Musings on Alignment

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

I hope that this doesn't start a big flame war or anything but I was
just mulling over the alignment system and I think that I've only now
finally grasped how WotC intended for it to work. This might have been
blindingly obvious to many others for ages but it has only now dawned
on me that what matters when it comes to alignments it is what you do
and not why you do it.

Take the old moral dilema that I have often heard of being presented to
LG types (especially Paladins). The Big Bad has a number of innocent
hostages and the hero is presented with the choice of killing one
innocent or the alternative is that lots of innocents die (including
the original one). If you look at it from the perspective of "the
greater good" then the needs of the many would outway the needs of the
few. But that has never sat well with how an LG character is apparently
supposed to act. I now believe that the intentions of the rules are
that it is the act that matters not the motivation. So in this scenario
the character should refuse to kill the innocent. It may result in many
more deaths but their actual actions ("doing nothing") are not in
themselves wrong whereas killing someone (even if for good reason) is
considered to be an intrinsically an evil act no mater why it is done.
By extension a person that does the right thing but for the wrong
reasons is acting in a "good" manner.

A "good" act that happens to have negative or bad consiquences is still
good.

An "evil" act that happens to have positive or good consiquences is
still evil.

Thoughts, anyone?
1560 answers Last reply
More about musings alignment
  1. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Crazy 'Scaper wrote:
    > I hope that this doesn't start a big flame war or anything but I was
    > just mulling over the alignment system and I think that I've only now
    > finally grasped how WotC intended for it to work. This might have
    been
    > blindingly obvious to many others for ages but it has only now dawned
    > on me that what matters when it comes to alignments it is what you do
    > and not why you do it.
    <snip>
    >
    > A "good" act that happens to have negative or bad consiquences is
    still
    > good.
    >
    > An "evil" act that happens to have positive or good consiquences is
    > still evil.
    >
    > Thoughts, anyone?

    Sticking a sword in someone is not necessarily evil.
    Casting a heal spell on someone is not necessarily good.
    Why *matters* - without the Why, there's no way for you
    to even discuss whether such things as "a 'good' act" or
    "an 'evil' act" exist.

    Walt Smith
    Firelock on DALNet
  2. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    firelock...@hotmail.com wrote:

    > Sticking a sword in someone is not necessarily evil.
    > Casting a heal spell on someone is not necessarily good.
    > Why *matters* - without the Why, there's no way for you
    > to even discuss whether such things as "a 'good' act" or
    > "an 'evil' act" exist.


    But, and I may be mistaken here, within the context of D&D aren't
    certain actions considered to be intrinsically good or evil. For
    example, isn't slavery deemed to be evil regardless of the "why"?
    That's why I am wondering if the "why" isn't utterly irrelevant and
    that all that matters (as far as the designers of the alignment system
    are concerned) is the "what".
  3. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Crazy 'Scaper wrote:
    > I hope that this doesn't start a big flame war or anything but I was
    > just mulling over the alignment system and I think that I've only now
    > finally grasped how WotC intended for it to work. This might have
    been
    > blindingly obvious to many others for ages but it has only now dawned
    > on me that what matters when it comes to alignments it is what you do
    > and not why you do it.

    <snip>

    > (...) whereas killing someone (even if for good reason) is
    > considered to be an intrinsically an evil act no mater why it is
    done.
    > By extension a person that does the right thing but for the wrong
    > reasons is acting in a "good" manner.

    Your basic assumptions don't seem to mesh with those of WotC. Take a
    look at the Shadowbane Inquisitor PrC in Complete Adventurer. Clearly,
    WotC believes that killing innocents to make sure that a greater wrong
    is averted can be a Lawful Good act.

    Laszlo
  4. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
    > laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
    > > Take a look at the Shadowbane Inquisitor PrC in Complete
    Adventurer.
    > > Clearly, WotC believes that killing innocents to make sure that a
    > > greater wrong is averted can be a Lawful Good act.
    >
    > Hm, that's a bit off. It's possible to remain lawful good even though
    > you may occasionally hurt the innocent, because alignments represent
    > general attitude. So long as the goodness outweighs the neutral and
    evil
    > elements of your attitude, you're good overall (Hero Builder's
    Guide).
    >
    > However, paladins are also restricted from committing any evil act,
    and
    > the willingness to sacrifice innocent lives seems to qualify, even if
    in
    > pursuit of noble goals -- that is, after all, what makes most "mad
    > scientists" and other "zealous reformer" villains villainous.
    >
    > I can only imagine that they were referring to incidental harm to
    > innocents, rather than deliberate harm. For example, if you confront
    a
    > demon in the middle of a city, the resulting fight will likely result
    in
    > extensive harm to innocent people, and that's not necessarily evil on
    > the hero's part. (Unwise, maybe, but it's a staple of heroic fiction
    --
    > see the collateral damage in most superhero stories.) On the other
    hand,
    > nuking a village, Lina Inverse style, just to get at a bad guy hiding
    > out there, is (partly) evil.

    Nope, definitely not. The intent is very clear.

    Here are some of the relevant bits from Complete Adventurer:

    SHADOWBANE INQUISITOR

    (...) Their relentless zeal and their overwhelming belief in their own
    righteousness allow shadowbane inquisitors to root out evil cleanly,
    even if it costs the lives of a few good creatures, without the moral
    doubt that other knights might feel. The Order of Illumination expounds
    that it is better to sacrifice a village that hides a powerful demon
    than it is to risk letting the demon escape or the evil spread.
    Although inquisitors remain devoted to the cause of good, this
    conviction allows them to use their abilities against enemies
    regardless of their alignment.

    Requirements:
    -------------
    Alignment: Lawful good.
    Special: Detect evil class feature or ability to cast detect evil as a
    divine spell

    Laszlo
  5. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    David Johnston wrote:
    > On 10 May 2005 06:14:36 -0700, "Crazy 'Scaper"
    > <crazy_scaper@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
    >
    > However, there's one little
    > detail you seem to have overlooked. Cooperating with hostage takers
    > does not in fact serve the greater good. It gives evil a way to
    > enslave you. After all, who's to say that the Big Bad won't just
    have
    > you kill another innocent after the first one? Or a third or...
    >

    Or even laughing and killing the hostages anyway while
    taunting you for being so gullible.(1) If someone
    is willing to commit kidnapping, blackmail, and murder,
    then they *just might* be willing to stoop to lying.

    And vice versa: if you refuse to kill the innocent, nothing
    is stopping the Big Bad from relenting and letting the
    hostages go. Admittedly, this is probably unlikely (or
    he wouldn't be the Big Bad in the first place), but it
    is the Big Bad's choice, not yours.

    This sort of scenario is a false choice: no matter what
    you do, it still isn't your choice what happens to the
    Big Bad's hostages; it's his.

    1) "OMG u n00b i cant beleive u fell 4 that!!!!!
    mi villainy r0xx0rs!!!!" Though probably worded
    differently.
  6. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
    > laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
    > >>> Take a look at the Shadowbane Inquisitor PrC in Complete
    Adventurer.
    > >>> Clearly, WotC believes that killing innocents to make sure that a
    > >>> greater wrong is averted can be a Lawful Good act.
    >
    > Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
    > >> Hm, that's a bit off. It's possible to remain lawful good even
    though
    > >> you may occasionally hurt the innocent .... However, paladins are
    > >> also restricted from committing any evil act, and the willingness
    to
    > >> sacrifice innocent lives seems to qualify ....
    >
    > > Nope, definitely not. The intent is very clear.
    > > Here are some of the relevant bits from Complete Adventurer:
    >
    > I read the class description. I'm saying that it doesn't imply what
    you
    > said above. A paladin who willingly sacrifices innocents, even for
    the
    > greater good, has committed an act of evil and must atone to restore
    his
    > paladin abilities.

    Cite? Really, where did you get this from? (Your own moral code doesn't
    count, since this is a discussion about D&D and not the real world).

    I'm sorry, but WotC does not seem to believe that sacrificing innocents
    for the greater good is necessarily evil. It definitely might lead one
    into evil, but is not evil in and of itself. At least, it's not evil on
    the D&D good-evil axis (I am entirely uninterested in a discussion
    about whether it's evil IRL or not).

    > His alignment won't necessarily change, since good characters can
    commit
    > evil acts, but he'll break the paladin's code.

    Really. So you're saying that a prestige class obviously _built on_ the
    paladin, requires the one taking it to break the paladin's code, if
    played correctly.

    Well, that's... interesting.

    > The flavor text for the Shadowbane Inquisitor implies that paladin
    > inquisitors are willing to break their codes, if necessary, to serve
    the
    > greater good. However, the class does not actually change the
    paladin's
    > code, so it still applies.

    Why are you bringing a paladin's code into this? The discussion is
    about whether killing innocents for a greater good can be considered a
    good act or not.

    The bottom line is that you believe a Paladin 5/Rogue 2/Shadowbane
    Inquisitor 5, if played according to the flavour text for the PrC, is
    continually losing his paladin powers, and having to regain them
    through atonement. Well, shine on you crazy diamond.

    Laszlo
  7. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    David Johnston wrote:
    > On 10 May 2005 12:53:09 -0700, dchilders@cablespeed.com wrote:
    >
    > >
    > >David Johnston wrote:
    > >> On 10 May 2005 06:14:36 -0700, "Crazy 'Scaper"
    > >> <crazy_scaper@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
    > >>
    > >> However, there's one little
    > >> detail you seem to have overlooked. Cooperating with hostage
    takers
    > >> does not in fact serve the greater good. It gives evil a way to
    > >> enslave you. After all, who's to say that the Big Bad won't just
    > >have
    > >> you kill another innocent after the first one? Or a third or...
    > >>
    > >
    > >Or even laughing and killing the hostages anyway while
    > >taunting you for being so gullible.(1) If someone
    > >is willing to commit kidnapping, blackmail, and murder,
    > >then they *just might* be willing to stoop to lying.
    > >
    > >And vice versa: if you refuse to kill the innocent, nothing
    > >is stopping the Big Bad from relenting and letting the
    > >hostages go. Admittedly, this is probably unlikely (or
    > >he wouldn't be the Big Bad in the first place), but it
    > >is the Big Bad's choice, not yours.
    > >
    > >This sort of scenario is a false choice: no matter what
    > >you do, it still isn't your choice what happens to the
    > >Big Bad's hostages; it's his.
    >
    > And that's where motives come into it. A Lawful Good person can do
    > terrible things when they seem to be necessary out of Good
    > motivations. But after a certain point, when they stop considering
    > whether these things are really necessary, their supposed Good
    > motivations simply become justifications. Even if their intended
    > _ends_ are Good, their motives have become tainted with unspoken less
    > than Good drives like ambition, convenience, insecurity and simple
    > sadistic pleasure. Ends and motives are not the same thing and it is
    > your motives, not your ends, that define your alignment.

    Excellent post. Couldn't have put it better myself.

    This is why the Shadowbane Inquisitor is one of my favourite PrCs, by
    the way; playing one offers great roleplaying opportunities, whether
    you end up falling into darkness or remaining the pure but merciless
    hand of Justice.

    Laszlo
  8. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Crazy 'Scaper wrote:
    > But, and I may be mistaken here, within the context of D&D aren't
    > certain actions considered to be intrinsically good or evil.

    Not really. Alignments represent general attitudes (and cosmic stuff
    like planar material). When the PHB refers to an "act of evil," they
    mean "an act founded in evil attitude."

    Good is defined as willingness to help the innocent, regardless of
    affiliation or personal gain. Evil is defined as willingness to hurt the
    innocent, regardless of whether it's an end in itself or a means to an
    end. Neutrality is defined as a lack of commitment to either (usually, a
    compunction against harm combined with a reluctance to help strangers).

    Therefore, an "act of good" is an act of random kindness, and an "act of
    evil" is one that hurts the innocent (either deliberately or through
    depraved indifference).

    > For example, isn't slavery deemed to be evil regardless of the "why"?

    American chattel slavery is generally indicative of evil, since it
    typically degrades the dignity of innocents. However, there are many
    exceptions in fiction (and a few in history) where chattel slaves are
    treated with respect and kept only as a sham to protect the victims from
    other slave-owners.

    Chattel slavery is pretty rare historically, though, and other forms of
    slavery are not so clearly evil. For example, temporary enslavement of
    criminals and prisoners is pretty common historically (and in modern
    times -- the stereotypical "convict stamping out license plates" is the
    same kind of thing). We don't generally regard that as evil, and neither
    does D&D, since a (just and reasonable) punishment does not hurt or
    degrade the innocent.

    > That's why I am wondering if the "why" isn't utterly irrelevant and
    > that all that matters (as far as the designers of the alignment system
    > are concerned) is the "what".

    Since the "what" is always willing harm to innocents, the "why" is
    always relevant; you must establish that the act was deliberate and not
    accidental (or mind-controlled, in a fantasy setting).
    --
    Bradd W. Szonye
    http://www.szonye.com/bradd
  9. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
    > Take a look at the Shadowbane Inquisitor PrC in Complete Adventurer.
    > Clearly, WotC believes that killing innocents to make sure that a
    > greater wrong is averted can be a Lawful Good act.

    Hm, that's a bit off. It's possible to remain lawful good even though
    you may occasionally hurt the innocent, because alignments represent
    general attitude. So long as the goodness outweighs the neutral and evil
    elements of your attitude, you're good overall (Hero Builder's Guide).

    However, paladins are also restricted from committing any evil act, and
    the willingness to sacrifice innocent lives seems to qualify, even if in
    pursuit of noble goals -- that is, after all, what makes most "mad
    scientists" and other "zealous reformer" villains villainous.

    I can only imagine that they were referring to incidental harm to
    innocents, rather than deliberate harm. For example, if you confront a
    demon in the middle of a city, the resulting fight will likely result in
    extensive harm to innocent people, and that's not necessarily evil on
    the hero's part. (Unwise, maybe, but it's a staple of heroic fiction --
    see the collateral damage in most superhero stories.) On the other hand,
    nuking a village, Lina Inverse style, just to get at a bad guy hiding
    out there, is (partly) evil.
    --
    Bradd W. Szonye
    http://www.szonye.com/bradd
  10. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Bradd W. Szonye <bradd+news@szonye.com> wrote:
    > Good is defined as willingness to help the innocent, regardless of
    > affiliation or personal gain. Evil is defined as willingness to hurt the
    > innocent, regardless of whether it's an end in itself or a means to an
    > end. Neutrality is defined as a lack of commitment to either (usually, a
    > compunction against harm combined with a reluctance to help strangers).

    Forgot this the first time: If you've studied philosophy, you may be
    familiar with immoral, moral, and supererogatory behavior. Immoral
    behavior violates moral principles, moral behavior observes them, and
    supererogatory behavior goes beyond basic responsibilities to achieve
    greater goods. D&D's alignment system follows similar principles. Evil
    people are the "sinners" who hurt the innocent, good people are the
    "saints" and "heroes" who go out of their way to help the innocent, and
    neutral people are everyone else, the basically moral but unheroic part
    of the population.
    --
    Bradd W. Szonye
    http://www.szonye.com/bradd
  11. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On 10 May 2005 06:14:36 -0700, "Crazy 'Scaper"
    <crazy_scaper@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

    >I hope that this doesn't start a big flame war or anything but I was
    >just mulling over the alignment system and I think that I've only now
    >finally grasped how WotC intended for it to work. This might have been
    >blindingly obvious to many others for ages but it has only now dawned
    >on me that what matters when it comes to alignments it is what you do
    >and not why you do it.
    >
    >Take the old moral dilema that I have often heard of being presented to
    >LG types (especially Paladins). The Big Bad has a number of innocent
    >hostages and the hero is presented with the choice of killing one
    >innocent or the alternative is that lots of innocents die (including
    >the original one). If you look at it from the perspective of "the
    >greater good" then the needs of the many would outway the needs of the
    >few. But that has never sat well with how an LG character is apparently
    >supposed to act. I now believe that the intentions of the rules are
    >that it is the act that matters not the motivation.

    That is of course not true. Both the act and the motivation for the
    act matter. Going around healing everyone around with your magic
    powers doesn't mean that you are automatically Good for doing it. If
    you are just doing it for money and status and don't care about the
    people you help much, you are Neutral. However, there's one little
    detail you seem to have overlooked. Cooperating with hostage takers
    does not in fact serve the greater good. It gives evil a way to
    enslave you. After all, who's to say that the Big Bad won't just have
    you kill another innocent after the first one? Or a third or...
  12. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
    >>> Take a look at the Shadowbane Inquisitor PrC in Complete Adventurer.
    >>> Clearly, WotC believes that killing innocents to make sure that a
    >>> greater wrong is averted can be a Lawful Good act.

    Bradd W. Szonye wrote:
    >> Hm, that's a bit off. It's possible to remain lawful good even though
    >> you may occasionally hurt the innocent .... However, paladins are
    >> also restricted from committing any evil act, and the willingness to
    >> sacrifice innocent lives seems to qualify ....

    > Nope, definitely not. The intent is very clear.
    > Here are some of the relevant bits from Complete Adventurer:

    I read the class description. I'm saying that it doesn't imply what you
    said above. A paladin who willingly sacrifices innocents, even for the
    greater good, has committed an act of evil and must atone to restore his
    paladin abilities. His alignment won't necessarily change, since good
    characters can commit evil acts, but he'll break the paladin's code.

    The flavor text for the Shadowbane Inquisitor implies that paladin
    inquisitors are willing to break their codes, if necessary, to serve the
    greater good. However, the class does not actually change the paladin's
    code, so it still applies.
    --
    Bradd W. Szonye
    http://www.szonye.com/bradd
  13. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On 10 May 2005 12:53:09 -0700, dchilders@cablespeed.com wrote:

    >
    >David Johnston wrote:
    >> On 10 May 2005 06:14:36 -0700, "Crazy 'Scaper"
    >> <crazy_scaper@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
    >>
    >> However, there's one little
    >> detail you seem to have overlooked. Cooperating with hostage takers
    >> does not in fact serve the greater good. It gives evil a way to
    >> enslave you. After all, who's to say that the Big Bad won't just
    >have
    >> you kill another innocent after the first one? Or a third or...
    >>
    >
    >Or even laughing and killing the hostages anyway while
    >taunting you for being so gullible.(1) If someone
    >is willing to commit kidnapping, blackmail, and murder,
    >then they *just might* be willing to stoop to lying.
    >
    >And vice versa: if you refuse to kill the innocent, nothing
    >is stopping the Big Bad from relenting and letting the
    >hostages go. Admittedly, this is probably unlikely (or
    >he wouldn't be the Big Bad in the first place), but it
    >is the Big Bad's choice, not yours.
    >
    >This sort of scenario is a false choice: no matter what
    >you do, it still isn't your choice what happens to the
    >Big Bad's hostages; it's his.

    Now if you want a more plausible moral dilemma, you go with something
    like:

    You are J'ak Ba'er, LG Rogue and you know that within the day the Big
    Bad is going to unleash a city destroying Plot Device unless you find
    him and stop him. The only person who knows where the Big Bad and his
    Plot Device is, is the Big Bad's brother, a Neutral who hasn't
    actually done anything particularly bad himself but won't rat out his
    brother. You have no time for conventional interrogation or even to
    dig up some truth extracting magic. Do you torture the more or less
    innocent brother?

    Sure you do. And your motives are still LG.

    A year later, and in pursuit of your latest Big Bad, you have taken to
    torturing everyone who might know anything about what's going on to
    make sure they tell you everything they know.

    Are you still LG? I doubt it. Given that the latest Big Bad is just
    as Bad as the first one and you aren't torturing people for fun or
    profit, you might not have quite reached Evil, but your definition of
    "necessary" has expanded to the point that you are torturing as much
    for convenience and paranoia as for necessity, so you are well on the
    way. So maybe you've hit LE, probably you've hit LN, but you are
    pretty sure to have drifted from LG.

    Once of course you end up using those methods to pursue the little
    bads, when it's no longer an in extremis approach but S.O.P., when
    CTU has become The Section and the Republic has become the Empire,
    dude, get yourself an all black outfit, because you are officially LE.


    And that's where motives come into it. A Lawful Good person can do
    terrible things when they seem to be necessary out of Good
    motivations. But after a certain point, when they stop considering
    whether these things are really necessary, their supposed Good
    motivations simply become justifications. Even if their intended
    _ends_ are Good, their motives have become tainted with unspoken less
    than Good drives like ambition, convenience, insecurity and simple
    sadistic pleasure. Ends and motives are not the same thing and it is
    your motives, not your ends, that define your alignment.
  14. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On 10 May 2005 06:14:36 -0700, "Crazy 'Scaper" <crazy_scaper@yahoo.co.uk>
    scribed into the ether:

    >I hope that this doesn't start a big flame war or anything

    An alignment thread start a big flame war? Perish the thought.
  15. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On 10 May 2005 06:14:36 -0700, "Crazy 'Scaper"
    <crazy_scaper@yahoo.co.uk> raised a finger to the sky and proclaimed:

    >I hope that this doesn't start a big flame war or anything but I was
    >just mulling over the alignment system and I think that I've only now
    >finally grasped how WotC intended for it to work. This might have been
    >blindingly obvious to many others for ages but it has only now dawned
    >on me that what matters when it comes to alignments it is what you do
    >and not why you do it.
    >
    >Take the old moral dilema that I have often heard of being presented to
    >LG types (especially Paladins). The Big Bad has a number of innocent
    >hostages and the hero is presented with the choice of killing one
    >innocent or the alternative is that lots of innocents die (including
    >the original one). If you look at it from the perspective of "the
    >greater good" then the needs of the many would outway the needs of the
    >few. But that has never sat well with how an LG character is apparently
    >supposed to act. I now believe that the intentions of the rules are
    >that it is the act that matters not the motivation. So in this scenario
    >the character should refuse to kill the innocent. It may result in many
    >more deaths but their actual actions ("doing nothing") are not in
    >themselves wrong whereas killing someone (even if for good reason) is
    >considered to be an intrinsically an evil act no mater why it is done.
    >By extension a person that does the right thing but for the wrong
    >reasons is acting in a "good" manner.
    >
    >A "good" act that happens to have negative or bad consiquences is still
    >good.
    >
    >An "evil" act that happens to have positive or good consiquences is
    >still evil.
    >
    >Thoughts, anyone?

    [flips through the other responses]

    OK, no one's mentioned this yet.

    If the BBEG says "do this, or I kill a bunch", and you don't do it -
    the BBEG is still the one doing the killing.

    Any DM that held the LG person responsible for the BBEG's actions
    deserves what he gets.

    --
    Either way, I hate you Count Chocula, if I didn't already.
    - Drifter Bob, rec.games.frp.dnd
  16. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    "Crazy 'Scaper" <crazy_scaper@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in
    news:1115730876.213114.217950@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com:

    > I hope that this doesn't start a big flame war or anything but I was
    > just mulling over the alignment system and I think that I've only now

    <snip>

    >
    > A "good" act that happens to have negative or bad consiquences is still
    > good.
    >
    > An "evil" act that happens to have positive or good consiquences is
    > still evil.
    >
    > Thoughts, anyone?
    >

    Been a couple of years since I been this way.
    It's good to see the old Alignment/LG topic still kickin.
    Keep up the Good Work, but is it really good...?
  17. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    I believe that an alignment is just your average behavior. Even a Paladin
    can kill out of rage and still be a Paladin as long as he asks for
    forgiveness and atones for his actions. A CE barbarian can save his brother,
    the paladin from the mob that tries to kill him after the paladin killed the
    innocent man. TN characters can have an agenda that is firm like revenge for
    a lost loved one. I really believe you can be good even if you commit evil
    acts. Oops, CG ranger got into a bar fight and threw a lantern at a guy,
    catching him on fire, and burning down the bar killing three people and
    injuring a handful more. They run him out of town and he has no chance to
    atone and make things right with the town's people. After that, he sends
    anonymous monies to the families he hurt from his actions out of grief, etc.
    what if everyone in that town was evil? He is sending evil people money to
    ease his personal grief. If they use that money to do evil then he is
    adversely helping to do evil but his act is charitable by nature so does
    this make him evil? I don't think so.


    Boise
  18. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Tue, 10 May 2005 16:57:45 GMT, "Bradd W. Szonye"
    <bradd+news@szonye.com> wrote:

    >Crazy 'Scaper wrote:
    >> For example, isn't slavery deemed to be evil regardless of the "why"?
    >
    >American chattel slavery is generally indicative of evil, since it
    >typically degrades the dignity of innocents. However, there are many
    >exceptions in fiction (and a few in history) where chattel slaves are
    >treated with respect and kept only as a sham to protect the victims from
    >other slave-owners.
    >
    >Chattel slavery is pretty rare historically, though, and other forms of
    >slavery are not so clearly evil. For example, temporary enslavement of
    >criminals and prisoners is pretty common historically (and in modern
    >times -- the stereotypical "convict stamping out license plates" is the
    >same kind of thing). We don't generally regard that as evil, and neither
    >does D&D, since a (just and reasonable) punishment does not hurt or
    >degrade the innocent.

    But isn't it evil? We didn't regard Chattel slavery as evil 200
    years ago unless we were Catholics. Nowadays we don't even know
    why we treat prisoners as slaves. Do we do it to punish them (if
    so then it must be evil because it is only satisfying our lust
    for revenge). And worse, punishing people over and over actually
    makes them embittered and worse people.

    Is it done to set an example to someone else who might be
    tempted to break the law (if so then it's evil again because we
    don't need to set such long sentences to provide a deterrence).

    Do we do it to protect society? If so then this is a recent
    theory which has (for some reason, see below) superseded the
    notion of punishment. Is that because it is seen as
    intrinsically good (the only victims, the criminals, have to be
    put away because there'd 'no alternative'. But why not ship them
    out to a desert Island where they could roam about free all day
    provided they didn't escape back to normal society. Why the
    tabloid paranoia about giving them Internet access or letting
    them watch TV? Why do we need to lock them up XX hours per day
    in a cell? If we're doing this just to protect society then
    it's truly warped. Are we evil too?

    The official reason is to punish wrong-doing. The more recent
    theories of protecting society and/or providing deterrence are
    modern theories which have not yet been fully accepted into
    legal theory. Although whenever you heard an American politician
    speak (from 20 years ago) it would have been to promote
    deterrence. A modern British Labour politician will talk about
    protecting society and will never mention punishment.

    Of course, you already know the point of this post. It's that
    D&D good and evil are relative; since, as you suggest, D&D
    justifies evil behavior on behalf of those who call themselves
    good.
  19. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Tue, 24 May 2005 19:41:29 GMT, Oberon <oberon@solstice.com> wrote:

    >On Tue, 10 May 2005 16:57:45 GMT, "Bradd W. Szonye"
    ><bradd+news@szonye.com> wrote:
    >
    >>Crazy 'Scaper wrote:
    >>> For example, isn't slavery deemed to be evil regardless of the "why"?
    >>
    >>American chattel slavery is generally indicative of evil, since it
    >>typically degrades the dignity of innocents. However, there are many
    >>exceptions in fiction (and a few in history) where chattel slaves are
    >>treated with respect and kept only as a sham to protect the victims from
    >>other slave-owners.
    >>
    >>Chattel slavery is pretty rare historically, though, and other forms of
    >>slavery are not so clearly evil. For example, temporary enslavement of
    >>criminals and prisoners is pretty common historically (and in modern
    >>times -- the stereotypical "convict stamping out license plates" is the
    >>same kind of thing). We don't generally regard that as evil, and neither
    >>does D&D, since a (just and reasonable) punishment does not hurt or
    >>degrade the innocent.
    >
    >But isn't it evil? We didn't regard Chattel slavery as evil 200
    >years ago unless we were Catholics.

    Actually most of us did. It's just that "we" regarded it as a
    "necessary" evil.

    Nowadays we don't even know
    >why we treat prisoners as slaves.

    Because locking someone up and making them do something is not
    significantly worse than locking someone up and making them do
    nothing. (Always assuming you aren't actually working them to death.)
    In fact prisons have used loss of work privileges as a punishment for
    misbehaviour.
  20. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Oberon wrote:
    >
    > But isn't it evil? We didn't regard Chattel slavery as evil 200
    > years ago unless we were Catholics. Nowadays we don't even know
    > why we treat prisoners as slaves. Do we do it to punish them (if
    > so then it must be evil because it is only satisfying our lust
    > for revenge).

    Depends on the reason for the punishment. Is your mom evil? :)

    <snip>

    > Do we do it to protect society? If so then this is a recent
    > theory which has (for some reason, see below) superseded the
    > notion of punishment. Is that because it is seen as
    > intrinsically good (the only victims, the criminals, have to be
    > put away because there'd 'no alternative'. But why not ship them
    > out to a desert Island where they could roam about free all day
    > provided they didn't escape back to normal society.

    What do you suppose would happen if three vicious murderers were set
    loose on an island together? How many islands do you suppose are
    available to hold groups of prisoners that would probably *not* kill (or
    otherwise do Evil things to) each other?

    > Why the
    > tabloid paranoia about giving them Internet access or letting
    > them watch TV?

    Well, the TV thing I'll grant you, but 'net access would have to be
    monitored closely; there's still a fair amount of harm they might do.

    > Of course, you already know the point of this post. It's that
    > D&D good and evil are relative; since, as you suggest, D&D
    > justifies evil behavior on behalf of those who call themselves
    > good.

    Assuming you can actually define "good" and "evil" IRL (as opposed to
    the terms of art used in D&D).

    -Will
  21. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Tue, 24 May 2005 21:49:22 GMT, rgorman@telusplanet.net (David
    Johnston) wrote:

    >On Tue, 24 May 2005 19:41:29 GMT, Oberon <oberon@solstice.com> wrote:
    >
    >>On Tue, 10 May 2005 16:57:45 GMT, "Bradd W. Szonye"
    >><bradd+news@szonye.com> wrote:
    >>
    >>>Crazy 'Scaper wrote:
    >>>> For example, isn't slavery deemed to be evil regardless of the "why"?
    >>>
    >>>American chattel slavery is generally indicative of evil, since it
    >>>typically degrades the dignity of innocents. However, there are many
    >>>exceptions in fiction (and a few in history) where chattel slaves are
    >>>treated with respect and kept only as a sham to protect the victims from
    >>>other slave-owners.
    >>>
    >>>Chattel slavery is pretty rare historically, though, and other forms of
    >>>slavery are not so clearly evil. For example, temporary enslavement of
    >>>criminals and prisoners is pretty common historically (and in modern
    >>>times -- the stereotypical "convict stamping out license plates" is the
    >>>same kind of thing). We don't generally regard that as evil, and neither
    >>>does D&D, since a (just and reasonable) punishment does not hurt or
    >>>degrade the innocent.
    >>
    >>But isn't it evil? We didn't regard Chattel slavery as evil 200
    >>years ago unless we were Catholics.
    >
    >Actually most of us did. It's just that "we" regarded it as a
    >"necessary" evil.
    >
    >Nowadays we don't even know
    >>why we treat prisoners as slaves.
    >
    >Because locking someone up and making them do something is not
    >significantly worse than locking someone up and making them do
    >nothing. (Always assuming you aren't actually working them to death.)
    >In fact prisons have used loss of work privileges as a punishment for
    >misbehaviour.

    Locking people up and making them work is slavery. Even
    confiscating their assets without locking them up is very like
    slavery when they have no legitimate way to get those
    confiscated assets back. That's a 2nd example of state slavery
    in a so-called civilized country such as the USA.
  22. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Tue, 24 May 2005 23:29:53 GMT, Will Green
    <will_j_green@yXaXhXoXoX.com> wrote:

    >Oberon wrote:
    >>
    >> But isn't it evil? We didn't regard Chattel slavery as evil 200
    >> years ago unless we were Catholics. Nowadays we don't even know
    >> why we treat prisoners as slaves. Do we do it to punish them (if
    >> so then it must be evil because it is only satisfying our lust
    >> for revenge).
    >
    >Depends on the reason for the punishment. Is your mom evil? :)
    >
    ><snip>
    >
    >> Do we do it to protect society? If so then this is a recent
    >> theory which has (for some reason, see below) superseded the
    >> notion of punishment. Is that because it is seen as
    >> intrinsically good (the only victims, the criminals, have to be
    >> put away because there'd 'no alternative'. But why not ship them
    >> out to a desert Island where they could roam about free all day
    >> provided they didn't escape back to normal society.
    >
    >What do you suppose would happen if three vicious murderers were set
    >loose on an island together? How many islands do you suppose are
    >available to hold groups of prisoners that would probably *not* kill (or
    >otherwise do Evil things to) each other?

    Most murderers aren't like that. Most murderers only do it once.
    This comic-book characterization is what I expect from people
    who think D&D alignment is a good thing.

    It's possible to give most nonviolent prisoners much more
    freedom whilst still protecting society from them.

    Of course, this is all assuming that the purpose of prison is to
    protect society. If the purpose of prison is to punish - it's
    different. Legal theory has it that the purpose is to punish.
    Politicians say the purpose is to protect society. The
    politicians are lying again. The problem is that the legal
    theory view, punishing prisoners, also has problems - prisoners
    leave prison worse people than when they entered. (which
    explains a 4th rationale for prison - rehabilitation).

    >> Why the
    >> tabloid paranoia about giving them Internet access or letting
    >> them watch TV?
    >
    >Well, the TV thing I'll grant you, but 'net access would have to be
    >monitored closely; there's still a fair amount of harm they might do.

    Isn't there more harm locking them up for most of the day with
    nothing to do. OK, by me, to monitor their Internet access and
    to even take it away if they misuse it.

    >> Of course, you already know the point of this post. It's that
    >> D&D good and evil are relative; since, as you suggest, D&D
    >> justifies evil behavior on behalf of those who call themselves
    >> good.
    >
    >Assuming you can actually define "good" and "evil" IRL (as opposed to
    >the terms of art used in D&D).

    I can't define good and evil, but I don't think the terms of art
    used in D&D are adequate for classifying character behavior in
    an actual game either. I think a GM would have to look at the
    big picture and small scene. I still can't see the point of
    alignment. You can have a good game with thuggish characters and
    a bland game with good characters. I can think of thousands of
    plot devices to bring into the game and loads of ways to put
    checks on PCs behavior to stop them all behaving like routine
    thugs; which is what they sometimes tend to.

    I think it was this tendency of PCs to behave like thugs which
    brought in alignment but I'm not sure. It goes back a long way
    (at least to 1975) to the origins of the game. Whatever the
    sickness the cure didn't work and has made the patient ill.
  23. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Oberon wrote:
    >
    > Most murderers aren't like that. Most murderers only do it once.

    And the rest? Can you so easily differentiate between the two types?

    > This comic-book characterization is what I expect from people
    > who think D&D alignment is a good thing.

    You're going to make me cry :~(

    > I can't define good and evil, but I don't think the terms of art
    > used in D&D are adequate for classifying character behavior in
    > an actual game either. I think a GM would have to look at the
    > big picture and small scene. I still can't see the point of
    > alignment. You can have a good game with thuggish characters and
    > a bland game with good characters. I can think of thousands of
    > plot devices to bring into the game and loads of ways to put
    > checks on PCs behavior to stop them all behaving like routine
    > thugs; which is what they sometimes tend to.

    Alignment is descriptive, not prescriptive. The quality of a game is no
    more dependent on the presence or absence of alignment than it is on the
    presence or absence of anything else.

    -Will
  24. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    laszlo_spamhole@freemail.hu wrote:
    > Here are some of the relevant bits from Complete Adventurer:
    >
    > SHADOWBANE INQUISITOR
    >
    > (...) Their relentless zeal and their overwhelming belief in their own
    > righteousness allow shadowbane inquisitors to root out evil cleanly,
    > even if it costs the lives of a few good creatures, without the moral
    > doubt that other knights might feel. The Order of Illumination expounds
    > that it is better to sacrifice a village that hides a powerful demon
    > than it is to risk letting the demon escape or the evil spread.
    > Although inquisitors remain devoted to the cause of good, this
    > conviction allows them to use their abilities against enemies
    > regardless of their alignment.
    >
    > Requirements:
    > -------------
    > Alignment: Lawful good.
    > Special: Detect evil class feature or ability to cast detect evil as a
    > divine spell
    >
    > Laszlo


    There is a problem of conflicting goals in designing a moral/ethical
    yardstick for roleplaying. On one hand you want it to be simple and not
    interfere with the flow of the game, on the other hand you want it to
    be able to handle difficult moral issues.

    Any storytelling involves conflict of good and evil, (explicit or
    implied) it's the fundamental issue that makes stories stories, that
    makes them interesting. Everything else is technical literature. D&D
    cranks it up a notch by offering a lawful/chaotic dicotomy.

    But people are more complex than that. There are dozens of parameters
    that can be used to describe you, and you can be tested for each of
    them. They will affect the way you think and act and how you relate to
    others. You probably do not want to deal with this level of complexity
    every time you roleplay (although there are systems that try, to some
    degree, Twilight 2000 and AD 2300 come to mind.)

    This means that the roleplaying moral system will not adequately cover
    every moral dilemma that you can conceive of.

    Back to the topic at hand:

    > SHADOWBANE INQUISITOR
    >
    > ... Their relentless zeal and their overwhelming belief in their own
    > righteousness allow shadowbane inquisitors to root out evil cleanly,
    > even if it costs the lives of a few good creatures, without the moral
    > doubt that other knights might feel. ...

    I don't like this person. I do not see them as good. In real life, this
    is an in-your-face self-righteous fundamentalist with no concept of his
    own flawed nature. YMMV. (Delay criticism of "In real life" for a bit.)

    > ... The Order of Illumination expounds that it is better to sacrifice
    > a village that hides a powerful demon than it is to risk letting the
    > demon escape or the evil spread. ...

    Too simplistic. Too many unanswered questions. Why is the village
    hiding the demon. Is the village evil? Are there other options, rather
    than slay them all? Are there time constraints? Essentially, we have a
    strawman.

    > ... Although inquisitors remain devoted to the cause of good, this
    > conviction allows them to use their abilities against enemies
    > regardless of their alignment. ...

    That is the central dilemma for any good character; all this is saying
    is the inquisitors don't think about it; in other words don't reflect
    on their decisions; in other words are more likely to screw up. That
    sounds like less good to me. Maybe we need a thoughtful/thoughtless
    axis? (not really, I hope.)

    Off on a bit of another tangent, what exactly is "good" in terms of the
    game. Yes, yes, we've seen the definition:

    > "Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters
    > and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or
    > profit .... Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others
    > and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient"
    > (SRD, "Description"). This is the very definition of good and evil.

    (Sorry, I forget who's post I am quoting.)

    Does that make cougars intrinsically evil? Well, no, the game has an
    "animal alignment" to cover that.

    So why are kobolds and orcs intrinsically evil? It's a very
    humanocentric point of view. While this was adequate when the embryonic
    D&D was enjoyed by a handful of guys as an extension of their wargames,
    it is inadequate in terms of the modern storytelling with it's complex
    cultures that D&D has become.

    Does it cover all the ground that "Good" and "Evil" need to cover? What
    about treachery and betrayal? Is this evil in game terms? Is it
    covered? Lies and deception? Greed? "Debase" is pretty open-ended, so
    maybe, but certainly not in a specific sense in the quoted definition.
    I'll get back to this in a moment.

    Next clip is out of context, refers to some statement about alignment:

    > Cite? Really, where did you get this from? (Your own moral code doesn't
    > count, since this is a discussion about D&D and not the real world).

    (Sorry, another clip I cannot properly attribute. Poor planning on my
    part.)

    Focus on the "Your own moral code doesn't count," part. It's both a
    good point and not; a good point because this is at its core a
    discussion of The Game, not Real Life, but wrong because you can not
    discuss moral code in a vacuum; it just doesn't happen. It's like
    Heisenberg uncertainty, looking at it affects the measurement. You
    grade the moral code of the game against what you believe to be right
    and wrong. You evaluate the in-game evaluation. It is not enough to
    say, "Does it match the written criteria." The criteria are themselves
    evolving (hence 3.5 ed) and each evaluation of the criteria is based on
    the evaluator's internal moral compass. You are in the bubble, you
    can't step outside to look at it.

    If you disagree, let me ask you this: Are cows innocent life? Is your
    character evil if he/she follows the customs of his/her society and
    eats a roast? I don't think very many of us would say the character was
    evil, but by the letter of the rules they are. We have made an
    intrinsic evalution that the rules did not intend this to be the case.

    Is the definition of good and evil quoted above at all ambiguous? I
    think it is pretty clear that, yes, it is. There will be cases that
    arise where players will disagree on the application of the definition.
    The DM & players will fall back on what they know of good and evil in
    the real world.

    So, D&D says animals have an animal alignment. Essentially, they are
    not self reflective, and are innocent of their behavior. So a cougar or
    python is not evil for killing innocent bunnies for its own benefit.
    Does this apply to humans with and Int of 3? At what point of self
    awareness does alignment kick in?

    Back to kobolds and orcs - so, they are self aware enough to be held
    accountable for their actions, but why should a kobold give a rat's
    hind end about a human? Shouldn't they be evaluated in terms of their
    own culture? "Good" adventurers slay plenty of orcs and kobolds. It
    seems to me that kobolds and orcs are more hostile in alignment than
    evil in alignment.

    Even then, we are on shakey ground. We aren't part of their culture.
    Our evaluation of the evaluation criteria is doomed to be weak. Is
    treachery evil? Is it evil in all cultures? Is treachery toward
    outsiders an evil trait, or just within treachery the culture? To my
    mind, this yardstick has not been established.

    Would a dracocentric definition allow a highly intelligent creature
    that discounts the value of various lesser beings to harvest a few of
    them for a snack without incurring a moral deficit? I think it might.
    "There's plenty more where those came from; it's not like we have a
    shortage."

    Because if "Their relentless zeal and their overwhelming belief in
    their own righteousness" allows Shadowbane Inquisitors to be good "even
    if it costs the lives of a few good creatures", in other words, without
    regard to consequences, then almost everyone on the planet is good.
    Because few people believe themselves and their own actions to be evil.
    "Why did you do that?" "He did this to me first." or "She's planning on
    doing this." not "Because I'm an evil bastard."

    And that applies to various creatures and their cultures, too, in my
    estimation. A few may revel in their evilness, most will be
    self-righteous, like the rest of us. A kobold will believe that it is
    good to be a kobold.

    In fact, if anything, the alignments in the Monster Manual smack of
    warfare propaganda, where the goal is to dehumanize the enemy.

    Consider a human culture that is lawful good, but xenophobic toward
    outsiders. Hey, that describes most real cultures! How will it treat a
    stranger? Will the constabulary be as scrutinizing of the thief who
    exclusively robs outsiders? Will the merchants offer the same deals
    toward outsiders? When does this sort of discrimination become evil?
    Only when you openly slay them, per the previously quoted definition?

    My point is, you cannot hope to encode every moral dilema within a
    game's moral system. It is foolish to get hung up about it. Roleplay
    the ones that present themselves, enjoy, and move on.


    MadKaugh
  25. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Wed, 25 May 2005 08:56:20 GMT, Oberon <oberon@solstice.com> wrote:


    >>Because locking someone up and making them do something is not
    >>significantly worse than locking someone up and making them do
    >>nothing. (Always assuming you aren't actually working them to death.)
    >>In fact prisons have used loss of work privileges as a punishment for
    >>misbehaviour.
    >
    >Locking people up and making them work is slavery.

    And as I said, the bad part is depriving them of freedom in the first
    place. Whether or not they do some work doesn't make it much worse.
  26. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On 25 May 2005 14:44:20 -0700, "Madkaugh" <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:


    >> ... The Order of Illumination expounds that it is better to sacrifice
    >> a village that hides a powerful demon than it is to risk letting the
    >> demon escape or the evil spread. ...
    >
    >Too simplistic.

    I disagree. It is no more simplistic than "Better a thousand guilty
    men go free than one innocent man go to jail."

    Too many unanswered questions. Why is the village
    >hiding the demon. Is the village evil?

    Probably not but that's the beside the point of the doctrine. It
    doesn't matter to the Order whether the village is hiding the demon
    because they are afraid of angering it, or some other not particularly
    evil reason. The point is that if they are standing in the way
    between you and trouncing a great evil, and won't get out of the way,
    you go through them.

    Are there other options, rather
    >than slay them all?

    It didn't say "slay them all". Wasting time killing people who aren't
    standing in the way of your quest would increase the chance of the
    hypothetical demon getting away.


    >
    >> ... Although inquisitors remain devoted to the cause of good, this
    >> conviction allows them to use their abilities against enemies
    >> regardless of their alignment. ...
    >
    >That is the central dilemma for any good character; all this is saying
    >is the inquisitors don't think about it; i

    No, it is saying something else. It's saying that the Inquisitor can
    use magic normally only effective against Evil beings against anyone
    who stands in their way.

    n other words don't reflect
    >on their decisions;

    Sure they reflect on their decisions. It's just that compared to a
    regular Paladin, they put a little more emphasis on "smite the
    wicked".

    in other words are more likely to screw up. That
    >sounds like less good to me. Maybe we need a thoughtful/thoughtless
    >axis? (not really, I hope.)

    The axis in question would be idealistic/pragmatic

    >
    >Off on a bit of another tangent, what exactly is "good" in terms of the
    >game. Yes, yes, we've seen the definition:
    >
    >> "Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters
    >> and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or
    >> profit .... Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others
    >> and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient"
    >> (SRD, "Description"). This is the very definition of good and evil.
    >
    >(Sorry, I forget who's post I am quoting.)


    >
    >Does that make cougars intrinsically evil? Well, no, the game has an
    >"animal alignment" to cover that.
    >
    >So why are kobolds and orcs intrinsically evil?

    Define "intrinsically". As things stand currently, they are just more
    likely to be Evil. But they can be Good (or more likely Neutral) if
    they choose. In part that's because they have a culture which
    venerates ruthlessness and encourages cruelty. In part it's because
    they just have a genetic disposition which tends on a bell curve to
    apex at a more irritable and xenophobic peak than humans do.
    But orcs and kobolds can and do vary from their species norm.
    If you want to play that orc Paladin you can.

    It's a very
    >humanocentric point of view.

    Why humanocentric rather than Elvocentric? After all, elves are, as
    a general rule more Good than humans.


    While this was adequate when the embryonic
    >D&D was enjoyed by a handful of guys as an extension of their wargames,
    >it is inadequate in terms of the modern storytelling with it's complex
    >cultures that D&D has become.
    >
    >Does it cover all the ground that "Good" and "Evil" need to cover? What
    >about treachery and betrayal? Is this evil in game terms?

    That would depend on why you do it. It would be treason to break your
    vow of fealty to the king, but if you do it because you are outraged
    by the King's decision to order every baby born on the winter solstice
    impaled, not evil.

    Is it
    >covered? Lies and deception?

    Once again, depends on why you do it. "No, your butt doesn't look
    fat" isn't evil, "Yes, Desdemona is having an affair because she's
    lily-white and you're a Moor" is evil.

    >Greed?

    What do you mean by "greed"? Do you mean being willing to murder your
    partner without a qualm so you can have all the gold in mine you just
    discovered? Evil. Do you mean devoting your life to accumulating
    wealth through hard work and wise investment to the exclusion of all
    else and never paying more than the minimum? Not Evil.


    >If you disagree, let me ask you this: Are cows innocent life?

    The concepts of innocence or guilt do not apply to creatures incapable
    of them. So no. Cows are not innocent life. While a good person
    wouldn't be gratuitously cruel to a cow, we all need to eat life to
    live.

    >
    >Is the definition of good and evil quoted above at all ambiguous?

    I have never seen any abstract definitions that are entirely
    disambiguous.


    >Back to kobolds and orcs - so, they are self aware enough to be held
    >accountable for their actions, but why should a kobold give a rat's
    >hind end about a human? Shouldn't they be evaluated in terms of their
    >own culture?

    No. Cultural relativism has no relevance to a game that has Holy
    Grails.

    >"Good" adventurers slay plenty of orcs and kobolds.

    If an adventurer goes out and starts deliberately slaying orcs who are
    guilty of nothing but minding their own business, then they aren't
    Good.


    >Because if "Their relentless zeal and their overwhelming belief in
    >their own righteousness" allows Shadowbane Inquisitors to be good "even
    >if it costs the lives of a few good creatures", in other words, without
    >regard to consequences, then almost everyone on the planet is good.
    >Because few people believe themselves and their own actions to be evil.

    What they believe about themselves is beside the point. They are
    judged by supernatural powers to be Good or Evil, Lawful or Chaotic.


    >Consider a human culture that is lawful good, but xenophobic toward
    >outsiders. Hey, that describes most real cultures!

    No it doesn't. Most real cultures would be described as Lawful or
    Chaotic or True Neutral. A _really_ xenophobic culture wouldn't be
    Good.

    How will it treat a
    >stranger?

    It will regard them as the first suspects in any crime and will be
    suspicious of the bargains they offer. They may be formally polite or
    rather cold but they won't be outright hostile for no reason because a
    culture that was hostile for no reason to outsiders would not be Good
    in the first place.
  27. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Wed, 25 May 2005 17:32:33 -0700, Mouse <mail141023@pop.net.invalid>
    wrote:


    >>If you want you can take a simpler example. My wife wants our
    >>children to go to the best school. I direct an advert that I get
    >>loadsa money for and our kids can now attend that school. Good?
    >>The advert I directed was aimed to promote junk food to
    >>children. Evil?
    >
    >Yes. Good results can come from Evil actions.

    Advertising is not Evil.
  28. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Oberon wrote:

    > I don't like alignment because it imposes a limited straight-jacket
    > on characters and game scenarios. It's for children. D&D would be a
    > better game without it.

    Re: straight-jacket, have you ever run into someone who takes a quick
    psych test a la many of the online "Which vegetable in the grocery bin
    are you?" kind of tests and treats it like it was carved in stone? I
    took a four quadrant test with my ex once, and she latched onto it like
    a pitbull on a jogger.


    > Take the monster manual, starting at A. ...

    Yeah. "You spot two ogres." "I cast Know Alignment." "Their alignment
    is Awful Hungry."


    > Good and evil are the main alignments and, historically, the
    > first in the game. You can read a book like Lord of the Rings
    > and see where D&D alignment came from. Watch Star Wars and you
    > realize that these ideas are pretty commonplace in Western
    > culture. Law, chaos, neutral, etc. are not so common-place.

    Good and evil are central in any story telling, even if not explicitly
    mentioned. It is not only in Western culture. Stories without conflict
    are boring. You have to reach into early child literature to find books
    with no good/evil dicotomy. Cat in the Hat has moral conflict. Green
    Eggs and Ham does, too. Go Dog Go does not. One Fish, Two Fish, Red
    Fish, Blue Fish does not. You will go to the Moon does not. Ok, I take
    it back, a story can be built around aspiration. It will be a weaker
    story than one with conflict.


    > If you said that D&D alignment has nothing to do with the real
    > world, that would be a bad move because I think best narrative
    > always has something to do with the real world or some point to
    > make in reference to it.

    I don't think it is possible to not involve your real world judgements
    in your in-game judgements. Paranoia or Toon might come the closest to
    this; low expectations of moral frame of reference, high expectation of
    arbitrary judgements for Paranoia, lack of real consequences to actions
    for Toon.

    MadKaugh
  29. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Thu, 26 May 2005 00:59:57 GMT, rgorman@telusplanet.net (David
    Johnston) raised a finger to the sky and proclaimed:

    >On Wed, 25 May 2005 17:32:33 -0700, Mouse <mail141023@pop.net.invalid>
    >wrote:
    >
    >
    >>>If you want you can take a simpler example. My wife wants our
    >>>children to go to the best school. I direct an advert that I get
    >>>loadsa money for and our kids can now attend that school. Good?
    >>>The advert I directed was aimed to promote junk food to
    >>>children. Evil?
    >>
    >>Yes. Good results can come from Evil actions.
    >
    >Advertising is not Evil.

    Noted.

    How about advertising junk food?

    Advertising junk food to a group that has limited capacity for
    long-term consequences to their actions?

    Taking advantage of said limits?

    For money?

    For personal gain?

    --
    Either way, I hate you Count Chocula, if I didn't already.
    - Drifter Bob, rec.games.frp.dnd
  30. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Wed, 25 May 2005 16:25:28 GMT, rgorman@telusplanet.net (David
    Johnston) wrote:

    >On Wed, 25 May 2005 08:56:20 GMT, Oberon <oberon@solstice.com> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>>Because locking someone up and making them do something is not
    >>>significantly worse than locking someone up and making them do
    >>>nothing. (Always assuming you aren't actually working them to death.)
    >>>In fact prisons have used loss of work privileges as a punishment for
    >>>misbehaviour.
    >>
    >>Locking people up and making them work is slavery.
    >
    >And as I said, the bad part is depriving them of freedom in the first
    >place. Whether or not they do some work doesn't make it much worse.

    Maybe not for them. But this has an effect on society; turning
    us into slavemasters. We pretend it's for their benefit and
    call it rehabilitation; if that was true we'd pay them a proper
    wage for what they do. We don't pay them a proper wage so I
    reckon it's for our benefit.
  31. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    Oberon wrote:
    > On Wed, 25 May 2005 16:25:28 GMT, rgorman@telusplanet.net (David
    >>>Locking people up and making them work is slavery.
    >>And as I said, the bad part is depriving them of freedom in the first
    >>place. Whether or not they do some work doesn't make it much worse.
    > Maybe not for them. But this has an effect on society; turning
    > us into slavemasters. We pretend it's for their benefit and
    > call it rehabilitation; if that was true we'd pay them a proper
    > wage for what they do. We don't pay them a proper wage so I
    > reckon it's for our benefit.

    We don't pretend it's for their benefit. It's for ours, to recoup the costs to
    society. Your arguement against them working should be that given their low
    costs, they deprive other business from properly competing for the same jobs,
    like in Highway Maintenance.
    --
    "... respect, all good works are not done by only good folk ..."
    --till next time, Jameson Stalanthas Yu -x- <<poetry.dolphins-cove.com>>
  32. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Thu, 26 May 2005 17:00:54 GMT, Oberon <oberon@solstice.com> wrote:

    >On Wed, 25 May 2005 16:25:28 GMT, rgorman@telusplanet.net (David
    >Johnston) wrote:
    >
    >>On Wed, 25 May 2005 08:56:20 GMT, Oberon <oberon@solstice.com> wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>>>Because locking someone up and making them do something is not
    >>>>significantly worse than locking someone up and making them do
    >>>>nothing. (Always assuming you aren't actually working them to death.)
    >>>>In fact prisons have used loss of work privileges as a punishment for
    >>>>misbehaviour.
    >>>
    >>>Locking people up and making them work is slavery.
    >>
    >>And as I said, the bad part is depriving them of freedom in the first
    >>place. Whether or not they do some work doesn't make it much worse.
    >
    >Maybe not for them. But this has an effect on society; turning
    >us into slavemasters.

    Bullshit. Let me repeat. The bad part is depriving them of freedom
    in the first place. It's an unpleasant necessity.
  33. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Thu, 26 May 2005 13:36:01 -0700, Mouse <mail141023@pop.net.invalid>
    wrote:

    >On Thu, 26 May 2005 00:59:57 GMT, rgorman@telusplanet.net (David
    >Johnston) raised a finger to the sky and proclaimed:
    >
    >>On Wed, 25 May 2005 17:32:33 -0700, Mouse <mail141023@pop.net.invalid>
    >>wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>>>If you want you can take a simpler example. My wife wants our
    >>>>children to go to the best school. I direct an advert that I get
    >>>>loadsa money for and our kids can now attend that school. Good?
    >>>>The advert I directed was aimed to promote junk food to
    >>>>children. Evil?
    >>>
    >>>Yes. Good results can come from Evil actions.
    >>
    >>Advertising is not Evil.
    >
    >Noted.
    >
    >How about advertising junk food?

    Still not Evil.

    >
    >Advertising junk food to a group that has limited capacity for
    >long-term consequences to their actions?

    Still not Evil. Get some perspective. It isn't the most admirable
    thing you can possibly do, but the Neutral alignments are there for a
    reason. LN, CN and TN are perfectly adequate to cover the degree of
    wrongdoing that qualifies you to be a typical pickpocket, tobacco
    executive, bribe taking civil servant, or merchant of not very
    nutritious food.
  34. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    David Johnston wrote:
    > On 27 May 2005 12:53:33 -0700, "Madkaugh" <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:

    > Then maybe your decision is wrong. But wrong and Evil are not the
    > same thing.

    Neither of us said it was.


    > >You are making my point for me.

    > Good, because I have no idea what your point is.

    Then why are you are arguing?


    > >> >Back to kobolds and orcs ...

    > >You've been arguing FOR cultural relativism up to this point.
    >
    > Not even a little bit. "It depends on why he is doing it" is not
    > cultural relativism.

    No, but "It depends on why they're doing it" is. (They being a
    stereotypical group like "orcs" or "kobolds", not "five guys at the
    tavern")


    > ... there is nothing inconsistent about Good adventurers fighting creatures
    > that are attacking them and their people.

    Right. So let's not blow smoke at it.


    > >Characters act out of their alignment. It does not depend on constant
    > >supernatural intervention.
    >
    > I never suggested for a moment that it did.

    You said exactly that. You say it again below. "domination"


    > Most human cultures do not kill all foreigners on sight.
    > That's real xenophobia.

    So anything short of killing is not xenophobia? Incarceration?
    Businesses shunning? Verbal insults? Hostile stares? Constant scrutiny?


    > >You are making my point for me.
    >
    > What was your point again?

    My point is the same one you are making, "You may need to know more
    before you judge whether something is Good or Evil." I was applying it
    to a criticism of the Inquisitors, if you recall.


    > >I would differ in the details, but we agree that some level of
    > >discrimination will arise.
    >
    > So?

    So, you appear to be arguing to no purpose. Not that that would be
    unusual on this newsgroup.


    > No. I have in fact disagreed you.

    That so. How exactly, pray tell? Other than the three items I
    mentioned. You already claimed that you did not understand my point;
    how can you claim that you disagree with it?


    > I do not know why you seem to be incapable of getting that,

    Maybe you have a problem expressing your thoughts coherently?


    > but it could have something to do with the way you confused "revelation"
    > with "domination".

    What part of "defering alignment to a layer of supernatural that I
    don't see as relevant" did you not get? If you want your character to
    be a sock puppet, and you have fun playing that way, more power to you.


    MadKaugh
  35. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Wed, 25 May 2005 08:52:09 GMT, Oberon <oberon@solstice.com> dared
    speak in front of ME:

    >In real-world moral debates we
    >have good and evil, we don't have law and chaos.

    You're just not looking hard enough. I'll give you a hint: we use
    different words. Duty and Freedom being the more common ones.
    Wherever you see Society clash with the Individual, you are most
    likely looking at an issue that would translate to D&D as Law vs
    Chaos.

    --
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    try removing all numbers from
    gafgirl1@2allstream3.net

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  36. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Thu, 26 May 2005 17:00:54 GMT, Oberon <oberon@solstice.com> dared
    speak in front of ME:

    >On Wed, 25 May 2005 16:25:28 GMT, rgorman@telusplanet.net (David
    >Johnston) wrote:
    >
    >>On Wed, 25 May 2005 08:56:20 GMT, Oberon <oberon@solstice.com> wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>>>Because locking someone up and making them do something is not
    >>>>significantly worse than locking someone up and making them do
    >>>>nothing. (Always assuming you aren't actually working them to death.)
    >>>>In fact prisons have used loss of work privileges as a punishment for
    >>>>misbehaviour.
    >>>
    >>>Locking people up and making them work is slavery.
    >>
    >>And as I said, the bad part is depriving them of freedom in the first
    >>place. Whether or not they do some work doesn't make it much worse.
    >
    >Maybe not for them. But this has an effect on society; turning
    >us into slavemasters. We pretend it's for their benefit and
    >call it rehabilitation;

    Actually, no. We pretend it's for the benefit of their potential
    future victims. And, really, we're not even pretending.

    >if that was true we'd pay them a proper
    >wage for what they do. We don't pay them a proper wage so I
    >reckon it's for our benefit.

    Define 'proper.'

    --
    Address no longer works.
    try removing all numbers from
    gafgirl1@2allstream3.net

    --
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  37. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On 25 May 2005 14:44:20 -0700, "Madkaugh" <madkaugh@yahoo.com> dared
    speak in front of ME:

    >There is a problem of conflicting goals in designing a moral/ethical
    >yardstick for roleplaying. On one hand you want it to be simple and not
    >interfere with the flow of the game, on the other hand you want it to
    >be able to handle difficult moral issues.
    >
    >Any storytelling involves conflict of good and evil, (explicit or
    >implied) it's the fundamental issue that makes stories stories, that
    >makes them interesting. Everything else is technical literature. D&D
    >cranks it up a notch by offering a lawful/chaotic dicotomy.
    >
    >But people are more complex than that.

    Complex circuits are often represented by much simpler circuits in
    order to deal with specific components. This does not change the
    overall complexity of the circuit; it merely allows us to deal with
    the components without being overwhelmed by the complexity.

    Hopefully you can see the analogy.

    >There are dozens of parameters
    >that can be used to describe you, and you can be tested for each of
    >them. They will affect the way you think and act and how you relate to
    >others. You probably do not want to deal with this level of complexity
    >every time you roleplay (although there are systems that try, to some
    >degree, Twilight 2000 and AD 2300 come to mind.)

    Eh? Having played Twilight 2000, I must admit I have absolutely no
    clue what you are referring to. TW2k had no personality, morality or
    ethical mechanics last time I checked.

    --
    Address no longer works.
    try removing all numbers from
    gafgirl1@2allstream3.net

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  38. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On 27 May 2005 12:53:33 -0700, "Madkaugh" <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:


    >> That would depend on why you do it. It would be treason to break your
    >> vow of fealty to the king, but if you do it because you are outraged
    >> by the King's decision to order every baby born on the winter solstice
    >> impaled, not evil.
    >
    >You are making my point for me.
    >
    >In yesterday's response, which has aparently fallen into a black hole,
    >I made the point here that you don't know that the king's decision to
    >order every baby born on the winter solstice impaled is evil; what if
    >he has inside information through his seers that some of them are demon
    >spawn?

    Then maybe your decision is wrong. But wrong and Evil are not the
    same thing.

    >
    >
    >> > Is it covered? Lies and deception?
    >>
    >> Once again, depends on why you do it. "No, your butt doesn't look
    >> fat" isn't evil, "Yes, Desdemona is having an affair because she's
    >> lily-white and you're a Moor" is evil.
    >
    >You are making my point for me.

    Good, because I have no idea what your point is.

    >
    >> >Back to kobolds and orcs - so, they are self aware enough to be held
    >> >accountable for their actions, but why should a kobold give a rat's
    >> >hind end about a human? Shouldn't they be evaluated in terms of their
    >> >own culture?
    >>
    >> No. Cultural relativism has no relevance to a game that has Holy
    >> Grails.
    >
    >Why not? You've been arguing FOR cultural relativism up to this point.

    Not even a little bit. "It depends on why he is doing it" is not
    cultural relativism.

    >
    >The Holy Grail thing is a Non Sequiter to me; I guess you are refering
    >to supernatural powers that you mention below.
    >
    >
    >> >"Good" adventurers slay plenty of orcs and kobolds.
    >>
    >> If an adventurer goes out and starts deliberately slaying orcs who are
    >> guilty of nothing but minding their own business, then they aren't
    >> Good.
    >
    >You sure you're playing D&D? You are added a lot of conditions to what
    >I said, but if the concept of slaying orcs and kobolds is new to you,
    >you must be playing a different game.

    It isn't new to me. However there is nothing inconsistent about Good
    adventurers fighting creatures that are attacking them and their
    people.

    >
    >
    >> >Because if "Their relentless zeal and their overwhelming belief in
    >> >their own righteousness" allows Shadowbane Inquisitors to be good "even
    >> >if it costs the lives of a few good creatures", in other words, without
    >> >regard to consequences, then almost everyone on the planet is good.
    >> >Because few people believe themselves and their own actions to be evil.
    >>
    >> What they believe about themselves is beside the point. They are
    >> judged by supernatural powers to be Good or Evil, Lawful or Chaotic.
    >
    >You are implying that alignment has no meaning outside of supernatural
    >revelation; "Know Alignment". But it is not like the gods are playing
    >with action figures; if it is, then you can go home, only the DM is
    >relevant; I guess he can go play with himself, fnarr.
    >
    >Characters act out of their alignment. It does not depend on constant
    >supernatural intervention.

    I never suggested for a moment that it did. And why you are confusing
    "revelation" with "domination" is beyond me.

    >
    >> >Consider a human culture that is lawful good, but xenophobic toward
    >> >outsiders. Hey, that describes most real cultures!
    >>
    >> No it doesn't. Most real cultures would be described as Lawful or
    >> Chaotic or True Neutral. A _really_ xenophobic culture wouldn't be
    >> Good.
    >
    >Xenophobia is common to almost all human cultures.

    Most human cultures do not kill all foreigners on sight.
    That's real xenophobia.


    >> >How will it treat a stranger?
    >>
    >> It will regard them as the first suspects in any crime and will be
    >> suspicious of the bargains they offer. They may be formally polite or
    >> rather cold but they won't be outright hostile for no reason because a
    >> culture that was hostile for no reason to outsiders would not be Good
    >> in the first place.
    >
    >You are making my point for me.

    What was your point again?

    I would differ in the details, but we
    >agree that some level of discrimination will arise.

    So?

    >To summarize, other than viewing the Inquisitors differently, an
    >inconsistent reversal of your point of view regarding cultural
    >relativism at one point,

    I reversed nothing and I never said a word in favour of cultural
    relativism in the context of the game universes.

    and defering alignment to a layer of
    >supernatural that I don't see as relevant, you have agreed with what I
    >said. Is that true?

    No. I have in fact disagreed you. I do not know why you seem to be
    incapable of getting that, but it could have something to do with the
    way you confused "revelation" with "domination".
  39. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On 27 May 2005 14:20:26 -0700, "Madkaugh" <madkaugh@yahoo.com> wrote:


    >> >> >Back to kobolds and orcs ...
    >
    >> >You've been arguing FOR cultural relativism up to this point.
    >>
    >> Not even a little bit. "It depends on why he is doing it" is not
    >> cultural relativism.
    >
    >No, but "It depends on why they're doing it" is.

    I don't see how.

    >
    >> >Characters act out of their alignment. It does not depend on constant
    >> >supernatural intervention.
    >>
    >> I never suggested for a moment that it did.
    >
    >You said exactly that.

    No, I didn't.

    >
    >
    >> but it could have something to do with the way you confused "revelation"
    >> with "domination".
    >
    >What part of "defering alignment to a layer of supernatural that I
    >don't see as relevant" did you not get?

    "defering".

    If you want your character to
    >be a sock puppet,

    My character is not a sock puppet because supernatural forces react in
    certain ways to him.
  40. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Fri, 27 May 2005 19:04:18 -0600, Kaos <kaos@xplornet.com> wrote:


    >>There are dozens of parameters
    >>that can be used to describe you, and you can be tested for each of
    >>them. They will affect the way you think and act and how you relate to
    >>others. You probably do not want to deal with this level of complexity
    >>every time you roleplay (although there are systems that try, to some
    >>degree, Twilight 2000 and AD 2300 come to mind.)
    >
    >Eh? Having played Twilight 2000, I must admit I have absolutely no
    >clue what you are referring to. TW2k had no personality, morality or
    >ethical mechanics last time I checked.

    NPCs in Twilight 2000 were apparently defined by some kind of
    personality categorisation system involving playing cards at least in
    some edition of the rules. I used to see NPC writeups in Challenge
    Magazine for them that would have notations like 10 Diamonds/3 Clubs
    and an explanation of what that meant, "This person is
    shortsightedly greedy", that sort of thing.
  41. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Sat, 28 May 2005 01:32:50 GMT, rgorman@telusplanet.net (David
    Johnston) dared speak in front of ME:

    >On Fri, 27 May 2005 19:04:18 -0600, Kaos <kaos@xplornet.com> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>>There are dozens of parameters
    >>>that can be used to describe you, and you can be tested for each of
    >>>them. They will affect the way you think and act and how you relate to
    >>>others. You probably do not want to deal with this level of complexity
    >>>every time you roleplay (although there are systems that try, to some
    >>>degree, Twilight 2000 and AD 2300 come to mind.)
    >>
    >>Eh? Having played Twilight 2000, I must admit I have absolutely no
    >>clue what you are referring to. TW2k had no personality, morality or
    >>ethical mechanics last time I checked.
    >
    >NPCs in Twilight 2000 were apparently defined by some kind of
    >personality categorisation system involving playing cards at least in
    >some edition of the rules.

    Ahh, right. I forgot about that one, mainly because it seemed more
    intended for quick-and-dirty NPC motivations than a morality mechanic.

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  42. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    David Johnston wrote:
    > On Thu, 26 May 2005 13:36:01 -0700, Mouse <mail141023@pop.net.invalid>
    > wrote:
    >
    [Evil]
    >>Advertising junk food to a group that has limited capacity for
    >>long-term consequences to their actions?
    >
    > Still not Evil. Get some perspective. It isn't the most admirable
    > thing you can possibly do, but the Neutral alignments are there for a
    > reason. LN, CN and TN are perfectly adequate to cover the degree of
    > wrongdoing that qualifies you to be a typical pickpocket, tobacco
    > executive, bribe taking civil servant, or merchant of not very
    > nutritious food.

    Aside from the bribes; that's not how it works in DnD. Evil
    encompases the disregard for the suffering of innocents caused by your
    actions.
    So, those that promote things that cause suffering amongst
    innocents are obviously Evil: as far as DnD is concerned. Spending a
    good proportion of your income on disguising the adverse health effects
    of your product from it's users is just plain merciless.

    Nuetral people wouldn't particularly care about that sort of thing,
    and wouldn't see the need to protect anyone but their own children from
    it. It'd take strongly LG folk to really go out of their way to try and
    restrict the actions of such folk.

    Bribery, like advertising, is only evil if you're being Evil with
    it; like by asking extra from those in need, who'll be left destitute as
    a result.

    --
    tussock

    Aspie at work, sorry in advance.
  43. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Sat, 28 May 2005 02:53:03 +1200, tussock <scrub@clear.net.nz>
    wrote:

    >David Johnston wrote:
    >> On Thu, 26 May 2005 13:36:01 -0700, Mouse <mail141023@pop.net.invalid>
    >> wrote:
    >>
    >[Evil]
    >>>Advertising junk food to a group that has limited capacity for
    >>>long-term consequences to their actions?
    >>
    >> Still not Evil. Get some perspective. It isn't the most admirable
    >> thing you can possibly do, but the Neutral alignments are there for a
    >> reason. LN, CN and TN are perfectly adequate to cover the degree of
    >> wrongdoing that qualifies you to be a typical pickpocket, tobacco
    >> executive, bribe taking civil servant, or merchant of not very
    >> nutritious food.
    >
    > Aside from the bribes; that's not how it works in DnD. Evil
    >encompases the disregard for the suffering of innocents caused by your
    >actions.
    > So, those that promote things that cause suffering amongst
    >innocents are obviously Evil: as far as DnD is concerned. Spending a
    >good proportion of your income on disguising the adverse health effects
    >of your product from it's users is just plain merciless.
    >
    > Nuetral people wouldn't particularly care about that sort of thing,

    So you disagree with me...how?
  44. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Fri, 27 May 2005 23:01:19 -0600, Kaos <kaos@invalid.xplornet.com>
    wrote:


    >>>
    >>>Eh? Having played Twilight 2000, I must admit I have absolutely no
    >>>clue what you are referring to. TW2k had no personality, morality or
    >>>ethical mechanics last time I checked.
    >>
    >>NPCs in Twilight 2000 were apparently defined by some kind of
    >>personality categorisation system involving playing cards at least in
    >>some edition of the rules.
    >
    >Ahh, right. I forgot about that one, mainly because it seemed more
    >intended for quick-and-dirty NPC motivations than a morality mechanic.

    Well yeah, that was what it was for. But for what it is worth, it is
    a personality mechanic, albeit one that doesn't apply to PCs.
  45. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On 26 May 2005 11:20:25 -0700, "Madkaugh" <madkaugh@yahoo.com>
    wrote:

    >Oberon wrote:
    >
    >> I don't like alignment because it imposes a limited straight-jacket
    >> on characters and game scenarios. It's for children. D&D would be a
    >> better game without it.
    >
    >Re: straight-jacket, have you ever run into someone who takes a quick
    >psych test a la many of the online "Which vegetable in the grocery bin
    >are you?" kind of tests and treats it like it was carved in stone? I
    >took a four quadrant test with my ex once, and she latched onto it like
    >a pitbull on a jogger.
    >
    >> Take the monster manual, starting at A. ...
    >
    >Yeah. "You spot two ogres." "I cast Know Alignment." "Their alignment
    >is Awful Hungry."
    >
    >> Good and evil are the main alignments and, historically, the
    >> first in the game. You can read a book like Lord of the Rings
    >> and see where D&D alignment came from. Watch Star Wars and you
    >> realize that these ideas are pretty commonplace in Western
    >> culture. Law, chaos, neutral, etc. are not so common-place.
    >
    >Good and evil are central in any story telling, even if not explicitly
    >mentioned. It is not only in Western culture. Stories without conflict
    >are boring.

    If this is what you're saying (and that's how I interpret it)
    1. Good and evil are central to conflict in storytelling.
    2. Implies storytelling without conflict is boring
    3. Implies D&D without alignment is boring

    then I don't agree. I disagree.

    I think if you want a simple story, where you don't need to
    think about things too much, then good and evil probably are
    central to conflict in storytelling. In that situation we nearly
    always know what good and evil are (no one is going to be
    confused about which side of the fence 'The Lidless Eye' or 'The
    Empire' are on).

    If you want an interesting (to me) story where the characters
    have real moral dilemmas - because they actually have to decide
    what is good and evil - instead of having it imposed on them -
    then introducing a codified alignment system where everything is
    decided in advance is not good storytelling.

    >You have to reach into early child literature to find books
    >with no good/evil dicotomy.

    Plenty of adult books dispense with it in favour of real life.

    >Cat in the Hat has moral conflict. Green
    >Eggs and Ham does, too. Go Dog Go does not. One Fish, Two Fish, Red
    >Fish, Blue Fish does not. You will go to the Moon does not. Ok, I take
    >it back, a story can be built around aspiration. It will be a weaker
    >story than one with conflict.

    Even if I accept that conflict is best done around good/evil
    dichotomy - that does not imply that we need alignment.
    Alignment decides for us what good and evil are in advance. If
    the plot involves forcing characters to make real moral choices
    then they should be forced to work out for themselves what good
    and evil are there and then. E.g.

    1. You are a judge, the perpetrator (who is obviously guilty)
    needs to be sentenced for his third offence. The people have
    decided - 'three strikes and you're out'. But you disagree with
    the people. Do you sentence him or do you resign?

    2. You work in advertising. Do you make the film promoting junk
    food to children?

    In both cases above, if you resign, someone else will do it
    instead. So why not do what you think you shouldn't, keep your
    job, and try to influence things for the better in the long
    term?

    Although these scenarios are far away from the kind of thing I
    might run for D&D they force the character back on her own
    resources to make a judgment that has real effects upon other
    characters for good or bad. That's the kind of game I'd rather
    play and one that alignment doesn't allow. Even less so, when:
    a) we have a bunch of people who want to codify it even more;
    b) when we have rulings, from on high, telling us how to play
    alignment.
  46. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Sat, 28 May 2005 09:22:24 GMT, Oberon <oberon@solstice.com> dared
    speak in front of ME:

    >On 26 May 2005 11:20:25 -0700, "Madkaugh" <madkaugh@yahoo.com>
    >wrote:
    >>Good and evil are central in any story telling, even if not explicitly
    >>mentioned. It is not only in Western culture. Stories without conflict
    >>are boring.
    >
    >If this is what you're saying (and that's how I interpret it)
    >1. Good and evil are central to conflict in storytelling.
    >2. Implies storytelling without conflict is boring
    >3. Implies D&D without alignment is boring

    #2 is pretty much correct. Note, however, that conflict is not
    restricted to combat.

    #1 is off, unless you're adopting a relativistic view of good and evil
    (which would be inappropriate to the discussion.)

    >If you want an interesting (to me) story where the characters
    >have real moral dilemmas - because they actually have to decide
    >what is good and evil - instead of having it imposed on them -
    >then introducing a codified alignment system where everything is
    >decided in advance is not good storytelling.

    You're confusing homonyms here. It's an easy mistake to make, but
    Evil (the D&D alignment) is not necessarily evil. Nor is Good
    necessarily good.

    We try to get around the homonym confusion by replacing good (the
    non-Alignment use of the word) with "right and proper behaviour."

    --
    Address no longer works.
    try removing all numbers from
    gafgirl1@2allstream3.net

    --
    Posted via NewsDemon.com - Premium Uncensored Newsgroup Service
    ------->>>>>>http://www.NewsDemon.com<<<<<<------
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  47. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Sat, 28 May 2005 09:22:24 GMT, Oberon <oberon@solstice.com> wrote:


    >Even if I accept that conflict is best done around good/evil
    >dichotomy - that does not imply that we need alignment.
    >Alignment decides for us what good and evil are in advance. If
    >the plot involves forcing characters to make real moral choices
    >then they should be forced to work out for themselves what good
    >and evil are there and then. E.g.
    >
    >1. You are a judge, the perpetrator (who is obviously guilty)
    >needs to be sentenced for his third offence. The people have
    >decided - 'three strikes and you're out'. But you disagree with
    >the people. Do you sentence him or do you resign?

    You do realise, don't you, that the alignment system provides no
    answer to that kind of question in advance? Nor is it intended to?

    >Although these scenarios are far away from the kind of thing I
    >might run for D&D they force the character back on her own
    >resources to make a judgment that has real effects upon other
    >characters for good or bad. That's the kind of game I'd rather
    >play and one that alignment doesn't allow.

    The problem with your reasoning is that alignment does allow that kind
    of game.
  48. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    > Oberon wrote:
    >
    > Although these scenarios are far away from the kind of thing I
    > might run for D&D they force the character back on her own
    > resources to make a judgment that has real effects upon other
    > characters for good or bad. That's the kind of game I'd rather
    > play and one that alignment doesn't allow.

    Having Alignment in a game does not disallow anything.

    > Even less so, when:
    > a) we have a bunch of people who want to codify it even more;
    > b) when we have rulings, from on high, telling us how to play
    > alignment.

    You just don't understand Alignment. You didnt back when you were Zenobia
    and you don't now.


    John
  49. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

    On Fri, 27 May 2005 23:01:19 -0600, Kaos <kaos@invalid.xplornet.com>
    carved upon a tablet of ether:

    > On Sat, 28 May 2005 01:32:50 GMT, rgorman@telusplanet.net (David
    > Johnston) dared speak in front of ME:
    >
    > >On Fri, 27 May 2005 19:04:18 -0600, Kaos <kaos@xplornet.com> wrote:
    > >
    > >
    > >>>There are dozens of parameters
    > >>>that can be used to describe you, and you can be tested for each of
    > >>>them. They will affect the way you think and act and how you relate to
    > >>>others. You probably do not want to deal with this level of complexity
    > >>>every time you roleplay (although there are systems that try, to some
    > >>>degree, Twilight 2000 and AD 2300 come to mind.)
    > >>
    > >>Eh? Having played Twilight 2000, I must admit I have absolutely no
    > >>clue what you are referring to. TW2k had no personality, morality or
    > >>ethical mechanics last time I checked.
    > >
    > >NPCs in Twilight 2000 were apparently defined by some kind of
    > >personality categorisation system involving playing cards at least in
    > >some edition of the rules.
    >
    > Ahh, right. I forgot about that one, mainly because it seemed more
    > intended for quick-and-dirty NPC motivations than a morality mechanic.

    That's indeed what it was for, and GDW used it in many of its games of
    the mid-80s and on. It certainly wasn't intended to be more than a
    quick way of describing and generating NPC personalities.


    --
    Rupert Boleyn <rboleyn@paradise.net.nz>
    "Just because the truth will set you free doesn't mean the truth itself
    should be free."
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