW for some kind of definitive line over what makes someone Good or Evil, almost nobody would be either.

    That's even leaving aside such nonsense as BoED saying things like how a good character can only use violence for just reason and against evil characters, which by your reading would make using violence to apprehend a neutral criminal an evil act. Which... it clearly isn't.

    None of which really matters. The sections that deal with this stuff are not rules. They're fluff, even noting themselves to be jumping off points for how to think about and create your character's personality and perspective. As such they can hardly be 'Rules As Written' in any sense.

    If there's something in BoED that actually, in an explicit manner, says 'Executing a helpless prisoner is an evil act.', I can't find it. In fact the only mentions of execution are in relation to relics resulting from the execution of a holy saint, and the indication that one such relic has both good and evil in it.

    So... no, I disagree that there's any common ground saying that executing a prisoner (assumed to be helpless) is in and of itself an evil act. It's not a good act (no matter what Gary Gygax apparently thought), but it's not an evil one.

    The fact that the book also does explicitly call out that good characters doesn't need to accept the surrender of anything with the [Evil] descriptor or 'Always evil' (more or less, the example was evil dragons who aren't [Evil] but are 'Always evil') only makes the whole thing more stupid and muddied. An evil dragon isn't any more or less evil than an evil Archwizard, but showing mercy to the latter is Good while showing mercy to the former isn't, but in neither case is [b]not[\b] showing mercy inherently evil.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus
    players often just assume that a group of similarly-aligned characters will automatically get along, when, in reality, this doesn't hold true.
    Kind of like you, with evil characters.

  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychoalpha View Post
    I believe the 'evil manservant' thing was in terms of being adjunct to a good character, not another evil character.
    Right, my bad. well, perhaps there is the good lord, and there is his manservant slaying his foes without the lord's knowledge. a good example of how that could have worked in the past is with thom merrilin from the wheel of time. when rand had just taken over the nation of tear, thom started to forge fake proof that some lords - all of them opponents of rand - were going to betray each other. in the next book, all those lords had assassinated each other, before they could seriously oppose the protagonist. and the protagonist never figured out about it.
    the "urchin criminal past" is still on the table.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    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.
    I am growing more and more apalled by your attitude of "if you can't work with a guy who routinely mindrapes, kills and eats other sentient beings, it's your problem". I would say the problem is on the guy who does the other stuff. I would say it's the mind flayer that cannot play with the paladin, not viceversa. (barring some extreme "foes have to unite against the end of the world" scenario)

    Your whole "your character won't accept mine, so it's your fault" is nothing but an attempt to guilt-trip people who want to play an heroic fantasy into accepting murderhobos among them.

    And NO, you do NOT have the right to play whatever you want and complain about other players curtailing your experience because they do not want you to do that kind of stuff. I have as much a right to say "I don't want to play at a table that does X" as you have to say "I want to do X at the table". Hence session 0. People talk about what they want to do at a table and what they find unacceptable. And if you do want to do X, and I cannot accept X, then the whole group has to decide one way or another. and once a decision is made one way or the other, the character who got suckered by the decision has to either accept it, or leave the group until the end of the current campaign. possibly without hard feelings.
    The point here is that the other guy has as much right of not wanting to play a dark fantasy as you have to play one.
    Want to play a mind flayer eating babies? find a party that's ok with that. Don't try to shift blame on this one party for not wanting to be part of it

    Sure. But the problem is, "alignment" is a poor substitute for "personality".
    absolutely true.
    and that's why you should not discuss "alignment". You should discuss "tone". As in, "are we going to be the guys who will donate a lot of our loot to charity? Are we going to help poor people for free? Are we going to be the guys who execute prisoners when it's needed? Are we going to be the guys who execute prisoners because it's easier? Are we going to be the guys who execute the prisoners, and then track down their families and execute those too, as a warning to others that may stand against us?
    Are we going to stop the bbeg? Are we the bbeg? are we going to stop the bbeg and then make everyone regret the bbeg?"

    that's what you should discuss in session 0.
    Not alignments.
    Last edited by King of Nowhere; 2019-09-22 at 06:43 PM.
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  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Psychoalpha View Post
    Kind of like you, with evil characters.
    Not at all!

    I have never contended that arbitrary Evil automatically works in any party.

    My contentions are a) there is nothing inherent in Evil to be anti-party; b) Evil can be more pro-party than Good. Alternately, Evil is more tolerant than Good.

    In short, that Evil is more easily optimized to work with the party / with a broader range of parties. Not that Evil (or anything) works with the party, right out of the box.

  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    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.
    "The average player is neither sufficiently skilled at nor in the right mindset to look for ways to make Evil work."

    Unless I'm mistaken, this is actually admitted by Red Fel himself. Aside from the utterly unfair aspersions cast on Good, the two sections below do an excellent job of saying, "Being Lawful Evil and not being a jerk is a significant effort." I've trimmed some of the examples out, to keep the pithy pieces--I hate doing so, but the text is long and my posts already get overlong as it is.
    Spoiler: Quotes from Red Fel's Guide
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel's Guide to Lawful Evil
    3. Arrogance. While frequently associated with Evil, and particularly Lawful Evil, it is imperative that you either do this right, or not at all. Arrogance can be one of the most grating and obnoxious character traits to possess. There are two rules that you absolutely must follow if you intend to play this. First, don't lord over the other player characters. Doing so is fine for an NPC, but a player character cannot survive after alienating himself from his colleagues. If you must lord over the other player characters, have your character evolve to respect them, quickly. Second, have the skills to back up the hype.[...]

    4. Loyalty. I cannot emphasize this enough. For a player character, Evil means being under constant scrutiny. Whether it's out of a sense of self-preservation, a sense of duty, or genuine fondness for your fellow partymembers, be loyal. Be helpful. Be productive. [...] Similarly, a Lawful Evil character should show loyalty to his underlings. [...]

    5. Approachability. Like Loyalty, this is an extremely valuable method. The deal-doling devil needs to come across as friendly enough to deal with, not hostile and abrasive.[...]

    6. Trustworthiness. [...] The rube knows that you can be relied upon to carry your side of the bargain. [...] Whatever you do, whatever you say, carry through on it.

    8. Apologies. They're not your thing. Let me explain. Lawful Evil is about having convictions. What you're doing may be morally wrong, but in your mind, you have to justify it. It has to be "right" to you. And you should never have to apologize - at least, not sincerely - for doing the "right" thing. Now, that's not to say you won't try to soothe the hurt feelings of friends, or pay lip service to a rube to get what you want from him. But a sincere apology means saying, "What I did was wrong, and I will endeavor not to do it again." And that should be a rare commodity for Lawful Evil.

    9. Dingus. Don't be one. It's true of any character, but particularly true of Evil characters. There is a great temptation to be a clever backstabbing manipulator, or to join forces with the strongest baddy in the room even if it means betraying the party, or to snark until your lips can't move anymore. Temper your desire to do so. One of the biggest thrills of Lawful Evil is being able to earn the respect, admiration, and even love of those around you, all while openly being a terrifying monster. And you can't do that when you go around being a dingus.
    ~~~~~~
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel's Guide to Lawful Evil
    First, remember the rule of fun. The goal is for everyone to enjoy themselves at the table. Whether you're playing an LE character or running an LE NPC as DM, you need to make sure that you're keeping yourself in check. Yes, Lawful Evil has the potential to be the most awesome thing in the room at any given moment. Nonetheless, restrain yourself. Don't hog the spotlight - it will come to you naturally, at the best possible times. If you play your character well, with charm and subtlety, the handful of times you decided to stand out will be among the most memorable moments of the campaign.

    On a related point, and I mentioned this earlier, don't be a dingus. Evil is tempting. There's a natural inclination to wave off any misbehavior as "Well, my character is Evil." Hold yourself to a higher standard than that. I don't mean your character, I mean you. Police your character's behavior. Yes, your character should behave in a suitably Evil fashion, but there are lines. Don't cross the other PCs, unless it's that type of game. Don't do things that you know will make things harder for everyone, unless you have a remarkably good reason. Leave the lunatic murderhobos to the people who put G on their character sheets.

    Lastly, one area into which I haven't delved is that of actual character and personality. Although I've suggested some methods and motivations, there's really no such thing as a "Lawful Evil personality." Lawful Evil characters are people, like any other. They have their tendencies, but are hardly monolithic. Even the archetypes I proposed above are general concepts, mere suggestions; your character could embody one of them, combine several, or fall neatly into none at all. What's important is that you flesh out your character as a person. It's entirely possible that, once you've given life to your creation, LE isn't the best fit. That's fine. The key is that you create a whole, comprehensible, enjoyable person to play.


    Note points 3, 4, 6, and 9: the repeated need for strong self-control. Evil inherently means temptation to acts that will make people like you less. Red Fel insists on this with all three levels of association in a TTRPG: NPCs, fellow characters, and fellow players. Even with NPCs you must police yourself. It's not enough to roleplay well, nor to be clever and cautious. You must actively mitigate. Why do (Lawful) Evil characters get a free pass for that, but (Lawful) Good characters don't? Why are we only forgiving Evil for its temptations to harm the party?

  5. - Top - End - #155
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    This is why using the mtg color wheel is better.

    I am predominantly Black in the mtg color wheel, but I use white methods to achieve my black ends. I also have a touch of blue in me as I am a curious person

    My alignment chart thus looks like this:

    Black/White (Legal Ambitious--Orzhov) Black/Blue (Neutral Ambitious--Dimir) Black/Red (Illegal Ambitious--Rakdos)
    White/Blue (Legal Neutral--Azorius) Blue/Blue (True Neutral--Golgari/Boros/Free Space) Blue/Red (Illegal Neutral--Izzet)
    Green/White (Legal Complacent—Selesnya) Green/Blue (Neutral Complacent—Simic) Green/Red (Illegal Complacent—Gruul)
    Last edited by Zhentarim; 2019-09-22 at 09:41 PM.
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  6. - Top - End - #156
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Note points 3, 4, 6, and 9: the repeated need for strong self-control. Evil inherently means temptation to acts that will make people like you less. Red Fel insists on this with all three levels of association in a TTRPG: NPCs, fellow characters, and fellow players. Even with NPCs you must police yourself. It's not enough to roleplay well, nor to be clever and cautious. You must actively mitigate. Why do (Lawful) Evil characters get a free pass for that, but (Lawful) Good characters don't? Why are we only forgiving Evil for its temptations to harm the party?
    Here's the thing: everyone must mitigate. Nobody has carte blanche to be a dingus.

    But for Evil, you need to step that mitigation up. Why? Because everyone assumes you will be a dingus. Right or wrong, you're starting on the back foot.

    You're misreading my words. Evil characters don't get a free pass. Rather, it's Good characters who tend to get more excuses. That's the point. If a Good character is a jerk, or unhelpful, from time to time, eh, player is having a bad day. Guy's still a PC, still a member of the party, we give him a pass. If an Evil character is a jerk, or unhelpful, there are immediate questions of "Why are we adventuring with this guy?" (Unless you've done a great job of endearing yourself to the party, of course.)

    Evil doesn't mean "temptation to acts that will make people like you less." Rather, it means people will expect you to perform those acts. An Evil character isn't obligated to kick puppies regularly, or to deliberately spite the party out of a sense of (im)moral compunction. But people will anticipate that from you, because Evil. Therefore, your obligation is to police your behaviors - to never give others the excuse.

    That's the point I was making. There is almost an expectation - right or wrong - that an Evil character will mess over the party. There is less of an expectation of the same from a Good character. Therefore, as an Evil character - or, in the case of my guide, a Lawful Evil character - you need to actively police your interpersonal behavior.

    Frankly, this is something everyone should be doing anyway. But for an Evil character, it's that much more vital. For a Good character, it's just manners; for Evil, it's a survival skill.
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  7. - Top - End - #157
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    But given that most gamers have not read and internalized Red Fel’s Evil survival guide, doesn’t that pretty much mean that evil characters will be more disruptive to a party? I mean, one could add “because in general people don’t give evil a pass like they do good” but in practice that comes to the same thing. If an average party will accept “weird stuff” from a lawful good pc that they won’t from a lawful evil pc then that is empirical evidence that people will be less disrupted by an lg character than an le character.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Here's the thing: everyone must mitigate. Nobody has carte blanche to be a dingus.

    But for Evil, you need to step that mitigation up. Why? Because everyone assumes you will be a dingus. Right or wrong, you're starting on the back foot.

    You're misreading my words. Evil characters don't get a free pass. Rather, it's Good characters who tend to get more excuses. That's the point. If a Good character is a jerk, or unhelpful, from time to time, eh, player is having a bad day. Guy's still a PC, still a member of the party, we give him a pass. If an Evil character is a jerk, or unhelpful, there are immediate questions of "Why are we adventuring with this guy?" (Unless you've done a great job of endearing yourself to the party, of course.)

    Evil doesn't mean "temptation to acts that will make people like you less." Rather, it means people will expect you to perform those acts. An Evil character isn't obligated to kick puppies regularly, or to deliberately spite the party out of a sense of (im)moral compunction. But people will anticipate that from you, because Evil. Therefore, your obligation is to police your behaviors - to never give others the excuse.

    That's the point I was making. There is almost an expectation - right or wrong - that an Evil character will mess over the party. There is less of an expectation of the same from a Good character. Therefore, as an Evil character - or, in the case of my guide, a Lawful Evil character - you need to actively police your interpersonal behavior.

    Frankly, this is something everyone should be doing anyway. But for an Evil character, it's that much more vital. For a Good character, it's just manners; for Evil, it's a survival skill.
    I don't see how this isn't what I was saying. Evil needs it. Good simply benefits from it. An Evil character may not work at all without it; a Good character probably works. Isn't that a clear way Evil is harder to pull off than Good?

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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Here's the thing: everyone must mitigate. Nobody has carte blanche to be a dingus.

    But for Evil, you need to step that mitigation up. ...

    Frankly, this is something everyone should be doing anyway. But for an Evil character, it's that much more vital. For a Good character, it's just manners; for Evil, it's a survival skill.
    I think this is a big part of why I started playing healers, and why healing powers are such an integral part of my ideal power set. People put up with a lot more devilry from the guy who keeps reattaching their heads.

    Something which is very difficult for non-divine and non-Good characters to accomplish in D&D.
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    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    I am growing more and more apalled by your attitude of "if you can't work with a guy who routinely mindrapes, kills and eats other sentient beings, it's your problem". I would say the problem is on the guy who does the other stuff.

    Your whole "your character won't accept mine, so it's your fault" is nothing but an attempt to guilt-trip people who want to play an heroic fantasy into accepting murderhobos among them.

    And NO, you do NOT have the right to play whatever you want and complain about other players curtailing your experience because they do not want you to do that kind of stuff. I have as much a right to say "I don't want to play at a table that does X" as you have to say "I want to do X at the table". Hence session 0. People talk about what they want to do at a table and what they find unacceptable. And if you do want to do X, and I cannot accept X, then the whole group has to decide one way or another. and once a decision is made one way or the other, the character who got suckered by the decision has to either accept it, or leave the group until the end of the current campaign. possibly without hard feelings.
    The point here is that the other guy has as much right of not wanting to play a dark fantasy as you have to play one.
    Want to play a mind flayer eating babies? find a party that's ok with that. Don't try to shift blame on this one party for not wanting to be part of it

    absolutely true.
    and that's why you should not discuss "alignment". You should discuss "tone". As in, "are we going to be the guys who will donate a lot of our loot to charity? Are we going to help poor people for free? Are we going to be the guys who execute prisoners when it's needed? Are we going to be the guys who execute prisoners because it's easier? Are we going to be the guys who execute the prisoners, and then track down their families and execute those too, as a warning to others that may stand against us?
    Are we going to stop the bbeg? Are we the bbeg? are we going to stop the bbeg and then make everyone regret the bbeg?"

    that's what you should discuss in session 0.
    Not alignments.
    Do note that my examples includes, is primarily, or originally was exclusively (I forget which - darn senility) not being able to accept taking prisoners in a way that could endanger innocents. Good isn't just intolerant of Evil - it's intolerant of other Good, too.

    So, if someone has chosen Good, they aren't just saying that you cannot play Evil, they're saying you cannot play Good, either. They're saying you have to march to exactly their beat, or else. Because Good cares. That's what makes it Good - it cares about things like innocent lives. If it didn't, it wouldn't be Good.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    I don't see how this isn't what I was saying. Evil needs it. Good simply benefits from it. An Evil character may not work at all without it; a Good character probably works. Isn't that a clear way Evil is harder to pull off than Good?
    No, everyone needs to not make the game worse, to not be "my guy" or whatever. The problem with Lawful Good is, people let them make the game worse in ways that they won't let Evil hey away with.

    The problem with Lawful Good is, people are desensitized to the ways that they make the game worse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    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.
    I would add another nuance in support of your point. If we are accepting Quertus’ hypothetical at face value (random party), then there are a number of *players* who might be uncomfortable with Evil themes and acts, even if the Evil character is optimized for party cohesion. The converse, players uncomfortable with Good themes and acts (even if off-screen), is much less likely.

    So even in that case, I suspect that a Good character is better for party cohesion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by patchyman View Post
    I would add another nuance in support of your point. If we are accepting Quertus’ hypothetical at face value (random party), then there are a number of *players* who might be uncomfortable with Evil themes and acts, even if the Evil character is optimized for party cohesion. The converse, players uncomfortable with Good themes and acts (even if off-screen), is much less likely.
    that's basically the point I was trying to make. thanks for summing it up for me
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    Quote Originally Posted by FaerieGodfather View Post
    I think this is a big part of why I started playing healers, and why healing powers are such an integral part of my ideal power set. People put up with a lot more devilry from the guy who keeps reattaching their heads.

    Something which is very difficult for non-divine and non-Good characters to accomplish in D&D.
    Well, I’m rolling a chaotic evil life oracle in pathfinder. 3.5’s favored soul could pull off evil healing too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    I don't see how this isn't what I was saying. Evil needs it. Good simply benefits from it. An Evil character may not work at all without it; a Good character probably works. Isn't that a clear way Evil is harder to pull off than Good?
    Then we're in agreement. To be fair, everybody needs it - a Good character who is a useless sack and a total jerk should, by all rights, get the boot. But Evil characters do need it more, players of Evil characters therefore face a higher burden (at least until your fellow players open their minds), and so yes, Evil can frequently be harder to pull off than Good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    No, everyone needs to not make the game worse, to not be "my guy" or whatever. The problem with Lawful Good is, people let them make the game worse in ways that they won't let Evil hey away with.

    The problem with Lawful Good is, people are desensitized to the ways that they make the game worse.
    Back on point, this. If, for example, an Evil character announced to the party, "The new guy hasn't eaten nearly enough babies; his presence offends me. Here is a baby - if he doesn't eat it, we need to boot him," the party would almost certainly boot the Evil character. Or kill him. By contrast, when - not if, but when, because it's written into the RAW for the Paladin class - a Paladin makes the converse claim about an Evil character (e.g. "This new guy pings on my Evildar, we need to boot him,") the party... Well, they may or may not go along with it, but that isn't a terminal offense by the Paladin.

    That's the point. Not every Paladin - or every LG, for that matter - is that bad, but many take the alignment as license to be. And as a whole, players will let them do that - for the most part - in ways that they wouldn't let an Evil character.

    Again, yes, this makes it harder to play Evil. But on the thread topic, this is a problem with how people play Lawful Good.

    Quote Originally Posted by patchyman View Post
    I would add another nuance in support of your point. If we are accepting Quertus’ hypothetical at face value (random party), then there are a number of *players* who might be uncomfortable with Evil themes and acts, even if the Evil character is optimized for party cohesion. The converse, players uncomfortable with Good themes and acts (even if off-screen), is much less likely.

    So even in that case, I suspect that a Good character is better for party cohesion.
    Statistically, yes. There are two different spectra - how effective a character is at their role, and how well the character fits into the party. You can have a Wolverine-esque "best at what I do" grunting beefcake whose talents back up his claims, but if he has Wolverine's personality, nobody is going to want him on the team.

    Wolverine is a bit of a jerk, y'see.

    Conversely, you can have a person who's genuinely pleasant, fun, and great to have around, but utterly useless in every possible situation. Worse, he demands that the party tune its competencies down to his level, making everyone worse at everything. He may be great to have around, but he's a lead weight and you need to drop him.

    Two spectra. The fact that Evil has the moral flexibility to do what Good can't, that goes to one of them. The fact that Evil is more tolerant of other alignments, that goes to the other. However, you're right; that is offset by the fact that the rest of the party - in terms of either players or PCs - may not have the same tolerance. That is a factor, and one that needs to be considered.
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by patchyman View Post
    I would add another nuance in support of your point. If we are accepting Quertus’ hypothetical at face value (random party), then there are a number of *players* who might be uncomfortable with Evil themes and acts, even if the Evil character is optimized for party cohesion. The converse, players uncomfortable with Good themes and acts (even if off-screen), is much less likely.

    So even in that case, I suspect that a Good character is better for party cohesion.
    They don't word it as "uncomfortable with Good". They word it as "tired of hauling around prisoners", "tired of your spotlight hogging with being honorable", or "wanting to get back to the game".

    And they are, IME, if not more common, at least more vocal about their complaints.

    Evil can tow the line for the sake of party unity. Good has a much harder time with that.

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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    They don't word it as "uncomfortable with Good". They word it as "tired of hauling around prisoners", "tired of your spotlight hogging with being honorable", or "wanting to get back to the game".

    And they are, IME, if not more common, at least more vocal about their complaints.
    It's a different level of uncomfortable, though.
    To take an extreme example, if you roleplay a rapist, or if your mind flayer starts implanting his larves into babies, a lot of people are going to squick and leave the table in disgust.
    If you have to lug around prisoners, or if you get lesser rewards because the good guy says "think nothing of it", you may not like it... but it's not the same level of deep personal dislike that will have one leave the table at the first instance of it happening.

    by the way, a sane party compromises. my good monk has accepted stuff from the evil wizard that would have earned an attack if done by npcs, because they were made to further the party's goals. when it was not possible to accept, sometimes we agreed on ways that my monk could remain blissfully ignorant of it all (a natural 1 on sense motive helped to justify it in-game). and the wizard has refrained from some of the greater evil. it's not like we keep the evil party member chained and force him to act good. And the party also has a paladin.
    From this we go back to the first page, where my first argument was "it's not a problem with good, but in how people play it".

    And that's why, when people come on the forum for advice, if they say "my party wants to explore horror/sex/gore themes but I am uncomfortable with them" the general advice is "split the party, you can stay friends but you can't play together", while when people complain about conflicts related to characters wanting to do different things, the general advice is "talk it ooc and find an acceptable common ground". and only split the party if talking doesn't work, because then it's a problem with the players, not with the characters or the story.
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Then we're in agreement. To be fair, everybody needs it - a Good character who is a useless sack and a total jerk should, by all rights, get the boot. But Evil characters do need it more, players of Evil characters therefore face a higher burden (at least until your fellow players open their minds), and so yes, Evil can frequently be harder to pull off than Good.



    Back on point, this. If, for example, an Evil character announced to the party, "The new guy hasn't eaten nearly enough babies; his presence offends me. Here is a baby - if he doesn't eat it, we need to boot him," the party would almost certainly boot the Evil character. Or kill him. By contrast, when - not if, but when, because it's written into the RAW for the Paladin class - a Paladin makes the converse claim about an Evil character (e.g. "This new guy pings on my Evildar, we need to boot him,") the party... Well, they may or may not go along with it, but that isn't a terminal offense by the Paladin.

    That's the point. Not every Paladin - or every LG, for that matter - is that bad, but many take the alignment as license to be. And as a whole, players will let them do that - for the most part - in ways that they wouldn't let an Evil character.

    Again, yes, this makes it harder to play Evil. But on the thread topic, this is a problem with how people play Lawful Good.



    Statistically, yes. There are two different spectra - how effective a character is at their role, and how well the character fits into the party. You can have a Wolverine-esque "best at what I do" grunting beefcake whose talents back up his claims, but if he has Wolverine's personality, nobody is going to want him on the team.

    Wolverine is a bit of a jerk, y'see.

    Conversely, you can have a person who's genuinely pleasant, fun, and great to have around, but utterly useless in every possible situation. Worse, he demands that the party tune its competencies down to his level, making everyone worse at everything. He may be great to have around, but he's a lead weight and you need to drop him.

    Two spectra. The fact that Evil has the moral flexibility to do what Good can't, that goes to one of them. The fact that Evil is more tolerant of other alignments, that goes to the other. However, you're right; that is offset by the fact that the rest of the party - in terms of either players or PCs - may not have the same tolerance. That is a factor, and one that needs to be considered.
    I don't even really accept the concept of good/evil. With the exception of Chaotic Evil and half the Neutral Evil folks, Evil doesn't seem so bad. I'd rather have a Lawful Evil or maybe a more mature Neutral Evil by my side than a Chaotic-anything or even most Neutral and/or lawful goods. When people are out for their own self interest, they are easier to predict, moreso if they generally keep their word and follow the law in letter of the local land you are traveling through. Admittedly, I can respect externally enforced order better than holding yourself back due to dogma.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhentarim View Post
    I don't even really accept the concept of good/evil. With the exception of Chaotic Evil and half the Neutral Evil folks, Evil doesn't seem so bad. I'd rather have a Lawful Evil or maybe a more mature Neutral Evil by my side than a Chaotic-anything or even most Neutral and/or lawful goods. When people are out for their own self interest, they are easier to predict, moreso if they generally keep their word and follow the law in letter of the local land you are traveling through. Admittedly, I can respect externally enforced order better than holding yourself back due to dogma.
    Which is kind of the point. It's why originally there wasn't even a G-E spectrum - just Law versus Chaos.

    The fact is, if we lost the Good and Evil labels altogether, and replaced them with something more accurate - say, Selfish, or Ruthless, or similar - it would both make sense and permit nuance.

    And that's the key. A Good character and an Evil character may not make sense traveling together, but a Compassionate character and a Ruthless character make perfect sense together - one makes up for the other's shortcomings. ("He's a bleeding-heart healer with an abundance of generosity and a lack of common sense. She's a cynical former assassin with a jaded eye and a trigger finger. They fight crime.") Objective labels that seem to create absolute divisions get replaced by descriptive terms that help express a personality, not just a particular view of puppy-kicking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    It's a different level of uncomfortable, though.
    A different *type* of uncomfortable, I think we can agree.

    But a different *level*? Based on the number of players I've seen get red-faced and scream at people for ruining their elf games for playing Good? I think that, showing someone that there is something better/kinder/gentler than what they consider Good is tantamount to calling them Evil. People don't tend to take that well, IME. So I'll argue that being reminded that there is evil in the world, and having that reminder occur in your safe space, is not nearly so uncomfortable as being forced to face that you yourself are that evil (and have that revelation hit you unsolicited in your safe space).

    So, while I may agree that they are a different level, I don't think we are likely to agree as to which is on which end.

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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    I fully admit that this may be partly due to mostly playing other systems, but I think some people presenting their opinions on evil (and sometimes good) are actually more neutral, which really doesn't accurately present the contrast between good and evil in my opinion.

    First of all, I think there are some things that need to be agreed upon that apply to everyone, or at least most people:
    Everyone, or at least most people:
    Have some sort of desires/goals that they pursue in their life.
    Have likes, dislikes, hangups, attitudes and personality quirks that may skew someone away from the "mainstream" of their alignment in certain areas.
    Are going to have people or institutions they like or dislike that may skew someone away from the "mainstream" of their alignment in certain areas.
    Are going to want to preserve their own life.
    Will want to avoid any trouble that can be avoided, especially against a potentially superior force.

    There are probably some more things that could be added there, but I think the general gist is clear that individuals can have plans/goals, likes, dislikes, loyalties, and antipathies that influence their life and alter what the alignment means for that character.

    Good:
    Generally want to pursue their goals in such a manner that there is a positive impact on people around them.
    Generally want to minimize chances of negative impact on people around them.
    Will likely feel guilt for negative impacts imposed on people even when it is "justified" by the outcome.
    Will likely feel good about other people being successful in something they view as positive/good, even if they personally had no hand in the success.
    Generally dislike and will usually (if possible) work to reduce hardship/suffering of others around them.

    Neutral (selfish):
    Generally don't care what impact the pursuit of their goals has on the people around them.
    Won't mind if the pursuit of their goals has a negative impact on those around them, but doesn't rejoice in the suffering of others.
    Won't mind if the pursuit of their goals has a positive impact on those around them, but doesn't go out of their way just to benefit other people.

    Evil:
    Generally will enjoy success the best when it involves a negative outcome for others, after all, how else will others know they have been beaten?
    Generally want to minimize positive outcomes for others that don't enhance their own outcome of a plan or action, because... Why support those free-booters anyway?
    Will likely get a kick out of the failure of others, even if they didn't have a hand in it themselves.
    Will likely be indifferent to the suffering of others unless there is a way to turn it to personal benefit.
    Will likely be dismissive of the success of others unless that success directly hinged on personal actions, in which case that other person/group better remember it.

    None of this requires you to be the perfect boy scout, or twirl your mustache into a coil spring. Once you add law into this, I think the main thing you increase is the personal code of conduct, followed by adherence to laws of the land (that your character respects), and possibly the desire of the character to have a certain reputation based on the codes and laws they follow. Maybe the second and third of those should be switched. Not all laws are truly workable or enforcable, so just sticking to a law because it is a law doesn't even make sense all the time even for L/N. Anyone L/"x" is going to appreciate what law does for civilization. That doesn't make them (well not all of them) just total law adhering robots.

    And I think that last is the real problem. Players sometimes take the alignment and play that instead of a character that has their own hopes, desires, likes, and dislikes that will influence how they view Law as a cosmic/societal force. Or Good/Evil as a cosmic/societal force. Sometimes I think that the "problem" with the L/G paladin is that sometimes someone who has been told they can't play evil will just play a paladin because you can still "smite them all and let the gods sort them out". "Godly" murderhoboism. I think part of that stems from some players having the character worshiping the alignment instead of a god(dess). To an extent, (using pathfinder for my example because I haven't played d&d since 2E many years ago) I could see a paladin of Iomedae (L/G) being the steriotypical "smite everything that I can sense as evil" as the follower of a goddess of war (among other things). But I could also see a paladin of Erastil (L/G) tolerating a lot of "evil" societies because of Erastil being a deity of community, hearth, and home (among other things). Instead of slaughtering all goblins, gnolls, or kobolds you run into, you might end up wanting peaceful coexistence (where possible) to strengthen community. Sounds like a bunch of treaties which would be right up the alley of any L/"x" alignment character. But that isn't possible if L/G characters is just the opposing caricature of the C/E mustache twirler.

    I have to agree with Red Fel on the onus being mostly on players of evil characters though. Most people that I have seen that want to play an evil character (and have been allowed to do so), end up wanting to backstab the party in some way, or end up doing things that spell the end of the group by doing stupid stuff to npcs. I have personally only played with one player that I would trust to run an evil character in a game with me as DM. He is just awesome at keeping his more nefarious deeds done "off screen" and out of the party eye, having reasons to be with the group for personal benefit or respect of one or more members of the group, while definitely not pretending to be good while in the group. And then there are some players that, no matter what is on their sheet, are actually playing a radically different alignment. They are playing C/D. And chaotic disruptive is only fun for a limited period of time if it is fun at all. And sometimes that C/D player has a character sheet labeled L/G and paladin.

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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kraynic View Post
    I fully admit that this may be partly due to mostly playing other systems, but I think some people presenting their opinions on evil (and sometimes good) are actually more neutral, which really doesn't accurately present the contrast between good and evil in my opinion.

    First of all, I think there are some things that need to be agreed upon that apply to everyone, or at least most people:
    Everyone, or at least most people:
    Have some sort of desires/goals that they pursue in their life.
    Have likes, dislikes, hangups, attitudes and personality quirks that may skew someone away from the "mainstream" of their alignment in certain areas.
    Are going to have people or institutions they like or dislike that may skew someone away from the "mainstream" of their alignment in certain areas.
    Are going to want to preserve their own life.
    Will want to avoid any trouble that can be avoided, especially against a potentially superior force.

    There are probably some more things that could be added there, but I think the general gist is clear that individuals can have plans/goals, likes, dislikes, loyalties, and antipathies that influence their life and alter what the alignment means for that character.

    Good:
    Generally want to pursue their goals in such a manner that there is a positive impact on people around them.
    Generally want to minimize chances of negative impact on people around them.
    Will likely feel guilt for negative impacts imposed on people even when it is "justified" by the outcome.
    Will likely feel good about other people being successful in something they view as positive/good, even if they personally had no hand in the success.
    Generally dislike and will usually (if possible) work to reduce hardship/suffering of others around them.

    Neutral (selfish):
    Generally don't care what impact the pursuit of their goals has on the people around them.
    Won't mind if the pursuit of their goals has a negative impact on those around them, but doesn't rejoice in the suffering of others.
    Won't mind if the pursuit of their goals has a positive impact on those around them, but doesn't go out of their way just to benefit other people.

    Evil:
    Generally will enjoy success the best when it involves a negative outcome for others, after all, how else will others know they have been beaten?
    Generally want to minimize positive outcomes for others that don't enhance their own outcome of a plan or action, because... Why support those free-booters anyway?
    Will likely get a kick out of the failure of others, even if they didn't have a hand in it themselves.
    Will likely be indifferent to the suffering of others unless there is a way to turn it to personal benefit.
    Will likely be dismissive of the success of others unless that success directly hinged on personal actions, in which case that other person/group better remember it.

    None of this requires you to be the perfect boy scout, or twirl your mustache into a coil spring. Once you add law into this, I think the main thing you increase is the personal code of conduct, followed by adherence to laws of the land (that your character respects), and possibly the desire of the character to have a certain reputation based on the codes and laws they follow. Maybe the second and third of those should be switched. Not all laws are truly workable or enforcable, so just sticking to a law because it is a law doesn't even make sense all the time even for L/N. Anyone L/"x" is going to appreciate what law does for civilization. That doesn't make them (well not all of them) just total law adhering robots.

    And I think that last is the real problem. Players sometimes take the alignment and play that instead of a character that has their own hopes, desires, likes, and dislikes that will influence how they view Law as a cosmic/societal force. Or Good/Evil as a cosmic/societal force. Sometimes I think that the "problem" with the L/G paladin is that sometimes someone who has been told they can't play evil will just play a paladin because you can still "smite them all and let the gods sort them out". "Godly" murderhoboism. I think part of that stems from some players having the character worshiping the alignment instead of a god(dess). To an extent, (using pathfinder for my example because I haven't played d&d since 2E many years ago) I could see a paladin of Iomedae (L/G) being the steriotypical "smite everything that I can sense as evil" as the follower of a goddess of war (among other things). But I could also see a paladin of Erastil (L/G) tolerating a lot of "evil" societies because of Erastil being a deity of community, hearth, and home (among other things). Instead of slaughtering all goblins, gnolls, or kobolds you run into, you might end up wanting peaceful coexistence (where possible) to strengthen community. Sounds like a bunch of treaties which would be right up the alley of any L/"x" alignment character. But that isn't possible if L/G characters is just the opposing caricature of the C/E mustache twirler.

    I have to agree with Red Fel on the onus being mostly on players of evil characters though. Most people that I have seen that want to play an evil character (and have been allowed to do so), end up wanting to backstab the party in some way, or end up doing things that spell the end of the group by doing stupid stuff to npcs. I have personally only played with one player that I would trust to run an evil character in a game with me as DM. He is just awesome at keeping his more nefarious deeds done "off screen" and out of the party eye, having reasons to be with the group for personal benefit or respect of one or more members of the group, while definitely not pretending to be good while in the group. And then there are some players that, no matter what is on their sheet, are actually playing a radically different alignment. They are playing C/D. And chaotic disruptive is only fun for a limited period of time if it is fun at all. And sometimes that C/D player has a character sheet labeled L/G and paladin.
    Ok I disagree that all Neutral characters are selfish. Depending on each individual, not all Neutral characters are selfish.

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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    A different *type* of uncomfortable, I think we can agree.

    But a different *level*? Based on the number of players I've seen get red-faced and scream at people for ruining their elf games for playing Good? I think that, showing someone that there is something better/kinder/gentler than what they consider Good is tantamount to calling them Evil. People don't tend to take that well, IME. So I'll argue that being reminded that there is evil in the world, and having that reminder occur in your safe space, is not nearly so uncomfortable as being forced to face that you yourself are that evil (and have that revelation hit you unsolicited in your safe space).

    So, while I may agree that they are a different level, I don't think we are likely to agree as to which is on which end.
    I see. your tabletop experience was different from mine, you probably met far too many lawful stupid characters and not many stupid evil characters.
    personally, I've never met either, but then my roleplaying experience is limited to two parties of friends.
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    A different *type* of uncomfortable, I think we can agree.

    But a different *level*? Based on the number of players I've seen get red-faced and scream at people for ruining their elf games for playing Good? I think that, showing someone that there is something better/kinder/gentler than what they consider Good is tantamount to calling them Evil. People don't tend to take that well, IME. So I'll argue that being reminded that there is evil in the world, and having that reminder occur in your safe space, is not nearly so uncomfortable as being forced to face that you yourself are that evil (and have that revelation hit you unsolicited in your safe space).

    So, while I may agree that they are a different level, I don't think we are likely to agree as to which is on which end.
    Wow, thats actually kind of screwed up. I hope I never meet those people, because if being kind or gentle is grounds for yelling at others, I'm kicking the person who got mad at the kind one from the group or leaving it myself. I don't have time for people who think that way, because evil existing is just a fact, interpreting people showing an example of Good as calling oneself evil is how jerks think, and if we have to police ourselves for being too kind and gentle in safe spaces, I don't think they are even safe anymore.
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    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    I see. your tabletop experience was different from mine, you probably met far too many lawful stupid characters and not many stupid evil characters.
    personally, I've never met either, but then my roleplaying experience is limited to two parties of friends.
    Eh, I've seen good and bad renditions of both/all. I've played a lot. Do note, in case it wasn't clear, that it didn't take "stupid good" to elicit a "you've ruined my elf games" outburst from some players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    Wow, thats actually kind of screwed up.
    I'm not gonna argue with that.

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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Eh, I've seen good and bad renditions of both/all. I've played a lot. Do note, in case it wasn't clear, that it didn't take "stupid good" to elicit a "you've ruined my elf games" outburst from some players.



    I'm not gonna argue with that.
    Jeez, that's...wow. If that's the kind of experience you've had even once, let alone multiple times, I can understand why you'd have a jaundiced view of characters with "Good" written on their character sheets. Anyone serious about being a good person--whether as a character or as a player--should be open to learning new approaches and methods. Learning is vitally necessary for all forms of thought, and moral thought is among them. On behalf of my fellow Good-alignment fans, I genuinely apologize. :(

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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    So I'll argue that being reminded that there is evil in the world, and having that reminder occur in your safe space, is not nearly so uncomfortable as being forced to face that you yourself are that evil (and have that revelation hit you unsolicited in your safe space).
    It pairs joyously with the revelation that the people who enthusiastically invited you into their safe space to play elfgames with them won't allow you to play as yourself, the person they've always known you to be, for alignment reasons.

    The biggest problem with Lawful Good is that 90% of people think they are.

    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Jeez, that's...wow. If that's the kind of experience you've had even once, let alone multiple times, I can understand why you'd have a jaundiced view of characters with "Good" written on their character sheets. Anyone serious about being a good person--whether as a character or as a player--should be open to learning new approaches and methods. Learning is vitally necessary for all forms of thought, and moral thought is among them. On behalf of my fellow Good-alignment fans, I genuinely apologize. :(
    Just take a moment to imagine the Venn Diagram of people who believe they are personally Lawful Good, people who don't allow Evil or CN characters in their games because "heroism", and people who think that the Gray Guard is a legitimate character concept.

    The biggest problem with Lawful Good is that it destroyed my faith in humanity's capacity for moral reasoning. Having mechanical rules for morality in a roleplaying game is like trying to have hard mechanical rules defining the alien geometry and colorless radiation of Lovecraft.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezekielraiden View Post
    Jeez, that's...wow. If that's the kind of experience you've had even once, let alone multiple times, I can understand why you'd have a jaundiced view of characters with "Good" written on their character sheets. Anyone serious about being a good person--whether as a character or as a player--should be open to learning new approaches and methods. Learning is vitally necessary for all forms of thought, and moral thought is among them. On behalf of my fellow Good-alignment fans, I genuinely apologize. :(
    I've found I mostly solve this problem by telling players that they don't get to determine their alignment, I do, as the DM. They are free to act in whatever way they please, and, when the time comes that their alignment actually has some kind of impact on the happenings in the game (they die and I need to figure out where they go, an angel shows up and casts holy smite, a succubus is secretly using detect good on the party etc etc), then i'll look back on their actions and determine what their alignment should be based on that. Until then, they should just leave the alignment section blank.

    I've found that helps players play their character rather than playing their alignment.
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    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.

  28. - Top - End - #178
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    FaerieGodfather's Avatar

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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crake View Post
    Until then, they should just leave the alignment section blank.
    How does that work with the alignment restrictions on the majority (6/11) of base classes in the PHB? Or do you waive those to enable better roleplaying?
    Last edited by FaerieGodfather; 2019-09-24 at 05:32 AM.
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by FaerieGodfather View Post
    How does that work with the alignment restrictions on the majority (6/11) of base classes in the PHB? Or do you waive those to enable better roleplaying?
    I don't know others, but I never cared at all about those.
    paladins should be clearly acting heroic, because that's what paladins are supposed to be.
    and druids should at least do soemthing druidic every once in a while
    and clerics should at least behave in a way that doesn't conflict with their chosen deity.
    those are the only restrictions. and you'll notice that those three classes are getting their powers from an external source granting them, so it makes sense that they have to further the interests of the external source.

    but that a barbarian can't be lawful while a monk must be? what's the point of it all?
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    Default Re: What's Wrong With Lawful Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    but that a barbarian can't be lawful while a monk must be? what's the point of it all?
    I always figured it was something along the lines of a mind devoted to law is too orderly to be able to fly off the handle like that, while one not regimented enough to be can't keep the precise movements of monk abilities straight.

    Bard still makes no damn sense not being able to be lawful though.

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