All manner of scifi/fantasy/nerdness: RPGs, comic books, Firefly, RPGs, Community, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, RPGs, Avengers, Doctor Who, And RPGs. And comic books. And RPGS. Not a "fandom" blog, unless D&D alignments count as a fandom.

 

General RP ramblings

inannah-sinalune:

I have noticed, shall we say, a definite age and gender bias in playing certain character alignments. Yes, I realize WoW doesn’t have specifically delineated character alignments; but it has suggestions of alignments. Forsaken and death knights are, by implication, perhaps inherently “evil” or at least not totally good. Rogues tend to be Evil or at least Neutral. Priests, on the other hand, can be good or evil (Holy vs. Shadow). Druids tend to be seen as Neutral or Good. Paladins can often be Good but can also be played as terribly corrupt (see Blood Knights). Then you always get the phenomenon of people simply not playing a character within the set lines of lore as written by Blizzard. I don’t have a definite arbitrary problem with this, particularly within someone’s closed RP setting; I find it is only a problem with open RP when one wishes to interact with others and then pulls out something that isn’t accepted canon and expects others to simply accept it without question. Otherwise, if it has been agreed on within our group, bring on the creativity.

Less attention is paid to the older style of D&D alignment, Chaotic-Neutral-Lawful.

There’s a lot I could say about the different age groups and genders who tend to play certain tropes, and I started to - but then I realized this was a distraction from my main point, which is about the Lawful Good alignment.

Often, I see Lawful Good being played as an extremely superficial trope. The lawful good paladin repeats laws without reason. He is a mindless automaton, a policeman almost, who cannot think for himself. Chaotic good characters have broken free of a corrupt system that the lawful good character upholds. She cannot break free of it even if she sees the flaws inherent in it, and thus is an oppressor herself by virtue of staying true to her oaths.

In other words, Lawful Good characters are widely seen as corrupt and mendacious or naive and stupid.

Over time, I’ve come to realize that when I know someone who only plays evil characters, this says something about them as a person - who they are, how they think, how they view themselves. People who exclusively play the “evil” aligned character, especially the chaotic type, see themselves as striking back against a system that is oppressing them. Often it simply means they are very young and it is a natural rebellious stage (I remember a few rather silly chaotic characters of my own). But when this behavior persists well into adulthood, it’s sometimes part of a larger socio-political belief system.

Few people play exclusively Lawful Good characters, or “good” characters at all. I spent a long afternoon thinking about this one time and finally came to the realization that you can’t RP something you don’t understand.

If religious people who actually follow the rules most of the time all seem like stupid schmucks to you - then yes, any Lawful good character you play will be a stand-in for people you hate. And this will lead to more bad RP.

Like it or not, truly Lawful Good characters are not stupid or corrupt. They have made a conscious and informed decision to keep order and peace in society and believe the best way to do so is by obeying the rules and trying to see to it that others do. They may have many nuanced reasons for doing so and they are probably not doing so blindly. They may know very well about the problems with the system but hope to reform it from within.

The Nathan Fillion Alignment Chart

Okay, so I admit several of these are sort of ham-fisted, but when I realized the top line I just had to finish it off.

http://dyslexicoedr.tumblr.com/post/91262552480/lawfulgoodness-dyslexicoedr

lawfulgoodness:

dyslexicoedr:

lawfulgoodness:

doncoyote:

lawfulgoodness:

doncoyote:

People trying to justify why their character is “Good” using moral relativism in D&D/PF piss me off.

So I’m looking at my recent posts and I’m not sure why I’m tagged in this?…

<going to url to save space on folks’ dashboards>

neverpenalize somebody for violating their alignment, so long as they are acting in character.  THAT would be super dumb and extremely limiting to roleplaying and character development.  You’re absolutely right that alignment is artificial, and I’m not going to punish my players for growing their character.  In fact, I’m more likely to get frustrated by players whose characters haven’t changed or evolved over the course of the campaign.  Character concepts shouldn’t be immutable.

I just have enough players that are new enough to RPGs or who view them as elaborate wargaming/strategy hobby that alignment helps provide a framework to make decisions.  

I actually had one of my players say, in response to “It’s your turn, what do you do?” respond with…. “I do whatever is most effective.”  In trying to explain how that wasn’t an acceptable response, he just said, “But that’s what I would do.  That’s what my character would do.  My character would do whatever is most effective.”  He kept trying to explain why the GM (me) should tell him what the character would do in that situation, because the character always did The Best Thing Possible (TM).  That particular player used to play chess competitively and was part of regional tournaments and has a hard time not viewing the campaign as a whole and combat in particular as an intellectual contest to be conquered. 

All that to say, I encourage whatever steps GMs and players take to encourage character consistency while still encouraging character growth & development.  For me, the alignment system helps.

dyslexicoedr:

lawfulgoodness:

doncoyote:

lawfulgoodness:

doncoyote:

People trying to justify why their character is “Good” using moral relativism in D&D/PF piss me off.

So I’m looking at my recent posts and I’m not sure why I’m tagged in this?  Am I getting called out for something I posted, or are you just looking for solidarity?  What’s the context here?

image

When talking alignment, I have a pretty narrow range of what I consider allowable “good” behavior, but my views on the “lawful” part are a bit more generous.

Solidarity.
I got a guy, who is the GM for my main PF group, that has said that “enhanced interrogation” does not violate CG, and that were I push for a very strict objective view of what is “Good” and “Evil” when I run PF he won’t play unless I gave him some bullshit 36 page paper explaining good.
I have half a mind to strip out alignment when I do run the Emerald Spire for my group and just let certain classes be horribly gutted. Or tell him to piss up a rope.

He’s 85% of the reason I tend to play LE or LN in PF.

Ah okay, thanks for the clarification.

Moral relativism is where I think a lot of people start to mis identify their character’s alignment.  For me and my games it’s important to recognize that alignment is an external mechanic of the game.  It’s very “meta,” in that the actual characters and game world aren’t arguing about “Lawful vs Chaotic” or “Good vs Neutral,” etc.  Sure, they have a concept of morality and the legal/justice systems of the world around them.  But characters shouldn’t be focused on ensuring they maintain their “Lawful Good” or “Chaotic Good” status.  That is a function of the player, not the character.

This is important because about 90% of “bad guys” think they are the good guys.  With the exception of a few sociopaths, most villains think their actions are justified and would not classify themselves as “evil.”  A character is not Evil because they are dedicated to an alignment.  They are evil because their worldview makes their individual needs, wants, desires, and perspective more important than the greater good of humanity (or whatever society they happen to be a member of).

You don’t need 36 pages to explain “good.”  This exactly why I keep throwing that “You’re a bad person and you should feel bad” image around whenever folks try to justify their Evil campaigns as being Not That Bad (TM).  If your methods and motives require OTHER people to make sacrifices and face hardships so YOU can triumph, then you definitely aren’t good.

While I can see someone trying to make the case for “Enhanced interrogation” being CG, there is an extremely narrow set of circumstances and techniques I can see anyone making with a straight face.  As a GM, I would have to through the CG deity list and, if I can’t see the paragons of Hope, Luck, Freedom, Growth, Joy, Art, or Hunting being on board with it, there’s no way it’s Chaotic Good. 

All of this is why the alignment system for D&D/Pathfinder is pointless even as a game mechanic. The only characters that should even be worried about their behavior are those that have a respondent deity, clerics, paladins, and other divine casters. And even then they should only be worried about how their deity sees their actions. I can imagine some of these lawful good gods being perfectly fine with wiping out a brood of monstrous infants simply because their nature offends the god. Trying to apply some kind of universal objective morality to the game world is ridiculous and applies a level of mechanics, the in my opinion, stifle the actual role playing. Players should be free to have characters that have moral grey areas, it makes them interesting. The conflict between a character who has no qualms about cutting a bloody swathe through the enemy and one who sees it as immoral when there is another way to circumvent the problem is what makes a role playing game more than just a complex board game. It has long been my assertion that most people in reality are Lawful Neutral, they do what is best for themselves within the confines of the law mostly because they fear social reprisal. Most characters in RPG’s really end up being Chaotic Neutral, basically doing whatever suits them best at the time to reach their goals with little concern for the society around them as there is rarely any real social consequences, mostly because these ruin the plot of the game setup by the GM. TLDR: I think the alignment system is dumb and has little effect on the game and should really only apply to characters with specific deities.

See but I’m just not ready to do away with alignment as whole, and even encourage people to think in those terms even in non-DnD/Pathfinder games.  That’s because the alignment system is the only portion of the mechanics of the game to actually encourage roleplaying.  Everything else in the game is more “Function” playing…. how hard can I hit, how often do I hit, how easy is this lock to pick, etc.

Alignment helps players to think about characters and how they respond to the world around them.  I will conceded that in a character-driven or roleplaying intensive-group, alignment is not necessary and might restrict player creativity.  But for new players who aren’t quite comfortable with the completely open world or munchkins who don’t make decisions other than “was is my most effective response to get what I want?” alignment is crucial.  Honestly, without a really strong character concept, alignment is the only thing that keeps everybody from playing True Neutral.  ”Whatever is effective and efficient in this situation is what I do.”

That is extremely boring and why I encourage folks to think of their characters in alignment terms, because it lends a consistency to the character’s voice that otherwise might be lost in the desire to “win.”

doncoyote:

lawfulgoodness:

doncoyote:

People trying to justify why their character is “Good” using moral relativism in D&D/PF piss me off.

So I’m looking at my recent posts and I’m not sure why I’m tagged in this?  Am I getting called out for something I posted, or are you just looking for solidarity?  What’s the context here?

image

When talking alignment, I have a pretty narrow range of what I consider allowable “good” behavior, but my views on the “lawful” part are a bit more generous.

Solidarity.
I got a guy, who is the GM for my main PF group, that has said that “enhanced interrogation” does not violate CG, and that were I push for a very strict objective view of what is “Good” and “Evil” when I run PF he won’t play unless I gave him some bullshit 36 page paper explaining good.
I have half a mind to strip out alignment when I do run the Emerald Spire for my group and just let certain classes be horribly gutted. Or tell him to piss up a rope.

He’s 85% of the reason I tend to play LE or LN in PF.

Ah okay, thanks for the clarification.

Moral relativism is where I think a lot of people start to mis identify their character’s alignment.  For me and my games it’s important to recognize that alignment is an external mechanic of the game.  It’s very “meta,” in that the actual characters and game world aren’t arguing about “Lawful vs Chaotic” or “Good vs Neutral,” etc.  Sure, they have a concept of morality and the legal/justice systems of the world around them.  But characters shouldn’t be focused on ensuring they maintain their “Lawful Good” or “Chaotic Good” status.  That is a function of the player, not the character.

This is important because about 90% of “bad guys” think they are the good guys.  With the exception of a few sociopaths, most villains think their actions are justified and would not classify themselves as “evil.”  A character is not Evil because they are dedicated to an alignment.  They are evil because their worldview makes their individual needs, wants, desires, and perspective more important than the greater good of humanity (or whatever society they happen to be a member of).

You don’t need 36 pages to explain “good.”  This exactly why I keep throwing that “You’re a bad person and you should feel bad” image around whenever folks try to justify their Evil campaigns as being Not That Bad (TM).  If your methods and motives require OTHER people to make sacrifices and face hardships so YOU can triumph, then you definitely aren’t good.

While I can see someone trying to make the case for “Enhanced interrogation” being CG, there is an extremely narrow set of circumstances and techniques I can see anyone making with a straight face.  As a GM, I would have to look through the CG deity list and, if I can’t see the paragons of Hope, Luck, Freedom, Growth, Joy, Art, or Hunting being on board with it, there’s no way it’s Chaotic Good. 

doncoyote:

People trying to justify why their character is “Good” using moral relativism in D&D/PF piss me off.

So I’m looking at my recent posts and I’m not sure why I’m tagged in this?  Am I getting called out for something I posted, or are you just looking for solidarity?  What’s the context here?

When talking alignment, I have a pretty narrow range of what I consider allowable “good” behavior, but my views on the “lawful” part are a bit more generous.

lifeblender:

lawfulgoodness:

korblabyss:

lawfulgoodness:

arts-dm-den:

lawfulgoodness:

ddemotivators:

Evil Campaigns
by Sir Thaddeus



I think a lot of people don’t understand what Evil is. Evil isn’t evil intent, or evil goals, not always. Evil, first and foremost, is Evil means.
Note my use of the capital “E”
Consider the Skeleton, they are Always Evil. Yet they are also mindless automotons. Why? Because Evil energies animate them. Using those energies makes you Evil, regardless of whether you use them to conquer a village or defend it. You don’t have to do evil to be Evil. King Kaius is Evil because he did Evil (and is a SPOILERS) but he’s one of the few leaders trying to maintain peace between the nations.
Conversley, just because you are Good doesn’t mean that you are good. Queen Aurala wants to conquer the five nations and unite them under her flag, but it’s because she’s naive and sees war as glorious and righteous, and does not quite understand that war is hell. She is kind, she is Good, but she is utterly wrong.
I once played an assassin, he worshiped a goddess of healing goodness and light, he fought evil, hated undead and demons and devils, he fought on the side of angels. But was still Evil. He committed murder for money, he played interrogations fast and dirty, but didn’t mind taking his time if he thought it would be worth it. Evil and Good are set in stone, but flexible enough that if you wanted to have Evil party members, it can still work (if you have the right players)



I regularly play Neutral Evil characters, because in my opinion, most of what is called evil is a harmless means or goal that society doesn’t like. Undead, for example. Animating a skeleton harms no one (unless you’re in one of those silly games where it traps a soul, but D&amp;D, at least 3.X, doesn’t say it does by RAW). But society doesn’t like it because it’s gross and people are simple and soft headed. So society can call me evil, I’ll be laughing from my sweet skeleton-carried palanquin as I use a million skeletons to replicate computers and produce public works projects. Much of what you call evil, I call pragmatism that you are too constrained by archaic superstitions to accept. Even killing, on occasion, which the Good agree with but are loathe to admit. While the good may quail against the idea of killing outside of self-defense, many are the paladins who put goblin children to the sword and rail against each and every demon they meet. Neutral Evil listens to all, and treats each in kind, and when there’s a crazed psychopath who treats prison as his own apartment, leaves whenever he pleases, and has a death toll in the millions because good does not want to stoop to his level to rid society of his menace, NE will be there with a helping hand and a quiet dagger.
The biggest reason society and Good hates evil?
They need us.



The three spells in 3.5 that bring dead creatures back to life don’t work if the person has been turned into an undead, even a skeleton.  There’s some semantic wiggle room, but I would say that this means that skeletons (and zombies, etc.) in 3.5 trap the soul of the dead.  It’s not free for raise dead, resurrection, or even true resurrection, so it’s trapped.
I agree with arts-dm-den’s points about Evil.  Evil means are a defining part of being Evil.  If you aren’t willing to harm others for your own purposes, you’re Good.  That’s not the only prerequisite for Good, but it’s a big one.
However, I disagree with korblabyss’s points about evil.  If a person is a real problem, a good (little g) person will probably not kill them, especially if they live in a society that frowns on that.  However, a Chaotic Good, Neutral Good, or Lawful Good person will kill them if that is what is necessary (for their value of ‘necessary’).
Being Good doesn’t mean you can’t harm others, or be utterly vicious.  Being Good means that you keep those skills under lock and key and only use them when the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.
For example, D&amp;D 3.0 and forward got rid of the alignment restriction for rogues, and I completely agree.  I feel that a rogue can be Lawful Good (They can’t in 2nd ed).  “For King and Country.”  A spy may do their best in the service of their country, just as a soldier or anyone else.  In short, a Lawful Good person can lie, steal, and murder without violating their alignment *in certain circumstances*.  We don’t need Evil.
Well, lawfulgoodness, what do you think?

Yeah, we definitely don&#8217;t need evil to actually do what needs to be done.  I don&#8217;t really agree with differentiating between &#8220;good&#8221; and &#8220;Good.&#8221;  I have a broader view of &#8220;Lawful&#8221; than I do of &#8220;Good.&#8221;  I define good pretty rigidly in that I expect people playing &#8220;Good&#8221; alignments to be looking out for the general public&#8217;s best interest over their own.  I&#8217;ve got no problem with the idea of &#8220;good&#8221; rogues or assassins, as they can act in the interest of the greater good (actual best interest, not perceived best interest).  I&#8217;m not I would agree with the idea of a Lawful Rogue, but I guess it would depend on whose laws they were following.
So, since it&#8217;s July 4th&#8230;
George Washington as Lawful Good rogue, betraying his country for his country?

lifeblender:

lawfulgoodness:

korblabyss:

lawfulgoodness:

arts-dm-den:

lawfulgoodness:

ddemotivators:

Evil Campaigns

by Sir Thaddeus

I think a lot of people don’t understand what Evil is. Evil isn’t evil intent, or evil goals, not always. Evil, first and foremost, is Evil means.

Note my use of the capital “E”

Consider the Skeleton, they are Always Evil. Yet they are also mindless automotons. Why? Because Evil energies animate them. Using those energies makes you Evil, regardless of whether you use them to conquer a village or defend it. You don’t have to do evil to be Evil. King Kaius is Evil because he did Evil (and is a SPOILERS) but he’s one of the few leaders trying to maintain peace between the nations.

Conversley, just because you are Good doesn’t mean that you are good. Queen Aurala wants to conquer the five nations and unite them under her flag, but it’s because she’s naive and sees war as glorious and righteous, and does not quite understand that war is hell. She is kind, she is Good, but she is utterly wrong.

I once played an assassin, he worshiped a goddess of healing goodness and light, he fought evil, hated undead and demons and devils, he fought on the side of angels. But was still Evil. He committed murder for money, he played interrogations fast and dirty, but didn’t mind taking his time if he thought it would be worth it. Evil and Good are set in stone, but flexible enough that if you wanted to have Evil party members, it can still work (if you have the right players)

I regularly play Neutral Evil characters, because in my opinion, most of what is called evil is a harmless means or goal that society doesn’t like. Undead, for example. Animating a skeleton harms no one (unless you’re in one of those silly games where it traps a soul, but D&D, at least 3.X, doesn’t say it does by RAW). But society doesn’t like it because it’s gross and people are simple and soft headed. So society can call me evil, I’ll be laughing from my sweet skeleton-carried palanquin as I use a million skeletons to replicate computers and produce public works projects. Much of what you call evil, I call pragmatism that you are too constrained by archaic superstitions to accept. Even killing, on occasion, which the Good agree with but are loathe to admit. While the good may quail against the idea of killing outside of self-defense, many are the paladins who put goblin children to the sword and rail against each and every demon they meet. Neutral Evil listens to all, and treats each in kind, and when there’s a crazed psychopath who treats prison as his own apartment, leaves whenever he pleases, and has a death toll in the millions because good does not want to stoop to his level to rid society of his menace, NE will be there with a helping hand and a quiet dagger.

The biggest reason society and Good hates evil?

They need us.

The three spells in 3.5 that bring dead creatures back to life don’t work if the person has been turned into an undead, even a skeleton.  There’s some semantic wiggle room, but I would say that this means that skeletons (and zombies, etc.) in 3.5 trap the soul of the dead.  It’s not free for raise dead, resurrection, or even true resurrection, so it’s trapped.

I agree with arts-dm-den’s points about Evil.  Evil means are a defining part of being Evil.  If you aren’t willing to harm others for your own purposes, you’re Good.  That’s not the only prerequisite for Good, but it’s a big one.

However, I disagree with korblabyss’s points about evil.  If a person is a real problem, a good (little g) person will probably not kill them, especially if they live in a society that frowns on that.  However, a Chaotic Good, Neutral Good, or Lawful Good person will kill them if that is what is necessary (for their value of ‘necessary’).

Being Good doesn’t mean you can’t harm others, or be utterly vicious.  Being Good means that you keep those skills under lock and key and only use them when the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.

For example, D&D 3.0 and forward got rid of the alignment restriction for rogues, and I completely agree.  I feel that a rogue can be Lawful Good (They can’t in 2nd ed).  “For King and Country.”  A spy may do their best in the service of their country, just as a soldier or anyone else.  In short, a Lawful Good person can lie, steal, and murder without violating their alignment *in certain circumstances*.  We don’t need Evil.

Well, lawfulgoodness, what do you think?

Yeah, we definitely don’t need evil to actually do what needs to be done.  I don’t really agree with differentiating between “good” and “Good.”  I have a broader view of “Lawful” than I do of “Good.”  I define good pretty rigidly in that I expect people playing “Good” alignments to be looking out for the general public’s best interest over their own.  I’ve got no problem with the idea of “good” rogues or assassins, as they can act in the interest of the greater good (actual best interest, not perceived best interest).  I’m not I would agree with the idea of a Lawful Rogue, but I guess it would depend on whose laws they were following.

So, since it’s July 4th…

George Washington as Lawful Good rogue, betraying his country for his country?

oblivionnecroninja:

lawfulgoodness:

korblabyss:

lawfulgoodness:

arts-dm-den:

lawfulgoodness:

ddemotivators:

Evil Campaigns
by Sir Thaddeus



I think a lot of people don’t understand what Evil is. Evil isn’t evil intent, or evil goals, not always. Evil, first and foremost, is Evil means.
Note my use of the capital “E”
Consider the Skeleton, they are Always Evil. Yet they are also mindless automotons. Why? Because Evil energies animate them. Using those energies makes you Evil, regardless of whether you use them to conquer a village or defend it. You don’t have to do evil to be Evil. King Kaius is Evil because he did Evil (and is a SPOILERS) but he’s one of the few leaders trying to maintain peace between the nations.
Conversley, just because you are Good doesn’t mean that you are good. Queen Aurala wants to conquer the five nations and unite them under her flag, but it’s because she’s naive and sees war as glorious and righteous, and does not quite understand that war is hell. She is kind, she is Good, but she is utterly wrong.
I once played an assassin, he worshiped a goddess of healing goodness and light, he fought evil, hated undead and demons and devils, he fought on the side of angels. But was still Evil. He committed murder for money, he played interrogations fast and dirty, but didn’t mind taking his time if he thought it would be worth it. Evil and Good are set in stone, but flexible enough that if you wanted to have Evil party members, it can still work (if you have the right players)



I regularly play Neutral Evil characters, because in my opinion, most of what is called evil is a harmless means or goal that society doesn’t like. Undead, for example. Animating a skeleton harms no one (unless you’re in one of those silly games where it traps a soul, but D&amp;D, at least 3.X, doesn’t say it does by RAW). But society doesn’t like it because it’s gross and people are simple and soft headed. So society can call me evil, I’ll be laughing from my sweet skeleton-carried palanquin as I use a million skeletons to replicate computers and produce public works projects. Much of what you call evil, I call pragmatism that you are too constrained by archaic superstitions to accept. Even killing, on occasion, which the Good agree with but are loathe to admit. While the good may quail against the idea of killing outside of self-defense, many are the paladins who put goblin children to the sword and rail against each and every demon they meet. Neutral Evil listens to all, and treats each in kind, and when there’s a crazed psychopath who treats prison as his own apartment, leaves whenever he pleases, and has a death toll in the millions because good does not want to stoop to his level to rid society of his menace, NE will be there with a helping hand and a quiet dagger.
The biggest reason society and Good hates evil?
They need us.



Can we at least have a recgonition that D&amp;D’s definition of Evil is self-contradictory and makes no sense?
Like, Good and Evil seem to mean completely different things on a divine and mortal scale: they’re tied to actions and means on a mortal level, but tied to identity on a divine level (case in point: Pelor is somehow good).
Also, summoning and enslaving an Angel to do stuff for you is a Good act, while summoning and enslaving a Demon is Evil. WTF?

I was really tempted to just post the image again, because honestly it gets funnier every time.
But you actually raise a good point, so props to oblivionnecroninja!  I toss that image out there because just about every other post about playing Evil campaigns is about how funny it is to kick puppies and eat babies or something like that.  If that&#8217;s why you&#8217;re playing evil campaigns, then the image applies.
But if you&#8217;re actually asking interesting questions about morality and poking holes in D&amp;D&#8217;s completely porous alignment system, then that&#8217;s great!  But honestly, that&#8217;s never what I see when people talk about evil campaigns.
There are ENORMOUS flaws in D&amp;D&#8217;s morality system.  My biggest problem with it is when it limits player decision-making and character development.  I will never penalize a player&#8217;s XP for making good RP or character development-related decisions.  I don&#8217;t care if it&#8217;s against their alignment.  But more than that is the idea that, because you are a particular race, you are inherently &#8220;evil.&#8221;  This is, literally, a racist idea.
"Wait!  Hold up!  That&#8217;s not racist.  It&#8217;s not like we&#8217;re saying racist things about humans.  Drow are a completely fictional race!&#8221;  Well, only sort of.  The idea of drow (or any other playable race) as an inherently evil group of &#8220;people&#8221; stems directly from our historical perception of certain races and culture as evil and pagan and murderous and bad, and other races as good and holy and civilized and nice.
But that&#8217;s not how people are.  &#8221;Good&#8221; and &#8220;evil&#8221; are determined by your birth or race, but by your decisions and actions.  Which is why any game I run, the characters are judged by their decisions and by the motivations that led to those decisions.  No, a Lawful Good Paladin can&#8217;t run around impaling baby goblins on spears.  Because the baby goblins in my world have done nothing to deserve it.  They are not &#8220;evil&#8221; unless their actions show them to be evil.  And killing something that isn&#8217;t evil simply because of its race IS EVIL.
I&#8217;ve been doing a lot of thinking on this point specifically because one of the character concepts for my Pathfinder campaign is a Lawful Good Succubus Paladin.  Now, according to the books, Succubi are CHAOTIC EVIL.  That means, anybody who tries a &#8220;Detect Evil&#8221; or knows succubi or has a spell that affects demons or evil creatures, it&#8217;s going to affect her.
But she wants to be good.  Even though good guys don&#8217;t trust her and bad guys consider her a traitor, she wants to be good.  Even though most of the clerics and paladins and other characters who are servants of the same being that she is will shun her and possibly try to kill her, she wants to be good.  So the other player characters are going to have to wrestle with the fact that here is a being whose very nature and species is universally recognized as &#8220;evil,&#8221; but her actual actions are trying to prove that she is &#8220;good.&#8221;
 I&#8217;m envisioning it as an epic fantasy adventure version of Pinocchio.  Who knows, if she plays her cards right, she might eventually become a real girl.

oblivionnecroninja:

lawfulgoodness:

korblabyss:

lawfulgoodness:

arts-dm-den:

lawfulgoodness:

ddemotivators:

Evil Campaigns

by Sir Thaddeus

I think a lot of people don’t understand what Evil is. Evil isn’t evil intent, or evil goals, not always. Evil, first and foremost, is Evil means.

Note my use of the capital “E”

Consider the Skeleton, they are Always Evil. Yet they are also mindless automotons. Why? Because Evil energies animate them. Using those energies makes you Evil, regardless of whether you use them to conquer a village or defend it. You don’t have to do evil to be Evil. King Kaius is Evil because he did Evil (and is a SPOILERS) but he’s one of the few leaders trying to maintain peace between the nations.

Conversley, just because you are Good doesn’t mean that you are good. Queen Aurala wants to conquer the five nations and unite them under her flag, but it’s because she’s naive and sees war as glorious and righteous, and does not quite understand that war is hell. She is kind, she is Good, but she is utterly wrong.

I once played an assassin, he worshiped a goddess of healing goodness and light, he fought evil, hated undead and demons and devils, he fought on the side of angels. But was still Evil. He committed murder for money, he played interrogations fast and dirty, but didn’t mind taking his time if he thought it would be worth it. Evil and Good are set in stone, but flexible enough that if you wanted to have Evil party members, it can still work (if you have the right players)

I regularly play Neutral Evil characters, because in my opinion, most of what is called evil is a harmless means or goal that society doesn’t like. Undead, for example. Animating a skeleton harms no one (unless you’re in one of those silly games where it traps a soul, but D&D, at least 3.X, doesn’t say it does by RAW). But society doesn’t like it because it’s gross and people are simple and soft headed. So society can call me evil, I’ll be laughing from my sweet skeleton-carried palanquin as I use a million skeletons to replicate computers and produce public works projects. Much of what you call evil, I call pragmatism that you are too constrained by archaic superstitions to accept. Even killing, on occasion, which the Good agree with but are loathe to admit. While the good may quail against the idea of killing outside of self-defense, many are the paladins who put goblin children to the sword and rail against each and every demon they meet. Neutral Evil listens to all, and treats each in kind, and when there’s a crazed psychopath who treats prison as his own apartment, leaves whenever he pleases, and has a death toll in the millions because good does not want to stoop to his level to rid society of his menace, NE will be there with a helping hand and a quiet dagger.

The biggest reason society and Good hates evil?

They need us.

Can we at least have a recgonition that D&D’s definition of Evil is self-contradictory and makes no sense?

Like, Good and Evil seem to mean completely different things on a divine and mortal scale: they’re tied to actions and means on a mortal level, but tied to identity on a divine level (case in point: Pelor is somehow good).

Also, summoning and enslaving an Angel to do stuff for you is a Good act, while summoning and enslaving a Demon is Evil. WTF?

I was really tempted to just post the image again, because honestly it gets funnier every time.

But you actually raise a good point, so props to oblivionnecroninja!  I toss that image out there because just about every other post about playing Evil campaigns is about how funny it is to kick puppies and eat babies or something like that.  If that’s why you’re playing evil campaigns, then the image applies.

But if you’re actually asking interesting questions about morality and poking holes in D&D’s completely porous alignment system, then that’s great!  But honestly, that’s never what I see when people talk about evil campaigns.

There are ENORMOUS flaws in D&D’s morality system.  My biggest problem with it is when it limits player decision-making and character development.  I will never penalize a player’s XP for making good RP or character development-related decisions.  I don’t care if it’s against their alignment.  But more than that is the idea that, because you are a particular race, you are inherently “evil.”  This is, literally, a racist idea.

"Wait!  Hold up!  That’s not racist.  It’s not like we’re saying racist things about humans.  Drow are a completely fictional race!”  Well, only sort of.  The idea of drow (or any other playable race) as an inherently evil group of “people” stems directly from our historical perception of certain races and culture as evil and pagan and murderous and bad, and other races as good and holy and civilized and nice.

But that’s not how people are.  ”Good” and “evil” are determined by your birth or race, but by your decisions and actions.  Which is why any game I run, the characters are judged by their decisions and by the motivations that led to those decisions.  No, a Lawful Good Paladin can’t run around impaling baby goblins on spears.  Because the baby goblins in my world have done nothing to deserve it.  They are not “evil” unless their actions show them to be evil.  And killing something that isn’t evil simply because of its race IS EVIL.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on this point specifically because one of the character concepts for my Pathfinder campaign is a Lawful Good Succubus Paladin.  Now, according to the books, Succubi are CHAOTIC EVIL.  That means, anybody who tries a “Detect Evil” or knows succubi or has a spell that affects demons or evil creatures, it’s going to affect her.

But she wants to be good.  Even though good guys don’t trust her and bad guys consider her a traitor, she wants to be good.  Even though most of the clerics and paladins and other characters who are servants of the same being that she is will shun her and possibly try to kill her, she wants to be good.  So the other player characters are going to have to wrestle with the fact that here is a being whose very nature and species is universally recognized as “evil,” but her actual actions are trying to prove that she is “good.”

 I’m envisioning it as an epic fantasy adventure version of Pinocchio.  Who knows, if she plays her cards right, she might eventually become a real girl.

korblabyss:

lawfulgoodness:

arts-dm-den:

lawfulgoodness:

ddemotivators:

Evil Campaigns
by Sir Thaddeus



I think a lot of people don’t understand what Evil is. Evil isn’t evil intent, or evil goals, not always. Evil, first and foremost, is Evil means.
Note my use of the capital “E”
Consider the Skeleton, they are Always Evil. Yet they are also mindless automotons. Why? Because Evil energies animate them. Using those energies makes you Evil, regardless of whether you use them to conquer a village or defend it. You don’t have to do evil to be Evil. King Kaius is Evil because he did Evil (and is a SPOILERS) but he’s one of the few leaders trying to maintain peace between the nations.
Conversley, just because you are Good doesn’t mean that you are good. Queen Aurala wants to conquer the five nations and unite them under her flag, but it’s because she’s naive and sees war as glorious and righteous, and does not quite understand that war is hell. She is kind, she is Good, but she is utterly wrong.
I once played an assassin, he worshiped a goddess of healing goodness and light, he fought evil, hated undead and demons and devils, he fought on the side of angels. But was still Evil. He committed murder for money, he played interrogations fast and dirty, but didn’t mind taking his time if he thought it would be worth it. Evil and Good are set in stone, but flexible enough that if you wanted to have Evil party members, it can still work (if you have the right players)



I regularly play Neutral Evil characters, because in my opinion, most of what is called evil is a harmless means or goal that society doesn’t like. Undead, for example. Animating a skeleton harms no one (unless you’re in one of those silly games where it traps a soul, but D&amp;D, at least 3.X, doesn’t say it does by RAW). But society doesn’t like it because it’s gross and people are simple and soft headed. So society can call me evil, I’ll be laughing from my sweet skeleton-carried palanquin as I use a million skeletons to replicate computers and produce public works projects. Much of what you call evil, I call pragmatism that you are too constrained by archaic superstitions to accept. Even killing, on occasion, which the Good agree with but are loathe to admit. While the good may quail against the idea of killing outside of self-defense, many are the paladins who put goblin children to the sword and rail against each and every demon they meet. Neutral Evil listens to all, and treats each in kind, and when there’s a crazed psychopath who treats prison as his own apartment, leaves whenever he pleases, and has a death toll in the millions because good does not want to stoop to his level to rid society of his menace, NE will be there with a helping hand and a quiet dagger.
The biggest reason society and Good hates evil?
They need us.

korblabyss:

lawfulgoodness:

arts-dm-den:

lawfulgoodness:

ddemotivators:

Evil Campaigns

by Sir Thaddeus

I think a lot of people don’t understand what Evil is. Evil isn’t evil intent, or evil goals, not always. Evil, first and foremost, is Evil means.

Note my use of the capital “E”

Consider the Skeleton, they are Always Evil. Yet they are also mindless automotons. Why? Because Evil energies animate them. Using those energies makes you Evil, regardless of whether you use them to conquer a village or defend it. You don’t have to do evil to be Evil. King Kaius is Evil because he did Evil (and is a SPOILERS) but he’s one of the few leaders trying to maintain peace between the nations.

Conversley, just because you are Good doesn’t mean that you are good. Queen Aurala wants to conquer the five nations and unite them under her flag, but it’s because she’s naive and sees war as glorious and righteous, and does not quite understand that war is hell. She is kind, she is Good, but she is utterly wrong.

I once played an assassin, he worshiped a goddess of healing goodness and light, he fought evil, hated undead and demons and devils, he fought on the side of angels. But was still Evil. He committed murder for money, he played interrogations fast and dirty, but didn’t mind taking his time if he thought it would be worth it. Evil and Good are set in stone, but flexible enough that if you wanted to have Evil party members, it can still work (if you have the right players)

I regularly play Neutral Evil characters, because in my opinion, most of what is called evil is a harmless means or goal that society doesn’t like. Undead, for example. Animating a skeleton harms no one (unless you’re in one of those silly games where it traps a soul, but D&D, at least 3.X, doesn’t say it does by RAW). But society doesn’t like it because it’s gross and people are simple and soft headed. So society can call me evil, I’ll be laughing from my sweet skeleton-carried palanquin as I use a million skeletons to replicate computers and produce public works projects. Much of what you call evil, I call pragmatism that you are too constrained by archaic superstitions to accept. Even killing, on occasion, which the Good agree with but are loathe to admit. While the good may quail against the idea of killing outside of self-defense, many are the paladins who put goblin children to the sword and rail against each and every demon they meet. Neutral Evil listens to all, and treats each in kind, and when there’s a crazed psychopath who treats prison as his own apartment, leaves whenever he pleases, and has a death toll in the millions because good does not want to stoop to his level to rid society of his menace, NE will be there with a helping hand and a quiet dagger.

The biggest reason society and Good hates evil?

They need us.

corruptionpoints:

In a fantasy environment, still a bigger question. Racist against what race? Is your Paladin racist against demons? Still good aligned. If racist against those possessing minor physical differences within their same race? Yeah, not so much.

Well, without a doubt we agree on the latter statement.

For the former, I would still have to disagree. A Paladin wouldn’t discriminate and form a hatred for Demons because they are Demons, it would be a byproduct of counteracting the evil purposes that Demons serve, and the evil actions that they routinely, unquestioningly perform.

Moreover, racism (and even fantasy racism) is deeply rooted in hatred, ignorance, and unfounded prejudice against a large body of others based on fallacy. All of these concepts are distinctly not-good. 

If we’re taking good and evil as objective qualities for the sake of a rules understanding of systems of games, good is the force that prevents bad things, evil is the force that propels them. Within that, there is nothing good about racism across any doctrine, within any belief system, around any rhetoric, as it is nothing but a bad thing.

So one of the players interested in my Pathfinder campaign wants to play a Lawful Good Paladin Succubus.  We’re working over the character concept, but it made me think of this discussion.

I think it would be important to note that being “racist” against demons is not the same thing as hating evil.  Now sure, in a traditional Judeo-Christian mindset (which heavily influenced much of D&D’s alignment and cosmology), a “demon” is always evil.  But at the same time, Balor Lords can turn humans (and other player characters) into a lesser demon.  So should that individual now be treated as a completely unholy aberration?  Or could the characters look for a way to redeem or restore them?  And if so, does that mean other demons could be turned into non-abyssal races?  Is there some poor little demon named Pinocchio in some hell dimension somewhere that dreams of becoming a real boy one day?

So all that to say, I agree that harboring racism would really be a test of a character’s “good”-alignment, regardless of the race.  It could be a character flaw used to propel the storyline, but it should not be written off as okay or justifiable, and anytime the character’s actions stem from that view it should be considered a violation of their alignment.