All About Alignment

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Ernil Menegil:
Another fact that must be pointed out; while Paladins are one of the classes that face the most dillemmas about how they should act in given situations, there is actually a very simple answer given; When in doubt, go for the Good option rather than the Lawful option.

This is a misconception I'd like to address here and now. People tend to think that a Paladin is more closely bound by Good than by Law. This is not the case. A Paladin must act in a way which is both Good and Lawful, or he/she is considered to have breached his/her moral code, losing all Paladin abilities (going off of 3.5ED here, don't know if its changed any). This means that in any situation where Good is opposed to Law, a Paladin is forced to breach his/her alignment one way or the other. It's kind of a cruel thing for a DM to do to a PC, but not impossible.

Also, to contribute to the request initially posted, here are some characters and their proposed alignments (all pulled from Batman):

The Joker: Chaotic Evil
Two-Face: Lawful Evil
Robin: Chaotic Good
Catwoman: Chaotic Neutral
Poison Ivy: Neutral Evil

Falseprophet:
On his YouTube channel, John Wick addressed this recently, and suggested a possible solution:

Interestingly enough, a lot of his "fixing your alignment" sounds like the alignment system in Exalted.

In Exalted (as I went over in my first response), you have 4 alignments: Compassion (Your character's willingness to help others), Conviction (Your character's willingness to act against hardship), Temperance (Your character's willingness to give up the things that they like), and Valor (Your character's willingness to die in a blaze of glory)

Those scores rate between 1 (weak willed) to 5 (ridiculously high willed)

If you act against any of your alignments in a meaningful way (usually in regards to your character's intimacies, or "things the character really cares about"), you roll your alignment in d10s. If you roll a success, you must either take action against whatever is causing the roll, or spend a point of Willpower and gain a point of "Limit".

If you are forced to spend enough Willpower that you accumulate 10 "Limits", you "Limit Break", and are forced to perform some egregious act that's attached to your highest alignment. If the alignment is Compassion, you'll often self-flaggelate yourself, or "take the whip" from weaker people, or brutally murder to protect the innocent (all without your player input). Valor, you'll often go into a berserker rage that can only be calmed when there is NOONE around - you'll just keep fighting everyone you see until they're either dead or everyone is gone.

ALSO, you can spend a point of Willpower when performing an action that exemplifies an alignment (such as charging headfirst into battle exemplifying Valor). If you do, you get to add your score in that alignment to your dicepool.

The only major difference (other then perhaps the "limit break" quality of Exalted's, is the fluid nature of his take on alignment. In Exalted you spend experience points to raise your alignments.

Mufujumon:
Also, to contribute to the request initially posted, here are some characters and their proposed alignments (all pulled from Batman):

The Joker: Chaotic Evil
Two-Face: Lawful Evil
Robin: Chaotic Good
Catwoman: Chaotic Neutral
Poison Ivy: Neutral Evil

Two face is a great example of Lawful Evil! He has a few important rules that he follows. Is there anything more lawful than NOT BEING ABLE TO KILL AN ENEMY just because the coin shows the good side? You might think 'but flipping a coin is chaotic!' but really, it is simply a cog in his system, nothing more.

kouriichi:
Exacty! He cares about the outcome of every situation differently! Hence, Questionably Chaotic.

And i would set him to Neutral, but it feels to much like a lable. They see good and evil, while my character doesnt care for such things. He doesnt belive in law or chaos. Hence, he really isnt even Neutral.

Hes Questionably Chaotic. He does what he does when he does it. Good, evil, law, chaos, none of those effect he judgement. He could save the city. He could doom it. He could say, "I could care less what happens to you, i just like the adventure". Ofcourse, he could drink himself deep into the bottle and hit on the nearest living thing insted, costing dozens of people theyer lives. But hes not doing it because he wants to save people, or because he cares if people die or not. But because he does what he wants.

Actually, that's still neutral (Borderline Evil). You don't need to think of alignment to emulate it. Even animals have an alignment(Neutral), though they are incapable of comprehending moral choice.

Mufujumon:

Ernil Menegil:
Another fact that must be pointed out; while Paladins are one of the classes that face the most dillemmas about how they should act in given situations, there is actually a very simple answer given; When in doubt, go for the Good option rather than the Lawful option.

This is a misconception I'd like to address here and now. People tend to think that a Paladin is more closely bound by Good than by Law. This is not the case. A Paladin must act in a way which is both Good and Lawful, or he/she is considered to have breached his/her moral code, losing all Paladin abilities (going off of 3.5ED here, don't know if its changed any). This means that in any situation where Good is opposed to Law, a Paladin is forced to breach his/her alignment one way or the other. It's kind of a cruel thing for a DM to do to a PC, but not impossible.

Actually, the Paladin is closer aligned to Good than Law. His code automatically breaks him for commiting an Evil act, but not a Chaotic one. A Lawful character can still commit Chaotic acts, but they just are predisposed toward doing so. And, as outlined in this very article, the very act of Not Commiting an Evil Act Under ANY Circumstance (Restriction On Action = Deontological) automatically fullfills the "Must Act Lawful" requirement of the code. In other words, a Paladin must hold himself to the cause of Good with the steadfastness that makes him Lawful.

The Lawful Alignment is somewhat a misnomer because it has nothing to do with obeying the Law of The Land. As outlined in the article Lawful=Deontological, not Obediant To Authority. A Paladin is under no obligation to follow an unjust Law, nor is he forbidden from breaking a law that would hinder him from doing truly greater good.

If the DM doesn't quite get the point, time to justly break out the inner Rules lawyer and remind him of this: There is no greater Lawful Act than upholding a code bestowed upon you by the Highest of Powers (Either a Greater Diety or the Cause of Good itself) with Steadfast Conviction even in the face of the transient shadows of authority occassionally acquired and bandied about by Mortals, upholding and defending a Code and Cause that has existed before Creation, and must and will hold throughout the aeons, as even the Acts and Lives of the greatest dieties rise and fall in power. So, between obeying a Law, Order, or Superior of questionable integrity(Which it is, if it conflicts with Good), and Upholding the Right, go for Option #2.

The more conviction a player tells the GM this, the more you prove yourself actually capable of playing a Paladin. And, he is being Lawful, as he is "Sticking to His Guns" in the face of the chaotic and fickle whims of the source of the world itself. The greatest battle between Law and Chaos isn't in any of the outer planes in D&D, it's at a small table, between Player's citation of Law, and the fey-like rulings of the GM.

Scow2:

kouriichi:
Exacty! He cares about the outcome of every situation differently! Hence, Questionably Chaotic.

And i would set him to Neutral, but it feels to much like a lable. They see good and evil, while my character doesnt care for such things. He doesnt belive in law or chaos. Hence, he really isnt even Neutral.

Hes Questionably Chaotic. He does what he does when he does it. Good, evil, law, chaos, none of those effect he judgement. He could save the city. He could doom it. He could say, "I could care less what happens to you, i just like the adventure". Ofcourse, he could drink himself deep into the bottle and hit on the nearest living thing insted, costing dozens of people theyer lives. But hes not doing it because he wants to save people, or because he cares if people die or not. But because he does what he wants.

Actually, that's still neutral (Borderline Evil). You don't need to think of alignment to emulate it. Even animals have an alignment(Neutral), though they are incapable of comprehending moral choice.

Mufujumon:

Ernil Menegil:
Another fact that must be pointed out; while Paladins are one of the classes that face the most dillemmas about how they should act in given situations, there is actually a very simple answer given; When in doubt, go for the Good option rather than the Lawful option.

This is a misconception I'd like to address here and now. People tend to think that a Paladin is more closely bound by Good than by Law. This is not the case. A Paladin must act in a way which is both Good and Lawful, or he/she is considered to have breached his/her moral code, losing all Paladin abilities (going off of 3.5ED here, don't know if its changed any). This means that in any situation where Good is opposed to Law, a Paladin is forced to breach his/her alignment one way or the other. It's kind of a cruel thing for a DM to do to a PC, but not impossible.

Actually, the Paladin is closer aligned to Good than Law. His code automatically breaks him for commiting an Evil act, but not a Chaotic one. A Lawful character can still commit Chaotic acts, but they just are predisposed toward doing so. And, as outlined in this very article, the very act of Not Commiting an Evil Act Under ANY Circumstance (Restriction On Action = Deontological) automatically fullfills the "Must Act Lawful" requirement of the code. In other words, a Paladin must hold himself to the cause of Good with the steadfastness that makes him Lawful.

The Lawful Alignment is somewhat a misnomer because it has nothing to do with obeying the Law of The Land. As outlined in the article Lawful=Deontological, not Obediant To Authority. A Paladin is under no obligation to follow an unjust Law, nor is he forbidden from breaking a law that would hinder him from doing truly greater good.

If the DM doesn't quite get the point, time to justly break out the inner Rules lawyer and remind him of this: There is no greater Lawful Act than upholding a code bestowed upon you by the Highest of Powers (Either a Greater Diety or the Cause of Good itself) with Steadfast Conviction even in the face of the transient shadows of authority occassionally acquired and bandied about by Mortals, upholding and defending a Code and Cause that has existed before Creation, and must and will hold throughout the aeons, as even the Acts and Lives of the greatest dieties rise and fall in power. So, between obeying a Law, Order, or Superior of questionable integrity(Which it is, if it conflicts with Good), and Upholding the Right, go for Option #2.

The more conviction a player tells the GM this, the more you prove yourself actually capable of playing a Paladin. And, he is being Lawful, as he is "Sticking to His Guns" in the face of the chaotic and fickle whims of the source of the world itself. The greatest battle between Law and Chaos isn't in any of the outer planes in D&D, it's at a small table, between Player's citation of Law, and the fey-like rulings of the GM.

Following your code doesn't give you carte blanche against all chaotic acts though. Enough chaotic acts, and your alignment risks shifting to neutral good, at which point no amount of atonement will help you until you rectify that, and that can be entirely Chaotic Good actions that cause that change.

Altorin:
Following your code doesn't give you carte blanche against all chaotic acts though. Enough chaotic acts, and your alignment risks shifting to neutral good, at which point no amount of atonement will help you until you rectify that, and that can be entirely Chaotic Good actions that cause that change.

Correct. However, the protection the code offers against itself (Committing the Chaotic act is the Most Lawful thing you can do) should be more than enough to have it get through most "To be Lawful or To Be Good" decisions through consistently going "Good".

When given the choice between having to Act against Your Alignment (Choose a Chaotic Good act) versus Acting Against your Alignment, Breaking your Code Through Commiting an Evil Act, and Acting Against your Alignment by Breaking your Code Through Commiting and Evil Act (By committing the Lawful MildlyEvil act required instead), the choice between which course of action is demanded by the code becomes VERY clear. A true Paladin can generally understand what the best course of action is.

You misquoted Galt's Oath from Atlas Shrugged, by the way. It's "I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." not "man". But you did get it correct that from the perspective of conventional morality, Objectivists are double-neutral.

A much better article than the blurb would seem to indicate.

Xzi:
image

That's pretty much me in a nutshell.

I'd rather not take the time to define the alignments of historical characters, fiction or real, sorry. But I'm sure Hitler would be an easy diagnoses for most people.

i think hitler would be closer to you than you'd think...

i am apparently somewhere between chaotic neutral and evil.

Man as much as I love the Planescape campaign setting, my opinion has always been the same - the alignment system should be dragged to the back of the shed and shot in the head. It brings almost nothing of value to a game aside from wasting hours on arguments about what's Lawful Good and what isn't.

Zechnophobe:

Mufujumon:
Also, to contribute to the request initially posted, here are some characters and their proposed alignments (all pulled from Batman):

The Joker: Chaotic Evil
Two-Face: Lawful Evil
Robin: Chaotic Good
Catwoman: Chaotic Neutral
Poison Ivy: Neutral Evil

Two face is a great example of Lawful Evil! He has a few important rules that he follows. Is there anything more lawful than NOT BEING ABLE TO KILL AN ENEMY just because the coin shows the good side? You might think 'but flipping a coin is chaotic!' but really, it is simply a cog in his system, nothing more.

That's a good distinction between "Choatic" and "Random." One could also argue that flipping a coin is Nuetral instead of Choatic because statistically "random" means equal probability of all possible results. (Statisticians generally agree that flipping a coin has Random results.) However, that's missing the point entirely: Morality describes Why, not How. I think many people confuse "Choatic" as being random/irrational/unpredictable behavior, and not reasoned "Consequentialist" behavior.

Two-Face is definately not a consequentialist, and his coin is a deontological tool.
However, I'm still not clear if he could be considered Evil or Neutral. Sure, some of his actions seem self-serving on the surface like robbing banks, but from watching The Dark Knight or the 90s Cartoons, his targets were other criminals who need to pay for their actions.

Is his revenge totally self-serving (Evil) or mutually benificial (Nuetral)?

Huh, very informative...even if I'd mostly thought about things like that myself. Still, it's kinda neat to see them in a more educated form. I'd never done the actual research for it, but a lot of my views were explained here. After all, how can one say someone is evil if his people think that he's doing something for the greater good?

In my opinion, one of the few people like that would be Napoleon. He wanted power, but he wanted it for his people, his country. He thought that France needed to grow powerful and strong, so that she could have more land. In a way, I think that he had good intentions...but only for his people. His moral circle encompassed his country and it's populace, but no one else. Some might say he was evil for being power-hungry and ruthless in battle...but I think he only did it out of necessity. Adolph Hitler is another example of that, if you exclude his mass genocide...

This interpretation of the system is workable- and thoughtful- but I find it both a bit over-complicated and both broad and narrow in some ways that I think would frustrate me.

A lawful good character isn't necessarily inclined to abide by long-standing laws that provide for the enslavement or sacrifice of sentient creatures. And I can imagine a chaotic good barbarian who, while seeming completely without respect for authority or discipline, still has a deep respect for the traditions of his native people.

More to the point, some of the most interesting character interactions come from characters who, while similarly aligned, come into conflict through their interpretations of those alignments, or those of allegedly stress-causing conflicts of alignment who find common ground.

I once envisioned a situation in which a member of a party sprains his ankle as they race along the floor of a pit towards the hanging rope from which they can make their escape. The party is pursued by a monster against whom they have less than a 1-in-2 chance of prevailing. The Neutral character yells, "Look, he's done for! We need to get out of here while he's buying us time!" The Lawful Good character concurs: "The good of the party has to come first. I'm sorry he fell, but what good will come of all of us dying?" The Chaotic Good character replies: "Screw that, we're not leaving him!"- and cuts the rope.

I tend to view the Lawful-to-Chaotic axis as more Collective vs. Individual. The Lawful character doesn't necessarily respect local laws (in many versions of AD&D, there were Lawful rogues, thieves, and assassins), but they believe there are probably good reasons that laws, rules, and traditions are in place, that the collective wisdom usually overrules that of the individual, and while they might choose, say, to put the rules of the Guild above the laws those stodgy merchants lobby for, they still might believe there were reasons those rules were put into place. It makes sense in this context for Paladins to be Lawful Good because following the ancient traditions of their order gives them a sense of peace and assurance that the rightness of their action is guided and backed up by long-held wisdom. But even where those traditions didn't provide guidance, the Lawful character would be wondering about what others would make of his actions, if others of his caste or community would do the same in his stead.

Conversely, the Chaotic character is more likely to think of collective wisdom as most likely to come to decisions that are "good enough" at best, and if he comes up with what seems like a good idea despite going against the way things have been done for years, he's probably not going to spend a lot of time wondering why once the idea has cleared his own personal standard. The chaotic is more likely to feel that individual people have worth, but crowds of people quickly become mobs. Just because it worked yesterday doesn't mean it should be done that way tomorrow; what "works" ought to be subject to constant revision.

If the characters aren't leaders, the Lawful one will crave competent leadership; the Chaotic one is going to want proof of that leader's competence every step of the way, if not outright test it.

Neutral characters in the Law-to-Chaos spectrum I largely think of as the "go-along-get-along" types. If the local community is relgious, why of course they're a member- they just never seem to show up for services. They're glad the guard is there when he's protecting their shop, but resentful when he shows up to collect overdue taxes. Yes, it's great that the neighborhood committee expects certain standards to- Oh, I see. I'll get the lawnmower out.

"Good" and "Evil" I tend to think of on a much simpler scale: for what reasons will I harm or kill?

Good: I will fight the lizardmen because their aggression threatens the innocent people of our village!

Neutral: I will fight the lizardmen because they might have good loot I can hock!

Evil: I will fight the lizardmen because I like how the little ones "pop" when you set them on fire!

Now to some extent, it has to be recognized that this also comes down to the particulars of the individual and their culture, nature, and imagination. One "good" person could be a pacifist, another a soldier. One could be a hunter providing for his people, another could be a vegan who would consider harming an animal evil. And, yes, one "good" person could find torture reasonable in an extreme situation, another believe it could never be morally justifiable, and a third deplore it because the information it might reveal is unreliable and it cuts off other options.

A lot of campaigns I've been in define good and evil largely on a personal level. A few things, like dragons or celestial/infernal creatures might be inherently good or evil. But other things could be relative- a cleric of a religion could get a positive reading when casting "detect evil" on a cleric of an opposing religion, even though both religions could be considered "good"- a god of agriculture and harvest butting up against a god of sylvan wilderness, for example.

The main thing I think people need to remember about alignment is that

1:Alignment is open to interpretation. You could be lawful in the sense that you do what is generally socially acceptable to do. Or you could be lawful in that you are devoted to an ideal, belief, code, or practice. For instance I could have a monk who drinks, constantly gets into barfights, steals, and is a general ornery douchebag. Yet he could still be lawful because of his devotion to his martial arts studies.(This is why you're unable to take levels in monk once you've leveled another class unless it says otherwise in the other classes description)

2:Alignments can change. A character can all too easily go from being lawful good to chaotic evil because of events that change around him or even the underhanded trickery of evil people.

3:There can be an actual and a perceived alignment. This refers to an evil deed for good ends, such as torture to save a town. Your character is doing something with good intent so whether it's evil or not it's still a good action, but others will perceive it as an evil action. So someone could be lawful good and because of the things they do people could consider them lawful evil.

4: Being in service to a deity can change how alignment works. Once upon a time I played a divine seeker, basically a rogue who works for a deity. My character was lawful good but a good number of people saw me as chaotic evil. I bore no symbols of my deity, went to none of his temples, and only once did my character ever pray to the deity. I lied, cheated, stole, sabotaged, tricked, and murdered in the service of my lawful good deity. I once entered a cult, and had to do all the rituals that came with it.
I sacrificed one of the fellow patrons of my deity just so I could enter the upper ranks of this cult, and then kill every last one of them from the top down. Was it evil of me to kill a fellow patron of my deity ? No, why ? Because I didn't actually murder them, they died in service to our deity. The person I killed could have wielded a sword and tried killing all of the cult members, and they would have failed. Thousands of good pious lives could have been lost to this cult, but instead only one was. In taking down that cult I performed actions to easily make me chaotic evil, but through it all I was lawful good.

5:Neutral can come in different flavors. While some people may think neutral is "meh" neutral, such as is talked about in this article. Neutral can mean much more than that. An alignment few people are familiar with is true neutral(aggressive). Wherein the character acts not for himself but for the good of everyone, and in doing so opposes both good and evil. Characters like these usually see good and evil as two sides of the same coin, and reason that all conflict is borne of these two sides being unable to coexist. The solution ? The end of both good and evil. In other words a neutral character who believes that neutral is the way to go. There can also be passive neutral characters, ones who don't recognize good or evil, such as healers who treat both sides. There can be characters who are neutral because they perform as many good deeds as they do evil, such as someone who kills people for a living but uses the money to improve the wellbeing of everyone he encounters.

Archon:

I.E.D.:
Nice article, but it oversimplifies moral philosophy and it's somewhat redundant to more deterministically inclined dungeon masters. Meaning, I as a dungeon master, decide what action is good and evil, lawful and chaotic and there will be no argument about it. By assigning and subtracting good and evil points as seen in NWN2. That is, if I even allow the alignment system to be employed. You cannot put thousands of years of moral philosophy into a system of nine categories devised for a game.

Sure you can. In fact, I just did! :)

You're doing the same, too, you're just doing it intuitively rather than explicitly.

I was about to write a lengthy response to your reply, starting a deconstructionist ordeal of the entire article, but then I realized that in doing so I would just undermine my own arguments of deterministic nature of DnD gameplay (and deterministic nature of the planes and multiverse :D) , so I'll keep this as short as possible.

By which account does the alignment system used in DnD makes the necessary agreement of experience with the player's moral concepts and other objects? The main reason behind all the alignment system arguments is the fact that there is no answer to this question. Not even Kant could answer that, should someone cast a resurrect spell on him. And when you lack an answer to a question that's because no logical system is complete.

I, as a DM, can punish a paladin player for allowing a petty, sadistic bandit to live, because the paladin knew that the same bandit murdered an entire family that provided him with a shelter for the night. I can also punish him for murdering the helpless bandit in the first place. I can even introduce a new story line involving that same bandit who escaped the hand of law, and punish the poor Lawful Retard later. That example returns us to determinism, or in the case of a DM in a bad mood it gets even worse; such actions are fatalistic, and no moral philosophy can save the poor player from the wrath of Kelemvor and eternal servitude in his gray city.

We are all products of the millions upon millions of years of evolution and the concepts of good and evil are becoming more redundant as the computational power increases.

I always tell my players my opinion of the alignment system and it's up to them to choose if the system shall be used or not. But one thing is for certain, if it's used, a lot of lulz always ensue.

Falseprophet:

On his YouTube channel, John Wick addressed this recently, and suggested a possible solution:

Hey thanks, that was a good video. I like his system, though it would probably be better in a computer game, rather than a pen and paper gaming session. For me, I'll keep using the alignment system as a yard stick where the majority of actions will follow that certain direction. It's not really hard, since you have an idea about the type of character you're playing.
Also, characters can evolve... something that Wick addressed in a way. Just because you start good doesn't mean you have to be a slave to it. Eventually your character may turn bitter and evil. Or the other way around. An evil character may, through some way or other, adopt a change of heart and embark on a more righteous path.

Some of the most memorable characters have experienced this. Darth Vader comes to mind :) He went the full way from good, to evil to good again.

As a yard stick, a rough guide, the alignment works in a gaming session. A reminder, perhaps. But not heavy weight which can never ever be changed or deviated from. I'm repeating myself now =) At least that's how it'll be if someone ever attends a gaming session where I'm DM.

In fact.. Rules in general are guides, imo. They're the scaffolding upon which you build a story, but every interesting house has little quirks or oddities that make them appealing. The same goes for a story and role playing.
People who are slaves to rules are the same who tend to be boring and uninspiring. At least in my experience :)

Nietzche was not chaotic evil, he was chaotic neutral. he argued that human beings were motivated not by an external dietys list of laws or goodness but for love.
Ann Rynd was a better example of chaotic evil. She said humans should act as they please, motivated by their greed and egos, allowing the best to reach the top and the not-so-good to sink.

You haven't ever read Nietzsche, have you... (I'm referring to the original article).

EDIT: Has anybody here read Nietzsche??

He was CRITICIZING that behaviour goddamnit!

Also, the guy absolutely *hated* anti-semites for fuck's sakes, he even broke all contact with his own family because of it. How can you call him chaotic evil?

It was a really good article otherwise, but please do some more research next time.

I.E.D.:

Archon:

I.E.D.:
Nice article, but it oversimplifies moral philosophy and it's somewhat redundant to more deterministically inclined dungeon masters. Meaning, I as a dungeon master, decide what action is good and evil, lawful and chaotic and there will be no argument about it. By assigning and subtracting good and evil points as seen in NWN2. That is, if I even allow the alignment system to be employed. You cannot put thousands of years of moral philosophy into a system of nine categories devised for a game.

Sure you can. In fact, I just did! :)

You're doing the same, too, you're just doing it intuitively rather than explicitly.

I was about to write a lengthy response to your reply, starting a deconstructionist ordeal of the entire article, but then I realized that in doing so I would just undermine my own arguments of deterministic nature of DnD gameplay (and deterministic nature of the planes and multiverse :D) , so I'll keep this as short as possible.

By which account does the alignment system used in DnD makes the necessary agreement of experience with the player's moral concepts and other objects? The main reason behind all the alignment system arguments is the fact that there is no answer to this question. Not even Kant could answer that, should someone cast a resurrect spell on him. And when you lack an answer to a question that's because no logical system is complete.

I, as a DM, can punish a paladin player for allowing a petty, sadistic bandit to live, because the paladin knew that the same bandit murdered an entire family that provided him with a shelter for the night. I can also punish him for murdering the helpless bandit in the first place. I can even introduce a new story line involving that same bandit who escaped the hand of law, and punish the poor Lawful Retard later. That example returns us to determinism, or in the case of a DM in a bad mood it gets even worse; such actions are fatalistic, and no moral philosophy can save the poor player from the wrath of Kelemvor and eternal servitude in his gray city.

We are all products of the millions upon millions of years of evolution and the concepts of good and evil are becoming more redundant as the computational power increases.

I always tell my players my opinion of the alignment system and it's up to them to choose if the system shall be used or not. But one thing is for certain, if it's used, a lot of lulz always ensue.

So, wait. Let me get this straight, you completely admit to being an alignment Troll in a game you are personally DMing? So really you're not giving them a choice, you're saying no alignment or I will make your character's lives hell. How is that at all helpful or conducive to a game that doesn't end with someone giving you a bloody nose for being the annoying DM with a God Complex?

Whelp:
You haven't ever read Nietzsche, have you... (I'm referring to the original article).

EDIT: Has anybody here read Nietzsche??

He was CRITICIZING that behaviour goddamnit!

Also, the guy absolutely *hated* anti-semites for fuck's sakes, he even broke all contact with his own family because of it. How can you call him chaotic evil?

It was a really good article otherwise, but please do some more research next time.

Well, I read Thus Spoke Zarathustra in high school, took a course in Nietzsche in undergrad, another course at the grad level, and have since read most of his works. All of which has taught me that if there's one thing everyone can agree on when it comes to Nietzsche is that no one can agree about anything.

As far as Anti-Semites and Nietzsche, what does breaking off relationships because of Anti-Semitism have to do with alignment in D&D? If an Orc breaks off relations because of Anti-Goblinism, that doesn't make him Good. All I'm saying is that Nietzsche's normative ethics are Evil *from the point of view of D&D*. That's a different thing than saying they are evil in some sense of discussion outside of D&D. Lots of things are "Good" in D&D that probably we don't think are good in real life, or "Evil" in D&D that we wouldn't call evil in real life.

irani_che, Ayn Rand said no such thing. In fact, Rand believed in what might be called duties to one's self that prohibited behavior based on a whim. Her philosophy is rather heavily based on Aristotelian virtue ethics.

Jenx:
Man as much as I love the Planescape campaign setting, my opinion has always been the same - the alignment system should be dragged to the back of the shed and shot in the head. It brings almost nothing of value to a game aside from wasting hours on arguments about what's Lawful Good and what isn't.

Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it is broken... The axis are sliding scales, but Good and Evil are often clearly defined, and no amount of justification would make Genocide against a sapiant, material-planed creature a Good act.

tetron:
The main thing I think people need to remember about alignment is that
...
3:There can be an actual and a perceived alignment. This refers to an evil deed for good ends, such as torture to save a town. Your character is doing something with good intent so whether it's evil or not it's still a good action, but others will perceive it as an evil action. So someone could be lawful good and because of the things they do people could consider them lawful evil.

Actually, torture is an Evil act, but it might be "Percieved" as good. As outlined in the Book of Exalted Deeds, to give into the temptation of commiting an "Evil" act has repercussions throughout the cosmos as the Power of Evil gains an advantage from the corruption of a Good character. (Good and Evil are discernable forces in their own right).

4: Being in service to a deity can change how alignment works. Once upon a time I played a divine seeker, basically a rogue who works for a deity. My character was lawful good but a good number of people saw me as chaotic evil. I bore no symbols of my deity, went to none of his temples, and only once did my character ever pray to the deity. I lied, cheated, stole, sabotaged, tricked, and murdered in the service of my lawful good deity. I once entered a cult, and had to do all the rituals that came with it.
I sacrificed one of the fellow patrons of my deity just so I could enter the upper ranks of this cult, and then kill every last one of them from the top down. Was it evil of me to kill a fellow patron of my deity ? No, why ? Because I didn't actually murder them, they died in service to our deity. The person I killed could have wielded a sword and tried killing all of the cult members, and they would have failed. Thousands of good pious lives could have been lost to this cult, but instead only one was. In taking down that cult I performed actions to easily make me chaotic evil, but through it all I was lawful good.

Umm... this is wrong on so many levels. Sorry, your character is straight-up Chaotic Evil (His Circle of Morality extends to his God alone and no Mortals, and he follows the chaotic creed of "The Ends Justify the Means"

"I didn't Murder him! He died in service to my diety" ... And several thousand Jews died in service to improving the Human Race. [Sorry to invoke Godwin's law, but in a debate of Good Vs. Evil, he makes a VERY effective baseline to define evil]. And a high-enough leveled character (Or competant player) could hack his way through that sort of cult and destroy it or shut it down without performing a single evil deed, unlike what your character did. Also, murder and malicious deception are evil acts no matter who you are (It says so multiple times!). It's why an Avenger in 4e is allowed to be Unaligned even if they serve an LG Diety.

5:Neutral can come in different flavors. While some people may think neutral is "meh" neutral, such as is talked about in this article. Neutral can mean much more than that. An alignment few people are familiar with is true neutral(aggressive). Wherein the character acts not for himself but for the good of everyone, and in doing so opposes both good and evil. Characters like these usually see good and evil as two sides of the same coin, and reason that all conflict is borne of these two sides being unable to coexist. The solution ? The end of both good and evil. In other words a neutral character who believes that neutral is the way to go. There can also be passive neutral characters, ones who don't recognize good or evil, such as healers who treat both sides. There can be characters who are neutral because they perform as many good deeds as they do evil, such as someone who kills people for a living but uses the money to improve the wellbeing of everyone he encounters.

Actually, someone who acts for "The Good of Everyone" is Good. What you describe is someone who doesn't understand anything... Good doesn't destroy, it protects. Note in D&D the planes where true peace and harmony exist (Hello Elysium!). By DEFINITION Nothing Good can be Evil, and Nothing Evil can be Good. The reason Good opposes Evil is because Evil seeks to spread misery and destroy life. Those who don't believe in the justice and Virtue of Good, and seek to actively oppose it (even if they nominally oppose Evil as well) are Evil themselves. It's why in Star Wars, those that use their hatred of the Dark Side and see the Light Side as weak fall to it themselves. Evil is NOT monolithic. Nor is good, though it's more united than evil.

Good is something people have to strive to become. Evil is easy to default. Fortunately for the forces of Good, Evil is also pretty much abhorrent to everyone to some degree (Even Gnolls have some standards, as Evil as they are), so most will strive for at least a modicum of good, at least in their initial area.

Anyone who puts an intangible cause above the physical, tangible lives of everyone else is Not Good. Paladins are somewhat exempt with their pursuit of Good above all else (even if some lives must suffer in the process) due to a more complex understanding of the nature of Good and how evil taints all.

I.E.D.:

I, as a DM, can punish a paladin player for allowing a petty, sadistic bandit to live, because the paladin knew that the same bandit murdered an entire family that provided him with a shelter for the night. I can also punish him for murdering the helpless bandit in the first place. I can even introduce a new story line involving that same bandit who escaped the hand of law, and punish the poor Lawful Retard later. That example returns us to determinism, or in the case of a DM in a bad mood it gets even worse; such actions are fatalistic, and no moral philosophy can save the poor player from the wrath of Kelemvor and eternal servitude in his gray city.

Actually, he can do either and still keep to his code (though his code prefers sparing the bandit). Vengeance and Punishment are Lawful acts, not Good. Mercy (Sparing the Bandit) is a Good act, and by being good, in Lawful through acting in accordance of the code. On the other hand, killing the Bandit to prevent him from harming others is also a Good act, and Lawful for execution of Justice and Vengeance. Yet, because killing a helpless person is an Evil act, he has to be careful on how to proceed, since Committing and Evil act is against his Code, and therefore Not Lawful. If the bandit requests mercy or asylum from the Paladin, he must give it.

The BEST course of action for a Paladin is to take the bandit as a prisoner and hand him over to local authorities to be tried and punished by law if the Bandit does not seek redemption. If the bandit does end up executed for his crimes, the Paladin is not at fault because he acted honorably, and the verdict and sentence were carried out through Just means, with the bandit's threat to the well-being of other people being properly assessed and handled. If the Bandit pleads for redemption, the Paladin should offer him the chance (His DETECT EVIL ability keeps the bandit from "Faking" being redeemed), and if the Bandit attempts to betray him during the period of redemption, the Paladin can lawfully and morally kill him in self-defense.

However, in most cases, time doesn't permit it, and the Paladin can safely choose either to kill him because he's a threat to society (as long as the bandit isn't already helpless or promised asylum by the Paladin) OR spare him out of mercy in accordance with his code, and give the bandit a lawful trial with his code and other party members being the Jury, himself being the Judge (The code determines his guilt, his discretion gives the sentence), and powers or other resources (party members, items) being the Executioner. It's tough work, but I find that, as a general rule, a well-played Paladin can be assumed to be wise enough that, except in extreme cases, his deliberate actions (meaning he's delibrated and considered them carefully) are justfied within the code. Generally, I treat the Paladin Code presented in the book as the tl;dr version, with the actual sworn code being much more in-depth and robust, with the circumstances, exceptions, and appropriate actions being spelled out clearly enough to be expanded to cover almost any situation. Since I find Paladins awesome, if the character takes time to delibrate on his actions and his code, I tell them if a considered course of action is in line with it or not (or if it's in line, but there is a better option).

A quote I like is from Terry Pratchett:

Terry Pratchett:

"...And that's what your holy men discuss, is it?" [asked Granny Weatherwax.]
"Not usually. There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment on the nature of sin. for example." [answered Mightily Oats.]
"And what do they think? Against it, are they?"
"It's not as simple as that. It's not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of gray."
"Nope."
"Pardon?"
"There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people like things. Including yourself. That's what sin is."
"It's a lot more complicated than that--"
"No. It ain't. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they're getting worried that they won't like the truth. People as things, that's where it starts."
"Oh, I'm sure there are worse crimes--"
"But they starts with thinking about people as things..."
--from Carpe Jugulum, by Terry Pratchett.

Hope that helps :)

There's another quote (I can't remember the source) where it explains that while there are shades of grey in Alignment issues, it doesn't really concern a Paladin-type. Their job is to hunt down and destroy those who are so dark you can't see lightness "no matter how hard you squint", which there apparently is plenty of.

Scow2:

Altorin:
Following your code doesn't give you carte blanche against all chaotic acts though. Enough chaotic acts, and your alignment risks shifting to neutral good, at which point no amount of atonement will help you until you rectify that, and that can be entirely Chaotic Good actions that cause that change.

Correct. However, the protection the code offers against itself (Committing the Chaotic act is the Most Lawful thing you can do) should be more than enough to have it get through most "To be Lawful or To Be Good" decisions through consistently going "Good".

When given the choice between having to Act against Your Alignment (Choose a Chaotic Good act) versus Acting Against your Alignment, Breaking your Code Through Commiting an Evil Act, and Acting Against your Alignment by Breaking your Code Through Commiting and Evil Act (By committing the Lawful MildlyEvil act required instead), the choice between which course of action is demanded by the code becomes VERY clear. A true Paladin can generally understand what the best course of action is.

I go to bed and people conjure reason from under their hats.

I salute you, folks. I pretty much agree with everything said in this quoting series.

i never really considered normative ethics to be evil, maybe a i have not played much DnD.
I saw the Evil-Good allignment more along the path Good would be selfless and help others while Evil are in ti for themselves. This Means a tyrant can be Lawful Good if he keeps his people interests above his personal own, while Lawful evil is a sadistics kleptocrat.

As for Nietzche, he is chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Evil being as Anarchist like heath ledgers Joker or a final fantasy omnicidal maniac like kefka

irani_che:
i never really considered normative ethics to be evil, maybe a i have not played much DnD.
I saw the Evil-Good allignment more along the path Good would be selfless and help others while Evil are in ti for themselves. This Means a tyrant can be Lawful Good if he keeps his people interests above his personal own, while Lawful evil is a sadistics kleptocrat.

As for Nietzche, he is chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Evil being as Anarchist like heath ledgers Joker or a final fantasy omnicidal maniac like kefka

A tyrant, by definition, makes his people suffer needlessly under his rule. Therefore, he's not putting the people's interest first. The best he can be is Lawful Neutral, but still pretty dark. Not all evil people put themselves first, yet still fit on the Expanding Circle of Morality under the "Evil" category, they just have a slightly displaced peak, or a Sinister-looking volcano-shaped

And Chaotic =/= Crazy. It means "Ends Justify the means".

Personally, I do find the Chaotic Alignment to be mostly incompatible with Good (As 4e discovered) in the sense of being a paragon of both, because by eliminating Evil actions from the list of acceptable means to achieve a goal decreases how Chaotic/Consequentialist a character is (he starts taking character into account, a Neutral/Aretological trait. Of course, it could be argued he can still be chaotic as well as fully Good because he considers the ramifications of an evil act as unwanted, but that's because the strengths of the forces of Good and Evil (due to having acts that are always Good or Evil associated with them) are bound by Deontological/Lawful guidelines. (Commiting one of the innumerable Evil act WILL shift the balance toward Evil, and Commiting one of the few expressely Good Acts WILL shift the balance toward Good). Evil takes better to Chaos easier than Law because most Deontologically-governed tasks require putting Society or the followed Codex above the self, while the vast number of Evil acts come easily to a Consequentialist.

Also, as a general rule, I think another Pratchett quote is in order:

Terry Pratchett - The Fifth Elephant:
Vimes had heard that good and evil were just two ways of looking at the same thing - or, at least, so said people traditionally considered under the category of "evil".

Scow2:

Jenx:
Man as much as I love the Planescape campaign setting, my opinion has always been the same - the alignment system should be dragged to the back of the shed and shot in the head. It brings almost nothing of value to a game aside from wasting hours on arguments about what's Lawful Good and what isn't.

Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it is broken... The axis are sliding scales, but Good and Evil are often clearly defined, and no amount of justification would make Genocide against a sapiant, material-planed creature a Good act.

tetron:
The main thing I think people need to remember about alignment is that
...
3:There can be an actual and a perceived alignment. This refers to an evil deed for good ends, such as torture to save a town. Your character is doing something with good intent so whether it's evil or not it's still a good action, but others will perceive it as an evil action. So someone could be lawful good and because of the things they do people could consider them lawful evil.

Actually, torture is an Evil act, but it might be "Percieved" as good. As outlined in the Book of Exalted Deeds, to give into the temptation of commiting an "Evil" act has repercussions throughout the cosmos as the Power of Evil gains an advantage from the corruption of a Good character. (Good and Evil are discernable forces in their own right).

4: Being in service to a deity can change how alignment works. Once upon a time I played a divine seeker, basically a rogue who works for a deity. My character was lawful good but a good number of people saw me as chaotic evil. I bore no symbols of my deity, went to none of his temples, and only once did my character ever pray to the deity. I lied, cheated, stole, sabotaged, tricked, and murdered in the service of my lawful good deity. I once entered a cult, and had to do all the rituals that came with it.
I sacrificed one of the fellow patrons of my deity just so I could enter the upper ranks of this cult, and then kill every last one of them from the top down. Was it evil of me to kill a fellow patron of my deity ? No, why ? Because I didn't actually murder them, they died in service to our deity. The person I killed could have wielded a sword and tried killing all of the cult members, and they would have failed. Thousands of good pious lives could have been lost to this cult, but instead only one was. In taking down that cult I performed actions to easily make me chaotic evil, but through it all I was lawful good.

Umm... this is wrong on so many levels. Sorry, your character is straight-up Chaotic Evil (His Circle of Morality extends to his God alone and no Mortals, and he follows the chaotic creed of "The Ends Justify the Means"

"I didn't Murder him! He died in service to my diety" ... And several thousand Jews died in service to improving the Human Race. [Sorry to invoke Godwin's law, but in a debate of Good Vs. Evil, he makes a VERY effective baseline to define evil]. And a high-enough leveled character (Or competant player) could hack his way through that sort of cult and destroy it or shut it down without performing a single evil deed, unlike what your character did. Also, murder and malicious deception are evil acts no matter who you are (It says so multiple times!). It's why an Avenger in 4e is allowed to be Unaligned even if they serve an LG Diety.

5:Neutral can come in different flavors. While some people may think neutral is "meh" neutral, such as is talked about in this article. Neutral can mean much more than that. An alignment few people are familiar with is true neutral(aggressive). Wherein the character acts not for himself but for the good of everyone, and in doing so opposes both good and evil. Characters like these usually see good and evil as two sides of the same coin, and reason that all conflict is borne of these two sides being unable to coexist. The solution ? The end of both good and evil. In other words a neutral character who believes that neutral is the way to go. There can also be passive neutral characters, ones who don't recognize good or evil, such as healers who treat both sides. There can be characters who are neutral because they perform as many good deeds as they do evil, such as someone who kills people for a living but uses the money to improve the wellbeing of everyone he encounters.

Actually, someone who acts for "The Good of Everyone" is Good. What you describe is someone who doesn't understand anything... Good doesn't destroy, it protects. Note in D&D the planes where true peace and harmony exist (Hello Elysium!). By DEFINITION Nothing Good can be Evil, and Nothing Evil can be Good. The reason Good opposes Evil is because Evil seeks to spread misery and destroy life. Those who don't believe in the justice and Virtue of Good, and seek to actively oppose it (even if they nominally oppose Evil as well) are Evil themselves. It's why in Star Wars, those that use their hatred of the Dark Side and see the Light Side as weak fall to it themselves. Evil is NOT monolithic. Nor is good, though it's more united than evil.

Good is something people have to strive to become. Evil is easy to default. Fortunately for the forces of Good, Evil is also pretty much abhorrent to everyone to some degree (Even Gnolls have some standards, as Evil as they are), so most will strive for at least a modicum of good, at least in their initial area.

Anyone who puts an intangible cause above the physical, tangible lives of everyone else is Not Good. Paladins are somewhat exempt with their pursuit of Good above all else (even if some lives must suffer in the process) due to a more complex understanding of the nature of Good and how evil taints all.

I.E.D.:

I, as a DM, can punish a paladin player for allowing a petty, sadistic bandit to live, because the paladin knew that the same bandit murdered an entire family that provided him with a shelter for the night. I can also punish him for murdering the helpless bandit in the first place. I can even introduce a new story line involving that same bandit who escaped the hand of law, and punish the poor Lawful Retard later. That example returns us to determinism, or in the case of a DM in a bad mood it gets even worse; such actions are fatalistic, and no moral philosophy can save the poor player from the wrath of Kelemvor and eternal servitude in his gray city.

Actually, he can do either and still keep to his code (though his code prefers sparing the bandit). Vengeance and Punishment are Lawful acts, not Good. Mercy (Sparing the Bandit) is a Good act, and by being good, in Lawful through acting in accordance of the code. On the other hand, killing the Bandit to prevent him from harming others is also a Good act, and Lawful for execution of Justice and Vengeance. Yet, because killing a helpless person is an Evil act, he has to be careful on how to proceed, since Committing and Evil act is against his Code, and therefore Not Lawful. If the bandit requests mercy or asylum from the Paladin, he must give it.

The BEST course of action for a Paladin is to take the bandit as a prisoner and hand him over to local authorities to be tried and punished by law if the Bandit does not seek redemption. If the bandit does end up executed for his crimes, the Paladin is not at fault because he acted honorably, and the verdict and sentence were carried out through Just means, with the bandit's threat to the well-being of other people being properly assessed and handled. If the Bandit pleads for redemption, the Paladin should offer him the chance (His DETECT EVIL ability keeps the bandit from "Faking" being redeemed), and if the Bandit attempts to betray him during the period of redemption, the Paladin can lawfully and morally kill him in self-defense.

However, in most cases, time doesn't permit it, and the Paladin can safely choose either to kill him because he's a threat to society (as long as the bandit isn't already helpless or promised asylum by the Paladin) OR spare him out of mercy in accordance with his code, and give the bandit a lawful trial with his code and other party members being the Jury, himself being the Judge (The code determines his guilt, his discretion gives the sentence), and powers or other resources (party members, items) being the Executioner. It's tough work, but I find that, as a general rule, a well-played Paladin can be assumed to be wise enough that, except in extreme cases, his deliberate actions (meaning he's delibrated and considered them carefully) are justfied within the code. Generally, I treat the Paladin Code presented in the book as the tl;dr version, with the actual sworn code being much more in-depth and robust, with the circumstances, exceptions, and appropriate actions being spelled out clearly enough to be expanded to cover almost any situation. Since I find Paladins awesome, if the character takes time to delibrate on his actions and his code, I tell them if a considered course of action is in line with it or not (or if it's in line, but there is a better option).

A quote I like is from Terry Pratchett:

Terry Pratchett:

"...And that's what your holy men discuss, is it?" [asked Granny Weatherwax.]
"Not usually. There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment on the nature of sin. for example." [answered Mightily Oats.]
"And what do they think? Against it, are they?"
"It's not as simple as that. It's not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of gray."
"Nope."
"Pardon?"
"There's no grays, only white that's got grubby. I'm surprised you don't know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people like things. Including yourself. That's what sin is."
"It's a lot more complicated than that--"
"No. It ain't. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they're getting worried that they won't like the truth. People as things, that's where it starts."
"Oh, I'm sure there are worse crimes--"
"But they starts with thinking about people as things..."
--from Carpe Jugulum, by Terry Pratchett.

Hope that helps :)

There's another quote (I can't remember the source) where it explains that while there are shades of grey in Alignment issues, it doesn't really concern a Paladin-type. Their job is to hunt down and destroy those who are so dark you can't see lightness "no matter how hard you squint", which there apparently is plenty of.

It's apparent that you're looking at all of these from the perspective of "good is right, evil is wrong". When that just isn't true. Evil merely has its own way of doing things. From the perspective of good evil is wrong but from the perspective of evil it isn't. The person in your quote who says there is no grays, what would you consider his alignment to be ?

tetron:

It's apparent that you're looking at all of these from the perspective of "good is right, evil is wrong". When that just isn't true. Evil merely has its own way of doing things. From the perspective of good evil is wrong but from the perspective of evil it isn't. The person in your quote who says there is no grays, what would you consider his alignment to be ?

Granny Weatherwax is pretty much Lawful Neutral. She does stuff that is both good and evil to uphold the larger laws intrinsic to the universe. She's lawful in the same way that Paladins are lawful. They have greater truths to uphold even if on occasion she tells a king where he can stick his taxes.

Edit: It should be noted that she would probably view herself more Lawful Me because she's pretty much the most hard headed egotist in the entire series, and that's what makes her who she it, but it isn't really prudent to try and shoehorn someone like her into an alignment, I was just giving the best answer I could.

tetron:
It's apparent that you're looking at all of these from the perspective of "good is right, evil is wrong". When that just isn't true. Evil merely has its own way of doing things. From the perspective of good evil is wrong but from the perspective of evil it isn't. The person in your quote who says there is no grays, what would you consider his alignment to be ?

That's because, by definition, Good is Right, and Evil is Wrong. Those who say otherwise are usually looking for an excuse to justify their actions. And if you believe that, well...

Obi-Wan Kenobi:
"Then you really are lost"

She is good, but doesn't want to be. She'd rather be evil, but she was forced to be good and look out for others instead of herself when her sister (Who was supposed to be the good one) got up and left. Being good is right, but sucks. She'd rather be evil because it's cooler and more fun. So, yeah. Granny Weatherwax is placed good, with a small hole (Or at least dent) in the very center of her flat Circle of Morality.

Even though I see alignment as a yardstick, I did like this article. But the good-evil axis raises questions. I'm reading it as "Evil characters care only about themselves and maybe a few others close to them, Neutral characters care about their tribe or nation or city, Good characters try to care about everybody." But under that definition, most perpetrators of real-world war crimes would be considered Neutral. They are ostensibly working in the interests of their nation or ethnicity.

Am I reading that wrong? Or for the purposes of D&D alignment, a dwarven general who perpetrates genocide against the hobgoblins who've plagued his people for decades could be considered Lawful Neutral? I suppose that's not drastically out of step with how some campaign settings are described, but I'm wondering what everyone else thinks about that. Or if I've completely missed a point somewhere, I welcome enlightenment.

Falseprophet:
Even though I see alignment as a yardstick, I did like this article. But the good-evil axis raises questions. I'm reading it as "Evil characters care only about themselves and maybe a few others close to them, Neutral characters care about their tribe or nation or city, Good characters try to care about everybody." But under that definition, most perpetrators of real-world war crimes would be considered Neutral. They are ostensibly working in the interests of their nation or ethnicity.

Am I reading that wrong? Or for the purposes of D&D alignment, a dwarven general who perpetrates genocide against the hobgoblins who've plagued his people for decades could be considered Lawful Neutral? I suppose that's not drastically out of step with how some campaign settings are described, but I'm wondering what everyone else thinks about that. Or if I've completely missed a point somewhere, I welcome enlightenment.

I think the main issue is trying to take a real world moral/ethical philosophy turn it into a D&D alignment and then take it back out into the real world. The first issue is that our starting point for good and evil has, hopefully, evolved from the general medieval fantasy setting that exists. State sponsored genocide is/was a more morally acceptable practice back in that age then it is considered now. So yes, that same Dwarf General can be Lawful Neutral in the D&D world, but be Lawful Evil in ours because of how our societies work and where we place said yardstick. But really, that's just my two cents, I'm not 100% on the article either and I studied all these guys in my political theory classes, heh.

Scow2:

tetron:
It's apparent that you're looking at all of these from the perspective of "good is right, evil is wrong". When that just isn't true. Evil merely has its own way of doing things. From the perspective of good evil is wrong but from the perspective of evil it isn't. The person in your quote who says there is no grays, what would you consider his alignment to be ?

That's because, by definition, Good is Right, and Evil is Wrong. Those who say otherwise are usually looking for an excuse to justify their actions. And if you believe that, well...

Obi-Wan Kenobi:
"Then you really are lost"

She is good, but doesn't want to be. She'd rather be evil, but she was forced to be good and look out for others instead of herself when her sister (Who was supposed to be the good one) got up and left. Being good is right, but sucks. She'd rather be evil because it's cooler and more fun. So, yeah. Granny Weatherwax is placed good, with a small hole (Or at least dent) in the very center of her flat Circle of Morality.

You're quoting obi-wan ? The guy who all but pushed his student to the dark side and then tried to kill him for it ? And even then obi-wan was wrong, Anakin wasn't lost. Obi-wan, much like you, failed to see that people aren't just good or evil. Evil can be a means of achieving good, and vice versa. Because honestly, what makes evil wrong ?

What makes evil wrong is the fact that all the definitions describe it as such? Also, I'll stick with the original Sir Samuel Vimes quote from earlier as a better one than anything from Star Wars.

If you are unfamiliar with him as a character, he's the current head of the once corrupt and useless Watch of the largest city in the series called Discworld. He's pretty much unbribeable, unswerveable, and doesn't take well to being told that there isn't a right and a wrong in the world that's universal for everyone to follow. He's the kind of person who wouldn't care who someone was or why they did something, if it was evil or wrong or illegal he's going to arrest them because he knows that to allow one slip allows for hundreds of others and that way madness lies.

That's where I come at with saying the Evil is Wrong and Good is Right, you can tout your end results until the cows come home, but you've tainted all you've accomplished because you took the easy way out by being evil. (Note you here is the vague you, not you the person specifically.)

When i said Tyrant i basically meant any sort of government where there is one guy who is in charge and no one else gets a word in. Even Aragon after he was crowned could be considered a tyrant under this description.

Also Chaotic evil == Crazy

lawful characters accept the laws of the land and follow them and enforce them. (paladins, sherrifs etc)
neutral characters follow the laws the best they can (normal ppl, medics etc)
Chaotic characters will rail against them, (freedom fighters, theives anarchists)

your definition of the allignments depends on what you yourself are,

Explorator Vimes:
What makes evil wrong is the fact that all the definitions describe it as such? Also, I'll stick with the original Sir Samuel Vimes quote from earlier as a better one than anything from Star Wars.

If you are unfamiliar with him as a character, he's the current head of the once corrupt and useless Watch of the largest city in the series called Discworld. He's pretty much unbribeable, unswerveable, and doesn't take well to being told that there isn't a right and a wrong in the world that's universal for everyone to follow. He's the kind of person who wouldn't care who someone was or why they did something, if it was evil or wrong or illegal he's going to arrest them because he knows that to allow one slip allows for hundreds of others and that way madness lies.

That's where I come at with saying the Evil is Wrong and Good is Right, you can tout your end results until the cows come home, but you've tainted all you've accomplished because you took the easy way out by being evil. (Note you here is the vague you, not you the person specifically.)

I use multiple quotes from multiple sources. Personally, I don't think Star Wars is as bad as people treat it as when you step back and think about it, and fill in the gaps with actual thought.

tetron:
You're quoting obi-wan ? The guy who all but pushed his student to the dark side and then tried to kill him for it ? And even then obi-wan was wrong, Anakin wasn't lost. Obi-wan, much like you, failed to see that people aren't just good or evil. Evil can be a means of achieving good, and vice versa. Because honestly, what makes evil wrong ?

Umm... what Obi-wan are you talking about? The one I saw gave nothing short of his full faith and support to his student, and taught him to be a wise and compassionate Jedi. Unfortunately, Anakin didn't return the trust, and WAS lost because of it. And Obi-Wan would not accept Anakin as evil, and was mostly correct in his world view.
And continuing this... Anakin thought he could accomplish Good through Evil. In High Fantasy, Gandalf said he'd want to use the ring for Good. Yet, we all saw how Anakin's "Evil can be used for Good" experiment worked out, and Sauruman was like what Gandalf would have turned into had he tried to use the ring, and would eventually turn into Sauron Mk. II, or be betrayed by the ring as it reunites with Sauron.

And why is Evil wrong? Seriously? It is the antithesis of Life, and on Earth, it is the enemy within of Humanity. Evil is wrong because it tears down creation, sows discord throughout the harmonious function of society and nature, ruins and ends lives, belittles and destroys the value of all life, and corrupts and works its way into healthy societies and ecosystems through pleasant lies, false promises, and niggling suggestions to begin the process all over again. Even those who profess and support evil are destroyed by it, in pursuit of "There can be only one", until that last life, after its hollow triumph, dies as well, or lives in nothing. "There can be only None".

irani_che:
When i said Tyrant i basically meant any sort of government where there is one guy who is in charge and no one else gets a word in. Even Aragon after he was crowned could be considered a tyrant under this description.

Also Chaotic evil == Crazy

lawful characters accept the laws of the land and follow them and enforce them. (paladins, sherrifs etc)
neutral characters follow the laws the best they can (normal ppl, medics etc)
Chaotic characters will rail against them, (freedom fighters, theives anarchists)

Did you even read the article?
Lawful characters follow an inflexible, clearly defined set of rules to accomplish their goals, and will not violate them except in extreme circumstances [Ie. Mathematicians]. Neutral characters use rules as a guideline for behavior, yet their ultimate behavior is on a case-by-case basis depending on their motivations more than rigid guidelines [America's Idealized Justice System, Dispute Arbitrators]. Chaotic characters believe "the Ends Justify the Means", and will do anything to accomplish his goals Though he IS mindful of the consequences, usually.[Parkour Practitioners, most Players]

Chaotic Evil does not equal crazy.

A Chaotic Evil person will achieve his selfish goals through whatever means available. Some devote themselves to actively spreading Evil, misery, and destruction as well as tearing down the deontological rules governing behavior.

Characters devoted to Law believe everyone must follow rigid rules, disciplines, and behaviors. Characters actively devoted to chaos seek to tear down the rules because they limit the options people have to achieve their goals.

Law and Chaos is the alignment axis that needs to be balanced (Both extremes veer into Evil, due to Law's stifling of life by removing free will, and Chaos spreading destruction and evil as people pursue their own agendas without any way to curtail the Destructively Selfish).

Explorator Vimes:

Falseprophet:
Even though I see alignment as a yardstick, I did like this article. But the good-evil axis raises questions. I'm reading it as "Evil characters care only about themselves and maybe a few others close to them, Neutral characters care about their tribe or nation or city, Good characters try to care about everybody." But under that definition, most perpetrators of real-world war crimes would be considered Neutral. They are ostensibly working in the interests of their nation or ethnicity.

Am I reading that wrong? Or for the purposes of D&D alignment, a dwarven general who perpetrates genocide against the hobgoblins who've plagued his people for decades could be considered Lawful Neutral? I suppose that's not drastically out of step with how some campaign settings are described, but I'm wondering what everyone else thinks about that. Or if I've completely missed a point somewhere, I welcome enlightenment.

I think the main issue is trying to take a real world moral/ethical philosophy turn it into a D&D alignment and then take it back out into the real world. The first issue is that our starting point for good and evil has, hopefully, evolved from the general medieval fantasy setting that exists. State sponsored genocide is/was a more morally acceptable practice back in that age then it is considered now. So yes, that same Dwarf General can be Lawful Neutral in the D&D world, but be Lawful Evil in ours because of how our societies work and where we place said yardstick. But really, that's just my two cents, I'm not 100% on the article either and I studied all these guys in my political theory classes, heh.

racial issues are difficult to handle because there are distinct differences between the races. While the genocide would be an undoubtably Evil act, it sounds like one committed in Ignorance. There's no way he'd be good, but a Smite Evil would likely only work on him if he doesn't back down on the Genocide even after being made fully aware of the depth of the Evil of the act. And in some campaigns, complete obliteration of "evil" races through warfare is not an inherently evil act, if every destroyed member of the race is a threat to Good and Society. This usually isn't the same as genocide, because it lacks the malicious intent.

How much "evil" Moral Myopia allows a character to commit before turning Evil himself is something that needs to be discussed with the GM. For those not running campaigns focused on what is good and evil, it's generally perfectly acceptable to have a policy of "In this world, the Only Good Orc is a Dead Orc, except when otherwise noted". We're here to swing swords, kick ass, and take names, not worry about the philisophical rightness or wrongness of our acts.

"Nietzsche's book, Beyond Good and Evil"
Is the computergame Beyond Good and Evil (slightly) based on this book?

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