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Musings on Alignment

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Anonymous
May 10, 2005 10:14:36 AM

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?

More about : musings alignment

Anonymous
May 10, 2005 12:02:34 PM

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
Anonymous
May 10, 2005 12:48:14 PM

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".
Related resources
Anonymous
May 10, 2005 1:06:51 PM

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
Anonymous
May 10, 2005 4:02:39 PM

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
Anonymous
May 10, 2005 4:53:09 PM

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.
Anonymous
May 10, 2005 5:02:25 PM

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
Anonymous
May 10, 2005 5:44:24 PM

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
Anonymous
May 10, 2005 8:57:45 PM

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
Anonymous
May 10, 2005 9:11:36 PM

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
Anonymous
May 10, 2005 9:16:36 PM

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
Anonymous
May 10, 2005 9:53:15 PM

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...
Anonymous
May 10, 2005 11:28:36 PM

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
Anonymous
May 11, 2005 12:36:07 AM

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.
Anonymous
May 11, 2005 1:32:06 AM

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.
May 11, 2005 9:11:41 PM

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
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 1:42:06 AM

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...?
May 18, 2005 3:21:15 AM

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
May 24, 2005 11:41:29 PM

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.
Anonymous
May 25, 2005 1:49:22 AM

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.
Anonymous
May 25, 2005 3:29:53 AM

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
May 25, 2005 12:56:20 PM

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.
May 25, 2005 1:43:23 PM

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.
Anonymous
May 25, 2005 4:05:24 PM

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
Anonymous
May 25, 2005 6:44:20 PM

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
Anonymous
May 25, 2005 8:25:28 PM

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.
Anonymous
May 26, 2005 3:22:30 AM

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.
Anonymous
May 26, 2005 4:59:57 AM

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.
Anonymous
May 26, 2005 3:20:25 PM

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
May 26, 2005 5:36:01 PM

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
May 26, 2005 9:00:54 PM

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.
Anonymous
May 26, 2005 9:00:55 PM

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>>
Anonymous
May 26, 2005 9:39:13 PM

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.
Anonymous
May 27, 2005 1:58:55 AM

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.
Anonymous
May 27, 2005 6:20:26 PM

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
May 27, 2005 11:04:14 PM

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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May 27, 2005 11:04:18 PM

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.'

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May 27, 2005 11:04:18 PM

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.

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Anonymous
May 28, 2005 12:26:14 AM

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".
Anonymous
May 28, 2005 2:39:05 AM

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.
Anonymous
May 28, 2005 5:32:50 AM

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.
May 28, 2005 5:32:51 AM

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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Anonymous
May 28, 2005 6:53:03 AM

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.
Anonymous
May 28, 2005 6:53:04 AM

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?
Anonymous
May 28, 2005 10:33:27 AM

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.
May 28, 2005 1:22:24 PM

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.
May 28, 2005 7:11:05 PM

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."

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Anonymous
May 28, 2005 7:22:57 PM

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.
Anonymous
May 28, 2005 7:52:02 PM

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
Anonymous
May 28, 2005 9:18:41 PM

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."
!