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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    ...for the sake of an increase in personal power?

    Just some notes:

    • Both are nonevil.
    • The power increase is not necessary for a "greater good"; it's the end-goal of the character.
    • The Good character is capable of saving his friend or getting the power increase, but time restrains him from doing both.
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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    That's pretty much the definition of a Neutral act (self-interest).

    That said, one Neutral (or even Evil) act usually ain't enough for an alignment switch, but depending on the fate he left his friend to, that might sway things.

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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Does the other character face certain death? Has the friend asked to be saved? Normally, I'd say this totally warrants an alignment shift, but the Good character could just be really confident in the friend's abilities.

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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Quote Originally Posted by TandemChelipeds View Post
    Does the other character face certain death? Has the friend asked to be saved? Normally, I'd say this totally warrants an alignment shift, but the Good character could just be really confident in the friend's abilities.
    Yes, certainly.

    No, but that's because he was bound and gagged. It's fairly obvious to everyone that he'd die without outside help.
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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Abandoning another to certain death purely for your own aggrandisement?

    Regardless of whether it's a friend or neutral, or what their alignment is, that's a pretty Evil act right there.
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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    I suppose the bigger question is whether the character was ever Good to begin with. The issue is consistency. Good, Neutral, or Evil, characters should have consistent (but not necessarily static) motivations. I'm having trouble imagining many Good characters that would sacrifice friends for personal power. Actually, I'm having trouble imagining many Neutral characters that would.

    So, no I don't think by itself a single evil act of any magnitude short of multiple murder warrants an alignment shift. However, it does indicate that you should look at the character's past actions and character and see if they maybe were mislabeled in the first place.
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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Even an evil character could feel remorse and guilt for doing this to a friend (though you're very stingy with details). Alignment isn't a straight jacket.
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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    It also sort of depends on power level. I mean there's a big difference in a level 1 character abandoning his pal to certain and (most likely) permanent death and a level 18 character giving a friend an unintended vacation until he can get back to town and buy a resurrection. One is a cruel and cowardly act of desertion, the other's just kind of a **** move.

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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    yes, he would be in alignment trouble if he were originally good. However this shouldn't be a big deal unless he is cleric of a good deity or a paladin, otherwise he should be fine, just replace the G with a N and the character will probably make much more sense from now on

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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Quote Originally Posted by zinycor View Post
    yes, he would be in alignment trouble if he were originally good. However this shouldn't be a big deal unless he is cleric of a good deity or a paladin, otherwise he should be fine, just replace the G with a N and the character will probably make much more sense from now on
    First, a single act will almost never change alignment. Second, even a good god would probably not shun his cleric for abandoning a friend unless his portfolio included things like 'friendship', 'loyalty', or 'duty'. Only gross violations of the deity's code of conduct will make a cleric fall; merely acting against your god's alignment won't.
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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff the Green View Post
    First, a single act will almost never change alignment. Second, even a good god would probably not shun his cleric for abandoning a friend unless his portfolio included things like 'friendship', 'loyalty', or 'duty'. Only gross violations of the deity's code of conduct will make a cleric fall; merely acting against your god's alignment won't.
    I didn't say that his alignment MUST change, just that it would imply problems with it, not saying that his god would leave him, but i guess it could happens...

    Anyway, my point was that if this character is willing to do this kind of things he would probably be more at place as neutral character than a good character, but, he could do this and continue to be good as long as he feels bad about having done it or having a good excuse about it.
    Last edited by zinycor; 2014-06-23 at 09:37 PM.

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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Yeah, in a situation like this, I'd actually stop a second and ask the player if they really think this is something their character would do. Abandoning a friend to (obvious) certain death simply to pursue personal gain in the form of power, especially when that power isn't even for the sake of "the greater good", is NOT an action that a Good character would take, not unless they were on the borderline of Neutral and headed towards Evil in the first place.

    Though the character's motivation may have been to gain personal power, I think what makes a Good character good is that they are willing to sacrifice their own personal advancement in order to aid others. A Neutral character would rarely sacrifice their own personal advancement, but generally would if it would prevent others from coming to harm. A Neutral character still seeks a Good aligned world, for the most part, but are too concerned with their own well-being and enjoyment to go the extra mile. Even an Evil aligned character might stop short of abandoning a friend in such a way. If it was a random peasant or hostage, sure, but a friend? Those are hard to come by for an Evil character, and I'd imagine a Lawful Evil or Neutral Evil character doing whatever they could to keep that friend alive (as long as it did not put their own life at risk, and that the friend would remain useful to them in some way, even if that is just comradery).

    So yeah, I'd ask the player to confirm that this is really what their character would do. If they are persistent, I would allow it but straight out tell them that this is a behavior drastically outside their moral norm. If there is a pattern of this sort of behavior, they will be bumped an alignment step. If there is not a pattern, then one more action such as this and they will be bumped an alignment step.
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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    I suppose one part of the question is who's fault is it his friend is in trouble? If it is the friends own fault that he is in this situation it's less of an alignment dilemma because even the bonds of friendship don't compel you to save someone from their own mistakes every time they make them. Still it is a bit of a cold hearted move though.

    If it isn't the fault of either character then it is somewhat more of an alignment problem as acting indifferent to your friend being in trouble isn't really a good action but isn't really evil either.

    If it is the players fault that his friend is in trouble it is clearly an alignment violation.

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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Let's ask Richard Burlew what he thinks:

    http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0488.html

    Looks pretty clear to me. I'd shift this guy's alignment to true neutral. And if he's a Paladin or good aligned divine spellcaster, he's headed for Mikoville, complete with dramatic lightning zapping his powers away.
    Last edited by Angelalex242; 2014-06-24 at 03:55 AM.

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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Quote Originally Posted by zinycor View Post
    I didn't say that his alignment MUST change, just that it would imply problems with it, not saying that his god would leave him, but i guess it could happens...

    Anyway, my point was that if this character is willing to do this kind of things he would probably be more at place as neutral character than a good character, but, he could do this and continue to be good as long as he feels bad about having done it or having a good excuse about it.
    Ah, okay. I misunderstood you, then, and we're actually in accord.

    Quote Originally Posted by SethoMarkus View Post
    Yeah, in a situation like this, I'd actually stop a second and ask the player if they really think this is something their character would do. Abandoning a friend to (obvious) certain death simply to pursue personal gain in the form of power, especially when that power isn't even for the sake of "the greater good", is NOT an action that a Good character would take, not unless they were on the borderline of Neutral and headed towards Evil in the first place.

    Though the character's motivation may have been to gain personal power, I think what makes a Good character good is that they are willing to sacrifice their own personal advancement in order to aid others. A Neutral character would rarely sacrifice their own personal advancement, but generally would if it would prevent others from coming to harm. A Neutral character still seeks a Good aligned world, for the most part, but are too concerned with their own well-being and enjoyment to go the extra mile. Even an Evil aligned character might stop short of abandoning a friend in such a way. If it was a random peasant or hostage, sure, but a friend? Those are hard to come by for an Evil character, and I'd imagine a Lawful Evil or Neutral Evil character doing whatever they could to keep that friend alive (as long as it did not put their own life at risk, and that the friend would remain useful to them in some way, even if that is just comradery).

    So yeah, I'd ask the player to confirm that this is really what their character would do. If they are persistent, I would allow it but straight out tell them that this is a behavior drastically outside their moral norm. If there is a pattern of this sort of behavior, they will be bumped an alignment step. If there is not a pattern, then one more action such as this and they will be bumped an alignment step.
    Basically this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Angelalex242 View Post
    Let's ask Richard Burlew what he thinks:

    http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0488.html

    Looks pretty clear to me. I'd shift this guy's alignment to true neutral. And if he's a Paladin or good aligned divine spellcaster, he's headed for Mikoville, complete with dramatic lightning zapping his powers away.
    Your evidence disproves your claim. Note that Roy didn't fall to LN for betraying Elan. It was an evil act, but one act is not enough to shift an alignment. To paraphrase Aristotle: We are what what we repeatedly do. Evil, therefore, is not an act but a habit.

    A paladin should fall immediately in this situation, but a good cleric is in no danger unless he worships a god of friendship, duty, or loyalty.
    Last edited by Jeff the Green; 2014-06-24 at 04:21 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateral View Post
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    You missed the point.

    Roy got out of that BECAUSE HE WENT BACK and changed his mind.

    I'll tell you, though, if you hadn't gone back for him...then whether or not he lived or died, I'd be chucking your file in the True Neutral Bin right now.
    If this guy doesn't do likewise, then screwed he is.

    If the PC goes back for his friend, then it shows his conscience is in tact.

    If the PC does not...True Neutral.

    As for Gods who would zap you if you did that...

    In FR:Torm (Especially!), Tyr, Il Mater, entire house of triad, Lathander, possibly Sune.
    In Greyhawk:St. Cuthbert, Heironeus, Pelor, Bahamut. And even Kord might be giving you the hairy eyeball.
    In all campaigns, racial deities like Moradin, Corellon, Garl, Yondalla will zap you hard...if and only if the abandoned friend is of the appropriate race. (Don't abandon dwarves around Moradin, or screwed is you.)
    Last edited by Angelalex242; 2014-06-24 at 04:42 AM.

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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Quote Originally Posted by Angelalex242 View Post
    You missed the point.

    Roy got out of that BECAUSE HE WENT BACK and changed his mind.



    If this guy doesn't do likewise, then screwed he is.

    If the PC goes back for his friend, then it shows his conscience is in tact.

    If the PC does not...True Neutral.

    As for Gods who would zap you if you did that...

    In FR:Torm (Especially!), Tyr, Il Mater, entire house of triad, Lathander, possibly Sune.
    In Greyhawk:St. Cuthbert, Heironeus, Pelor, Bahamut. And even Kord might be giving you the hairy eyeball.
    In all campaigns, racial deities like Moradin, Corellon, Garl, Yondalla will zap you hard...if and only if the abandoned friend is of the appropriate race. (Don't abandon dwarves around Moradin, or screwed is you.)
    You also missed the point. Roy was rescued from LNdom for doing more Good than Evil—in particular, for saving Élan in an unrelated situation. It's only because he was borderline that that was a tipping point anyway. If the character was otherwise solidly Good, one evil act cannot shift alignment. (Though, as discussed, it may not be something the character would reasonably be imagined to do and deserves an OOC discussion about the decision and whether the Good label was ever appropriate.)

    For deities, you have to remember that clerics only fall for grossly violating their deity's code of conduct. Torm's and Ilmater's clerics would certainly fall as they are gods of loyalty and self-sacrifice, respectively. Tyr's might, but his thing is justice, not duty or loyalty. I don't see how Lathamder's or Sune's clerics would fall.

    I'm not super familiar with Greyhawk, but from what I understand St. Cuthbert is primarily concerned with Justice, but with less of a Good bent than Tyr, so I doubt his clerics would fall. Pelor's in the same boat as Lathander. Heironeus, like Torm, is big on loyalty and duty, so his clerics are screwed. Likewise Bahamut.

    The racial deities are a bit tricky. While they're concerned primarily with their races, they care about the race as a whole, seeing the individuals valuable but also expendable. The more lawful ones like Moradin would hit you for abandoning your duty to your race, but the others, like Garl or Yondalla, would be unhappy but not enough to strip the cleric of their power.
    Last edited by Jeff the Green; 2014-06-24 at 05:28 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateral View Post
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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Quote Originally Posted by holywhippet View Post
    I suppose one part of the question is who's fault is it his friend is in trouble? If it is the friends own fault that he is in this situation it's less of an alignment dilemma because even the bonds of friendship don't compel you to save someone from their own mistakes every time they make them. Still it is a bit of a cold hearted move though.

    If it isn't the fault of either character then it is somewhat more of an alignment problem as acting indifferent to your friend being in trouble isn't really a good action but isn't really evil either.

    If it is the players fault that his friend is in trouble it is clearly an alignment violation.
    This doesn't change a damn thing. "It's his own fault he's in trouble" is not a mitigating factor, it's an excuse. Leaving your friend to die because you'd rather grab power instead is an evil act in almost every circumstance (the only exception is when the friend is evil and did something so evil they deserve to die regardless).

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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Per BoVD, betrayal is an evil act, and so is "sacrificing another for a boon". So yeah, this is going to give him some trouble.

    Quote Originally Posted by Super Evil User View Post
    The power increase is not necessary for a "greater good"; it's the end-goal of the character.
    Really? Power for power's sake? How is this guy good-aligned, again?

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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Given that acquiring this power is the prime motivation of the character in question, it sounds like the classic "temptation" scenario. A good-aligned character CAN commit neutral, even the occasional borderline-evil acts, and still be good, but it does stain them pretty quickly if it forms even the inkling of a pattern of behavior. Usually, such a choice is, in fact, a Start Of Darkness for the character.

    But, for the sake of argument, let's assume that this character is and has always been Good in his thoughts and deeds up to this point. Perhaps not the most moralistic paragon of LG ever to impress a Paladin, but certainly not anybody with whom even the most uptight Paladin would generally find fault. He has his motives for pursuing this power - they can be good or neutral without harming his standing as a good man. Even good people can have things they want for themselves, after all. And a good person likely will have at least ancillary plans for use of things he wants for himself that will help others, particularly if this thing is something which enables the character in some fashion. Power absolutely does this.

    He's been working towards this, sacrificing other desires of his for chances at advancing towards this goal, but still helping out the innocent and being generally a good person. The tricky bit here is the question of whether he's had the opportunity to make darker choices in pursuit of this power already. The more times he's had this opportunity, the more likely he'll either have begun establishing this pattern of questionable behavior or developed a mental fortitude against succumbing to these tempting choices.

    In the first case, if he's somehow managed to get this far without the hard choices ever involving choosing an easy path versus a right path (but simply been "immediate gratification on something else" vs "my long-term goal"), then this would be a crisis of conscience for him. He's never confronted this choice before, and never had to consider something other than self-discipline in favor of his goal is more important than other delightful options. Now, he is faced with a choice that actually will have his instincts screaming that he must remain dedicated to his goal (as he always has before) conflicting with his very conscience. Before, it was one deferred desire pitted against an immediately-satisfiable one. Now, it's everything he HAS sacrificed for versus satisfying a desire to keep a friend. But at the same time, now, it's SOMEBODY ELSE who would join him in paying the price.

    In the second case, the Good-aligned character has made this hard choice before, and always (since we've established he's not already on the path of falling) chosen to defer his opportunity to advance his personal goal in favor of doing the right thing. Now, for this to not be a simple choice of just following his established pattern of self-sacrificial behavior, something must have shifted within him. Perhaps before he's always had the ability to say, "next time, it won't be so costly a choice" or "there's a right way to do this, and I'll get there." Perhaps he's learned that he'll never have another chance at this power. Perhaps he's merely given up so many opportunities that this just...isn't...fair. Maybe he's drained, emotionally and morally, and just wants something for himself for once. But...at the same time, this is his FRIEND.

    Either way, let's say he chooses to take the power and let his friend die. He has, we've established, always been a good man up until now. He certainly has a mark against that alignment here, and has a gaping doorway onto a path of darkness and sacrifice-of-others for his power. It may be the easier choice, again, because it lets him justify what he's done as "necessary" or dismiss the sacrifice as "meaningless."

    But either way, he has to live with himself. He has lost a friend, and has cost his mutual friends theirs, as well. Does he own up to it? Does he repent, atone, and feel his triumph turn to ash as he realizes that this power doesn't bring back his friend? Or does he choose to revel in this power and not let his lost friend bother him? Does his cover it up (or abandon his other friends for not understanding)?

    If he's truly been a Good man up until now, how he handles this wrong choice's aftermath and where he goes from there will determine whether he shifts to Neutral or Evil or not. But a Good character will never come out of choosing personal gain over a friend and be happier for it. Not while remaining Good.



    It is also worth discussing that even a Good character who has made the right choice to save his friend may come out of this broken. If this was his only/last chance at his goal, or if he's had to sacrifice so much and now is back at square one, he may lose his own drive to do...anything. He is happy his friend is alive, but unless something shifts within him to give him a new and more attainable goal, unless he can abandon his goal without deep and abiding regrets, he may later fall to bitterness or despair anyway.

    Whether this leads him to making the wrong choice later and putting us in the second of the above scenarios, or it causes him to simply waste away in depression, depends on the character and the tale. However, unless something comes in to give him hope that his life's work might have meaning (or to give him a goal which superceeds the one he's abandoning), he's not going to come out of this well. He may well need his friends - especially the one he's saved - to save him from internal destruction.

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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    ...so basically everyone agrees that what the guy did was A Sucky Thing to do?
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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Quote Originally Posted by Super Evil User View Post
    ...so basically everyone agrees that what the guy did was A Sucky Thing to do?
    ...uh, yeah? I think the only people who might say it wasn't are Objectivists, and let's just say their ethics and metaethics are way outside the mainstream.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateral View Post
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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Quote Originally Posted by Super Evil User View Post
    ...so basically everyone agrees that what the guy did was A Sucky Thing to do?
    Now that you have your answer, why did you ask?
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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    Now that you have your answer, why did you ask?
    Whuhuh? Did you mean to quote Super Evil User?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateral View Post
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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff the Green View Post
    ...uh, yeah? I think the only people who might say it wasn't are Objectivists, and let's just say their ethics and metaethics are way outside the mainstream.
    Er, no. Speaking as an Objectivist, anybody who has done a modicum of study of the actual philosophy would find this to be a false statement.

    Objectivism is about enlightened self-interest, not about selfishness and "what can you do for me tomorrow."

    The closest Objectivism might come to this would be if the salvation of said friend would lead to the ruination of the person making the effort. And even then, if you really examine Objectivism at its core, its value of human life is such that it would not tolerate a calculation of "abandon your friend for your own material, short-term betterment."

    Enlightened self-interest would dictate that you treat others as you'd want to be treated. In this case, helping a friend avoid certain death is nearly without equivalent price, simply because you would wish the same.

    Now, the coldest-hearted objectivists would turn around and expect loyalty and aid on par with paying back such a sacrifice, but they would not hesitate to make it. Not for one they trusted - as one hopefully would a friend - to be willing to do all they could to pay them back.

    I would posit, as well, that a friend so rescued who refused to give his all to attempting to help his friend and savior find either a new and better goal or to find a new way to achieve his goal is taking a neutral-to-evil course. After all, what kind of ungrateful jerk says "thanks for saving my life, sorry for your chance at everything you've worked your whole life for being lost, now buck up! Oh, you're depressed? Whiner, why should I care? What have you done for me lately?"

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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Quote Originally Posted by Slipperychicken View Post
    Really? Power for power's sake? How is this guy good-aligned, again?
    Good people can desire power for its own sake. Ambition is not evil. What matters is what you do on your way to obtain power, and how you use it once you achieve it.

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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tengu_temp View Post
    Good people can desire power for its own sake. Ambition is not evil. What matters is what you do on your way to obtain power, and how you use it once you achieve it.
    Precisely this. All people who are of any use desire power. Not necessarily over others, but to actuate their desires in the world. The most kind and giving person ever desires power to help and give more to more people. If he doesn't, then his protestations of kind caring are as meaningless as the proclamation by the lazy selfish couch potato that he should be ruler of the world.

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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff the Green View Post
    Whuhuh? Did you mean to quote Super Evil User?
    I did indeed, sorry. Edited my post.
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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Quote Originally Posted by Super Evil User View Post
    ...so basically everyone agrees that what the guy did was A Sucky Thing to do?
    Oh, absolutely.

    Heck, come to think of it, barring circumstances unusual to the typical adventuring party, there's an unspoken (or possibly explicitly written, depending on the party) contract to help and aid each other through the adventure. Objectivism is very big on keeping your part of any bargain; after all, you're trading value for value. Unless you and your "friend" have an understanding where you owe each other nothing, Objectivism would find betraying that agreement reprehensible as any sort of theft of value by not delivering value in return as agreed.

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    Default Re: Would a Good character have alignment trouble if he abandoned his friend...

    Hey it's like Palpatine said when he and Anakin had an unconscious Obi Wan.

    Palpatine:Leave him
    Anakin:His fate is ours.

    (In retrospect, Palpatine was even right...had Anakin left him, he wouldn't have had all the rest of his limbs chopped off on Mustafar.)

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