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Thread: Alignment

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    If one were to achieve an Evil consequence through use of Good actions, and the motive behind the Evil consequence was an Evil one, what would the character's alignment be?

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    Default Re: Alignment

    Whatever the DM says. If you're the DM, whatever sounds most reasonable to you.
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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Oh, so it's all up to the DM, thanks.

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    Default Re: Alignment

    What Monty said, as always. If I were the DM my answer would be: Evil.

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    Default Re: Alignment

    Also, asking alignment questions on the forum is generally a bad idea, as it tends to lead to flame wars.
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    Quote Originally Posted by firgadin View Post
    If one were to achieve an Evil consequence through use of Good actions, and the motive behind the Evil consequence was an Evil one, what would the character's alignment be?
    If you're achieving on-balance Evil consequences, and foresaw those as the expectable result of your own actions, then that is an Evil act. An Evil act is not necessarily the same as an Evil alignment, but it will push you in that direction.
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    Saving a child from certain death because you know that in a few years that child is unavoidably destined to become The Torturer Of All Existance (should he survive long enough)... I'd call that a pretty evil act. If you DON'T know about the kid's destiny to become TTOAE, however, I'd call it a good act. I've always mantained that whether an act is good or evil depends on the character's intentions.
    Last edited by Shpadoinkle; 2008-12-16 at 12:13 AM.

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    I think if someone is asking such a question, it means he is up to something, and that means the act is probably evil.

    I'd call the previous post an accidentally evil act, but still an evil act. I wouldn't always blame someone for doing evil by accident on a rare occassion, but that's not an excuse for not investigating a matter either. Most of the time if you investigate you find out. So usually intentions and actions are not seperate, though sometimes they can be. Regularly commiting evil acts unknowingly is still being evil, just with a lame and pitiful excuse. Taken to the extreme I've seen people who were rather selectively ignorant, but it doesn't need to go that far to be bad.

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    Last edited by ericgrau; 2008-12-15 at 10:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shpadoinkle View Post
    Saving a child from certain death because you know that in a few years that child is unavoidably destined to become The Torturer Of All Existance (should he survive long enough)... I'd call that a pretty evil act. If you DON'T know about the kid's destiny to become TTOAE, however, I'd call it a good act.
    Exactly. Because you couldn't forsee that consequence.
    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    I'd call the previous post an accidentally evil act, but still an evil act. I wouldn't always blame someone for doing evil by accident on a rare occassion, but that's not an excuse for not investigating a matter either.
    Wait- what? You're supposed to establish, beyond reasonable doubt, that a given child is NOT going to become 'The Torturer Of All Existance' before you're allowed to rescue it?
    That's crazy.

    Regularly harming others as a result of carelessness isn't 'accidental' at all- previous experience would tell you that this kind of behaviour is likely to harm others, albeit indirectly, and if you persist in doing so, that's your own fault.
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    I would say, as far as intent goes, Evil trumps Good with Neutral lowest.
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    Regarding the wording of the PHB, the action may be good, but the character is still evil.

    If you don't cling too much to the exact words, even the action might probably be evil, but that's indeed the gms personal interpretation of the specific case.
    But I'd say that it's usually unimportant if an action is good or evil. It's the general outlook of the character that really matters for most things.

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    The question, to me, sounds like nonsense (if you will excuse such potentially provocative language): if you intend Evil with your action and achieve Evil through that action then in what way can that action be described as a Good action?
    At most, the action may be of a similar form to some Good action and thus may bear enough of a superficial resembelance to a Good action that an outside obsever who was not aware of your intent or the results of the action may mistake it for a Good action... but they would be mistaken. It is not a Good action.
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    Default Re: Alignment

    Evil motive = Evil. Period.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shpadoinkle View Post
    Saving a child from certain death because you know that in a few years that child is unavoidably destined to become The Torturer Of All Existance (should he survive long enough)... I'd call that a pretty evil act. If you DON'T know about the kid's destiny to become TTOAE, however, I'd call it a good act. I've always mantained that whether an act is good or evil depends on the character's intentions.
    Saving the kid because you know he'll accomplish great evil and you want that to happen is one thing, saving him despite knowing that he'll accomplish great evil that you don't want to see happen is another. I mean, is it a good act to let a child die because of what he is "unavoidably destined" to do/become (never mind how troublesome the notion of being "unavoidably destined" is in morality - even if everything is so determined, can you ever be sufficiently certain of your own knowledge and judgement to act as if it is?)?

    Conversely, even if your aim in saving the child is to ultimately accomplish evil - and if you would happily let the child die if saving it didn't have this evil consequence - is it really evil to save it? Isn't saving a (at present!) innocent's life a good thing to do? You may not be a good person if you do it for the wrong reasons, but it's not an evil act IMO.

    Essentially the problem is that the question mixes the morality of an act as an inherent thing ("good" acts and "bad" acts) and as a function of its consequences (an act with "good" consequences and "bad" consequences). On top of that, one act may fall under two headings and be good for one reason and bad for another (you killed a puppy! But you fed the puppy to a starving child, and it was the only source of food for some reason. Look, moral thought experiments get a bit contrived, okay?), or have both good and bad consequences (you killed that man! Now his children are orphans! On the other hand he was the (immune) vector for an incredibly lethal plague).

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    Quote Originally Posted by kamikasei View Post
    (Clipped for space)
    Greater good and whatnot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firgadin View Post
    If one were to achieve an Evil consequence through use of Good actions, and the motive behind the Evil consequence was an Evil one, what would the character's alignment be?
    How is this even a question? If your motives are evil, then you're evil. If your methods are evil, and you know it, and you don't care, you're evil. If your actions lead to evil even though you don't want them to but you refuse to stop doing them, you're evil.

    There are vastly more ways to be evil than there are to be good, just as there are vastly more ways to build a bad bridge than there are ways to build a good bridge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Samurai Jill View Post
    Wait- what? You're supposed to establish, beyond reasonable doubt, that a given child is NOT going to become 'The Torturer Of All Existance' before you're allowed to rescue it?
    That's crazy.
    No, but the example was extremely contrived. I'd let it go in that and other extremely narrow circumstances, but most of the time it's not so silly impossible to tell if your actions are good or bad and you lose points for not at least making a reasonable effort to find out. Especially after repeated occurances or some related series of events. Especially if it's a little too convenient that you don't find out. Etc.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2008-12-19 at 08:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yahzi View Post
    How is this even a question? If your motives are evil, then you're evil. If your methods are evil, and you know it, and you don't care, you're evil. If your actions lead to evil even though you don't want them to but you refuse to stop doing them, you're evil.
    Evil motives:I give money to charity for the tax break and publicity, in hopes it will help my political career. Evil(assuming you define greed/desire for power as evil)?
    Evil methods:Armed Robbery to avoid starvation. Is that evil?
    Evil results:I'm a lawyer who defends accused rapists, some of whom end up being accused again. Evil?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sstoopidtallkid View Post
    Evil motives:I give money to charity for the tax break and publicity, in hopes it will help my political career. Evil(assuming you define greed/desire for power as evil)?
    Evil methods:Armed Robbery to avoid starvation. Is that evil?
    Evil results:I'm a lawyer who defends accused rapists, some of whom end up being accused again. Evil?
    I'd say Neutral on the first one, it's not like your overall goal is evil, sure you get political power from it but it's not like you did good to help kill or anything.. It's gain for a price, it would be almost the same simply buying something, on a greater scale. You give a man gold and get a sword out of it, you only gave him the gold for the sword, not to be kind.

    The second I would imagine it depends.. Robin Hood often performed Armed Robbery and he is supposedly Chaotic Good. Depending on your will (or lack thereof) to hurt others, and depending on how you choose it would be either Evil or Neutral.

    The third, it depends purely on whether or not the Lawyer knows whether or not they are guilty. Accused means simply that. That could be anywhere from Good to Evil.
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    Evil is entirely about harming others, and not about helping yourself. If acting for your own benefit were Evil, that would make perfectly mundane things like eating breakfast Evil.

    (I'd prefer that Good correspondingly be entirely about helping others, and not about making sacrifices. On the theory that Good and Evil should be opposites of each other. The RAW don't quite agree with me, sadly.)
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    I've always considered breakfast to be evil. Looking at me with it's bacon-smile, and it's sunny-side-up eyes. I know it's plotting something.
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    Default Re: Alignment

    RAW has its ups and downs. Helping Others is "the first word" on Good in PHB. But that doesn't have to include evil characters, though it can.

    the "if it helps you as well, or comes at no cost to you, its Neutral" bit is a bit dubious. Still, the "helpfully courteous" person is more a very nice Neutral than a Good type.

    On the bright side, the "self-sacrifice" comes as a subcategory of helping others, and the "doesn't have to be evil others as well" bit needs to be remembered.

    An evil minion who dives in front of his boss "For the Greater Evil" is not getting a free pass to the Upper Planes.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2008-12-20 at 01:25 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firgadin View Post
    If one were to achieve an Evil consequence through use of Good actions, and the motive behind the Evil consequence was an Evil one, what would the character's alignment be?
    Interesting enough, the whole story of Nightwatch was based on it (obs: spoiler:
    The leader of the dark side saves a boy from being killed (a good action) so the boy can become the champion of the dark side. He then will bring about the apocalypse (evil consequence)
    The whole thing is set up by the leader of the dark side so that the boy becomes the champion (evil motive).
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    Quote Originally Posted by firgadin View Post
    If one were to achieve an Evil consequence through use of Good actions, and the motive behind the Evil consequence was an Evil one, what would the character's alignment be?
    So, something like feeding orphans to persuade them to convert to the Church of Murderface the Blood God, and those orphans wantonly murdering people when they grow up? It's evil, because it's corrupting. It's certainly a more subtle kind of evil than most people play, but evil intentions and evil consequences add up to evil altogether.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xyk View Post
    I've always considered breakfast to be evil. Looking at me with it's bacon-smile, and it's sunny-side-up eyes. I know it's plotting something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xyk View Post
    I've always considered breakfast to be evil. Looking at me with it's bacon-smile, and it's sunny-side-up eyes. I know it's plotting something.
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