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DMMike
08-06-2008, 08:19 AM
Feel free to start one of these for another alignment. The evil groups thread was digressing.

In my campaign, evil simply means behaving selfishly. And for the most part, ONLY selfishly. Which is why I've moved all my PC races to being true neutral.

Here's a couple examples:

- The innkeeper who uses what little profit the king lets him keep to buy lager and enjoys beating up on outsiders who break his tavern rule: "Tip your wench well" : true neutral (with lawful and evil tendencies).

- The shadowy apparition that only travels by night and drains the hardiness of innocent (and guilty) travelers with an ice cold touch: neutral evil (possibly chaotic).

The distinction is that a wraith spends 100% of its time being evil. Without evil, there is no wraith. The innkeeper feeds his kids and wife, buys a drink for his best friend once in a while, and has a pang of guilt when tossing out the skinnier of his rule breakers.

What do you consider evil?

fmitchell
08-06-2008, 09:43 AM
This is why I like 4e's shift to "Unaligned" ... quite a number of characters (and real people) do cruel and callous things, but aren't capital-e Evil.

Truly "Evil" characters have no compunction over trampling other people to get what they want ... and they want a lot. True Evil is not just vampires and devils; Evil is also the merchant who bankrupts all his competitors by fair means or foul (assuming they don't get caught), or the Baron who treats all his serfs like animals, or the priest who kills and enslaves in the name of his god. Evil wants power over other people, or at least the power to take what it likes.

(Chaotic Evil is even worse: it has no respect for other lives, and will torture or kill on the flimsiest pretext. Chaotic Evil is the alignment of serial killers, mass murderers, and enthusiastic torturers.)

Webhead
08-06-2008, 10:11 AM
"Evil" is the willingness to infringe upon the rights of others to achieve a goal. Those willing to injure, kill, lie to, steal from, enslave or make inferior others in order to advance some kind of personal agenda (psychological, societal, religious or otherwise).

Most people, societies and governments are neither entirely "good" or "evil", but tend to exhibit both traits based on the circumstances, agendas and psychological eccentricities.

Like your innkeeper example. Surely he's not an "evil" person, even if he does occasionally indulge in some dubiously "evil" behavior. He may just be a very honest, well-intentioned person who just has a few "issues". That does not excuse his actions, but it doesn't, by itself, condemn him to a life of "villainy" either. He may even feel remorse for his actions after he commits them.

dalenvec
08-06-2008, 04:06 PM
...... He may even feel remorse for his actions after he commits them.

Wouldn't in a round about way make him a good person, or at least a neutral one, he did somthing and he feels remorse, generaly evil people dont feel remorse, or they don't know or acknowldge there doing something wrong.

As stated CE is the alignment of murderers and sadists; the people who just dont care, the typical evil stereotype.
you can have evil characters with morals... a vampire who wont kill or will only feed on willing victims.... A assassian that wont kill children... that kind of stuff. their still evil, but they have some sence of a moral compass compaired to CE who lost theirs years ago.

Or take a wizard who consorts with denezins of the lower planes, he may make bargins with them, or sacrifice someone for the greater good. an anti-hero can be evil as well, use evil to fight evil. the innkeeper who runs everyone else out of business or the rouge who extorts merchants for protection, but still keeps his word.

i think evil gets a bad wrap because people just assume they have to play a stereotype character, not looking at the realm of possibilities, their like the people who play the cookie cutter paladins, but realy have no concept of true good.

just my 2cp

Webhead
08-06-2008, 04:37 PM
Wouldn't in a round about way make him a good person, or at least a neutral one, he did somthing and he feels remorse, generaly evil people dont feel remorse, or they don't know or acknowldge there doing something wrong.

That really depends more upon whether he continues his behavior after feeling remorse. One can be remorseful and still have difficulty breaking bad habits. If he sees the remorse as an impetus to change his ways, then he is on the path to being rid of his "evil" behaviors. If he feels remorse but continues to fall back into the same habits, he hasn't really grown. The fact that he does feel remorse shows that there is still something within him that can distinguish "right" and "wrong", though.

Like I said, the character isn't really "evil" to begin with, but just has a few "evil" tendencies that he either chooses to better or not.

cplmac
08-06-2008, 04:54 PM
So by going unaligned, does this mean that there are no repercussions for actions? Like if a cleric/monk character does an action that is in contradiction to the mind set of their diety. Same would go for the case of a paladin doing something that is not in line with their diety. Or is this something that was discarded to ofset all of the different feats that need to be dealt with?

As far as evil, there was 3 types of evil alignments: Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, and Chaotic Evil. A step up from these 3 would be Neutral (also know as True Neutral). I agree with fmitchell as to what he said about chaotic evil. The vampire and the assassain in dalenvec's post would more fall under neutral evil, but the rogue (fancy name for a thief) would fall under lawful neutral. Just my way of interpreting the alignments.

fmitchell
08-06-2008, 05:22 PM
"Unaligned" is "not really committed to good or evil", and the implication is that most people are Unaligned. A character aligned with Good or Evil (or its subtypes "Lawful Good" or "Chaotic Evil") actively works at justifying his alignment; he rescues damsels (G), or purchases their freedom (LG), or enslaves them (E), or eats them alive serenaded by their screams (CE). Generally, alignment has no mechanical effects in 4th edition; it's purely a role-playing aid.

Most deities are also Unaligned; clerics can be Unaligned, their deity's alignment, or any alignment if their deity is Unaligned. Paladins (if I recall) have to match their deity's alignment exactly. I'm not sure what the penalty is for a cleric or paladin transgressing his deity's alignment, since I haven't read the DMG (or all of the PHB); I presume he loses his powers until he atones ... or possibly not.

Personally I'd rather they left out alignment altogether, and held clerics and paladins to principles of their god or religion instead. I find "Lawful Good" and "Chaotic Evil" particularly jarring. But I guess the battle between Good and Evil matters in some fantasy worlds, and some people can't develop a character without signing up as a White Hat, Black Hat, or No Hat.

DMMike
08-06-2008, 05:48 PM
So by going unaligned, does this mean that there are no repercussions for actions? Like if a cleric/monk character does an action that is in contradiction to the mind set of their diety. Same would go for the case of a paladin doing something that is not in line with their diety. Or is this something that was discarded to ofset all of the different feats that need to be dealt with?

I don't know what the 4e solution for this is, but in my game it's pretty simple. If you cross your deity, it doesn't grant you divine powers. Mundane ones you can keep. For the monk, if your focus veers from the path of clarity, you lose the abilities that require clarity.

I saw a couple points that do confuse things a bit. What if actions are good and thoughts are evil? Or vice versa? What about intent? Well, it's up to the gods (or the DM), but I'd say thoughts and intent trump actions. It's kind of like being dominated by a vampire: the vamp could make you go kill people, but if your intent is to do good, then you're still good.

What about the greater good? That's a gray area. Which is why I made all my mortals Neutral. Each situation could lean toward an alignment, but since mortal behavior tends to be subjective like that, why even try to make them a non-neutral alignment?

Devil's advocate: Okay. Then suppose a celestial warrior (bit of an oxymoron, but not a mortal) has a choice. It must kill an innocent human, who is infected with the worst demonic plague known to man, or that human will march into a city and kill the rest of the population. Doesn't the greater good outweigh some evil?

In my campaign, it doesn't. Any evil is all evil. A celestial (avatar in my case) cannot perform an evil act, ever, because goodness is the essence of its being. To perform an evil act is to cease to exist. This creates a lot of neutrality in my campaign, but it also makes the alignments nice and clear-cut.

Webhead
08-06-2008, 07:06 PM
Devil's advocate: Okay. Then suppose a celestial warrior (bit of an oxymoron, but not a mortal) has a choice. It must kill an innocent human, who is infected with the worst demonic plague known to man, or that human will march into a city and kill the rest of the population. Doesn't the greater good outweigh some evil?

This is a great example. It's about sacrifice. Killing the innocent infected human is still an evil act (in the dramatic "Good and Evil" sense). He is still bringing himself to murder this person, even if he recognizes a greater purpose in doing so. Surely, he will be saving countless other lives and that in itself is noble, but it doesn't change what he must do. The death is still a stain upon his soul, one he will have to live and cope with however he will. It does not make him an "evil" person, but it is still a "evil" moment in his life...a moment in which he must take the burden of committing a wrong-doing in order to serve a "greater good".

As described of the Jedi philosophy:

"The Jedi acts to preserve life. To kill is wrong.

Sometimes it is necessary to kill. The Jedi may kill in self-defense or in the defense of others, especially the weak and the good. The Jedi may kill, if by her action she preserves the existence of life. However, the Jedi must never forget that killing is inherently wrong. The death is a stain upon the Jedi's spirit...

Jedi should seek nonviolent solutions to problems - but this isn't always possible. Sometimes, killing or fighting is the only answer available. Sometimes it is even the best answer. But that doesn't mean the Jedi shouldn't try to find an alternative."

fmitchell
08-06-2008, 07:44 PM
Devil's advocate: Okay. Then suppose a celestial warrior (bit of an oxymoron, but not a mortal) has a choice. It must kill an innocent human, who is infected with the worst demonic plague known to man, or that human will march into a city and kill the rest of the population. Doesn't the greater good outweigh some evil?

There's also a choice of containing the human without killing him, or even explaining the situation and letting him choose exile. Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

By the way, in 4e "angels" are astral mercenaries in the service of a god. They only follow orders. That gets rid of the "Ask a Solar" solution to ethical conundrums. Even the Good and Lawful Good gods disagree on what is "right".

Genzodus Thoth
08-06-2008, 07:49 PM
Speaking of Jedi, in the KotOR series actions weigh more heavily than thoughts. Though this is because thoughts aren't known by the game, it's also a good point: regardless of intentions, performing a certain kind of action will always have the same consequences.

Webhead
08-06-2008, 09:22 PM
There's also a choice of containing the human without killing him, or even explaining the situation and letting him choose exile. Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

Exactly. If murder is the only option that seems to be available, you're generally not looking hard enough (or you're too lazy to pursue the alternatives). There's more than one way to not skin a cat. ;)

Of course, we're talking about action-adventure games here, so combat (aka stab now and loot later) is what most people expect (and it can be a lot of fun too).

DMMike
08-06-2008, 10:45 PM
Jeez guys. Way to pick apart my hypothetical. :)

fmitchell - the good and lawful gods disagree on what is Right, because the good gods think Good is Right, and the lawful gods think Lawful is right. But since this is an evil, thread ::evil look::, let me touch on something I saw earlier.

Murderous bastardswords (Had to add the swords, don't know what's considered inappropriate in here): we ought to differentiate between evil and insane. Here's how I would divvy it up:

The murderer who kills because it gets him what he wants, and doesn't feel guilt: neutral evil. Why not chaotic? Because he probably follows social norms to fit in when he's not murdering, and probably has a detailed system to follow for getting away with murder.

The weirdo down the block who kills (among other things) three people a month because it amuses him? Chaotic neutral, and perhaps certifiable. Not evil though - he's not trying to harm anyone, he just doesn't care one way or the other.

Chaotic evil: seems pretty rare to me. If you're undead or an outsider, you can afford to do this. But living creatures must follow some rules, and they have to act good now and then (if only for the children!). So besides the Balrog, someone's gonna have to help me picture this.

Grimwell
08-06-2008, 11:39 PM
As stated CE is the alignment of murderers and sadists; the people who just dont care, the typical evil stereotype.

Booo! Hissss!

Not every sadist is chaotic. They can follow laws... well most of them! :D

dalenvec
08-06-2008, 11:42 PM
The murderer who kills because it gets him what he wants, and doesn't feel guilt: neutral evil. Why not chaotic? Because he probably follows social norms to fit in when he's not murdering, and probably has a detailed system to follow for getting away with murder.

The weirdo down the block who kills (among other things) three people a month because it amuses him? Chaotic neutral, and perhaps certifiable. Not evil though - he's not trying to harm anyone, he just doesn't care one way or the other.

Chaotic evil: seems pretty rare to me. If you're undead or an outsider, you can afford to do this. But living creatures must follow some rules, and they have to act good now and then (if only for the children!). So besides the Balrog, someone's gonna have to help me picture this.

im ganna have to dissagree here some.
they guy that kills three people a month because it amuses him is CE, he's getting pleasure from the act; murder is inherintly evil, doing it besause it makes u get your rocks off.... thats really evil.

Now someone who kills in desperation, say he stole somthing and to keep from going to jail he kills someone who's going to dime him out, and this is like in the moment thing, would fall under CN. now if he took the time to think it through and desides to murder some one to cover his butt, that would fall under NE, or at least push their alignment in that direction.

to go back to my previous post, the vampire and the assassian i kind of thought fell into the LE side of things, because they follow a moral code of law, but their still inherantly evil in nature, but that one little thing they wont ever break; that just seems like a lawful thing to me, but maybe i missunder stand the alignment a little.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
08-07-2008, 02:44 AM
"Evil" is about perspective from the players character. Obviously, this allows alot of leeway.

Thoth-Amon

fmitchell
08-07-2008, 12:03 PM
Still, I have to disagree that a serial killer can avoid being chaotic or evil.

Cold-blooded murder of somebody who just happened to be nearby, and is no threat to the murderer, is the epitome of an evil act. You could argue that they are "insane", but that defense seldom holds up in a court of law; you'd have to argue that all forms of evil are psychological disorders.

I'm less certain of the definition of "chaotic", but to me it seems wider than "axe-crazy" and "barbarian at the gate". I think a chaotic character can follow the law when he fears retribution from those with the curious delusion that laws matter. They swing to "chaotic" when they defy social norms regularly, with no apparent purpose, and simply because they can get away with it. (Acts of violence when one is sure to suffer for them is technically Chaotic Stupid.)

Real-life serial killers follow the law to stay "under the radar", but not as an end in itself; some will even test the boundaries of the law (e.g. when Ted Bundy washed his car in full sight of the cops ordered to stake him out, because they had no warrant to search it for evidence at that point). They also prey on victims who are no threat to them, often women and children. (Eileen Wuornos is a borderline case; she said she killed men because they threatened her, but sometimes indicated she set out to murder men simply because she hated them.)

praksis
08-07-2008, 02:01 PM
Well if you go by the actions mean the most, then even the insane who doesn't know what they're doing would still be evil. Regardless of intent, they're still performing the act, and still branded as evil. That being said though, I think CN still suits them more, mainly for what I think of as CE.

I agree CE is really quite rare. Complete disregard for societal norms acting to their own twisted little tune, most would be exiled/killed long before they made it too far. Best example I can think of from recent characters would be the new joker, completely aware and thoughtful about exactly what he was doing with the only goal to cause chaos & to bring the rest of the world to his level of thinking.

Anaesthesia
08-09-2008, 03:46 PM
Still, I have to disagree that a serial killer can avoid being chaotic or evil.

Ditto. Does anyone watch the TV show "Most Evil"? They did something about a serial killer (can't recall his name) who killed prostitutes. He was a devot Christian (or Catholic..possibly) and he genunely thought he was doing a great service to the Christian church.

It did give me an idea for a Paladin who really thought he was LG, but was really some sort of evil alignment..

(Sorry for diverging, but wanted to get a 2cp in)

DMMike
08-09-2008, 11:07 PM
Ditto. Does anyone watch the TV show "Most Evil"? They did something about a serial killer (can't recall his name) who killed prostitutes. He was a devot Christian (or Catholic..possibly) and he genunely thought he was doing a great service to the Christian church.

A - aren't you undermining your own argument a bit, here? There were a few Lawful Neutral serial killers in human history. They were called Crusaders. They killed because their order told them to, and god would never condone an evil act, right? So they weren't being evil or chaotic.

Anyway, the guy you mentioned wasn't chaotic, since he was doing the will of the church, and he wasn't necessarily evil, because he thought he was doing good deeds for other people.

tesral
08-10-2008, 01:39 AM
Evil, or evil? Big E or little e?

For my game, Evil is destruction. I'm not even starting on real world evil. Game time. It is an Axiom of the Game World, Destruction is Evil. Creation is Good. That is the standard.

What is evil exactly? It's not a thing. You cannot go to the metaphysical store and buy a cup of evil. It's not a place, you cannot travel to evil. Evil I suppose is a state, an action, an adjective.

Now you have mortals. Mortals for the most part do evil, or do good. They are seldom if ever in a state of being evil or being good. Forry would call it unaligned. (Why did they keep LG and CE? different discussion) So most mortal creatures are not evil. This reflects the fact they have choices and could if they so wish, turn to the good. Do evil, not are Evil.

Evil creatures, those that ARE Evil, don't have choices. Devils are made i nthe image of what they are, Evil by their very design. Built to do and relish destructive acts. Result, they don't have remorse. They no more regret torturing souls that you regret breathing.

AISI the more intelligent devils envy mortals their regret and their guilt. Those thing are the property of greater souls than their own, and they long to feel such things to be more than they are, limited creatures born to evil. (On the other side of the coin Angels regard mortals as the greater souls because they do good by choice, not nature) Devils don't hate mortals for being alive or being good, they hate them for having choices.

I don't see undead as "evil" it is unnatural. It is held up by the negative energy which isn't evil, it is simply there.

upidstay
08-10-2008, 07:17 AM
I tend to take evil alignments very seriously. My evil guys are EVIL, with a big, honkin' capitol E. My evil priests prefer to drink their virgin's blood from the hollowed skulls of infants. My evil wizards never hesitate before fireballing their own party, if it means toasting some enemies too. They should have gotten out of the way. I mostly DM, and when I do get to play, I tend to play good guys.

DMMike
08-10-2008, 12:13 PM
tesral - I'd say you can buy a cup of evil at the 66611. To me, there's a VERY close relationship between the Negative Energy Plane and the lower planes. Further, I see the difference between planes as a lot more than, "gravity pulls upward and creatures drink fire. Otherwise it's the Prime plane." So even though you'd be unlikely to find a cup of evil in my campaign, it's quite possible that the state or opinion of Evil takes on a more tangible form in another plane.

In fact, it's the coagulation of evil that allows fiends to take a somewhat material form. Since evil is their essence, you'd think their material being is tied pretty closely to that. Where it gets interesting is that good and evil are not typically material on the Prime plane, so to continue being evil, fiends must use evil behavior to continue their existence. Whoa...metaphysical.

upidstay - your badguys sound pretty hardcore. But in case your players ask themselves this, you should too: why does a guy who willingly hurts or kills his followers have followers in the first place? Did he snap without the followers knowing it, or do they have masochistic tendencies?

ignimbrite
08-10-2008, 12:39 PM
Evil, or evil? Big E or little e?

For my game, Evil is destruction. I'm not even starting on real world evil. Game time. It is an Axiom of the Game World, Destruction is Evil. Creation is Good. That is the standard.



So a plane that constantly generates life is Good then, or at least not really evil? So the abyss, which is constantly making and producing demons isn't *really* that evil, right?
Perhaps you need a weeny caveat somewhere there - as long as it is not creating things that promote destruction ...?

Otherwise I do tend to agree that evil usually is surrounded by destruction and good promotes positive creation.

tesral
08-10-2008, 03:50 PM
So a plane that constantly generates life is Good then, or at least not really evil? So the abyss, which is constantly making and producing demons isn't *really* that evil, right?
Perhaps you need a weeny caveat somewhere there - as long as it is not creating things that promote destruction ...?

Otherwise I do tend to agree that evil usually is surrounded by destruction and good promotes positive creation.

Well the plane isn't, the contents of the plane are. I would need a lot more words to explain my full cosmology.

There are no alignment planes.

Elemental Planes, Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Positive, Negative. the infusion of all makes the Prime.

Afterlife planes, three such. Heaven for the creative. Coventry, for the didn't do anything really. Hell, for the destructive. Preceded by the Ethereal or the Plane of Shadows. The realm of the past and the road to the afterlife.

Astral Plane

Outer planes are where the various gods dwell, the nature of those that inhabit it will affect the environment. An empty outer plane is pure potential. Anything can be done there.

Evil is never a thing. Good is not a thing either. Evil is something done. It has to be alive to do or to be Evil. A Skeleton itself is not evil. It has no mind and no will. Making a Skeleton, that is evil and why protection from evil works. It sounds like a quibble point but it matters when constructing things. The bones are not evil. The bones are just bones. However the energy moving them is directed by an evil act. A Ghoul's body is not evil, but the spirit within it is. Destroy the spirit and the flesh is just flesh.

Things with a Will are never by nature evil Vampires in my world do not detect as evil, they are free willed beings. It is easy for them to do evil, they are prone to it, but not destined to it. Vampires are not Negative energy beings in my world. They are something else.

I don't have the hierarchy of undead. I never did like it. Each instance of undeath is itself. It is possible to have a good undead. A protector spirit that has defied dead to continue to protect. It will not be a negative energy being.

Webhead
08-10-2008, 10:02 PM
At the risk of a little crudeness (forgive me if I offend), to quote Eddie Murphy:

"Evil is good, and a$$ is good! You get yourself a piece of evil a$$...wooo!" :D

ignimbrite
08-11-2008, 02:08 PM
Well the plane isn't, the contents of the plane are. I would need a lot more words to explain my full cosmology.

There are no alignment planes.

But the abyss and hell have the evil planar traits don't they? Well I suppose that presupposes you are playing 3.5 D&D ;)

Webhead
08-11-2008, 03:26 PM
Well the plane isn't, the contents of the plane are. I would need a lot more words to explain my full cosmology.

There are no alignment planes.

Much like how I chose to ignore "Alignment Languages".

"All Chaotic characters can speak the "Chaotic" language."...Huh? :confused:

No...just...no... :tsk:

tesral
08-11-2008, 03:46 PM
But the abyss and hell have the evil planar traits don't they? Well I suppose that presupposes you are playing 3.5 D&D ;)


It does and I'm not, even if I was I had built the cosmology before 2x came out. I wouldn't change it. There is no "Abyss" Hell has it's own traits built more to deal with why it is there. Very Danteisque.

My world is not and never has bee nthe d&D standard. One should not assume.



Much like how I chose to ignore "Alignment Languages".

"All Chaotic characters can speak the "Chaotic" language."...Huh? :confused:

No...just...no... :tsk:

Agreed, alignment languages had to be one of the most brain dead ideas to come out of T$R.