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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

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    Default Quick alignment question

    Yes, the ever infamous alignment issue rears its ugly head once again.

    I'm planning to introduce a DMPC in one of my campaigns, but I'm not sure what alignment she should be. If we assume that this character is an elf who heavily looks down on the 'lesser' races, treats them like the lowest of the low and doesn't care whether they live or die, but does not actively do anything to harm them nor wishes to actively do anything to harm them, would she be neutral or evil? In other words, what alignment would an indifferent racial supremacist be?

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Sounds strongly neutral with tendencies toward evil. I imagine either true neutral or lawful neutral would fit best.
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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    I would say Neutral as well.

    Being Evil isn't about failing (or not even trying) to save people, it's about doing people harm. If all this NPC is is indifferent rather than antagonistic, then she is Neutral, not Evil.
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    So, if he sees members of lower races in danger, and is in a position to help them, what does he do?

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Quote Originally Posted by Slipperychicken View Post
    So, if he sees members of lower races in danger, and is in a position to help them, what does he do?
    Better yet, if he's in a position to easily help with no personal loss, cost, or risk, does he?

    Apathy to the immediate suffering or death of others is pretty much Evil. Good is to help someone despite personal risk, cost, or danger; Neutral is to at least help when it doesn't cost you anything.

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Instead of trying to figure out "what alignment fits this personality/set of ideals", pick an alignment and juxtapose it with their actions and beliefs. That makes the character more three-dimensional. Tweak the alignment if it's absolutely incompatible. Otherwise, I find alignments to be broad enough to include a wide swath of actions and character types.
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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhynn View Post
    Better yet, if he's in a position to easily help with no personal loss, cost, or risk, does he?

    Apathy to the immediate suffering or death of others is pretty much Evil. Good is to help someone despite personal risk, cost, or danger; Neutral is to at least help when it doesn't cost you anything.
    You're ascribing Evil to what is still Neutral. "Not giving a damn about the situation" is neutral, not Evil.

    Scumbag =/= Evil.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Quote Originally Posted by Scow2 View Post
    You're ascribing Evil to what is still Neutral. "Not giving a damn about the situation" is neutral, not Evil.
    You would have to have one messed-up ethical system to think that watching someone die when you could help them without any cost to yourself is not wrong/evil. Even most legal systems acknowledge this ("duty to rescue"), and laws aren't exactly the pinnacle of ethics.

    In the case of helping someone in trouble, in D&D terms, Good is helping even at a cost; Neutral is helping at no cost; Evil is not helping at all.

    Good is selfless and self-sacrificing; Neutral is selfish and self-preserving; Evil is malicious and harmful.

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    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaeso View Post
    Yes, the ever infamous alignment issue rears its ugly head once again.

    I'm planning to introduce a DMPC in one of my campaigns, but I'm not sure what alignment she should be. If we assume that this character is an elf who heavily looks down on the 'lesser' races, treats them like the lowest of the low and doesn't care whether they live or die, but does not actively do anything to harm them nor wishes to actively do anything to harm them, would she be neutral or evil? In other words, what alignment would an indifferent racial supremacist be?
    The short version:
    Good is helping people despite risk to yourself.
    Neutral is helping people only when there's no risk to yourself.
    Evil is hurting people.

    Your elf sound neutral going on evil. You've given little indication of how the elf acts in regard to Law Vs. Chaos; so that question cannot be answered.

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    A. As the thread is proving once again, there is no such thing as a "Quick alignment question".

    b. You have given us no information about the character's actions. We therefore have no information to base alignment on.

    A human rancher raises cows to butcher them. That doesn't make him evil or neutral; it's just an opinion about the relative worth of cows. People who share that belief will consider growing cows for steaks perfectly OK.

    There is no clear difference between your character and the rancher, except that we don't share her view of other races. But if she follows her beliefs consistently, she can be Lawful, and until it's proven that she has committed evil acts, she can be Good.

    Consider the character as a Lawful Good. She travels with her pet humans, protects them against monsters because monsters are dangerous to the elves who might be coming later, and uses the abilities of her pets to help her do it. Is there any real difference between her and a knight errant riding a war horse?

    If the character were a PC, I'd allow any alignment, but I'd also expect the DM to put her in difficult situations to test her alignment. But a DMPC can always pass a DM-planned moral question, so I'd make her neutral shading to chaotic.

    (And if I were a player, the first time the DMPC refused to help the party, I would kick her out of the party permanently. A party is a group of people depending on each other to stay alive. She can sneer at me all she likes, as long as she plays her part in the party's defenses.)

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    As an aside, even as a fan of Elf Supremacy, I'd be wary about DMPCing one. A DMPC should be unobtrusive, and a character that is offensive to any of the PCs shouldn't be forced into their party. Put in a position where they have to swallow their pride or fail an objective? Absolutely. Put in a position where they can't react appropriately to the behavior because it's a character that your encounters require for any reason? Absolutely not.

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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhynn View Post
    In the case of helping someone in trouble, in D&D terms, Good is helping even at a cost; Neutral is helping at no cost; Evil is not helping at all.

    Good is selfless and self-sacrificing; Neutral is selfish and self-preserving; Evil is malicious and harmful.
    You're contradicting yourself here. There is a vast difference between simply not helping, and being malicious and harmful. Not helping is Neutral. Helping when there is no cost to you is purely optional. Some people do it, others don't, but they're still Neutral either way.

    In other words, "there's nothing in it for me" is just as Neutral as "it doesn't cost me anything."
    Last edited by KillianHawkeye; 2013-11-29 at 08:35 PM.
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    Goblin

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaeso View Post
    Yes, the ever infamous alignment issue rears its ugly head once again.

    I'm planning to introduce a DMPC in one of my campaigns, but I'm not sure what alignment she should be. If we assume that this character is an elf who heavily looks down on the 'lesser' races, treats them like the lowest of the low and doesn't care whether they live or die, but does not actively do anything to harm them nor wishes to actively do anything to harm them, would she be neutral or evil? In other words, what alignment would an indifferent racial supremacist be?
    Well, you just described all fictional elves, and elves are described as "usually Chaotic Good", so...
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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    Well, you just described all fictional elves, and elves are described as "usually Chaotic Good", so...
    And people wonder why in the eternal elf vs dwarf debate I always side with the bearded alcoholics.

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    Scow2's Avatar

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerd-o-rama View Post
    Well, you just described all fictional elves, and elves are described as "usually Chaotic Good", so...
    That is NOT the common description of elves, who are extremely open-minded, and with justifiable preference toward their own kind because the guy with 200 years of experience and insight is more valuable than the guy with two years of experience at even fewer tasks.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    racism is a character trait, not a alignment indicator. someone who activly seeks out those he considers to be less then him and tries to kill or harm them is obviously evil, those that still have those kind of opinions but dont activly act on them however, can be anything, even good.

    nobody is perfect, you can be someone who helps those in need, and sacrifises their own well-being for the sake of others, but still racist towards a certain group of people who you view as less/evil/lazywhatever, simply because you never experienced anything else.

    the difference is usually made when a person like that experiences something that does not fall in his/her preconcieved notions. in the case of your elf, if he sees other races that are just as noble/smart/whatever as he considers elves to be.

    a good character will be quick to adjust his racist worldview
    a neutral character will be harder to convince, and will keep some distrust no matter what
    a evil character will never change, and try to twist whatever he sees into something that comply's to his racist worldview

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    You're contradicting yourself here. There is a vast difference between simply not helping, and being malicious and harmful.
    Refusing to help someone who is e.g. in mortal danger when you easily could is malicious.

    Seriously, who actually thinks that watching someone die when I could easily and without risk/cost help them wouldn't be terribly wrong?

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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhynn View Post
    Refusing to help someone who is e.g. in mortal danger when you easily could is malicious.
    No. Cheering and watching eagerly for their death MIGHT be malicious, but minding your own business never is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhynn View Post
    Seriously, who actually thinks that watching someone die when I could easily and without risk/cost help them wouldn't be terribly wrong?
    This situation never actually exists, so I am just going to ignore it. Intervening in a life threatening situation will never carry zero risk or zero cost.
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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    This situation never actually exists, so I am just going to ignore it. Intervening in a life threatening situation will never carry zero risk or zero cost.
    Seriously?

    Somebody's in a pit and will die there. (Snakes, starvation, whatever.) There's a rope next to the pit, and a tree. You can tie the rope around the tree and lower it into the pit to get the person out.

    Somebody's locked in a room and will die in there. You're on the other side and can let them out.

    And so on and so on.

    Killing or harming people through flagrant apathy or negligence absolutely is wrong and malicious.

    Edit: Somebody's going to be executed for a crime they didn't commit, and you know it. You can go "hey, that dude is innocent, that other one done it."

    How can you not think these up yourself?

    Edit: On the road / in a street / on a battlefield well after the armies have moved on, you find a badly wounded person who will die without treatment. You have the means / skills for treatment (bandages, water & rags, whatever).

    Negligible/trivial cost absolutely counts, too.

    Edit: Not calling an ambulance/cleric/whatever for someone who's badly hurt.

    I can keep coming up with these. It's surprisingly easy!

    Edit: Actually, even from a self-interested Neutrality POV, helping others because you'd like to be helped when you need it is the Neutral thing to do, while leaving them to die etc. on their own when it wouldn't cost you to help them (i.e. do what you'd like to be done for you) is wrong (Evil). Not helping at cost can be justified by not expecting others to e.g. risk their lives for you if they have no connection or obligation to you.

    The funny thing about Neutral is that, most of the time, even Neutral characters will consider Good things good, and would enjoy being recipients of them, and will consider Evil things negative and would not like to be subjected to them. (This is actually made explicit at least in the AD&D 2E treatment of alignments, IIRC.)
    Last edited by Rhynn; 2013-11-30 at 09:38 AM.

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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Your racial supremacist, who usually doesn't really care, sees a way to significantly benefit himself or those he cares about, and the only people who will be hurt will be those of lesser races.

    Does he go for it? Yes? Bam, neutral evil.

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Quote Originally Posted by Axiomatic View Post
    Your racial supremacist, who usually doesn't really care, sees a way to significantly benefit himself or those he cares about, and the only people who will be hurt will be those of lesser races.

    Does he go for it? Yes? Bam, neutral evil.
    Not to Elves. Bigotry is hard to place on the alignment chart because if the double-standard of treatment it uses. Sucks to be a member of the type he's bigotted against, but the Good he does for his preferred (Non-immediate-family group) does counteract that.. but people like to accentuate the negative and overlook the Good someone does.

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Quote Originally Posted by Scow2 View Post
    Not to Elves. Bigotry is hard to place on the alignment chart because if the double-standard of treatment it uses. Sucks to be a member of the type he's bigotted against, but the Good he does for his preferred (Non-immediate-family group) does counteract that.. but people like to accentuate the negative and overlook the Good someone does.
    I'm saying this on the internet, but...Hitler. You just made a Hitler-is-not-evil argument.

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Quote Originally Posted by Axiomatic View Post
    I'm saying this on the internet, but...Hitler. You just made a Hitler-is-not-evil argument.
    Let's not go into real-world historical figures (As the alternative is "Great Man X is evil" - ranging from Washington to Ghandi, because of bigotry)

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Yeah, steer clear of real world examples. That way leads politics and the banhammer. Voldemort is an acceptable racist villain, lets use him.

    As for inaction = evil, I agree, but i'm not sure the d&d alignment system does. That might indeed be a neutral action as it is inaction. Preserving bqlance and all that. "That person got into that situation, who am I to try and change it?"

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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Fine, Voldemort.

    Voldemort is a racist wizard-supremacist, and he is willing to damage mud-bloods if it benefits pure-blooded wizards.

    This is somehow NOT evil?

    Now, if Voldemort were a racist wizard-supremacist who would never harm an innocent mud-blood for the benefit of his friends, but who also would never lift a finger to help a mud-blood if there wasn't something in it for him, I could accept that as neutral. But because he's a racist wizard supremacist, he WOULD do it, and he is instead evil.

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Yeah, "benefitting a group" basically has nothing to do with Good/Evil. It may mean you're Lawful, since Lawful = group first, Chaotic = individual(s) first. If you're benefitting that group while doing evil things, you're Evil.

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Some thoughts: there are very few situations where you can save a life at no risk/cost to yourself. There is always the possibility that by saving that life you are making an enemy. Helping someone is Good. The absence of a Good action is not Evil.

    Now, to the meat of the issue: real life humans largely strive for Good. We are conditioned to help the tribe. It is easy to assume that the average RPG human is just like us - and maybe they are, but if they are, then they aren't Neutral. They likely make very little individual gains for the cause of Good, but they would strive for it, and they would do more Good than Evil.

    Good is giving help, Evil is giving harm. Neutral is giving neither (or giving both in some cases). You cannot call "allowing harm through inaction" Evil because everyone who isn't at the very highest extreme of Good is constantly doing that.

    Regarding bigotry, someone said earlier that it depends on their commitment to it, and there's some truth there. It's hard to blame a racist who was brought up that way and never had his misconceptions challenged. It is unfair to call that person Evil, even when those beliefs lead them to Evil actions. Now let's recognize that unlike in real life, in RPGs "Race" means "Species". An Elf that believes he is better than Humans is closer to a real life Human that believes he is better than say... chimpanzees than it is to real life racism. If he runs around murdering Humans on sight for no other reason? That's Evil. If he chooses the life of an Elf over the life of a Human? That's not.

    Edit: Re: Voldemort, he harbors an almost completely unrealistic hatred for muggles and by extension mudbloods. Voldemort would kill and torture them for fun and that is what makes him Evil.
    Last edited by Gavran; 2013-11-30 at 06:18 PM.

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    I think the elf would be evil if they refused to help a so-called lesser race even when there was little danger or downside to themselves. Not helping in all situations doesn't make someone evil, but when there is an extreme need for such (say, someone freezing to death) and they don't have to do much (build a fire out of nearby twigs) then I would lean to say that is evil.

    I think a better question is, does anyone in the party even have detect evil? If not, well, who cares!

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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavran View Post
    Some thoughts: there are very few situations where you can save a life at no risk/cost to yourself. There is always the possibility that by saving that life you are making an enemy. Helping someone is Good. The absence of a Good action is not Evil.

    Now, to the meat of the issue: real life humans largely strive for Good. We are conditioned to help the tribe. It is easy to assume that the average RPG human is just like us - and maybe they are, but if they are, then they aren't Neutral. They likely make very little individual gains for the cause of Good, but they would strive for it, and they would do more Good than Evil.

    Good is giving help, Evil is giving harm. Neutral is giving neither (or giving both in some cases). You cannot call "allowing harm through inaction" Evil because everyone who isn't at the very highest extreme of Good is constantly doing that.
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    Default Re: Quick alignment question

    Quote Originally Posted by Axiomatic View Post
    Fine, Voldemort.

    Voldemort is a racist wizard-supremacist, and he is willing to damage mud-bloods if it benefits pure-blooded wizards.

    This is somehow NOT evil?

    Now, if Voldemort were a racist wizard-supremacist who would never harm an innocent mud-blood for the benefit of his friends, but who also would never lift a finger to help a mud-blood if there wasn't something in it for him, I could accept that as neutral. But because he's a racist wizard supremacist, he WOULD do it, and he is instead evil.
    And if he is a racist wizard-supremacist who guards and protects mudbloods because he believes they are an inferior race who need his help, he is Good (and misinformed).

    Bigotry isn't evil; hurting people is evil. If a character looks down on a certain group and never does anything to hurt any member, then he is not evil; he is merely wrong.

    Acting on your wrong beliefs to hurt people is evil.

    (Acting on your correct beliefs to hurt people is also evil. So his decision to kill them would be evil even if he were correct and they actually are inferior.)

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