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    Default An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Would you people say that there is a difference between good and Good, neutral and Neutral, and evil and Evil? If so, what impact can it have on a character?

    I say yes, absolutely there is. An Evil or Neutral character can work towards a good goal, and yet they won't be Good if their means are wholeheartedly Evil (they might be good or they might be neutral, or they might actually be evil).
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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    I would agree that there are situations where results could be considered good (saving lives without causing permanent harm, keeping evil from destroying all that is good in the multiverse, and so forth) while the act is not a good one by the alignment rules.

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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    The question of "what constitutes evil means" has been a tricky one in D&D for a while.

    In 2nd end, mass murder of the innocent "for the good of the many" was always a very Evil, potentially alignment-changing act,

    even if the result, say, saving a population from being devastated by a high-mortality disease, is arguably Good.

    BoED said something similar "whether or not the ends justify the means, a good end certainly cannot make evil means any less evil"

    Ozymandias's actions in the Watchmen movie in particular, would fit into this category. Possible good results, very evil means- by 2nd ed morality, and BoED, and Champions of Ruin, his act would be deemed Evil even if the results were good.
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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    I'll quote buffy , because I can.

    A character like Spike, arguably chaotic evil at that point, decides to save the world because he wants to keep killing people. Who walk around like free lunches on legs.

    so yeah

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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Animating skeletons to serve as pack animals, to spare living animals the indignity of being beasts of burden?

    Evil. Do the end results allow more cute horses to prance and frolick around candy mountain? Yes.

    So something good came of it. But it's still evil.

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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixRivers View Post
    Animating skeletons to serve as pack animals, to spare living animals the indignity of being beasts of burden?

    Evil. Do the end results allow more cute horses to prance and frolick around candy mountain? Yes.

    So something good came of it. But it's still evil.
    You want the horses to have their kidneys removed?!?

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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinydwarfman View Post
    You want the horses to have their kidneys removed?!?
    No no no...
    Only unicorns have their kidneys removed.

    --(removing kidneys without consent) is inherently evil
    Last edited by Duos Greanleef; 2010-01-29 at 09:00 AM. Reason: moar power!!!!1!
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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    The question of "what constitutes evil means" has been a tricky one in D&D for a while.

    In 2nd end, mass murder of the innocent "for the good of the many" was always a very Evil, potentially alignment-changing act,

    even if the result, say, saving a population from being devastated by a high-mortality disease, is arguably Good.

    BoED said something similar "whether or not the ends justify the means, a good end certainly cannot make evil means any less evil"

    Ozymandias's actions in the Watchmen movie in particular, would fit into this category. Possible good results, very evil means- by 2nd ed morality, and BoED, and Champions of Ruin, his act would be deemed Evil even if the results were good.
    In regards to this, I'd say there's also a difference between "Evil Aligned" and "Evil Act." The mass-murder is an Evil Act, regardless of motivation. However, one can only be Evil Aligned if they do it for Evil reasons. One can do evil things without being evil. Even doing consistantly evil things doesn't make you have the stereotypical Snidley Whiplash evil behavior if you're doing it for the Good of All Mankind(TM).

    Mind you, consistant Evil Acts is still enough to make you fall as a Good Cleric or Paladin, even if your alignment doesn't change.
    Last edited by Drakevarg; 2010-01-29 at 09:05 AM.
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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Champions of Ruin appears to disagree.

    Try another example- there is a powerful evil organization- you have determined after a lot of research, that it can only be brought down from within. However, in order to get into the organization, and maintain your cover until it is brought down, you will have to commit very many exceptionally vile acts against innocent people.

    Do you do it- rationalizing crimes against innocents now, as saving other innocents later due to the organization having been destroyed?

    Fiendish Codex 2 doesn't answer the question as to the character's actual alignment, but if they are Lawful + Do Lots of Evil Acts, their destination is the Nine Hells regardless of actual alignment- unless they atone.

    Being evil aligned but having Good reasons for your every Evil act, is quite possible- Champions of Ruin, Exemplars of evil, all stress this.

    This is pretty much the basis of the darker kind of antihero.

    Committing an evil act at all causes a paladin to fall. And in 2nd ed, if it was evil enough (however good the motivation) "The DM is justified in instituting an instant alignment-change to Evil"

    3rd ed didn't really change that- with the DMG stating that, on rare occasions, a person may instantly change alignment. The example given was "having an epiphany" and changing from Evil to Good.

    I see stereotypical evil behaviour as unrealistic- more the exception than the rule.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2010-01-29 at 09:14 AM.
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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    I'd say murdering 1000 innocent people to possibly save the world would not be enough to instantly change your alignment to evil, but probably would move you to neutral. You showed a willingness to do evil for good ends which is a strongly not-good act.

    Now if there was a 100% chance that the entire world would be destroyed if they were not killed a good aligned character would have to do it. A paladin might still fall if the DM was a jerk (putting a paladin in a situation where they fall regardless and making them fall for taking the path that saves the most people) but otherwise it shouldn't harm alignment. The thing is D&D is heroic fantasy and there ought to be a way out that is not: kill 1000 innocent people, or see world destroyed; and as heroes you should find/make/take it.
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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    as far as the good-evil axis, i tend to think of it as a measure of what your willing to do to further your goals. doesn't really matter what the goals are, yeah yeah yeah if destroy the world is your goal your evil i know but still, if your not willing to kill innocents to do it, you might actually be neutral (and crazy).
    as i see it, good people will not willingly commit an evil act unless its a question of the lesser of two evils (maybe even not then), neutral people will commit evil acts if it furthers their ends but it wouldn't be their first choice and evil people will commit any act that best furthers their goals. frankly, even an evil character is likely going to commit many good acts, lets face it, if your in an average society, its important to look good, or at least neutral, acting evil publicly in most fantasy worlds will just get you lynched.
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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Pretty much.

    Sometimes, the goal may seem pretty sympathetic

    "the good of the many"
    "the preservation of the human species"
    "the minimisation of human suffering"
    "protection of the innocent from crime"

    and so on- but if the person is very ruthless, their willingness to do anything that furthers the goal, no matter how evil, makes them Evil-aligned rather than Neutral or Good.
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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaydos View Post
    I'd say murdering 1000 innocent people to possibly save the world would not be enough to instantly change your alignment to evil
    My goodness, you're permissive.

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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Kicking a puppy is evil. Kicking a puppy into the fuel tank of a Death Ray that runs on puppies is Evil. A character who habitually does either one will register on a Paladin's Detect Evil, and neither one will be able to be the cleric of a good god. (Well, maybe Bast, but that's a separate case). Anyway, an Evil god might require something more towards Death Ray if they're going to accept the character as a Cleric.
    Last edited by Telonius; 2010-01-29 at 02:09 PM.

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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    I've always had a problem with the alignment system but don't really see a way to fix it while still having good and evil. Is it evil to shunt a town with a horrible disease into a pocket dimension to prevent a plague? What about enclosing it in a massive permanent sphere of fire? If you use an extremely nasty compulsion spell to force evil people to be good or die, is that evil?

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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Telonius View Post
    Kicking a puppy is evil. Kicking a puppy into the fuel tank of a Death Ray that runs on puppies is Evil. A character who habitually does either one will register on a Paladin's Detect Evil, and neither one will be able to be the cleric of a good god. (Well, maybe Bast, but that's a separate case). Anyway, an Evil god might require something more towards Death Ray if they're going to accept the character as a Cleric.
    Nah, there are Neutral characters of evil gods so I doubt that last part.

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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Random_person View Post
    Would you people say that there is a difference between good and Good, neutral and Neutral, and evil and Evil? If so, what impact can it have on a character?

    I say yes, absolutely there is. An Evil or Neutral character can work towards a good goal, and yet they won't be Good if their means are wholeheartedly Evil (they might be good or they might be neutral, or they might actually be evil).
    (1) Yes they are different. Alignments are Objective, "good" is Subjective. One person's "good" can easily be another person's "evil."

    (2) That said, I'm not sure your example quote works. A "good" result can be reached by Evil or Neutral people not just because their motivations/means are Evil. A "good" goal can be achieved by Neutral people acting Neutrally or Evil people acting Evilly; a Neutral person using Evil means to a "good" end is not acting Neutrally, they are acting Evilly.
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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Starbuck_II View Post
    Nah, there are Neutral clerics of evil gods so I doubt that last part.
    While this is true, it's only true of certain deities. You aren't going to find Neutral fellows worshipping Bane. On the other hand, if you love Orckind, stand strong against the hated Elves, and love the roar of battle... there's no real reason you couldn't be a CN cleric of Gruumsh. You'd just have to be living in a time/place where there aren't real opportunities for peaceful coexistence with other races, so your soft heart couldn't cause enough conflict with him or his doctrines.

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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Actually, you probably will find LN Bane-worshippers, and even clerics, in the right areas.

    For example, where the biggest problem is chaos and anarchy, Baneites might actually be the local "Well Intentioned Extremists" rather than villains.

    Even Tiamat, in Faerun (because the Faerun version isn't limited to LE and NE clerics, but has LN clerics as well) can be "the lesser of two evils."

    The head of the cult of Tiamat it Unther, was a LN cleric called Tiglath.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2010-01-29 at 04:03 PM.
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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    The thing is, its unclear what would align means as Good or Evil but their ends. The broad general categories of action that get deemed "Good" or "Evil" are, quite sensibly, defined by their consequences. "Killing innocents" means causing their deaths, "protecting innocents" means preventing harm to them, and so on. Swinging your sword in front of you is morally different depending on whether someone is standing there and, if so, what that someone is like. Context matters. Consequences matter.

    Some types of actions, like protecting innocents by killing innocents, are gonna be both Good and Evil in the sense that they fall into both a Good and an Evil category of action. And really, when you take into account Chaos Theory and the Butterfly Effect and whatnot, pretty much everything that anyone does is going to have some benefit to some innocents and some harmful result for others. So a "Good act" presumably is just one decidedly more Good than it is Evil; the alignment represents its general consequences, just like character alignment represents a creature's general moral and personal attitudes. If everything that's Evil at all is "Evil-aligned", then most everything is "Evil-aligned", or so it seems to me...

    I don't see how the thing where you value your own "righteousness" over the welfare of others would count as Good at all. Isn't it Good to value the welfare of others and make personal sacrifices to help those in need?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixRivers View Post
    Animating skeletons to serve as pack animals, to spare living animals the indignity of being beasts of burden?

    Evil. Do the end results allow more cute horses to prance and frolick around candy mountain? Yes.

    So something good came of it. But it's still evil.
    In what sense is it evil?
    Last edited by Devils_Advocate; 2010-01-29 at 10:12 PM.
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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    In what sense is it evil?
    In the sense that WotC said so. I don't agree with them, but I don't write the source books, do I?

    Anywho, the reason why I define "Evil Aligned" different than "Frequently Evil Acting" is because while you can do Evil things all day, there are personality types that WotC arbitrarily associates with such alignments and I don't think you should be restricted to them just because your evil.

    "Chaotic Evil" describes a bloodthirsty maniac unrestrained by society, but what if say, someone would be Chaotic Neutral but consistantly has to kill innocents to do what he feels must be done, and hates himself for it the entire time? His actions say he's Chaotic Evil, but he doesn't fall into the Chaotic Evil personality mold.

    Then again, I'm currently RPing a Lawful Evil character whose personality fits into the Chaotic Evil mold, so perhaps I'm a bit of a hypocrite.
    Last edited by Drakevarg; 2010-01-29 at 10:19 PM.
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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Zaydos View Post
    I'd say murdering 1000 innocent people to possibly save the world would not be enough to instantly change your alignment to evil, but probably would move you to neutral. You showed a willingness to do evil for good ends which is a strongly not-good act.

    Now if there was a 100% chance that the entire world would be destroyed if they were not killed a good aligned character would have to do it. A paladin might still fall if the DM was a jerk (putting a paladin in a situation where they fall regardless and making them fall for taking the path that saves the most people) but otherwise it shouldn't harm alignment. The thing is D&D is heroic fantasy and there ought to be a way out that is not: kill 1000 innocent people, or see world destroyed; and as heroes you should find/make/take it.
    The way I see it, letting the world be destroyed is just a Bad Idea. It doesn't matter what your alignment is; if you're facing real, no-nonsense end of the world, the ends do justify the means. Faced with that sort of situation, I'd look at it like this:

    A strongly Good character would exhaust all other options it could come up with trying to save the world. If it had to go to its death or make any other personal sacrifice to do so, it would without a second thought. Only if there were no other option would it kill the people, and it would feel greatly remorseful.

    A typical good character would put a dedicated effort into finding other possible solutions, and would be willing to die or make other personal sacrifices to do so if it had to. If there were no other option, it would kill the people and feel greatly remorseful about having to.

    A neutral character would take other options if they presented themselves, but would not sacrifice its own life or something else of great importance to it. Depending on its outlook, it may or may not sacrifice things of lesser importance. If there were no other options, it would kill the people and probably feel remorseful about it. Just how well it takes it would likely depend on its mental fortitude.

    A typical evil character would only bother searching for other options if it could get more benefit out of them. If it could not find or decided not to look for such options, it would probably try to gain what advantage it could in the killings ("Hey, I have this business rival who is REALLY innocent, could he be one of the thousand?") At the very least, it would feel little to no remorse unless it had a personal relationship with some of the people killed.

    A very Evil character, again working on the assumption that it is not a nihilist, would kill the thousand people with gusto, toss on another thousand for good measure, and probably try to use the political clout it gained from saving the world to conquer it or something. Also maybe try to get the entity that was threatening the world as a minion, if plausible.
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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    As D&D has progressed it seems that EVIL and GOOD have taken over.
    Evil has always been to me a either a choice or evil actions that have been repeated so many times that your alignment shifts. It's not one act of two or even 50. However YOUR character can decided that with one evil act his alignment changes.

    And everyone who plays good isn't good. Read the alignment. Good is self sacrificing, altruistic, and has a respect for life. A character who invades a persons home (be it a lair, or goblin warren) and kills everything inside that tries to protect itself doesn't really have a respect for life. A character who protects people only if they pay him thousands of gold, isn't really altruistic.

    Most people should be neutral, but it seems people forget about the neutral alignment and when someone does something either good or evil their alignment JUMPS right over neutral to the other alignment.

    Many of the things that D&D describes as EVIL or GOOD should fall under the preview of Lawful. They define lying, stealing, cheating, betrayal, vengeance, greed, and bullying as evil

    Lying, stealing, cheating and betrayal are all NON-lawful. They aren't evil.
    Neither Greed nor Vengeance are evil. Maybe non-good for Greed (not altruistic).
    Bullying as evil? So use of the intimidate skill is evil now?

    Some one who is Evil should be out of the normal. Townsfolk shouldn't be evil, almost never. Sure there's that one guy who acts normal but secretly kills people, but you know what? He's the villian.

    And likely someone who is Good should be out of the norm. The guy who runs into a burning building to save people when it's not his job. He's the Hero. Everyone else who stands outside and yells for help or even grabs a bucket of water aren't heros their the neutral townfolk.
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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Random_person View Post
    Would you people say that there is a difference between good and Good, neutral and Neutral, and evil and Evil? If so, what impact can it have on a character?

    I say yes, absolutely there is. An Evil or Neutral character can work towards a good goal, and yet they won't be Good if their means are wholeheartedly Evil (they might be good or they might be neutral, or they might actually be evil).
    Yes, just look at the massive cognitive dissonance in Dragonlance, where Team Goodly Gods inflicted the Cataclysm on the world because of their inability to control their own priests. In that world Good and Evil are just faction titles.

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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Splendor View Post
    Lying, stealing, cheating and betrayal are all NON-lawful. They aren't evil.
    Neither Greed nor Vengeance are evil. Maybe non-good for Greed (not altruistic).
    Bullying as evil? So use of the intimidate skill is evil now?
    Ooooo - this is a tricky area. I'd hesitate to make those assertions. It depends if anyone (non-evil?) suffers as a result of your lying, stealing, cheating, betrayal, greed, or vengeance. It's difficult to be sure they wouldn't, and if they did then those acts would be evil. (And it could be argued that if you did them without knowing for sure than no-one would suffer, then that too is evil).

    One thing though - yes, bullying IS evil.

    And, yes, I would say that use of intimidate skill is evil. I think the skill exists in D&D because the designers knew Intimidate is a bad thing, and 'sanitized' it. Now players don't have to role-playing intimidation/torture, they just make a roll and gloss over it.
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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Intimidation is different from bullying. Bullying is deliberately making someone else suffer to make yourself feel big. Intimidation is a necessary tool for a bully, but one can easily think of times when non-bullies use intimidation.

    Betrayal is clearly evil. Traitors get the lowest tier of Hell. Theft is evil since it harms another for your own gain, though there are (rare) occasions when it can be justified.

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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    Betrayal is clearly evil. Traitors get the lowest tier of Hell.
    Betrayal because you with to save your own hide is evil. Betrayal because you can no longer stomach the nature of your organization is not.

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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Saying "Betrayal is evil" is rather like saying "Killing is evil". And saying "Betrayal isn't evil" is rather like saying "Killing isn't evil".

    Same deal with lying, stealing, cheating, vengeance, intimidation, and so on.
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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    Saying "Betrayal is evil" is rather like saying "Killing is evil". And saying "Betrayal isn't evil" is rather like saying "Killing isn't evil".

    Same deal with lying, stealing, cheating, vengeance, intimidation, and so on.
    So everything is situational?

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    Default Re: An odd alignment question [3.5]

    BoVD has comments about situationality for lying, and killing, but not for the other acts- which means it may be up to the DM.

    Some acts might be situational, some might not. Both BoED and FC2 say that torture falls into the "always evil" category- whether used as a punishment, or as a method of extracting information.
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