What alignment is this?

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I was thinking about alignments and I am a little confused as to which alignment this is:

Basically, I'm writing a character who was raised from infancy to uphold all laws no matter what. And will go to any extreme to uphold the law and never personally gets involved with their work. They don't question the laws, they just follow it. And even thinking that someone might be breaking the law is worth killing and/or torturing for. Because that's what she was taught to do. The order that she serves is lawful evil.

What is that? Is that Lawful Neutral because she doesn't care, never gets personally involved and only does it because that's what she's raised to do or Lawful Evil because that's what her order is?

Well first thing first, why are you putting this character into D&D alignments? Are you writing up background and personality for a character you're going to use in such a game?

I'd be inclined to say Lawful Evil because of that killing and torturing bit. The lack of respect for the life of innocents on such flimsy grounds.

I'm just curious.

That's Lawful Neutral - following all laws regardless of moral inplications.

Allthingsspectacular:
I was thinking about alignments and I am a little confused as to which alignment this is:

Basically, I'm writing a character who was raised from infancy to uphold all laws no matter what. And will go to any extreme to uphold the law and never personally gets involved with their work. They don't question the laws, they just follow it. And even thinking that someone might be breaking the law is worth killing and/or torturing for. Because that's what she was taught to do. The order that she serves is lawful evil.

What is that? Is that Lawful Neutral because she doesn't care, never gets personally involved and only does it because that's what she's raised to do or Lawful Evil because that's what her order is?

I always say that actions speak louder than words. Anybody can 'claim' to be good, or whatever, but do their actions back it up.

I'd rule her as Lawful Evil. She's claiming to be neutral on the basis she doesn't get personally involved. Too bad. Her actions don't back that up.

I'd tell anybody rolling a class like Paladin (at least by 3.X standards of that class) too, that Law doesn't trump Good, and Law shouldn't be a ball and chain that forces you to do evil actions, in character.

Mortai Gravesend:
Well first thing first, why are you putting this character into D&D alignments? Are you writing up background and personality for a character you're going to use in such a game?

I'd be inclined to say Lawful Evil because of that killing and torturing bit. The lack of respect for the life of innocents on such flimsy grounds.

Yeah. I'm sure that's the rationalization the character gives herself to sleep through the night too.

I'm sure the blackest hearted villain has their own rationalizations and flimsy excuses. That's why I rule stronger on the average of actions, rather than intentions. Anybody can claim they're killing children to save them and claim they're 'good'.

And I don't allow 'subjective' rulings on alignments in the game (presuming a game like D&D) where Good and Evil are literal cosmic forces that can be sensed with magic and carry with them actual supernatural power.

Otherwise everybody's alignment is 'Whatever they say it is', and you really can just rationalize anything to any alignment to get the best loot.

Grouchy Imp:
That's Lawful Neutral - following all laws regardless of moral inplications.

Doing things without regard to moral implications is evil though. Presuming by moral implications you mean on the Good/Evil axis.

Lawful Neutral is neutral towards good and evil, sure, but there's a balance to be had. Wiping your butt on the Good/Evil axis still makes you evil.

Consider if the character was Chaotic, instead, and doing all these evil actions, would you rule them Chaotic Neutral?

The Law/Chaotic axis shouldn't be a safeguard into Good/Evil.

You shouldn't be able to do evil 'because' of the law and call yourself good, and you shouldn't automatically be doing evil 'because' of the lack of it.

It seems like you're coming from this from a 4E point of view where Law is tied to Good, and Chaotic is tied to Evil, where being Lawful is a free pass to evil because Lawful by itself makes up for it on that axis.

It would depend on the torturing, or rather the enjoyment got from it. If she enjoys the torturing and killing, I'd say she was lawful evil. If she does it with complete indifference and because torturing people is the lawful punishment for their crimes then she'd be lawful neutral. Though it might be more accurate to describe her as lawful, as she doesn't seem to have any moral reasoning past "Uphold the law".

If you're uncertain come up with a scenario which the law doesn't have a difinitive answer to, and then guage her alignment on whatever you feel she'd do.

Lawful neutral, no doubt about it. Lawful evil abuses laws, lawful neutral simply follows them.

I've always wondered how it was possible to have 'neutral' characters. Surely all people are either compassionate/altruistic or self-serving, or somewhere on the spectrum between them. But I suppose if someone has an ideal they care about more than people or themselves, that could be taken as being neutral. This still doesn't explain what the heck 'chaotic neutral' is.

Damien Granz:

Grouchy Imp:
That's Lawful Neutral - following all laws regardless of moral inplications.

Doing things without regard to moral implications is evil though. Presuming by moral implications you mean on the Good/Evil axis.

Lawful Neutral is neutral towards good and evil, sure, but there's a balance to be had. Wiping your butt on the Good/Evil axis still makes you evil.

Consider if the character was Chaotic, instead, and doing all these evil actions, would you rule them Chaotic Neutral?

The Law/Chaotic axis shouldn't be a safeguard into Good/Evil.

You shouldn't be able to do evil 'because' of the law and call yourself good, and you shouldn't automatically be doing evil 'because' of the lack of it.

True enough, but whilst this character is working for a LE group the OP said that this character is bound to uphold all laws no matter what. This character then does not perform evil acts for the sake of doing harm to their fellow man, they simply follow orders without question. The Law/Chaos scale governs how well a character adheres to authority, whilst the Good/Evil scale governs the intent that lies behind any actions a character commits.

I would stand by my assertion that this would lead to a LN character because the character themselves is not inherently evil, they are merely following tyrannical laws. If the character is as stated not getting emotionally involved in their orders I would claim that as being the very essence of Neutrality.

ClockworkPenguin:
I've always wondered how it was possible to have 'neutral' characters. Surely all people are either compassionate/altruistic or self-serving, or somewhere on the spectrum between them. But I suppose if someone has an ideal they care about more than people or themselves, that could be taken as being neutral. This still doesn't explain what the heck 'chaotic neutral' is.

Chaotic Neutral is the wildcard who is often either depicted as being completely bonkers or just people who just do random things.

One of the best examples of the latter form of Chaotic Neutral is the internet group LulzSec who does things for its own sake or for the "lulz." It's neither good nor particularly self serving. Just doing whatever for whatever.

It's also known for being the most flexible alignment. Since literally anything you do can fall under Chaotic Neutral.

if the extremes (killing and/or torturing on the suspicion of illegal activities) the character is willing to go to are demanded by the code she follows, lawful neutral

if not, i'd say slightly lawful-evil (although the motivation behind that alignment, as has been said, is usually to abuse the LAW!!! for personal gain, ripping someone apart because they thought of stealing some fruit to survive the day will most certainly be considered evil - just not welcome-to-the-deepest-pits-of-hell-evil)

lawful neutral is a great (read: fun) alignment, especially if the rest of the group is usually somewhere around neutral/chaotic (regarding order) and good/neutral with a tendency to good (on the good/evil scale)
aah, good times... :D

Grouchy Imp:

Damien Granz:

Grouchy Imp:
That's Lawful Neutral - following all laws regardless of moral inplications.

Doing things without regard to moral implications is evil though. Presuming by moral implications you mean on the Good/Evil axis.

Lawful Neutral is neutral towards good and evil, sure, but there's a balance to be had. Wiping your butt on the Good/Evil axis still makes you evil.

Consider if the character was Chaotic, instead, and doing all these evil actions, would you rule them Chaotic Neutral?

The Law/Chaotic axis shouldn't be a safeguard into Good/Evil.

You shouldn't be able to do evil 'because' of the law and call yourself good, and you shouldn't automatically be doing evil 'because' of the lack of it.

True enough, but whilst this character is working for a LE group the OP said that this character is bound to uphold all laws no matter what. This character then does not perform evil acts for the sake of doing harm to their fellow man, they simply follow orders without question. The Law/Chaos scale governs how well a character adheres to authority, whilst the Good/Evil scale governs the intent that lies behind any actions a character commits.

I would stand by my assertion that this would lead to a LN character because the character themselves is not inherently evil, they are merely following tyrannical laws. If the character is as stated not getting emotionally involved in their orders I would claim that as being the very essence of Neutrality.

People aren't robots though. If an animal mauls a child, it's a neutral act because (at least in D&D parlance) they're inherently incapable of knowing better. If you kill a child because somebody payed you or told you to, you're still an assassin, and still culpable for your actions.

Just because somebody chooses to give up their free will to do evil acts, seems like a bad excuse for a player to do evil acts then claim they're good.

"I murdered all these orphans for their gold, but really it tore me up inside. I really love children, I swear! It's just that my friend told me he'd cut me in on a large surplus of coin if I did it!", I guess would be a weak position for a player to hold.

Just because they've done so much harm they've eroded their conscious and their emotions, to me, doesn't make them neutral or good. Heck, that's sort of the scariest types of evil character, the sort that's so far gone they can't even feel remorse or seek redemption.

I guess I don't like the abuse or implication that one alignment gives you a blank check towards the other axis.

Being lawful and good should be a difficult set of axis to play (though not impossible), but I can't see a Paladin skinning a child alive because some Count told him to, and putting up no resistance because he 'has to follow the law'.

ClockworkPenguin:
I've always wondered how it was possible to have 'neutral' characters. Surely all people are either compassionate/altruistic or self-serving, or somewhere on the spectrum between them. But I suppose if someone has an ideal they care about more than people or themselves, that could be taken as being neutral. This still doesn't explain what the heck 'chaotic neutral' is.

It's the average of actions. You become neutral through an average. An evil character can still be a devoted father or mother to their children. It's just that after that 'protected circle' then things get a lot more nasty.

An evil monarch that murders innocent people to build a pillar of bones to make a monument to himself, because he thinks he's that cool, then is a loving father to his children, is still a pretty evil guy.

Also, neutral actions don't (for me at least) move somebody towards good or evil. Like if you're Good and do a neutral action, you don't move down towards evil. Otherwise every time you breathed or took a crap, you'd pop back to neutral, regardless of where you started. They just 'fail' to move you along the path.

A neutral person would be somebody who, if it was convenient enough, could or would do good, but if they really had to work for it.. meh, screw it. But at the same time they wouldn't go out of their way to do an evil act... unleeeess they reward was good enough.

I'd honestly rule that 90% of random people on the street are lawful neutral.

That's the sort that, if they walked RIIIGHT UP to somebody bleeding on the street might stop to help them.. but otherwise couldn't be arsed to do anything about it. But they wouldn't go out of their way to like, rob a bank either... but if the teller turned her back and there was a lot of cash.. maaaaaaybe they'd take it.

It sounds like Lawful Neutral to me.

Alignments have a tendency to differ ever so slightly in their descriptions depending on where you look them up. But as far as I understand it, the good/neutral/evil axis (axes? Is that even the right word) is to be understood in terms of the DnD world where there's no question that the concepts of good and evil exist, not just as a point of view, people who are evil are just evil, they don't need any specific reason or justification for it.

And in light of that, if your character doesn't have any malignant intent, they do not belong on the evil side. Just my guess though, I'd love to be corrected if I'm wrong. As insignificant as the whole thing is, I find the Character Alignment table to be very interesting ^^

It's Lawful Neutral. A very extreme kind of it, but still.

Surely, it depends how you play it. you could have them racked with guilt when the law demands they do evil, or have them do what all non psychopaths do to justify their own barbarity by de-humanising the victims. The whole 'they gave up any rights when they committed a crime' thing. Surely, provided that you're role-playing is consistent with the alignment you choose, you can choose any of them?

Damien Granz:

People aren't robots though. If an animal mauls a child, it's a neutral act because (at least in D&D parlance) they're inherently incapable of knowing better. If you kill a child because somebody payed you or told you to, you're still an assassin, and still culpable for your actions.

Just because somebody chooses to give up their free will to do evil acts, seems like a bad excuse for a player to do evil acts then claim they're good.

"I murdered all these orphans for their gold, but really it tore me up inside. I really love children, I swear! It's just that my friend told me he'd cut me in on a large surplus of coin if I did it!", I guess would be a weak position for a player to hold.

Just because they've done so much harm they've eroded their conscious and their emotions, to me, doesn't make them neutral or good. Heck, that's sort of the scariest types of evil character, the sort that's so far gone they can't even feel remorse or seek redemption.

The above example is a notably evil decision. Because it is causing harm for personal gain.

I could argue that they do just as much good as evil because that's what their law demands. If someone is terrorizing citizens, she is obligated to stop them for no other reason than they're breaking the law. Then she'll proceed to torture any survivors for information on their motives, if they have a nearby basecamp or if they have any info on a mission they're currently on.

""I murdered all these orphans for their gold, but really it tore me up inside. I really love children, I swear! It's just that my friend told me he'd cut me in on a large surplus of coin if I did it!", I guess would be a weak position for a player to hold."

well yes, but that's a bit of a straw man. In this situation its much more likely to be "Yes I executed that orphan, but he stole a goat, and the law is unequivocal" Sounds cold, and there is an argument for saying that they couldn't be good, and yet well known good guy King Arthur turned it into a virtue with his "the law must have no exceptions, not even for the king" and would have killed his best friend, lancelot, because of it.

Allthingsspectacular:

Damien Granz:

People aren't robots though. If an animal mauls a child, it's a neutral act because (at least in D&D parlance) they're inherently incapable of knowing better. If you kill a child because somebody payed you or told you to, you're still an assassin, and still culpable for your actions.

Just because somebody chooses to give up their free will to do evil acts, seems like a bad excuse for a player to do evil acts then claim they're good.

"I murdered all these orphans for their gold, but really it tore me up inside. I really love children, I swear! It's just that my friend told me he'd cut me in on a large surplus of coin if I did it!", I guess would be a weak position for a player to hold.

Just because they've done so much harm they've eroded their conscious and their emotions, to me, doesn't make them neutral or good. Heck, that's sort of the scariest types of evil character, the sort that's so far gone they can't even feel remorse or seek redemption.

The above example is a notably evil decision. Because it is causing harm for personal gain.

I could argue that they do just as much good as evil because that's what their law demands. If someone is terrorizing citizens, she is obligated to stop them for no other reason than they're breaking the law. Then she'll proceed to torture any survivors for information on their motives, if they have a nearby basecamp or if they have any info on a mission they're currently on.

Yeah, but then you get a situation where the Dark Lord of the Underworld is neutral because he upholds the law (he doesn't like his trophies of his conquests into the mortal plane stolen any more than you or I) and that occasionally happens to put actual evildoers in jail (said trophy thieves).

I'd align you with Acheron.

wikipedia:
Acheron is an eternal battlefield of endless conflict. It is a plane of law where conformity takes precedence over any thoughts of good.

Think of any popular dystopia with mind police and such, you enforce that way of life.

Damien Granz:

Yeah, but then you get a situation where the Dark Lord of the Underworld is neutral because he upholds the law (he doesn't like his trophies of his conquests into the mortal plane stolen any more than you or I) and that occasionally happens to put actual evildoers in jail (said trophy thieves).

I think evil is based more on intent than on action. Because it is so ambiguous otherwise.

Like, killing people is bad right? Well, what if it is killing someone who, if you don't kill him, he'll just kill more people? Or he'll rob more people?

I think it's called 'Lawful Stupid'. Look it up on TVTropes. (I might remember incorrectly)

Is this a D&D world we're talkin' aboot here?

Because morality is D&D is strange thing, and doesn't really match up with reality...at all.

In D&D worlds you can quantify and measure good and evil, which are both totally objective, rather then subjective tangential things which is probably the case in reality (unless some guessed right in the religious lottery).

Eitherway, I'd still go for Lawful Evil. Her actions are both Lawful and Evil at the same time.

There is nothing neutral or good about them, even if the person in question was following it for the sake of law.

Allthingsspectacular:

Damien Granz:

Yeah, but then you get a situation where the Dark Lord of the Underworld is neutral because he upholds the law (he doesn't like his trophies of his conquests into the mortal plane stolen any more than you or I) and that occasionally happens to put actual evildoers in jail (said trophy thieves).

I think evil is based more on intent than on action. Because it is so ambiguous otherwise.

Like, killing people is bad right? Well, what if it is killing someone who, if you don't kill him, he'll just kill more people? Or he'll rob more people?

It can't be entirely one or the other, but I always prefer that actions speak louder than words. It's easy as heck to talk up a good game of how awesome and good (or awesome and evil) you are, but are you really? Etc.

Like yeah, intentions do have to matter, as do the ends. It can't be 'ends justify all means' or 'means justify all ends' sort of thing. There needs to be some intelligence in the discourse.

Obviously absolute pacifism isn't the be-all end-all to Good in D&D (or else no good character class works, period). But also not all deaths are created equally too.

But if you act as a torture machine and give up your free will, then honestly do your intentions even matter?

She doesn't have 'Good' intentions to kick up her evil actions, she has 'no' intentions. But she's not a robot, so she doesn't get the luxury of being bereft of guilt due to being unintelligent.

For me, again, neutral actions are like taking a completely transparent paint over a painting. If the painting was evil to begin with, wiping neutral over it (no intentions) keeps it evil. Wiping good intentions over it might make it neutral by painting it more grey, sure... but I don't consider 'following orders no matter how evil like a mindless drone' to be that 'good paint'.

Maybe a strong enough good coat over an evil act can redeem it, but no amount of machine like actions is going to do that. -7+0+0+0+0 is still -7. And what not.

That's my take on it at least.

Damien Granz:

It can't be entirely one or the other, but I always prefer that actions speak louder than words. It's easy as heck to talk up a good game of how awesome and good (or awesome and evil) you are, but are you really? Etc.

Like yeah, intentions do have to matter, as do the ends. It can't be 'ends justify all means' or 'means justify all ends' sort of thing. There needs to be some intelligence in the discourse.

Obviously absolute pacifism isn't the be-all end-all to Good in D&D (or else no good character class works, period). But also not all deaths are created equally too.

But if you act as a torture machine and give up your free will, then honestly do your intentions even matter?

She doesn't have 'Good' intentions to kick up her evil actions, she has 'no' intentions. But she's not a robot, so she doesn't get the luxury of being bereft of guilt due to being unintelligent.

For me, again, neutral actions are like taking a completely transparent paint over a painting. If the painting was evil to begin with, wiping neutral over it (no intentions) keeps it evil. Wiping good intentions over it might make it neutral by painting it more grey, sure... but I don't consider 'following orders no matter how evil like a mindless drone' to be that 'good paint'.

Maybe a strong enough good coat over an evil act can redeem it, but no amount of machine like actions is going to do that. -7+0+0+0+0 is still -7. And what not.

That's my take on it at least.

Wait, are you saying there's no such thing as neutral?

Allthingsspectacular:

Wait, are you saying there's no such thing as neutral?

Nope, I'm saying that neutral actions don't move you around on the axis.

Take for instance, breathing. It's an action you do all the time, but isn't really particularly lawful or chaotic, good or evil.

Could you breathe your way out of a child murder? I would posit that, no. You can not.

I don't hold that a neutral action moves you towards neutrality; it just fails to move you.

If you're evil, but 'happen' to do a lot of neutral actions (considering that 99% of things are, like 'have moving molecules'), then I don't think that they should just clear you up out of guilt.

Same on reverse. If you give a bum a dollar and it helps him go on to eat and live another day (let's pretend he needed the dollar, none of this 'he'll buy liquor with it' or what not), then you go home and take a crap.. I don't think the neutral action of taking a crap 'reverses' the dollar given.

See where I'm going with this? It's entirely possible be born neutral (like everybody is), then do nothing good or evil and stay that way. It's entirely possible to be neutral because of a strict adherence of balancing good and evil actions. It's entirely possible to be neutral because you're too lazy to do anything really good, but also too lazy to do anything really evil too, like a stump.

Neutral exists (and I'd posit that most random citizens would be lawful neutral, most likely).

But if Good is +1 and Evil is -2, and Neutral is +0, then no amount of Neutral moves you towards Neutral.

Again, that's my take on it. I'm certain you could run a game where Evil or Good deeds wash away with a timer of your character making conscious decisions to do absolutely nothing but neutrally respire.

Canadish:
Is this a D&D world we're talkin' aboot here?

Because morality is D&D is strange thing, and doesn't really match up with reality...at all.

In D&D worlds you can quantify and measure good and evil, which are both totally objective, rather then subjective tangential things which is probably the case in reality (unless some guessed right in the religious lottery).

Yeah, the D&D morality has always boggled my mind a little, especially with stuff like Detect/Smite Evil and the like, as if being 'good' or 'evil'(which in itself is a rather unrealistic concept) is some kind of generally measurable unit.

Smertnik:

Canadish:
Is this a D&D world we're talkin' aboot here?

Because morality is D&D is strange thing, and doesn't really match up with reality...at all.

In D&D worlds you can quantify and measure good and evil, which are both totally objective, rather then subjective tangential things which is probably the case in reality (unless some guessed right in the religious lottery).

Yeah, the D&D morality has always boggled my mind a little, especially with stuff like Detect/Smite Evil and the like, as if being 'good' or 'evil'(which in itself is a rather unrealistic concept) is some kind of generally measurable unit.

Yes, in D&D it is a measurable unit. In D&D Evil and Good are actual forces in the world, hence the morality in D&D is objective, not subjective as people often claim it to be (and are wrong).

So, the question stands - is this D&D or not?

If it is, then

Allthingsspectacular:
I think evil is based more on intent than on action. Because it is so ambiguous otherwise.

Like, killing people is bad right? Well, what if it is killing someone who, if you don't kill him, he'll just kill more people? Or he'll rob more people?

No, it's not ambiguous at all. You torture and kill Good/Neutral people - you're Evil. If you kill Evil beings, you might not be Evil. it's simple. The whole alignment system was created to be simple to distinguish who's the bad guy. You know he's the bad guy because he's Evil and he's Evil because he goes around doing Evil stuff, not because he considers his actions wrong or anything like that.

Also, if we are talking D&D, then that character actually falls under Lawful Stupid as Combine Rustler said.

If we are not talking D&D, then the entire question makes no sense. I'd be like asking "What is the flavour of the sandwich I made" without specifying any of the ingredients.

She is lawful neutral.

Even if the laws are concocted by a chaotic evil, moustache twirling government, she could only be lawful evil aligned if she used the system in a vicious, evil manner for personal benefit or the joy of crushing others with it. That and anything along those lines is lawful evil.

She's just obedient without question or ambition, and may lack perspective regarding the nature of the law- as those who are brainwashed do. She's lawful neutral (no matter who she ends up harming or antagonising, she remains lawful neutral).

Damien Granz:

Grouchy Imp:

Damien Granz:

Doing things without regard to moral implications is evil though. Presuming by moral implications you mean on the Good/Evil axis.

Lawful Neutral is neutral towards good and evil, sure, but there's a balance to be had. Wiping your butt on the Good/Evil axis still makes you evil.

Consider if the character was Chaotic, instead, and doing all these evil actions, would you rule them Chaotic Neutral?

The Law/Chaotic axis shouldn't be a safeguard into Good/Evil.

You shouldn't be able to do evil 'because' of the law and call yourself good, and you shouldn't automatically be doing evil 'because' of the lack of it.

True enough, but whilst this character is working for a LE group the OP said that this character is bound to uphold all laws no matter what. This character then does not perform evil acts for the sake of doing harm to their fellow man, they simply follow orders without question. The Law/Chaos scale governs how well a character adheres to authority, whilst the Good/Evil scale governs the intent that lies behind any actions a character commits.

I would stand by my assertion that this would lead to a LN character because the character themselves is not inherently evil, they are merely following tyrannical laws. If the character is as stated not getting emotionally involved in their orders I would claim that as being the very essence of Neutrality.

People aren't robots though. If an animal mauls a child, it's a neutral act because (at least in D&D parlance) they're inherently incapable of knowing better. If you kill a child because somebody payed you or told you to, you're still an assassin, and still culpable for your actions.

Just because somebody chooses to give up their free will to do evil acts, seems like a bad excuse for a player to do evil acts then claim they're good.

"I murdered all these orphans for their gold, but really it tore me up inside. I really love children, I swear! It's just that my friend told me he'd cut me in on a large surplus of coin if I did it!", I guess would be a weak position for a player to hold.

Just because they've done so much harm they've eroded their conscious and their emotions, to me, doesn't make them neutral or good. Heck, that's sort of the scariest types of evil character, the sort that's so far gone they can't even feel remorse or seek redemption.

I guess I don't like the abuse or implication that one alignment gives you a blank check towards the other axis.

Being lawful and good should be a difficult set of axis to play (though not impossible), but I can't see a Paladin skinning a child alive because some Count told him to, and putting up no resistance because he 'has to follow the law'.

True, murder for no reason is an evil act. But you can take life within the confines of the law - would you say for example, that the doctors who administer lethal injections to prisoners on death row are all evil people? Of course not. They are normal people doing a job that is within the confines of the law that just happens to involve killing people. Are the soldiers in a military firing squad all evil? No, they're just following orders. It is possible to be an evil person who does these jobs, but doing these jobs does not make you evil.

To give a D&D example, look at the Shadowbane Inquisitors (Complete Adventurer pg68) who hold that it is better to put an entire village of innocents to the sword to be sure you definitely eliminate the demon that has possessed one of it's inhabitants than it is to spare the village and so let the demon run free. And Inquisitors are LG, nevermind LN.

Allthingsspectacular:
I was thinking about alignments and I am a little confused as to which alignment this is:

Basically, I'm writing a character who was raised from infancy to uphold all laws no matter what. And will go to any extreme to uphold the law and never personally gets involved with their work. They don't question the laws, they just follow it. And even thinking that someone might be breaking the law is worth killing and/or torturing for. Because that's what she was taught to do. The order that she serves is lawful evil.

What is that? Is that Lawful Neutral because she doesn't care, never gets personally involved and only does it because that's what she's raised to do or Lawful Evil because that's what her order is?

The alignment that best describes that character is Lawful Stupid.

Grouchy Imp:

True, murder for no reason is an evil act. But you can take life within the confines of the law - would you say for example, that the doctors who administer lethal injections to prisoners on death row are all evil people? Of course not. They are normal people doing a job that is within the confines of the law that just happens to involve killing people. Are the soldiers in a military firing squad all evil? No, they're just following orders. It is possible to be an evil person who does these jobs, but doing these jobs does not make you evil.

I'm not looking for an absolute here either. I just feel that in the example as given, the person has no intentions, so they're at BEST passively an instrument of evil. You could make the argument that said person has no choice because not following the law means they'll be on the block next. I'd actually agree, that'd be a tragedy, but more on the heads of her superiors, not her head. She wouldn't be culpable for that evil because her free will was taken away from her.

But that's not what's being asked. We're being told a story about a person who willingly does evil acts on the basis of "I don't give a crap, somebody told me to" and, I think that's a poor excuse. I think that's an extremely poor excuse. I think if you willingly join some evil organization to do some good old fashioned evil, then try to rationalize it based on "I was following orders and it wasn't my decision", I think that's a case of too bad you're evil.

If a good character does a tragic act like killing somebody to protect the innocent, then that's an entirely different situation, I think, than somebody surrendering their free will to an authority figure, willingly, to try to get a free pass at some murderin', rapin' and pillagin'.

If you have to lethally inject the Joker because he's going to escape the crappily designed prison/asylum in a month and kill another 40 people, that's tragic, but ultimately doing what has to be done (though hey, maybe a BETTER thing to do would be to build an asylum that doesn't have a rotating door and frequent escapee miles rewards card, but what do I know?)

If you join the Lone Star and get a Ares brand Certified Dissident Beating Nightstick (with free Mace spray canister, limited two per customer!) from a shady Corporate Master for the sole purpose of having a legal excuse to work out your aggressions on some people (some of which may or may not had 'deserved' it), I can hardly claim those two the same.

Even if the end result is 'some folks die' in both scenarios.

Again, I don't like the idea that neutral actions can clear up evil actions, like as if some sort of Evil Tyrant the Scourge of a Thousand Suns can retire on Xenon 12 and watch Spongebob in his underwear for the next 12 thousand years on his retirement pension until all his guilt just washes away.

Grouchy Imp:
To give a D&D example, look at the Shadowbane Inquisitors (Complete Adventurer pg68) who hold that it is better to put an entire village of innocents to the sword to be sure you definitely eliminate the demon that has possessed one of it's inhabitants than it is to spare the village and so let the demon run free. And Inquisitors are LG, nevermind LN.

Honestly I'd disagree with that ruling of LG anyways. That seems like a lazy way out. The idea that you can just run amok and hope that somebody somewhere deserved it, that just seems terrible.

I'm sure if I dropped some sort of anti-life bomb in a city, I'd kill a child molester SOMEWHERE. To say that's a 'good' act though, is pretty terrible. I'd wholeheartedly disagree with that assessment in that book.

Again, at BEST, that's lazy as hell.

And yeah, I'm aware that makes being Good actively more difficult than being Evil or Neutral. But, that's sort of how it is and should be, isn't it?

Damien Granz:
But that's not what's being asked. We're being told a story about a person who willingly does evil acts on the basis of "I don't give a crap, somebody told me to" and, I think that's a poor excuse. I think that's an extremely poor excuse. I think if you willingly join some evil organization to do some good old fashioned evil, then try to rationalize it based on "I was following orders and it wasn't my decision", I think that's a case of too bad you're evil.

Ah, hang on a minute:

Basically, I'm writing a character who was raised from infancy to uphold all laws no matter what. And will go to any extreme to uphold the law and never personally gets involved with their work. They don't question the laws, they just follow it. And even thinking that someone might be breaking the law is worth killing and/or torturing for. Because that's what she was taught to do.

What is being asked is a character brought up from birth to uphold and defend the laws of the land. That is not an evil mentality. Now it just so happens that those laws are corrupt, but that doesn't necessarily mean that those that uphold them are.

This is not the uncaring evil of a character that follows the orders of a villainous mafia boss, these are the actions of a law-abiding citizen. In a system of law where the punishment for treason is death, killing a traitor is not an evil act. Well, it can be - it depends how much evidence there was against them, but you know what I'm driving at.

Damien Granz:

Grouchy Imp:
To give a D&D example, look at the Shadowbane Inquisitors (Complete Adventurer pg68) who hold that it is better to put an entire village of innocents to the sword to be sure you definitely eliminate the demon that has possessed one of it's inhabitants than it is to spare the village and so let the demon run free. And Inquisitors are LG, nevermind LN.

Honestly I'd disagree with that ruling of LG anyways. That seems like a lazy way out. The idea that you can just run amok and hope that somebody somewhere deserved it, that just seems terrible.

I'm sure if I dropped some sort of anti-life bomb in a city, I'd kill a child molester SOMEWHERE. To say that's a 'good' act though, is pretty terrible. I'd wholeheartedly disagree with that assessment in that book.

Again, at BEST, that's lazy as hell.

And yeah, I'm aware that makes being Good actively more difficult than being Evil or Neutral. But, that's sort of how it is and should be, isn't it?

Lazy is a bit of a harsh way of putting it. I left a lot of the flavour text out of my description of Inquisitors, the whole angle of them is that they skirt dangerously close to evil at all times that they are in constant danger of falling (and they do fall as per the Paladin rules) into evil and that the two orders (Inquisitor and Stalkers) constantly watch each other for signs that the other Order might be slipping into evil. Quite an interesting concept actually, if played well with a DM who tempts the Inquisitors like a Sith would tempt a Jedi to the Dark Side.

Grouchy Imp:
Ah, hang on a minute:

Basically, I'm writing a character who was raised from infancy to uphold all laws no matter what. And will go to any extreme to uphold the law and never personally gets involved with their work. They don't question the laws, they just follow it. And even thinking that someone might be breaking the law is worth killing and/or torturing for. Because that's what she was taught to do.

What is being asked is a character brought up from birth to uphold and defend the laws of the land. That is not an evil mentality. Now it just so happens that those laws are corrupt, but that doesn't necessarily mean that those that uphold them are.

This is not the uncaring evil of a character that follows the orders of a villainous mafia boss, these are the actions of a law-abiding citizen. In a system of law where the punishment for treason is death, killing a traitor is not an evil act. Well, it can be - it depends how much evidence there was against them, but you know what I'm driving at.

As has been mentioned several times already - it's Lawful Stupid. Following the law with fanatical zeal to the exclusion of everything else, would be just that. Assuming it's set in D&D of course. If it's not, then the whole alignment debate does not matter.

Grouchy Imp:

This is not the uncaring evil of a character that follows the orders of a villainous mafia boss, these are the actions of a law-abiding citizen. In a system of law where the punishment for treason is death, killing a traitor is not an evil act. Well, it can be - it depends how much evidence there was against them, but you know what I'm driving at.

If that Mafia Boss became the Governor, does it suddenly become good to break people's knees for protection money?

I don't think that it matters that the person is a 'law-abiding citizen' or not. I don't think the age of the authority gives it more 'legitimacy' to do bad things.

Again, if he said, this is a person who has no choice in the matter because not doing this means her death, I guess I'd be more sympathetic.

But we've been over this enough, I think, so much that the original poster probably has their answer and doesn't care anymore.

I think that we're fundamentally agreeing on what could or could not in theory make one evil, and just interpreting this specific character's actions (which are vague) differently now.

I'd also see it from a GM point of view. Would I allow a character to get away with murder because the Count said murder is legal. And honestly.. no. His player should be aware of consequences to willingly giving up his or her free will to an evil authority.

Again, if I was to presume said character died and went up to whatever passes in that game world for a Pearly Gate, and Peter or an Archon or whatever is there and then the big book's opened and it's like "It says here that you spent 13 years taking pay from a governor to torture children for him, based soley that his word was law in the land. What was up with that?"

That this character would realistically have very little to say in their defense. Again, presuming this isn't a situation where they're forced to do this on pain of death themselves, or through iron bonds or something.

This is a case of somebody being like "The law is good, even if it's not, and that's all I care about".

Heck I can't imagine being in that situation and being asked "What was up with all that" and my only real response being like "Well, I didn't really pay a lot of attention to what I did or care too hard about it. I just kind of did things as I was instructed".

I mean, and not expect to pack a lot of sunscreen and shit for my trip to Baator or whatever.

I mean, yeah, I'm presuming somebody 'told' them to do a lot of evil things. And they did. Otherwise, yeah, they'd be neutral.

But it seems like both in and out of character it'd be a horrible abuse of the alignment system to allow somebody to willingly take Skeletor as their mentor then decide that absolves them of all guilt forever and ever.

Or it'd be like "Why is the Paladin boiling all the pixies to death?" "Because I wrote my liege down as Gargamel. And I have to do what he says because Lawful."

But like I said, I think we're going in circles here, so I'm not sure I have anything more to say on the matter.

Damien Granz:

Grouchy Imp:

This is not the uncaring evil of a character that follows the orders of a villainous mafia boss, these are the actions of a law-abiding citizen. In a system of law where the punishment for treason is death, killing a traitor is not an evil act. Well, it can be - it depends how much evidence there was against them, but you know what I'm driving at.

If that Mafia Boss became the Governor, does it suddenly become good to break people's knees for protection money?

I don't think that it matters that the person is a 'law-abiding citizen' or not. I don't think the age of the authority gives it more 'legitimacy' to do bad things.

Again, if he said, this is a person who has no choice in the matter because not doing this means her death, I guess I'd be more sympathetic.

But we've been over this enough, I think, so much that the original poster probably has their answer and doesn't care anymore.

I think that we're fundamentally agreeing on what could or could not in theory make one evil, and just interpreting this specific character's actions (which are vague) differently now.

I'd also see it from a GM point of view. Would I allow a character to get away with murder because the Count said murder is legal. And honestly.. no. His player should be aware of consequences to willingly giving up his or her free will to an evil authority.

Again, if I was to presume said character died and went up to whatever passes in that game world for a Pearly Gate, and Peter or an Archon or whatever is there and then the big book's opened and it's like "It says here that you spent 13 years taking pay from a governor to torture children for him, based soley that his word was law in the land. What was up with that?"

That this character would realistically have very little to say in their defense. Again, presuming this isn't a situation where they're forced to do this on pain of death themselves, or through iron bonds or something.

This is a case of somebody being like "The law is good, even if it's not, and that's all I care about".

Heck I can't imagine being in that situation and being asked "What was up with all that" and my only real response being like "Well, I didn't really pay a lot of attention to what I did or care too hard about it. I just kind of did things as I was instructed".

I mean, and not expect to pack a lot of sunscreen and shit for my trip to Baator or whatever.

I mean, yeah, I'm presuming somebody 'told' them to do a lot of evil things. And they did. Otherwise, yeah, they'd be neutral.

But it seems like both in and out of character it'd be a horrible abuse of the alignment system to allow somebody to willingly take Skeletor as their mentor then decide that absolves them of all guilt forever and ever.

But like I said, I think we're going in circles here, so I'm not sure I have anything more to say on the matter.

Fair point, we probably have done this to death. And you are right, we do seem to agree on the main points. I guess it all boils down to whether or not the character knows their bosses are evil or has been blinded by propaganda or whatnot.

Anyhow as you say fella, we've been over this ground time and again. Has been an interesting back-and-forth.

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