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Lysander
2010-01-27, 11:30 AM
"Good" and "Evil" are pretty vague terms. First off, there are many different kinds of good and evil, and someone can be evil in some aspects and good in others. The bad guy can still love their family, a heroic adventurer can still be vain and self-centered.

This idea is to basically subject each character to a bit of a personality test. I've listed a few diametrically opposed characteristics. To determine a character's alignment on the good/evil axis just figure out which half of each pair of characteristics they qualify for. In some cases they might qualify for neither side, or qualify for both, which counts as a neutral result.

{table="head"]Good|Evil|Characteristics
Compassion|Cruelty|Do they try to stop the suffering of others or delight in it?
Love|Hate|Are they primarily motivated by love (of a person, group, thing, or place) or by their hatred of something?
Fairness|Bias|Are they open-minded or are they prone to preconceived notions?
Generosity|Greed|Do they take less for themselves to help others or do they seek an unfair share of wealth and power?
Bravery|Cowardice|Do they uphold their responsibilities in the face of danger, or abandon their responsibilities to avoid risk?
Engagement|Apathy|Do they care about the suffering of others, or simply not bother to notice?
Temperance|Excess|Do they keep their impulses in check?
Humility|Pride|Do they have a larger purpose, or are they mainly motivated by personal glory?
Virtue|Wickedness|Do they want to be good or evil?
[/table]

Count each good result as a 1, each neutral result as a 2, and each evil result as a 3. Average them together. An average of 1.5 or less is good, above 1.5 to below 2.5 is neutral, 2.5 and higher is evil.

In some cases an evil result may qualify as super-evil. Super-evil is more extreme and abhorrent version of that sin, often bordering on insanity. Normal evil comes naturally, super-evil often requires a bit of work. Count super-evil as a 6. It's usually impossible to only be super-evil in one category. There is no super-good.

What do you think of this system?

Edit: And here comes law/chaos!

{table="head"]Law|Chaos|Characteristics
Obligation|Freedom|Do you take responsibilities upon yourself or try not to tie yourself down?
Obedience|Defiance|Are you inclined to take orders or advice, or do you prefer to make your own choices?
Repetition|Randomness|Do you create patterns for yourself or vary your behavior?
Conformity|Choice|Do you uphold a single point of view or welcome multiple opinions?
Stability|Change|Do you seek to preserve what exists or make something new?
Honesty|Trickery|Do you play fair or use trickery to accomplish your goals?
Logic|Emotion|Are you governed by your head or by your heart?
Excellence|Flexibility|Do you excel in one area or are you a jack of all trades, master of none?
Dutiful|Rebellious|Do you want to lawful or do you want to be chaotic?
[/table]

There is no super-lawful or super-chaos.

hamishspence
2010-01-27, 11:39 AM
Interesting.

Though the pacifism/aggression one might be a little tricky- is it their overarching end, or their means, that count?

Take Ozymandias- a self-proclaimed pacifist, yet willing to murder millions to "put an end to risk of war between superpowers"

So, is he pacifist, or aggressive?

bosssmiley
2010-01-27, 11:42 AM
What do you think of this system?

Honestly? I think you're trying to nail jelly to a wall here. Alignment is a proverbially fraught subject.

The system you present reminds me of a checkout magazine "How Good/Evil is your guy?" answer-and-tot-up quiz. Those things are proverbially nit-picky and arbitrary enough in value judgements and outcomes to be meaningless. Using a similar system to determine a character's game alignment is probably needless complexity, given that player choice and character actions will change the weighting of each score constantly.

Your system could stand either:

a) some simplification, so it's usable at a glance.

Something like one of the the classic D&D alignment systems (BD&D: fights for truth and justice = Law, AD&D/3E: nice guy, hates 'the man' = CG), or possibly Palladium's more descriptive version (Principled, Miscreant, etc.)

or b) expansion into a fully fledged character description system, complete with in-game uses.

The Pendragon RPG's paired character traits (http://www.poppyware.com/dunham/pdp/traits.html) (Honest / Deceitful, Just / Arbitrary, Merciful / Cruel, etc.), directed Traits and character Passions are probably relevant to your interests. It's basically your idea, with more granularity and character-relevant game applications.

edit: - harshness, + constructive critique

Riffington
2010-01-27, 11:44 AM
Consider replacing Pacifism/Aggression with Temperance/Excess.
There is nothing inherently better about a person unwilling to use violence (when necessary) than one willing to step up. Besides, you don't want Paladins falling short. However, clearly someone who lets their temper (or greed or lust) get the better of them is worse for it.

Also: surely a super-Evil in any category trumps any amount of Good?

Lysander
2010-01-27, 11:51 AM
Interesting.

Though the pacifism/aggression one might be a little tricky- is it their overarching end, or their means, that count?

Take Ozymandias- a self-proclaimed pacifist, yet willing to murder millions to "put an end to risk of war between superpowers"

So, is he pacifist, or aggressive?

He'd be neutral for pacifist/aggressive, but super-evil for Pride. While he did have a higher purpose I think that's overriden by how highly he thought of himself.


Consider replacing Pacifism/Aggression with Temperance/Excess.
There is nothing inherently better about a person unwilling to use violence (when necessary) than one willing to step up. Besides, you don't want Paladins falling short. However, clearly someone who lets their temper (or greed or lust) get the better of them is worse for it.

Also: surely a super-Evil in any category trumps any amount of Good?

Good idea. I've made the change.

As for super-evil, no it doesn't automatically trump good. But it's very unlikely that someone super-evil in one category won't be evil elsewhere. Take a serial killer for instance. They'd definitely be super-evil in terms of excess, and at least evil if not super-evil in cruelty, greed and pride. They'd probably be evil elsewhere also.

Shademan
2010-01-27, 12:25 PM
cowardice is evil now?

Lysander
2010-01-27, 12:34 PM
cowardice is evil now?

Only in the context of abandoning your responsibilities. Think of bravery-cowardice as the mirror image of selflessness-greed. One is about unfairly gaining profit, the other is about unfairly avoiding loss. It's not a penalty for being scared or running away. It's for abandoning those you could have helped. I'd expect most people to be neutral in this regard, helping where they can running when they're too scared. It's possible to be an evil coward though, avoiding any risk no matter what the consequences to others.

Volkov
2010-01-27, 12:35 PM
Law and chaos need love too.

frogspawner
2010-01-27, 12:43 PM
What do you think of this system?
Good effort! Alignment is a thorny issue that needs proper attention.


The system you present reminds me of a checkout magazine "How Good/Evil is your guy?" answer-and-tot-up quiz. Those things are proverbially nit-picky and arbitrary enough in value judgements and outcomes to be meaningless.
...
The Pendragon RPG's paired character traits (http://www.poppyware.com/dunham/pdp/traits.html)...
On the contrary, I'd say they can be a very good indicator. I once ran three of my own characters through such a tot-up test (going through, answering 'in character') and they came out pleasingly accurate, according to my idea of their alignments. (And no, I didn't peek - I did all three before looking at the tot-up).

Pendragon is well-known for it's Traits & Passions. The full list is:
Valorous / Cowardly
Prudent / Reckless
Chaste / Lustful
Energetic / Lazy
Forgiving / Vengeful
Generous / Selfish
Honest / Deceitful
Just / Arbitrary
Merciful / Cruel
Modest / Proud
Pious / Worldly
Temperate / Indulgent
Trusting / Suspicious
...plus Loyalty/Love/Hate for various things (liege, family, Saxons, etc).

I reckon that's a sort-of an "industry standard", so it's what I use in my homebrew system (which I won't bore you with, unless you ask!)

Lysander
2010-01-27, 01:30 PM
Law and chaos need love too.

Added! What do you think?

Jergmo
2010-01-27, 01:38 PM
"Good" and "Evil" are pretty vague terms. First off, there are many different kinds of good and evil, and someone can be evil in some aspects and good in others. The bad guy can still love their family, a heroic adventurer can still be vain and self-centered.

Being self-centered kinda cancels out "Good". Also, yay! I has a 1 for Good/Evil, and am decidedly Neutral. :D

hamishspence
2010-01-27, 01:43 PM
Putting your own needs ahead of others to the point of exploiting them, cancels out Good.

Being self-centred in other ways- being "Its all about Me" but saving lives, rescuing people from monsters at considerable risk "for the glory" might make for a "still good" character.

They are egotistical, big time, yet still self-sacrificing in certain specific ways.

Dienekes
2010-01-27, 01:43 PM
I know a few people who would disagree completely that Lawful cannot be clever and a jack of all trades. Or that a chaotic type can't have honor or be good at one thing.

Jergmo
2010-01-27, 01:46 PM
Putting your own needs ahead of others to the point of exploiting them, cancels out Good.

Being self-centred in other ways- being "Its all about Me" but saving lives, rescuing people from monsters at considerable risk "for the glory" might make for a "still good" character.

They are egotistical, big time, yet still self-sacrificing in certain specific ways.

Saving lives for the glory makes you Neutral.

hamishspence
2010-01-27, 01:46 PM
it could be a case of

"lots of Chaotic traits + only a few Lawful ones = Still Chaotic"

Might take slightly different forms though: "Chaotic Honorable" could be a barbarian hero, who never abandons a friend because it is "not honorable"


Saving lives for the glory makes you Neutral.

Kindness, compassion, self-sacrifice makes you Good. A good guy can have a big ego, and have satisfying it be a big part of why they do Good things.

"Glory" could be a part of it- or they could be really enjoying admiration, gratitude, and the happiness of others, and its this "enjoyable feeling" that they want to keep satisfying.

Starbuck_II
2010-01-27, 01:55 PM
Pallys hate evil so they can't exist.

megabyter5
2010-01-27, 01:55 PM
Dang, I was so close to hitting LG, but my averages both came out to one and two-thirds. I am now True Neutral with strong tendencies towards the alignment I've thought of myself as for years. This eighteen question magazine-style quiz has shown me the truth about myself.


...I kid, I kid. :smallbiggrin:

Lysander
2010-01-27, 01:56 PM
I've changed Honor-Cleverness to Honesty-Trickery. What I really meant is whether the person fights fair. Illusions, ambushes, secret weapons, and so on would fall under trickery.

However note that just because someone is inclined towards Trickery doesn't mean they're a liar. There's another trait, Obligation-Freedom. Someone inclined towards Obligation and Trickery won't break their promises lightly. There are also different types of liars. Not telling the truth is different that breaking a vow.

And about the excellence/flexibility thing. Being a jack of all trades isn't so much a cause of chaos as a symptom of chaos. Getting really good at one thing requires dedication, repetition, and practice. A chaotic person isn't likely to spend all their time doing one thing. Of course they might be good at one thing just because they were naturally gifted at it and naturally poor in other fields, but that's not really up to them.

hamishspence
2010-01-27, 01:57 PM
Pallys hate evil so they can't exist.

A paladin can have some "evil traits" without committing evil acts- just becuase the Alignment is LG, does not mean they do not have flaws.

Miko is a pretty dramatic example.

Dienekes
2010-01-27, 01:58 PM
Pallys hate evil so they can't exist.

It's primary motivation I think, not what motivates in an instant.

If a pally chooses to be a pally because he wishes to do hatefilled smiting of the bad guys to appease his own desires then yeah, he wouldn't cut it and would probably be thrown out of paladin school.

If a pally chooses to be a pally because he knows that evil makes the lives of the good worse and so to protect the good he must hunt the evil he is motivated by his love and gets accepted.

Though both would imply that they do actually have feelings. We're not working with lobotomized individuals that can't feel love or hate.

Jergmo
2010-01-27, 01:58 PM
Kindness, compassion, self-sacrifice makes you Good. A good guy can have a big ego, and have satisfying it be a big part of why they do Good things.

"Glory" could be a part of it- or they could be really enjoying admiration, gratitude, and the happiness of others, and its this "enjoyable feeling" that they want to keep satisfying.


Putting your own needs ahead of others to the point of exploiting them, cancels out Good.

Being self-centred in other ways- being "Its all about Me" but saving lives, rescuing people from monsters at considerable risk "for the glory" might make for a "still good" character.

They are egotistical, big time, yet still self-sacrificing in certain specific ways.

"Being 'Its all about Me' but saving lives, rescuing people from monsters at considerable risk 'for the glory' might make for a 'still good' character."

Kindness, compassion, and self-sacrifice make for a good character. But in the situation above, the character is not making a personal sacrifice to save lives - that would be the case if that were their main motivation - but if they're doing it for the attention it would garner them, they aren't Good.

Lysander
2010-01-27, 02:04 PM
If a pally chooses to be a pally because he wishes to do hatefilled smiting of the bad guys to appease his own desires then yeah, he wouldn't cut it and would probably be thrown out of paladin school.


In this system, a paladin motivated by a hatred of evil would be considered neutral or evil on the Love-Hate characteristic. They would still have a good alignment though if enough of their other characteristics fell on the good side.

That's what my goal was. To make an alignment system that lets a good person be part evil, or an evil person be part good.

Dienekes
2010-01-27, 02:07 PM
of course, I was simply making a statement that the pally does not need to be fueled by hatred to go hunting evil, even if they do hate evil. From how I understand it anyway.

hamishspence
2010-01-27, 02:08 PM
That's what my goal was. To make an alignment system that lets a good person be part evil, or an evil person be part good.

Hence my comment about a character whose Flaw is pride, but whose overall personality otherwise is Good.

A pride that drives them to be a hero, rather than a pride that drives them to harm those who prick it.

Champions of Valor has a big section on typical "hero flaws"

ZeroNumerous
2010-01-27, 02:10 PM
So: Why can't you have a super-good aside from an arbitrary limitation to assist in the mathematics involved?

Zaydos
2010-01-27, 02:12 PM
Okay let's try my wild mage:
Compassion 1
Love 1
Fairness 1
Selflessness/Greed 2
Bravery 1
Engagement 1
Excess 3
Humility/Pride 2
Virtue 1
13/9 ~ 1.5

Freedom 3
Defiance 3
Repetition/Randomness 2 (not intentionally)
Choice 3
Change 3
Trickery 3
Logic/Emotion 2 (he's still a wizard)
Excellence 1 (he's a focused specialist).
Rebellious 3
23/9 ~ 2.5

I'd say it's not a bad theory, and can be useful in character creation but that it still needs work. With this character and normally he's on the edge between good and neutral (good), but he's a very chaotic character. Possibly it could be shifted to Emotion, but since I'm too lazy to choose different spells prepared every day (also it is pointless) he's not going to be chaotic by these standards.

I'd say it is a usable guideline but shouldn't be a hard and fast rule.

The law/chaos axis needs some work because game mechanics can too easily influence it particularly on Excellence (the game encourages specialization) and Routine (as a specialized fighting style causes a routine).

sonofzeal
2010-01-27, 02:19 PM
An interesting take! I like the attempt at quantification, and I think it's as good as any I've seen. It's certainly a bit more quantified than my own system (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=7577205#post7577205). I think the danger of quantification (and it's one I suffer too, on the Law/Chaos axis) is that it becomes a bit harder to tell what it means. Under your system, if you're walking down the road and run into someone who identifies as "Chaotic Good"... what are they going to be like? What generalizations can you make about them? What does it mean to be each alignment, aside from having a certain score on a certain chart?



As to specifics, I like a lot of what I see. However, it does suggest that Demons and Devils have a strong tendency towards Cowardice and Apathy. And I'm not sure Bravery and Engagement are "Good" traits either; both Devils and Angels can be equally brave and engaged without danger to their alignment, and it's easy to imagine cowardly people of all alignments too.

Law/Chais makes sense, but it seems like a lot of the categories overlap strongly. I'm not sure if that could use fixing our not, but I think it's worth thinking about.

Dienekes
2010-01-27, 02:23 PM
Okay let's try my wild mage:
Compassion 1
Love 1
Fairness 1
Selflessness/Greed 2
Bravery 1
Engagement 1
Excess 3
Humility/Pride 2
Virtue 1
13/9 ~ 1.5

Freedom 3
Defiance 3
Repetition/Randomness 2 (not intentionally)
Choice 3
Change 3
Trickery 3
Logic/Emotion 2 (he's still a wizard)
Excellence 1 (he's a focused specialist).
Rebellious 3
23/9 ~ 2.5

I'd say it's not a bad theory, and can be useful in character creation but that it still needs work. With this character and normally he's on the edge between good and neutral (good), but he's a very chaotic character. Possibly it could be shifted to Emotion, but since I'm too lazy to choose different spells prepared every day (also it is pointless) he's not going to be chaotic by these standards.

I'd say it is a usable guideline but shouldn't be a hard and fast rule.

The law/chaos axis needs some work because game mechanics can too easily influence it particularly on Excellence (the game encourages specialization) and Routine (as a specialized fighting style causes a routine).

I do find it funny that all else being equal a pyromaniac specialist wizard is less chaotic then a Batman.

Starbuck_II
2010-01-27, 02:23 PM
I'm super good. Yay me.

Lysander
2010-01-27, 02:26 PM
So: Why can't you have a super-good aside from an arbitrary limitation to assist in the mathematics involved?

I think evil can sink to lower depths than good can rise. That's not to say that good is weaker, just that good is sort of your starting point. Evil is just increasing levels of corruption.

I think a really good person is more likely just to have 1s in all their categories than have a single super-good trait and be neutral or evil elsewhere.

The thing to keep in mind is that these numbers just determine your category. Not exactly how good you are. A human being with all 1s would still probably be eviler than an angel who also has all 1s. Even the best people have small flaws, or moments off weakness, that the supernaturally good wouldn't have.

hamishspence
2010-01-27, 02:26 PM
Pride (as a motivation) can drive an awful lot of things.

"why did you do X?" where X is some admirable act.

"Because if I didn't, I wouldn't be able to look myself in the mirror"

Or "Why didn't you do Y" where Y is some bad act.

Same answer with "did" instead of "didn't"

"for the glory" is a subset of pride based on other people, whereas self-respect is a subset of pride based on the self.

"So people will love/respect me" for the acts they do, and "Because if I do that, people will hate/despise me" are the "other-people-centred pride" motivators.

Lysander
2010-01-27, 02:35 PM
I do find it funny that all else being equal a pyromaniac specialist wizard is less chaotic then a Batman.

It isn't the fire that's chaotic. It's what you do with it.


Pride (as a motivation) can drive an awful lot of things.

Yeah. Most people (even good aligned) fall under neutral when it comes to Humility and Pride. Almost everyone cares about how the world views them, but they also want to be known for doing something good. It more or less evens out.

You get true humility with ascetic monks, lowly-paid social workers, and the like. True pride comes when someone's self-promotion doesn't really help anyone else at all.

hamishspence
2010-01-27, 02:38 PM
That said, self-hatred can be as big a character flaw as self-absorption.

I wonder if the scale might work with the median points being Good, and the extremes at either end being "flaws"

"Self-hatred"- flaw
"Self-respect"- virtue
"Self-absorption"- flaw

And so on for the other virtue/vice pairings.

sonofzeal
2010-01-27, 02:40 PM
I think evil can sink to lower depths than good can rise. That's not to say that good is weaker, just that good is sort of your starting point. Evil is just increasing levels of corruption.

I think a really good person is more likely just to have 1s in all their categories than have a single super-good trait and be neutral or evil elsewhere.

The thing to keep in mind is that these numbers just determine your category. Not exactly how good you are. A human being with all 1s would still probably be eviler than an angel who also has all 1s. Even the best people have small flaws, or moments off weakness, that the supernaturally good wouldn't have.
In a fantasy world like D&D, I think it makes sense to have the occasional Saint / Martyr / Paragon of Goodness, even among humanity. While its handling of the details are poor, Book of Exalted Deeds does give an evocative picture of purity and holiness among mortal-kind. They should be rare, but possible, something for Good characters to aspire to. You're telling me that my Radical Pacifist Benevolent Exalted Healer can never attain "super-good" status, merely because she's human?

hamishspence
2010-01-27, 02:47 PM
The question is, which of these traits is "super-strong"?

Lysander
2010-01-27, 02:53 PM
In a fantasy world like D&D, I think it makes sense to have the occasional Saint / Martyr / Paragon of Goodness, even among humanity. While its handling of the details are poor, Book of Exalted Deeds does give an evocative picture of purity and holiness among mortal-kind. They should be rare, but possible, something for Good characters to aspire to. You're telling me that my Radical Pacifist Benevolent Exalted Healer can never attain "super-good" status, merely because she's human?

But super-evil doesn't refer to the character's alignment, it refers to how depraved that one trait is. The person is still just evil aligned. There is no super-evil alignment. The goal is to give extra weight to vile sins when you're averaging all the numbers. A person who is good in every way, except they eat babies, would still turn out evil after you average everything. Having a super-good category would only make sense if there were some good traits you felt deserved extra weight. I don't know if there's a parallel to "good in all ways but eats babies." Bad in all ways but recycles? I don't think it holds up.

Starbuck_II
2010-01-27, 02:55 PM
No, I think baby eating can be good. Many animals do it.

hamishspence
2010-01-27, 02:56 PM
I don't know if there's a parallel to "good in all ways but eats babies." Bad in all ways but recycles? I don't think it holds up.

Vader before Padme's death? Evil, but consumed by love?

This tends to illustrate that some of the virtues, taken to an extreme, stop being virtues.

sonofzeal
2010-01-27, 03:07 PM
The question is, which of these traits is "super-strong"?
Er.... all of them? @[email protected]

Well, not really. But Compassion, Selflessness, Engagement, and Temperance were all expressed well above the norm, even for "good" types. This was someone who, in her "down-time" between sessions, would work a full shift at a hospital and then go and do another full shift at a free clinic for the poor. I think she became mildly addicted to her own healing magic at the time, because it was the only thing keeping her going with how little sleep she got. In-session, she'd routinely subject herself to danger in order to protect everyone.

I'd say Virtue was expressed "super-strongly", but it really wasn't. She didn't do stuff because she thought they were Good, she did stuff because she thought it was right. There's a bit of a difference there.


But super-evil doesn't refer to the character's alignment, it refers to how depraved that one trait is. The person is still just evil aligned. There is no super-evil alignment. The goal is to give extra weight to vile sins when you're averaging all the numbers. A person who is good in every way, except they eat babies, would still turn out evil after you average everything. Having a super-good category would only make sense if there were some good traits you felt deserved extra weight. I don't know if there's a parallel to "good in all ways but eats babies." Bad in all ways but recycles? I don't think it holds up.
I was responding more to your first and third paragraphs there. "I think evil can sink to lower depths than good can rise", and "A human being with all 1s would still probably be eviler than an angel who also has all 1s" especially. It seems you're allowing for extreme evil among characters, but not for extreme good. If I'm wrong about that, let me know.

hamishspence
2010-01-27, 03:16 PM
Sometimes, if the combination Compassion, Love, Temperance, is taken a bit too far, you might end up with:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StupidGood

Piffany, only more so, in short.

sonofzeal
2010-01-27, 03:26 PM
Sometimes, if the combination Compassion, Love, Temperance, is taken a bit too far, you might end up with:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StupidGood

Piffany, only more so, in short.
....that's actually pretty accurate for the character (and partially a deliberate choice on my part). An ally once summoned a Lemure, and she petted it. I never claimed she was entirely sane.

She wasn't as girly or silly as Piffany though, nor as naive. It was less because she denied the existence of evil, and more because she saw a glimmer of virtue (and maybe the chance for redemption) in everything. To her, life always holds value even if the creature is evil.

hamishspence
2010-01-27, 03:38 PM
Savage Species discusses this as a concept for a campaign model.


With Malice Toward None
(Chaotic/Accepting)

In this campaign model, the prevailing opinion holds that monsters, no matter how foul and evil they may look, are free sentient beings with all the inalienable rights that humans, elves, and every other humanoid species are heir to. The denizens of this campaign are not foolish- they know that many monsters are evil and nefarious. Just the same, they are loath to reject monsters simply because of their origins. The philosophical leaders of this land realize that no medusa or troll really had a choice in how it came into this world, and indeed as oppressed as its upbringing may have been, it is deserving of more sympathy and consideration, not less.

In this world, evil among monsters is largely perceived to be a psychological condition rather than an absolute or genetic one. Most monsters are thought to become creatures of evil or destruction not because of any infernal or diabolic tie, but because of a fear of rejection, loneliness, or some other understandable psychological condition. Even the foulest tanar'ri may in truth be the victim of its own psychoses, and the enlightened people of this world hold out hope that with openness, respect, and even love, the darkest of souls can be redeemed. And who knows? Perhaps they are right.

The paladin in Jeff Grubb & Kate Novak's Tymora's Luck has a large dose of this, as well.

sonofzeal
2010-01-27, 03:47 PM
Savage Species discusses this as a concept for a campaign model.
Interesting! I've never seen that before, but it fits very well. Thanks!


...we should probably stop derailing the thread with discussions of one specific character, though. :smallwink:

hamishspence
2010-01-27, 03:52 PM
However awful some of the rules in Savage Species were (either weak or overpowered) I liked its fluff.

It was also the source that said Evil characters can be loving, affectionate, faithful, loyal, etc- a person should be judged by how they treat everyone, not just their in-group.

The Giant said something similar in the gaming section- Evil characters can have genuine, non-exploitative friendships.

This model of Evil, seemed a lot more realistic, than the sociopathic type, that the PHB tended to focus on.

Back to the alignment model- the Savage Species kind of evil, might score Good in most of the traits, but "super-evil" in the Hatred and Crueltry sections, toward specific groups.

Lysander
2010-01-27, 03:53 PM
I was responding more to your first and third paragraphs there. "I think evil can sink to lower depths than good can rise", and "A human being with all 1s would still probably be eviler than an angel who also has all 1s" especially. It seems you're allowing for extreme evil among characters, but not for extreme good. If I'm wrong about that, let me know.

The super-evil concept is more to exclude people from good or neutral who couldn't logically belong there. No matter how good someone is otherwise, certain acts absolutely define them as evil. If you're an overall good person but you kill prostitutes for fun, the super-evil 6 stops you from falling into neutral.

Evil on the other hand welcomes all comers. You don't get to be super humble, super brave, and super fair to make up for your prostitute murdering.

hamishspence
2010-01-27, 04:08 PM
yes- though some people still say "Evil personality is what the PHB says it is- you can't have all those virtues and be evil."

Which I don't agree with.

sonofzeal
2010-01-27, 04:22 PM
The super-evil concept is more to exclude people from good or neutral who couldn't logically belong there. No matter how good someone is otherwise, certain acts absolutely define them as evil. If you're an overall good person but you kill prostitutes for fun, the super-evil 6 stops you from falling into neutral.

Evil on the other hand welcomes all comers. You don't get to be super humble, super brave, and super fair to make up for your prostitute murdering.
I do still disagree with your stance on the limitations of goodness among mortals, but you're right that I shouldn't have used the words "super-good". One quibble I'd make is that your example involves evil acts, while your system involves evil motives, and the two can be highly dissimilar. How do you resolve this? Is it the motive or the action that's important, the prostitute-slaying or the cruelty that makes someone evil?


Also, I was hoping you could address my first post (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7776072&postcount=27).

frogspawner
2010-01-27, 04:24 PM
Rating all the alignment components for each character seems unnecessary effort. Let the player choose a just few which describe their character, and rate them (others can be assumed neutral).

In play, the GM can assign them +/-1 depending how they roleplay their chosen 'significant' traits (and maybe other ones, if the behaviour is extreme).

Treating them like skill ranks seems neat, and leaves the way open to improve towards 'super' level. E.g. Compassionate 1, Brave 2, Greed 1 (with 0 being the mid-point). This give Good 3 and Evil 1... net Good 2 - neutral with slight good inclinations?

sonofzeal
2010-01-27, 04:37 PM
Another issue....


A Paladin who makes it his life's mission to hunt down Devils and slay them, and is proud of his work, cannot be good no matter how high he scores in the other categories, because he falls into Hate (hates devils), Bias (kill them on sight!), and Pride (proud of his work). No matter what he scores for the rest, he can't balance out those three and falls to neutral.

frogspawner
2010-01-27, 05:28 PM
A Paladin who makes it his life's mission to hunt down Devils and slay them, and is proud of his work, cannot be good no matter how high he scores in the other categories, because he falls into Hate (hates devils), Bias (kill them on sight!), and Pride (proud of his work). No matter what he scores for the rest, he can't balance out those three and falls to neutral.
Yes, Hate is more complicated. Love/Hate should probably be skipped.
Killing devils isn't Bias - it's Fair! The Paladin scores 'Good' for that. And if he really does it on sight, without hesitation, he could score Brave as well (depending how big it is...)
Pride isn't evil (or good) - that's a cultural perception of it.

Devils_Advocate
2010-01-27, 09:16 PM
Only in the context of abandoning your responsibilities.
Even then, it hardly seems Evil to break your pledge to the villain to wipe out a group of troublesome do-gooders when they turn out to be a lot more dangerous than you expected.

Courage most probably makes a character more strongly of whatever alignment he is and cowardice most likely makes a character more weakly of whatever alignment he is. When you're easily scared out of doing stuff, be it killing innocents, protecting innocents, staying honorable, or resisting authority, then it matters less which of those you want to do, because you just ain't got the guts.


Pallys hate evil so they can't exist.
Have you never heard "Love the sinner, hate the sin" before?

My bad, I didn't catch that Lysander explicitly included love and hatred of things other than sentient beings.

Well... That's pretty silly.


Being a jack of all trades isn't so much a cause of chaos as a symptom of chaos. Getting really good at one thing requires dedication, repetition, and practice. A chaotic person isn't likely to spend all their time doing one thing.
Ah, but excellence in a field may require picking up a variety of relevant techniques, such that only practicing too narrow a range of activities severely limits your effectiveness. Someone who only works with sorting algorithms, to give an extreme example, is not going to be a great programmer. And sometimes changing the way you do things may lead to more improvement in the long run than stubbornly sticking with what you're already good at. QUERTY Syndrome makes for inefficiency.


I think evil can sink to lower depths than good can rise.
I don't see how that's the case. On the Evil side you've got all-consuming hatred for all beings and on the Good side you've got all-encompassing love for all beings. Those seem equally extreme to me. Equally inhuman, too, maybe, not that that should rule anything out for fiends and celestials.


No matter how good someone is otherwise, certain acts absolutely define them as evil. If you're an overall good person but you kill prostitutes for fun, the super-evil 6 stops you from falling into neutral.
There are many human beings who hunt for sport. But although destroying innocent life for entertainment is indeed extreme, I would hesitate to call all such individuals Evil.

A generally benevolent monarch who reserves horrible tortures for the most violent of criminals is another sort of character who I'd hesitate to call Evil, even if he does this because he thinks they deserve it instead of to deter crime.


What do you think of this system?
Calling pattern recognition by characters Evil isn't any better than calling it metagaming. It may be bigotry, but distrusting drow indicates familiarity with drow and basic sanity more than it does any alignment. Besides, "open-minded" is more of a Chaotic trait.

Going with one's impulses is also Chaotic, and whether that's Good or Evil depends on what those impulses are. Similarly, whether pursuing a larger purpose than oneself is Good or Evil depends on whether the larger purpose is Good or Evil.

Apathy seems like it would be the midpoint between Compassion and Cruelty.

Emotion is neither Chaotic nor Lawful; one may be passionately honorable or stoically innovative. Logic is Neutral, opposing both irrational whims and irrational dogma.

Dienekes
2010-01-27, 09:40 PM
Another issue....


A Paladin who makes it his life's mission to hunt down Devils and slay them, and is proud of his work, cannot be good no matter how high he scores in the other categories, because he falls into Hate (hates devils), Bias (kill them on sight!), and Pride (proud of his work). No matter what he scores for the rest, he can't balance out those three and falls to neutral.

Interesting but I think you're taking things a bit too literal to what they're motivation is to what their goals are.

Say there's a Paladin who is motivated by his love of the innocent to defend them and thus destroy those that would corrupt them, ie. demons. He does hate the demons but he's motivated by love. He also doesn't just throw out detect alignment and kills on sight he hunts down the guilty, it just so happens that whenever he sees a demon they're always being evil (not a stretch really) and he would not kill a demon that had turned good, this isn't bias it's reactions to injustice so it's fairness. He is proud of his work, he is human after all, but he understands he isn't perfect so he has quite a bit of humility in him.

That there is a good paladin who does everything the other paladin does.

Take the other, he is motivated by his desire to kill demons above all else, he's not in it to protect the innocent he's in it to kill so hate. If he even sees a demon it's gonna get killed no matter if people are pleading that it's harmless and/or reformed so biased. And he regularly goes around telling all how great he is and that everyone should follow his example about everything so pride. This is what it would take to fit the problems you said, but he also wouldn't be a true paladin as the paladin yoda will go on about what his hatred leads too. Of course this character would be too prideful to pay attention and just go on about how great he is anyway and become annoyed with yoda for getting in the way.

sonofzeal
2010-01-27, 09:59 PM
Yes, Hate is more complicated. Love/Hate should probably be skipped.
Killing devils isn't Bias - it's Fair! The Paladin scores 'Good' for that. And if he really does it on sight, without hesitation, he could score Brave as well (depending how big it is...)
Pride isn't evil (or good) - that's a cultural perception of it.
Well yes, this hypothecial paladin could have all sorts of virtues. He could be the Bravest, most Compassionate, most Engaged, most Temperant, most Virtuous person you've ever met. He may have never willingly done a single evil thing in his life. But as long as he's got three marks solidly against (not even super-against, just against), he can't be Good.



Similarly, Bob could be Compassionate, Loving, Fair, Selfless, Temperant, and Virtuous. He likes to sit around the house and make exquisite sculptures and holy symbols, which he then donates to be auctioned off to support the local orphenage. He's got the time if anyone in town wants to drop by and just talk, and always has an empty place at his table for anyone who needs it. But at the same time, he's super-Cowardly, and only moderately engaged. Besides the occasional sculpture he mostly lets the world come to him, and he's terrified of any sign of bandits and sometimes doesn't leave his house for days, even if there's a sculpture to deliver. Still, he's the kindest, gentlest soul you'll ever meet, never hurt a person in his life and isn't likely to any time in the future. Yet he can't be "Good", because of his crippling cowardice. That seems awkward to me.




........it occurs to me, though, that while I disagree with your Good/Evil axis, I think your Law/Chaos might actually be a step up from mine. It's a very similar idea but yours is categorized much more thoroughly, and there doesn't seem to be much debate on that end of things. I'd be open to trying to integrate my Good/Evil with your Law/Chaos, if you're up for a joint project.

Draco Dracul
2010-01-27, 11:02 PM
Bravery is neither Good nor Evil it just shows one is willing to die for that in which they believe.

Falconer
2010-01-27, 11:26 PM
Bravery is neither Good nor Evil it just shows one is willing to die for that in which they believe.

Not particularly. By that logic, one would say that giving your life to protect that building full of sweet innocent orphans isn't a good thing, and is utterly neutral and mundane. Perhaps I'm not considering every option, but Neutrality for me seems to be for acts that are utterly minor or mundane. Ordering a pastrami sandwich rather than a ham sandwich is neutral. Saying "Thank you" and acting nicely to the person making the sandwich is Good, though an utterly minor act of such, and it'll hardly be redeeming any fiends.

sonofzeal
2010-01-27, 11:44 PM
Not particularly. By that logic, one would say that giving your life to protect that building full of sweet innocent orphans isn't a good thing, and is utterly neutral and mundane. Perhaps I'm not considering every option, but Neutrality for me seems to be for acts that are utterly minor or mundane. Ordering a pastrami sandwich rather than a ham sandwich is neutral. Saying "Thank you" and acting nicely to the person making the sandwich is Good, though an utterly minor act of such, and it'll hardly be redeeming any fiends.
"Giving your life to protect that building full of sweet innocent orphans" would be covered under Selflessness, and possibly Compassion. You don't need Bravery to be a virtue for that sort of nobility to be considered a good thing.

Draco Dracul
2010-01-28, 12:50 AM
Not particularly. By that logic, one would say that giving your life to protect that building full of sweet innocent orphans isn't a good thing, and is utterly neutral and mundane. Perhaps I'm not considering every option, but Neutrality for me seems to be for acts that are utterly minor or mundane. Ordering a pastrami sandwich rather than a ham sandwich is neutral. Saying "Thank you" and acting nicely to the person making the sandwich is Good, though an utterly minor act of such, and it'll hardly be redeeming any fiends.

By your logic giving your life to protect vulnerable members of your cult while they summon an unstoppable demon is a good thing. Bravery is not the exclusive domain of the righteous and noble. Bravery is always an extraordinary action, but it is one found in both the wicked and the holy. Something need not be good to be rare and amazing.

Bravery is a matter of belief and will, but not inherently good nor inherently evil.

frogspawner
2010-01-28, 03:38 AM
Well yes, this hypothecial paladin could have all sorts of virtues. ... But as long as he's got three marks solidly against (not even super-against, just against), he can't be Good.

Similarly, Bob could be Compassionate, Loving, Fair, Selfless, Temperant, and Virtuous. ... Yet he can't be "Good", because of his crippling cowardice. That seems awkward to me.
Good point. To fix that I suggest treating each trait like a skill, and giving them Ranks, not just a 1/2/3 (or 6). Then significant Good qualities could outweigh a few minor Evil ones when totted-up, and give an overall Good (although flawed) character - a more realistic and interesting character, imho.


Bravery is neither Good nor Evil it just shows one is willing to die for that in which they believe.
Philosophically (Aristotle, I think), Bravery is held to be the balance point on a scale between Cowardice and Recklessness. But that's probably a bit deeper than we need for an RPG mechanic... :smallsmile:
(There is a case for saying Bravery/Cowardice is a Law/Chaos thing, though).

frogspawner
2010-01-28, 07:56 AM
Inevitably, I have now posted my version of a Personality/Alignment system over on this thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=140075). Why don't you do likewise?

Lysander
2010-01-28, 10:03 AM
Bravery is a matter of belief and will, but not inherently good nor inherently evil.

In this context it means doing what is right regardless of cost to yourself. As I said, it's the companion piece to Selflessness-Greed. Selflessness is about not taking. Bravery is about not be afraid to lose. Maybe I should change selflessness to charity?

Bravery is a good trait. And yes, it can be used for evil. But that's the point of this system. Good traits can still be part of an evil person.

Now what exactly what is cowardice in this system? It's not being afraid to run into a burning building to save orphans. That's a brave act, and refusing to do brave acts simply makes you neutral. Cowardice is abandoning allies who are depending on you, avoiding responsibility for situations you caused, being afraid to take even minimal risks to help others, and the like. Super-cowardice would have to be much eviler than that. For example, joining the BBEG and helping kill innocents because you believe he'd kill you otherwise.

frogspawner
2010-01-28, 10:33 AM
Maybe I should change selflessness to charity?
How about "Generous"?


Bravery is a good trait. And yes, it can be used for evil. But that's the point of this system. Good traits can still be part of an evil person.
Well, I think Brave-seeming acts that aren't for good purpose are actually Reckless, which is Chaotic (it's Lawful opposite being Prudent). As you said, Brave is "doing what is right".


Super-cowardice would have to be much eviler than that. For example, joining the BBEG and helping kill innocents because you believe he'd kill you otherwise.
That sounds like plain ordinary cowardice to me. The many evil things the Bad Guy then makes you do is what sends you "super-evil".

Lysander
2010-01-28, 11:29 AM
How about "Generous"?


Well, I think Brave-seeming acts that aren't for good purpose are actually Reckless, which is Chaotic (it's Lawful opposite being Prudent). As you said, Brave is "doing what is right".


That sounds like plain ordinary cowardice to me. The many evil things the Bad Guy then makes you do is what sends you "super-evil".

I don't really think it belongs on law/chaos because bravery or cowardice could be considered lawful or chaotic depending on the person. A fireman saving someone from a burning building is lawful, but for someone else running into a burning building could be chaotic.

Here's how I imagine it:

Bravery - Taking extreme risks to help people
Neutral - Accepting minor risk to help people, avoiding major risk
Cowardice - Avoiding even minor risk that could help others or unfairly subjecting others to danger that you avoid
Super-evil - Actively committing evil deeds to avoid risk

Devils_Advocate
2010-01-30, 01:28 AM
Perhaps I'm not considering every option, but Neutrality for me seems to be for acts that are utterly minor or mundane.
Creating a new mind, whether artificially or through natural reproduction: ultimate gift, or ultimate act of coercion? I wouldn't call it inherently Good nor Evil, and it's certainly not mundane.


Bravery is a good trait. And yes, it can be used for evil.
Not so much. There are good acts that can be situationally evil. Like healing your evil partner so he can keep doing evil things. And bravely risking your life to protect him is much the same. But bravely breaking into your hated enemy's house to murder him isn't like that. That's not evil through something that's normally good, it's just evil. So if you're going to count a good person's bravery as good because it allows him to do more good, why not count an evil person's bravery as evil because it allows him to do more evil?

Similarly, a cowardly but otherwise evil person would do what he's required to do for others out of fear of punishment. He might like to kill them all, but his fear prevents him from doing that or even refusing to cooperate. His cowardice makes him act good, just as a cowardly but otherwise good person's cowardice might make her act evil. So why count one but not the other?

Redefining "bravery" to refer only to the bravery of altruistically-motivated people still doesn't explain why you're not also counting the bravery of maliciously-motivated people, and is silly besides.


I don't really think it belongs on law/chaos because bravery or cowardice could be considered lawful or chaotic depending on the person.
It could also be considered good or evil depending on the person.

Courage is an intensifier for various motivations that range from good to evil. So why not treat it as such?

Shadowbane
2010-01-30, 02:51 AM
I actually kind of like this idea. At least, more than I like the normal Alignment system.

Splendor
2010-01-30, 03:40 AM
Sonofzeal statement:
A Paladin who makes it his life's mission to hunt down Devils and slay them, and is proud of his work, cannot be good no matter how high he scores in the other categories, because he falls into Hate (hates devils), Bias (kill them on sight!), and Pride (proud of his work). No matter what he scores for the rest, he can't balance out those three and falls to neutral.

This made me think of the basic numerical setup. How about a 5 point system instead of 3?

Good (1) Evil (5) Example Paladin
Compassion Cruelty 1
Love Hate 5 (Hates demons)
Fairness Bias 3 (Won't really give evil outsiders a chance)
Generosity Greed 1
Bravery Cowardice 1
Engagement Apathy 1
Temperance Excess 3 (Blood runs a bit hot about demons)
Humility Pride 5 (Pride in his demon slaying abilities)
Virtue Wickedness 1
This would be 21 which would be good.

9-22 Good
21-37 Neutral
29-45 Evil