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View Full Version : Isn't being evil in the OotS world kind of...stupid?



Turkish Delight
2009-07-17, 06:04 AM
Not Knight Templar evil. Not I-think-I'm-doing-good-when-I-set-fire-to-that-orphanage style evil. Then, it's more a massive failure of self-examination.

I'm speaking mostly of card carrying villains, ala the Linear Guild, and the people who are just trying to pay the bills by doing stuff that should be pretty obviously evil, ala the Thieves Guild or Kubota's Assassins. Yeah, you may pay this month's rent by being a ninja assassin or a thug for the thieves guild. But then you probably go straight to Hell when you die. Which you know exists 100%. You'd think upon realizing this all the dental plans and holiday bonuses in the world would still leave mookdom as a really undesirable job.

Seriously, I think schools in the OotS world could organize a really effective 'scared straight!'-style program for juvenile delinquents, if they had access to a friendly neighborhood spellcaster with a Plane Shift spell. Nothing gets junior to stop shoplifting quite like an afternoon at the living wall of eternally damned souls shrieking their woe and misery into the depths of the fiery pit.

Xykon dodged the issue of the 'fire below' by being an epic spellcaster and becoming a Lich. He was sharp enough to make plans for it. However, I'm guessing all but the most deluded and/or powerful evil-aligned folks elsewhere should probably realize lichdom/vampirism/etc. aren't likely to be options for them.

As such, I'd think being evil aligned...and without a realistic back-up plan for immortality...and having a respectable wisdom stat should be pretty rare in this world. We already have that suggested by Belkar, and while it was just a one-off joke it seemed very fitting that the temporary Wisdom boost he received way back at the beginning of the comic caused him to reflect on his vicious, nasty ways.

Oh...and, umm, second-time poster here. Nice to meet everyone and all that. Figures I would be drawn out of lurking by a pseudo-philosophical navel-gazing style strip.

FlawedParadigm
2009-07-17, 06:21 AM
Kubota's the only real idiot in this regard, though, and that's debatable. Kubota was undoubtedly evil, but fairly small time for all that. Sure, he might end up a lemure or something, but I don't think he's risking some kind of eternal torment. He never actually *did* anything too serious, although he had plans to. Even his ambitions were fairly small; he just wanted to take over a city and wallow in power. He's small fries compared to even Belkar when it comes to evil.

The Linear Guild started in this boat too; Nale's brand of evil was mostly just using the ends to justify the means of getting what he wanted. They've gotten a serious upgrade since getting involved in the Gate plot, but seriously...Sabine's already a fiend, Thog is mostly too dumb to be responsible for most of his own actions, and Nale is planning on *ruling the multiverse*. I'm pretty sure with that kind of power, he can winkle out some immortality too to avoid his own would-be damnation.

Team Evil's pretty much the same boat here. Redcloak and Xykon are both already immortal for various reasons, and if you don't think Tsukiko will become some kind of undead at some point, I have a wonderful palace in Valyria I'd like to sell you. MitD has access to some kind of Wish/Reality Revision power...pretty sure he can manage some immortality too, if he ever actually does anything evil enough to warrant needing to escape punishment.

So basically, everyone who would be in hot water for their deeds has already made a contingency plan to avoid punishment for their actions. You'll note that in most literature for this genre, evil seeks immortality far more often than good does, probably for precisely these sorts of reasons. Being evil in the Stickverse is ballsy, but I couldn't categorically claim it to be stupid. You're very much playing against the odds, since you need to succeed at evil on a massive scale before the risk vs. reward factors tip in your favour.

The biggest offenders we've come across that I know of was probably the Greysky thieves' guild. We know them to be murderers, extortionists, wife beaters, and so forth...they're probably bound for a bad afterlife, but it may be they find comfort in their mortal lives more important, or believe they can cheat the afterlife system somehow (after all, they're cheating the system for a living), or perhaps they even relish the idea of some day possibly being a fiend, participating in the Blood War, or have hopes of maybe making it high in the demonic/devil hierarchy. Or maybe they just don't have enough foresight to give a damn, you never know. It's an interesting topic, but it seems to be that anyone who considers evil on a large scale also plans to go all out and take their potential afterlife into consideration.

Finzy
2009-07-17, 06:30 AM
I had the idea that evil characters could still be rewarded in the afterlife in D&D just like good people. Correct me if I'm wrong, but in my opinion being evil doesn't necessarily mean an eternity of torture and whatnot, not at all. If they're successful and serve their evil Gods well, wouldn't they rather get rewarded in the afterlife accordingly? I could easily see Belkar, for example, spending an eternity stabbing and fighting, and it wouldn't be a punishment at all.

For example, like some drow would get rewarded for her/his efforts to serving the Spider Queen in the Forgotten Realms (which isn't far off from OOTS - the setting is kind of a parody of it anyway). Of course, if that drow failed horribly in life, then I'd see the Spider Queen torturing her/him accordingly.

The only difference being that the Good Gods will likely accept everyone, while the Evil ones are more likely to punish those who won't please them. That's not to say they wouldn't reward those who serve their purposes well.

factotum
2009-07-17, 06:31 AM
I'm not sure that being evil is so much of a choice you can make, but putting that aside for the moment, think about it this way: what Roy said after being resurrected proves that people in OotS-world don't remember what the afterlife is like. The only parts of his post-mortem experience that Roy remembered were those he experienced as a ghost floating around on the mortal plane--everything else was either unclear (his father, the Archon) or not remembered at all.

Given that, people like Kubota don't necessarily believe they'll be suffering eternal torment when they die, and therefore see no reason to change their ways.

Turkish Delight
2009-07-17, 06:35 AM
I'm not sure that being evil is so much of a choice you can make, but putting that aside for the moment, think about it this way: what Roy said after being resurrected proves that people in OotS-world don't remember what the afterlife is like. The only parts of his post-mortem experience that Roy remembered were those he experienced as a ghost floating around on the mortal plane--everything else was either unclear (his father, the Archon) or not remembered at all.

Given that, people like Kubota don't necessarily believe they'll be suffering eternal torment when they die, and therefore see no reason to change their ways.

Well, there was at least something he remembered: feelings of bliss and fulfillment and so forth. They were simply left a happy blur.

I wonder if any of the evil Greysky City thieves guild who come back will have any moments of self-reflection as their blurred memories of the afterlife all consist of misery and pain?

Turkish Delight
2009-07-17, 06:52 AM
I had the idea that evil characters could still be rewarded in the afterlife in D&D just like good people. Correct me if I'm wrong, but in my opinion being evil doesn't necessarily mean an eternity of torture and whatnot, not at all. If they're successful and serve their evil Gods well, wouldn't they rather get rewarded in the afterlife accordingly? I could easily see Belkar, for example, spending an eternity stabbing and fighting, and it wouldn't be a punishment at all.

For example, like some drow would get rewarded for her/his efforts to serving the Spider Queen in the Forgotten Realms (which isn't far off from OOTS - the setting is kind of a parody of it anyway). Of course, if that drow failed horribly in life, then I'd see the Spider Queen torturing her/him accordingly.

The only difference being that the Good Gods will likely accept everyone, while the Evil ones are more likely to punish those who won't please them. That's not to say they wouldn't reward those who serve their purposes well.

I remember there was a 2nd edition AD&D supplement that explained it like this: no evil person who knows about the lower planes expects to die and go to the Abyss or the Nine Hells and become a mane or lemure or other bottom-of-the-barrel sort of fiend. If they're going to die, they expect to go to the lower planes and in no time become Pit Fiends and Balors and other power entities, ruling over masses of lesser fiends and wielding massive amounts of power. So they can have their evil cake and eat it, too: they can express their inner villain in life and then go on to keep expressing it in death, possibly with more power than ever before.

Of course, this is usually delusional and the overwhelming majority do become cannon-fodder or hideous damned souls sprinkling the horizon in order to add that pit-of-despair kind of atmosphere. For the overwhelming majority I think the lower planes can probably be described as a place of punishment in practice.

My main problem with that explanation is that it seems to rely on the idea that pride...verging on stupidity...and evil are inseparable. Yeah, I guess arrogance and evil fit very snugly together, but I'm guessing there are plenty of really nasty people who are also at least self-aware enough to know their odds of dying and then going on to take over their own layer of the Abyss are somewhere between 'zilch' and 'nada.'

Eloel
2009-07-17, 06:57 AM
In most D&D settings, you're not punished for being evil. You're punished for 'failing'. If you're LG-showing, but you haven't been LG, guess what, you're punished, thrown right into another afterlife, possibly one less fit for your wants.
I'm pretty sure, if Redcloak were to somehow die, he'd not get punished, but rather rewarded by Dark One for at least trying his best to be worthy of the cloak. Seriously, you don't get punished, in any setting, for doing what your god wants. That's pretty much why the alignment system sucks - anyone who's faithful should be regarded as Lawful Good - while getting away from your god's morality and ethics would push you towards Chaotic Evil.

Say a Cleric of Erythnul - God of Slaughter. Under current system, he's CE. But he only does what he believes in (he'll not go against his god), which is the characteristic of 'Lawful'. Even the Paladin code allows for rebellion against governments who he finds to be against the interest of their gods, and Paladins are stereotypical Lawful.
We could say, he's 'Good' too, since he follows AND spreads his gods cause. His god is god of slaughter, so not only did he slaughter when he could, which is Lawful, he actively pursued ways of slaughtering, parting from his own interests where necessary. That is 'Good' in the eyes of Erythnul.


I hope I could get across my message, because rereading, it seems more complex than it was in my mind.


tl;dr Alignment depends on perspective, and the perspective is 'usually' the god your faith lies in.

Boogastreehouse
2009-07-17, 07:03 AM
I'm pretty confident that when Belkar dies we'll get to see just what the evil afterlife is like. I suspect he'll get a grand tour similar to Roy's tour of Celestia so that we can get a good idea of what the infernal parts of Rich's world are like.

Jaltum
2009-07-17, 07:13 AM
One problem with being good in life just to avoid hell is that if that's the kind of person you are, you probably won't enjoy heaven. It's not like you'd be able to relax and let out your inner evil once you got there; you'd have a whole eternity of keeping yourself in check to look forward to.

Another point is that the people who beat their wives, or run dog-fights, or other 'petty' evils, don't think of those things as evil. They compare themselves to people who murder their wives, or set dogs on fire for fun, and think of themselves as neutral. Maybe they have some faults, but nothing serious. Even Roy, who is a basically good guy, found it all too easy to justify abandoning Elan to himself. Someone with a slightly less sharp conscience wouldn't have gone back for him at all, and would have remained convinced they didn't do anything wrong.

Querzis
2009-07-17, 07:29 AM
Ok so first, while the evil afterlives arent really meant to be a punishement, its still what it is for the vast majority of people. Becoming a mane or a lemure is incredibly painfull and make you mindless and, since even Orcus had to start out as a mane, you wont make me believe that you can evade it just with enough power. Usually, the only way to get instant rewards in the evil afterlives is by serving an evil god who reward his followers.

Anyway, not only does most people not know they are evil but, as FlawedParadigm said, those who actually know very well they are evil rarely plan on dying. No matter if its because they dont plan that far ahead or if they really have a way to seek immortality, none of them think about death.

Beside, being evil is not really a choice you make so I dont see why it would be stupid. You're just evil, no matter if its because you enjoy it, because you're insane, because you had a really bad day or because you honestly think you're doing good.

Eldan
2009-07-17, 07:37 AM
Another thing is: gods can create their domains pretty much at will, and even evil gods need to have an afterlive that convinces people to follow them, otherwise, they have no worshippers and die pretty soon.
The afterlife will still be evil, but not necessarily bad. The god of slavery and tyranny? Guess what, in his afterlife you become part of a hierarchy. The god of slaughter makes you an immortal warrior. And so on. Most people go to their gods afterlife after death.

Turkish Delight
2009-07-17, 08:04 AM
Just to keep this sporting, keep in mind that Xykon makes it very clear he sees the lower planes as a thing to avoid at all costs. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0652.html) So, at the least, he certainly seems to see it as a punishment; 'Anything to avoid the Big Fire Below.'

Tenebrais
2009-07-17, 08:09 AM
Just to keep this sporting, keep in mind that Xykon makes it very clear he sees the lower planes as a thing to avoid at all costs. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0652.html) So, at the least, he certainly seems to see it as a punishment; 'Anything to avoid the Big Fire Below.'

Xykon strikes me as an example of someone who knows how the lower planes really work rather than assuming he'll be promoted straight up the ladder as soon as he gets down there.

pflare
2009-07-17, 08:14 AM
Is the evil afterlife, hell or whatever, a punishment or is it merely an afterlife fitting the evil. Like Roy had the dungeon of encounters that are just tough enough to really challenge you so does the lawful evil afterlife have the hall of people easily manipulated or something like that.
I was under the impression that people were sent to their alignment's specific afterlife (assuming of course their actions are in line with the alignment) and not the usual heaven or hell situation. Not to mention there are 3 types of evil LE NE and CE. Are they all sent to the same afterlife because I thought (with the exception of the IFCC) beings from those three alignments don't get along very well.
It seems a huge double standard to me if the good and neutral are rewarded for staying true to their alignment while the evil are punished for it.

factotum
2009-07-17, 08:27 AM
Xykon strikes me as an example of someone who knows how the lower planes really work rather than assuming he'll be promoted straight up the ladder as soon as he gets down there.

Which is ironic, because as an epic level character he'd actually be one of the few people that the Powers Below might actually WANT to keep in full spellcasting fettle. Just look at the three spliced souls V got...they didn't look much like lemures or manes, did they?

Jaltum
2009-07-17, 08:31 AM
Not to mention there are 3 types of evil LE NE and CE. Are they all sent to the same afterlife because I thought (with the exception of the IFCC) beings from those three alignments don't get along very well.

No; there are three different planes. Roy mentions them by name in the latest comic, actually.



It seems a huge double standard to me if the good and neutral are rewarded for staying true to their alignment while the evil are punished for it.

It depends on what the point of the system is. Is it rewarding goodness or consistency? If it's rewarding consistency with alignment, then everyone who is equally passionate about their alignment should be equally rewarded in their respective afterlife. But if it's rewarded goodness, the goodness should be rewarded, neutrals should be tolerated but not rewarded, and bad people should be punished.

That's 'unfair' to bad people in the very strictest sense, but the entire point of such a system would be to encourage people not to be bad at all.

Of course, we don't know for sure which system we have; Roy uses the word 'deserve,' but it's just barely possible he means deserve in a wholly positive sense; the afterlife you 'deserve' is the one that will make you happiest.

Still, I suspect as a LG guy, Roy thinks what bad people 'deserve' is to be punished, and he would have phrased it differently if the afterlives were all positive.

Turkish Delight
2009-07-17, 08:33 AM
Is the evil afterlife, hell or whatever, a punishment or is it merely an afterlife fitting the evil. Like Roy had the dungeon of encounters that are just tough enough to really challenge you so does the lawful evil afterlife have the hall of people easily manipulated or something like that.
I was under the impression that people were sent to their alignment's specific afterlife (assuming of course their actions are in line with the alignment) and not the usual heaven or hell situation. Not to mention there are 3 types of evil LE NE and CE. Are they all sent to the same afterlife because I thought (with the exception of the IFCC) beings from those three alignments don't get along very well.
It seems a huge double standard to me if the good and neutral are rewarded for staying true to their alignment while the evil are punished for it.

I can't speak for the OotS world; the Giant may have his own interpretation and I think all we've seen so far is a generic vision of 'Hell', though I may just not be remembering a past reference. (EDIT: Well, gosh. He mentions a difference between hell and the abyss in the very latest strip. Don't I feel stupid.)

In standard AD&D, however, there's an entire system of planes depending on your alignment, and even for alignments that fall in-between alignments; for example, you have Baator/the Nine Hells for Lawful Evil people, which is filled with your classical scheming Devils and is built on an elaborate hierarchy of ordered viciousness, and you have the Abyss for Chaotic Evil people, which is more of a every-man-for-himself pit where the only 'hierarchy' is whatever an individual demon can carve out for himself with his own power.

But then there's also a place like Acheron, which lies somewhere between Lawful Neutral and Lawful Evil.

None of these are pleasant places to be unless you're on top of the heap; most souls that end up in the lower planes tend to end up as the chew toy of something more powerful.

Though all of the above may have changed somewhat now. I haven't kept up with pen-and-paper AD&D for awhile.

Querzis
2009-07-17, 08:39 AM
It seems a huge double standard to me if the good and neutral are rewarded for staying true to their alignment while the evil are punished for it.

Nobody is really rewarded or punished. Its just that the good afterlives are ruled by good gods and are full of good people so its naturally a very good place to live while the evil afterlives are full of evil people and evil gods much stronger then you who will torture you until you become mindless slaves. Nobody care if you were a CE peasants or a CE overlord who conquered half of the world, you're still gonna get tortured until you become a mane.

Of course, thats for real D&D but Rich use different rules for lots of things in the Stickverse. Maybe thats not how Rich do things.

73 Bits of Lint
2009-07-17, 08:44 AM
One problem with being good in life just to avoid hell is that if that's the kind of person you are, you probably won't enjoy heaven. It's not like you'd be able to relax and let out your inner evil once you got there; you'd have a whole eternity of keeping yourself in check to look forward to.
This is normally the way I'd look at it, but the heaven that Roy went to would have been pretty sweet regardless of your alignment. Infinite sex, infinite fighting, infinite drinking, infinite eating, infinite fishing, infinite youth, and all at your fingertips with no costs or waiting (unless you happen to die as part of a war, in which case there will be a line to get in). This was no "We are finally one with our gods and may spend eternity in peaceful contemplation"-type of thinking man's heaven, this was more like Valhalla or just a perfect world without scarcity.
A world completely without scarcity would eliminate many of the reasons why people do evil in the first place. There is no reason to steal booze money, because all the booze is free, and you don't have to pick fights because there is an entire building devoted to letting you smack the snot out of monsters.
In other words, just about anyone who could get their foot in the door should like it there (with the exception of hyperbolic evils like Xykon and that CE Sorcerer Soul Splice guy).

Tenebrais
2009-07-17, 09:10 AM
This is normally the way I'd look at it, but the heaven that Roy went to would have been pretty sweet regardless of your alignment. Infinite sex, infinite fighting, infinite drinking, infinite eating, infinite fishing, infinite youth, and all at your fingertips with no costs or waiting (unless you happen to die as part of a war, in which case there will be a line to get in). This was no "We are finally one with our gods and may spend eternity in peaceful contemplation"-type of thinking man's heaven, this was more like Valhalla or just a perfect world without scarcity.

Remember this is just the lower levels of the mountain, designed to help deal with basic desires until one gets over them. The higher levels of the mountain are sort of implied to have more of that "one-ness with the world" aspect to them.

Jaltum
2009-07-17, 09:10 AM
A world completely without scarcity would eliminate many of the reasons why people do evil in the first place.

That's true. If you would be evil because of scarcity, the Good afterlife is an inducement to take a longer view and be good in life. But I think that's a feature, not a bug. Most people feel at least some temptation to do evil things when it's more convenient; they don't do it because they feel like it's better for them in the long run not to, even if it's as abstract as 'I don't want to live in a society where people do things like that.' Only the very best of us do good because it makes us happy for its own sake.

In other words, if you can stick it out, you probably deserve to be there.

But a true sociopath like Belkar or Xykon wouldn't be happy in the Good afterlives, even if he somehow restrained himself all his life to get there. They'd have no outlet for their sadistic, evil-for-its-own-sake impulses.

Rev. George
2009-07-17, 09:13 AM
If they're successful and serve their evil Gods well, wouldn't they rather get rewarded in the afterlife accordingly? I could easily see Belkar, for example, spending an eternity stabbing and fighting, and it wouldn't be a punishment at all.

The real trick (so to speak) is that most Evil people THINK they will be rewarded. And a rare few likely are. After all. it is good for morale/ recruiting. Even if it gets out that the vast majority of souls bound for "the deep end" end up being used as outlets for various semi-biological functions, making sure that it also gets out that "if you are REALLY evil you will gain a place in the service of XXXXX" It encourages people to be more evil. Smart/wise/whatever evil beings know (or have a better idea of) the truth. They take steps to avoid such things, as Xykon pointed out.

Hell (no pun) it is likely that the souls the IFCC used, in some form, were trying to get out of the common punishment. Evil wizard of great power dies when he accidentally sits on a demon roach in the crapper, igniting a massive methane explosion. He arrives on the lower plane, and is slowly lowered on a tether of burning, barbed chain towards a pit of tormented, screaming souls being devoured/ripped apart/scourged/etc (being turned into the mindless things most souls become) He's choking on the stench of burning brimstone and manflesh, his eyes burn and he finally knows fear. Then a fiend flies up, presumptively to torment him. The fiend offers him a choice- he can lose his individuality over the next 100 years, emerging as an animate lump of goo, or he can be spirited away by the fiend, but he must pledge undying service. Even if the damned soul realizes it might not be pleasant, the offer speaks to his selfish nature (evil being defined as the tendency to place the needs of oneself above (most) all else). So he agrees. Maybe he thinks he can escape. Maybe he thinks he can brown-nose his way up, or maybe he just fears the writhing mass below. Either way, he'll likely take the offer. And serve the greater evil in two ways: one directly, and the other by re-enforcing the idea that "if you are really evil, you get treated differently"


-+G

pendell
2009-07-17, 09:19 AM
My main problem with that explanation is that it seems to rely on the idea that pride...verging on stupidity...and evil are inseparable. Yeah, I guess arrogance and evil fit very snugly together, but I'm guessing there are plenty of really nasty people who are also at least self-aware enough to know their odds of dying and then going on to take over their own layer of the Abyss are somewhere between 'zilch' and 'nada.'

I would argue that the human capacity for self-delusion is near-infinite.

Consider lottery tickets: Anyone with half a brain knows that the odds of winning the lottery are infinitesimal; yet those lotteries reliably generate millions upon millions of sales. Some people even spend thousands of dollars trying to buy the winning ticket.

Or consider the infamous Nigerian bank scam, which still shows up in my email account every week or so. Anyone with half a brain knows that bankers don't just write you out of the blue asking you to participate in a moneymaking scheme, yet again millions of people get suckered by these scams.

Or casino gambling. There's a very small percentage of people who have what it takes to be professional gamblers, certainly a lot smaller than the people who actually go into casinos and lose everything they have.

So I buy the explanation. I think many humans have a belief in themselves, in their Destiny and in their Luck, out of all proportion to the actual results. A lot of people in D&D go to hell, because a lot of people in D&D are fools.

Don't forget, as well, that the lower planes probably have a nonstop propaganda campaign going on trying to discredit the upper planes while touting all the good points of the lower planes. Since they are evil, they have no compunction about lying through their teeth. Since they're telling people exactly what they want to hear, naturally lots of people will fall for it.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Optimystik
2009-07-17, 09:30 AM
Remember this is just the lower levels of the mountain, designed to help deal with basic desires until one gets over them. The higher levels of the mountain are sort of implied to have more of that "one-ness with the world" aspect to them.

Exactly. This is supported by the fact that people that ascend to the highest level never come back down - implying that they become assimilated into Celestia at that point.


It seems a huge double standard to me if the good and neutral are rewarded for staying true to their alignment while the evil are punished for it.

It's supposed to. "This is hell; we're big on irony here." (http://www.nuklearpower.com/2004/02/24/episode-388-see-you-in-hell-monkey-boy/)

In the Lower Planes, souls are just commodities, and paradoxically, powerful souls are worth even more when their identity is stripped away through eons of torture. So becoming extremely powerful in life is still no guarantee of being able to skip the painful conversion process.

Aldrakan
2009-07-17, 09:38 AM
The problem with the "evil afterlife is torture" setup is that it seems to be mostly descended from Christian beliefs. But that system is made with Good being dominant and wanting to deter evil behavior. But in OotS the world was created by good and evil gods, so it's a little strange that it would be set up along the same lines. The only reason for the evil gods hurting people for doing what they want them to do seems to be either a sense of irony or because they can't control their tormenting impulses. And as was just pointed out in 699 people can plane shift across to see what happens, so it's strange that people would have such delusions about it.

Berserk Monk
2009-07-17, 09:41 AM
In a dime, in a dollar: maybe those people known they're going to Hell and just figure they might as well steel and be successful in this world because in the next they're just going to suffer.

Jaltum
2009-07-17, 10:01 AM
The problem with the "evil afterlife is torture" setup is that it seems to be mostly descended from Christian beliefs. But that system is made with Good being dominant and wanting to deter evil behavior. But in OotS the world was created by good and evil gods, so it's a little strange that it would be set up along the same lines. T

It is weird; but remember, we've only seen bits and peices of how the world was created. Nothing about the Outer Planes at all. When the gods are making the world, and the monstrous races, they don't seem to care about good or evil at all. They treat it all like a big game.

Obviously, something changed somewhere along the line. Although Thor...

Tenebrais
2009-07-17, 10:07 AM
The problem is that hell (or the other lower planes) cannot be a reward for everyone, because a significant part of evil is enjoying the torment of others. This needs there to be others to torment. The most likely system, at least to me, seems to be that those sent to the lower planes can enjoy stamping on those below them but have to tolerate being stamped on by those above them (who do so because they enjoy it).

Optimystik
2009-07-17, 10:07 AM
The problem with the "evil afterlife is torture" setup is that it seems to be mostly descended from Christian beliefs. But that system is made with Good being dominant and wanting to deter evil behavior. But in OotS the world was created by good and evil gods, so it's a little strange that it would be set up along the same lines. The only reason for the evil gods hurting people for doing what they want them to do seems to be either a sense of irony or because they can't control their tormenting impulses. And as was just pointed out in 699 people can plane shift across to see what happens, so it's strange that people would have such delusions about it.

A) Evil gods want to have control of the mortal plane. If you are an evil cleric or other supporter, and you die without having helped accomplish that goal, as far as evil deities are concerned you have failed and are useless to them. So they melt your soul down to make magic items, power spells etc. and invest in those still alive.

B) Most people who planeshift to the lower planes don't come back; clear accounts of what goes on down there are exceedingly rare. There are actually in-universe versions of the Fiendish Codices and the Book of Vile Darkness, but even in the scholarly circles that know the books are more than legends, they are dismissed as the ravings of the mad.

whitelaughter
2009-07-17, 10:09 AM
okay, a few things to consider:
-in D&D you can dodge your just fate by one degree simply by picking the right god. This is one of the smart moves for a cleric; thus a CN cleric can pick a CG god and so spend eternity living it up rather than being slaadi fodder.

- you need to know your alignment before you can realise that there's a problem. I keep meaning to play a LN elf who insists that he's chaotic good: after all, elves are chaotic good, and being lawful neutral he'll be determined to follow the cultural norms. While I plan to play the idea for laughs (carefully scheduling sessions of 'spontaneous merriment and song' and so forth), this is going to be an ongoing problem in a D&D world - and evil characters are likely to react violently to anyone who 'slanders their reputation' with a detect spell.

- if you're lucky, hell is other people: but what if hell is you? A basically deceitful or treacherous individual is going to be in a fiendish place, no matter what their surroundings.

-And then there are social rules and customs: Redcloak blames the forces of Good for the suffering of his people, and after the assault on his village you can see why - but with a high level cleric on hand, why were they living in thatched huts? They had the magic to create a paradise for themselves, and didn't. If the dwarven afterlife is full of dwarves busily making glorious strongholds, and the elven afterlife is full of elves creating gardens and enchanted forests, then it's no wonder they are simply nicer places! One-eye sort of grasped this, but a lone voice in the wilderness isn't enough; the dead goblins will have to decide as a nation to build themselves a decent afterlife. If they do, look to see a (rather nice) block shift from Acheron to Mechanus.

- fiendish propaganda. "Sure, *weak* individuals are ensalved and tortured, but who does the enslaving and torturing? Sign up, and it could be you! Have your own army of slaves - the good guys won't give the perks we do!"

Demonicbunny
2009-07-17, 10:49 AM
There is also the matter that if you're capable of Planeshifting there is a fairly decent chance that you're capable of becoming a lich or extending your life through unholy means, isn't there?

Aldrakan
2009-07-17, 10:50 AM
A) Evil gods want to have control of the mortal plane. If you are an evil cleric or other supporter, and you die without having helped accomplish that goal, as far as evil deities are concerned you have failed and are useless to them. So they melt your soul down to make magic items, power spells etc. and invest in those still alive.

B) Most people who planeshift to the lower planes don't come back; clear accounts of what goes on down there are exceedingly rare. There are actually in-universe versions of the Fiendish Codices and the Book of Vile Darkness, but even in the scholarly circles that know the books are more than legends, they are dismissed as the ravings of the mad.

A) Oh yeah forgot that they do actually benefit from their treatment of the souls, although don't people who do make great strides towards that control get the same treatment? Would an evil warlord who created a great empire and made Bane or whoever the official religion get bumped up to a major demon right off the bat?

B) I guess, though I'd think someone sane would have found out by now. Don't the githyanki traditionally spend a day there at a certain level, or was that dropped after 2nd edition? And the forces of good know all about this, you'd think they would tell people.

Optimystik
2009-07-17, 10:55 AM
There is also the matter that if you're capable of Planeshifting there is a fairly decent chance that you're capable of becoming a lich or extending your life through unholy means, isn't there?

Not necessarily; Plane Shift requires a LOT less knowledge than becoming a lich does. In SoD, Xykon was more than high enough level to have learned how to Plane Shift but knew nothing about lichdom.


okay, a few things to consider:
-in D&D you can dodge your just fate by one degree simply by picking the right god. This is one of the smart moves for a cleric; thus a CN cleric can pick a CG god and so spend eternity living it up rather than being slaadi fodder.

Depends on the setting. In Greyhawk, your destination depends on your alignment, not your deity, and it seems that this is the model that OotS uses. Forgotten Realms is the one where you go to your deity's home on death. Eberron... well, let's just say things are a bit more fluid there.


-And then there are social rules and customs: Redcloak blames the forces of Good for the suffering of his people, and after the assault on his village you can see why - but with a high level cleric on hand, why were they living in thatched huts? They had the magic to create a paradise for themselves, and didn't. If the dwarven afterlife is full of dwarves busily making glorious strongholds, and the elven afterlife is full of elves creating gardens and enchanted forests, then it's no wonder they are simply nicer places! One-eye sort of grasped this, but a lone voice in the wilderness isn't enough; the dead goblins will have to decide as a nation to build themselves a decent afterlife. If they do, look to see a (rather nice) block shift from Acheron to Mechanus.

You are mistaking Clerical magic for Wizardry here. Redcloak says it best in SoD: "I'm a cleric of the Dark One, I can't just abandon his directives!" The Plan came from the Dark One - Redcloak has to either follow it, or abandon the cloak.

I agree with everything else you said.

EDIT:


A) Oh yeah forgot that they do actually benefit from their treatment of the souls, although don't people who do make great strides towards that control get the same treatment? Would an evil warlord who created a great empire and made Bane or whoever the official religion get bumped up to a major demon right off the bat?

Maybe, maybe not. Certainly a Chosen of Bane like Fzoul (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fzoul_Chembryl) would, but they are very rare.


B) I guess, though I'd think someone sane would have found out by now. Don't the githyanki traditionally spend a day there at a certain level, or was that dropped after 2nd edition? And the forces of good know all about this, you'd think they would tell people.

The forces of good DO tell people; constantly, in fact. But evangelism doesn't have much of a track record for preventing evil. :smalltongue:

Shining Sadist
2009-07-17, 03:19 PM
I remember there was a 2nd edition AD&D supplement that explained it like this: no evil person who knows about the lower planes expects to die and go to the Abyss or the Nine Hells and become a mane or lemure or other bottom-of-the-barrel sort of fiend. If they're going to die, they expect to go to the lower planes and in no time become Pit Fiends and Balors and other power entities, ruling over masses of lesser fiends and wielding massive amounts of power. So they can have their evil cake and eat it, too: they can express their inner villain in life and then go on to keep expressing it in death, possibly with more power than ever before.

Of course, this is usually delusional and the overwhelming majority do become cannon-fodder or hideous damned souls sprinkling the horizon in order to add that pit-of-despair kind of atmosphere. For the overwhelming majority I think the lower planes can probably be described as a place of punishment in practice.

My main problem with that explanation is that it seems to rely on the idea that pride...verging on stupidity...and evil are inseparable. Yeah, I guess arrogance and evil fit very snugly together, but I'm guessing there are plenty of really nasty people who are also at least self-aware enough to know their odds of dying and then going on to take over their own layer of the Abyss are somewhere between 'zilch' and 'nada.'

Pardon me if this has already been thought of, as I don't follow the how will Belker avoid death threads, but this made me think, what if he is converted into a demon in the lower planes, then returns and is treated exactly as before.

Also, evil doesn't make a whole lot of sense in any world. People are just willing to do it anyway. While the arguments against it may be stronger in OotS world, they are strong enough here that I'd say the people doing evil just don't care. So yes, it is stupid. Does it matter? No.

Omegonthesane
2009-07-17, 03:27 PM
@Optimistyk If I remember right, clerics always go to their god's realm on death, no matter what. So a LE cleric can at least get into Mechanus if he worships a LN god.

The big problem isn't that Evil people exist when they know - KNOW - they're off to Hell.

The big problem is, in fact, that a Good adventuring party hasn't yet quested to turn their LG leader into Pun-Pun and used his overdeity powers to unmake all the Lower Planes and reshape them in their image. Or to unmake the Prime Material and reshape it to be a place of nothing but Good.

Although the same argument can be said to ask why the world isn't Hell... Maybe the 'balance of good and evil' crap resulted from a series of Pun-Puns ascending and escalating the war until one gained enough Wisdom to realise they were getting nowhere.

Optimystik
2009-07-17, 03:48 PM
@Optimistyk If I remember right, clerics always go to their god's realm on death, no matter what. So a LE cleric can at least get into Mechanus if he worships a LN god.

That is specific to Forgotten Realms. Greyhawk's cosmology is purely alignment-based.

EDIT: I just noticed you specified clerics, so the rules may be different for them, I'm not sure.


The big problem isn't that Evil people exist when they know - KNOW - they're off to Hell.

The big problem is, in fact, that a Good adventuring party hasn't yet quested to turn their LG leader into Pun-Pun and used his overdeity powers to unmake all the Lower Planes and reshape them in their image. Or to unmake the Prime Material and reshape it to be a place of nothing but Good.

Unfortunately, the Hells are a necessary evil, at least in D&D. Asmodeus proved this at the beginning of FC2 when he made all the gods agree to the Pact Primeval. Without fear of punishment, mortals can't be kept in line. It is the unfortunate flaw inherent to mortality.


Although the same argument can be said to ask why the world isn't Hell... Maybe the 'balance of good and evil' crap resulted from a series of Pun-Puns ascending and escalating the war until one gained enough Wisdom to realise they were getting nowhere.

The world is not hell because there are good people (and nations) along with the bad.

Qubanz
2009-07-18, 05:11 AM
I dunno...

I don't think the OOTS hells are exactly like the standard 'Lake of Fire' hell.

I think it's more like a hell-ISH place. And someone like Belkar might happily run around there stabbing demons and lost souls alike.

Actually though admittedly, unless you are a Belkar-like person, it really wouldn't make much sense to be evil in the OOTS world save for one caveat. If you got someone to ressurrect you, it doesn't really matter where you go. You can just come back.

Actually though I like the OOTS afterlife thing where everyone know it's there and what it's like and how it works. {Scrubbed}

I wonder what the true neutral afterlife is like though... Or what the afterlife is like for people who are not really bad, but only kind of good. Do they get to go to the good places, or to a neutral place?

Neutral Good seems like a nice place to go though. Neither rigid traditionalism there, nor constant rebelliousness. Kind of a happy medium.

Sholos
2009-07-18, 06:47 AM
I think it's a self-selecting process. You're going to have a few kinds of evil people. You'll have the ones that are genuinely too stupid to really figure out that, yes, the afterlife is going to suck. Then you'll have the ones that are really prideful, and they'll think that the afterlife isn't going to suck for them because of reasons X, Y, and Z. Then you have the ones that do realize that the afterlife is going to suck for them, or at least there's a good chance of it. This last category are the ones that work to redeem themselves, so you're really only left with the other two kinds to make up the vast majority of the evil people running around.

So, in answer to the OP's question, yes, being evil is stupid, which is why all the evil people out there are exceedingly prideful.

spargel
2009-07-18, 07:26 AM
So, in answer to the OP's question, yes, being evil is stupid, which is why all the evil people out there are exceedingly prideful.

Aren't you born evil in D&D?

whitelaughter
2009-07-18, 07:28 AM
Thanks for your courteous reply, btw!

You are mistaking Clerical magic for Wizardry here. Redcloak says it best in SoD: "I'm a cleric of the Dark One, I can't just abandon his directives!" The Plan came from the Dark One - Redcloak has to either follow it, or abandon the cloak.
But later he *did* decide to do this - and was thwarted by Xykon. More recently, he's put the Master Plan on hold for months, establishing the Hobgoblins in Azure City. Clerics are chosen for their Wisdom simply because they *have* to decide on the best way to interpret the grant master plan for the local setting.
What did his predecessor do? The goblins had been there long enough to build huts; weeks to years. Spending a day Summoning Earth Mephits to cast Soften Stone, or Stone Shape and Disintegrate, or using Raise/Lower Water while the other goblins build rafts around boulders allows massive stone constructions.
Purify Food and Gentle Corpse allow the stockpiling of large amounts of food; Lesser Planar Ally brings in useful specialists while Repel Vermin(used to herd vermin into pits) and Animate Dead also provide troops; Speak with Dead, Augury etc provide information. Even low level clerics can rebuild a region, heck a Guidance cantrip can massively increase a crafter's productivity.
Redcloak's predecessor achieved - what?

Now, sure, that village would still probably have been wiped out by the Azurites. But it should have been a tiny goblin paradise, not a squalid collection of huts.

The forces of good DO tell people; constantly, in fact. But evangelism doesn't have much of a track record for preventing evil. :smalltongue:
So Martin Luther King achieved nothing? :smalltongue: Sometime you've an afternoon to waste, read up on some of the more famous evangelists and see the changes they've made to the world, or to individual lives. Great way of lifting your spirits.
:)

Omegonthesane
2009-07-18, 07:40 AM
Unfortunately, the Hells are a necessary evil, at least in D&D. Asmodeus proved this at the beginning of FC2 when he made all the gods agree to the Pact Primeval. Without fear of punishment, mortals can't be kept in line. It is the unfortunate flaw inherent to mortality.
Or maybe Asmodeus, future king of the Nine Hells and ultimate bull**** artist, intervened directly to make mortals step out of line as part of his plan to make a realm of evil for himself.

If Hell was a necessary evil, it would actually do its job. Mortals are not kept in line by it, as evidenced by the presence of Evil characters in the same world as it.


The world is not hell because there are good people (and nations) along with the bad.
But in the absence of more than one Pun-Pun, there's no satisfactory reason why Evil Pun-Pun hasn't destroyed all good in the Great Wheel (never mind the Prime Material) already - just as there's no satisfactory reason why Good Pun-Pun hasn't destroyed all evil in the Great Wheel.

Kish
2009-07-18, 08:28 AM
But in the absence of more than one Pun-Pun, there's no satisfactory reason why Evil Pun-Pun hasn't destroyed all good in the Great Wheel (never mind the Prime Material) already - just as there's no satisfactory reason why Good Pun-Pun hasn't destroyed all evil in the Great Wheel.
Given that the reasonable number of Pun-Puns for any campaign world is 0, not 1 or more, your premise needs work.

Turkish Delight
2009-07-18, 09:13 AM
Also, evil doesn't make a whole lot of sense in any world. People are just willing to do it anyway.

Well, now, I wouldn't say that. Being a loathsome sociopath can actually be very profitable and enriching, at least from a material perspective, and alas for many probably from the perspective of personal satisfaction as well. You just have to be smart about it and find a way to avoid all of that pesky judgment and retribution business, which is perfectly do-able in a strictly material world.

But the undisputed existence of an afterlife which is about 99% likely to be one of punishment, the judgment of which you cannot escape without epic magic at your disposal, is a pretty massive spanner in the works. Certainly it should make the 'evil as the means to an end' folks second-guess their petty villainy, leaving the field only to those truly detestable people who really can't have an enjoyable life without drop-kicking babies into volcanoes and the like.

Of course, it also makes the existence of Always Chaotic Evil-style races even more worrisome than it usually is, assuming they go on to the Nine Hells or the Abyss or wherever when they get offed. Not only are they pretty much born to be bad, but they're born to then go to hell for it? How can you not feel sorry for the poor schmucks?

Omegonthesane
2009-07-18, 10:35 AM
Given that the reasonable number of Pun-Puns for any campaign world is 0, not 1 or more, your premise needs work.

I dunno. Any universe that runs by the rules exactly as written shall have Pun-Pun if it has sarrukhs, and any universe that isn't is partly homebrew and therefore can think of a cosmology that actually makes sense.

Here's one for you...

1. The gods made the Pact Primeval with Asmodeus because they believed that the threat of punishment would cause fewer mortals to be led astray, as stated in FC2.
2. Asmodeus deliberately causes people to fall into his realm so he can torture their souls, also as stated in FC2. This eclipses the number of souls conceivably saved by the threat of Hell.
3. Asmodeus does not have the same authority as the gods with whom he made the Pact Primeval.

Conclusion: The law gods should have, the moment they realised this, said "By our imperious order, the Pact Primeval and all copies thereof are null and void, regardless of previous commitments; furthermore, this statement is backdated to the day the Pact was signed" thereby robbing Asmodeus of all the added power he was supposed to have used to keep mortal souls pure. He wasn't doing the job, so if the Pact Primeval stopped them from just sacking him, they should have simply taken it back and had done.

Kish
2009-07-18, 10:41 AM
I dunno. Any universe that runs by the rules exactly as written
The "universe that runs by the rules exactly as written," with the unstated "not counting Rule 0," is a munchkin fantasy. It doesn't need explaining because it doesn't exist. Anything that indicates that it would collapse is a(nother) reason for pointing and laughing at it, not something that needs to be explained away.

Also, exactly one published universe has sarrukhs. "if it has sarrukhs" adds more silliness yet by making this, "The Forgotten Realms, if it ran by the rules exactly as written, which we know it doesn't, would have Pun-Puns." Uh, so?

Omegonthesane
2009-07-18, 02:01 PM
The "universe that runs by the rules exactly as written," with the unstated "not counting Rule 0," is a munchkin fantasy. It doesn't need explaining because it doesn't exist. Anything that indicates that it would collapse is a(nother) reason for pointing and laughing at it, not something that needs to be explained away.

Also, exactly one published universe has sarrukhs. "if it has sarrukhs" adds more silliness yet by making this, "The Forgotten Realms, if it ran by the rules exactly as written, which we know it doesn't, would have Pun-Puns." Uh, so?
...Eh, I don't know how we got this far when I already implied the Pun-Pun argument is invalid because if one Pun-Pun, then many Pun-Puns who probably oppose eachother until one talks the others into not fighting anymore with his infinite Diplomacy check.

Lamech
2009-07-18, 02:50 PM
Why do people commit crimes, as a pattern. The mafia, drug dealers, hitmen, or long term enbezzlers. Most are punished and caught? But they still do it; they think they will be special and get away. In DnD its a lot less clear, and there are propaganda campaigns, and what not. I'm sure if someone plane shifted to hell to show the "punishments" the evil souls would have a choice between...
a) being showered with enrynies and wealth and what not or
b) being promoted to a fiend of there choice.

I think its a combination of propaganda campaigns, self-delusion, and ignorance. One effective campaign might be going into a village and telling everyone that they are evil, even good people. While another cleric says its just a overly moralistic ploy.

The Extinguisher
2009-07-18, 03:00 PM
This reminds me of a quote.

"You spent your life promoting evil and the destruction, but, what have you done for Asmodeus lately?"

Or something like that.

mec
2009-07-18, 03:29 PM
(Let's see if I can talk about human nature in this world without mentioning religion or politics).

Some things that people do in this world make their future lives worse: smoking cigarettes, eating too much, eating the wrong food, not exercising, tanning too much, riding in a car without a seat belt, not saving money for retirement.

A lot of people do those things anyways. Let me pick one thing on my list: maybe they don't think cigarettes cause cancer. Or maybe they actually don't believe they will live as long as 50 or 60 or 70 years old, when the painful cigarette-induced diseases start kicking in.

Or maybe they shut the future out of their heads and refuse to think about it. (irrational, but common). Or maybe they would like to quit, but they don't have the force of will to do it. Optimizing a character is one thing, optimizing *your own* life is harder. Perhaps they would like to stop, but they keep procrastinating.

So in the OOTSverse, perhaps Bozzak knows that his afterlife is going to be horrible, but he plans to retire ... any year now ... and start an orphanage, and balance his alignment out before he dies.

David Argall
2009-07-18, 04:20 PM
One possibility seems to be that they actively prefer the Hells.

You are an evil store cleric, which means you have to smile and say "Glad to help you." all day. You would love to smash their silly faces in, but there is a cop on the corner who will run you in. And if you just tell them what you really think of them, they stop buying from you and you go broke. So you have got to just silently seethe and take their guff.
You are really in Hell right now.
So what is so terrible about Hell? OK, somebody is going to be beating you up and torturing you, but every so often you will finally get a chance to be doing the beating up and torturing. And if you are "good", there will be quite a few chances. And you likely have a rather inflated idea of your chances...
Hell is beginning to sound pretty good, certainly compared to some Heaven where you have to be nice to everyone...

Omegonthesane
2009-07-18, 05:32 PM
One possibility seems to be that they actively prefer the Hells.

You are an evil store cleric, which means you have to smile and say "Glad to help you." all day. You would love to smash their silly faces in, but there is a cop on the corner who will run you in. And if you just tell them what you really think of them, they stop buying from you and you go broke. So you have got to just silently seethe and take their guff.
You are really in Hell right now.
So what is so terrible about Hell? OK, somebody is going to be beating you up and torturing you, but every so often you will finally get a chance to be doing the beating up and torturing. And if you are "good", there will be quite a few chances. And you likely have a rather inflated idea of your chances...
Hell is beginning to sound pretty good, certainly compared to some Heaven where you have to be nice to everyone...
This would be a very good rationale for not turning to good immediately, if FC2 didn't ram home the point that nearly all evil people regardless of achievements end up as lemures. The least it could have done was imply that there was a strong correlation between LE people doing epic things in life and the resulting lemures having the residual cunning to get promoted under their own immediate power irrespective of their past deeds.

The Abyss doesn't crap all over strong petitioners quite so much if I recall right, but there's nearly always a bigger fish. Unless you're Emperor Tippy - or Emperor Palamecia, for that matter, though he was more headed for Hell.

JonestheSpy
2009-07-19, 02:34 AM
I think that J.K. Rowling does a great job illustrating how people end up siding with the Bad Guys even though it's clearly not a good idea.

People join Team Evil for a variety of reasons - pride, fear, or just plain nasty disposition. They think that they will get "in" with the bigger bad guys, and not suffer the unpleasant fate of lesser folk. By the time they realize that the Evil One is not their friend, that they are rewarded and/or tolerated only as long as they are useful, and if they mess up or otherwise get on their bosses' bad side they are going to suffer horribly, it's too late, they're in too deep to get out. Maybe they could repent and seek protection and help from the Good Guys, but very very few have the strength of character to do so; generally, the flaws that made them slide toward evil in the first place will keep them there.

Meanwhile, the Big Bad Guys will being feeding potential recruits lines like "There's no such thing as good or evil - only power. And Heaven and Hell are simply different planes ruled by different teams - no morality involved at all". And the people who want to believe such reasoning, most likely will.

spargel
2009-07-19, 01:18 PM
Why do people commit crimes, as a pattern. The mafia, drug dealers, hitmen, or long term enbezzlers. Most are punished and caught? But they still do it; they think they will be special and get away.

No, actually, many of them get away with it.


I think that J.K. Rowling does a great job illustrating how people end up siding with the Bad Guys even though it's clearly not a good idea.

It's mostly only how fictional people side with the villain.

Lord Seth
2009-07-19, 01:43 PM
What do the actual sourcebooks say about afterlife for evil people in D&D?

ZeroNumerous
2009-07-19, 01:47 PM
What do the actual sourcebooks say about afterlife for evil people in D&D?

The Abyss (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abyss_(Dungeons_%26_Dragons))

Baator (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baator)

Outer Planes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Plane)

Aldrakan
2009-07-19, 01:54 PM
Blackadder the First: The thing about Heaven, is that Heaven is for people who like the sort of things that go on in Heaven, like, uh, well, singing. Talking to God. Watering pot plants.
Whereas Hell, on the other hand, is for people who like the other sorts of things: adultery, pillage, torture--those areas. Leave your lands to the Crown, and once you're dead, you will have the time of your life!

Seemed appropriate.

But yeah it wouldn't be so bad if dying evil transformed you directly into a demon but left your mind intact, thus taking an evil person and giving them demonic abilities and a chance for advancement by doing more evil. That way there would be some immediate benefit to go along with being stuck in Hell, and a way to bring your own resourcefulness to play.

But no, instead it's tortured until there's nothing of you left and used as mindless cannon fodder.

Optimystik
2009-07-19, 02:03 PM
What do the actual sourcebooks say about afterlife for evil people in D&D?

Your biggest sources for the nature of the Lower Planes will be FC1, FC2 and BoVD. Manual of the Planes has some descriptions (mostly geographic), and BoED offers some tidbits of a primarily cautionary nature.


You are an evil store cleric,

I think you meant "clerk." :smalltongue:


Hell is beginning to sound pretty good, certainly compared to some Heaven where you have to be nice to everyone...

This argument makes the same mistake here that the evildoers themselves make; they don't realize that by the time they get to the point where they can "do the torturing" they aren't really themselves any longer. To ascend the fiendish ladder requires either a soul that has been stripped of all individuality through its own torture, or one so depraved that such a process is deemed unnecessary by the higher-ups. The latter is an extremely rare occurrence, even among the depraved souls that end up in the Lower Planes to begin with; megalomaniacs are nothing if not optimistic, however.

Crafty Cultist
2009-07-19, 02:29 PM
people dont always think long-term. an evil character might choose evil simply because it's more convenient at the time.

JonestheSpy
2009-07-19, 02:35 PM
It's mostly only how fictional people side with the villain.

And that's different than this topic how, exactly?

Turkish Delight
2009-07-19, 03:03 PM
people dont always think long-term. an evil character might choose evil simply because it's more convenient at the time.

True, but it's a bit like investing your life savings in buying the world's largest ball of twine. Yes, it's a pretty freaking awesome feeling for a very short while, realizing that you've got the world's biggest ball of twine in your basement. Makes you feel proud. Makes you feel strong. Makes you feel like you could take on the world. But then you wake up the next morning and you're being horribly tortured by demons.

Yeah. I'm not sure where I was going with that metaphor. The point, I guess, is that sometimes a complete failure of long-term planning is a pretty solid sign of stupidity. I'd say at the absolute top of the list of 'things smart people should always be making long-term plans about' would be the question of whether or not they spend eternity roasting in their own fat.

Turkish Delight
2009-07-19, 03:09 PM
And that's different than this topic how, exactly?

It isn't. I think he's just remarking on the spill-over between the thread subject and why real people do evil things, which can often be quite a bit more complicated.

But I get the impression the board takes a fairly hard line on such non-OotS talk, so in the interests of not getting my first thread closed I will leave that subject untouched.

JonestheSpy
2009-07-19, 03:13 PM
But I get the impression the board takes a fairly hard line on such non-OotS talk, so in the interests of not getting my first thread closed I will leave that subject untouched.

Don't worry, as long as you don't start talking about acrimony-inducing subjects like real-world politics and religion, you're fine. People make extensive references to Tolkien on almost every other thread, for instance.

Omegonthesane
2009-07-19, 03:58 PM
This argument makes the same mistake here that the evildoers themselves make; they don't realize that by the time they get to the point where they can "do the torturing" they aren't really themselves any longer. To ascend the fiendish ladder requires either a soul that has been stripped of all individuality through its own torture, or one so depraved that such a process is deemed unnecessary by the higher-ups. The latter is an extremely rare occurrence, even among the depraved souls that end up in the Lower Planes to begin with; megalomaniacs are nothing if not optimistic, however.

If it wasn't for the bit where you're painfully tortured - or you were so ridiculously masochistic that even personality-stripping-away Hell torture was something you enjoyed - this would still have its appeal to utterly power-crazed people without you having to completely ignore the details. The latter can be achieved with a little self mind-raping. The former is how it works in 40K - by the time a Chaos Lord has ascended to daemonhood, between experience and Chaos taint he's bound to have changed so much that he's a totally different person from when he began walking that road, if he can remember his pre-daemonhood days at all.

FlawedParadigm
2009-07-19, 04:47 PM
I think you meant "clerk." :smalltongue:


I'm not even supposed to be here today! :smallmad:

Porthos
2009-07-19, 05:27 PM
There are several things at play here:

A person just doesn't WANT to be good (or neutral).

They want to run around causing havoc and destruction. They want to throw apart established order. They want to backstab people who have slighted them.

Guess what? If someone wants to do something, it's awfully hard to resist those desires. Even a "knowledge" of damnation might not sway people.

After all, back in the day, people were absolutely convinced of Hell Fire and Damnation if they sinned. Guess What?

They still sinned.

What this might say about Human Nature is probably best left unsaid. On this board at least. :smallwink:

Alternatively, maybe a person thinks the whole Good/Evil deal is a raw deal. Maybe they think that Power Should Trump All. Maybe they are actively hostile to the very concepts of what Good stands for. So even if they never committed an evil deed in their life (which would be tough, but let's roll with it), their philosophical outlook would still send them to the Lower Planes.

Then there's the whole difference between Adventures (and their contacts) and Non Adventurers. Sure the stereotypical Person Who Has Player Class Levels might not have an excuse for not knowing what is in store for him. But Jack the Tavern Owner? He has no real idea about the Lower planes. Beyond what the local cleric might or might not have said at a sermon. He cure as heck doesn't know anyone whose been to the Lower Planes and back.

Even the nobility has an excuse if they're not part of the movers and shakers of the world. Or if they don't have a mid-level wizard or cleric on hand.

Sometimes I get the feeling that people forget that people with Player Class Levels are the exception, not the rule in DnD. :smallwink:

Lastly, (some) people are very bad about Future Planning. Maybe they think they'll have time to be good later on. Maybe they think that what they're doing isn't all that bad when all is said and done. Or maybe they just suffer from "Tomorrow Never Comes" syndrome.

Regardless, they may know in the back of their head that bad things are due to them. But for one reason or another they put it off.
============

Now, of course, I am not the best person to talk about the whole way DnD sets up the What Happens to Evil People When They Die thing. I, quite frankly, think it doesn't make a lick of sense for way too many reasons too go into here (some of them have already been addressed by others in this thread). And I also realize that a lot of it is a hodge podge of ideas (some very contradictory) that's been fermenting for thirty+ years.

So when I run DnD I (like so many other people) jettison what doesn't make sense to me (or alternatively what I dislike) and enhance things that do make sense to me.

So this whole "everyone becomes a lemure" business? Gone.

This whole "devils/demons/daemons are smarter and waaaaaaay more successful than Evil Gods"? Gone and gone.

Rather I set up parallel tracks where some people when they die become wormies while others go to their deities homes and others go straight to the "Torture R Us" Racks (amongst a few options).

A lot of the inherent tension and difficulties about the Lower Planes in DnD is down to the idea of: Are the Lower Planes a place where people are punished for being bad or are they a place where you are sent if that is where your philosophical outlook says you should go.

The whole Everyone's a Lemure business is great if you just run a "Lower Planes as Punishment" angle. Less great if you do (or want to do) the whole philosophical outlook thing. On the other hand, then you run into the sticky idea of "rewarding" evil people for doing evil things. And I can see why the various game companies that controlled DnD over the years might shy away from those ideas. On the other other hand I think (over time) they swayed too far into the punishment angle and tried to hamfistedly put things in to the system that just doesn't work if one really thinks about it (as this thread is pointing out).

Yes, I am quite aware of some game designers attempting to "square the circle" by coming up for justifications of why it is the way it is. But, quite simply, I just don't buy their justifications. The fact that FC I/II took those justifications up to eleven goes a long way to showing why I dislike those books. :smalltongue:

So what am I saying in all of this? That the Lower Planes should be set up for punishment and for being loyal to your evil god and for "it's a place you go if you're philosophically bent to go there". And whether or not you become a Worm, A Person Who Has To Prove Himself (again and again and again) To Their God, or a Person Running Around Like A Maniac On <Insert Plane of Choice: HERE> all goes down to circumstances (how the person lived their life, who they worshipped, how strong mentally they were, yadda yadda yadda).

Which, I find, solves a lot of the "it's stupid to be evil" complaints. :smallwink:

Ormur
2009-07-19, 08:45 PM
I think very few evil people (if people could be neatly divided into nine alignments) either consider themselves evil or think much about the consequences of their action. Why do petty criminals, delinquents and drug addicts do stuff that lands them in jail? Even if people knew that they'd end up in "hell" people would still probably find a way to delude themselves that they aren't evil or that it will all work out in the end or they'd just not dwell on it at all.

There were plenty of people that did stuff banned by the Bible in the middle ages when God and Hell were facts of daily life and even the petty thieves and bloody dictators "knew".

The few more self consciously evil people are probably high enough up or deprived enough to either relish the though of the lower planes or thinking of ways to avoid them altogether.

JonestheSpy
2009-07-20, 01:39 AM
The few more self consciously evil people are probably high enough up or deprived enough to either relish the though of the lower planes or thinking of ways to avoid them altogether.

There's also probably a macho "I'll see you in hell!" thing going on for some folks, without much thought of what that really means.

Turkish Delight
2009-07-20, 02:06 AM
There were plenty of people that did stuff banned by the Bible in the middle ages when God and Hell were facts of daily life and even the petty thieves and bloody dictators "knew".

Ultimately, I think this is likely the answer: namely, most people probably aren't card-carrying villains in the OotS world, just as they aren't in our world. They simply have a massively underdeveloped ability to examine their own behavior and beliefs and acknowledge how objectively contemptible they are. They won't identify as Chaotic Evil, in the way Belkar or Xykon happily would. They'll rationalize their actions and fool themselves into thinking that they're good people and going to one of the good planes, even if they're involved in the slave trade and think eating babies is part of a well-rounded breakfast.

Of course, I'd think such victories over cognitive dissonance are a bit harder to pull off in a world where there seems to be fairly ready access to 'detect alignment'-type spells.

kpenguin
2009-07-20, 02:30 AM
I suspect that most people know their own alignment in the OotSverse, just as they know all their other game stats.

Turkish Delight
2009-07-20, 02:44 AM
I suspect that most people know their own alignment in the OotSverse, just as they know all their other game stats.

That would create problems. But wasn't Roy in danger of having his file kicked over to the Neutral Good afterlife for past non-lawful behavior? And do you think Varsuvious knows, right now and with 100% certainty, whether he's still Neutral or has taken that final dip into Evil?

And there's the open question of whether Miko's shift from being a paladin also involved a drop from Lawful Good to Lawful Neutral. Certainly she still seemed to consider her stat sheet to read 'Lawful Good' after her fall.

Omegonthesane
2009-07-20, 02:57 AM
Better way of handling the Lower Planes

If I'd written the stuff, I'd actually keep the aspect where the most successful lawful evil souls get to join Team Evil as devils in the next life - those who sell their souls are guaranteed entry-level positions, those who don't get headhunted if they're in the Came Here For Philosophical Reasons stream. I'd also massively increase the powers of the gods or else make it explicit that the archdevils are gods in their own right, mind, since nothing should be more awesome and successful than the local gods. Plus, this is actually really similar to just going to a divine realm if you think about it, with the added advantage of explaining how devils get reinforcements.

The Abyss shouldn't be a place of explicit punishment - it just turns out that way in practice if you don't have the balls to fight your corner. Like, even more than the Nine Hells - at least there people respect authority other than "THOG SMASH!".

Jaltum
2009-07-20, 05:12 AM
If I'd written the stuff, I'd actually keep the aspect where the most successful lawful evil souls get to join Team Evil as devils in the next life - those who sell their souls are guaranteed entry-level positions, those who don't get headhunted if they're in the Came Here For Philosophical Reasons stream.

So when you kill an evil guy, you've quite likely just made sure that he's going to go be evil some place else, with more power and the opportunity to gain more of it, forever. There is no actual way to defeat evil, just rearrange it a little. Unless, of course, you start binding or destroying souls, which is... evil.

Whooo heroic fantasy.

Omegonthesane
2009-07-20, 05:19 AM
So when you kill an evil guy, you've quite likely just made sure that he's going to go be evil some place else, with more power and the opportunity to gain more of it, forever.
Oh, I dunno. Turning Ganonron, Terror of a Thousand Planes, into an insignificant intern who will need all of his cunning and a lot of luck to get promoted at all sounds like a net loss for Evil to me.


There is no actual way to defeat evil, just rearrange it a little.
Same applies for Good. It's just that Good hasn't had to turn its petitioners into footsoldiers on a large scale lately.


Unless, of course, you start binding or destroying souls, which is... evil.

Only according to a flawed D&D morality. If Hell is a worse fate than soul-bound, then soul-binding evil people is not evil. If killing evil people creates highly powerful demons if they aren't soulbound... then soulbinding is the lesser evil, and therefore ignorable at worst.

As for destroying souls, there are worse fates than final death. Of which several are in Hell as written in FC2.

Seriously why is it inherently Evil to destroy and bind souls by RAW? Sure it's flipping off the universal order, but that's Chaotic, not Evil. Same deal with Ur-Priests, for that matter - wouldn't an Ur-Priest who stole power from the evil gods (thereby weakening Team Evil) and used it to help the good gods (thereby helping Team Good) be one of the good guys?

Thanatosia
2009-07-20, 05:53 AM
Afterlife concerns aside.... being evil seems decidedly more of a suboptimal choice in life in a world where Detect Evil spells and SLAs exist as low level and at-will options.

Just imagine if you had to submit to an alignment scan to get a good job?

Omegonthesane
2009-07-20, 06:05 AM
Afterlife concerns aside.... being evil seems decidedly more of a suboptimal choice in life in a world where Detect Evil spells and SLAs exist as low level and at-will options.

Just imagine if you had to submit to an alignment scan to get a good job?

Any 3rd level Cleric can give you an Undetectable Alignment every day, and depending on the size of his church a friendly one probably will extend this free service to followers.

Any 2nd level Bard with a decent Charisma score can have Undetectable Alignment as one of his spells, and it'll be a very good choice in a world with frequent alignment detection.

Oh, and potions of the spell are 300 gp.

Sadly, evil 1st level people are still screwed, unless they have friends in slightly higher places.

Turkish Delight
2009-07-20, 06:27 AM
So when you kill an evil guy, you've quite likely just made sure that he's going to go be evil some place else, with more power and the opportunity to gain more of it, forever. There is no actual way to defeat evil, just rearrange it a little. Unless, of course, you start binding or destroying souls, which is... evil.

Whooo heroic fantasy.

Setting aside the heroic fantasy pretenses, the typical set-up of AD&D doesn't seem at all like Tolkien in this regard. Evil is not a horrid corruption of the good and it doesn't seem to be destined to eventually be vanquished by good. Instead, there's a cosmic balance, and neither good nor evil is inherently superior. The evil side gets just as much power as the good side and there's nothing written that says they are destined to lose 'in the end.'

In fact, I remember that at least in Planescape they almost made it sound like the Blood War was the only thing preventing the Devils and Demons joining forces and flat-out steamrolling the forces of good. In other words, united, evil is actually more powerful than good....it just squabbles a lot more within itself and therefore tends to end up self-defeating. That idea always irked me a bit.

But yes, in a sense, you can't really destroy evil in this set-up. But you can't really destroy good, either, so it all balances out, I guess.

Optimystik
2009-07-20, 09:53 AM
@ Porthos: Whoa, cowboy. That's a mouthful! :smallsmile:

Spoilered for length.


There are several things at play here:

A person just doesn't WANT to be good (or neutral).

They want to run around causing havoc and destruction. They want to throw apart established order. They want to backstab people who have slighted them.

Guess what? If someone wants to do something, it's awfully hard to resist those desires. Even a "knowledge" of damnation might not sway people.

After all, back in the day, people were absolutely convinced of Hell Fire and Damnation if they sinned. Guess What?

They still sinned.

What this might say about Human Nature is probably best left unsaid. On this board at least. :smallwink:

Aren't you painting the entire human race with the same brush here? :smallconfused:

There ARE people that actually enjoy doing charitable deeds and helping out, you know. We're not all just suppressing our base desires to try and make this civilization thing work out. (And now you know why I have my username...)

Even if we just focus on the evildoers, there's more variation than your post indicates. Your description is pigeonholed into Chaotic Evil, but there are other kinds. Plenty of villains would rather use the system than overthrow it. For a real-world non-religious example, we've got guys like Bernie Madoff, who exploit the status quo rather than try to destroy it.

Worse, there are plenty of villains who don't even realize just how evil they are. Convinced they're on the side of the angels, their only thought is trying to make things better (Redcloak is one of these.)


Alternatively, maybe a person thinks the whole Good/Evil deal is a raw deal. Maybe they think that Power Should Trump All. Maybe they are actively hostile to the very concepts of what Good stands for. So even if they never committed an evil deed in their life (which would be tough, but let's roll with it), their philosophical outlook would still send them to the Lower Planes.

You've got a big paradox in there, and I think even you realized it. To be ACTIVELY hostile to Good requires the commission of Evil acts - if you're not committing evil, you're not actively against Good.

There's a word for the guys that find Good more idealistic than realistic, but still refrain from doing Evil: it's Neutral. And Neutral people don't go to the Lower Planes.


So when I run DnD I (like so many other people) jettison what doesn't make sense to me (or alternatively what I dislike) and enhance things that do make sense to me.

So this whole "everyone becomes a lemure" business? Gone.

This whole "devils/demons/daemons are smarter and waaaaaaay more successful than Evil Gods"? Gone and gone.

I'm not sure which D&D you're playing, but the Fiends aren't more successful than the Evil gods by any measure. Talos, Bane, Vecna, Shar and co. command demons and devils, not the other way around. They also have a lot more power, more worshipers and more influence than Asmodeus and friends do.



Rather I set up parallel tracks where some people when they die become wormies while others go to their deities homes and others go straight to the "Torture R Us" Racks (amongst a few options).

*snipped for length*

So what am I saying in all of this? That the Lower Planes should be set up for punishment and for being loyal to your evil god and for "it's a place you go if you're philosophically bent to go there". And whether or not you become a Worm, A Person Who Has To Prove Himself (again and again and again) To Their God, or a Person Running Around Like A Maniac On <Insert Plane of Choice: HERE> all goes down to circumstances (how the person lived their life, who they worshipped, how strong mentally they were, yadda yadda yadda).

Which, I find, solves a lot of the "it's stupid to be evil" complaints. :smallwink:

Your "parallel tracks" already exist. All three outcomes you've mentioned DO take place in the Lower Planes as written (eons of torture, instant promotion, and just plain afterlife.) What your analysis hasn't accounted for is probability.
99% of souls that arrive in perdition end up getting the first option. Getting the second requires being exceedingly useful to, or supplanting, some fiendish/divine overlord before your time is up. The third relies on you being such a badass that being a demon wouldn't improve you, so your essence is left untouched. (see also: Jephthon and co.)

The fact is that Fiends and Evil gods are, to put it bluntly, *******s. The Lower Planes are designed with that simple fact in mind. When you, the high priest of Talos, shows up on his doorstep, he is not going to pat you on the head for running his cult all those years and send for a eunuch to prepare your rooms. He is going crack your essence open like a runny egg and drain that yolk and use the energy to make items for his living clerics (i.e. the ones that weren't miserable failures by dying BEFORE they could ensure his dominion over all creation.)

It's not even like D&D came up with this concept - it's fantasy villain 101. Sauron and Morgoth of Tolkien fame are asshats too. So are Voldemort, Kefka, Giygas, Chaos, Shai'tan, you name it. To care about the eternal reward of their peons is completely against their nature.

Your proposal isn't introducing anything new to the Lower Planes - you're just changing the probabilities. You'd be shunting evil petitioners away from the torture bit and fast-tracking them to the hierarchy. But to do that requires changing the fundamental nature of Evil - disregard for the welfare of others.

Omegonthesane
2009-07-20, 01:58 PM
Worse, there are plenty of villains who don't even realize just how evil they are. Convinced they're on the side of the angels, their only thought is trying to make things better (Redcloak is one of these.)
Redcloak knows he's Evil, he just also knows that in OotS the terms Good and Evil (big G big E), applied to cosmic forces, are wildly removed from the terms good and evil (little g little e), applied to deeds and people.

What happens in Real D&D with such a person:
Villain: "Don't you get it? I'm doing the right thing! One day you will all..."
Paladin: "Detect Evil."
Villain: "...Your magic is faulty... It has to be... Please tell me your magic is faulty... I did the right thing, I can't be evil, I CAN'T BE EVIL!" *Breaks down sobbing* (http://jmobley123.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/blue-screen-of-death1.jpg)


I'm not sure which D&D you're playing, but the Fiends aren't more successful than the Evil gods by any measure. Talos, Bane, Vecna, Shar and co. command demons and devils, not the other way around. They also have a lot more power, more worshipers and more influence than Asmodeus and friends do.
FC2 portrays Asmodeus & Friends as the overall rulers of the nine layers of Hell. This would be mitigated somewhat if they had kept Tiamat as the divine ruler of the top layer like in earlier editions, rather than bringing in Bel to make them all archdevils.


Your "parallel tracks" already exist. All three outcomes you've mentioned DO take place in the Lower Planes as written (eons of torture, instant promotion, and just plain afterlife.) What your analysis hasn't accounted for is probability.
99% of souls that arrive in perdition end up getting the first option. Getting the second requires being exceedingly useful to, or supplanting, some fiendish/divine overlord before your time is up. The third relies on you being such a badass that being a demon wouldn't improve you, so your essence is left untouched. (see also: Jephthon and co.)
Which leaves the problem that being Evil is really, really dumb. The stakes are too high and the odds too long to be worth considering for anyone who could be called remotely sane.


The fact is that Fiends and Evil gods are, to put it bluntly, *******s. The Lower Planes are designed with that simple fact in mind. When you, the high priest of Talos, shows up on his doorstep, he is not going to pat you on the head for running his cult all those years and send for a eunuch to prepare your rooms. He is going crack your essence open like a runny egg and drain that yolk and use the energy to make items for his living clerics (i.e. the ones that weren't miserable failures by dying BEFORE they could ensure his dominion over all creation.)
Oblivion isn't such a bad end, though. Not if he doesn't have to frakking torture you first to give it to you. And let's face it, you really are a failure if your spellcasting powers, BaB, skill points, Hit dice, weapon and armour proficiencies, and class features are a less valuable resource than your essence; it really isn't hard to think of a situation where Talos is being a moron as well as an ******* by cracking you open like an egg.


It's not even like D&D came up with this concept - it's fantasy villain 101. Sauron and Morgoth of Tolkien fame are asshats too. So are Voldemort, Kefka, Giygas, Chaos, Shai'tan, you name it. To care about the eternal reward of their peons is completely against their nature.
Completely? I wouldn't be so sure. They'd want to keep getting Good Publicity. Becoming a devil fits this perfectly - you are promoted according to your awesome, rewarded with slaves/employees, and get used as part of your boss' reward. Come to think of it, that would be eternal torture AND being part of the hierarchy of evil. No wonder devils are so pissed off at eachother.


Your proposal isn't introducing anything new to the Lower Planes - you're just changing the probabilities. You'd be shunting evil petitioners away from the torture bit and fast-tracking them to the hierarchy. But to do that requires changing the fundamental nature of Evil - disregard for the welfare of others.
Not as such. The implication of FC2 is that your raw power doesn't matter when deciding your fate in Hell... which it really, really should. If you aren't pledged to a given archdevil, you ought to have the chance to prove yourself awesome enough - even in your newly dead state - to fight off (or charm) the soul harvesters looking around your destination.

Ultimately, the only big problem I have is the bit where you're horribly tortured to make you lose your personality, rather than slowly changing from what you once were over years of literally soul-grinding service. It all sounds far more like punishment for your evil deeds than the natural consequence of being in a hole with all the scum of the universe forever.

Kish
2009-07-20, 02:07 PM
Redcloak knows he's Evil, he just also knows that in OotS the terms Good and Evil (big G big E), applied to cosmic forces, are wildly removed from the terms good and evil (little g little e), applied to deeds and people.

What happens in Real D&D with such a person:
Villain: "Don't you get it? I'm doing the right thing! One day you will all..."
Paladin: "Detect Evil."
Villain: "...Your magic is faulty... It has to be... Please tell me your magic is faulty... I did the right thing, I can't be evil, I CAN'T BE EVIL!" *Breaks down sobbing* (http://jmobley123.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/blue-screen-of-death1.jpg)
This presumes that the villain actually believes the paladin (or other person who cast Detect Evil). It also presumes that the villain lacks sufficient faith in his/her deluded concept of ethics to reply confidently, "Your magic is faulty. And now I'm going to kill you."
Massive don't-read-this-if-you-might-ever-see-the-series-I'm-not-kidding spoilers for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

In season six, Captain Sisko forces Gul Dukat, who has spent years justifying himself, to confront his real motivations. His response is to embrace being evil and become far more dangerous than before. Unfortunately, a lot of things changed in the seventh season and this was never developed to its full potential.

Optimystik
2009-07-20, 02:19 PM
Redcloak knows he's Evil, he just also knows that in OotS the terms Good and Evil (big G big E), applied to cosmic forces, are wildly removed from the terms good and evil (little g little e), applied to deeds and people.

What happens in Real D&D with such a person:
Villain: "Don't you get it? I'm doing the right thing! One day you will all..."
Paladin: "Detect Evil."
Villain: "...Your magic is faulty... It has to be... Please tell me your magic is faulty... I did the right thing, I can't be evil, I CAN'T BE EVIL!" *Breaks down sobbing* (http://jmobley123.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/blue-screen-of-death1.jpg)

"Evil for a good cause" villains like Redcloak don't care that they detect as evil. He continually makes gambling metaphors about it - "play the hand I've been dealt" "pushed my chips to the center of the table long ago" etc. The chances of a BSOD are very slim.


FC2 portrays Asmodeus & Friends as the overall rulers of the nine layers of Hell. This would be mitigated somewhat if they had kept Tiamat as the divine ruler of the top layer like in earlier editions, rather than bringing in Bel to make them all archdevils.

They have absolute dominion in Hell, it's true. But in exchange for that, they have far less influence on the material plane than evil deities do. That's a problem when the material plane is the source of all your ammunition, and shifts the balance of power in the deities favor. Look at the kickoff to 4th Edition; it took evil deities to cause the Spellplague, because archfiends couldn't do it. Asmodeus ascended to godhood during those events, which of course implies that his previous existence (i.e. the Archdevil Supreme) was weaker than his current divinity.


Which leaves the problem that being Evil is really, really dumb. The stakes are too high and the odds too long to be worth considering for anyone who could be called remotely sane.

Evil for Evil's sake IS insane. Look at Xykon. Look at Nale. Look at V's three splices. Did Ganonron really think he'd be able to lord it over a thousand planes until the end of time, or do so without consequences?


Oblivion isn't such a bad end, though. Not if he doesn't have to frakking torture you first to give it to you. And let's face it, you really are a failure if your spellcasting powers, BaB, skill points, Hit dice, weapon and armour proficiencies, and class features are a less valuable resource than your essence; it really isn't hard to think of a situation where Talos is being a moron as well as an ******* by cracking you open like an egg.

Granting divine or fiendish essence would be even more foolish on his part. As fuel, you can't undermine or supplant him. Without such fuel, he can't make magic items or artifacts for his faithful - and evil clergy have a much higher turnover than the good ones.


Completely? I wouldn't be so sure. They'd want to keep getting Good Publicity. Becoming a devil fits this perfectly - you are promoted according to your awesome, rewarded with slaves/employees, and get used as part of your boss' reward. Come to think of it, that would be eternal torture AND being part of the hierarchy of evil. No wonder devils are so pissed off at eachother.

They're getting that publicity anyway, even with promotion as rare as it is. They get nothing out of increasing the number of people they grant that honor to. And you're forgetting that the people that end up in Hell are bastards themselves - the guy you grant advancement to is just going to plant a dagger between your shoulder blades in thanks. It's like Drow society times 10 - worse even, since they'd literally have eternity to plan your downfall.


Not as such. The implication of FC2 is that your raw power doesn't matter when deciding your fate in Hell... which it really, really should. If you aren't pledged to a given archdevil, you ought to have the chance to prove yourself awesome enough - even in your newly dead state - to fight off (or charm) the soul harvesters looking around your destination.

Again I point to Xykon's statement here. If you were enough of a failure to bite the big one, you've already failed to impress the Hells. No further opportunities will be given - life was your chance to make something of yourself.


Ultimately, the only big problem I have is the bit where you're horribly tortured to make you lose your personality, rather than slowly changing from what you once were over years of literally soul-grinding service. It all sounds far more like punishment for your evil deeds than the natural consequence of being in a hole with all the scum of the universe forever.

The torture is win/win for Fiends. Not only do they get to have their fun (for a long, long time), they also get a new recruit once your individuality has been wrung away. They're really having their cake and eating it by torturing you.

EvilJames
2009-07-20, 02:25 PM
I remember there was a 2nd edition AD&D supplement that explained it like this: no evil person who knows about the lower planes expects to die and go to the Abyss or the Nine Hells and become a mane or lemure or other bottom-of-the-barrel sort of fiend. If they're going to die, they expect to go to the lower planes and in no time become Pit Fiends and Balors and other power entities, ruling over masses of lesser fiends and wielding massive amounts of power. So they can have their evil cake and eat it, too: they can express their inner villain in life and then go on to keep expressing it in death, possibly with more power than ever before.

Of course, this is usually delusional and the overwhelming majority do become cannon-fodder or hideous damned souls sprinkling the horizon in order to add that pit-of-despair kind of atmosphere. For the overwhelming majority I think the lower planes can probably be described as a place of punishment in practice.

My main problem with that explanation is that it seems to rely on the idea that pride...verging on stupidity...and evil are inseparable. Yeah, I guess arrogance and evil fit very snugly together, but I'm guessing there are plenty of really nasty people who are also at least self-aware enough to know their odds of dying and then going on to take over their own layer of the Abyss are somewhere between 'zilch' and 'nada.'

Yes there are people who are aware of the fact that they in all likelyhood just aren't evil enough to really hash it out in the lower planes, despite the fact that the lower planar view matches their philosophy exactly, and the way things work in lower planar life is how they think it should work everywhere. They know that it's a long hard fight to get to the position that those who have gone before have already established for themselves and there is only so much room at the top. They've weighed the odds and even though they think it's possible for them to pull it off, the odds just aren't in they're favor, and no one really wants to just start over after all the work they've already done.
We call these people liches. Even Xykon agrees (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0652.html) with this statement

Everyone else believes that they'll at the very least become the valued lieutenant of some lower planar entity. Clawing your way to the top doesn't seem so bad when you start out half way there, after all.

Nights1stStar
2009-07-20, 02:48 PM
I'm one of those people who think human stupidity NEVER gets out of fashion, so I don't think the nature of the Evil afterlives will really have so much of an effect on crime. If people didn't know what the Evil afterlives were like, many of them would commit crimes. If people thought that the Evil afterlives were designed to reward the strongest of evil people by torturing the rest, many of them would still commit crimes. If people thought that the Evil afterlives would torture all evil souls, regardless of status, many of them would STILL commit crimes because they wouldn't be able to control their impulses. Is it stupid? Duh, but it happens. The European Dark Ages (and several centuries after it ended) was full of asinine superstitions about what horrible things would happen to you if you broke rules/traditions/customs, yet the few surviving records historians found on the time indicate ridiculously high murder/rape/battery/robbery rates.

However, I don't think Xykon neccessarily is afraid of the afterlife when he talks about how one should "do anything to avoid the big fire below". Remember, he's lazy with a belated ego, and hates research as much as he hates wizards. I doubt he'd go out of his way to learn about the afterlives if it won't have any direct effect on his plans, and maybe not even then. After all, RedCloack would just do the research for him. There's not proof that Xykon knows anything about Hell.

Instead, I feel that Xykon only talks about avoiding death, because to him, death equals defeat. If you die, it means that something has beaten you, whether it's a group of ragtag adventurers or old age. To Xykon, people who didn't take efficient precautions against death are weak and stupid. He effectively views the two powerful mages Vaarsuvius was channelling as "quitters" who couldn't handle the trials of gaining power in the living world, as thus, died instead of continuing their ambitions.

archon_huskie
2009-07-20, 03:04 PM
We could say, he's 'Good' too, since he follows AND spreads his gods cause. His god is god of slaughter, so not only did he slaughter when he could, which is Lawful, he actively pursued ways of slaughtering, parting from his own interests where necessary. That is 'Good' in the eyes of Erythnul.

Theologically (and from my own Christian viewpoint), good means doing that which is the will of God. Evil is not doing the will of God (By the way, I hold that is it possible to do the will of God without believing in God). But this only works when there is only one God.

Good in that concept does not work for DnD.

DnD is a polytheistic world where the divine beings battle with other divine beings across many planes of existence. Law vs Chaos and Good vs Evil. Here the alignments show which side a person battles on. Here though, I work my own views into the system as best as I can. Good asks to serve others, while Evil says to serve the self.

My portrayal of Evil characters has them be indulgent in their own vices, putting their vices ahead of others needs, and getting others to serve me.

hamishspence
2009-07-20, 03:17 PM
while there is an element of "Good is selfless, Evil selfish" in BoVD and BoED, this is still something of an oversimplification.

an Evil being can make a selfless self-sacrifice, like the hobgoblin who pushes Redcloak out of the way of a falling rock.

Conversely, a Good being can do the right thing for moderately selfish reasons (Roy trying to kill Xykon, initially, to prove to his father than magic isn't the only way to win).

Jaltum
2009-07-20, 03:31 PM
"Evil for a good cause" villains like Redcloak don't care that they detect as evil. He continually makes gambling metaphors about it - "play the hand I've been dealt" "pushed my chips to the center of the table long ago" etc. The chances of a BSOD are very slim.

When talking to Jirix, he describes it as "evil, as defined by those who have defined themselves as good."

In general. someone doing evil for a good cause who knows objectively they will be punished for it, may still consider their cause worth the price.


Theologically (and from my own Christian viewpoint), good means doing that which is the will of God. Evil is not doing the will of God (By the way, I hold that is it possible to do the will of God without believing in God). But this only works when there is only one God.

You need to take out the 'and' in the first parenthetical for this to be correct. This is not true of theology universally, but it is true of the theology of some particular flavors of Christianity.

Optimystik
2009-07-20, 03:34 PM
When talking to Jirix, he describes it as "evil, as defined by those who have defined themselves as good."

In general. someone doing evil for a good cause who knows objectively they will be punished for it, may still consider their cause worth the price.

Isn't that what I said? :smallconfused:
You did phrase it a bit better than I did, though.

Porthos
2009-07-20, 03:47 PM
@ Optimystik

Waitamo. You comment on the fact that I had a super long post (fair cop, BTW. I get a bit loquacious at times :smallwink:) but then criticze the fact that I only covered some reasons why some people might be evil? :smallconfused: :smallconfused: :smalltongue:

Well, I didn't want to make the post any longer than it already was. :smalltongue: But, yes, there are plenty of other reasons why people might be evil in DnD. I was just giving a couple to came to mind. I wasn't trying to say it was an exhaustive list or anything.

As for the comments about the Lower Planes in general... I think I will have to pass. If I'm not careful I can go on and on and on about them (:smallredface:), so I think I will simply say that I take a lot of your points under advisement but I don't agree with all of the rebuttals.

Bit of a cop out? Yeah. But I'm just not up to a 20 page long back and forth session on it (which is what it would turn into if I really gave into to my impulses). Life's too short and all that. :smalltongue:

Thanks for the response tho. :smallsmile:

Omegonthesane
2009-07-20, 05:18 PM
Evil for Evil's sake IS insane. Look at Xykon. Look at Nale. Look at V's three splices. Did Ganonron really think he'd be able to lord it over a thousand planes until the end of time, or do so without consequences?
Granted.


Granting divine or fiendish essence would be even more foolish on his part. As fuel, you can't undermine or supplant him. Without such fuel, he can't make magic items or artifacts for his faithful - and evil clergy have a much higher turnover than the good ones.
You can't undermine or supplant him anyway because he's a god, and therefore arbitrarily more awesome than you in about a thousand different ways. Plus, you gain very little from betraying the source of all your powers, who now can pluck your soul back to his divine realm at a whim. I just think you're more good - or rather, evil - soul-spliced than turned into fuel if you're strong enough at that point.


They're getting that publicity anyway, even with promotion as rare as it is.
Where does it spell that out?


They get nothing out of increasing the number of people they grant that honor to.
Granted, unless the number of people who are more useful than frickin' lemures to Team Evil increases.


And you're forgetting that the people that end up in Hell are bastards themselves - the guy you grant advancement to is just going to plant a dagger between your shoulder blades in thanks. It's like Drow society times 10 - worse even, since they'd literally have eternity to plan your downfall.
That's why you never let them get too high up. Give them a lateral demotion if they get too big for their boots. Not everyone who makes it to Hell has the kind of ambition needed to plot their way to Asmodeus' shoes, you know.

By your logic, there would never be anyone promoted beyond lemure, because they're all such scary bastards that Asmodeus has to fear his position being usurped by even the lowliest... whatever just above a lemure is.


Again I point to Xykon's statement here. If you were enough of a failure to bite the big one, you've already failed to impress the Hells. No further opportunities will be given - life was your chance to make something of yourself.
Given by whom? I can understand the devils screwing you over in such a manner, but reality itself should have no such prejudices. I would very much expect Ganonron's entry to go something like...

Devil: All right, get on the...
Ganonron: Dominate Monster.
Devil: ...boat, if you'd like, and I'll row it wherever you like, master!

Admittedly in the long run, Baalzebul or Mephistopheles or the IFCC or something is going to jump you, but by then you've proven yourself more good as a servant than a fuel source. Basically, if you're Epic enough, devils don't enslave you; you enslave them.

Which makes me wonder if anyone would like to stat out what Emperor Palamecia would have to be to repeat the plot of FF2j under D&D rules.


The torture is win/win for Fiends. Not only do they get to have their fun (for a long, long time), they also get a new recruit once your individuality has been wrung away. They're really having their cake and eating it by torturing you.
Under the current cosmology. This is one of the problems I was suggesting should be removed, so that people who don't repent at 1st level are neither insane nor utter morons.

One last point: What's it like for LE souls who really aren't evil enough to make the cut in Baator, and end up in Acheron instead? The impression I got was that it's not nearly as hellish a place, and there's probably Lawful Good clerics who go there too (Wee Jas). Maybe if the LE souls hear all about Acheron and hedge their bets on heading there, say, by worshipping Hextor (or Wee Jas) they have a not-horrifying afterlife by comparison to the Even Lower Planes.

SoC175
2009-07-20, 05:33 PM
When you, the high priest of Talos, shows up on his doorstep, he is not going to pat you on the head for running his cult all those years and send for a eunuch to prepare your rooms. He is going crack your essence open like a runny egg and drain that yolk and use the energy to make items for his living clerics (i.e. the ones that weren't miserable failures by dying BEFORE they could ensure his dominion over all creation.)
Actually it's usually not that worse. There are novels giving some view into the divine realms of Cyric, Xvim and Mask, and it's not that bad for most of their followers. Unless you die during a spectacular failure, your lot will be better than the fate of the souls who were just evil without serving an evil deity and thus end with the fiends instead of ending in a divine realm.

Samurai Jill
2009-07-20, 05:34 PM
I'm speaking mostly of card carrying villains, ala the Linear Guild, and the people who are just trying to pay the bills by doing stuff that should be pretty obviously evil, ala the Thieves Guild or Kubota's Assassins. Yeah, you may pay this month's rent by being a ninja assassin or a thug for the thieves guild. But then you probably go straight to Hell when you die. Which you know exists 100%. You'd think upon realizing this all the dental plans and holiday bonuses in the world would still leave mookdom as a really undesirable job.
Hey, they say no good deed goes unpunished...

SoC175
2009-07-20, 05:47 PM
Look at the kickoff to 4th Edition; it took evil deities to cause the Spellplague, because archfiends couldn't do it. Asmodeus ascended to godhood during those events, which of course implies that his previous existence (i.e. the Archdevil Supreme) was weaker than his current divinity.
The status of archfieds waned and waxed throughout the editions.

In 1e and prior they all just were lesser deities in their own right and only put more focus on planar politics than on mortal politics.

In 2e some retained their LG status, some were demoted to demigod status and other were demoted even lower to just big bad fiends.

3.xe generelly made them all just big bad fiends.

4e just threw all previous lore away and most demonlords are now former primordials (which is basically the same than a deity, although the surviving primordials are supposed to be the lesser ones, since their stronger brethren have been slain during a war with the deities)

And you're forgetting that the people that end up in Hell are bastards themselves - the guy you grant advancement to is just going to plant a dagger between your shoulder blades in thanks. It's like Drow society times 10 - worse even, since they'd literally have eternity to plan your downfall.
And if you're too long hindering the promotion of a deserving underling your own superior will plant a dagger between your eyes for putting your own wellfare above what's best for hell (only to immediately start to worry what the newly promoted devil might mean to his own position). That's goes all the way up to Asmodues (even the first first eight Lords of the Nine eventually worry about a noble devil showing too much aspiration, as quite a few LotN got there by overthrowing a former LotN).

Hell has a strict hierarchy regulating through which steps you ascend and how long you have to spend in each form and what lessons you need to learn during that time. However the formal chain ends with becoming a minor devil noble and thus the more powerfull nobles and LotN have more leeway to restrain such devils from rising even higher. So such devils can't just serve their time and learn a specific lesson to earn the right for promotion but must now deal with the political intrigue of the hellish courts to rise further

Optimystik
2009-07-20, 06:45 PM
The status of archfieds waned and waxed throughout the editions.

OotS is 3.5 edition, so we know their status here.


And if you're too long hindering the promotion of a deserving underling your own superior will plant a dagger between your eyes for putting your own wellfare above what's best for hell (only to immediately start to worry what the newly promoted devil might mean to his own position). That's goes all the way up to Asmodues (even the first first eight Lords of the Nine eventually worry about a noble devil showing too much aspiration, as quite a few LotN got there by overthrowing a former LotN).

The idea is that if he is truly deserving you have no choice but to promote him; that or he seizes power himself. If he MUST rely on a superior's elevation to get any further that is a sign of weakness.

Bottom line: Hell is not a nice place, so the "parallel tracks" don't really make much sense with that philosophy.

Porthos
2009-07-20, 07:24 PM
Bottom line: Hell is not a nice place, so the "parallel tracks" don't really make much sense with that philosophy.

As noted earlier, by "parallel tracks" I simply meant that different parts of Hell will deal with souls (and promotions of said souls) and the like differently. Depending mostly on who's in charge where.

Hell's a big place, after all. :smallwink:

And since I'm here (again :smalltongue:) I guess I should say that my major complaint IS with the probability argument that you brought up. It annoys me to no end about the 99% (or whatever) idea, tbh. If you actively worship (or even passively if it's a "strong" enough passive) an Evil God you should absolutely go straight to his or her domain, and be dealt with according to his or her whims. I guess I find it hard to believe that all of the Evil Gods out there buy into the Worm Status idea.

Now for general Every Day Commoner, No Particular God/Pantheon type evil person, I can't complain as much. A sort of "no god claims you, then you go straight to lemure status", I can buy. But I can complain that the vast majority of people would fall into that camp instead of an Go Where The God You Worshiped Wants You To Go.

On another point, just to give an example of how ill-thought out the torture someone until their personality is stripped away thing is IMO: How does that square with Resurrection Magic? IIRC, FC I/II implies that the process of stripping away the personality of a soul is fairly quick (relatively speaking) process.

All well and good.

Except by RAW, Rez Magic can work up to 200 years after someone has died (presuming a 20 lvl caster). So consider this: A lemure is writhing around trying not to get eaten by some random hag. What made this lemure JP Pettifog in a RL sense is long long gone. Since the spell requires consent from the soul in question, would it even work since by at least one viewpoint the soul isn't the same one it was in life.

Even worse: Random JP Imp, who is newly promoted from Wormy Status suddenly gets a tingle in the back of his brain saying "ET PHONE HOME". Now said imp would probably ignore this tingling and go on it's merry way, causing the Rez Spell to fail.

Again, all well and good. But this leads me to a central question. Given how things are described in FC I/II why does any Resurrection Magic work for evil characters after X number of years? Either they've been consumed by a Hag, turned into a sword, or been tortured so horribly that under no definition could one consider them the same person any more.

Yes: A Wizard Magic Did It. I understand that. And I suppose that I could buy the argument that a soul that is writhing around in agony would instinctually accept any life line it could get, even if it wasn't "real consent". But the problem I have is that I shouldn't have to come up with excuses/explanations like that. Or maybe they should have addressed how Rez Magic and Souls and the Lower Planes work in FC I/II (and maybe they did - I certainly didn't memorize either book)

Now we are definitely headed into Pet Peeve territory, and I realize that I'm not explaining my points fully. :smallsmile:

Just consider this a rant at things that I find illogical in the setting and move on. It's probably for the best for everyone here that way. :smalltongue:

Optimystik
2009-07-21, 12:30 AM
Just consider this a rant at things that I find illogical in the setting and move on. It's probably for the best for everyone here that way. :smalltongue:

If that's an attempt at precluding my response, you don't know me very well. :smallwink:


Again, all well and good. But this leads me to a central question. Given how things are described in FC I/II why does any Resurrection Magic work for evil characters after X number of years? Either they've been consumed by a Hag, turned into a sword, or been tortured so horribly that under no definition could one consider them the same person any more.

The very books you malign answer that question.

FC2, pg. 43: "Regardless of the reasons for their presence, mortals whose souls are trapped in Baator cannot be raised or resurrected."

pg. 25: 'When the soul is ferried to a hellish torture chamber, the
character must be retired.'

So you see, there is no "wizard did it" paradox, handwave or similar. If your game uses the Lower Planes at all, then evil characters have an exceedingly slim chance at any form of escape.


If you actively worship (or even passively if it's a "strong" enough passive) an Evil God you should absolutely go straight to his or her domain, and be dealt with according to his or her whims. I guess I find it hard to believe that all of the Evil Gods out there buy into the Worm Status idea.

It's not really that they bought into it. Rather, they signed the Pact Primeval too, and they are bound by it like every other deity. When a mortal comes along that they want to intercede for, they can (Fzoul Chembryl, Chosen of Bane, comes to mind) but for the most part they just don't care about their worshipers that die.

Porthos
2009-07-21, 12:59 AM
If that's an attempt at precluding my response, you don't know me very well.

Consider it nothing more than gentle self-mocking. :smalltongue:


So you see, there is no "wizard did it" paradox, handwave or similar. If your game uses the Lower Planes at all, then evil characters have an exceedingly slim chance at any form of escape.

Then that's just flat out wrong in my book. :smalltongue: You'd think that the Players Handbook would allude to something like that or somethin'. :smallwink:

*Porthos mentally adds another item to the Reasons Why He Dislikes FC I/II List* :smalltongue:

PS: In my defense, I never bought the books, but read them in the store. What I did read (1/3rd of each book in great detail, the rest skimming here and there) were enough to convince me that I'd never ever want them in my house. :smallbiggrin:

PPS: I hatehatehate the idea of the Pact Primeval too. So it really isn't doing me much favors by quoting it to me. :smalltongue:

I dunno. I just prefer to have my Evil Gods want to have their servants running around in their kingdoms. Maybe I played too much Planescape* (where the idea of Souls Who Worship You/Souls You Have In Your Domain = Amount of Raw Belief You Have = How Much Power You Have) back in the day. And therefore while I can see why baatezu would want to get as many souls/power as possible, it baffles me to see why the Evil Gods wouldn't want to.

Doesn't mean it won't be Hellish for those souls, of course. Take a look at some Asian afterlife mythologies to see what might be in store for them, for instance (just because you're not being physically tortured daily, doesn't actually mean that you're having a grand ol time). And I tend to think that Grummish wouldn't give two figs about any silly Pact Primeval if it was stopping him from adding people to his army that he is planning on using to Crush The Elves (or other enemies).

Or to put it another way: Who says that the devils and demons get to have all the fun with Wars In Hell? Other Evil Gods will want Raw Recruits for their armies as well. :smalltongue:

*NOTE: I have said many many times that there were elements of Planescape that I DIDNOTLIKE when I was actively using it. Well, as I've also said before, FC I/II just took those concepts Up To Eleven.

So it's no good quoting to me something like "This is just expanding on some concepts found in Planescape". This may be blasphemy in some quarters, but: Planescape Wasn't Perfect. :smalleek: :smallyuk: :smalltongue:

Omegonthesane
2009-07-21, 01:21 AM
PPS: I hatehatehate the idea of the Pact Primeval too. So it really isn't doing me much favors by quoting it to me. :smalltongue:
Again: Does anyone know why, the moment the gods realised Asmodeus had fooled them with the Pact Primeval, they didn't just say "We retroactively declare the Pact Primeval to be absolutely null and void from the moment of its signing, you have no legal claim to any soul that might otherwise have ended up in our domains"?

Porthos
2009-07-21, 01:29 AM
Again: Does anyone know why, the moment the gods realised Asmodeus had fooled them with the Pact Primeval, they didn't just say "We retroactively declare the Pact Primeval to be absolutely null and void from the moment of its signing, you have no legal claim to any soul that might otherwise have ended up in our domains"?

I vaguely recall the reasoning, but I'm sure someone will step in more authoritatively. But from what I recall (and I could very well be misremembering):

IN TEXT REASON: If the Gods (collectively) violated something so Lawful and so Fundamental to the structure of The Universe (the Pact Primeval was made when the universe was very very young), then it would be so weakened that the forces of Chaos (i.e. demons) would overrun everything And All Would Be Lost.

Alternatively, Asmodeus (and his crew), being the best Demon Hunters around, would Take Their Ball And Go Home. Again, allowing Demons to tear creation asunder.

MY REASON: Good Gods is are Dumb (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HeroBall). :smalltongue:

Naturally I like my answer better. :smalltongue:

Course I ain't exactly in love with the idea of (All/Most/Insert Huge Percentage of HERE) Demons Want To Tear Down All Of DnD Cosmology Into Jibbering Bubbling Soup* (I prefer to leave that to my Cthulhu Creatures/Far Realms Critters), but that's awhole nother rant topic. :smalltongue:

* Some certainly do. But the idea that All/Most/Insert Huge Percentage of HERE Demons want to offends my sense of "Alignments aren't straightjackets" philosophy. :smallwink:

snafu
2009-07-21, 01:49 AM
Of course, it also makes the existence of Always Chaotic Evil-style races even more worrisome than it usually is, assuming they go on to the Nine Hells or the Abyss or wherever when they get offed. Not only are they pretty much born to be bad, but they're born to then go to hell for it? How can you not feel sorry for the poor schmucks?

That always did bother me. I mean yes, there are evil gods - but to create an intelligent race which is _born evil_ and from the very word go is sentenced to hell no matter what they do with their lives, well, that's unthinkably twisted. Anyone got an epic-level party going that's got tired of just killing off orcs, and are capable of hunting down the deity responsible in the first place and feeding him his liver?

Porthos
2009-07-21, 02:10 AM
BTW:

I'm going to do something very rare for me and defend FC I/II for a moment (gasp! horror!).

A lot of FC I/II (at least in my eyes) was written with at least a little from the Subject Matter Slightly Influences the Supposed Impartial Narrator idea. That is, sometimes sourcebooks will "drink the koolaid" any say "what's in this book is the real dark truth of things. Ignore all those other sourcebooks that say something different." Thus a book dealing with the Lower Planes will paint their strategies and plans as being successful. Or at least as having more chances of success in the future. Or, at the very very least, explain their reasonings. This is how we can have the story of the über-competent Asmodeus, for instance.

There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's a concept that's seen in many many sourcebooks from many different game companies (White Wolf splatbooks being a great example).

The main problem here is that since FC I/II were written near the End of Life of 3.5, we never saw a FC III that dealt with the NE point of view. More egregiously, we never saw a Angelic Compendium (or whatever) that dealt with how the Good Powers were going to show all of those Lower Planes Baddies who was really in charge. And that doesn't even get into a Neutral Plane Collegium that said "a pox on all your houses".

That was one of the things that Planescape really had going for it. The concept of Equal Time. And in Third Edition, we got to see it with Book of Vile Darkness and Book of Exalted Deeds. It's just in this case, and I have no idea of WotC ever planned on doing this, the Upper Planes never got their rebuttal against FC I/II.

So a lot of the complaints that are directed at FC I/II MIGHT have been addressed if an Angelic Compendium had ever been made. Presumably it would have been written from a similar Slightly Sympathetic Narration. Which would have balanced things nicely.

Ah well. No use crying over spilt milk. :smallsmile: