Alignment Shifting

Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

Reading old posts I saw an arguement about alignment shifts due to acts
such as stealing from chests. One complaint was that putting in things
like this didn't account for the reasons behind doing so, most amusingly
someone suggested:

>Ouch.

>Consider that there are a LOT of scenarios where a good character might
>legitimately use rogue-like skills in pursuit of good, to defeat evil,
>and the like:

>This one time, in band camp, I stole a bottle of plague vaccine from
>the local evil slave-owning, high-taxing, Mac-using overlord, who was
>hoarding the medicine because it also worked as nail polish. One
>hundred and one dalmation puppy-owning little orhpaned girls needed it
>or they would die
>painful deaths.

>I didn't move a single point toward evil.

It seems to me this would be fairly easy to code:

Stealing the item gives you a shift towards evil (or chaos, or both,
depending on how the person setting up the module feels about such things)
Using the item to save the dalmation owning orphan girls gives you a
shift towards good.

If you claim to be Robin Hood, stealing from the rich... but then spend
the dough on cheap beer for a boozeout with the Black Adder... then you
end up sliding down the slope to pure evil, but if you really -do- end
up helping the lepers with it instead, then you make up for the wrong,
and may even end up with a net shift towards good.

On the other hand, a similarly inclined person who manages to get the
cash legitimately and spends in on the lepers will see an even larger
shift towards good (no negative to overcome).

I'd like to see far more cases of alignment shift in a module, such that
everything you do has tiny consequences, and everyone is constantly in a
balancing act if they are trying to maintain a given position, or
everyone gets revealed for what they really are if their actions are
consistent.

Lance
11 answers Last reply
More about alignment shifting
  1. Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

    This reminds me of a question I had: Is there any way to shift your
    alignment back down to neutral in the OC? I did one too many good things, I
    guess, and got 'promoted' to good. :) I'd like to get my neutral status
    back, but I don't want to have to murder someone to do it.


    "Lance Berg" <emporer@dejazzd.com> wrote in message
    news:epqdnbeoc5QIv7LcRVn-gg@dejazzd.com...
    > Reading old posts I saw an arguement about alignment shifts due to acts
    > such as stealing from chests. One complaint was that putting in things
    > like this didn't account for the reasons behind doing so, most amusingly
    > someone suggested:
    >
    > >Ouch.
    >
    > >Consider that there are a LOT of scenarios where a good character might
    > >legitimately use rogue-like skills in pursuit of good, to defeat evil,
    > >and the like:
    >
    > >This one time, in band camp, I stole a bottle of plague vaccine from
    > >the local evil slave-owning, high-taxing, Mac-using overlord, who was
    > >hoarding the medicine because it also worked as nail polish. One
    > >hundred and one dalmation puppy-owning little orhpaned girls needed it
    > >or they would die
    > >painful deaths.
    >
    > >I didn't move a single point toward evil.
    >
    > It seems to me this would be fairly easy to code:
    >
    > Stealing the item gives you a shift towards evil (or chaos, or both,
    > depending on how the person setting up the module feels about such things)
    > Using the item to save the dalmation owning orphan girls gives you a
    > shift towards good.
    >
    > If you claim to be Robin Hood, stealing from the rich... but then spend
    > the dough on cheap beer for a boozeout with the Black Adder... then you
    > end up sliding down the slope to pure evil, but if you really -do- end
    > up helping the lepers with it instead, then you make up for the wrong,
    > and may even end up with a net shift towards good.
    >
    > On the other hand, a similarly inclined person who manages to get the
    > cash legitimately and spends in on the lepers will see an even larger
    > shift towards good (no negative to overcome).
    >
    > I'd like to see far more cases of alignment shift in a module, such that
    > everything you do has tiny consequences, and everyone is constantly in a
    > balancing act if they are trying to maintain a given position, or
    > everyone gets revealed for what they really are if their actions are
    > consistent.
    >
    > Lance
    >
  2. Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

    Lance Berg <emporer@dejazzd.com> wrote in message news:<epqdnbeoc5QIv7LcRVn-gg@dejazzd.com>...
    > I'd like to see far more cases of alignment shift in a module, such that
    > everything you do has tiny consequences, and everyone is constantly in a
    > balancing act if they are trying to maintain a given position, or
    > everyone gets revealed for what they really are if their actions are
    > consistent.

    Just finished Infernal Crown III. Interesting concept; you are a
    mamber of a sect that follows a (now long-dead) fallen paladin who
    decided that sometimes, evil/chaotic acts are necessary for the
    greater good and to prevent greater evil.
    >
    ***Minor SPOILERS BELOW***
    >
    >Short spoiler space below
    >
    >
    >
    >END OF SPOILER SPACE, SPOILERS BEGIN

    There's an orphanage in which a wererat got in an infected the kids in
    #2. You end up having to kill everyone (IIRC). Don't remember which
    way my alignement shifted; but I think I started out neutral and was
    evil by then.

    There's also some bit in #3 where some evil being is held in eternal
    torment for betraying or being suspected of betraying a greater evil
    being. You can destroy his heart to release him from torment and
    allow him rest (which shifts your alignment towards good) or leave him
    to rot.

    Personally, I think they should have coded for the player's intent - a
    bit more work, I know. But something like this:
    <player's options as displayed in dialogue; results in parentheses>

    1) burn the heart and release evil being from torment, because he has
    suffered enough (move alignment towards Good)

    2) burn the heart although evil being deserves torment, because player
    agreed to do this in exchange for information earlier (move towards
    lawful)

    3) not burn the heart and leave him in torment, because he deserves
    torment (move to evil)

    4) not burn the heart because agreements with evil beings don't have
    to be upheld or because player doesn't feel like it (move to chaotic)
  3. Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

    "Lance Berg" <emporer@dejazzd.com> wrote in message
    news:epqdnbeoc5QIv7LcRVn-gg@dejazzd.com...
    > Reading old posts I saw an arguement about alignment shifts due to acts
    > such as stealing from chests. One complaint was that putting in things
    > like this didn't account for the reasons behind doing so, most amusingly
    > someone suggested:
    >
    > >Ouch.
    >
    > >Consider that there are a LOT of scenarios where a good character might
    > >legitimately use rogue-like skills in pursuit of good, to defeat evil,
    > >and the like:
    >
    > >This one time, in band camp, I stole a bottle of plague vaccine from
    > >the local evil slave-owning, high-taxing, Mac-using overlord, who was
    > >hoarding the medicine because it also worked as nail polish. One
    > >hundred and one dalmation puppy-owning little orhpaned girls needed it
    > >or they would die
    > >painful deaths.
    >
    > >I didn't move a single point toward evil.
    >
    > It seems to me this would be fairly easy to code:
    >
    > Stealing the item gives you a shift towards evil (or chaos, or both,
    > depending on how the person setting up the module feels about such things)
    > Using the item to save the dalmation owning orphan girls gives you a
    > shift towards good.

    Stealing shift towards Chaos. Using this way shift towards good.

    > If you claim to be Robin Hood, stealing from the rich... but then spend
    > the dough on cheap beer for a boozeout with the Black Adder... then you
    > end up sliding down the slope to pure evil, but if you really -do- end
    > up helping the lepers with it instead, then you make up for the wrong,
    > and may even end up with a net shift towards good.

    Robin Hood is shift towards chaos for stealing. Giving to back to the ones
    Prince what's his name good. Stealing from local baron chaos. Giving away
    whilly nilly maybe no shift....

    > On the other hand, a similarly inclined person who manages to get the
    > cash legitimately and spends in on the lepers will see an even larger
    > shift towards good (no negative to overcome).

    No shift..then good.

    > I'd like to see far more cases of alignment shift in a module, such that
    > everything you do has tiny consequences, and everyone is constantly in a
    > balancing act if they are trying to maintain a given position, or
    > everyone gets revealed for what they really are if their actions are
    > consistent.

    It's one of those little bitty details that isn't hard to do but isn't
    always on your mind. It could be over done as wel though.
  4. Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

    John Salerno wrote:

    > This reminds me of a question I had: Is there any way to shift your
    > alignment back down to neutral in the OC? I did one too many good things, I
    > guess, and got 'promoted' to good. :) I'd like to get my neutral status
    > back, but I don't want to have to murder someone to do it.
    >
    There are no alignment shifts towards nuetral, nuetral acts have no
    alignment shift component (and in the OC, and most other campaigns, this
    means that almost every act is nuetral)

    To go from good to nuetral, you have to do evil things.

    Fortunately, there are quite a few things you can do which are only
    marginally evil, like refusing to help show someone to the zone line, or
    demanding that they pay you to do something instead of just doing it out
    of niceness, or coercing them to give you money by threat.

    This stuff is limited though, in that there are few alignment shift
    actions of -any- sort in the campaign; this is what I'm talking about
    when I suggest that I'd like to see most actions have an alignment shift
    component, so that everything is a juggling act... or so that you
    naturally sink to your real level.

    Lance
  5. Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

    Insane Ranter wrote:

    > "Lance Berg" <emporer@dejazzd.com> wrote in message
    > news:epqdnbeoc5QIv7LcRVn-gg@dejazzd.com...
    >
    >>Reading old posts I saw an arguement about alignment shifts due to acts
    >>such as stealing from chests. One complaint was that putting in things
    >>like this didn't account for the reasons behind doing so, most amusingly
    >>someone suggested:
    >>
    >> >Ouch.
    >>
    >> >Consider that there are a LOT of scenarios where a good character might
    >> >legitimately use rogue-like skills in pursuit of good, to defeat evil,
    >> >and the like:
    >>
    >> >This one time, in band camp, I stole a bottle of plague vaccine from
    >> >the local evil slave-owning, high-taxing, Mac-using overlord, who was
    >> >hoarding the medicine because it also worked as nail polish. One
    >> >hundred and one dalmation puppy-owning little orhpaned girls needed it
    >> >or they would die
    >> >painful deaths.
    >>
    >> >I didn't move a single point toward evil.
    >>
    >>It seems to me this would be fairly easy to code:
    >>
    >>Stealing the item gives you a shift towards evil (or chaos, or both,
    >>depending on how the person setting up the module feels about such things)
    >>Using the item to save the dalmation owning orphan girls gives you a
    >>shift towards good.
    >
    >
    > Stealing shift towards Chaos. Using this way shift towards good.
    >
    I happen to agree with you that stealing is a chaotic act rather than an
    evil one, but I suggest that this is a matter of opinion, I'm pretty
    sure the OP in the discussion was assuming that stealing was evil, but
    that his doing good with the items made it -not- evil.

    >
    >>If you claim to be Robin Hood, stealing from the rich... but then spend
    >>the dough on cheap beer for a boozeout with the Black Adder... then you
    >>end up sliding down the slope to pure evil, but if you really -do- end
    >>up helping the lepers with it instead, then you make up for the wrong,
    >>and may even end up with a net shift towards good.
    >
    >
    > Robin Hood is shift towards chaos for stealing. Giving to back to the ones
    > Prince what's his name good. Stealing from local baron chaos. Giving away
    > whilly nilly maybe no shift....
    >
    >
    >>On the other hand, a similarly inclined person who manages to get the
    >>cash legitimately and spends in on the lepers will see an even larger
    >>shift towards good (no negative to overcome).
    >
    >
    > No shift..then good.
    >
    >
    >>I'd like to see far more cases of alignment shift in a module, such that
    >>everything you do has tiny consequences, and everyone is constantly in a
    >>balancing act if they are trying to maintain a given position, or
    >>everyone gets revealed for what they really are if their actions are
    >>consistent.
    >
    >
    > It's one of those little bitty details that isn't hard to do but isn't
    > always on your mind. It could be over done as wel though.
    >
    Well, I think a good many actions really should be nuetral, and I think
    you'd have to carefully consider the consequences of a game where, for
    example, killing is automatically Evil (or chaotic, or both); given the
    general plot of most modules, every character would rapidly become CE,
    because the amount of killing you do compared to every other action in
    the module is usually enormous.

    If you made killing animals nuetral (no shift), killing undead good,
    killing sentient beings evil, and provided a mix, though, then perhaps
    things could work out, although it might have unintended consequences,
    such as people running back to the graveyard to wake the dead so they
    can repair alignment before heading back to the Kobold town to continue
    a massacre

    Lance
  6. Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

    W. Citoan wrote:

    > On Sat, 28 Aug 2004 07:23:22 -0400, Lance Berg wrote:
    >
    >> Well, I think a good many actions really should be nuetral, and I
    >> think you'd have to carefully consider the consequences of a game
    >> where, for example, killing is automatically Evil (or chaotic, or
    >> both); given the general plot of most modules, every character would
    >> rapidly become CE, because the amount of killing you do compared to
    >> every other action in the module is usually enormous.
    >>
    >> If you made killing animals nuetral (no shift), killing undead good,
    >> killing sentient beings evil, and provided a mix, though, then
    >> perhaps things could work out, although it might have unintended
    >> consequences, such as people running back to the graveyard to wake
    >> the dead so they can repair alignment before heading back to the
    >> Kobold town to continue a massacre
    >
    >
    > The problem with this is that it doesn't measure intent. Killing a mage
    > who's about to perform a human sacrifice isn't inherently evil. If you
    > want to rescue the sacrifice and it's the only way, then I would call it
    > good. If you do it because you want to perform the sacrifice yourself,
    > then I would call it evil.
    >
    Nope, it doesn't measure intent. I'm suggesting, instead of measuring
    intent, that we measure actions... and possibly results.

    If you do something thats evil, for the greater good, then its still
    evil, but the good results offset that. If you do something good, but
    only in order to set up your evil plan, its still good, but the evil
    results offset that.

    What you -meant- to do is very hard to measure. What you did, on the
    other hand, is much less so.

    > The same with your undead suggestion. If you're killing them because
    > you want to prevent them from attacking people, then I'd call it good.
    > But if you're killing them because they are interfering with your own
    > plans to conquer the world, then I'd say it doesn't make you shift to
    > good.
    >
    I suggest that perhaps it -does- do just that; doing good acts could
    shift you towards good, doing evil acts could shift you towards evil,
    even though your intents might be opposed to this.

    This certainly isn't the only way to view alignment shift issues, I just
    think its a) an interesting one and b) one that would be easier to code
    than the alternative.

    > I suppose that when developing a module you could track several events
    > to determine if a giving killing is good or evil. But it seems to me
    > that would quickly get complicated and it would far easier to link it
    > towards answers on a conversation node.

    I'm suggesting it would be possible to do away with all that tracking,
    if you could come up with moral absolutes and assign them alignment
    shift values; killing people is evil, stealing is chaotic, completing
    quests is lawful, so on and so forth.

    Then alignment comes down to moral algebra, instead of the moral
    calculus that is the more usual state of affairs in games where the
    whole issue isn't simply swept under the rug.

    Lance
    >
    > - W. Citoan
  7. Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

    John Salerno wrote:

    > This reminds me of a question I had: Is there any way to shift your
    > alignment back down to neutral in the OC? I did one too many good
    > things, I guess, and got 'promoted' to good. :) I'd like to get my
    > neutral status back, but I don't want to have to murder someone to do
    > it.

    One quest which comes in mind was the two farmer families where you can
    accept a job to bring a ring back. If you do it by threatening, you will get
    a few evil points. Another one is probably the bounty hunter quest for
    Kendrack in Port Last, but I'm not sure.

    HTH
    Hans
  8. Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

    Hans Wein wrote:
    > One quest which comes in mind was the two farmer families where you can
    > accept a job to bring a ring back. If you do it by threatening, you will get
    > a few evil points. Another one is probably the bounty hunter quest for
    > Kendrack in Port Last, but I'm not sure.

    That quest begged for the ability to do subdual damage. While I
    wouldn't have killed her, I definitely would have beaten that jewelry
    out of her.

    I think they might have made her conversation a bit more sympathetic
    than when I originally played through though.
    --
    My NWN Work So Far: http://tinyurl.com/6xy2f
    "Pits of red smoke and fog are usually bad."
    - Tip from Doom3 Manual
  9. Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

    "everlast" <everlast@jmjservices.com> wrote in message
    news:Dd0Yc.241994$fv.36417@fe2.columbus.rr.com...
    > Hans Wein wrote:
    > I think they might have made her conversation a bit more sympathetic
    > than when I originally played through though.

    Are you talking about the conversation with Shaldrissa? About every minute,
    it kept getting interrupted when she would shout out "Help me" or something,
    so I had to keep starting the dialogue over.

    Anyway, too bad I did those quests already. I think all I need is to lower
    my reputation by a few points to get back to nuetral. I'm assuming that
    getting a few points toward evil moves it down to neutral first, and doesn't
    just jump straight to evil?
  10. Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

    John Salerno wrote:

    >> I think they might have made her conversation a bit more sympathetic
    >> than when I originally played through though.
    >
    > Are you talking about the conversation with Shaldrissa? About every
    > minute, it kept getting interrupted when she would shout out "Help
    > me" or something, so I had to keep starting the dialogue over.

    No, her name is Constance. She's the daughter of the farmer with the wolf
    quest (south road district).

    > Anyway, too bad I did those quests already. I think all I need is to
    > lower my reputation by a few points to get back to nuetral. I'm
    > assuming that getting a few points toward evil moves it down to
    > neutral first, and doesn't just jump straight to evil?

    Correct. The alingnment is measured on a scale from 0 (evil) to 100 (good).
    Neutral means 50.

    Hans
  11. Archived from groups: alt.games.neverwinter-nights (More info?)

    Alignment shifts are very easy to script.

    Whats not easy is measuring the intent - its impossible.

    A conversation that gives you a quest could record your motivation so if you
    ask for money a variable is set so your alignment shifts towards chaotic
    upon completion, same variable could record whether PC accepts quest for
    purely altruistic reasons and shift towards good. etc etc.

    It would be quite some work to add to a module (Don't lose track of plot for
    fancy side effects) but would be very interesting. Kind of wish I'd thought
    about it before finishing mod, as it is I only included 1 alignment shift on
    a minor side quest.

    OnDeath.
    A custom OnDeath script could be written so different alignment shifts
    happen for characters of different alignment.

    Killing undead could be aGood/Lawful lact for certain alignments or
    character classes while not being an evil act for anyone.
    So a Chaotic evil mage killing skeletons does not become Good, this would
    also affect parties killing evil creatures where an evil PC suddenly becomes
    good due to these acts.

    The possibility in the scripting is almost infinite. I wrote 900+ scripts
    and havn't used half of the possible functions let alone all the nuances
    within those functions.

    If you can imagine a non visual effect you can almost definately script it,
    its the visual stuff thats limited.

    Sorry for long post.
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