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Jergmo
2009-06-27, 02:32 AM
Originally after taking the alignment quiz, this character got Chaotic Neutral, though this has shifted to Chaotic Good. Really, I'm not certain about that -- it gets complicated.

The character is sort of a trickster/femme fatale for some of the good ol' Tropes that match up her personality. For the most part, she isn't really malicious at all -- she can be manipulative and toy with people, but it's merely for grins 'n giggles and she doesn't mean anyone real harm.

She is a mercenary/assassin, but she will only take specific jobs: she turned down jobs until the details about the target would be revealed, to judge whether or not they were bad, or if it's just someone another evil person wants out of the way.

While not taking a particularly active role in providing for the poor, when she passed through towns, she would throw gold to the children of commoners, as she enjoyed seeing them excited and happy as even a single gold piece was a lot of money to them.

While she could be unpleasant to deal with and has temper issues, there is a softer side -- she used to be more benevolent, but throughout her character development, she became more defensive and doesn't want to show vulnerability due to various circumstances I'll spare you of.

She has certain aspects of Chaotic Neutral, but I don't think she really qualifies. Mainly -- He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. She feels that the folks in charge are no better than anyone else, and they treat the common folk wrongly, which is leaning towards Chaotic Good. However, there was an incident that makes me iffy.

She was offering her services to an expedition led by a high level paladin, who was supposedly Lawful Good, but the player made him seem more Lawful Neutral, to me. He spoke to her as if they were still in the city and they were a bunch of aristocrats, and talking about how maintaining such pleasantries separated them from the beasts inhabiting the area (in regards to the foreign, more monstrous civilized races in the area), and it was their responsibility to maintain control and law as if they were back home. So she pointed out how under his leadership, the expedition lost more than half of its members, and asked him what progress he had made in his mission. Him: "I don't have to answer that." :smalltongue:
So, she decided that she would teach him a lesson, to show him that he was never in control in the first place, as his various mistakes caused by arrogance hadn't taught him otherwise. She offered her aid and that of her companions to kill a powerful insane hermit wizard, in return for half of the value of his magic items, which ended up being reasonable. But he refused, and basically said "You'll be paid what I want to pay you.", and marched off to see the wizard, the powerful-insane-wizard-hermit of the-mountains-they-were-in! He ended up lying on his back helpless, atrophied to the point where he couldn't lift his own gear and fight, and while his companions were wisely backing off, she stood by for the time being asking him if he would like to renegotiate, and so he told her that her terms were agreeable. (She wouldn't have actually allowed his companions to be killed, but I imagine this might be pushing it.)

There's more, but eh. So, what do you folks think? Could this character pass off as Chaotic Good?

Quietus
2009-06-27, 02:38 AM
I would say Chaotic Neutral. Reasons being :

Assassin, but picky about jobs and as such, it's implied she wouldn't harm innocent people. D&D subjective morality says that killing someone evil is a neutral act. The only reason I would say she isn't Good aligned is because she requires money for her skills; She's putting her life on the line to kill evil creatures, certainly, but she's doing it to line her own pockets. If she were to take contracts regularly without requiring pay, essentially risking herself to end Evil target's lives.. then that'd be Good. But mercenary action like that can never rise above Neutrality, at least in my opinion.

I don't think you're debating Chaotic at all, so I'll leave that be.

Saph
2009-06-27, 02:41 AM
I'd say Chaotic Neutral. She's not vicious enough to be Evil, but your explanation of the 'assassin' part pretty much disqualifies her from Good.

It's not impossible to have a Good character who explicitly makes her living by being paid to kill people, but you have to have some REALLY strong commitments to balance it out. "I only assassinate people once I'm convinced they're evil" isn't enough.

- Saph

arguskos
2009-06-27, 02:45 AM
I'll third CN, for what it's worth. She doesn't strike me as "good" in really any way at all. Yeah, she gives money to kids, but that's because she likes seeing them laugh and play, not because she likes giving to charity. Stuff like that is textbook CN in my thoughts.

Jergmo
2009-06-27, 02:49 AM
Might she be Chaotic Neutral leaning towards Good?

Jergmo
2009-06-27, 02:51 AM
I would say Chaotic Neutral. Reasons being :

Assassin, but picky about jobs and as such, it's implied she wouldn't harm innocent people. D&D subjective morality says that killing someone evil is a neutral act. The only reason I would say she isn't Good aligned is because she requires money for her skills; She's putting her life on the line to kill evil creatures, certainly, but she's doing it to line her own pockets. If she were to take contracts regularly without requiring pay, essentially risking herself to end Evil target's lives.. then that'd be Good. But mercenary action like that can never rise above Neutrality, at least in my opinion.

I don't think you're debating Chaotic at all, so I'll leave that be.

Well, she doesn't really require payment to kill evil people. If she found the people she had been hired to kill and wasn't offered pay, she would get rid of them -- however, since there are folks offering her money to do it, why not accept it?

Saph
2009-06-27, 02:55 AM
Might she be Chaotic Neutral leaning towards Good?

Unlikely.

The PHB describes Good as "altruism, repect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make sacrifices to help others."

Your character doesn't sound like she makes sacrifices to help others. She mostly seems to help herself, and she'll help others if it suits her or is convenient. That's Neutral.

- Saph

Jergmo
2009-06-27, 03:11 AM
Unlikely.

The PHB describes Good as "altruism, repect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make sacrifices to help others."

Your character doesn't sound like she makes sacrifices to help others. She mostly seems to help herself, and she'll help others if it suits her or is convenient. That's Neutral.

- Saph

Er, wait, I didn't mention this. I'm not sure if it helps much, but she has the philosophy that she'll provide comfort for herself, her friends, and her family, and then after that, she provides for other people. Is that still Neutral?

Saph
2009-06-27, 03:19 AM
Er, wait, I didn't mention this. I'm not sure if it helps much, but she has the philosophy that she'll provide comfort for herself, her friends, and her family, and then after that, she provides for other people. Is that still Neutral?

Pretty much. Good people help everyone. Evil people help themselves. Neutral people help friends & family. They might help others too, but only if it's not too much trouble.

Bear in mind that in standard worlds, humans are Neutral on the Good-Evil axis. To qualify as Good, you have to be a bit unusual.

Also, I'd still be a bit twitchy about the 'kills people for money' thing.

- Saph

Jergmo
2009-06-27, 03:22 AM
Alright, thank you everyone. :smallsmile: Chaotic Neutral doesn't mean she's a bad person anyway, I guess. It's a little bit tiresome to see Chaotic Stupid Chaotic Neutral, where you can get away with nearly anything.

arguskos
2009-06-27, 03:23 AM
Alright, thank you everyone. :smallsmile: Chaotic Neutral doesn't mean she's a bad person anyway, I guess. It's a little bit tiresome to see Chaotic Stupid Chaotic Neutral, where you can get away with nearly anything.
Damn right. This character sounds like a well played, well reasoned out, Chaotic Neutral, which is the best way to play alignments really: well thought out. Kudos to you sir!

Salt_Crow
2009-06-27, 03:25 AM
Yep, nowhere near 'Good' category, if she negotiates her terms of contract when a paladin (or anyone for that matter) lies on the floor dying.

Jergmo
2009-06-27, 03:28 AM
Yep, nowhere near 'Good' category, if she negotiates her terms of contract when a paladin (or anyone for that matter) lies on the floor dying.

It was less about the money and more about deflating his ego.

Jergmo
2009-06-27, 03:30 AM
Damn right. This character sounds like a well played, well reasoned out, Chaotic Neutral, which is the best way to play alignments really: well thought out. Kudos to you sir!

Thanks muchly. :smallbiggrin:

ericgrau
2009-06-27, 03:31 AM
By paragraph:
__
C_
C_, CG if will kill evil w/o profit
__
C?_
C!_

Originally I was going to say strongly CG. Then after Saph pointed out a lack of altruism, I reread it to search for selflessly helping others. I found none. Instead she only avoids evil, which is quite different. So she is N for being neither E nor G, in the same way that most real people are N. i.e., uncomfortable about committing evil but not willing to make a stand against it for nothing. She has plenty of examples of C, to which I think no one would disagree, so I'd say strongly CN, without leaning towards anything. i.e., both strongly C and strongly N.

Murdim
2009-06-27, 04:27 AM
Er, wait, I didn't mention this. I'm not sure if it helps much, but she has the philosophy that she'll provide comfort for herself, her friends, and her family, and then after that, she provides for other people. Is that still Neutral?I still think there's a slight leaning towards Good in this. A character who would be absolutely Neutral in regards to Good and Evil would only provide to herself and the people she's close, without thinking that they can have "too much" and that she should give some attention to unknown, more unfortunate people. After all, even strongly Good-aligned characters have priorities when it comes to chose someone to help, to the point that's an expected part of the heroic archetypes to help their friends and family at all costs.

So... I would say your character is still Chaotic Neutral, but will also disagree with most of the precedent posts when saying that she does tends towards Goodness. While keeping the core of her character, you can either carry on the previous development to make her more strongly Neutral, go beyond it to make her more selfish and less selective about her targets (CN with Evil tendencies, or even "sufferable", non-omnicidal CE - it exists !), or exploit and deepen her soft side to the point she starts making personnal sacrifices in order to help others (CG)

Jergmo
2009-06-27, 04:31 AM
I still think there's a slight leaning towards Good in this. A character who would be absolutely Neutral in regards to Good and Evil would only provide to herself and the people she's close, without thinking that they can have "too much" and that she should give some attention to unknown, more unfortunate people. After all, even strongly Good-aligned characters have priorities when it comes to chose someone to help, to the point that's an expected part of the heroic archetypes to help their friends and family at all costs.

So... I would say your character is still Chaotic Neutral, but will also disagree with most of the precedent posts when saying that she does tends towards Goodness. While keeping the core of her character, you can either carry on the previous development to make her more strongly Neutral, go beyond it to make her more selfish and less selective about her targets (CN with Evil tendencies, or even "sufferable", non-omnicidal CE - it exists !), or exploit and deepen her soft side to the point she starts making personnal sacrifices in order to help others (CG)

Well, she does believe in helping the weak -- she has the opportunity to be paid, so she takes it, but if she saw someone being mugged, she wouldn't be like "Hey, pay me and I'll help you,", there would be some thugs lying in the street unconscious, maybe with broken noses. And she's a thorn in the side of more vindictive aristocrats. Like I said earlier with the paladin thing, she wouldn't have actually allowed the folks following him to be slaughtered by the wizard while she watches -- she just wanted to teach the not-so-good paladin a lesson in humility. But there's still her having the priority of people close, so eh.

Gnorman
2009-06-27, 06:12 AM
Definitely chaotic neutral. Like not even a ghost of a chance of chaotic good. I don't care how much you care about the "common folk" - neutral doesn't mean you don't care, it just means that you're not driven to abject help nor abject harm. And you're not exactly helping them - you're just using them as pawns to gratify your own pride in how rich adventuring/assassinations have made you.

And letting a paladin suffer like that, while incredibly satisfying, is pretty far and away not a good act.

It sounds like you want the character to be good for some reason (your own alignment concerns, perhaps? A desire for redemption), but she's a mercenary assassin who's somewhat amoral in her decisions. Her habit of tossing money to commoners is more of an ego trip that it is an act of charity.


She is a mercenary/assassin, but she will only take specific jobs: she turned down jobs until the details about the target would be revealed, to judge whether or not they were bad, or if it's just someone another evil person wants out of the way.

Even Lawful Evil assassins can work this way.

Remember. You kill people for money. Not like, they jumped you out of an alley and you had to defend yourself. Not like, they were an evil monster and were threatening a village. There is absolutely no way this can be construed as good. Neutral, yes. Good, not a chance.

Chaotic Neutral is not a bad or a stupid alignment, anyway. Chaotic Neutral is basically the absolute best alignment a character can be, options-wise - you can reject authority, go your own way, and not give a whit about petty subjective morality. It's people who interpret Chaotic Neutral as "Lunacy" (and to be fair, 2nd Ed's description of the alignment did this) who give it a bad name.

To reiterate: you are not Good, no matter how much you'd like to be. Perhaps you can strive for it. But assassination? Hard to justify, no matter your target.

Curmudgeon
2009-06-27, 07:02 AM
The Assassin class is evil. It's a requirement. A killer for hire in D&D, even without that specific class, can't ever be good.

mistformsquirrl
2009-06-27, 07:18 AM
Might she be Chaotic Neutral leaning towards Good?

That's what I'd say.

Just like you can be a "dark grey" neutral character, you can very much be a light grey neutral as well.

You're relatively borderline I'd say, which in my case at least suggests Neutral over Good.

Ripped Shirt Kirk
2009-06-27, 07:32 AM
I too support CN leaning towards good. Sure, she may be an assassin, but she only kills evil people, and she also gives money away! And I don't think it is for her ego, because if it was her ego, she would let everyone know that it was she who had given the money. But, then again, she is an assassin. So, in conclusion, I think CN leaning towards good, but not that much.

Saph
2009-06-27, 07:48 AM
Killing Evil creatures doesn't make you Good. If it did, the demons and devils in the Blood War would be Exalted-level by now.

One of the descriptions of the Good alignment is "respect for life". This character seems way too casual about assassinating people to be anywhere near the shallow end of the alignment pool.

- Saph

hamishspence
2009-06-27, 08:06 AM
How bad is bad?

what is a more mercenary kind of Adventurer, after all, but one who kills "bad guys" in the form of monsters typically raiding from their lairs in dungeons, for money?

If assassin here simply means the profession, she could be Neutral at least, depending on how rigorous her choice of targets is, and how hard it would be for the law to deal with them.

Arilyn Moonblade in Elfshadow is the classic "honorable assassin" who only ever takes money to kill really bad guys.

Gnorman
2009-06-27, 08:12 AM
Arilyn Moonblade in Elfshadow is the classic "honorable assassin" who only ever takes money to kill really bad guys.

You're still killing people for money. Definitely NOT a good act. Neutral, MAYBE.

hamishspence
2009-06-27, 08:21 AM
True. But if money is secondary motive, and protecting others primary, it can pull the act from Evil to Neutral- especially if the villains you are hired to assassinate are so powerful that normal methods would cause far too much damage to innocents.

Tyrannicide is the most common form of assassination to be justified by some moral philosophers.

The character might be less Artemis Entreri and more Arilyn.

Murdim
2009-06-27, 08:37 AM
You're still killing people for money. Definitely NOT a good act. Neutral, MAYBE.That is pretty much what every adventurer do for a living. Professional assassin or not. Why adventurers can, and usually does, belong to the upper half of the alignment chart (Good or Neutral leaning Good) ? Because of the kind of people they choose to kill.

mistformsquirrl
2009-06-27, 08:54 AM
To expound on Hamishpace's question:

How can any adventurer be "Good" if killing people for money, no matter the other motivation, is bad or neutral?

Adventurer's commonly take jobs that involve hacking up a copious number of people - sometimes monsters, sometimes not. The cause is often just, but there's usually a reward as well.

So I'd ask this:

Why is the murder of one villain evil or, at best morally grey, even if done in the service of good... wheras a dozen or more murders done in the same service is heroic and laudable?

Killing someone in straight battle and killing them with a dagger in the back is little different in it's result - they're still dead.

I mean morally, what is the difference between taking a contract to clear out a group of necromancers, and taking a contract to kill a tyrant or underworld boss?

Now, in this particular character's case, I still say Neutral - but I don't think it's at all reasonable to say that an assassin, by profession, must be evil or neutral (this is one of the reasons I always got rid of that and the "Must kill someone to join guild" requirements on the assassin class).

On the money side of thing:

Typical adventurer's commonly charge of the same services, the difference being that the fighter and barbarian or yes, even the Paladin, will kick in the front door instead of sneaking in the back.

They still typically get paid for doing the job. Oh it might not be worded as a contract on a specific individual; it might be "Go to the temple of X and kill the high priest, for he has Y artifact and it is a danger to the world! Do this and you will be rewarded greatly!"

The real test, in my opinion, is being willing to do the job even when the pay is low or nonexistent if the reasons are right. (And likewise, not taking a job for the wrong reasons, no matter the price.) Ex: Said assassin is asked to deal with an underworld kingpin who's made life in the slums a living hell. The poor can't afford to pay, but they desperately need a champion. If you'll help them anyway, I'd say that's a sign for good. If you won't without pay... then you probably aren't good.

My 2 cents anyway.

hamishspence
2009-06-27, 11:28 AM
BoED says the same "A First question cannot be "what can you pay" though an evil or neutral character can be that mercenary.

Also, it may depend on if you are being asked to kill the problem, or stop the problem. If request was "stop the raids" and when you do so, you make surrender offers which are turned down, its not murder to fight- you are acting as agents of the law.

Bandits- according to Champions of Valor, a good character should try and capture accused criminals alive if possible, so they can be tried and acquitted or sentenced. They should not be punishing the crimes themselves.

DMG2- even chaotic jurisdictions have trials, court systems, etc.

Elves who catch grave robbers, who surrender, don't kill them on the spot, but take them back for a hearing to see if it is warranted, in the Return of the Archwizards series by Troy Denning.

Jergmo
2009-06-27, 11:42 AM
To expound on Hamishpace's question:

How can any adventurer be "Good" if killing people for money, no matter the other motivation, is bad or neutral?

Adventurer's commonly take jobs that involve hacking up a copious number of people - sometimes monsters, sometimes not. The cause is often just, but there's usually a reward as well.

So I'd ask this:

Why is the murder of one villain evil or, at best morally grey, even if done in the service of good... wheras a dozen or more murders done in the same service is heroic and laudable?

Killing someone in straight battle and killing them with a dagger in the back is little different in it's result - they're still dead.

I mean morally, what is the difference between taking a contract to clear out a group of necromancers, and taking a contract to kill a tyrant or underworld boss?

Now, in this particular character's case, I still say Neutral - but I don't think it's at all reasonable to say that an assassin, by profession, must be evil or neutral (this is one of the reasons I always got rid of that and the "Must kill someone to join guild" requirements on the assassin class).

On the money side of thing:

Typical adventurer's commonly charge of the same services, the difference being that the fighter and barbarian or yes, even the Paladin, will kick in the front door instead of sneaking in the back.

They still typically get paid for doing the job. Oh it might not be worded as a contract on a specific individual; it might be "Go to the temple of X and kill the high priest, for he has Y artifact and it is a danger to the world! Do this and you will be rewarded greatly!"

The real test, in my opinion, is being willing to do the job even when the pay is low or nonexistent if the reasons are right. (And likewise, not taking a job for the wrong reasons, no matter the price.) Ex: Said assassin is asked to deal with an underworld kingpin who's made life in the slums a living hell. The poor can't afford to pay, but they desperately need a champion. If you'll help them anyway, I'd say that's a sign for good. If you won't without pay... then you probably aren't good.

My 2 cents anyway.

Alright, so, as I was talking about earlier, what if you help the common people, those who can't defend themselves, for free, but have the upper class folks who don't have to worry about keeping their families pay you?

Callista
2009-06-27, 11:45 AM
Yeah, you're borderline. It all depends on where you take the character. Bravo on leaving lots of possibilities for developing her personality--seems like your character has a lot of interesting traits that could pull her one way or the other easily. (Make sure you talk to the player who's got the character yours is annoyed with. You want to annoy the character, not the player, right?)

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-06-27, 11:46 AM
The Assassin class is evil. It's a requirement. A killer for hire in D&D, even without that specific class, can't ever be good.

What if she was an Avenger?

Narmoth
2009-06-27, 11:46 AM
Sounds as a good and fun interpretation of chaotic good.
The last act might not be good, but you don't change alignment for only one act. She's not a paladin.
Still, a lot of such acts, and her alignment will start to change

Saph
2009-06-27, 11:49 AM
To expound on Hamishpace's question:

How can any adventurer be "Good" if killing people for money, no matter the other motivation, is bad or neutral?

Because if your alignment is Good, money should never be your primary motivation for killing someone. You might kill in self-defence, or to protect your fellow party members, or to rid the world of some significant evil . . . but you don't kill someone because you're paid to do it.

Secondly, if you're Good, killing someone is supposed to be a last resort, not a first resort. Which kind of blows the whole 'assassin' thing out of the water, doesn't it? Assassins don't typically accept surrender and don't try to keep their targets alive.

It's easy to come up with excuses to justify killing, but the point is that if you really are Good-aligned, you're supposed to be better than that. You're supposed to only use lethal force when it's absolutely necessary, not whenever it's convenient or pays well.

- Saph

Murdim
2009-06-27, 11:59 AM
Secondly, if you're Good, killing someone is supposed to be a last resort, not a first resort.BA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA Last resort ! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA *snort* HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !
Heh heh heh...

Roy has boobies !
BA HA HA HA !

More seriously, many most so-called "Good-aligned" adventurers tends to use violence as a first resort. Why should a "titled" assassin be worse ?

hamishspence
2009-06-27, 12:03 PM
Actually, thats a pretty fair summary of how BoED handles it. If person surrenders you must take them prisoner, and, at least ideally, you should offer them chance to surrender, rather than wait for them to do so of their own volition.

Circumstances may mitigate against this though- a spying/scouting mission in the middle of a war, for example.

Adventurers generally don't, in fact, have the right to try, sentence, and execute people on the spot.

What does this assassin go after- Crime Lords, Tyrants, Monsters?

Saph
2009-06-27, 12:06 PM
Alright, so, as I was talking about earlier, what if you help the common people, those who can't defend themselves, for free, but have the upper class folks who don't have to worry about keeping their families pay you?

Getting better. But the key word there's "defend". If you're protecting people who really need the help, that's fine. If you're killing someone when it's not really necessary . . . not so good.


More seriously, many most so-called "Good-aligned" adventurers tends to use violence as a first resort.

There's your answer.

- Saph

Worira
2009-06-27, 12:09 PM
Wait, she accepted a job, then renegotiated when her employer was incapacitated? I don't care if she's neutral or good, she's never getting another contract again.

mistformsquirrl
2009-06-27, 12:11 PM
Remember:

First - I think we need to remember we're not talking an Exalted character by any stretch. This is the low end of good. These are the people who are far from Paladins, but still have their hearts in the right places.

This is uglier stuff - not shining knights and glorious charges. This is "Stab you in the back because if I don't, hundreds will die."

Second - On a purely practical level - no one could kill a tyrant by those rules; not without a costly war that overthrows their entire government (which I will mention, will cost a lot of lives.).

You can't offer them surrender. Who would they turn themselves over to? Even if you could sneak them out of their fortress past all their guards... who would take them? Who would lock them up?

No one, unfortunately. So you kill them; or you let them continue their evil actions.

There's also another practical concern: Offering surrender necessitates giving up surprise. Ambush is a perfectly valid tactic for good characters - if it wasn't, Rogues would have to be non-good. Many Rangers would also run into serious problems.

Using these tactics isn't evil, however, it *does* mean people would rightly question their motivations and look at them with suspicion. In the case of a good assassin, party Paladins are definitely going to take issue with such a character in ways the party rogue never dreamed of.

To use another example: Say you're in a society with said evil tyrant. Are you allowed to attack his guards? Harass them? Burn their armories and distribute their food and money to the downtrodden? In other words: You are Robin Hood: Is this good or evil?

Do you have to give them a trial too?

Are all guerrillas evil?

I'd have to say no. Being underhanded isn't evil. Being ruthless is evil. If you went after say... the guard's families so no one would sign up for the guard any more - that would be evil.

If you kidnapped the Tyrant's daughter and held her hostage - that would probably be evil (or low end neutral, depending. Exception of course if said daughter actually wanted out... that would be a rescue anyway though.).

Third - Even though Chaotic societies may have laws - that doesn't mean a Chaotic character has to abide them. Laws are just that - Lawful; even when used by a Chaotic group. (Just being chaotic doesn't mean you *can't* obey the law. It just means you feel more free to bend or break it when necessary.)

Now I do agree - the motivation cannot be primarily money. Money is a secondary motivation - mostly a concern due to need for food and equipment; not because the goal is to amass wealth. If ever money becomes the primary priority, then the character has lost their way (or at least is sliding). And I won't make the mistake of saying this kind of character isn't likely to slide... like I said, this is ugly, but it's not necessarily evil.

(Sorry it's so long <x.x> I'm far too verbose for my won good.)

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-06-27, 12:17 PM
Wait, she accepted a job, then renegotiated when her employer was incapacitated? I don't care if she's neutral or good, she's never getting another contract again.

I applaud her business sense. Remember the ninth Rule of Acquisition: "Opportunity plus instinct equals profit."

Saph
2009-06-27, 12:39 PM
Remember:

First - I think we need to remember we're not talking an Exalted character by any stretch. This is the low end of good. These are the people who are far from Paladins, but still have their hearts in the right places.]

I think you're setting the bar for Good so low that I could step over it without lifting my knees. Being Good is supposed to mean something. It means you're committed to doing Good, not that you kind of do sort of good things when you feel like it and use mostly good methods except when they're inconvenient or risky.


There's also another practical concern: Offering surrender necessitates giving up surprise.

Yes. It does. So this raises the question: what's more important to you? Would you try to talk things out and resolve matters without bloodshed? Would you ambush them, but try and do nonlethal damage so as to leave them alive? Or would you just kill them all from ambush without asking questions?

Your alignment is defined by your answers to these kinds of questions. A Good character will answer one way; an Evil one another.

Now since it seems to bother you, I'll note that in many cases, acting in a Good-aligned way does make you less effective in combat. You can't kill as quickly and as casually as an Evil character would. But it has some advantages too. If enemies know that you're not going to kill prisoners, they're more likely to surrender and less likely to fight to the death. And there's the vengeance issue. People have friends, and families. The more corpses you leave behind you, the more people will hate you . . .

So Good, Neutral, or Evil, it's up to you. But the one thing you can't do is say: "I prefer this way of doing things, so it must be Good." D&D morality doesn't work that way.

- Saph

Yukitsu
2009-06-27, 01:16 PM
I like this thread. I like it because I violate almost every notion of what good is, by being evil wilst sticking vehemently to it.

For instance, my current character is chaotic evil. I thus far have recieved no money and no rewards for any mission that we've been on. I take them because I genuinely believe that what they entail must be done. Especially the freeing of slaves. I've come very, very close to sacraficing my life for there sakes several times so far. What makes me evil is that I violate the will of the slave keepers such that they will never, ever take slaves again. The only way I can manage that is through violent reprogramming through curses and actual pain, because I'm not high enough a level to mindrape things. I also give generously to churches of good aligned deities, and give weapons and such to commoners so that they can defend themselves. Note as well, I've yet to cause physical damage, let alone kill anything.

Inversely, I've seen plenty of paladins that run around in there shiny plate on their high horses pretty much pretending the common folk don't exist, taking pretty much every job that the king tells them to. Given that those knightly folks get paid enough to have shiny bright armour, I somehow doubt they are doing all this work for no money. Heck, I doubt that half the players here would deny themselves the kill in a gnoll warren if the regent told him to "go forth and slay the foul beasts." unless they were trying to be exhalted, nor would they refuse pay.

I'll be honest, I have run a "no kills" exhalted paladin, (even though we weren't running the book of exhalted deeds) but I'll be honest in saying that in doing so I criticized a lot of supposed holy people. For instance there was a knight that let dozens of people die because he was too arrogant to break his codes of valour to save there lives. I was in a similar situation, knocked everyone unconcious in surprise attacks, and saved the people. I told the DM that I would have started breaking my vow of peace if it saved the lives of the innocent, because my petty pride isn't worth there lives, and that I expected that I would fall for it.

That style of paladin play isn't what the game is about in my opinion. The PHB may extoll those sorts of virtues, but really they always show pictures of heavily armed shiny knight types wearing there expensive armour and gear, and they are expected to fight evil to the fullest. In other words, what makes a lawful good character fun and exciting in a typical game doesn't really relate to a strict reading of the rather messed up alignment charts in the PHB.

Piedmon_Sama
2009-06-27, 01:23 PM
Well if your PC exists in a realistic Medieval settings, those knights in shining armor have important functions collecting taxes (usually in foodstuffs) and acting as Justices in court as well as owing their King military allegience. The next time you see the Seneschal of the Lord of Hamfordingshire riding about in his fancy duds, remember he has to keep the books balanced for his whole castle and provision its populace while financing the equippage of troops. Have a little pity on the rich! :V

(PiedmonSama: Has been playing his first Good-Aligned PCs for a few weeks now and is already trying to fall.)

mistformsquirrl
2009-06-27, 01:34 PM
Saph, I'm fairly sure you're arguing Law vs Chaos here, and a specific brand of Law at that..

Let's look at a crunch example: The Knight. A knight can be any Lawful alignment - but is forbidden from ambush. This includes Lawful Evil knights. Now if Ambush and sneak attacks were by nature Evil, only the LG and LN knights would be forbidden to use them.

The Rogue on the other hand specifically has the mechanics (Stealth and Sneak Attack) to ambush a foe - no warning at all... and yet they can be any alignment. If stealth attacks were by nature Evil, Rogues would be required to be non-good. (While the assassin class specifically asks you to be evil, there are other classes with Death Attack that do not - and I'm not including Avenger due to it's status as a 'joke')

You're specifically telling me that you can't ambush an enemy as a Good character... and yet many heroic archetypes rely on exactly that.

Who was Robin Hood then, if not a Chaotic Good ranger/rogue?

A foe engaged in evil activity (note: Not just "they're alignment is evil" but actively doing evil deeds - this includes administrating an evil empire or otherwise being the 'brains' of an evil operation) is a legitimate target.

Unless of course you're trying to tell me that somehow being engaged in an evil activity is fine and precludes you from having your face pulped, so long as you aren't swinging a weapon yourself.

Let me set up another scenario for you:

You enter a dungeon filled with 'monsters'; who I will explicitly add, are not actually hurting anyone. However you need the artifact there or else horrible things will happen in the world at large.

You can try to negotiate, sure, but eventually you're going to come up against creatures you can't negotiate with. They'll attack, and largely it's your fault because you invaded their space. They did nothing to you except fight to protect their own homes (and be monsters in the 'creature type' sense). We can't use the 'but they're evil aligned' as an excuse; because the same is true of the good assassin's targets.

This is somehow not an evil act by the judgment of most DMs, players, and even published adventures. (Keep in mind, they're fighting to defend their homes - you're the intruder; even though you have a just cause.)

I have substantially more moral concern over that than I do about...

An assassin who sees their city crumbling around them and an evil overlord who they might just be able to get to. The overlord is as much on your own turf as you are on their's. (In fact, they might have been an invader.)

They have their guards brutalize the people and tax the peasants relentlessly solely to fill their own coffers...

But it would be an evil act to kill him because you can't accept their surrender or even offer it?

Now, in either of the above situations, if the primary motivator is cash - then yeah, almost assuredly that's evil.

Further examples:

Elves. CG - And how do they fight? Ambush tactics, using the forest as a weapon unto itself.

Or Gnomes, NG, who make use of a huge amount of misdirection and illusion. Do gnomes walk up, parley with the orc leader, and if he won't surrender, toss up a ton of illusions after the fact? (Silent Image under such circumstances wouldn't be nearly as much good.)

Traps - If ambushing people is definitely immoral, then a PC cannot use Glyphs of Warding or create and use any form of Trap; because traps are by nature ambush devices. That's the entire point of them. Nowhere have I read that traps are themselves in any way moral or immoral.

Like I said, I really think you're looking at this from a Law perspective, and a very particular one at that; not a Good perspective.

Just my opinion of course <. .> so take it for what it is.

hamishspence
2009-06-27, 01:40 PM
I'll be honest, I have run a "no kills" exhalted paladin, (even though we weren't running the book of exhalted deeds) but I'll be honest in saying that in doing so I criticized a lot of supposed holy people. For instance there was a knight that let dozens of people die because he was too arrogant to break his codes of valour to save there lives. I was in a similar situation, knocked everyone unconcious in surprise attacks, and saved the people. I told the DM that I would have started breaking my vow of peace if it saved the lives of the innocent, because my petty pride isn't worth there lives, and that I expected that I would fall for it.



Vow of peace isn't compulsary, not even for Exalted characters. Breaking it doesn't cause you to fall, just to lose that benefit of that particular feat.

If it was "sacrifice the innocent baby because it saved lives- and expects to fall for doing so" yes.

Starbuck_II
2009-06-27, 01:41 PM
Further examples:

Elves. CG - And how do they fight? Ambush tactics, using the forest as a weapon unto itself.



It gets worst Goblins ambush yet arew villified for doing same thing as elves. Seriously read the text in your Monster manual for both races.

Ambush is evil/cowardly is one guy does it, but not if you are an elf.

mikeejimbo
2009-06-27, 01:46 PM
I'd say she's Chaotic Neutral, but Chaotic Neutral played right. A lot of people around here seem to think that most people who play CN really want to be CE but their DM won't let them play an evil character.

mistformsquirrl
2009-06-27, 01:47 PM
Believe me, I'm not unaware of the dissonance there <,< That's throughout the books though.

I'd have to dig it up, but I'm almost sure I found an example where a Paladin/Rogue (background was "A rogue who came to the light") who still fought with a degree of stealth and guile.

Then another book where the exact same technique was pretty much trashed.

Then there's the weird "Poisons vs Ravages" thing - supposedly poisons are evil because they do nasty things to you (and can be incredibly painful) - hell to a degree I'd agree even! ... but then there's Ravages; which are basically the same thing "But good because I say so". They still hurt like hell; so I can't really see what the difference is other than some fluff >.<

*Edit*

This was directed at StarbuckII

Yukitsu
2009-06-27, 01:53 PM
Vow of peace isn't compulsary, not even for Exalted characters. Breaking it doesn't cause you to fall, just to lose that benefit of that particular feat.

If it was "sacrifice the innocent baby because it saved lives- and expects to fall for doing so" yes.

I know. I told the DM that I'm holding paladins to an ideal above exalted, where not only do they have to hold a set of ideals, they actually have to think about what they are doing.

Murdim
2009-06-27, 01:55 PM
There is still a paradox, Saph. Fighting the way you qualify as Good (and that I would qualify as borderline Lawful Stupid if systematically applied) is not only less effective, but also often requires to take way more lives than it would if the sneaky, dishonorable solution was applied instead.

Say the World domination plans© of your average Evil scheming tyrant/bandit lord/wizard/priest/whatsoever are soon to be carried out ; a quite common situation in your average fantasy world. You must stop him at all costs. Doing it the honorable way would cause the death of hundreds of his not-so-evil servants. Backstabbing him would take one single life, and one who is rotten to the core. Which solution respects life, and which one doesn't ?

Inevitable OotS Example : in strips 214 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0214.html)-215 (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0215.html), the Order must free a poor farmer from the tribe of ogres who abducted him. While Lawful Good, not-a-bleep-in-evil-o-meter Roy Greenhilt was elaborating a plan based on discretion and surprise to liberate the farmer without having to fight (and kill) any ogres besides the ones who guarded him, Lawful Stupid soon-to-be-Fallen Paladin Miko took the delicate initiative to wake up the whole tribe so that those evil creatures could all perish in the honorable fight who ensued. And we all know which one the author took sides for.

That doesn't mean that I consider that the character in question in this topic should be Chaotic Good. That doesn't mean either that I support the "kill first, ask questions later" mentality of many allegedly Good-aligned party. But I still think that systematically classifying the sneaky business as "wrong" is more of a matter of Lawfulness than one of Goodness, and more of a matter of honor than anything else.

LurkerInPlayground
2009-06-27, 02:03 PM
Snip
The real test, in my opinion, is being willing to do the job even when the pay is low or nonexistent if the reasons are right. (And likewise, not taking a job for the wrong reasons, no matter the price.) Ex: Said assassin is asked to deal with an underworld kingpin who's made life in the slums a living hell. The poor can't afford to pay, but they desperately need a champion. If you'll help them anyway, I'd say that's a sign for good. If you won't without pay... then you probably aren't good.

My 2 cents anyway.
Truncated for your viewing pleasure.

I can slim this down a bit. Intent and motivation counts for a lot and is generally the better indicator then whether a person demands pay for his good deeds.

Belkar does a lot of good but it's not because he wants to. He also goes to a lot of lengths to torment or murder people when it's not possible to keep him from doing so. Given a choice, he would murder and torment people that he is otherwise restricted from ever touching. He'll casually injure Roy just because he enjoys causing other people pain -- even though the 1d4 dagger isn't really much of a threat to Roy.

Although Belkar has resolved to be more subtle about his misdeeds, he'd still love to let his hair down and outright murder a bunch of people just because they looked at him funny.

A champion that knows that he's reasonably due for a reward that they're able to pay is different from a champion that'll really twist your arm on that specific point and will probably leave you to rot if you don't pay him. It's not a matter of pay so much as it is a matter of what motivations those actions represent.

hamishspence
2009-06-27, 02:04 PM
sounds about right- it's sneaky killings, rather than sneaky attacks, that warrant reexamination.

LurkerInPlayground
2009-06-27, 02:09 PM
Then there's the weird "Poisons vs Ravages" thing - supposedly poisons are evil because they do nasty things to you (and can be incredibly painful) - hell to a degree I'd agree even! ... but then there's Ravages; which are basically the same thing "But good because I say so". They still hurt like hell; so I can't really see what the difference is other than some fluff >.<
There's also the fact that Good is still allowed to beat things violently to death with weapons which are heavy, spiky, pointy, edged or some combination thereof. If not outright fry things with fire, lightning or some other equally exotic weapon.

I tell you, Old School D&D never seemed to have a problem with this sort of moral incongruity. Your first priority wasn't necessarily to maximize the common good so much as to beat the tar out of monsters if they got to be too inconvenient in the quest for more loot.

mistformsquirrl
2009-06-27, 02:13 PM
There's also the fact that Good is still allowed to beat things violently to death with weapons which are heavy, spiky, pointy, edged or some combination thereof. If not outright fry things with fire, lightning or some other equally exotic weapon.

Well right hehe - I mean, I can burn your face off with acid... I can even make it Consecrated holy acid if I so wish.

<. .> If I remember right, that means the spell has the Good descriptor too, despite being imo easily one of the worst ways to go.

*edit*

Oh, or blowing someone's eardrums with a Sonic spell - that's always 'nice' >.> or permanently cursing them.

Permanently making someone insane isn't evil. (Insanity spell)

Permanently imprisoning them in suspended animation where no one is ever likely to find them isn't evil. (Imprisonment spell)

Turning someone into a Toad isn't evil.

Etc etc...

There are far, far worse things that a Good character can get away with than backstabbing an evil person; including things I personally would never use even in a stand up battle where the other individual very much has it coming.

Harperfan7
2009-06-27, 02:26 PM
Killing people for money = evil.

Killing evil people for money (that you use on your self - such as buying a house or fine wine) = neutral

Killing evil people for money (that you use to better equip yourself for fighting evil) = good?

Remember, good characters can't fight evil without money to buy the stuff they need to fight evil with.

I don't think it's the killing for money that's bad, it's what you do with the money you kill evil for.

hamishspence
2009-06-27, 02:26 PM
"spell does not have evil descriptor" is not the same as "use of that spell is not evil" There are circumstances when they might be extremely evil.

Though yes- if the "inflicting unnecessarly suffering" rule in BoED was applied rigorously across the board, it might rule out an awful lot of acts- including using ravages, most of the time.

As Terry Pratchett put it "the Patrician was, however, bang alongside the notion of necessary suffering."

Callos_DeTerran
2009-06-27, 02:27 PM
Then there's the weird "Poisons vs Ravages" thing - supposedly poisons are evil because they do nasty things to you (and can be incredibly painful) - hell to a degree I'd agree even! ... but then there's Ravages; which are basically the same thing "But good because I say so". They still hurt like hell; so I can't really see what the difference is other than some fluff >.<

Actually that's a bit of a misconception. The majority of Ravages are explicitly painless while providing the same effects as poison which is what makes them good. Putting an enemy to sleep via Ravage? Not evil. Sending them into nightmare-fueled slumber via poison? Evil. That's the main difference between ravages and poisons that I've seen people miss a bunch.

And I don't think Saph was trying to say that ambush was wrong.

You saw that ambush was being decried as wrong, but it's what you do with it that Saph was demonstrating.

Spring an ambush and try to force surrender by show of numbers/surprise/force? Good(ish) since you are preserving the lives of the people. Nobody is SUPPOSED to get killed.

Spring an ambush and just do non-lethal? Good, since nobody died, but Good should try diplomacy first if possible. Even if that diplomacy is 'surrender, and nobody gets hurt!' Remember, talking is a free action.

Spring an ambush and go right for the kills? Neutral, maybe Evil depending on who they were. Bandits? Neutral. Merchants? Well, that makes you the evil bandit then. Accepting surrender when offered makes it a quasi-Good act, but you still jumped right to bloodshed as an answer.

Spring an ambush and only do non-lethal, but only for the express purposes of torturing them for information/profit/lulz? Do I even need to point out how this one is evil?

I think the point Saph was making is...

'Good doesn't jump right to violence or bloodshed, it tries to find a peaceful way'.

Take Robin Hood. In some stories he never harms the hair on a guard or soldiers head. He fights the oppression by giving wealth to the poor, which is non-violent, but he used bloodless/violent methods to acquire the wealth in the first place.

mistformsquirrl
2009-06-27, 02:46 PM
"spell does not have evil descriptor" is not the same as "use of that spell is not evil" There are circumstances when they might be extremely evil.

Though yes- if the "inflicting unnecessarly suffering" rule in BoED was applied rigorously across the board, it might rule out an awful lot of acts- including using ravages, most of the time.

As Terry Pratchett put it "the Patrician was, however, bang alongside the notion of necessary suffering."

Certainly - there's plenty of time when splashing someone in the face with acid would be wrong <@[email protected]>m Heck - I'd happily say that even in times when you desperately need to kill someone, there are FAR better ways to do it than... splashing their face with acid. Even Holy acid.

However in battle, (not after the fact, I'm talking during combat) all of those spells are perfectly reasonable via alignment, despite, at least to my eyes, being so horrendous that I'd have a hard time bringing myself to use them even in open warfare against a sworn enemy.

Heck, if I hit someone with Insanity during a battle; I'd practically feel compelled to break the spell after the fact - I'd rather have a sane prisoner than some poor guy who doesn't even know what's going on anymore.

Or again... the holy acid. >.<

I guess what I'm saying is - all of these things are tools, both spells and tactics like attacking from stealth (including assassination) ... but I have substantially more difficulty saying it's OK to hit someone with an acid bath, which may leave them alive and in horrifying pain, than I do with killing them quickly and quietly. With the right tool they may never even feel it.

@Callos - You sure about that with the ravages? I'll have to look at them again, but I was quite sure they were very painful... it's been awhile though.

That said; I disagree, for reasons stated above.

I'm not saying jumping in with the violence is the best solution all the time - especially against enemies who aren't really evil, but are doing something that's causing some trouble.

I'm saying that against a known evil opponent engaged in evil activity (not just "being evil and existing" - but actually causing trouble), there is no reason to say it's 'evil' to strike them when they aren't looking. They're doing evil -and by being engaged in evil, are attacking *someone*, either by starvation and brutalization or enslavement or any number of other devices.

So unless their evil is very petty or minor, in which case it won't likely be showing up on player's radar for long... well yah, like I've said before. I've got more trouble reconciling hitting someone on the battlefield - even an evil someone who I'd kill for certain - with a spell like Imprisonment than I would offing them before the fighting begins.

Imprisonment means the Soul never passes on because they aren't dead... they're asleep forever - and if you hit say... a generic mook with that spell; who's ever going to come and cast Freedom to get them out?

So if someone can cast Imprisonment, or melt someone with acid, or any number of other things... yeah ><

I'm sorry I'd much much rather be stabbed.

*edit*

Just looked up Ravages...

They do indeed cause pain. However one could argue that they're acceptable because they "Turn the moral corruption of evil creatures into physical corruption that wracks their bodies"

I still find that suspect personally; but then maybe I'm strange for being of the opinion that quick death is much preferable to lingering suffering - even if the latter is much deserved.

*double edit*

Eww... one of them makes the enemy practically starve... yeah that's nice >.<

hamishspence
2009-06-27, 02:57 PM
Given that, at least according to Heroes of Horror, or Eberron, Evil does not necessarily mean "deserves to be attacked", I'd say, poisons and ravages should be equal- ravages may only work on the evil, but that doesn't mean the use of them without justification is Good.

mistformsquirrl
2009-06-27, 03:10 PM
I'd agree completely. That's one reason I specifically stipulated "Engaged in evil activity".

Simply existing and having an evil alignment isn't an excuse. If a tribe of orcs are on the periphery of your kingdom, but aren't *doing* anything... then let them be.

Be wary; but they haven't done anything yet, so leave them be.

I suppose this is one thing I didn't cover before - pre-emptive strikes. There are *very* few situations where I'd consider a pre-emptive engagement something good people could do without violating their alignment... there are too many "what ifs?" and not enough "Yes, they were definitely doing X, which is evil."

Even ironclad proof would be iffy at best - because evidence, even seemingly very very good evidence, can be faked. That doesn't mean ignoring the threat; but stepping up patrols, focusing your intelligence in that direction, etc... is a better way.

But again, that's why I made the distinction of "actively engaged". Simply "being evil" is explicitly stated to not be reason enough.

hamishspence
2009-06-27, 03:17 PM
How about "being an evil dragon related to the dragon I just killed"?

Does "always CE" or "always LE" on a non-outsider constitute "Always justified to kill?"

Worira
2009-06-27, 03:24 PM
I applaud her business sense. Remember the ninth Rule of Acquisition: "Opportunity plus instinct equals profit."

And the tenth, "Also, it helps if anyone will ever hire you again in your life."

Callos_DeTerran
2009-06-27, 03:26 PM
@Callos - You sure about that with the ravages? I'll have to look at them again, but I was quite sure they were very painful... it's been awhile though.

Pretty sure, but it's been close to a year since I've cracked open my Book of Exalted Deeds.


I'm not saying jumping in with the violence is the best solution all the time - especially against enemies who aren't really evil, but are doing something that's causing some trouble.

I'm saying that against a known evil opponent engaged in evil activity (not just "being evil and existing" - but actually causing trouble), there is no reason to say it's 'evil' to strike them when they aren't looking. They're doing evil -and by being engaged in evil, are attacking *someone*, either by starvation and brutalization or enslavement or any number of other devices.

Against such an opponent, I'd still say the course for a Good character, a normal one and not an Exalted or SMITE THINE MOST EVIL FOE type, would be to try and bring them down without violence or hell, even redeem them. Redemption is a paramount thing in fantasy and it's alarming that most PCs I've seen ignore that or would rather just mind-rape an enemy into being Good then actually trying to redeem them. So I'm not saying it's 'evil' to strike them when they aren't looking either (certainly dishonorable, but that's Lawful and Chaotic there) but I'm saying it is a Neutral act like all violence is that's not tainted by evil intent. It would be a Good act to get the villain to stop, redeem him/her/them, or, in the case of Lawful Evil, work within the very same society to remove them from a position to harm others.

This is also why I rarely play Good myself, I hold it up to a high ideal just like I do Evil. And the majority of my characters don't fit or their methods don't allow for that ideal of Good or Evil.


So unless their evil is very petty or minor, in which case it won't likely be showing up on player's radar for long... well yah, like I've said before. I've got more trouble reconciling hitting someone on the battlefield - even an evil someone who I'd kill for certain - with a spell like Imprisonment than I would offing them before the fighting begins.

Imprisonment means the Soul never passes on because they aren't dead... they're asleep forever - and if you hit say... a generic mook with that spell; who's ever going to come and cast Freedom to get them out?

I think that's mostly personal qualms there because Imprisonment comes down to...'Did their crimes warrant death or is eternal imprisonment better?' More importantly a Good (as I see it) character is compelled to cast Freedom on an Imprisoned mook since they are generally fairly quick to redemption unlike BBEGS (mostly). Especially if they are just someone doing their job...and who the heck casts Imprisonment on a mook? O.o


Just looked up Ravages...

They do indeed cause pain. However one could argue that they're acceptable because they "Turn the moral corruption of evil creatures into physical corruption that wracks their bodies"

I still find that suspect personally; but then maybe I'm strange for being of the opinion that quick death is much preferable to lingering suffering - even if the latter is much deserved.

My mistake then, I could have sworn ravages and afflictions were generally painless and thus the reason they were good and not poisons. Not for the 'only harm evil creatures' one. Maybe it was a house rule of mine. I'unno. And personally, I'd rather take the lingering suffering over the quick death. :smalltongue: With the lingering suffering, there is always the chance to survive. Even for something like Imprisonment. Sure the chances are abysmally low, but it still exists.

mistformsquirrl
2009-06-27, 03:32 PM
I personally *hate* the "Always" alignments, to be honest >< - and if we go by m y personal house rulings where there's no such thing as an Always - alignment, then no, it's not justified.

However, assuming we go by the book rulings, technically they are justified. That's why you get crusades to the Hells. (If I remember correctly, Fiendish Codex I has a layer of the Abyss that's a constant war between the forces of Good, Elysium I think, and the demons that live there. Now - the reason for that war at the present is due to good children being trapped their - however the whole reason this is the case is due to the forces of Good making an attack there to begin with a long, long time ago. Keeping in mind these are Always Good outsiders; so unless they're breaking their alignment...)

But like I said - I personally hate the Always alignments because questions like this I find cause really stupid situations in RP, like offering you a ridiculously black and white view of a given circumstance - such as -

"Well, it's a black dragon, so we should just up and kill it!" - And really, if you go by the rules, why wouldn't you just up and kill it? Unlike Orcs, there are no 'neutral' members of the species - certainly no Good members. And given it's long lifecycle, it's almost bound to do something hideously evil eventually.

But I can't let myself say "Yeah, kill the dragon" just because of that; even though I'm fairly sure the books back that action up.

Demons and Devils I'm a *little* more willing to just say "... well yeah..." but that's because they're intended to be personifications of Evil. Even then there's something in the back of my head that doesn't like that answer though >.< Still, compared to orcs, neither species is supposedly redeemable. Orcs at least have neutral and (rarely) good members of their species. Ie: It's possible to find orcish innocents. Finding an innocent black dragon... would be difficult. (Though if I were DMing I'd allow someone to raise a Wyrmling good. This again, being a houserule, not the rules by any stretch.)

*edit*

@Callos - Well the imprisonment on a mook thing was mostly an example: But I can see it being used on a particularly powerful one.

Keep in mind, in D&D there's a guaranteed afterlife and you can be rezzed if necessary. (Not that this warrants indiscriminate killing; but rather, dying quickly and painlessly isn't even necessarily the "end") - I'm really curious to know: In what situation is eternal imprisonment a better punishment than death? You can't tell me that it's a lesser punishment than death... and death for an Evil character is pretty bad, given the whole Hells thing ><;

As for redemption: I'm fairly sure that's specifically an idea for Exalted good characters. Keep in mind what you're talking here:

Who is worthy of redemption? Every 2 bit mook? Just the bosses? (Why are their lives, who have caused much more suffering, more valuable than the mooks?" You can't save everyone.

You can't even offer to save everyone, because at some point the BBEG is going to sick said mooks on you, and you'll have to stab them anyway.

That doesn't mean never try - but redemption is something that happens after the battle is over with prisoners who (willingly - not at swordpoint) change their ways after much delibaration. Or with an NPC you've been working on for a long time to take them away from the BBEG.

Trying it against a foe like the many times mentioned Evil Tyrant is... well not only is it unlikely, you're likely to get laughed at and then have the guards come beat you senseless ><

I guess what I'm saying is: Redemption is, as the ghost of Soon said in OOTS - a rare and special thing. It doesn't happen often, and most of your foes wouldn't be interested, and more still would simply fail outright in the attempt. (In practical terms: It only happens when the DM wants it to happen; and generally there will be hints in that direction. Yes, its' a bit metagamey, but it's true, and bogging down the campaign by trying to redeem every orc you find is just going to get you hit with Smite Annoying Player >.<_

hamishspence
2009-06-27, 03:49 PM
MM "Unique or rare exceptions"

Give that non-evil chromatics crop up in D&D sources (Dragon Magazine, The Fall Of Myth Drannor, I emphasise the "rare exceptions"

Especially when it comes to killing a quarter of ALL black dragons- eggs, wyrmlings- the lot.

Even if finding a non-evil dragon is hard, it may be much less evil than a fiend. And redeeming one is much easier than redeeming fiends.

Also, Always X never seems to apply to celestials- D&D sources have many examples of Evil celestials who haven't fallen all the way to fiend.

Similarly, fiends and half-fiends have the odd exception (N half-fiend gargoyle shopkeeper in Epic Handbook, Fall-From-Grace in Planescape Torment)

Also, ironically, its the Exalted character who has to look at the "Ideally, you should be trying to redeem bad guys" whereas the "PHB only" players have an annoying tendency to insist that Kill Em All is the only correct response.

Murdim
2009-06-27, 04:50 PM
If I remember correctly, Fiendish Codex I has a layer of the Abyss that's a constant war between the forces of Good, Elysium I think, and the demons that live there.Actually, they're eladrins from Arborea. That makes more sense in a warped way, since Chaotic Good is technically almost always depicted as Cheap Good (and LG as Superior Good) in the D&D-based multiverses despite the three Good alignments being supposed to be worth the same.


"Well, it's a black dragon, so we should just up and kill it!" - And really, if you go by the rules, why wouldn't you just up and kill it? Unlike Orcs, there are no 'neutral' members of the species - certainly no Good members. And given it's long lifecycle, it's almost bound to do something hideously evil eventually.Rare non-evil exceptions aside, a possible reason why killing a chromatic dragon for being a chromatic dragon is evil would be that, even if they're always Evil, they're still far from being in the same moral state than fiends. A fiend is litterally made of Evil, and are pure Evil in every possible aspect of their personality. A chromatic dragon is a being capable of moral judgment, even able of deliberately doing a Good act, but who has, as a whole, an insuperable leaning towards Evilness. A non-Outsider Evil-aligned being isn't supposed to act systematically on an Evil way, and dragons aren't exceptions.


Also, ironically, its the Exalted character who has to look at the "Ideally, you should be trying to redeem bad guys" Well, I reckon that it actually is something every Good-aligned characters should think. With a strong emphasis on the "ideally". A non-Exalted Good character is intended to make the difference between the situations where they need to sacrifice potentially redeemable souls and begin to kick butts, and the ones when they can do a bit of proselytism. And for those who are not very talented in the talky stuff, or those whose manner to do Good doesn't make them appear as radiant paragons of virtue, the instances of the second case become very, very exceptional and circumstancial, independantly of the strongness of their devotion to Good.

Of course, Exalted people as usually described would try to do everything ideally, but they seem to lack the wisdom needed to actually do so, usually trying to redeem the big bad guys with a name, an importance and class level while letting the mooks being slaughtered by their "less upright" teammates :smallannoyed:

hamishspence
2009-06-27, 05:29 PM
yes- "what measure is a mook" indeed.

Starbuck_II
2009-06-27, 05:38 PM
Rare non-evil exceptions aside, a possible reason why killing a chromatic dragon for being a chromatic dragon is evil would be that, even if they're always Evil, they're still far from being in the same moral state than fiends. A fiend is litterally made of Evil, and are pure Evil in every possible aspect of their personality.


But even creatures made entirely of evil can Exalted or even Paladins. Look at WotC succubus Paladin.

hamishspence
2009-06-27, 05:46 PM
I figure some of this out as "demons ta'naari are first and foremost, mortal souls transformed by the Abyss" So, whatever they are now, a trace of the original mortal still exists.

Technically neither diplomacy not Sanctify will work on them though- they have to choose to change, themselves.

there is a ritual in Savage Species that removes subtypes like the Evil subtype from creatures. It works on outsiders. And generally doesn't kill them.

(using the ritual to cause direct change from Evil to Good alignment though, can be hazardous to the creature)

So, while evil is a part of their makeup, it can be overcome.

Curmudgeon
2009-06-27, 05:57 PM
What if she was an Avenger?
Well, then she'd be playing an April Fool's trick (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/prc/20070401a) on the DM.
As befitting the spirit of April Fool's Day, we offer the following variant of an existing prestige class... in this case, a look at when assassins go good. This isn't meant to be taken seriously. Assassins are evil.

Yukitsu
2009-06-27, 05:58 PM
Then slayer of domiel, who are exalted assassins.

Tiki Snakes
2009-06-27, 06:49 PM
"Unaligned."
Problem solved. Stupid Alignment System.

Seriously though, sounds like you're playing an interesting and well thought out character. Just keep doing what you're doing and don't sweat the small stuff. If your 'alignment' is important for mechanical, in-game-reasons, just let your DM tell you what it is, then carry on playing Your Character as you see fit. (Assuming the smite-alignment attack doesn't kill you. ;) )

Teron
2009-06-27, 08:05 PM
But even creatures made entirely of evil can Exalted or even Paladins. Look at WotC succubus Paladin.
Given the circumstances of its creation (conceived by a forum member, statted out because it won a poll), the succubus paladin barely counts as official material. Its validity as an example is therefore questionable.

LurkerInPlayground
2009-06-27, 10:05 PM
"Always" alignments aren't so bad. If a dragon is "always evil" then it's easy to fluff it as an amoral alien force ala Beowulf. You can justify it from a more mythological grounding that a biological one.

Furthermore, people obsess way too much about whether something is labeled good or evil in D&D. Particularly since that wasn't the original assumption of D&D.

It wasn't about maximizing the common good. That's a more recent trend toward "epic" fantasy. D&D was originally a story about rakes and scoundrels who live on the fringe of society for a shot at wealth or glory. They then either get status or die horribly to the alien forces that beset civilization.

The entire point was that D&D was morally ambiguous. It was about people who didn't mind profiting by violence. So it is rather appropriate that "Law" and "Chaos" were the only two alignments from the inception of the game.

4e compromises some of the contradictions surrounding alignments by simply de-emphasizing its importance altogether and it's a change I'm rather happy with.

P.S.
Disfiguring a person's face with acid is pretty horrible because you are literally destroying their "soul" -- in any concrete and meaningful sense of the word. It's integral to people's identity and is vital for communicating emotions, etcetera.

Jergmo
2009-06-27, 11:04 PM
Yikes, I hadn't noticed this was up to 3 pages.


Actually, thats a pretty fair summary of how BoED handles it. If person surrenders you must take them prisoner, and, at least ideally, you should offer them chance to surrender, rather than wait for them to do so of their own volition.

Circumstances may mitigate against this though- a spying/scouting mission in the middle of a war, for example.

Adventurers generally don't, in fact, have the right to try, sentence, and execute people on the spot.

What does this assassin go after- Crime Lords, Tyrants, Monsters?

Yes, along those lines. She was also contracted to kill a rapist who wasn't being prosecuted. So she killed him, so that he couldn't harm anyone else.


Wait, she accepted a job, then renegotiated when her employer was incapacitated? I don't care if she's neutral or good, she's never getting another contract again.

She hadn't actually been hired. The guy refused to give her fair payment and marched off on his own.


"Unaligned."
Problem solved. Stupid Alignment System.

Seriously though, sounds like you're playing an interesting and well thought out character. Just keep doing what you're doing and don't sweat the small stuff. If your 'alignment' is important for mechanical, in-game-reasons, just let your DM tell you what it is, then carry on playing Your Character as you see fit. (Assuming the smite-alignment attack doesn't kill you. ;) )

Actually, maybe I should have clarified, but I'm the DM at the moment. This character has been in another campaign, though, and was originally one of my main characters from an MMO. Anyway, thank you! It's less of a mechanical issue, and more of a roleplaying one, classifying what my character is.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-06-27, 11:59 PM
Originally after taking the alignment quiz, this character got Chaotic Neutral, though this has shifted to Chaotic Good. Really, I'm not certain about that -- it gets complicated.
Chaotic Neutral.

Chaotic Good characters are Good. Being Good means:

Good characters and creatures protect innocent life.

. . .

"Good" implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.
So far, nothing you've said indicates that any of these apply to her. Then again, nothing she's done says she's Evil - and the middle-of-the road is, by definition, Neutral.

Remember that thinking that The Man treats people poorly is not the same as making "personal sacrifices to help others." And, in general, an assassin that only does work for money isn't going to show up as Good; surely there has been some poor person who has been wronged by an Evildoer who couldn't afford (or even think to ask for) her services.

Jergmo
2009-06-28, 12:11 AM
Chaotic Neutral.

Chaotic Good characters are Good. Being Good means:

So far, nothing you've said indicates that any of these apply to her. Then again, nothing she's done says she's Evil - and the middle-of-the road is, by definition, Neutral.

Remember that thinking that The Man treats people poorly is not the same as making "personal sacrifices to help others." And, in general, an assassin that only does work for money isn't going to show up as Good; surely there has been some poor person who has been wronged by an Evildoer who couldn't afford (or even think to ask for) her services.

I've said like three times now that she defends people who can't pay for her services. She's merely having people who have buttloads of money and aren't doing any good with it inadvertently help everyone else. Also, someone talked about earlier about how the money was being spent. Most of it does go towards the her equipment and that of her teammates. They use just enough for their personal stuff that they live comfortably and have some luxuries, but they're not trying to be opulent.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-06-28, 12:25 AM
I've said like three times now that she defends people who can't pay for her services. She's merely having people who have buttloads of money and aren't doing any good with it inadvertently help everyone else.
Then she can certainly be CG.

Like I said, nothing from the OP suggests Evil behavior, and, to be honest, offering to help a guy and being rejected isn't exactly Not Good. Heck, if her price was reasonable, and she either believed they could take on the wizard by themselves or that she could save them from death if they failed, then where's the question? Nowhere in the Good alignment does it say you have to take unreasonable risks to protect people who place themselves in danger.

Also: Being Good doesn't mean you can't be a jerk. Pride and vanity are not necessarily Not Good traits anymore than humility is always Not Evil.

Jergmo
2009-06-28, 12:32 AM
Then she can certainly be CG.

Like I said, nothing from the OP suggests Evil behavior, and, to be honest, offering to help a guy and being rejected isn't exactly Not Good. Heck, if her price was reasonable, and she either believed they could take on the wizard by themselves or that she could save them from death if they failed, then where's the question? Nowhere in the Good alignment does it say you have to take unreasonable risks to protect people who place themselves in danger.

Also: Being Good doesn't mean you can't be a jerk. Pride and vanity are not necessarily Not Good traits anymore than humility is always Not Evil.

Well, despite apparently being Lawful Good, the whole premise of the expedition was because the people of this land are of a different culture. They were going to "liberate" wealth that "belonged" to their homeland because of the war that happened between the two regions -- ten years ago. I'm not sure how that guy was trying to convince me that he could stay Good for long, but then, he was using a paladin variant, so he didn't really have any powers that could be taken away. It was more of a purely martial combat variety. Their first action when entering the region was slaughtering and burning down a small farming village and taking some art they recovered. Which, as it turns out, indicated that they were of religious significance, in fact, of the same deity that the paladin worships, among several other deities they recognized, when the premise of THAT attack was heathenism. Then, he lied to a group of monks about what happened, saying they had no involvement when the monks discovered that the village had burned down, as the few survivors had tried to flee to their monastery but were cut down by monsters. He was at the last thread of a very thin rope of me saying "Yeah, uh-huh. Your character is a Paladin of Tyranny." Evidently this was all justified because they were orcs and goblinoids.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-06-28, 12:53 AM
Yeah, see that? That's a problem.

STEP 1 - Launching a war-of-choice for loot is Not Good
STEP 2 - Needlessly slaughtering a town for loot is Evil
STEP 3 - Lying to escape responsibility for your actions is Not Lawful

By that point, I'd have put him at NE and called it a day; if he wanted to be LE he could have at least been artful about his deception! He should have tried to justify his actions instead of telling a blatant falsehood; see Therkla (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0562.html) for a "good" example :smallamused:

Jergmo
2009-06-28, 12:58 AM
Yeah, see that? That's a problem.

STEP 1 - Launching a war-of-choice for loot is Not Good
STEP 2 - Needlessly slaughtering a town for loot is Evil
STEP 3 - Lying to escape responsibility for your actions is Not Lawful

By that point, I'd have put him at NE and called it a day; if he wanted to be LE he could have at least been artful about his deception! He should have tried to justify his actions instead of telling a blatant falsehood; see Therkla (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0562.html) for a "good" example :smallamused:

OH, YEAH! I forgot! And when one of his followers tried to speak up, saying "Hey, that's not what happened, you magnificent bastard!", he threatened him into shutting up.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-06-28, 01:01 AM
OH, YEAH! I forgot! And when one of his followers tried to speak up, saying "Hey, that's not what happened, you magnificent bastard!", he threatened him into shutting up.
Well, that was Evil, to be sure, but it wasn't necessarily Not Lawful; LE types threaten folks all the time into keeping quiet :smallbiggrin:

Of course, considering he had just slaughtered a village for no good reason, "threatening cohorts" is pretty small beer. :smalltongue:

Jergmo
2009-06-28, 01:08 AM
Well, that was Evil, to be sure, but it wasn't necessarily Not Lawful; LE types threaten folks all the time into keeping quiet :smallbiggrin:

Of course, considering he had just slaughtered a village for no good reason, "threatening cohorts" is pretty small beer. :smalltongue:

The court finds you guilty of genocide, wide-scale theft, and harsh language!

Oracle_Hunter
2009-06-28, 01:10 AM
The court finds you guilty of genocide, wide-scale theft, and harsh language!
Lawful Court: Trial by Judge
Neutral Court: Trial by Jury
Chaotic Court: Trial by Bear


:biggrin:

Jergmo
2009-06-28, 01:20 AM
Lawful Court: Trial by Judge
Neutral Court: Trial by Jury
Chaotic Court: Trial by Bear


:biggrin:

What kind of modifiers does the defense get for a Chewbacca Defense in each?

Jergmo
2009-06-28, 02:14 AM
Aw, jeez, I probably should have cleared this up some time ago. The character isn't an actual Assassin. She's a rogue/swashbuckler/Dashing Swordsman.

huttj509
2009-06-28, 02:24 AM
What kind of modifiers does the defense get for a Chewbacca Defense in each?

The judge glares at you for nedlessly obfuscating your argument and threatens you with contempt.

The jury is suitably confused and doesn't want to be there anyway, success!

Chewbacca successfully wrestles the bear, defending you from it.

Saph
2009-06-28, 04:09 AM
You're specifically telling me that you can't ambush an enemy as a Good character...

*sigh* Please find the quote in my posts where I said that.

I'll repeat it again: Good characters use lethal force as a last resort. That doesn't mean you can't ever ambush someone. It does mean you should try to find nonlethal ways of resolving situations whenever possible.

If your first and preferred method of solving problems is to kill the other guy . . . then you're not Good. Not Lawful Good, and not Chaotic Good.


Like I said, I really think you're looking at this from a Law perspective, and a very particular one at that; not a Good perspective.

I think, like many people in these alignment threads, you're arguing with an imaginary person rather than with me. The rest of your post doesn't have anything much to do with what I've been saying, so I can't really respond to it.


But I still think that systematically classifying the sneaky business as "wrong" is more of a matter of Lawfulness than one of Goodness, and more of a matter of honor than anything else.

Same goes for this. Find the line where I said "being sneaky is wrong"?

Assassins are generally evil. They're not evil because they're sneaky. They're evil because they kill people for money. It doesn't matter whether they do it by sneaking around or face to face.

- Saph

daggaz
2009-06-28, 04:25 AM
I'd say Chaotic Neutral. She's not vicious enough to be Evil, but your explanation of the 'assassin' part pretty much disqualifies her from Good.

It's not impossible to have a Good character who explicitly makes her living by being paid to kill people, but you have to have some REALLY strong commitments to balance it out. "I only assassinate people once I'm convinced they're evil" isn't enough.

- Saph

Are you kidding? Killing people is bread and butter in DnD, lets not get real world morality involved with the action, but instead look at the reasoning behind it.

The character goes out of her way to ensure that the people she offs are evil. Thats about as good as you can get and still be an adventurer. Neutral means she doesn't really care either way (and hence, doesnt ask) or she tries to make it a balance so that neither side gets too uppity. She is doing neither here. So Neutral is out. I dont think I need to put in the reasoning against evil alignment, tho I am sure there are plenty of folks out there ready to take up that torch.

Chaotic Good, but not afraid to get her daggers wet.

Usually I think you are spot on with your DM calls, Saph, but this time I would say you've got it wrong.

Coidzor
2009-06-28, 04:58 AM
Sounds CN and call it a day. Morally flexible but not without qualms or sympathy.

Simply choosing to prey on the "socially acceptable" targets that are those with Evil alignments does not Goodness make.

y'know, that whole... Not-good does not mean evil. Not-evil does not mean good.

Pretty much the only leeway for her alignment beyond her actions is to examine the root psychology of her.

Why does she hunt down the evil? Because she was hurt in the past and is still taking out vengeance against a vanquished or vanished abuser? Because her sense of right and wrong demand that those that oppress and harm others must have that capability removed from them? Because they're morally acceptable targets for the acquisition of loot? Because she has a bloodlust to sate and knows that's the only way to keep it and the advantages of polite society?

Saph
2009-06-28, 05:02 AM
Are you kidding? Killing people is bread and butter in DnD, lets not get real world morality involved with the action, but instead look at the reasoning behind it.

Once again, the D&D definition of Good, as found in the Player's Handbook, is: "altruism, repect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make sacrifices to help others." Would you say that treating killing people as 'bread and butter' demonstrates respect for life?

- Saph

mistformsquirrl
2009-06-28, 09:16 AM
*sigh* Please find the quote in my posts where I said that.

I'll repeat it again: Good characters use lethal force as a last resort. That doesn't mean you can't ever ambush someone. It does mean you should try to find nonlethal ways of resolving situations whenever possible.

If your first and preferred method of solving problems is to kill the other guy . . . then you're not Good. Not Lawful Good, and not Chaotic Good.



I think, like many people in these alignment threads, you're arguing with an imaginary person rather than with me. The rest of your post doesn't have anything much to do with what I've been saying, so I can't really respond to it.

Same goes for this. Find the line where I said "being sneaky is wrong"?

Assassins are generally evil. They're not evil because they're sneaky. They're evil because they kill people for money. It doesn't matter whether they do it by sneaking around or face to face.

- Saph


First up:

<. .> Just an FYI - I'm talking to several people, not just yourself; so, I don't mean to be confusing, but some of those points are things I'm talking to others about. I'm also bringing up points as I think of them - things that I find frankly contradictory about D&D "good". Specifically certain spells and items (Ravages particularly) that I find incredibly questionable.

Err, in other words - I'm not directing every statement at you, I'm directing them at multiple people and sometimes I forget to do an @- to denote the name. (Not trying to be confusing, but it happens unfortunately <x_x> I ain't perfect.) Other times it's just a matter of during the course of my writing, it's easier to work a given comment into a statement I'm already making than re-iterate it again and again.

Second - RE: "I never said you can't ambush..."

You're telling me I have to offer them surrender, remember? I can't do that AND ambush them - because offering surrender means I'm showing myself and making myself a known quantity. You also specifically said being good meant giving up a lot of combat advantages, including ambush earlier in the thread, remember?

- This is the relevant statement:


Yes. It does. So this raises the question: what's more important to you? Would you try to talk things out and resolve matters without bloodshed? Would you ambush them, but try and do nonlethal damage so as to leave them alive? Or would you just kill them all from ambush without asking questions?

Your alignment is defined by your answers to these kinds of questions. A Good character will answer one way; an Evil one another.

Now since it seems to bother you, I'll note that in many cases, acting in a Good-aligned way does make you less effective in combat. You can't kill as quickly and as casually as an Evil character would.

- Note that while you're technically leaving open non-lethal damage; that's not really an option a lot of the time, especially in dealing with the individuals we're talking about here. Again - say I incapacitate the tyrant... then what? Where do I take him to be tried? How do I get him out of the city? Heck I'm practically kidnapping him at this point anyway.

Of course that also means you're failing to take into account that the individuals we're talking about have been offered surrender by others. The evil tyrant was surely asked to back down before he came to power - but didn't.

The crime lord's victims most definitely begged for mercy; and probably a few have stood up to him before.

We're not talking people who've never been given the chance to peacefully resolve the situation.

Keep in mind as well that I explicitly mentioned that pre-emptive attacks are not legitimate in the vast majority of cases - they leave too much to chance and too many innocent people vulnerable (yes, even Orcs or something similar). That means killing is definitely *not* the first resort - far from it. It *does* mean I'm not going to announce myself when the time for reckoning comes.

So for example:

If I hear about a plot with a duke who is trying to take over the kingdom from within - no, I'm not going to kill him. He hasn't done anything yet. I *am* going to look for evidence and work against him; but because I am good, I am not going to attack someone who has yet to do anything evil yet.

Just as an aside - I do want to also mention that occasional evil acts do not make a person non-good necessarily. Only repeated engagement without thought or regret does that. This is why Grey Guard* (paladin prestige class) works as it does. You're still Lawful Good; your code is still in place... but you are given dispensation to occasionally go out of bounds. That said it's not something you like to do, and doing so flagrantly or regularly would still cause you to fall.

*Grey Guard, Complete Scoundrel, Page 40

Keeping in mind that this is a prestige class for Paladins of all people - the Best of the Best; the Goodest of the Good.

The reason I keep pointing out classes like this is because I really think you're looking at Good from a very specific PoV (a lawful good one, and a particular lawful good one at that). Which is to say - you aren't wrong; but you're not seeing the entire spectrum of what Good is. Good isn't always shiny and untarnished - sometimes its grimy and ugly.

I also want to repeat - I've said several times: Money cannot be the primary motivator. We both seem to firmly agree on this point, so I'm confused as to why it keeps coming up >.<

Anyway, I don't think I'm going to change your mind, and that's perfectly fine hehe <. .> We've all got our opinions and are entitled to them. (It'd be a damn boring world if we didn't if you ask me.) I really don't have anything more to say on the subject though.

So anyway <. .> *hat tip* thank you for the respectful debate; I think I shall take my leave.

Coidzor
2009-06-28, 09:32 AM
Good characters are not barred from neutral actions, nor is it breaking character or alignment for otherwise good, fair people to hit an enemy hard in order to negotiate from a position of strength. It does strain the credibility of calling oneself good if one never offers quarter or seeks a peaceful solution with those who are not obviously heinous villains, it's one thing to offer some defeated bandits absolution if they accept a geas and surrender their arms and armor, it's another thing to give Nerullian cultists breathing room to summon more undead. Paladins are not barred from neutral actions. Exalteds might be. Not sure....

And given what ravages have been described to me as doing, it would probably be safe to say that it is at the very least neutral leaning to evil to actually enjoy the effect of it at all.

The characters who are most stringently held to any kind of standards are "Exalted" (outside my range of knowledge, as I view BoED and BoVD with suspicion), Paladins, and Knights.

Exalted are, by definition, intentionally screwing utility over in favor of being on the side of right and good and trying/actually living rather than having/trying ideals.

Paladins have the code of conduct but otherwise are not required to not act neutrally, especially in times of war or in trials of arms which are given greater leeway of moral greyness/absolution. Though it certainly is possible to not give Pallies that bit of moral greyness, though I'm not sure what that would have to entail in terms of behavior (either allowed/disallowed).

Saph
2009-06-28, 10:05 AM
You're telling me I have to offer them surrender, remember? I can't do that AND ambush them - because offering surrender means I'm showing myself and making myself a known quantity. You also specifically said being good meant giving up a lot of combat advantages, including ambush earlier in the thread, remember?

You're almost right, but you're still a bit off target. You're treating these as though they're laws to be followed (I think that's where you're getting the Lawful Good misconception). It's not like that.

A Good character doesn't "have to offer surrender". It's not that there's a rule in his rulebook that he must follow or he loses his Celestial membership card. It's that since he respects life, he tries to find ways of resolving problems that don't require the death of either party. One of the ways he can do that is by giving opponents a chance to surrender whenever practical. It's not the only way; there are others. But it's something that a Good character should keep in mind.

See the difference? It's not about rules, it's about goals. Being Good means trying to achieve the best result possible, even if it requires personal sacrifice. Most of the time, killing someone without warning is not the best way to do that. There are exceptions - but they're exceptions.

- Saph

Mastikator
2009-06-28, 10:22 AM
I'm surpriced this hasn't come up yet.


Lawful Evil, "Dominator"

A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank. He is loath to break laws or promises.

This reluctance comes partly from his nature and partly because he depends on order to protect himself from those who oppose him on moral grounds. Some lawful evil villains have particular taboos, such as not killing in cold blood (but having underlings do it) or not letting children come to harm (if it can be helped). They imagine that these compunctions put them above unprincipled villains.

Some lawful evil people and creatures commit themselves to evil with a zeal like that of a crusader committed to good. Beyond being willing to hurt others for their own ends, they take pleasure in spreading evil as an end unto itself. They may also see doing evil as part of a duty to an evil deity or master.

Lawful evil is sometimes called "diabolical," because devils are the epitome of lawful evil.

Lawful evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents methodical, intentional, and frequently successful evil.Bolded for emphasis.

The character is lawful evil who imagines herself as chaotic neutral.

Yukitsu
2009-06-28, 10:31 AM
You're almost right, but you're still a bit off target. You're treating these as though they're laws to be followed (I think that's where you're getting the Lawful Good misconception). It's not like that.

A Good character doesn't "have to offer surrender". It's not that there's a rule in his rulebook that he must follow or he loses his Celestial membership card. It's that since he respects life, he tries to find ways of resolving problems that don't require the death of either party. One of the ways he can do that is by giving opponents a chance to surrender whenever practical. It's not the only way; there are others. But it's something that a Good character should keep in mind.

See the difference? It's not about rules, it's about goals. Being Good means trying to achieve the best result possible, even if it requires personal sacrifice. Most of the time, killing someone without warning is not the best way to do that. There are exceptions - but they're exceptions.

- Saph

I view this as too narrow minded in scope. A good person can consider all the alternatives, and given there personal talents, completely ignore it. If I am a rogue, I can do all the investigation, study etc, and go out and wack a guy and if that person was actively evil, then I'm fine. Being a complete conversion monkey is exalted, not standard D&D, partly because it's annoying as all get out, and partly because I don't want to have a half hour long RP session every time I want to talk a goblin out of being evil when I have 5000 goblins in a given goblin hole.

As well, the passage stating a respect for life does not mean respect for every life in existance. I don't think any good person would respect a giant black dragon killing and aciding a village to the ground in front of them for instance. Nor would many respect the lives of devils. A general respect for life simply means respecting the lives of almost everyone, however, adventurers make there living by finding the exceptions to that group of people who deserve respect.

Saph
2009-06-28, 10:36 AM
I view this as too narrow minded in scope. A good person can consider all the alternatives, and given there personal talents, completely ignore it. If I am a rogue, I can do all the investigation, study etc, and go out and wack a guy and if that person was actively evil, then I'm fine. Being a complete conversion monkey is exalted, not standard D&D, partly because it's annoying as all get out, and partly because I don't want to have a half hour long RP session every time I want to talk a goblin out of being evil when I have 5000 goblins in a given goblin hole.

If being Good is too much work, why not just play Neutral?

- Saph

Murdim
2009-06-28, 11:19 AM
I'm surpriced this hasn't come up yet.

Bolded for emphasis.

The character is lawful evil who imagines herself as chaotic neutral.I really don't see the connection. She does do the dirty work herself, and don't limit her range of targets because of trademark standards, but because she genuinely values the lives of innocent people, which is a Good-ish trait. Plus, the fact that she's explicitly stated to scorn authority doesn't scream Lawful.



If being Good is too much work, why not just play Neutral? Already posted about that, and why a non-Exalted Good-aligned character isn't intended to try in every situation to redeem his enemies instead of beating them. Becoming angry when every one else remains calm and civil isn't a good way to carry on a discussion :smallfrown:

Jergmo
2009-06-28, 01:59 PM
Sounds CN and call it a day. Morally flexible but not without qualms or sympathy.

Simply choosing to prey on the "socially acceptable" targets that are those with Evil alignments does not Goodness make.

y'know, that whole... Not-good does not mean evil. Not-evil does not mean good.

Pretty much the only leeway for her alignment beyond her actions is to examine the root psychology of her.

Why does she hunt down the evil? Because she was hurt in the past and is still taking out vengeance against a vanquished or vanished abuser? Because her sense of right and wrong demand that those that oppress and harm others must have that capability removed from them? Because they're morally acceptable targets for the acquisition of loot? Because she has a bloodlust to sate and knows that's the only way to keep it and the advantages of polite society?

A mix of the first two, but for the first, it's less to do with vengeance, and more making sure that nobody else gets hurt.


I'm surpriced this hasn't come up yet.

Bolded for emphasis.

The character is lawful evil who imagines herself as chaotic neutral.

...WAT. :smallannoyed: Thank you, Murdim. :smallsmile:

Yukitsu
2009-06-28, 02:55 PM
If being Good is too much work, why not just play Neutral?

- Saph

What's that have to do with what I said? Exalted is too hard to play, and they are distinct from mere good.

Jergmo
2009-06-29, 04:18 PM
Does anyone have questions to help clear things up a bit more? If not, what do folks think the verdict is? Chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Neutral leaning towards Good, or Chaotic Good?

hamishspence
2009-06-29, 04:31 PM
Chaotic Neutral. With a mix of good and evil traits.

A bit like The Simbul of Aglarond in that respect, who gets very... enthusiastic about eliminating Red Wizards, frequently with preemptive strikes.

Tiki Snakes
2009-06-29, 04:35 PM
Does anyone have questions to help clear things up a bit more? If not, what do folks think the verdict is? Chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Neutral leaning towards Good, or Chaotic Good?

Do you feel the Character has an Allegience to the cosmic forces of A) Good. B) Evil, or C) Neither in particular.

For A, Chaotic Good. For B, Chaotic Evil, and C, Chaotic neutral.

I'm guessing that your character does not have a personal stake in the fate of the cosmic universe, or the exact ratio of negative energy to positive energy in the Prime Matirial plane. In which case, I'd recommend writing down Chaotic Neutral on your character sheet, then forgetting about it and carrying on playing the Character as you have been.

The behaviour is, general concensus seems, definately probably chaotic, but people can't conclusively agree good or evil from deeds or intentions, so you'll be safe enough claiming to be CN.
Then, formalities over, you can carry on having your character follow their own perfectly functional moral compass, and on the rare occaision when the rules need to know, you can officially ping as Chaotic Neutral.

That seems to cover all the bases and needs, really. :)

Oracle_Hunter
2009-06-29, 04:57 PM
Does anyone have questions to help clear things up a bit more? If not, what do folks think the verdict is? Chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Neutral leaning towards Good, or Chaotic Good?
CG, no question.

Good characters and creatures protect innocent life.
. . .
Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.
Your character has taken on dangerous missions of justice for little/no pay; those missions were to right wrongs perpetrated on The Weak.

"Chaos" implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility. Those who promote chaotic behavior say that only unfettered personal freedom allows people to express themselves fully and lets society benefit from the potential that its individuals have within them.
I'm pretty sure this is undisputed.

Put it together:

A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he’s kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society.
Sounds like your character.
Now, why not Neutral? This is why:

People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent but lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others. Neutral people are committed to others by personal relationships.
If I have the right of it, the character has undertaken dangerous missions to right wrongs perpetrated on The Weak for little/no compensation - a serious sacrifice if I've heard one. Provided this is a normal choice for your character and that none of the "freebie" killings were done for people with which you had previous personal relationships (i.e. they weren't friends or family), that pattern of behavior alone keeps you out of the Neutral category.

Jergmo
2009-06-29, 05:34 PM
CG, no question.

Your character has taken on dangerous missions of justice for little/no pay; those missions were to right wrongs perpetrated on The Weak.

I'm pretty sure this is undisputed.

Put it together:

Sounds like your character.
Now, why not Neutral? This is why:

If I have the right of it, the character has undertaken dangerous missions to right wrongs perpetrated on The Weak for little/no compensation - a serious sacrifice if I've heard one. Provided this is a normal choice for your character and that none of the "freebie" killings were done for people with which you had previous personal relationships (i.e. they weren't friends or family), that pattern of behavior alone keeps you out of the Neutral category.

Alright, thank you. And thanks to all of you, you've been very helpful. :smallsmile:

Edit: How the frig do you make those Spoiler things? :smallfrown:

hamishspence
2009-06-30, 12:26 PM
(I personally think Heroes of Horror had it better "The character is probably neither evil nor good, but a flexible Neutral" referring to the sort of person who would be "pure good" if it wasn't for one thing- pragmatic ruthlessness- the willingness to use mildly Evil methods")

And for spoilers, it works like:

[spoiler] text that you want to write in the spoiler[/s.p.o.i.l.e.r]

Only, without the full stops, in the second spoiler bracket.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-06-30, 12:32 PM
(I personally think Heroes of Horror had it better "The character is probably neither evil nor good, but a flexible Neutral" referring to the sort of person who would be "pure good" if it wasn't for one thing- pragmatic ruthlessness- the willingness to use mildly Evil methods")
Feh. Books like "Heroes of Horror" did nothing but confuse the Nine Alignments System; under that definition, everyone is at least "flexible Neutral" since killing someone is a "mildly Evil method."

Now, it is possible for a CG Freedom Fighter to end up as a CN Well-Intentioned Extremist - but you're either one or the other, not some sort of para-alignment. You will be CG until you reveal that your world-view has changed for good - such as leaving a building of orphans to die in a fire in order to continue chasing the BBEG.

[/petpeeve]

hamishspence
2009-06-30, 12:34 PM
Only in the variant (taint for any killing, rather than taint for really serious acts)

I liked its "Don't expect "I detected him as evil, so I killed him" to keep you from being locked up for murder" comment-

far too many people think "Detect & Smite" is ok.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-06-30, 12:41 PM
far too many people think "Detect & Smite" is ok.Yes, but they are wrong (if they're Good).


"Good" implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.
All the book does is further muddy the waters :smallannoyed:

hamishspence
2009-06-30, 12:49 PM
True, but the waters are already pretty muddy, what with the lack of clear info in PHB.

Heroes of Horror was more for "Dark heroes"- the Neutral guys who try hard to do good, but aren't quite up to being good.

Eberron said the same thing about detect/smite, and Drow of the Underdark, but PHB doesn't.

Result- people keep insisting, based on PHB alone, that "Anything that detects as evil has done enough evil to deserve instant death, because Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others"

Riffington
2009-06-30, 02:15 PM
You will be CG until you reveal that your world-view has changed for good - such as leaving a building of orphans to die in a fire in order to continue chasing the BBEG.

[/petpeeve]

Leaving a building of orphans to die in a fire (regardless of reason) is too evil an act for the majority of evil people. There are a whole lot of N and E steps prior to getting to that extreme point.

hamishspence
2009-06-30, 02:18 PM
yes, that is the classic "Go to Evil- go directly to Evil- do not pass Go, do not collect £200" act :smallamused:

2nd ed's was "Burn the plague village full of infected and non-infected people to contain the outbreak"

(which a lot of people keep saying is morally right and shouldn't lead to a Fall at all, never mind a Good to Evil shift)

Starbuck_II
2009-06-30, 02:33 PM
Result- people keep insisting, based on PHB alone, that "Anything that detects as evil has done enough evil to deserve instant death, because Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others"

True, Alhandra, a Paladin fights evil without mercy (obvioius she is good but not Exalted lol). So Detect smite is alright with Alhandra. :smallbiggrin:

hamishspence
2009-06-30, 02:35 PM
Yet, in the novels, she's not ok with it- example cited was Krusk about to be lynched- she investigated, got him freed. When asked why she didn't just Detect Evil on him, she pointed out that Evil does not mean Guilty.

I figured it was a case of when she has to fight evil, she doesn't go out of her way to grant mercy.

But that doesn't mean she's a Radardin- killing 1/3 of every town she visits (based on the assumption that "Humans tend toward no alignment- not even Neutral" means a roughly even split.)

Oracle_Hunter
2009-06-30, 09:54 PM
Leaving a building of orphans to die in a fire (regardless of reason) is too evil an act for the majority of evil people. There are a whole lot of N and E steps prior to getting to that extreme point.
I presume you meant "too evil an act for the majority of Good people" - in which case, yes.

But the orphan-burning situation isn't as Evil as you say.

People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent but lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others. Neutral people are committed to others by personal relationships.
Here, the Hero refuses to stop chasing a BBEG (let's say a powerful cultist of Orcus) in order to protect the innocents. He refuses to make a sacrifice (letting the BBEG get away) in order to protect the innocents, but he isn't setting the orphanage on fire.

Setting the orphanage on fire to stop the BBEG from running is Evil, BTW. :smalltongue:

As for Heroes of Horror - back in AD&D we had just such a setting; it was called Ravenloft. Bad things happened to bad people, but only after they had gained mind-bendingly Evil powers in the meantime. Good was always losing - but that doesn't mean they wouldn't keep trying.

As the Bureaucratic Deva said (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0490.html), alignment is about trying, not results. You don't need to "tweak" the alignment system to have Good people end up doing Bad Things in a setting - provided that the PCs aren't intending to have Bad Things result from their actions.

Seriously, Heroes of Horror, BoVD and BoED were extremely weak on understanding the alignment system. It's almost funny how badly they understood it.

hamishspence
2009-07-01, 03:32 PM
I actually though, given the choice between those three, and the "alignment is all about personality, not acts" those three were better.

Same with Champions of Ruin- it is not a "tweak" to say that the ends don't justify the means, and that absolute ruthlessness in the pursuit of Good can lead to slippage.

BoED's high focus on mercy, giving quarter, and the evilness of torture, is, interestingly, pretty close to Tolkien's views. In Myths Transformed, he said that even though orcs are irredeemable, at least by Elves and Men, they must be granted quarter, if they ask for it, and may not be tortured, not even to find out info that would help protect settlements from orc attacks.

Riffington
2009-07-01, 08:29 PM
I presume you meant "too evil an act for the majority of Good people" - in which case, yes.
No, it is too evil for all Good people, all Neutral people, and most Evil people.
The orphans are burning to death. Right now. They are innocents, and children to boot. And fire is a horrific way to die. Every moment and every breath is pure agony, and there's nothing they can do but go mad with fear and pain. Unless you know that the "BBEG" is running to go get a nuclear weapon and detonate it within the hour, you better save those kids.

A Good person has to have a healthy respect for human life, a Neutral person has to have a moderate respect for human life, and most Evil people have some respect for human life. If you have even a glimmer of respect for human life, saving the orphans is a must.

Callista
2009-07-01, 09:03 PM
Depends. Some of your Neutrals might reason along the lines, "If I let this BBEG go, he will probably kill more orphans than would die here." Especially LN types, who are unlikely to want to gamble that if they save the orphans they will also be able to catch the BBEG before he does something really horrible. Chaotics will probably take the gamble, save the orphans, try to track down the bad guy, and be really annoyed they were forced to make the choice in the first place. Your average CN guy is about a hundred times more motivated by people in trouble right in front of him, because he feels things in his gut instead of logically... and those orphans are definitely right in front of him.

Any Good will also try to do both, of course--which is why it is rather important to be intelligent or wise or both if you are playing Good, just to solve those tricky third-choice dilemmas.

Oracle_Hunter
2009-07-01, 11:15 PM
No, it is too evil for all Good people, all Neutral people, and most Evil people.

:confused:

Could you cite some language to back up your statement?

Good, I'll give you. Neutral, though:

People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent but lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others.
Last I checked, running into a burning building would count as making a sacrifice to protect or help others.

Evil - well, there you're dead wrong.

Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.
I'm not seeing a "respect" for life, innocent or otherwise, there.

Juggernaut1981
2009-07-01, 11:57 PM
Originally after taking the alignment quiz, this character got Chaotic Neutral, though this has shifted to Chaotic Good. Really, I'm not certain about that -- it gets complicated.

The character is sort of a trickster/femme fatale for some of the good ol' Tropes that match up her personality. For the most part, she isn't really malicious at all -- she can be manipulative and toy with people, but it's merely for grins 'n giggles and she doesn't mean anyone real harm.

She is a mercenary/assassin, but she will only take specific jobs: she turned down jobs until the details about the target would be revealed, to judge whether or not they were bad, or if it's just someone another evil person wants out of the way.

From reading this... Chaotic = Probably

You are a mercenary/assassin. Your loyalty is to yourself. Just because you don't kill everyone for cash just makes you "not as evil as that dude over there who will kill anyone, including children".

Evil = Almost definately



While not taking a particularly active role in providing for the poor, when she passed through towns, she would throw gold to the children of commoners, as she enjoyed seeing them excited and happy as even a single gold piece was a lot of money to them.


Meh, even the Mafia bosses gave money to the Catholic Church. Doing something to make it easier to sleep at night doesn't make you good, just makes you feel less guilty.



So, she decided that she would teach him a lesson, to show him that he was never in control in the first place, as his various mistakes caused by arrogance hadn't taught him otherwise. She offered her aid and that of her companions to kill a powerful insane hermit wizard, in return for half of the value of his magic items, which ended up being reasonable. But he refused, and basically said "You'll be paid what I want to pay you.", and marched off to see the wizard, the powerful-insane-wizard-hermit of the-mountains-they-were-in! He ended up lying on his back helpless, atrophied to the point where he couldn't lift his own gear and fight, and while his companions were wisely backing off, she stood by for the time being asking him if he would like to renegotiate, and so he told her that her terms were agreeable. (She wouldn't have actually allowed his companions to be killed, but I imagine this might be pushing it.)


Teaching a lesson because "I was right" = The character is as arrogant as the character trying to be helped. The Character appears to think they know at least as much, probably more, than others.
Evil = almost definately

Letting people get hurt to assist your bargaining position to get paid what you think you deserve = Definately Evil. Other people's pain/injuries are just ways for you to get what you want/deserve.

You are... Chaotic Evil

Not neccesarily "Chaotic Suicidal" or "Chaotic Stupid"

So Summary...
Why Chaotic?
#1 Trickster, manipulative for amusement, not particularly malicious. Moderately Chaotic but not overly chaotic. Needs more of a "personal freedom" bent to get a "strong Chaotic" trait.

#2 If future actions show greater loyalty to "those paying the bills", but tendency to interpret deals loosely, then Alignment may shift closer to Neutral along Law-Chaos.

#3 If future actions show tendency to require very carefully worded deals with clear identification of pay, job to be done, expectations, etc... then Alignment would shift to Neutral and soon to Lawful along Law-Chaos.

Why Evil?
#1 Assassin. You kill for cash. Sure you don't kill babies, but you're a hired killer. You're evil.

#2 Gives money to orphans. So you want to make yourself feel better and sleep at night. Woo-freakin-hoo... not really a good action if it's all about making it easier for you. Still evil.

#3 Let other people go off and get hurt so you can get more cash. You're greedy and showing little value for other's safety/life. You're Evil.

Riffington
2009-07-02, 04:45 AM
:confused:

Could you cite some language to back up your statement?

Sure: humans do not tend toward any alignment.

Also, humans are three-dimensional. We all have respect for life, a desire to hurt others, tend to make sacrifices, are greedy, etc. Thus a neutral person has about average respet for life, about average desire to hurt others, about average willingness to make sacrifices, about average greed, etc.

If humans do not tend towards any alignment, and you have less respect for life than 67% of humans, then that's a strong point in favor of evil. If you have less respect for life than 99.9% of humans (as a willingness* to let an orphanage burn because you're busy would indicate**) then you're not going to make up for that by adopting a puppy.

*in real life, not when it's an abstract hypothetical.
**again, unless he's about to unleash a nuclear bomb or something

Haarkla
2009-07-02, 06:40 AM
Does anyone have questions to help clear things up a bit more? If not, what do folks think the verdict is? Chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Neutral leaning towards Good, or Chaotic Good?
Chaotic Neutral leaning towards Good

Jergmo
2009-07-02, 12:28 PM
From reading this... Chaotic = Probably

You are a mercenary/assassin. Your loyalty is to yourself. Just because you don't kill everyone for cash just makes you "not as evil as that dude over there who will kill anyone, including children".

Evil = Almost definately



Meh, even the Mafia bosses gave money to the Catholic Church. Doing something to make it easier to sleep at night doesn't make you good, just makes you feel less guilty.



Teaching a lesson because "I was right" = The character is as arrogant as the character trying to be helped. The Character appears to think they know at least as much, probably more, than others.
Evil = almost definately

Letting people get hurt to assist your bargaining position to get paid what you think you deserve = Definately Evil. Other people's pain/injuries are just ways for you to get what you want/deserve.

You are... Chaotic Evil

Not neccesarily "Chaotic Suicidal" or "Chaotic Stupid"

So Summary...
Why Chaotic?
#1 Trickster, manipulative for amusement, not particularly malicious. Moderately Chaotic but not overly chaotic. Needs more of a "personal freedom" bent to get a "strong Chaotic" trait.

#2 If future actions show greater loyalty to "those paying the bills", but tendency to interpret deals loosely, then Alignment may shift closer to Neutral along Law-Chaos.

#3 If future actions show tendency to require very carefully worded deals with clear identification of pay, job to be done, expectations, etc... then Alignment would shift to Neutral and soon to Lawful along Law-Chaos.

Why Evil?
#1 Assassin. You kill for cash. Sure you don't kill babies, but you're a hired killer. You're evil.

#2 Gives money to orphans. So you want to make yourself feel better and sleep at night. Woo-freakin-hoo... not really a good action if it's all about making it easier for you. Still evil.

#3 Let other people go off and get hurt so you can get more cash. You're greedy and showing little value for other's safety/life. You're Evil.

*Groans* I certainly hope I don't have to clarify any more. :smallsigh:
Her loyalty is not "to herself" just because of her job. She doesn't give money to make it easier to sleep at night. She merely gave it to the children instead of the parents because it made the children really excited. She gives money to the commoners in any case. What I meant by not being hardcore about charity is that she just doesn't swear poverty for herself and give everything away.

Again, I've said this before, she wasn't trying to allow other people to get hurt to prove their point -- actually, they only really got hurt because of sheer stupidity. They walked right over the crazy bastard's Uber Line o' Wards, which they knew was there, and detected the sheer power of its aura. The only spell the wizard got off on the guy was an empowered Ray of Enfeeblement, hence why he was powerless. By the way, after the wizard was dead, she let them have first choice of the magic items so the other folks got the best choice of what they wanted, and she just took what was left over. It helped them more than it helped her.

Jergmo
2009-07-02, 12:39 PM
Here are the results for alignment.

Alignment:
Lawful Good ----- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (17)
Neutral Good ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (24)
Chaotic Good ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (26)
Lawful Neutral -- XXXXXXXXXXX (11)
True Neutral ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (18)
Chaotic Neutral - XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (20)
Lawful Evil ----- XXXXX (5)
Neutral Evil ---- XXXXXXXXXXXX (12)
Chaotic Evil ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)

Law & Chaos:
Law ----- XX (2)
Neutral - XXXXXXXXX (9)
Chaos --- XXXXXXXXXXX (11)

Good & Evil:
Good ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (15)
Neutral - XXXXXXXXX (9)
Evil ---- XXX (3)

hamishspence
2009-07-02, 12:43 PM
Which seems to correspond well to CG leaning slightly toward NG and CN.

Am I correct in assuming this is the Hero Builder's Guidebook questionnaire that got put online?

And were there any assassination-related questions?

(Or is it just the votes in this thread?)

Random832
2009-07-02, 12:43 PM
Lawful Good ----- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (17)
Neutral Good ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (24)
Chaotic Good ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (26)
Lawful Neutral -- XXXXXXXXXXX (11)
True Neutral ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (18)
Chaotic Neutral - XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (20)
Lawful Evil ----- XXXXX (5)
Neutral Evil ---- XXXXXXXXXXXX (12)
Chaotic Evil ---- XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)

These incidentally add up to:
Law: 33
EN: 54
Chaos: 60

Good: 67
MN: 49
Evil: 31

Which may or may not be meaningful depending on where the numbers come from.

Jergmo
2009-07-02, 12:52 PM
Which seems to correspond well to CG leaning slightly toward NG and CN.

Am I correct in assuming this is the Hero Builder's Guidebook questionnaire that got put online?

And were there any assassination-related questions?

(Or is it just the votes in this thread?)

Yeah, and there was an assassination-related question. Would you assassinate the president? I said "Yes, I've done similar things before", and looked at it from a different perspective than what the question said.


Which seems to correspond well to CG leaning slightly toward NG and CN.

Am I correct in assuming this is the Hero Builder's Guidebook questionnaire that got put online?

And were there any assassination-related questions?

(Or is it just the votes in this thread?)

So...Chaotic Good leaning towards Neutral?

hamishspence
2009-07-02, 12:59 PM
Sounds about right, at least for personality.

Concerning the assassinations- what traits might make them "less evil" (person impossible to arrest and try, practically) and what might make them "more evil" (person who's evilness is not especially harmful)?

And do the assassinations carried out by the character fit these traits?

Jergmo
2009-07-02, 01:12 PM
Sounds about right, at least for personality.

Concerning the assassinations- what traits might make them "less evil" (person impossible to arrest and try, practically) and what might make them "more evil" (person who's evilness is not especially harmful)?

And do the assassinations carried out by the character fit these traits?

Well, for example, when she was hired to assassinate a rapist (this happened in my friend's campaign), she tracked down the person, but didn't immediately kill them. This person had friends in high places, and got away clean with their crime. The person who hired her was the victim's brother. This person wasn't going to be brought to justice, certainly. So she snuck in at night and killed him -- but she also killed him quickly. She didn't draw it out or torture him or anything because of what he did. If he were just some thug, and it was feasible to do so, she would have merely subdued him. But if they were trying to kill someone, she would bring 'em down, lethally if need be.

hamishspence
2009-07-02, 01:18 PM
Apparently even paladin must "apprehend, if not kill" anyone they bring in who gets away with a crime through corrupt court, according to BoED- because "corrupt authorities are not legitimate- and paladin has to expose their corruption, as well as protect the innocent"

So, based on badly corrupted law and order, D&D vigilatism might not be defined as evil.

Some people interpret the LG Slayer of Domiel prestige class as a lot like that assassin, but doing it for idealism and never money- bringing justice to those who cannot be touched by normal means. Domiel is, apparently, the "Foe of Tyrants"

GreatWyrmGold
2009-07-02, 04:51 PM
Originally after taking the alignment quiz, this character got Chaotic Neutral, though this has shifted to Chaotic Good. Really, I'm not certain about that -- it gets complicated.

The character is sort of a trickster/femme fatale for some of the good ol' Tropes that match up her personality. For the most part, she isn't really malicious at all -- she can be manipulative and toy with people, but it's merely for grins 'n giggles and she doesn't mean anyone real harm.

She is a mercenary/assassin, but she will only take specific jobs: she turned down jobs until the details about the target would be revealed, to judge whether or not they were blah, or if it's just someone another evil person wants out of the way.

While not taking a blah active role in providing for the poor, when she passed through towns, she would throw gold to the children of commoners, as she enjoyed seeing them blah and happy as even a single gold piece was a lot of money to them.

While she could be blah to deal with and has temper issues, there is a softer side -- she used to be more benevolent, but throughout her character development, she blah more defensive and doesn't blah to show blah blah to various circumstances blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah...

FYI: When someone quotes you and replaces that many words with "Blah," you've made it too long.



Edit:

Also, I'd still be a bit twitchy about the 'kills people for money' thing.
Er...then I suggest you be "a bit twitchy" around MOST adventurers.

hamishspence
2009-07-02, 04:59 PM
Kill monster for money, and Kill townspeople (bad townspeople) for money, tend to be treated differently.

A case of "What Measure is a Non-Humanoid" maybe.

Juggernaut1981
2009-07-02, 10:27 PM
*Groans* I certainly hope I don't have to clarify any more. :smallsigh:
Her loyalty is not "to herself" just because of her job. She doesn't give money to make it easier to sleep at night. She merely gave it to the children instead of the parents because it made the children really excited. She gives money to the commoners in any case. What I meant by not being hardcore about charity is that she just doesn't swear poverty for herself and give everything away.

Here is the 2-second reason why ALL assassins should be evil: Cash is more valuable than living beings. Assassins will end lives for cash. That is what they do. You say to them "Kill and I will pay you [insert cash here]". If you do the job (which REQUIRES A KILLING FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN TO BECOME A HIRED KILLER)... then you're evil.

Doesn't matter who the cash goes to, it could go to the Orphans, it could go to Little Timmy with a broken leg, it could go to Mother Theresa... doesn't matter that much where it GOES TO... You got it specifically for killing someone.


Well, for example, when she was hired to assassinate a rapist (this happened in my friend's campaign), she tracked down the person, but didn't immediately kill them. This person had friends in high places, and got away clean with their crime. The person who hired her was the victim's brother. This person wasn't going to be brought to justice, certainly. So she snuck in at night and killed him -- but she also killed him quickly. She didn't draw it out or torture him or anything because of what he did. If he were just some thug, and it was feasible to do so, she would have merely subdued him. But if they were trying to kill someone, she would bring 'em down, lethally if need be.

So she didn't torture him, that makes her alignment "Not as evil as a demon" but still not good. She got paid specifically for killing someone, which means money is more important than lives and therefore evil. Killing someone quickly, [i]still means that they were killed... and killed for cash

@ D&D Vigilante-ism

Note the process of the Lawful Good Paladin.
#1: Arrest Person
#2: Put them before a court
#3: Wait for results of court
#4: If courts/laws are corrupt, recapture the person (kill only if needed)
#5: Use this criminal to show that the laws/courst are corrupt and try cause change

There isn't a problem here. The Paladin has not only followed the law, but then tried to preserve order, justice and life by not killing and basically re-arresting the person to prove the law needs fixing.

Starbuck_II
2009-07-02, 10:35 PM
Here is the 2-second reason why ALL assassins should be evil: Cash is more valuable than living beings. Assassins will end lives for cash. That is what they do. You say to them "Kill [insert being here] and I will pay you [insert cash here]". If you do the job (which REQUIRES A KILLING FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN TO BECOME A HIRED KILLER)... then you're evil.

Doesn't matter who the cash goes to, it could go to the Orphans, it could go to Little Timmy with a broken leg, it could go to Mother Theresa... doesn't matter that much where it GOES TO... You got it specifically for killing someone.



#1: you are thinking of Assassin the class, not Assassins.

The assassin might require proof or reasons why. Example, the target is really a vampire, a demon, etc. All evil and kill worthy targets for all alignments. I doubt a Paladin will refuse to kill a demon if paid.

Not all assassins will kill a man for nickel.

Juggernaut1981
2009-07-03, 12:27 AM
A Paladin wouldn't kill a demon for cash. They'd kill the demon because its a demon. It's about duty and meeting their code of honour first. Killing for cash is not honourable and Paladin's won't/shouldn't do it.

Assassins (either class or just "by character design") still kill for cash. Just because a Character would only kill someone who someone else said was evil and only for 50,000gp doesn't make them less evil. They just have a higher charge-out rate for a killing; it may make them more evil.

It's still the same core for an Assassin (class or by design) "I kill for payment". Sure to kill Orcus I would want a payment of billions of GP up front; but I won't do it if you don't pay. It's still valuing cash over life. It's still evil.

Paladins it's "I try to not kill at all, but really really evil things I will kill to protect innocent non-evil people from the really really evil things"... even if they get rewards from it (which they are unlikely to accept if the alignment is played and the code of conduct is actually specified) the reason for their actions is not "killing for cash".

Murdim
2009-07-03, 05:29 AM
even if they get rewards from it (which they are unlikely to accept if the alignment is played and the code of conduct is actually specified)I would like to know where you ever have read this. Didn't know that being "truly Good" implied dying of hunger.

hamishspence
2009-07-03, 11:18 AM
Even the BoED doesn't go that far.

it holds that helping others in need when they come for help is a requirement, and helping others for no rewards is a Good act,

but it doesn't say that you are required to turn down rewards.

(The Three Amigos did it: "Our reward is that justice has been done", but its not compulsary)

Refusing to help those genuinely in need without a reward- that makes a person Neutral At Best, though.

Juggernaut1981
2009-07-05, 10:06 PM
I would like to know where you ever have read this. Didn't know that being "truly Good" implied dying of hunger.

If you notice in the Quote I mentioned a "Code of Conduct". That's where it changes. Some churches are more likely to have Paladins following a Vow of Poverty-type behaviour. Spoils earned from doing good are donated to the church and the church will provide the requirements of the Paladin. This is another reason why I find that most people don't accomodate Paladin's appropriately into their world. They are good holy warriors, not mercenaries for hire. They will have a code of conduct, a church they are aligned with and probably be a specialised member of the "church structure".


which they are unlikely to accept if the alignment is played and the code of conduct is actually specified
There are three main elements that separate Paladins and Fighters: Alignment restriction, devotion to a god, formalised code of conduct.
The code of conduct should especially be negotiated with the GM, it is an integral part of the character and it will give the GM and player CLEAR guidance on how the character is supposed to act and if/when they "fall".

But I agree in general with you Hamish. I just said they are "unlikely to accept", not that "they will turn down rewards all the time, every time". Again, it all hinges on what the GM & Player work out to be the Code of Conduct for a Paladin. There are basics, but there should always be more to a Paladin's Code of Conduct.


[returning to original posters question]
BTW, your character is still Chaotic Evil...

Jergmo
2009-07-05, 10:47 PM
[returning to original posters question]
BTW, your character is still Chaotic Evil...

Just...no. :smallannoyed:

As an aside, I keep seeing people who believe alignment should be determined based on either their beliefs, or their actions, however, it should be a mixture of both.

hamishspence
2009-07-06, 12:14 PM
Agreed on that.

Same really applies to acts- the intent and the context, most of the time, matter as to whether the act was Evil or not (BoVD)

Only a few acts are Always Evil, and most of those are mentioned in Fiendish Codex 2.

Also, the prototype for the Paladin of Freedom, Dragon 310's CG Avenger paladin variant, is very like this- taking vengeance on oppressors for those unable to do it themselves.

However, they consider killing a last resort, and even then, for only "the most despicable villains" preferring lest destructive forms of retribution.