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Thread: Alignment Discussion

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    Alignment Discussion

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    Hey guys, I just got through an interresting alignment discussion in the chat, and I felt it might be interesting to get you guys oppinions on it, get some discussion going.

    (Note: I know several of you don't really like alignment at all, feel free to mention that if you like, but lets try not to make that into a big debate in this thread, this is more about comparing different styles of interpretting alignment.)

    So, without further ado......


    [Lucian-Sunaka] 1:59 pm: (party consists of three evil pc's one of which is my alternate PC, 1 neutral, which is my malconvoker, and 3 goods)
    [] 1:59 pm: clerics can be a nice tank
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 1:59 pm: though the rogue is constantly teetering on the edge.
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 1:59 pm: she's got ALOT of murder desires
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:00 pm: she's gonna snap some time and start killing babies or something lol
    [] 2:00 pm: what good is sneak attack w/ out using it
    [General Chatter]: Mr. Lenox has left at 2:00 pm+
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:00 pm: Using it is great
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:00 pm: its the target choice that defines alignment
    [General Chatter]: has left at 2:01 pm+
    [] 2:01 pm: what's the rog alignment now?
    [General Chatter]: Iroquois Pliskin has left at 2:01 pm+
    [] 2:02 pm: starts rolling some dice: (1d20)
    [] 2:02 pm:
    -> 1d20 (4)
    [] 2:02 pm: starts rolling some dice: (1d20)
    [] 2:02 pm:
    -> 1d20 (20)
    [] 2:02 pm: ah that's better
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:05 pm: chaotic good
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:05 pm: once she goes though she will go STRAIGHT down
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:06 pm: there isn't room in her personality for neutral lol
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:06 pm: either she forces herself to maintain goodness
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:06 pm: or she turns into a murderous monster
    [] 2:06 pm: rogues with good alignments *face palm
    [] 2:07 pm: robin hood
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:07 pm: It's very doable
    [] 2:07 pm: steal from the evil give to the poor
    [] 2:07 pm: lol
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:07 pm: I've played good rogues before.
    [] 2:07 pm: but why? when steal from every one give to self is so rewarding
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:08 pm: So is stealing from the evil
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:08 pm: so I can get paid by the good
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:08 pm:
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:08 pm: "Yes your honorable magistrate, I've eliminated the red dragon that was trying to dominate your city, that comes out to... *pulls out a slide rule* only about 600,000 gold."
    [] 2:09 pm: but you could steal from evil get payed by good, betray good to evil take whats left
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:09 pm: meh, its good being liked
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:10 pm: I'm not saying I haven't played the quintessential neutral money is everything at any cost rogue role before
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:10 pm: it's fun
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:10 pm: but so is playing the good rogue
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:10 pm: infact, there's a reason their called rogues and not thieves
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:10 pm: you don't have to build a rogue with money in mind at all.
    [] 2:11 pm: actualy I've seen LG Rog too
    [] 2:11 pm: sherlock holms for example
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:11 pm: They could do what they do for the challenge and thrill, or do it fbecause they believe it's right
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:11 pm: yeah
    [] 2:11 pm: (though that opium thing . . .)
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:12 pm: I'm usually not a big fan of the Lawful alignment
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:12 pm: I mean I pull it off from time to time
    [] 2:12 pm: lol
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:12 pm: mostly monks and Pali's where it's required for the class (in the case of DM's that won't allow the variant paladins) but it's not my favorite
    [] 2:13 pm: I don't agrea with the paladin LG requirement
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:13 pm: neither do I
    [] 2:13 pm: I think they should match their deities alignment
    [] 2:14 pm: and how many ppl play paladins because they want to smite, but act CE?
    [] 2:14 pm: I've never seen a player play a paladin LG
    [General Chatter]: Siridar has entered at 2:14 pm+
    [] 2:15 pm: hey siri
    [Siridar] 2:15 pm: hi
    [] 2:16 pm: Hey Siridar...
    [Siridar] 2:16 pm: whats up
    [] 2:16 pm: CN for me, or straight N
    [] 2:17 pm: ever the practical
    [] 2:17 pm: CG
    [] 2:17 pm: don't lett silly things like honor or right and wrong get in the way of what needs to be done
    [Siridar] 2:17 pm: bored here :[ woke up and just waiting an hour before i crash for work again
    [Siridar] 2:19 pm: dont' feel bad i prefer CG
    [Siridar] 2:19 pm: unless its palladium
    [Siridar] 2:19 pm: then i'm more scrupulous or unprincipled
    [] 2:19 pm: plus CN can help ppl or leave them to die whatever is best for me
    [] 2:20 pm: stay alive the rest of the world be damned
    [] 2:20 pm: oh well
    [] 2:22 pm: CN I guess it the most selfish alignment
    [] 2:24 pm: I just don't believe in G, I mean why would any one do the stuff adventurers do if there's nothing in it for them?
    [] 2:27 pm: starts rolling some dice: (1d20)
    [] 2:27 pm:
    -> 1d20 (2)
    [] 2:27 pm: *sigh*
    [] 2:27 pm: starts rolling some dice: (1d20)
    [] 2:27 pm:
    -> 1d20 (12)
    [] 2:27 pm: starts rolling some dice: (1d20)
    [] 2:27 pm:
    -> 1d20 (14)
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:29 pm: Just because a character is good
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:29 pm: doesn't mean the character does that stuff for nothing
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:29 pm: I have played a couple characters who were looking to be 'heroes'
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:30 pm: but the vast majority of them were doing it for themselves
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:30 pm: for the riches, for the glory, to get away from old debts and pursuers
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:30 pm: to escape their family, to get strong enough to get revenge
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:30 pm: the list goes on and on and on
    [] 2:31 pm: then it's N, he's not in it because it's right he's in it for himself
    [] 2:31 pm: and revenge is hardly a G act
    [] 2:31 pm: it's matter of how you interpret goo I guess
    [Siridar] 2:31 pm: questing for a holy relic is one
    [] 2:32 pm: mmm
    [Siridar] 2:32 pm: and some do it to find a better life for themselves or others
    [Siridar] 2:33 pm: so lots of reasons why a good character would adventurer
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:33 pm: Well, here's a question
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:33 pm: what would you do
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:34 pm: if your father was slaughterred by a demon.
    Your a good and pure at heart person, but you loved him dearly, and he was a good man and deserved better than that
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:34 pm: do you forgive said demon? Or do you hunt it down and tear its mother****ing throat out
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:35 pm: At least to me it's all perspective, there are very few things that are truly evil or truly good
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:35 pm: 90% of life is based on the motivation behind it
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:36 pm: hell I could picture a Solar slaughtering a pregnant woman, a good, innocent pregnant woman, if she were carrying the child who would become invincible once born and eventually enlave the multi-verse
    [] 2:38 pm: basicly you're saying that evil acts are justified if the end is good, but can a good person commit evil acts?
    [] 2:39 pm: an evil character doesn't believe he's evil after all.
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:39 pm: Some do
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:39 pm: some don't
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:39 pm: But in my mind
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:39 pm: it's not the act that's evil
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:39 pm: (in most cases)
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:40 pm: more often than not it's what's behind said action.
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:40 pm: Killing for pleasure, or for money? Evil.
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:40 pm: except
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:40 pm: when it's not greed, but legitimate need or buisness
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:40 pm: then that money killing is neutral
    [Siridar] 2:41 pm: you can always try and redeem someone
    [] 2:42 pm: *stabs luc*
    [] 2:42 pm: ouch
    [] 2:44 pm: *stabs back
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:45 pm: lol
    [] 2:46 pm: I don't know I don't see it that way, using your example of murder, ppl have always seen certain acts as evil, like murder or rape, sometimes these acts may be necessary but that doesn't make them good,
    [Siridar] 2:47 pm: never heard rape as a necessaty
    [Siridar] 2:47 pm: cant spell today tired
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:47 pm: Yeah, I'd classify Rape as one of those exceptions
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:47 pm: well...
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:48 pm: it has WAYYYYY rarer times when it would be important
    [] 2:48 pm: LG good to me always seemed self righteous and arogant, while CG flaunting the rules accepted as good in a society seems hypocritical
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:48 pm: if it were the only effective form of torture for extracting information required to save the lives of thousands
    [Siridar] 2:49 pm: still be a no
    [] 2:49 pm: procreation in desperate times, but I was pointing out that it's accepted to be evil more than anything else
    [Siridar] 2:49 pm: have you not read the book of exalted deeds
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:49 pm: I'd call it lawful good. Chaotic good actually won't go as far as lawful good will for the sake of the public.
    Chaotic Good = do what's right as I see it and have fun wherever possible and avoid the really ugly stuff.
    Lawful Good = willing to do whatever it takes.
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:49 pm: I actually have
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:49 pm: I dissaggree with it
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:49 pm: mostly use it as a feat/spell/monster resource
    [] 2:50 pm: but as you said it's amtter of perspective
    [Siridar] 2:50 pm: well if iwas the gm and someone pulled a stunt like that i'd strip them of alignment
    [] 2:50 pm: main reason I dont agree with the alignment based spells
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:51 pm: and if I were in your game and you did that when it was the only way to save all those innocent people, and I was playing a good character who would feel devastated over failing them, I'd leave your campaign, even if I weren't the one stripped of said alignment.
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:51 pm: To me, allignment is an explanation of where your heart is
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:51 pm: of what kind of person you
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:51 pm: are
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:51 pm: how you act reflects that. If your actions are gradually changing into darker stuff, then you'll take on a darker alignment
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:52 pm: however if you occasionally do acts of 'evil' for the cause of good
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:52 pm: then your still a good person
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:52 pm: your just doing what is necessary for the greater good
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:53 pm: In the Solar murder example, if he hadn't done what he did, billions of beings would be destroyed, ravaged, and enslaved to an evil outsider mortal hyrbrid.
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:53 pm: Infact I would drop his alignment from lawful good to Neutral good (or possibly chaotic good, not sure) on the basis of refusing to do what was needed for the sake of all those good beings out there depending on him.
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:54 pm: he didn't have the balls to be lawful good, to put it bluntly
    [] 2:54 pm: choatic evil druid/blighter
    [] 2:55 pm: perhaps, but why not kill the outsider? leave the mother out of it
    [] 2:55 pm: *stabs Aff again
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:55 pm: in this particular situation
    [] 2:55 pm: *sniffs* no one loves me
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:55 pm: the only way to kill the child
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:55 pm: was through the death of the mother
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:55 pm: it could not be killed in any other way
    [Siridar] 2:55 pm: see theirs way around that
    [Siridar] 2:56 pm: there's
    [] 2:56 pm: imprisonment?
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:56 pm: and that's what the neutral good or chaotic good character would do.
    [Siridar] 2:56 pm: Wish, Miracle
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:56 pm: he'd try to find a way around what needed to be done.
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:56 pm: he might succeed, he might fail.
    [Siridar] 2:56 pm: your making lawful good out to be abberant or lawful evil
    [Siridar] 2:56 pm: he can justify it as long as it serves the "greater good"
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:57 pm: (yeah, those spells aren't get out of jail free cards in my campaigns, the big stuff typically isn't effected by it.)
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:57 pm: Like I said
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:57 pm: in my campign
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:57 pm: Alignment is about the state of your heart
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:57 pm: how you view things, what your intentions are
    [Siridar] 2:57 pm: glad i'm not there
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:58 pm: if he's trying to do things for selfish or dark reasons in the name of the greater good
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:58 pm: then his alignment will change, because his heart isn't in said 'good' actions
    [] 2:58 pm: sorry I don't believe that evil for the greater good makes the evil act good, it might be what's needed but it doesn't make it good
    [Siridar] 2:59 pm: i'm with you nocturne
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:59 pm: and I don't believe it's an evil act to start with.
    [Siridar] 2:59 pm: BoED stats that
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 2:59 pm: it's primarily an evil act
    [Siridar] 2:59 pm: your giving up your ideals and belief's which makes you that much worse
    [Siridar] 2:59 pm: raping somoene for whatever reason is still rape etc
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 3:00 pm: we're all entitled to our own oppinions
    [] 3:00 pm: rape wasn't the best example
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 3:00 pm: (I know it wasn't, I was stretching with that one. The way I view alignment is so deep it's hard to discuss the tough calls without actually rping through the situation)
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 3:01 pm: but my players all love the way I run alignment, they say it feels more real, more down to earth, and that it's such a welcome change of pace from how most DM's run it.
    [] 3:02 pm: but I will say as long as your alignment views stay the same throughout your games it doesn't matter because people will all be working from the same book
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 3:02 pm: On another note, I'm a huge fan of 'refluffing' characters.
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 3:03 pm: scrapping the fluff in the books, using the mechanics, and coming up with my own character concept to explain said abilities.
    [] 3:04 pm: and realy probly half my CN PC's would be CG or NG by you, alignment isn't too important in the whole sceme of things, being true to the character is more important to me
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 3:04 pm: agreed
    [General Chatter]: arthimas has entered at 3:04 pm+
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 3:05 pm: btw, I'm sure you figured this out while looking at my play by post
    [General Chatter]: has left at 3:05 pm+
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 3:05 pm: but your welcome to be any kind of character you want, including roleplaying as a villain if you so chose.
    [] 3:05 pm: i have charater now based heavily on robinhood, but in my understanding I see CN
    [] 3:06 pm: in motivations and actions
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 3:07 pm: the robin hood archtype could go two different ways.
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 3:07 pm: well, several, but the biggest two are chaotic good and chaotic neutral
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 3:07 pm: depends on how he's played
    [] 3:07 pm: he acts similar, using wrong actions to help others and get revenge on those corrupt in power
    [Siridar] 3:07 pm: ok people i need to go to bed have work in 4 hours
    [General Chatter]: Siridar has left at 3:07 pm+
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 3:07 pm: sleep wel
    [] 3:08 pm: maybe he's just trying to escape this philosophical debate
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 3:08 pm: maybe lol
    [Lucian-Sunaka] 3:09 pm: honestly though I'm enjoying it.
    [] 3:09 pm: speaking of which I have to get something to eat so I'll see you later too
    [] 3:09 pm: lol
    [] 3:09 pm: me too
    [] 3:09 pm: and I see what you're getting at and wouldn't have issues playing in you're system
    [General Chatter]: froglegg has entered at 3:10 pm+
    [] 3:10 pm: I particularly like the way I interpret alignment because many ppl (playing alignment based classes) don't take alignment seriously when they're expected to
    [] 3:12 pm: so I would have to make a paladin (LG one) who tortures some one to save many lives atone for said actions because even though the consequenses are good the method is evil
    [] 3:12 pm: but any way I gotta go too so talk to you later



    please forgive the long, sprawling post, I'm sure I could have cut bits and pieces out and preserved the conversation, but I figured it wouldn't make a big enough difference to be worth the effort. Enjoy guys, I'm looking forward to the discussion. (Yes, I know I'm weird with alignment lol)
    Masaru Academy, a roleplaying experience you'll never forget.

  2. #2
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    You should paraphrase this a bit.

    I kind of stopped halfway, but we always perceived thievery as a swing between lawful and chaotic, not good and evil. The things that separated good and evil (for us) was death/torture/rape etc... Theft, etc.. may not be moral, but they were never evil, just chaotic. Our DM never allowed any non-good alignments (except true neutral for druids), so to be a thief (1e mind you), you basically chose CG. We stole when we needed it.

    In short, the tipping point between good/evil is morals. The tipping point between law/chaos is social order/laws.

    In our games anyways. I think (i say think because it was LOOOONG) I saw sneak atk, and I see this more as a strategic blow. Sneak atk gives some misconceptions as to intention, but I always saw it as you are able to land a deadly blow (achilles heel, jugular, etc...) because you catch the target off guard.

    Is it honorable? of course not, but I don't think honor plays into alignment, unless you are in a regulated combat (gladiator match or prescheduled dual) where rules are established prior to beginning. In that case, there are laws (rules) that you would be breaking, and that falls into the category of law/chaos.

    My thoughts. I may have missesd the point of the conversation, but again, that is too much for me to read.
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    Sorry about that, but yeah, that was part of it.

    Another big part (the biggest), was how alot of people gage alignment based on the actions themselves, how one person mentioned that in his game he would drop someone's alignment for murdering an innocent person (In the example, she was carrying an unborn child who would be born immortal and devastate the entire multi-verse in his power struggle for control and would tear the worlds apart in his reign) from lawful good to evil something.

    For myself, I feel that the issue is about the heart of the character. Are they a good person, are they trying to do what's right? How they go about that defines law or chaos. In the example above, I would change said character from lawful good to either neutral good or chaotic good (not certain which at this point) because they refused to make the hard decision to do what needed doing for the greater good. They knew they needed to do it, knew it was what was right, and in the end they refused.

    In my mind, they didn't have the courage to be lawful good.
    Masaru Academy, a roleplaying experience you'll never forget.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucian-Sunaka View Post
    because they refused to make the hard decision to do what needed doing for the greater good. They knew they needed to do it, knew it was what was right, and in the end they refused.

    In my mind, they didn't have the courage to be lawful good.
    Problem that I see with the above statement is perception, just because it was the right thing to do in your eyes was it the right thing to do in the eyes of the diety of the character. Alignments in MHO are directly linked to the diety, I know I saw that somewhere in the opening thread, but was is right to Kelemvors followers will not be the same "right" for Torms or Lolths. Perehaps I am off a little. But I played with a Paladin and he did a very good job, but then our DM did cause him to do pitance several times when he failed to stop the rogue from doing a semi-dark deed. We always had to find ways to have his attention pointed in the wrong direction whenever nessecary. And I have palyed with Paladins of other alignments than LG.
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    Except that alignments in DnD are, well, *not* specifically linked to diety. Okay, in 4E, as I understand it, they are; in 3.x, the alignments are spelled out as largely independant of any one specific entity. Of course, 3.x alignments are much more entwined into the system than in 4E (again, as I understand it). Home-brew worlds may take liberties with this, but the core books - and thier readers - have no way of tracking such changes.

    The base question is the source of moral authority. Who or what dictates ethical behavior? Is a given act Good because the Gods declare it so, or do they declare it Good because it is so?

    If morality stems from the specific diety a character worships, then we have Subjective morality. What is Good is at the whim of your god and might change tomorrow or in the next heartbeat.

    If morality is from a source higher than the gods themselves, then you have Objective morality. Even the gods themselves can be judged based on moral criteria; harming others for one's own gain, Evil ... stopping one from harming others, Good.

    The Paladin, as the ur-example of alignment studies, runs on Objective morality. They just don't quite work if moral authority is at the diety level; a dedicated follower of, say, Heironeous wouldn't be able to Detect a dedicated follower of Hextor, if both followers are considered Good for acting in accordance to their respective deity's wishes.

    The flip side, of course, is that Heironeous's follower would be able to Detect Hextor's follower, 'cause Hextor himself is Evil and, as such, so must his commands be. This thought leads us to the notion that morality, in this case, is decidedly *not* subjective.

    Sorry if it's a babbling essay; ethics debates are a pastime of mine. Rather interesting, really

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    I ran a Discussion panel recently at the local convention on Morals and ethics in gaming.
    As we talked it seemed that many people ended up talking about Alignments even though most alignments do not take into consideration Morals or ethics.
    Personally, i have always felt that the Alignment system in Palladium Fantasy was the best out there. Very much to the point. the only flew i saw was that they should of had at least one more Good and one more selfish alignment listed.
    However, when it all comes down to it Alignments do not do anything and do not have any penalties for not following them except that you could end up with a different one. Which brings me back to the lack of ethics.
    I do not play them here or there, I do not play them anywhere, I do not play them with a fox. I do not mash that button box. I do not like MMO games. In the end ther're all the same.
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    I'm not sure the lack of mechanical impact of an ethics system necessarily equates to no ethics whatsoever; all it says is that being moral or immoral is of no consequence to the rules of the game, like a character's hair or eye color. It's something the system says doesn't *need* to be monitored, unlike hit points or prepared spell slots; one value is as good as another, if it's all just fluff.

    ... Except where the author writes it into the system that every character must have an alignment and suggests it's just as important as anything else, as it is with Palladium. I don't think the description of the GM's role in monitoring alignment is really necessary, but Palladium's books have a bit of the soap-box speech to certain elements and alignment is one where the author has strong opinions. The source of the Megaverse's moral authority is never actually described, but from the text, it's easy to assume it's objective, and likely on a level higher than deities' authority.

    3.x DnD, on the other hand, flat-out states that Good and Evil, Law and Chaos aren't just ideological concepts, they're "the forces that define the cosmos" (Player's Handbook v3.5; pp. 103). Its moral authority is objective and definitely higher than the deities' authority. The problem with this version of alignment is that its mechanical effects aren't tied to every character like they are to the divine spellcasters.

    Again Paladins are the best example, because even non-religious Paladins are bound by the same ethos that religious ones are. Monks and bards come closest of the non-divine classes; they are prohibited from taking further class levels upon switching to a prohibited alignment (any Lawful for bards; any non-Lawful for monks), but they do not lose abilities like the divine classes do.

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    Mechanically, Alignments are hollow no matter what system it is. The best that any system comes to mechanically governing Alignments is when they have special affects that only affect people of certain alignments. Like a Sword that does double damage to those of a Chaotic evil alignment, but in turn does no damage to a lawful good character.
    The most i would want to see change in any game that uses alignments is for them to create some kind of affect to take place when a character does something that is against their alignment, because every GM should not be expected to handle this with out any guide or know how. Some kind of mechanic that states that because of the emotional or subconscious conflict of breaking your alignment caused the character has this type of penalty which can only be removed by a priest, psychologist, through a redeeming task or quest, etc. And then at that point the character would either fix their current alignment or get a different one. I think this would cause players to act smarter as far as their character's personalities are concerned. But then again i feel that no one should play an evil character because evil characters should only be under GM control.
    I do not play them here or there, I do not play them anywhere, I do not play them with a fox. I do not mash that button box. I do not like MMO games. In the end ther're all the same.
    -Tesral

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    In my current campaign I state exactly that Alighment is a mechanic. Players are not beholded to them but it is how outsiders see them. The evil person can be a solid citizen but an good outsider see them for what they are and acts accordingly (usually in other-wordly justice). A good person could be a real jerk but still called upon by angles.

    Evil outsiders try to corrupt evil characters, good outsiders try to get good persons to perform some holy act, chaotic outsiders try to get chaotic players to commit chaotic acts and lawful try to persuade others to a more orderly matter.

    I use this for the simple purspose that it gives players more freedom to take actions in a world where they can get in trouble by both good and evil forces.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sascha View Post
    Except that alignments in DnD are, well, *not* specifically linked to diety. Okay, in 4E, as I understand it, they are; in 3.x, the alignments are spelled out as largely independant of any one specific entity. Of course, 3.x alignments are much more entwined into the system than in 4E (again, as I understand it). Home-brew worlds may take liberties with this, but the core books - and thier readers - have no way of tracking such changes.

    The base question is the source of moral authority. Who or what dictates ethical behavior? Is a given act Good because the Gods declare it so, or do they declare it Good because it is so?

    If morality stems from the specific diety a character worships, then we have Subjective morality. What is Good is at the whim of your god and might change tomorrow or in the next heartbeat.

    If morality is from a source higher than the gods themselves, then you have Objective morality. Even the gods themselves can be judged based on moral criteria; harming others for one's own gain, Evil ... stopping one from harming others, Good.

    The Paladin, as the ur-example of alignment studies, runs on Objective morality. They just don't quite work if moral authority is at the diety level; a dedicated follower of, say, Heironeous wouldn't be able to Detect a dedicated follower of Hextor, if both followers are considered Good for acting in accordance to their respective deity's wishes.

    The flip side, of course, is that Heironeous's follower would be able to Detect Hextor's follower, 'cause Hextor himself is Evil and, as such, so must his commands be. This thought leads us to the notion that morality, in this case, is decidedly *not* subjective.

    Sorry if it's a babbling essay; ethics debates are a pastime of mine. Rather interesting, really

    I think what windstar was saying is that the good deities define what "good" is. The evil deities what "evil" is. If a follower of hextor does something his god likes, it makes him evil, because hextor approved behavior is evil defined because the deity is evil. He is not good, just approved of.

    We live in a moral society, so sometimes good gets associated with approved, but that's because most major religions are good.

    So I agree with windstar. Was this a divine mandate, or was this a decision the paladin was forced into by a badguy.

    I personally wouldn't kill the mother, because taking one life for another is not right. There is no way of KNOWING the child will be evil. Even if the child is innately evil, will deal with that when it develops.
    --- Merged from Double Post ---
    as for mechanics, that threat of alignment change based off behavior was always looming in my games.

    Because all of our characters had to be good, if you did something morally questionable, it meant alignment change, and either permanent or temporary NPC situation. You might get a grace period to redeem your alignment, but alignment changes had serious consequences in our games (loss of character, loss of level (if move from LG to NG), loss of sanity,etc...).

    That's how we always played though. It never became an issue, because the threat was so scary, nobody tested. I came close, because I was wearing a demon's armor, and it was slowly turning me into NE. The game stopped before that happened though. My DM informed me, the moment that happened, I'd be rolling up a new character at 1/2 exp pts.
    Last edited by yukonhorror; 05-01-2009 at 09:07 AM. Reason: Automerged Double Post
    "I'm not going crazy. I'm going sane in a CRAZY world!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukonhorror View Post
    You should paraphrase this a bit.
    I kind of stopped halfway,
    A case study in why I don't like chat.

    Oh and should it require mentioning, I don't like alignment either.

    Quote Originally Posted by yukonhorror View Post
    In short, the tipping point between good/evil is morals. The tipping point between law/chaos is social order/laws.
    Part and parcel of my anti-alignment stance is that the next guy will swear you are wrong and alignment comes directly from what kind of dog you own. (Yes a bit over the top)

    I'm a dog wags the tail type. Alignment comes from what you do. Not what you do is determined by alignment.

    "What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?" --Mohandas Gandhi

    Where is the harm? Intentions aside where is the harm? We are told what the road to Hell is paved with. It matters less why do did they deed than what the deed does. You might intend to rid the orphans of fleas, but if you do that by burning down the orphanage and killing them all, you have failed, and done harm. I don';t see defending yourself is evil. If someone offers you harm you are justified in handing them an opened can of whup-ass. They bought it. However they bought it. Not the whole inn.

    Read the article. I'm just rambling and not totally coherent here.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    My favorite game console is a table and chairs.
    The Olde Phoenix Inn

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    Oh no. Not another dreaded Alignment discussion
    "And then you wake up."

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    We always established alignment as a parameter of sorts to how your character is defined.

    As a player, I don't care if the cash register gets stolen by the cleric in our party. However, my character (big ivan of isengaurd) would because he is lawful good. I have defined Ivan as lawful good to help me guide what actions he does and to help define Ivan's morals and motivations. It is more of a tool in character development than anything.

    I know it is kind of a gray area, but if I am not playing my character in a LG manner, the alignment should change to reflect how I am playing and I as a player should suffer the mechanical penalties (because I wasn't playing my character the way I am supposed to).

    In my games, sticking to character (good RPing) was always rewarded (and straying from character was punished). Maybe it was because we were all really into the theater, but part of the game/fun was to play your character the way you have defined him. If I define him as a hulking mass of dumb muscle, I better not be speaking super eloquently to the duke. Alignment was part of the character definition.

    I don't know if that is opposite or the same of what tesral was saying.

    As for the palladium comment, yes their alignments are very good.
    "I'm not going crazy. I'm going sane in a CRAZY world!"

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    This is why I have gotten away from using alignments on characters that are not cleric types. Clerics have a chosen diety, which follows a specific alignment, and if they do something in opposition, there are consequences. Any class that has nothing to do with cleric abilities, I just let them play their characters as they see fit at the time. Yeah, there are times that some folks would be "switching" alignments, but then that is part of the roleplaying that comes with the game. Makes things less complicated, this way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukonhorror View Post
    In my games, sticking to character (good RPing) was always rewarded (and straying from character was punished). Maybe it was because we were all really into the theater, but part of the game/fun was to play your character the way you have defined him. If I define him as a hulking mass of dumb muscle, I better not be speaking super eloquently to the duke. Alignment was part of the character definition.
    Well are players punished for developing their characters away from the stated alignment? If Ivan had a crisis of faith and decided that Lawful wasn't all that good for good and moved away from lawful, would that be rewarded or punished?

    If rewared you are saying what I am. If not, you're not.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    My favorite game console is a table and chairs.
    The Olde Phoenix Inn

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