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Thread: Alignment: Evil

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    Alignment: Evil

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    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?
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    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.)
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    "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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webhead View Post
    ...... 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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalenvec View Post
    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.
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    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.

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    "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.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    House solution

    Quote Originally Posted by cplmac View Post
    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMMike View Post
    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."
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMMike View Post
    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".
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    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).
    Last edited by Webhead; 08-06-2008 at 09:25 PM.
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    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dalenvec View Post
    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!
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    Grimwell

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMMike View Post
    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.
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