View Full Version : How would you rule this ? 3.5 Alignment

2010-06-15, 10:56 AM
Here's a odd question. My players found a Whistle that summons zombies - they proceded to order said zombie to "Kill everything living in that room". The zombie wiped the poor goblin guards out, and then started tearing woman, children and the old to pieces while the player watched.

His alignment was Chaotic Neutral (AKA I DO WHAT I FEEL LIKE), the whistle specifically mentioned changing the users alignment over time, but in game time he only had it a coupla days. Afterwards I changed his alignment to Neutral Evil. Would you guys say that's in keeping with his actions ? His character has sort of been a cowardly mofo the whole time. He doesn't care about all the civvies killed. He also knew they where in there.

In addition to this he was observed by the Chaotic Good Ranger who's only comment was "stop that", no upset about all the innocent lives taken, no disgust at zombie, nothing. I also slipped him closer to neutral, since there's nothing inherently good about watching civvies getting slaughtered. They knew about the woman and children ahead of time.

Your oppinion.

2010-06-15, 11:01 AM
Why NE instead of CE?

I would have officially changed his alignment to SE (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/StupidEvil).

2010-06-15, 11:07 AM
he wasn't a halfling as he? My gaming group as a whole seperate alignment system for halflings :)

I'd agree with Greenish though - CE not NE and the ranger is one infraction away from CN, if it actually matters..?

2010-06-15, 11:07 AM
does your champion exist in a world were their are goblins who do not go out and pillage? are goblin females noncombatants? What had the goblins been doing before hand.

In general i disagree with you decision. The chaotic neutral charecter should have been changed to chaotic evil not neutral evil since the act was evil not lawful. I would probably change his alignment hes using an evil magical item for an evil purpose but i think i would put him at the edge of evil and neutral and allow him to cross back to neutral if he did enough good things and maybe repented a bit.

The ranger did tell him to stop so i would probably not punish him for it unless he sat back and allowed it to happen on a semi regular basis.

note this of course assumes that he realized the consequences of his actions stupidity is not evil

2010-06-15, 11:08 AM
Why does this action change him to neutral on the Law-Chaos-axis? His action should, in my opinion, move him from neutral to evil (unless there was some really good reason which hasn't been mentioned), but I would keep him as chaotic, thus changing his alignment to Chaotic Evil.

For the ranger, watching innocents getting killed without intervening is a very evil act too. I would warn him that this could severely change his alignment status, but on the other hand, I don't think he should be punished to heavily for avoiding inter-party conflict. He might reason that not intervening is "for the greater good" since the party needs to keep working together to achieve their goal. It really seems like a tough job to keep a good alignment while in a group with the CN player though, if you play the alignment rules as written.

I think it is more important to keep the party working together, and handwave the alignment problems, unless this is an important theme or plot point in your game.

Edit: Ninja'ed completely on the Chaotic point.

2010-06-15, 11:08 AM
He was sorta dispationate about the whole affair - if he continues down his axe crazy path then He's definately gonna end up on the Chaotic Evil side. Well Stupid evil anyways.

Adventurers are all evil anyways.

:EDIT: yes the goblin females and children where clearly established as non combatents.

:EDIT2: - The ranger had been acting like this:"A neutral evil villain does whatever she can get away with. She is out for herself, pure and simple. She sheds no tears for those she kills, whether for profit, sport, or convenience."

I may rethink the halfling's alignment - just chaotic evil seems a bit extreme since it's his first infraction that's serious.

2010-06-15, 11:15 AM
neutral evil is just as evil as chaotic evil

2010-06-15, 11:20 AM
I'd say he's still Chaotic Neutral, Unless he's taking great joy in the fact he messed up his commands to the zombie. In that case he's chaotic evil.

2010-06-15, 11:22 AM
I may rethink the halfling's alignment - just chaotic evil seems a bit extreme since it's his first infraction that's serious.How is changing his alignment on two axes more extreme than changing it on one axis?

You're not playing 4th Edition.

2010-06-15, 11:24 AM
I'd say he's still Chaotic Neutral, Unless he's taking great joy in the fact he messed up his commands to the zombie. In that case he's chaotic evil.

Why? Killing innocent non-combatants is Evil with a capital E. He even used Evil means to achieve this. The flute is established by the OP to be Evil, and even has the power to change the users alignment. Making use of zombies and animating the dead is also an Evil act, according to the official sources. Whether this last point makes sense is another discussion entirely.

2010-06-15, 11:35 AM
Evil is not necessarily Chaotic, and Chaotic is not necessarily Evil, damnit.

Zellic Solis
2010-06-15, 11:51 AM
Please. His alignment should be changed to neutral good.

First, by using zombies he ensured that his friends and comrades would be kept out of harms way. Clearly a good act. Secondly, he did kill all the party's enemies. Since they were out to kill the party then at best he killed off monsters that would have endangered others and at the very least was performing self defense. You wouldn't label self defense as an evil act, would you?

Now as to the "non-combatants", you seem to put great emphasis on the fact that they were killed too. Yet if he had spared them, would their ultimate fate be any different? Without the tribal warriors to aquire food and goods these women and children would be hard pressed not to slowly starve to death. The children would be encouraged to take up their parent's raiding lifestyle or else be enslaved by more organized forces simply to survive. Were they spared and absorbed by another goblin tribe then their numbers and labor would guarantee not only increased raids against their neighbors but that those raids would be stronger and more damaging. So in fact mercy would have merely gotten more innocents killed in the long run.

You also hold his and his companion's indifference against them for this sadly necessary act. Do you also change an alignment to evil if a character fails to prevent a serf from being flogged or a dog from being kicked? Indeed, it is the feudal capitalistic sociology that fosters such oppression in its workers. Do you require all members to be communistic idealists to fulfill some wholely abstract criteria of "good" because otherwise the system itself perpetuates evil? Or is it rather the lack of empathy you condemn? Tell me, can you truly empathize with someone who lives in a sweltering rainforest, having no comprehension of a calculator or its use because they don't use numbers? An inner city gang? An eskimo's life? You are merely assuming that all share some equivalent value system that can be violated. And these are simply different human sociological outlooks. Can you truly condemn a lack of empathy with intelligences that are utterly alien to them? Do you consign all dwarves as evil for failing to empathize with orcs and goblins? I doubt it.

So your solution is simple. Your zombie wielder should be made a lawful good paladin and your ranger a saint of indifference. And this whole thing should be treated as a grand example of why "alignment" is stupid.

2010-06-15, 11:57 AM
Or they could have negoatiated with said goblins and not killed them all meaning the tribe would still have had it's warriors ?

but yeah. It's a interesting conundrum, none of the players bitched at all, I'm just wondering about it myself really.

2010-06-15, 12:07 PM
IMO, the specific actions don't matter unless he's a Paladin or a Cleric. The attitude is what determines the alignment. And the attitude that the guy with the whistle displayed is definitely chaotic evil. No respect for life, no respect for the dignity of death, killing the innocent without qualms because it's convenient; no regard for law, authority, or tradition. (I'm assuming there are laws and social taboos against summoning the undead in your gameworld).

The ranger is a bit harder of a case. I'd call it chaotic neutral on a short path to evil.

2010-06-15, 12:42 PM
Protecting your friends with an evil act solely because they are your friends is evil too. Evil people tend to compartmentalize, they'll select their friends to devote themselves to and will step on anything that might harm them in even the most meaningless way.

Though, with the wording of that command, I'm surprised the undead didn't try murdering the ranger too. Now, if the character didn't feel bad about the command, then they're certainly a bit more evil now... Probably a bit more chaotic too, as they clearly didn't listen to the Ranger, putting his desires before that of the group or the mores of society.

2010-06-15, 12:47 PM
…the mores of society.I don't know why I find it so amusing to think of a societal more that goes: "don't slaughter everything with zombies". :smallbiggrin:

2010-06-15, 12:52 PM
That's called 'card carrying villainry' and I think thats deserving of Chaotic Evil, because the random acts of evil were not inspired by an outside organization (Lawful Evil) nor where they done with passiveness (Neutral Evil).However, the passiveness of the ranger is 'Neutral Evil'. So the player's character who used the whistle is Chaotic Evil and the ranger is Neutral Evil.

2010-06-15, 12:55 PM
Depends on the campaign world and the characters and players knowledge of that world. Obviously, you as the DM feel that the goblin women and children were 'innocent', but if the players haven't been told that goblin women are somehow less Always Chaotic Evil than their menfolk, then I don't see why that'd be an issue. As for children... well, there are no stats for child monsters except Dragons, but it'd be natural to assume that Always Chaotic Evil extends to them too.

So, if goblins are always monsters - or if the player character can justifably believe that they are - I wouldn't make him evil for this, unless using zombies is always evil (which is a whole 'nother issue...)

2010-06-15, 01:33 PM
Except goblins are "Usually Lawful Evil"

They would have bargained and probably stuck with it.

2010-06-15, 01:44 PM
Except goblins are "Usually Lawful Evil"

They would have bargained and probably stuck with it.

Usually Neutral Evil actually. And LE doesn't mean they'd stick to the bargain if they thought they could get away with it. Which they would if they could remain in that place.

Making the zombie, by itself? Most settings I ever played don't call that evil. It just smells bad. Using it to kill everything in range? Evil. Knowing there were innocents is just evil icing on the abyssal cake. Chaotic/Lawful has nothing to do with it. Same for the ranger. As a Good character, he'd be against most types of rampant slaughter, and being a zombie little more than a tool, he'd also have no qualms on slashing it into uselessness to stop the psycho.

2010-06-15, 01:50 PM
I would have seen it as a step toward L-E, perhaps not justifying an alignment change on it's lonesome.

Lawful Evil; simply using the tools to get the job done as efficiently as possible.

2010-06-15, 03:51 PM
Definitely evil.

If he keeps with his chaotic nature, then CE. If not, NE is okay.