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Thread: So what half of alignment is more important?

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    So what half of alignment is more important?

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    I was going to put this in the lawful and then in the good but decided that the question didn't fit either. When faced which a situation that causes each half of your alignment to conflict with the other what side should win. If a lawful good character goes into a land with legalized slavery does the person free the slaves and break the law or sit back and enjoy the reduced cost of goods at the risk of his goodliness?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearfoot_Adam View Post
    I was going to put this in the lawful and then in the good but decided that the question didn't fit either. When faced which a situation that causes each half of your alignment to conflict with the other what side should win. If a lawful good character goes into a land with legalized slavery does the person free the slaves and break the law or sit back and enjoy the reduced cost of goods at the risk of his goodliness?
    I think that is part of what makes interesting moments in playing alignments. Esentially, your character has to choose which as more value to him. There's no one side that is inherently more influential than the other, that's a judgement that you make about your character's frame of mind and helps you decide how your character reacts.

    In the above case, with my understanding of alignment, a Lawful Good character in a land with legalized slavery would at very least not agree with the situation and refuse to participate in it, and at most would seek to try to show the society the error of their ways. Here's why: a Lawful Good person believes that law is important to promote "good" things (life, liberty, happiness, opportunity). If the law is not operating in the service of good (aka if it is allowing slavery), the law is being abused and must be denounced. Now, a Lawful Neutral character will probably go along with and participate in the slavery as long as it does not blatantly encourage "evil" things like severe physical abuse, rape, etc. To that character, the law is most important and must be respected, but they will remove themselves from the situation if the laws seem unsettling to them. A Lawful Evil character believes that the law exists to be manipulated for the greatest personal benefit regardless of how it affects others. Such a character will freely and openly participate in a society that allows slavery if that serves his purposes.

    Just some thoughts...
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    I see your point, but the answer to your question probably involves freeing slaves, since a Lawful alignment doesn't necessarily mean being Legal.

    In a more dichotomous situation, the ultimate judge on that issue would be the patron god/DM. If His attitude is, "well, that gold dragon decided to buy a few slaves of his own, and I understand it," then that's all that matters.

    So I'd say neither is more important.
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    When it comes to slavery i think a lawful good person would feel uneasy about the situation, would try to enlighten people about the error of their ways(as stated above), but would generally leave it at that. because there good they feel at odds with it but since their also lawful they have to respect the law of the land.
    now a chaotic good person, is a whole different story, think Zoro or Robin Hood; and let the fun begin
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    *tangent* Shouldn't this question be in the D&D section not the Fantasy section?
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    Have to agree with Webhead, that's what I would think the lawful good character would do. This would be the best reason I can think of for having alignment, how to resolve a conflict when the most direct method is counter to your characters core beliefs...no one said being right was easy. Encourages creative thinking and delving into what motivates the character you've created.

    ...but to be nitpicky about the slavery bit Now slavery is viewed as definitely evil, but there are definitely historical examples where it was significantly better to be a slave than an unlanded freeman. Lodging, meals & employment guaranteed...dependent on working conditions that could be a big step up to living meal to meal. Actually that would make for an interesting situation...good character free's slaves, only to find they're quite happy where they are and turn in the 'savior' to the authorities to stay out of trouble.
    Last edited by praksis; 08-07-2008 at 02:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MortonStromgal View Post
    *tangent* Shouldn't this question be in the D&D section not the Fantasy section?
    Meh... It probobly should but all the alignment talks got started here so I figured it fit in with them.

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    LG and Slavery

    Lawful Good, and Slavery… Those are two volatile subjects. I completely disagree with people assuming that the “Lawful Good” player would try and make any changes to a society in which people embraced slavery. People are making some assumptions here; for one they are assuming that slavery in this world is “evil” when in fact it might be considered the normal way of life. Also I think from the reading of the posts people are connecting slavery with the style of slavery from the 1800’s in the modern world.

    Alignments are tricky which side of the coin do you go by or do you mix the two; or are they separate? In the alignment of Lawful Good we have the Lawful side which to me means that the player goes out of their way to conform to all laws and traditions of a given land, even if he or she is not from that particular land. The “Good” side we are assuming is good as in the traditional sense, like an Angel would be good and a devil would be evil. I look at the two sides of an Alignment as Law/Order Vs. Chaos and the other side as morals, good vs. evil.

    If a Lawful Good character of any class were in a society that allowed slavery as a lawful form of ownership then doing anything against that would be considered “Unlawful” and would go directly against their alignment. There are no shades of legal. You are either following the law or you are not. The good and evil part of the alignment is harder to figure out in this context. In my eyes a Lawful Good person would not associate with a person that owns slaves not because it’s evil, but be because it goes against their morals.

    Would the Lawful Good character “spring” the slave; help him or her to escape? I would say no. Again this would be against the law. The Lawful Good character would do everything they can to make changes but would be required to follow the laws. (If they wanted to stay Lawful Good) Lawful Good is one of the harder alignments to play correctly.

    Again all of this is based on the theory that slavery is legal where the Lawful Good character interacts with the slaves and slavers. If they are breaking the law by owning slaves then this changes everything. There are many worlds, and countries in fantasy where slavery is very acceptable and actually a status symbol.

    LG, LN and LE are all three alignments based in Law, but different on the morals in which you apply the law. Lawful Good is more willing to sacrifice its own views to apply the law and see that everyone is protected. Good, will be more likely to want to apply the spirit of the law. Neutral will apply the letter of the law, no matter what the out come is. Lawful Neutral only cares about the application of the law in the strictest form. Lawful Evil on the other hand still will adhere to the letter of the law, but will twist it for its own uses. Evil unlike Good will not care about the spirit of the law. A Lawful Evil character would use any and all means no matter how “grey” to use the law to its advantage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jcosby View Post
    Lawful Good, and Slavery… Those are two volatile subjects. I completely disagree with people assuming that the “Lawful Good” player would try and make any changes to a society in which people embraced slavery. People are making some assumptions here; for one they are assuming that slavery in this world is “evil” when in fact it might be considered the normal way of life.
    The "social acceptance" of the act is largely irrelevant in the existential "Good/Evil" duality. A society may consider murder a "normal way of life" or "just part of the natural order", but that doesn't change the act. Murder is murder no matter how emotionally detached you are from it or how your philosophies allow you to justify it. You are still taking the life of another. How you are conditioned to react to it may change whether you acknowledge the act as "good" or "evil" or simply "neutral", but you've changed nothing except your own perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jcosby View Post
    Also I think from the reading of the posts people are connecting slavery with the style of slavery from the 1800’s in the modern world.


    Possibly so. When I see the word "slavery", I think: Any situation in which one being is made inferior and subservient to another either against their will or by coercion or subterfuge, in which all personal rights are removed and placed solely in the hands of the caretaker. Basically, any time one being's rights are held and controlled by another without the right of the enslaved to break that bond.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jcosby View Post
    If a Lawful Good character of any class were in a society that allowed slavery as a lawful form of ownership then doing anything against that would be considered “Unlawful” and would go directly against their alignment. There are no shades of legal. You are either following the law or you are not. The good and evil part of the alignment is harder to figure out in this context. In my eyes a Lawful Good person would not associate with a person that owns slaves not because it’s evil, but be because it goes against their morals.


    True, the "Lawful" part of the person values and respects the law and the "Good" part of him recognizes that the law is supposed to serve to promote "goodness" (life, liberty, happiness).

    Quote Originally Posted by Jcosby View Post
    Would the Lawful Good character “spring” the slave; help him or her to escape? I would say no. Again this would be against the law. The Lawful Good character would do everything they can to make changes but would be required to follow the laws. (If they wanted to stay Lawful Good) Lawful Good is one of the harder alignments to play correctly.


    True, in two respects. First, the Lawful Good character values and respects the need for law and would thus seek the appropriate, lawful means to resolve the problem. Slavery is not a "good" state of being, and laws encouraging that (to the mind of the character) are thus flawed and should be repealed in the proper manner. Second, by simply "liberating" the slaves illegally, the character is not addressing the real problem, which are the laws themselves. Those slaves might be free, but there will more and problem will persist. The Lawful Good character would recognize that to really change things for the "good" in the long term, he must seek reformation of the laws. He must work within legal means to bring about a change in the laws to promote the "goodness" that he feels the law is supposed to represent.

    My 2 cents...
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    This is the precise reason I always have neutral somewhere in my alignment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearfoot_Adam View Post
    Meh... It probobly should but all the alignment talks got started here so I figured it fit in with them.
    A reasonable answer
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    oddly enough, i have yet to find in real life or in game a situation that put me between law and good. i'm not convinced that it can exist, short of self-delusion. in the first given example... a lawful character would follow the law, and a good character would try to change the law through legal means. a simplistic answer, true. one which obviously reflects my personal belief that slavery is wrong.
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    Tail wags the dog

    Quote Originally Posted by Bearfoot_Adam View Post
    I was going to put this in the lawful and then in the good but decided that the question didn't fit either. When faced which a situation that causes each half of your alignment to conflict with the other what side should win. If a lawful good character goes into a land with legalized slavery does the person free the slaves and break the law or sit back and enjoy the reduced cost of goods at the risk of his goodliness?
    Tail wagging the dog. And the problem of that "law" thing. Is it "law" or is it "order"? If law whose law?

    Your actions determine your alignment. Your ethos and morals should determine your actions. You shouldn't be worrying if your alignment conflicts with anything. It comes after everything else. Determined by not the determinator.

    Better to ditch the whole alignment mess.

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    In GURPS, I believe the "Honesty" disad (meaning "don't break laws") only applies to your home laws- if you're in a country that has different laws, you only respect the ones from where you're from.

    What if a Paladin, while in Evilonia, is told that the dictator has conscripted every able-bodied soldier within his borders? I think obeying the local law would get chucked out a very high window at that point.

    Having said that, I as a DM don't tell players how to interpret their alignments. Anything that robs the player of agency in the game is railroading, and needs to go. When my Paladin saw legal slavery, it was sword time. If a player in my game let the slavery go, that would be a legitimate response as well.

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