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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Alignment Question

    I am having trouble determining what alignment this guy would be by D&D's standards;

    He fought in some wars, and hates most elves as a result. He has no problems putting the torch to countless peasants' crops so long as it contributes to winning the war (scorched earth). He also looks at killing the enemy as a "job". As a mercenary, he has taken part in many overseas raids in pursuit of personal wealth (Think vikings. Nothing personal against those they've raided, if they would just give them the goods, his guys wouldn't have to kill them!) and fame. He also has a family and wife, who he loves, but has cheated on, and would again with the right person.

    Soooooo.... Anybody want to take a stab at this?
    Last edited by Crow; 2009-11-30 at 09:48 PM.
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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    LN, LE, or NE, depending on your definition of the alignments.
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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    I would say neither good nor evil. He doesn't go out of his way to help people, but he doesn't go around hurting people unless it's his "job". If he takes up mercenary work because "heck yeah I get to stab pesants in the face!" then yeah, he's probably evil. From what I see, though, he's no more evil than a typical adventurer.

    Not much to go on in the Lawful-Chaotic scale, although his cheating pushes it closer to Chaotic.

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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    Probably Lawful or Neutral Evil. Though there might be a case there for Neutral instead of Evil.
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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    I see nothing that states Lawful. Either True Neutral (with evil tendencies) or NE.

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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    I'm going to say neutral, possibly lawful neutral or neutral evil. depending on how loyal he is to his side (is he a patriot or just working for the highest bidder?) and how much enjoyment he takes in his work (were the peasants unfortunate but necessary casualties or were they just added pleasure?)
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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mando Knight View Post
    I see nothing that states Lawful. Either True Neutral (with evil tendencies) or NE.
    Seconded.

    I'd decide which category he's in as a "balancing factor", almost. Because alignment doesn't dictate personality, but is rather dictated by it, it is a purely mechanical construct. Making him "evil" by D&D rules means merely that he is vulnerable to Holy weapons, Smite, et cetera, which makes him weaker. If he needs a weakness, make him evil; if he doesn't need that weakness make him neutral.

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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    Either neutral or evil, depending on how gritty your campaign is.
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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    Neutral Neutral. Evil would be if he were particularly sadistic or relished his duties, as opposed to being something unfortunate that happens to his opponents.

    A bad individual to be on the wrong side of, but so is pretty much every adventurer. Even the Good ones.
    Last edited by Guancyto; 2009-11-30 at 10:54 PM.
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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    I'd say he's True Neutral or maybe Chaotic Neutral.

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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    TN.

    He's just a guy who succumbs to temptations.

    Evil lies in why someone is doing an action. The vast majority of beings are TN, or at least, should be.

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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    The willingness to take innocent lives for personal gain would suggest Neutral Evil to me. But at any rate, he seems like a character with fairly complex motivations, so really, this could go in a number of directions, especially towards True Neutral.

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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    I am going to play Devil's Advocate.

    I say he is Good of some type. Possibly even Lawful.

    He fought in some wars, and hates most elves as a result.
    Who said the elves were not themselves evil? This is the same as hating "monsters" because they have evil alignments. Who else hates evil? Good does!

    He has no problems putting the torch to countless peasants' crops so long as it contributes to winning the war (scorched earth).
    The ends might well justify the means here. Who is the war against? Are these peasants evil? Perhaps they are. Perhaps they are only working those fields as slaves to their evil landlords. Remember that D&D is a pseudo-medieval world, and the feudal system was very poor to those serfs. By burning the crops he is inciting the peasants to rise up against their (evil) lords when the latter come to take their tribute. (At worst, if he were a Paladin, he'd have to atone.)

    He also looks at killing the enemy as a "job".
    Which is good? Holding a job and doing it without complaint, or having a job and never doing it? As long as this enemy is evil, seems like a good act to me.

    As a mercenary, he has taken part in many overseas raids in pursuit of personal wealth (Think vikings. Nothing personal against those they've raided, if they would just give them the goods, his guys wouldn't have to kill them!) and fame.
    What does he want to do with the personal wealth and fame? There is nothing to indicate that he is stealing from good or even neutral people, for one, and perhaps he wants to use the wealth and fame to set up a charity.

    He also has a family and wife,
    Possibly good. At least, not evil. Then again evil can love too.

    whom he loves, but has cheated on, and would again with the right person.
    How do we know that this has hurt the wife? Perhaps she is fine with it. Perhaps this thing is common in his culture. Isn't it kind of arbitrary of us to define monogamy as good and polygamy as evil? I see this as non-evil, neutral at best. Good if his culture encourages him to have lots of children.

    (And if anyone thinks I'm serious, I also would like to add that I advocate eating the children as a cure for the famine.)
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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    I am having trouble determining what alignment this guy would be by D&D's standards;

    He fought in some wars, and hates most elves as a result. He has no problems putting the torch to countless peasants' crops so long as it contributes to winning the war (scorched earth). He also looks at killing the enemy as a "job". As a mercenary, he has taken part in many overseas raids in pursuit of personal wealth (Think vikings. Nothing personal against those they've raided, if they would just give them the goods, his guys wouldn't have to kill them!) and fame. He also has a family and wife, who he loves, but has cheated on, and would again with the right person.

    Soooooo.... Anybody want to take a stab at this?
    Neutral.

    I mean... he sounds like a typical medieval mercenary - he doesn't rape & pillage (just pillage), he's part of an organization (and takes orders) but doesn't care much for fidelity.

    Some text for completeness:
    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent but lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others. Neutral people are committed to others by personal relationships.

    . . .

    Someone who is neutral with respect to law and chaos has a normal respect for authority and feels neither a compulsion to obey nor a compulsion to rebel. She is honest but can be tempted into lying or deceiving others.
    I mean, if he wasn't swinging a sword, he could just be another average peasant - he does what he's told for his job, looks out for himself, but occasionally indulges in vices.
    Last edited by Oracle_Hunter; 2009-12-01 at 12:44 AM.
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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    Neutral Evil. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    Oooh, fun! I haven't played with sarcasm in awhile!
    (Actually, it would be fun to straight-man this, and point out what I see as evil/not, etc.)

    Who said the elves were not themselves evil? This is the same as hating "monsters" because they have evil alignments. Who else hates evil? Good does!
    Fighting in a war isn't necessarily evil, unless he joined the army with the promise of slaughter and booty. It isn't generally good, either, unless you're going out to defend an area from an invading force. Most wars involve drafting neutral parties to fight agressive forces, resulting in a roughly neutral outlook unless the individual makes an effort to be good/evil at the time.

    Hating elves is right next to hating sparkling vampires in the "almost good" category, so you might have a point.

    The ends might well justify the means here. Who is the war against? Are these peasants evil? Perhaps they are. Perhaps they are only working those fields as slaves to their evil landlords. Remember that D&D is a pseudo-medieval world, and the feudal system was very poor to those serfs. By burning the crops he is inciting the peasants to rise up against their (evil) lords when the latter come to take their tribute. (At worst, if he were a Paladin, he'd have to atone.)
    Rasing a field isn't quite like butchering random passerbys. Cutting off resources is a common way to fight a war. At worst, it's chaotic for overburning the fields. At best, it's lawful for following the general's orders, and the general sent him off because he was good at it.

    Without further information, I'd have to assume he falls in the "overdoing it" category and is chaotic.

    Which is good? Holding a job and doing it without complaint, or having a job and never doing it? As long as this enemy is evil, seems like a good act to me.
    Holding a job is socially proper but not quite what D&D alignment means by "good." Holding a job would be a lawful trait, though.

    What does he want to do with the personal wealth and fame? There is nothing to indicate that he is stealing from good or even neutral people, for one, and perhaps he wants to use the wealth and fame to set up a charity.
    Putting yourself (or your family, or the people in your town) over the welfare of others is decidely not good. Neutral at best, closer to evil. It would probably be good if he purposefully was raiding evil encampments, but I'm not hearing anything of the sort.

    Possibly good. At least, not evil. Then again evil can love too.
    So he's a lover, not a fighter (at home).

    How do we know that this has hurt the wife? Perhaps she is fine with it. Perhaps this thing is common in his culture. Isn't it kind of arbitrary of us to define monogamy as good and polygamy as evil? I see this as non-evil, neutral at best. Good if his culture encourages him to have lots of children.
    I haven't heard of many people enjoying being cheated on. At best, the word "cheated" indicates that he shouldn't have done so. If he is polygamistic, then seeing another woman (or his other wife) wouldn't be considered cheating. This indicates that he is impulsive (chaotic).

    And so, we have a character who is chaotic, and mostly neutral with a taste of evil. I'd call him CN-evil-curious.

    (And if anyone thinks I'm serious, I also would like to add that I advocate eating the children as a cure for the famine.)
    They certainly taste good sauteed in butter, I will give you that.

  17. - Top - End - #17
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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    I'd have said true neutral if it weren't for the raiding; the rest is all common in war, but raiding is specifically targeting non-combatants and often killing them (if he didn't kill anybody, you can still have him as neutral). I'd put him down as NE, but please do remember that this doesn't mean he has to go out and kick puppies to death, raise them as zombies, and let the resulting undead dogs eat their former owners' brains. He isn't a monster the way we'd think of monsters; he's simply the sort of person who is willing to kill people who won't let him steal their stuff. Sounds like a decently realistic evil character to me.
    Last edited by Callista; 2009-12-01 at 02:36 AM.

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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    Insufficent information, believe it or not.

    He appears to be firmly on the side of Chaotic, because all of his actions are with the intent of personal gain, with no regard for any greater purpose beyond himself. He's not fighting wars out of patriotism or a code of honour, but for the weath and fame. He doesn't seem to think in terms of 'team' or 'group'. He also is swayed heavily by circumstances (cheating on his wife), which is a chaotic trait.

    Good, Neutral, or Evil, however, there isn't enough info, though I'm leaning towards Neutral because of his 'It's just a job' outlook. He seems to have no regard for others as people unless they are immediately of benefit to him. Basically, he's amoral rather than immoral. The question is, is amoral enough to be Evil or not? Animals are by and large amoral, and they ping as Neutral in game terms.
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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    "Overseas raids in pursuit of personal wealth- think Vikings" sounds pretty evil. Theft is by default "wrong" according to BoVD.

    "raiding/pillaging" outside of true warfare, is like banditry- not very easily excusable.

    I'd say Evil, possibly Chaotic (breaking commitment to wife).

    It's like the barbarians of Ten Towns in book one of the Icewind Dale trilogy- they can be acting evil by attacking people who haven't done anything to earn being attacked.

    If he was a rebel raiding an evil king- in order to fund his rebellion, then it might be different- but as it is there doesn't seem to be anything like that.

    BoED takes the view, that even raiding the villages of Evil beings, needs a better excuse than "they are evil" or "I need money".

    Such as "I need to stop their raids."

    So, raiding beings not called out as evil, also needs a better excuse.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2009-12-01 at 03:52 AM.
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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    Asking an alignment question on a forum? YOU FOOL! YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE UNLEASHED!

    But seriously, this guy is definetly evil. Probably not chaotic as he follows orders most of the time, but probably not lawful as he engages in raids and adultry.
    He is not "big time" evil, but a subtler more realistic evil. Many people would argue that he is neutral because he is not acting of his own volition, but I do not believe that arguments works, as that would mean that the vast majority of enemy minions the players fight would be neutral, which would make them immune to smiting and holy weapons, not to mention possibly compromising the player's own alignment.

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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    Chiming in on the NE.
    Torching peasants' crops is not the same as burning modern farmers' fields (which is typically evil anyway, but enough good deeds could outweigh). Those peasants do not have a modern safety net. They starve to death.
    Raiding for personal profit with a willingness to kill is also firmly evil. There aren't enough good deeds in the world to make up for that.

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    Yup- Savage Species- people who are OK to members of their "in-group" but persecute those outside it, are Evil. Even if they are kind to their family, friends, and the needy of their society, their behaviour to those outside their society outweighs this.

    Possibly the only good excuse for "scorched earth" tactics, is in a situation of total war- and even then, generally only on your own home ground, when its the only way to stop an invading army.
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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    TN. Pretty much a normal soldier.

    Though if you look at it from our (modern age) perspective, most things would come out as NE. But that's not how it is.

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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    Except than (according to BoED) modern morals are the baseline for what's legitimate for a D&D soldier to do.

    No targeting non-combatants.
    No refusing to accept surrender.
    No aggressive war (must be waged to prevent enemies from continuing their aggression).
    No torturing prisoners.

    Etc.

    It may not be medieval code of conduct- but it is D&D code of conduct.
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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    Neutral Evil, for the reasons hamish and some others have mentioned.

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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    Well let's see.

    Loves his wife (more good than anything, but evil people can love)
    Cheats on wife (eh...chaotic I guess, but being married in the first place is kinda lawful). C + L = (Neutral)
    Destroys livelihoods (evil)
    Kills for money (evil)
    Is a mercenary, but I don't see any loyalty to law (Neutral)
    Doesn't enjoy the killing (somewhat redeeming)

    He's obviously not good. Check (LN, N, CN, LE, NE, CE)
    I'm not seeing a preference for law or chaos. Check (N, NE)
    The fact that he does evil things, but not good things (NE)

    It's not clear cut, he's somewhere between N and NE.

    I would side with NE.

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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Crow View Post
    I am having trouble determining what alignment this guy would be by D&D's standards;

    He fought in some wars, and hates most elves as a result. He has no problems putting the torch to countless peasants' crops so long as it contributes to winning the war (scorched earth). He also looks at killing the enemy as a "job". As a mercenary, he has taken part in many overseas raids in pursuit of personal wealth (Think vikings. Nothing personal against those they've raided, if they would just give them the goods, his guys wouldn't have to kill them!) and fame. He also has a family and wife, who he loves, but has cheated on, and would again with the right person.

    Soooooo.... Anybody want to take a stab at this?
    Lawful Neutral leaning Lawful Evil.

    To me the fact that he's just doing a 'Job' screams Lawful. He's a little cog in the machine. He's a Mercenary that joins a side and follows orders for pay. He's part of a group and doesn't seem to question it, again Lawful.

    He doesn't seem to have any strong convictions that would push him good, nor any strong emotional commitments that would do likewise. He loves his wife (Good) but not enough to be faithful to her (Evil) but not with much passion either way.

    his use of scorched earth tactics and pillaging are pushing him evil.

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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    I find that it's not what your intententions are, or what you feel is right that makes you good or evil, it's what you do.

    Let's look at King Kaius III from Eberron:
    He wants to hold the treaty and keep peace between the nations. A good goal. However
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    He put his grandson in a prison and took his place as king to accomplish this. In the past, he used the corpeses of his enemies to fight for him, and used a very evil "police force" to do his bidding


    We could also look at Queen Aurala, who is good because of her actions. Though her goal is
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    to rule all of Khorvare herself, she is doing it through good means, like diplomacy and trade agreements.


    So I would say he is either Lawful Neutral or Neutral Evil depending wether he kills for Money or Country.
    Last edited by Beelzebub1111; 2009-12-01 at 08:35 AM.

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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    I think its really defined by his culture: Theres a great quote by Eric Flint in his 1632 series about something like this: "There just f'ing up in a f'ed up world".

    By the defintions presented, i would say most cultures historically would be evil. Germanic tribes? evil. Vikings? evil. Majority of tribes in Africa prior to european invasion? REALLY evil. (Constant slave trading through raids, then sold to arabs, then to the europeans to send to americas). Sparta, Alexander, Julius Caesar...The list goes on.

    Ill take one example:Alexander. Conquered Persian empire for personal glory(evil), killed thousands of people in the cities that resisted(evil), slept with multiple wives(evil)...

    In fact, by the defintions presented, i cant think of one culture that has ever been good.

    Edit for Further point: Remember, the main basis of western philosophy, (The Bible) was at first not 'Thou shalt not Kill', but Thou shalt not Murder. Theres a key difference that tends to define evil in the modern world, IMO.
    Last edited by Gorilla2038; 2009-12-01 at 09:07 AM.

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    Default Re: Alignment Question

    Well, given that the alignment system is best suited for the Christian-veneered Viking morality of Beowulf, I'd say this guy is Lawful Neutral to Lawful Evil. The only thing he's really done that's not immediately consistent with Lawful is cheat on his wife, and that depends heavily on how he looks at family. Really, if he comes back every winter to spend time with his wife and kids, that would be Lawful enough. He is by no means Good, though whether or not he's Evil is shaky, and I really wouldn't know. That's murky enough that the people who dislike him (read: being pillaged) might think of him as more Evil than Neutral, and those who are with him might think of him as more Neutral than Evil.
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