The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Because there's no such thing as too many alignment threads.

    (YES I AM WORKING ON THE EVIL ALIGNMENT THINGS I AM SO SORRY I GOT OUT OF DND FOR A WHILE BUT NOW I'M BACK)

    I think I've found a question which will have a fair amount of varience in its answers.

    Imagine a hypothetical society with only one law: "Don't hurt anyone who doesn't have it coming or need it." They enforce this law perfectly and immediately; if you hurt someone, and they don't deserve or need a little hurt, you are instantly punished, recieving the exact amount of punishment that your particular hurting merits. No one is ever misjudged, and no one is ever punished too little or too much. And, to reiterate that first point, there are no other laws; you can do anything you want, as long as it doesn't violate the one law.

    What alignment is this society, and why?
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    Sstoopidtallkid's Avatar

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    Default Re: Because there's no such thing as too many alignment threads.

    LE.did you expect anything else, they let you steal whatever you feel like.

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    Tengu's Avatar

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    Default Re: Because there's no such thing as too many alignment threads.

    CN - it's just a step up from a completely lawless anarchies, which are usually described as CN. If they had more laws apart from this one, this society could be any alignment - despite what some Boyscout Good believers might think, "eye for an eye" is a rule that good characters can believe in, too.

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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Because there's no such thing as too many alignment threads.

    I'd say LN, because of how supposedly "perfectly" they follow their own legal system.

    And can we get some hypothetical situations that are at least possible?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krellen View Post
    Remember, Evil isn't "selfish". It's Evil. "Look out for number one" is a Neutral attitude. Evil looks out for number one while crushing number two.

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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Because there's no such thing as too many alignment threads.

    LG, in D&D alignment is objective; therfore, any act will have a set degree of punishment that is "perfect." Granted this is hypothetical, but under the parameters stated: the society is doing exactly the right thing, every single time. The very definition of LG.

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Because there's no such thing as too many alignment threads.

    They enforce the law really, really well, but it's very vague and ill-defined... I'd say TN.

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    HalflingRogueGirl

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    Default Re: Because there's no such thing as too many alignment threads.

    It depends on how the enforcers feel about their job. I'd say TN, LN or NG.
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    Quote Originally Posted by averagejoe View Post
    Chivalry (n): A willingness to find excuses to beat people up.

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    UglyPanda's Avatar

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    Default Re: Because there's no such thing as too many alignment threads.

    How do you determine whether or not they deserve it? Imagine someone got knocked over in the street by somebody running quickly past. What if it was an accident? What if the man was chasing after a robber who hurt him?

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    Tengu's Avatar

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    Default Re: Because there's no such thing as too many alignment threads.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrawn183 View Post
    LG, in D&D alignment is objective; therfore, any act will have a set degree of punishment that is "perfect." Granted this is hypothetical, but under the parameters stated: the society is doing exactly the right thing, every single time. The very definition of LG.
    Except that there are more ways of making others suffer than hurting them physically, which the society we're discussing here does not punish AT ALL. If they were giving exact punishment for stealing, breaking deals and other such things too, they would be LG. But they're not.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Because there's no such thing as too many alignment threads.

    So, non-damaging torture, psychologic torture and abuse, theft, property invasion, spreading rumors, and all kind of non-hurting actions would be allowed? As it was pointed out, without others rules, that society would quickly fall to CE.
    Also, can someone use loopholes? As in, finding a excuse to point someone as having damaged him, exaggerating the results? Like, someone slaps me, and I punch the daylights outta him, claiming that he hit me in a considerable sensitive area, like a wound in my arm, so my forceful punch is equal?

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Because there's no such thing as too many alignment threads.

    Quote Originally Posted by UglyPanda View Post
    What if the man was chasing after a robber who hurt him?
    Silly, there are no laws about private property and so there could be no robber.

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    Banned
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    Default Re: Because there's no such thing as too many alignment threads.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roderick_BR View Post
    So, non-damaging torture, psychologic torture and abuse, theft, property invasion, spreading rumors, and all kind of non-hurting actions would be allowed?
    I'd say those hurt, just not physicaly.
    Like, someone slaps me, and I punch the daylights outta him, claiming that he hit me in a considerable sensitive area, like a wound in my arm, so my forceful punch is equal?
    The judge is apparently omniscient.

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    Yami's Avatar

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    Default Re: Because there's no such thing as too many alignment threads.

    Quote Originally Posted by lumberofdabeast View Post

    Imagine a hypothetical society with only one law: "Don't hurt anyone who doesn't have it coming or need it."
    Have it coming, and needing it are far definitions that vary by person. This honestly sounds like a choatic society, with the usual reactions to someone getting in your way thrown into a law to better regulate the mess.

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    Devil

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    Default Re: Because there's no such thing as too many alignment threads.

    "Hurt" is actually a somewhat vague term, "need" even more so. "Have it coming" is quite vague.

    It's worth noting that societies don't really have alignments, except metaphorically. Alignment is a property of individual creatures with minds. And while we may speak of a society having opinions or taking actions, this is merely speaking of the opinions, actions, etc. of individuals in a way that summarizes their large-scale effects.

    So while we may question what alignment a society metaphorically has, it isn't really anything we actually need to know, since a society is not a valid target for detect evil, can't take levels in paladin, and so on. In practice, a more important question is what the alignments of those responsible for implementing the punishments are.

    Who is implementing the punishments? Why and how? What determines how much punishment a given hurtful act "merits"? What does "merits" even mean in this context? Etc.

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    NecroRebel's Avatar

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    Default Re: Because there's no such thing as too many alignment threads.

    Let's assume for the moment that the enforcer of the law here is a powerful divine entity, say divine rank 50 or so. In other words, this entity knows what every person in the society in question is doing, thinking, feeling, etc., at every moment. Further, the definition of harm in this case includes mental pain as well as physical, and the level of harm is defined by the perceptions of the victim. In other words, if person A stabs person B with a knife, but person B is abnormally insensitive to pain and thus is not really harmed much, person A will be punished relative to the amount of pain B felt rather than being stabbed themself.

    Also, as we have an overdeity as our chief of police, we'll just say that punishments are instant. This also means that no one is "justified" in harming anyone else, since the god has already punished any wrongdoing the person being harmed has done.

    Um. Assuming all these things, I'm gonna say this code of laws is just barely LN, with strong leanings towards NN and weak leanings towards LE. The law here is utterly "fair" in that it punishes everyone equally and rewards obediance to authority, which is a lawful trait, but it also completely heartless, which is a strongly non-good trait. If it was actively malicious or punished some people unevenly for whatever reason, it'd be totally LE in a heartbeat.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: Because there's no such thing as too many alignment threads.

    The law holds that the most important thing is the actions of individuals and how they affect others, with no concern whatsoever for the needs of society as a whole or for sometimes putting the good of society over the good of an individual. It is Chaotic, probably Chaotic Neutral since it leaves people to succeed or fail based on their merits and luck, only intervening when someone is directly harmed.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Default Re: Because there's no such thing as too many alignment threads.

    Quote Originally Posted by NecroRebel View Post
    Further, the definition of harm in this case includes mental pain as well as physical, and the level of harm is defined by the perceptions of the victim. In other words, if person A stabs person B with a knife, but person B is abnormally insensitive to pain and thus is not really harmed much, person A will be punished relative to the amount of pain B felt rather than being stabbed themself.
    Ooh, now that's interesting, because in that case it basically becomes a crime to do anything that anyone else dislikes. Now, my first instinct is to retort that if someone else is bothered by something that I do, that's their problem, and not something that I should necessarily be held accountable for. The thing is, though, that I can't really blame other people for their involuntary emotional responses to my behavior -- after all, they're involuntary! So I might cause another person to suffer due to an aspect of his psychology that he never got to choose, and that's actually not very fair at all. This scenario has the potential to correct for this fundamental natural injustice to some degree. And it's not like it actually keeps me from doing anything that bothers anyone else. If something that I greatly enjoy causes another person mild annoyance, then having that feeling of mild annoyance automagically telepathically broadcast into my mind won't be sufficient to deter me from doing it, because the feeling of enjoyment will outweigh the feeling of annoyance.

    There are, however, a few reasons why the entity responsible for all of this might be considered Evil:

    1. It makes me feel the negative emotions that I inflict on others, but it doesn't also allow me to feel the positive ones (or if it does, you never stated it). It apparently wishes to give out punishments for bad behavior, but not rewards for good behavior. If it can do the former, it seems natural to presume that it can do the latter.

    2. It also doesn't just get rid of the... well, mental defects, to put it bluntly... that cause people to be bothered by things that we really shouldn't be bothered by. It may not have the power to do this; in fact, I intuit that reprogramming people's minds is fundamentally more complicated than causing them to automagically project their negative emotions into the people who cause them.

    3. This setup deters me from doing things that result in more suffering for others than pleasure for me. In this way, it increases total utility. On the other hand, in cases where my behavior results in more pleasure for me than suffering for others, I'll still do it, with the only difference being that now I'll experience extra suffering too; e.g. as I said above, great enjoyment plus mild annoyance. That's a net minus.

    Does the total good accomplished in this fashion outweigh the total bad? It does not seem clear to me that the answer to this question is "yes".

    Actually, if I am not selfish but instead am myself a good moral utilitarian, I will now avoid behavior that causes me half or more as much indirect suffering (via magical empathy) as it does pleasure, since I know that this suffering is exactly matched by identical suffering by other people. This scenario actually changes cases that produce between one half and one times as much suffering as they do pleasure from positive to negative, by doubling the amount of suffering. On the other hand, I am now able to perfectly judge how much suffering my actions inflict on others (because I experience it directly), whereas normally I would have to estimate. Once again, it is not clear to me whether or not the gains outweigh the losses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jothki View Post
    The law holds that the most important thing is the actions of individuals and how they affect others, with no concern whatsoever for the needs of society as a whole or for sometimes putting the good of society over the good of an individual. It is Chaotic, probably Chaotic Neutral since it leaves people to succeed or fail based on their merits and luck, only intervening when someone is directly harmed.
    You're talking as if the law were the only aspect of this society. There's no reason it could not still have charities and such. They might even be run by the same entity responsible for punishing crimes! (Crimes being, by definition, just those behaviors that violate this one strange law.) Just because this is the one and only coercive means by which the population is governed doesn't mean that the same person/group/deity/whatever won't try to influence people by other means.

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