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[DND] The Alignment Thread :O

INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teethRegistered User regular
edited February 2007 in Critical Failures
I am not responsible for any of the opinions I post here, because my stance on alignment comes down to 'Recognize the difference between right and wrong; Alignment is subjective only to a certain degree; use common sense.'

But I am going to offer some of the common viewpoints I see offered on several Alignment-related subjects, because hey, why not have a thread where we discuss something that is poorly defined and try to force our own definitions onto others?

VIEWPOINT THE FIRST: Alignment is broken because it is not internally consistent. How can animals be neutral if evil creatures are defined as "simply hav[ing] no compassion for others and kill[ing] without qualms"? If mindless or animal-intelligence creatures are defaulted to neutral because they are unable to consider moral choices, why are mindless undead evil? Alignment is broken. Never use it.

VIEWPOINT THE SECOND: Alignment is never objective, and the inherent alignment of an act is entirely dependant on the beliefs of the person undertaking the action; for example, killing a newborn because the Prophecy foretells he will bring about a dark age and leave millions dead in his wake would be a Good act if the killer honestly believed the prophecy.

VIEWPOINT THE THIRD: Alignment is absolutely subjective, and any action can be a (lawful/chaotic/evil/good) act given the appropriate reasoning; thusly, Alignment is broken and should not be used. Example: Killing the Doom Baby 'cause the prophecy says so is [Good/Evil] because [he will kill lots of others/he is a baby], interchangably. This is closely related to...

VIEWPOINT THE FOURTH: Alignment is subjective based on individual/culture beliefs - thus, it may be evil to genocide orcs for members of one kingdom and good for another, because everyone in the respective kingdom believes so. This is similar to Viewpoint the Second, on a cultural/social rather than personal level.

VIEWPOINT THE FIFTH: Alignment is objective; murdering an innocent is always evil and tending to the wounded is always good. This seems to be a less common viewpoint, although I have seen it brandished before. This is the closest to where Salty stands (that alignment is objective, with leeway either way for personal/cultural concerns.)

So, my fellow DND players, where do you all stand? Perhaps we can offer hypothetical situations to yell at eachother about!

INeedNoSalt on
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Posts

  • FierceDeity666FierceDeity666 Registered User
    edited February 2007
    you actually did it



    you magnificent bastard

    FierceDeity666 on
  • ArdentArdent extra Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Posting in an epic thread.

    Ardent on
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  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I'll bite...

    I think I'm the Fourth.

    SUPERSUGA on
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    VIEWPOINT THE FIFTH: Alignment is objective; murdering an innocent is always evil and tending to the wounded is always good. This seems to be a less common viewpoint, although I have seen it brandished before. This is the closest to where Salty stands (that alignment is objective, with leeway either way for personal/cultural concerns.)

    It's the only one that makes things work at all. You do have to reconcile the fact that very evil acts can be done for Good reasons. The big question is how good the actor is after that's happened.

    DevoutlyApathetic on
  • Mr_RoseMr_Rose 83 Blue Ridge Protects the Holy Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Oh, come now, we're oDaM! This needn't turn into a hideous flame-fest of doom. We can have a nice, civilised flame-fest instead...

    So, to content!

    I'm gonna have to go with a combination of VIEWPOINT THE SECOND and viewpoint zero: A good person would recognise the baby-murder as inherently wrong, but would still do it (and still be good) if they really believed that baby==doom. The evil person wouldn't care that killing the baby was wrong, but might recognise that it was worth the immediate trouble to prevent future inconvenience. Of course, a chaotic type would have less trouble with either course than a lawful type, but that's a given, isn't it?

    Mr_Rose on
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  • TalonrazorTalonrazor Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Alignment is shit.

    People who like alignment are shit.

    People who disagree with me are shit.

    This thread is the shit.

    Oh shit, gotta go take a shit.

    Talonrazor on
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  • ArdentArdent extra Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Shit.

    Ardent on
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  • FierceDeity666FierceDeity666 Registered User
    edited February 2007
    FOR THE GREATER GOOD

    FierceDeity666 on
  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I like to replace alignment with a sort of Faith system. If you're a Paladin of some god then you have to act accordingly with that Faith if you want to keep your powers. Instead of Smite Evil you get Smite Heathen which means you can Smite someone who doesn't believe in your God. I guess someone who's indifferent to your god will read as neutral and take a bit of a hit but someone who worships the God opposed to your's or just goes against their ideals will come up as Heathen, or Evil.

    This works pretty ok.

    SUPERSUGA on
  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Meh, I like straight-up alignment. I think I've got a pretty idea of Right and Wrong and the ideas presented as Good and Evil and can run them along. There are all kinds of things presented on the Wizards.com boards that really stump me, like, 'Can a paladin have an abortion?' or 'Arthas killed a ton of innocent people, does he lose his paladinhood?'

    Either way I'd say yes, they do. My ideas regarding the game don't always mesh with real life where things can easily be more grey, though, but when it comes to the game, I don't understand how people can have so much trouble with the alignment system.

    INeedNoSalt on
  • UtsanomikoUtsanomiko Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    When creating D&D characters, I always took alignment as a rough estimate of the character's behavior in two-dimensional form, where their likelyhood of either defending justice or being fickle & malicious could be summarized on two scales of 1-100. That way you could look over the sheets of five party members and know what kind of ruckus will brew without reading through five different paragraphs of "I was orphaned and raised by..."

    That said, I consider the nature of actions to be objectively rated by both deed and intent (objective at least to the DM, who has the detached and omniscient viewpoint on what goes on in his story). Committing a particular crime may not be good or evil one way or another, but it's likely chaotic. It may always be evil to kill someone, but whether it's done on a whim or to maintain the killer's structured and predictable society is what makes the difference. So I'd say generally 'good vs evil' is an objective matter of what causes harm or benefit to the whole, while 'chaos vs law' is a more personal matter of what the character considers to be the consequences of their actions.

    The character definitely should not reflect their rating, it should reflect them. A character listed as Lawful Good who *sometimes* does bad or disorderly things isn't necessarily chaotic evil, he's just not *purely* Lawful Good. If he does bad or disorderly things just as often as good and lawful ones (or neutral actions- not considered strongly one or the other- just as often as strongly-aligned ones) his alignment should be reevaluated as true neutral; he shouldn't be forced to RP an unchanging 2D label.

    Utsanomiko on
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  • AcidSerraAcidSerra Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I'd say Utsan says alot that is very close to what I feel, that the label is not the person, but a simple easy to catagorize reflection of the person.

    Lets take the example of killing the baby. Our Neutral Good walks into the room, and knowing hte gravity of the situation sticks his sword straight through the baby. Normally a Neutral good would not do this. It's evil, but meant to maintian good in the overall order. His alignment is slightly shifted to being more Lawful Neutral then it had been, but it doesn't make him Automatically change whole alignments, and it certainly doesn't make him evil. In that situation, he was faced with an extreme choice, he took the one that he considered good, which is more in keeping with another alignment.

    Part of the alignment system, is 9 different viewpoints and 9 different ways to define good. Your character should rarely, if ever, think that what they are doing is truely evil. A Neutral Evil does the right thing, for themself. Neutral Good does the right thing for others. Bith are doing what they consider "good", but both can clearly be defined within the system.

    Basically I see the problem as people trying to work subjectivity into the system from the outside, when really the subjectivity is already there on the inside. Andalignement isn't supposed to be a detailed rulebook, just a quick guide to help you keep the character on track.

    AcidSerra on
  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I find alignment really isn't a problem unless players make it so. I'm also of the school that actions dictate alignment, and not the other way around (which tends to be the results in Lawful Stupid and Chaotic Moron alignments). Disallowing for truly extraordinary occurrences, no one action should dictate an alignment shift, but the player should have the PC play through the natural consequences.

    For the baby killing example, I would expect a good player to show some sort of guilt or doubt, that they knew for a fact this kid was going to destroy the world in twenty of thirty years, but maybe they could've done something to change that, to save the kid, instead of doing the 'easy' thing.

    Gabriel_Pitt on
  • laughingfuzzballlaughingfuzzball Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    People discussing D&D alignment concerns tend very strongly to fall along personal beliefs on morality and ethicality, yet you'll very rarely see someone acknowledge this. Most often the type of people to discuss it in this manner can't even recognize their own philosophical assumptions, and are therefore unable to address the matter appropriately as anything but a matter of mechanics. The types of people capable of discussing the issue fully generally recognize it's inherent silliness. We then wind up with active incapables and inactive capables, which compounds the silliness with sophomoric arguments and flawed logic.

    tldr: You're silly.

    laughingfuzzball on
  • The ListenerThe Listener Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    When I DM, I'm usually not fussy with alignment, though I always try to go with the Fifth rule of thinking of alignment. All I really care about is that they realise that their character dictates their alignment and not the other way around, and that no race is "born" an alignment. (This is a house rule of mine.)

    The Listener on
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  • DeepQantasDeepQantas Registered User
    edited February 2007
    'Can a paladin have an abortion?'
    Hm. If that came up, I think I'd cheat and make it more a matter of Code of Conduct instead of alignment. Of course if she doesn't have a church that can tell her what's right and wrong in this situation that'd be tougher.
    'Arthas killed a ton of innocent people, does he lose his paladinhood?'
    Code of Conduct helps here, too. "Punish those who harm or threaten innocents"

    I'd say Arthas needs to fess up to a legitimate authority and/or divine force. If he doesn't accept the punishment (possibly a quest not unlike one required for atonement) he'll lose the hood. If he doesn't seek out this punishment or gives up the quest or breaks out of jail or refuses to get hanged for his crimes (if that's what the authority mandates), he'll lose the hood.
    For the baby killing example, I would expect a good player to show some sort of guilt or doubt, that they knew for a fact this kid was going to destroy the world in twenty of thirty years, but maybe they could've done something to change that, to save the kid, instead of doing the 'easy' thing.
    Guilt and doubt are mandatory, yea. If killing a baby doesn't give you second thoughts, something is wrong.

    Killing the baby would still be neutral at most. On the other hand... saving the baby would probably be a good act. Trying to raise him right so he doesn't destroy the world will earn you your wings. :P

    DeepQantas on
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  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Well in that case, it really depends on how the kid is involved with destroying the world. 'Born with the incarnated soul of the greatest demonlord to ever reign in hell,' meaning that you're dealing with unrepentant hellspawn from the getgo ala Damien would be a different decision than knowing that if the kid lives, he will be the prophesied fulcrum upon which the decision between destruction and salvation balances.

    Gabriel_Pitt on
  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Just once I'd like to see an alignment thread that didn't somehow bring up killin' babies. Oh well.

    Anyway, the fifth one is the closest to the way I play it in DnD.
    VIEWPOINT THE FIFTH: Alignment is objective; murdering an innocent is always evil and tending to the wounded is always good. This seems to be a less common viewpoint, although I have seen it brandished before. This is the closest to where Salty stands (that alignment is objective, with leeway either way for personal/cultural concerns.)

    In the DnD universe, good, evil, law and chaos seem to be just as fundamental and concrete as any elemental force. Certain things about a character will make them more akin to one sort of alignment than another. The inhabitants of the Prime Material are in the unique position of creating their own alignment through their actions (whereas a Balor can no more be lawful good than a Ice Elemental can decide it's going to catch fire one day).

    Undead are evil... well, because undead are evil. So are demons and devils... because they're demons and devils. That's how it seems to work in DnD. I'm sure if we were trying to make the DnD game "more like real life" it would be much more complicated, but why would we want to do that? Thankfully places like Faerun and Oerth are simpler... where Paladins can cast Detect Evil instead of having to have long discussions about moral relativism or take anger management classes after "smiting" the bad guy.

    Horseshoe on
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  • UtsanomikoUtsanomiko Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    People discussing D&D alignment concerns tend very strongly to fall along personal beliefs on morality and ethicality, yet you'll very rarely see someone acknowledge this. Most often the type of people to discuss it in this manner can't even recognize their own philosophical assumptions, and are therefore unable to address the matter appropriately as anything but a matter of mechanics. The types of people capable of discussing the issue fully generally recognize it's inherent silliness. We then wind up with active incapables and inactive capables, which compounds the silliness with sophomoric arguments and flawed logic.

    tldr: You're silly.

    Feh, that conclusion is only being reached because of your own philosophical assumptions, compunded by flawed logic.

    tldr: You're silly.

    titletraintructionoh4.gif

    Utsanomiko on
    hmm.gif
  • ThomamelasThomamelas Only one man can kill this many Russians. Bring his guitar to me! Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Horseshoe wrote:
    Just once I'd like to see an alignment thread that didn't somehow bring up killin' babies. Oh well.

    Never happen. It's a requirement. Also the thread will be Godwined, very, very early. The discussion will move along quietly until a fictional character will be brought in. Partisans of the character will defend actions. Others will attack. Other characters will be drawn in. All will end in flames.

    tldr: Alignment threads are the cause of WWIII.

    Thomamelas on
  • CircularCircular Registered User
    edited February 2007
    VIEWPOINT THE SECOND: Alignment is never objective, and the inherent alignment of an act is entirely dependant on the beliefs of the person undertaking the action; for example, killing a newborn because the Prophecy foretells he will bring about a dark age and leave millions dead in his wake would be a Good act if the killer honestly believed the prophecy.

    VIEWPOINT THE THIRD: Alignment is absolutely subjective, and any action can be a (lawful/chaotic/evil/good) act given the appropriate reasoning; thusly, Alignment is broken and should not be used. Example: Killing the Doom Baby 'cause the prophecy says so is [Good/Evil] because [he will kill lots of others/he is a baby], interchangably. This is closely related to...

    I don't mean to be difficult, and I think this discussion could be interesting, so I'm not trying to derail.

    How are these two different? Is it that (2) relies on some kind of moral belief while (3) allows for justifications based on utilitarian logic?

    EDIT: Or is it that in (2) there's an objective measure of good/evil/lawful/chaotic but your internal measure doesn't change if you intended something in line with your alignment, while in (3) there's no objective measure?

    Circular on
  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    In 2, the alignment of an act is dependant on what your character believes the act to be.

    In 3, the alignment of an act is whatever the hell you say it is.

    INeedNoSalt on
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I've always been able to take them or leave them: but althought I won't exactly throw a hissy fit if I see them appear in a TT or computer RPG, I tend to feel they're an overly simplistic view of things. They work in a shamelessly and gloriusly black-and-white fantasy setting, but anywhere else they must be hunted down!

    Personally, I prefer allegiances. I've seen Lawful/Chaotic used as personality modifiers alongside associated groups and organisations, and unsurprisingly most of the badass bounty hunters in the group were Chaotic :wink:

    Edcrab on
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  • ArdentArdent extra Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    According to 2, Ninjas are actually Lawful Good. Discuss.

    Ardent on
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  • CantideCantide Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    If mindless or animal-intelligence creatures are defaulted to neutral because they are unable to consider moral choices, why are mindless undead evil?

    This is actually a recent change. Back in 3.0, skeletons and zombies were True Neutral.

    Cantide on
  • Alexan DriteAlexan Drite Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    In D&D Alignment serves as a mechanical explanation of certain spells. Does your character die when he hears a blasphemy, or a holy word? Does Smite Evil work or not? That is it's purpose. If you could remove those spells from the game, you could throw out the Alignment system and instead go with a varient rule system like Taint or what not.

    Mechanically, from all the splat books I've read Alignment is NOT ethics. Instead it's a Cosmic Power Struggle between a force that is called 'good' and a force called 'evil' and a force called 'order' and a force called 'chaos'. At any given moment these forces are perfectly balanced. Even the slightest deviation will tip the force towards one or the other. At any given moment in time Which side wins or loses in this cosmic balancing act is based on the actions of YOU.

    Do an act that strengthens 'Order', and order 'wins' over chaos, forever, even though this test is infinitely repeated and the consequences are only shown as far as the DM wants to show it. Thus One can not justify an action that strengthens Order or Good or Evil or Chaos in the long run, if at that moment it would weaken it. Because it doesn't matter. The war was lost, and you can't go back.
    Try to think of it as Angels Pounding at the Gates of Hell, and on the verge of Victory, BOOM you did an evil act, and the demons are strengthened and fight them back.
    There are a ton of guidelines throughout the books for what acts strengthen which alignments, so I won't get into it.

    I believe I'm backed up on this in the books Book of Exalted Deeds, Complete Divine, and a ton of 3.0 books that are designed to assist Paladins and Clerics (I forget what it's called) both official and not.

    Now, A paladin must be of lawful good alignment and loses all class abilities if she ever willingly commits an evil act.
    It's up to the DM to decide if Evil in this case is evil alignment or evil ethically.

    What I do is that I try to make it such that repeatedly doing evil or chaotic acts causes all the major evil and chaotic players to be strengthened. Where an evil army might have lost a battle, maybe they instead win it.

    Alexan Drite on
    Tycho wrote:
    I still can't get my head around forums... that method of communication is impossible for me. Like, I can't keep track of it. I'll think "Ok, well, now it's time for me to contribute something", and then the next post is like "KITTIES!" And there's these cats, and they're in a basket, and I'm thinking "Well, they have an excellent point..." .
  • gadwyngadwyn Registered User
    edited February 2007
    In my current campaign one of the PCs stabbed a sleeping 15 yr old in the face until he was dead because he was the son of someone who's family hurt his family. He then tried to do the same to the 8 year old younger brother of the 15 yr old and was stopped by the other PC's. It was a great RP moment. Moral ambiguity can lead to so many fantastic rp'ing situations that i try and maintain it as much as possible. No one is goodey goodey two shoes Ash--and there's also no bad Ash; everyone is pretty much out for what they think is morally, ethically and politically the best course.

    Alignment is not so much a rule as it is a guildeline for your most basic moral compass.

    gadwyn on
  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    gadwyn wrote:
    In my current campaign one of the PCs stabbed a sleeping 15 yr old in the face until he was dead because he was the son of someone who's family hurt his family. He then tried to do the same to the 8 year old younger brother of the 15 yr old and was stopped by the other PC's. It was a great RP moment. Moral ambiguity can lead to so many fantastic rp'ing situations that i try and maintain it as much as possible. No one is goodey goodey two shoes Ash--and there's also no bad Ash; everyone is pretty much out for what they think is morally, ethically and politically the best course.

    Alignment is not so much a rule as it is a guildeline for your most basic moral compass.
    Moral ambiguity, man?

    See, I'd much rather say "That's evil," and since he's completely vengeance oriented and willing to murder children, I'd readily step him down towards Evil.

    INeedNoSalt on
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Moral ambiguity, man?

    See, I'd much rather say "That's evil," and since he's completely vengeance oriented and willing to murder children, I'd readily step him down towards Evil.

    I blame you, this is the classic fate of all alignment threads. People sometimes have this large block about accepting that what they'd like to do would qualify as evil in the objective framework of D&D.

    DevoutlyApathetic on
  • UnholyUnholy Registered User
    edited February 2007
    VIEWPOINT THE FIRST: Alignment is broken because it is not internally consistent. How can animals be neutral if evil creatures are defined as "simply hav[ing] no compassion for others and kill[ing] without qualms"? If mindless or animal-intelligence creatures are defaulted to neutral because they are unable to consider moral choices, why are mindless undead evil? Alignment is broken. Never use it.

    The "Mindless" Undead are merely the tools of a necromancer. If someone shot you, you wouldn't say the gun was at fault, would you?

    I do agree, however, that Good and Evil are relative terms. I prefer the terms "With us" and "Against us," as certainly they're more appropriate.

    Unholy on
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  • UtsanomikoUtsanomiko Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Moral ambiguity, man?

    See, I'd much rather say "That's evil," and since he's completely vengeance oriented and willing to murder children, I'd readily step him down towards Evil.

    Stabbing a kid to death is pretty clear-cut to me in terms of good or evil. What's supposed to be 'good' about such an act, anyway?

    I'd say the issue stems from failing to keep the 'chaos vs law' half of alignment in mind. Attempting to factor in family vendettas into what's essentially an 'Epic Winnie the Pooh' black & white view of fantasy morality is probably what's causing the resulting conclusion that child vengeance killers are 'ambiguous'.

    Utsanomiko on
    hmm.gif
  • Alexan DriteAlexan Drite Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Unholy wrote:
    VIEWPOINT THE FIRST: Alignment is broken because it is not internally consistent. How can animals be neutral if evil creatures are defined as "simply hav[ing] no compassion for others and kill[ing] without qualms"? If mindless or animal-intelligence creatures are defaulted to neutral because they are unable to consider moral choices, why are mindless undead evil? Alignment is broken. Never use it.

    The "Mindless" Undead are merely the tools of a necromancer. If someone shot you, you wouldn't say the gun was at fault, would you?

    I do agree, however, that Good and Evil are relative terms. I prefer the terms "With us" and "Against us," as certainly they're more appropriate.
    Undead are evil because Paladin's Smite Evil attack should work on them, Good aligned weapons should overcome their DR, Holy weapons should deal burst damage, holy water should burn, and a dozen spells in the game should work just as well against them as any other evil creature.

    Alignment is not Ethics! Using your armies of undead to fight Nazis or save babies yeah that's 'good'. But a Paladin should be able to smite them.

    Alexan Drite on
    Tycho wrote:
    I still can't get my head around forums... that method of communication is impossible for me. Like, I can't keep track of it. I'll think "Ok, well, now it's time for me to contribute something", and then the next post is like "KITTIES!" And there's these cats, and they're in a basket, and I'm thinking "Well, they have an excellent point..." .
  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Alignment is not Ethics!
    Yes, this is a perfect way to sum it up basically, and I love you.

    INeedNoSalt on
  • UnholyUnholy Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Unholy wrote:
    VIEWPOINT THE FIRST: Alignment is broken because it is not internally consistent. How can animals be neutral if evil creatures are defined as "simply hav[ing] no compassion for others and kill[ing] without qualms"? If mindless or animal-intelligence creatures are defaulted to neutral because they are unable to consider moral choices, why are mindless undead evil? Alignment is broken. Never use it.

    The "Mindless" Undead are merely the tools of a necromancer. If someone shot you, you wouldn't say the gun was at fault, would you?

    I do agree, however, that Good and Evil are relative terms. I prefer the terms "With us" and "Against us," as certainly they're more appropriate.
    Undead are evil because Paladin's Smite Evil attack should work on them, Good aligned weapons should overcome their DR, Holy weapons should deal burst damage, holy water should burn, and a dozen spells in the game should work just as well against them as any other evil creature.

    Alignment is not Ethics! Using your armies of undead to fight Nazis or save babies yeah that's 'good'. But a Paladin should be able to smite them.

    I always thought there should be a more logical reasoning behind dousing something with water, and having it burn accordingly to how others preceive it.

    But I suppose that's how it works. Good always conquers Evil. Evil shows for a sequel, comes up with another bad plan and is once again mercilessly beaten.

    I would like Good and Evil abandoned, though, as themed forces would prove more logical. But I digress.
    Alignment is not Ethics!
    Yes, this is a perfect way to sum it up basically, and I love you.

    I made a similar argument :/

    Unholy on
    I've got a Wii. Feel free to ask for my ID.
  • gadwyngadwyn Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Utsanomiko wrote:
    Moral ambiguity, man?

    See, I'd much rather say "That's evil," and since he's completely vengeance oriented and willing to murder children, I'd readily step him down towards Evil.

    Stabbing a kid to death is pretty clear-cut to me in terms of good or evil. What's supposed to be 'good' about such an act, anyway?

    I'd say the issue stems from failing to keep the 'chaos vs law' half of alignment in mind. Attempting to factor in family vendettas into what's essentially an 'Epic Winnie the Pooh' black & white view of fantasy morality is probably what's causing the resulting conclusion that child vengeance killers are 'ambiguous'.


    Well, and this will utterly degenerate the discussion and i apologize for that, but, would it be it morally "good" to kill hitler as a child, knowing, or having a very good idea of, what he would do later in his life? How bout a african dictator who actively commits and funds genocide?

    While these might be clearcut answers to you, i don't think they're clear cut answers; it's just that you've made your choice on this. That's cool, but, not everyone has. The moment of stabbing a sleeping child in bed was a defining moment for this character and one of the better RP scenes when the other PC's confronted him about. Moments like that are why i play the game. He did/has gone down a somewhat evil path, but, really it's more of a, i do what i have to do, amoral path of survival.

    re: morals vs ethics, can people define what they mean by those terms cuz i think of them as morals being societal/cultural mores whereas ethics are personal. This doesn't seem to jive with what ya'll are saying, so, fill me in here.

    gadwyn on
  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    He had to kill children for revenge to survive?

    Killing anyone for crimes they've yet to commit is an evil act, regardless of how you justify it.

    INeedNoSalt on
  • gadwyngadwyn Registered User
    edited February 2007
    He had to kill children for revenge to survive?

    Killing anyone for crimes they've yet to commit is an evil act, regardless of how you justify it.

    See, i disagree with that. If you have full knowledge that they are going to commit evil acts, murder, torture, rape, debauchery, etc on a mass scale and that they will pass those values to their children, and so on and so on... Now what if your friends and family were going to bear the brunt of those acts? What if they already had?

    What you see as a moral imperitive, i see as a question.

    gadwyn on
  • UtsanomikoUtsanomiko Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    The killing is an action on the side of evil; there are plenty of actions to take that would be more neutral in nature (since we've brought up Hitler-baby, why not kidnap him and drop him off at some French monastery?). Murder is taking the road which causes the most harm to an individual, and for one that's innocent due to age or being merely related, I really fail to see what shred of attempt there is to do something considered 'good'.

    The purpose for killing in the name of 'good' is in actuality a matter of Chaos vs Order, regarding whether it's done to prevent massive deaths or to simply get back at them folks who done wronged you. But 'good vs evil' typically boils down to direct help vs harm upon others.

    Utsanomiko on
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  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I believe I'm backed up on this in the books Book of Exalted Deeds, Complete Divine, and a ton of 3.0 books that are designed to assist Paladins and Clerics (I forget what it's called) both official and not.

    Heck, it's even more basic than that...

    "Good and evil are not philisophical concepts in the D&D game. They are the forces that define the cosmos."
    -- Player's Handbook v3.5, page 103.

    Horseshoe on
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  • TheungryTheungry Registered User
    edited February 2007
    I always thought alignment was just there to keep powergamers in check. You can't be a Monk / Barbarian dual class. You can't be a paladin and not annoy everyone. You can't rely on undead minions because they're easy for Clerics to turn.

    I have personally never used alignment in a campaign, and I don't think i could take a GM seriously who insisted on it. Good players don't need it to limit their stupidity or flesh out their characters. Playing with bad players isn't fun anyway. Alignment won't save the day.

    Theungry on
    Unfortunately, western cultures frown upon arranged marriages, so the vast majority of people have to take risks in order to get into relationships.
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