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

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    smile Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    Selfless Service
    With Blessings to All


    A Guide to Neutral Good

    "Our job is not to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. Our job is to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless." - L.R. Knost

    "Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are." - Franklin D. Roosevelt


    Welcome pilgrims, to the unofficial Neutral Good handbook! I've seen handbooks for each of the other eight alignments get posted or proposed. Neutral Good was the last one awaiting representation, which is appropriate for this often humble alignment. The selfish part of me would rather do other things today, however since I see a need for this to be covered, I will act in accordance with the alignment and offer my services. Perhaps it will produce some insights or be of some benefit to DM's and players, for understanding, running, and interacting with characters and NPC's of the Neutral Good alignment.

    Quote Originally Posted by PHB
    "Benefactor": A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order."
    The above is a simple definition, but there's a lot more depth to this alignment (and therefore potential misunderstanding). Here are some more significant points surrounding what it means to be and act NG:





    Neutral Good may look like LG or CG: Because the point of Neutral Good is being and promoting good, it cares about the end result, and not the means of getting there. Order and freedom are useful tools that are potential means to that end. NG is free to lawfully give fealty to the emperor, work with Archons, and support or establish society if that creates good. Similarly, NG may overthrow tyrants, free slaves, and act chaotic if that's the greater good. Of course, NG is free to and should reverse course if a society or cause ever stops being good.





    Neutral Good is benevolent balance: Many NG adherents are indifferent to Law vs. Chaos, and don't care which is present as long as good is predominant. Other NG supporters intentionally seek balance between Law and Chaos, and see the good within balance itself. They see the positive benefits of a mixture of both order and freedom, and the evil that can arise if either Law or Chaos overly dominates. NG makes the best Druids, because they not only support natural balance, but see the benevolence in proper balance. (Consider the good alignment of the Beastlands plane.)





    Neutral Good is diverse: Because NG can see the role and purpose of both Law and Chaos, it has a tendency to appreciate diversity in general. Supporting diversity is good, in that each individual is like a color of the rainbow (individually unique with their own talents, which Chaos should appreciate) but also contributing to a greater whole when looking at the entire rainbow (which Law should appreciate). Too much individuality and the beautiful rainbow looks like a mess with the colors randomly mixed up (like the violent soup of Limbo), and too much order and everybody becomes the same and the rainbow becomes boring gray (like the oppressive gears of Mechanus). Neutral Good is therefore most likely to be willing to work with other alignments (for a good cause), forgive people (within reason) because everybody makes mistakes, or give people a chance in the first place regardless of their past background (and be peacemakers who bridge the gap between the diverse people in their adventuring group, so they stop quarreling with themselves and can focus on overcoming evil).





    Neutral Good tries to be nice: More than any other alignment, NG is genuinely kind and sweet. LG may try to impose upon you (supposedly "for your own good" in their holier-than-thou eyes), and CG may try to shake you up (also "for your own good" because their revolutionary attitude says you needed it), but NG is only motivated only by goodness itself. Non-good alignments may be outwardly nice because they secretly want something, but only good sees niceness as an potential end in itself. That said, it's important to realize that "good is not nice". Proper NG will stop being nice if being that way allows evil to intrude, or if necessary to support a positive purpose. Proper NG won't meekly put up with injustice just to keep the peace (although some NG people make that mistake) if the situation calls for action or even violence. NG can become extremely vicious when facing evildoers. NG can also let their goal of promoting the greater good allow themselves to tear down ordered structure, or go against individual freedom (as long as they don't take it to extreme and let their actions become malicious, which is another mistake the passionately NG needs to avoid).





    Neutral Good is humble: NG sometimes has a reputation for being indecisive or less likely to take action than LG and CG. That's not a weakness, but a strength! LG and CG have passions for or against order, which often gives them an attitude and a conviction that they're right and others are wrong, which can distort goodness. NG sees the bigger picture, and isn't so self-absorbed to realize that they might be wrong, or that kicking down the door or overthrowing the kingdom may cause more harm than good. In other words, NG is more likely to live and let live, and only intrude when actually necessary (which means their actions are efficient, since they're always promoting good instead of other goals). NG may not always be as flashy as other alignments, but being "flashy" as opposed to humble is often a cover for selfishness.





    Neutral Good is selfless: NG is called the "benefactor", which means altruism and helping others (and doing so without hidden motivations attached such as promoting Law or Chaos). Many chafe at altruism, because it's means personal sacrifice. BoED says: "A good character doesn't just help others or fight evil when it's convenient for him to do so. Even the most generous altruism, when it comes without sacrifice or even serves one's own self-interest, is neutral at best." It's easy to finance an orphanage when you have a million gold pieces, and doing so provides benefits to yourself (such as public acclaim, or keeping yourself out of the lower planes afterlives). It's much harder to do so anonymously, and when doing so means you can't buy that magic item you want for yourself. Chaotic alignments with their focus on the individual are often selfish, and similarly Lawful alignments with their focus on structure (specifically their personal view of what type of structure is best) are also selfish in a way. Only Neutral Good has the potential to go completely beyond selfishness. That doesn't mean NG players should take Vow of Poverty (although that's certainly an option). It does mean that NG sees self-development and keeping treasure for themselves as a means to an end, i.e. something that allows them to do more good.

    In exalted cases, Neutral Good cares not about self-satisfaction, but sees themselves as a tool of the greater good. The concept of ultimate selflessness explains so-called "entrapping" behavior of the NG plane Elysium: There's nothing malicious going on, but rather being infused with purest goodness makes one so filled with joy and love for everything and everyone that they effectively merge with the essence and purpose of goodness itself, and no longer identify with the illusion of the separate individual self. By all means stay away from Elysium if you're called to, but let that be because you want to spread good on other planes. The truest bliss will be waiting for you when you're ready!





    Neutral Good is Love: The essence of Love is appreciating and helping others. More than any other alignment, NG is about Love! <3 True Love is selfless, and wants what's best for the other person even if different from what you desire for yourself. Many exemplars of other alignments claim they "love", but what they really do is just desire or covet for selfish reasons, which isn't the strongest form of Love. (Of course, proper Love can also set boundaries, apply discipline, and promote balance, so NG is by no means a pushover.) People of all alignments can express real Love, but that just shows they're not pure versions of those alignments, and are letting NG good ideals seep into their psyche. Therefore, all alignments are ultimately capable of Love and are redeemable, and are only fought or eliminated as a last resort. <3
    Last edited by Cruiser1; 2018-08-19 at 07:17 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RedSorcererGirl

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    smile Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    Relationships with other Alignments


    The essence of Neutral Good is to accept the diversity of others and work with them to promote the greater good. Therefore NG tries to maintain positive relationships with all other alignments. That means bridging the gap between LG and CG, guiding morally neutral people toward goodness, and redeeming evil (preferably) or defeating evil (whenever necessary).

    LG - Lawful Good: Allies! They do good by creating structures in which good can flourish, and they're usually efficient to work with (when they don't get bogged down in bureaucracy). The fact they blend honor and organization into their good doesn't make them any less good. Problems can arise if they emphasize needless order and tradition over doing good, which waters down their benefit.

    NG - Neutral Good: Perfect allies! No other alignment gets along better with its fellow members than NG. LG can conflict with itself due to different conceptions of order, and CG can conflict with itself due to different individual choices. Don't get started on the non-good alignments, such as how the LN Formians, Modrons, and Inevitables are in conflict with each other. It's much harder for diversity appreciating NG to disagree with itself, much less fight itself.

    CG - Chaotic Good: Allies! They also do good by breaking down restrictions which oppress good, and promoting good in one person at a time, and they're fun to work with too (if a little unpredictable). The fact they combine freedom with their goodness doesn't make their good any less good. Problems only arise if they emphasize individual freedom over doing good, which starts becoming selfish.

    LN - Lawful Neutral: They have potential! We honor their dedication toward order, but order by itself is just a lifeless tool on a shelf: meaningless until employed. It's the good (or evil) that you do with structure that really matters.

    N - Neutral: They have much potential! They understand the necessary balance between order and chaos, which is a good start. But they're a little too self-absorbed, uncommitted, or seduced by occasional evil to ascend to true goodness. But we still love them: Even the mightiest oak was once a acorn!

    CN - Chaotic Neutral: They have potential! We appreciate their embracing of personal freedom, but swirling chaos by itself is just potential, like a blank canvas or bunch of different colored paints randomly mixed together. It's the good (or evil) that you do with your freedom, once you apply a little order and make choices, that really matters.

    LE - Lawful Evil: Very misguided! The selfishness of evil corrupts order into oppression, and malice combined with restriction is the worst of both worlds. Nobody in the Nine Hells is happy, not even the Lords of the Nine themselves: They're all either grasping to acquire individual power or desperately trying keeping rivals from stealing their power. That selfish mindset is an eternal hell, and therefore we pity them. Convert them if at all possible, but smite if necessary to prevent their expansionist aims.

    NE - Neutral Evil: Misguided! NG actually does have something in common with its polar opposite, which is balance between Law and Chaos. However that makes the pure undiluted evil of this alignment more apparent. The folly of ultimate selfishness and separation can be seen in the NE plane The Gray Wastes, which increases apathy and despair until you forget yourself. Redeem them if possible, but ultimately the energy of this philosophy needs to be overcome like how darkness disappears with the rising of the Sun.

    CE - Chaotic Evil: Very misguided! Eww, yuck! Evil corrupts personal freedom into license to be even more selfish and destructive. Meanness combined with disorder is the worst of both worlds. Reform them if possible, but cleanse if necessary to prevent the taint from spreading and causing even more corruption.
    Last edited by Cruiser1; 2015-10-09 at 06:15 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    smile Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    Variations of Neutral Good



    There are many diverse options and possibilities for the Neutral Good character. Here are a few different variations or approaches toward this alignment that may give insight into NG heroes (and possibly even villains):

    Casual Nice Person: This variation is Neutral Good, in which the good is relatively weak. They appreciate good more than evil and do good when they can, but they don't do it constantly and don't zealously define themselves by it or treat NG like a religion. They aren't really Lawful or Chaotic, not out of a sense of intentionally seeking balance, but rather because neither has asserted itself strongly within them. If the good is weak enough, this of course becomes True Neutral. A large number of people in real life are like this.

    Good by Whatever Means: This variation is more strongly Good, and has both Law and Chaos mixed in. They're a definite seeker of doing and developing Good, but are indifferent to Law versus Chaos, and don't mind committing either Lawful or Chaotic acts themselves as the situation warrants. This type works well for Neutral Good PC's, because it combines heroism with the relative freedom to act as you wish, as long as the end goal is good.

    Good at All Costs: This variation is usually strongly Good, however it may potentially also be tinged with evil. It's a definite example of how "good is not nice", and how one who seeks a Good goal may attempt to use less pleasant means to accomplish it. This covers the mentality of "you will be good, or else", or how one may be willing to let some suffer for "the greater good" to benefit. Taken to extremes, this of course falls to True Neutral or even Neutral Evil. The Good at All Costs individual can make an interesting villain for good PC's to face, because their motivations can be understandable.

    Good No Matter What: Some are Neutral Good, but are willing to relax their principles if they feel the situation warrants. They won't descend to torture (which of course is not only non-good, but evil) but they might be willing to rough up that crime boss or make a few Intimidate checks. Others however hold to pure goodness no matter what, and believe that the ends do NOT ever justify the means. Some of the strongest exemplars of Good won't surrender their virtue for anything, not even their own lives or the lives of others. They'll let the world be destroyed before compromising their values, which may seem harsh, but ultimately physical life and even the material plane as a whole is just temporary clothing for the soul. This philosophy can be summed up with the following quote from BoED:

    "Some good characters might view a situation where an evil act is required to avert a catastrophic evil as a form of martyrdom: 'I can save a thousand innocent lives by sacrificing my purity.' For some, that is a sacrifice worth making, just as they would not hesitate to sacrifice their lives for the same cause. Unfortunately, this view is ultimately misguided. This line of thinking treats the purity of the good character's soul as a commodity (like her exalted feats) that she can just give up or sacrifice like any other possession. In fact, when an otherwise good character decides to commit an evil act, the effects are larger than the individual character. What the character sees as a personal sacrifice is actually a shift in the universal balance of power between good and evil, in evil's favor. The consequences of that single evil act, no matter how small, extend far beyond the single act and involve a loss to more than just the character doing the deed. Thus, it is not a personal sacrifice, but a concession to evil, and thus unconscionable."

    Benevolent Druid: This variation is Neutral Good, with an emphasis on Neutral, i.e. they see neutrality as goodness, and work toward balance as a type of goodness. They are neither Law nor Chaos (or perhaps both in balanced quantities) and they see the problems that arise and the potential for evil when one side or the other becomes too predominant. This approach readily fits the Neutral Good Druid, but it can also work with other classes.

    Lover of Everything: This interesting variation is strongly Good, however it may be tinged with evil. We established earlier that NG involves Love and it appreciates diversity, and therefore sees the value in both Law and Chaos. Take this philosophy a step further, and they can also see the value in evil, because the presence of evil and its suffering makes us aware of and appreciate the good. The NG plane of Elysium itself is often filled with challenge, in that many calamities seem to befall its natives, designed to test one's willingness to stop and help others, even when inconvenient. In other words, some people not only love Good, and see the role of both Law and Chaos, but they also (in a sense) appreciate evil and see it ultimately having a positive purpose too. This an abstract type of goodness much different from True Neutral. True Neutral (at least certain forms of it) wants to preserve the balance between Good and Evil, and they treat good and evil the same. The NG lover of everything still has the ultimate purpose of promoting Good, but they see even evil as having a purpose and potential for generating good (although again if the philosophy of "love everything, even evil" is taken to extreme then they fall to True Neutral). Like "Good at All Costs", an extreme form of the "Lover of Everything" can also make an interesting villain for good PC's to face. <3
    Last edited by Cruiser1; 2015-10-10 at 07:37 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    If I need to delete this post, in case you want more, I will. I just wanted to comment because this happens to be my personal favorite alignment. I feel like just impressing on my own thoughts of this alignment:

    Good is not Dumb.

    Good is not Weak.

    Good is not Naive, Gullible, Stupid, Careless, Tactless, or Thoughtless.

    Good is Powerful.

    And Neutral Good might just be the most exemplary of Good, unbound by Rules or Randomness.

    People underestimate Good, thinking that they are easy to comprehend and manipulate.

    Such people are fools.

    I'd go with "Screw the Rules and Freedom, I'm doing what's Right" for the title myself, but I don't have time to make handbooks.

    But remember, a lot of Strong, Intelligent, Tactical, and Enduring Heroes are Neutral Good.

    Love and Rainbows are nice, but that certainly ain't all Neutral Good happens to be about. It's certainly good at times, but we can basically do whatever we want, so long as we don't go Evil to do it.

    We can Lie, Cheat, Steal, Assassinate, and Slaughter if it happens to be the right thing to do at the moment*.

    Sometimes, others even come to fear us because of how Powerful we can be.

    They don't have to, unless they give us reason to make them be scared.

    Also, a random snipit from one of my favorite Neutral Good characters in action. Interacting with a Neutral Evil Character to boot.

    *some writer's wonky perspectives non-withstanding*
    Last edited by INoKnowNames; 2015-10-09 at 08:39 PM.
    You can call me anything. I've been called Inkin, Nono, INo, Names, and NoKnow so far.

    As of 7/20, I've gotten help in trying to get past a physical addiction that's been eating at my time, and finished recovering from a spot of trouble that ended up eeking into Self-Harm. I'm doing better now; here's hoping it lasts a bit longer...

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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    Quote Originally Posted by INoKnowNames View Post
    we can basically do whatever we want, so long as we don't go Evil to do it.
    No, that's True Neutral with Chaotic and Good tendencies.
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    Wow.
    That took a very sudden turn for the dark.

    I salute you.
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    I wish it was possible to upvote here.

    I use braces (also known as "curly brackets") to indicate sarcasm. If there are none present, I probably believe what I am saying; should it turn out to be inaccurate trivia, please tell me rather than trying to play along with an apparent joke I don't know I'm making.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    Quote Originally Posted by enderlord99 View Post
    No, that's True Neutral with Chaotic and Good tendencies.
    Do note that I said -basically-. Obviously we reserve judgement on how far is too far in certain regards, and we always strive to do Good, but we worry about what laws we break or about inter/extrapersonal liberties, so long as we're saving the day and saving lives.
    Last edited by INoKnowNames; 2015-10-09 at 08:44 PM.
    You can call me anything. I've been called Inkin, Nono, INo, Names, and NoKnow so far.

    As of 7/20, I've gotten help in trying to get past a physical addiction that's been eating at my time, and finished recovering from a spot of trouble that ended up eeking into Self-Harm. I'm doing better now; here's hoping it lasts a bit longer...

  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    So far, I am really liking this handbook. You emphasize what makes the alignment work and why it stands out, offering a lot of incentives about how and why to play it without quantifying or controlling the myriad philosophies of the alignment. The focus is placed upon what makes the alignment great as well as its role in the universe, and that is precisely where it should be. Keep up the great work and keep doing it the way you do.
    Dark Green, the color of Chaotic Evil

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Altruistorc is leaving me deeply disturbed and intrigued at the same time...

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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    Other than Albus Dumbledore somehow making it into this handbook as a prime example of Neutral Good (when he's almost the textbook example and epitome of Chaotic Good), this is wonderful. I especially love how that Skyrim quote made it in; it's one of my favorite NG quotes.

    EDIT: Although now that I think about it, wasn't that dragon kinda more LG than NG? Eh, close enough, I guess.
    Last edited by AvatarVecna; 2015-10-09 at 09:31 PM.


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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    Oh man I have been waiting for this one.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RedSorcererGirl

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    smile Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3



    New section "Variations of Neutral Good" has been added.

    Quote Originally Posted by INoKnowNames View Post
    If I need to delete this post, in case you want more, I will.
    I appreciate your generosity and willingness toward self-sacrifice (a Neutral Good trait ;) but that won't be necessary. A post can have up to 50K characters, and my three posts together only contain 19K characters so far. In other words, I've only used 12% of the 150K available, which is enough to add enough another 20 sections of comparable size to this guide before running out of space within those three posts.

    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarVecna View Post
    Other than Albus Dumbledore somehow making it into this handbook as a prime example of Neutral Good (when he's almost the textbook example and epitome of Chaotic Good), this is wonderful.
    Although now that I think about it, wasn't that dragon kinda more LG than NG?
    Thank you! The alignment pictures aren't meant to claim that character X is Neutral Good all the time. Rather, the text with the pictures is meant to show clear examples of Neutral Good acts. For example, the image of Boy Scouts dressing the same and saluting is more LG, however the quote about doing "a thankless job that needs to be done" fits NG well, since it's pure altruism without order or freedom attached to it. Similarly, Dumbledore appreciating the positive role of school rules, but having the flexibility to not expel students for breaking them when the situation warranted, also fits NG well.

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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    The Prisoner's Dilemma is a central issue in discussions of real moral philosophy. It appears at first glance that evil is the logical choice in the Prisoner's Dilemma. There's been an awful lot of discussion on this point over the ages by moral philosophers, as parodied in this SMBC comic: http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=1899

    It turns out, science has a solution.

    Science says that Nice Guys Finish First. Take that, Evil.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rr6lsTgZKAQ
    Last edited by LudicSavant; 2015-10-11 at 04:29 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Osuniev View Post
    As always, LudicSavant, while your expertise on the crunch of the game is obvious, to me it's the way you give fluff a flavour that I love; Every little detail like this is a golden nugget.
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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    Something tells me that morality and the consequences involved in making morality-based decisions is far more complicated than they're making it out to be. No doubt, the book goes into more detail, and is a bit less...clear-cut about the whole deal, but the video itself is simplifying the idea to the point that it's too easy for people to dismiss it out of hand.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Xumtiil View Post
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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarVecna View Post
    Something tells me that morality and the consequences involved in making morality-based decisions is far more complicated than they're making it out to be. No doubt, the book goes into more detail, and is a bit less...clear-cut about the whole deal, but the video itself is simplifying the idea to the point that it's too easy for people to dismiss it out of hand.
    The video is indeed a bit simplified for the sake of ease of explanation, but the point still stands in the more complete technical material: It is logical to cooperate as a long-term strategy.

    The book the video mentions (which is about evolutionary biology and why things like altruism and morality evolved, btw) does go into more detail, but moreover...

    The entire field of moral philosophy goes into immense detail on the Prisoner's Dilemma. Resolving it is considered by many to be a rather big deal.

    If you're interested in investigating further, here's some more material from a source that is more technical: http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Prisoner's_dilemma
    http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Decision_theory
    http://lesswrong.com/lw/tn/the_true_prisoners_dilemma/
    http://lesswrong.com/lw/7f2/prisoner...ament_results/
    Last edited by LudicSavant; 2015-10-11 at 05:02 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Osuniev View Post
    As always, LudicSavant, while your expertise on the crunch of the game is obvious, to me it's the way you give fluff a flavour that I love; Every little detail like this is a golden nugget.
    An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds | Comprehensive DPR Calculator | Monster Resistance Data

    Nerull | Wee Jas | Olidammara | Erythnul | Hextor | Corellon Larethian | Lolth | The Deep Ones

  14. - Top - End - #14
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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    I'm actually already pretty familiar with the Prisoner's Dilemma, as well as the more complex version involving a competitive 1-100 guessing game. It's all quite fascinating.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Xumtiil View Post
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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    It is!

    Experiments in genetic algorithms have also shown that robots will produce altruism and even heroic self-sacrifice. I remember one particular experiment where they had resource-gathering areas and death areas that would drain the robot's battery (or something similar), and that genetically-programmed robot populations would produce individuals who would willingly go out into these areas and signal others of the danger until they shut down.

    I don't have my original sources immediately handy, but a quick google search yields this: http://www.wired.com/2011/05/robot-altruism/
    Last edited by LudicSavant; 2015-10-11 at 05:38 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Osuniev View Post
    As always, LudicSavant, while your expertise on the crunch of the game is obvious, to me it's the way you give fluff a flavour that I love; Every little detail like this is a golden nugget.
    An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds | Comprehensive DPR Calculator | Monster Resistance Data

    Nerull | Wee Jas | Olidammara | Erythnul | Hextor | Corellon Larethian | Lolth | The Deep Ones

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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    I think this is where one of my favorite characters would fall. He is an orphan, taken in by a sword master, who was raised during an era of war. During his training, the war only intensifies and he decides to leave his master to join the war effort. As a member of the army, he is given roles of body guard and assassin, this being his most famous part. Over the years, he makes numerous enemies and gains a fearsome reputation. Then, as his side is nearing victory, he disappears.

    Nearly a decade later, he resurfaces in the city of Tokyo as nothing more than a mere wanderer who has taken up a vow to never kill again. This is where we come in to the life of Kenshin Himura.

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    Lightbulb Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3


    Quote Originally Posted by INoKnowNames View Post
    I'd go with "Screw the Rules and Freedom, I'm doing what's Right" for the title myself, but I don't have time to make handbooks.
    That would indeed be a cool title, although one of the main points of this handbook is the inclusiveness of Neutral Good, and its relation to diversity. In other words, NG usually appreciates both Rules and Freedom, and works with both LG and CG to the best of its ability. Another common variation is one who tries to preserve the balance between Rules and Freedom, and sees the problems if one or the other becomes dominant. However, an interesting third archetype would be one who REJECTS both Rules and Freedom, believing they both HINDER goodness, which would also be a form of Neutral Good, and nicely align with your suggested title.

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    The Prisoner's Dilemma is a central issue in discussions of real moral philosophy. It appears at first glance that evil is the logical choice in the Prisoner's Dilemma.
    Indeed, an important consideration when applying Goodness to the Prisoner's Dilemma and other moral issues, is that you have to look at things differently. Classical analysis of Prisoner's Dilemma involves numbers and probability to determine how you can maximize things like money, time, and power for yourself versus others. However, that makes the assumption that the goal is to maximize things for yourself in the first place! Goodness is relatively selfless, and works for others as much as it works for itself, and therefore different goals and measures of success apply.

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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    The optimal strategy for the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma, as determined by evolutionary algorithms, is to always cooperate the first round, and then do what the other guy did last round. If your partner is using the same strategy, or is a kind soul who always chooses to cooperate, you both get the maximal victory points for the whole. If your partner is using a strategy to screw you over, he gets screwed over, as well, with only one victory and a ton of losses.

    The reason being a jerk is not optimal is because any other rational player will quickly start to defect against you, as well, so you win less than if you cooperate with those who also cooperate.

    This is discoverable by writing a simple genetic algorithm to evolve play-strategies in a binary-tree genome.

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    RedSorcererGirl

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    Post Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    The optimal strategy for the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma, as determined by evolutionary algorithms, is to always cooperate the first round, and then do what the other guy did last round. If your partner is using the same strategy, or is a kind soul who always chooses to cooperate, you both get the maximal victory points for the whole.
    Indeed, the Prisoner's Dilemma can show the importance of cooperation. However, there are many variations on Prisoner's Dilemma, which can reveal other aspects of goodness.

    For example, suppose the payoff matrix is: Both cooperate = $2 each, Both defect = $1 each, Defect/cooperate = $10 for one, $0 for the other. In this case, both cooperating (for $2 a round) is NOT optimal. Instead, it's better to intentionally alternate defecting and cooperating, so you and the other person get $10 every other round (for $5 a round average). A real world scenario is you and your partner deciding what TV program to watch. Both cooperating is analogous to spending half the time watching one program and half the other, which isn't nearly as satisfying as just watching all of your choice tonight and their choice tomorrow.

    Another aspect of Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma (and the Good alignment) is someone intentionally sacrificing themselves for the benefit of another. Suppose there's a contest to see who can get as much money as possible in Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma. If you have multiple contestants, then when they face each other have one always cooperate and the other always defect, so one of the contestants can easily do maximally well. A group pooling their resources into a group strategy so that a chosen one of their member can win, is better than each person out for themselves. You can see this on Mt. Everest in which some people only carry loads (and never try for the summit) so others have a better chance of making it to the summit. Or in bicycle racing in which a chosen cyclist can draft behind other bikes on their team to save strength, and then make a run for the finish line at the end, leaving their exhausted teammates behind (or to block other cyclists if that's allowed).

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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    Another couple issues with the Prisoner's Dilemma is that 1) there's only two possible responses, 2) the rewards are static and not determined by the status of the participants, and 3) there is no option to quit playing when you find yourself ahead.


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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    I was going to offer ways that you could improve this guide by way of constructive criticism. But honestly, other than the fact that I would consider Parthanax Lawful good instead of Neutral good, this guide doesn't need any changes. You defined Neutral good in a clear cut way, and even helped to give me food for thought on how I'll define the differences between Neutral Good and Lawful Good when I get to that point of my guide.

    Job well done Cruiser1!

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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    “There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment about the nature of sin, for example,” said Oats.

    “And what do they think? Against it, are they?” said Granny Weatherwax.

    “It’s not as simple as that. It’s not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of gray.”

    “Nope.”

    “Pardon?”

    “There’s no grays, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.”

    “It’s a lot more complicated than that—”

    “No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.”

    “Oh, I’m sure there are worse crimes—”

    “But they starts with thinking about people as things…”
    What is sin?
    On a quest to marry Asmodeus, lord of the Nine Hells, or die trying.

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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    Quote Originally Posted by AvatarVecna View Post
    Another couple issues with the Prisoner's Dilemma is that 1) there's only two possible responses, 2) the rewards are static and not determined by the status of the participants, and 3) there is no option to quit playing when you find yourself ahead.
    It's definitely good enough for analogy.

    That said, it doesn't work if you want to experiment with group strategies. Heck, you have to got to the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma (or another variant where your reputation matters or you actually care what happens to the other guy) to move away from an optimum of "defect, because the other guy doesn't deserve to win when he defects on you."

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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    I think the handbook would benefit a lot by identifying a few characters or character types who you think are Neutral Good and describing what makes them neutral good (as opposed to True Neutral, Lawful Good, or Chaotic Good).

    For example, you use a picture of Superman who is traditionally an example of Lawful Good and a symbol for Batman who I've seen used as an example of Chaotic Good, Lawful Good, or Lawful Neutral. (Batman is apparently hard to peg on the alignment system). If they are there as examples and not just handy meme repositories, what makes them Neutral Good in your book.

    Another thing you may want to consider is what kind of characters act in a Neutral Good manner (and thus have Neutral Good alignment) despite publicly espousing a different philosophy? I would see a few obvious categories though I don't know that I have any clear fictional or real world examples:

    Relaxed Lawful Good. "Rules are good, but I occasionally ignore them when they don't seem to fit the situation. It's much easier that way than trying to figure out a better rule that would take properly handle the situation or analyzing the rules to see if there actually are nuances that do handle the situation properly. OK. Maybe it's more like "frequently" than occasionally."

    Benevolent True Neutral The benevolent druid in your examples is close to this, but needs a bit more explanation. "I'll let nature take its course, but my nature is to help people when they need it. That gets to take its course too."

    Chaotic Good Organizer This one steps on what is IMO one of the failures of the Law/Chaos axis of the alignment structure--the assumption that order and freedom are opposed forces--and thus could generate a lot of disagreement. However, I think that even among the gamers who disagree with my analysis of the law/chaos axis (I think it's incoherent) would agree that there is room for a guy who says all the Chaotic Good buzzwords but is a little too interested in organization and structure and/or too organized and structured to actually be Chaotic Good. "We could all have more freedom if we create and support some structures in order to keep it. I'm all for autonomy and stuff, but if we don't get an actual chain of command and come up with a Plan, the Legions of Lawful Evil are going to run all over us."

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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    Are you going to add character examples? If so, I think Sherrif Tate is a great example. Chapter 30 of To Kill A Mockingbird shows this perfectly.

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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    Quote Originally Posted by Zale View Post
    What is sin?
    I like Discworld.
    Quote Originally Posted by Osuniev View Post
    As always, LudicSavant, while your expertise on the crunch of the game is obvious, to me it's the way you give fluff a flavour that I love; Every little detail like this is a golden nugget.
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    Post Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    Quote Originally Posted by FocusWolf413 View Post
    Are you going to add character examples?
    Character examples are nice, although sometimes of limited use since not everybody is familiar with whatever storyverse. Better would be examples of each NG archetype, and an explanation of why they are of that archetype. For now, there are some existing lists of NG character examples that might be useful, such as http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NeutralGood

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    Default Re: Selfless Service with Blessings to All: A Neutral Good Handbook <3

    I found this definition of Neutral Good on the playground. "Enough rules so the game is fun, not so many that we spend our precious recess bickering over the rules. If we need a referee, we will empower one, and the only power that they really need is the ability to kick people out of the game."

    Of course, if the referee stops being fun, we can just stop playing that game and play another.

    It is similar in some ways to Neutral Evil. There is a goal, and you get to do everything you can to achieve that goal. Have fun. Of course, to have fun, you need people to play with. Fun people to play with.

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