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  1. - Top - End - #271
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    To be clear, it's entirely possible to be five of those six things and still be a "good" person, in D&D terms. And possibly even "warlike".
    BoED would disagree (it emphasises that Good hews a lot closer to "modern" than "medieval").

    Quote Originally Posted by BoED: page 11

    Being Ahead Of Your Time

    "Heroic characters often end up at odds with their culture and society. The standards expected of good characters in D&D, especially those who lay claim to exalted status, bear much more similarity to modern sensibilities about justice, equality, and respect for life than to the actual medieval world that D&D is loosely based on, and that is quite intentional. It is certainly possible that your campaign world might be a more enlightened place than medieval Europe - a place where men and women are considered equal, slavery is not practiced in any form, torture and capital punishment are shunned, and the various human and humanoid races live together in harmony. In such a case, an exalted character can live in relative peace with her culture, and focus her attention on slaying evil creatures in ruins and dungeons or rival, evil nations.

    On the other hand, your campaign world might more closely reflect the realities of life in Earth’s Dark or Middle Ages. Perhaps women are not viewed as men’s equals or even sentient beings in their own right, slavery is widespread, testimony from serfs is only acceptable if extracted through torture, and humans of a certain skin tone (let along nonhumans) are viewed as demonic creatures. It is vitally important to remember one thing: these factors don’t change anything else said in this chapter (or in the Book of Vile Darkness) about what constitutes a good or evil deed. Even if slavery, torture, or discrimination are condoned by society, they remain evil. That simply means that an exalted character has an even harder road to follow. Not only must she worry about external evils like conjured demons and rampaging orc hordes, she must also contend with the evil within her own society.

    In all likelihood, most human (and halfling) societies fall somewhere between the two extremes described above. In game terms, humans tend to be neutral, neither good or evil. Human societies might tolerate a variety of evil practices, even if some humans find them distasteful. In such a circumstance, an exalted character is still at odds with the norms of her society and may occasionally find herself in conflict with it, but she can devote her time and attention to dealing with evil acts, either inside or outside her society, rather than trying to reform an entire nation or culture."
    So would some Eberron material. Eberron: Forge of War emphasises that bigotry is not an appropriate trait for a Good-aligned character. And Cityscape also portrays "oppression" as a symptom of a non-good society:

    Quote Originally Posted by Eberron: The Forge of War: page 108

    Bigotry/Prejudice

    "You don't like, and don't trust, members of your hated group. At best, you ignore them when possible. More likely, you are actively rude and off-putting, perhaps even prone to violent outbursts. You have no interest in dealing with these people, negotiating with them, or cooperating with them; you'd rather see them all go away, or even all dead.

    It cannot be stressed enough that in a game of heroism, as Dungeons and Dragons is normally played, this is not an appropriate attitude for a good-aligned character. It is presented here as a realistic and viable emotional consequence of the war, but you should be careful when selecting it for your character. Don't use it as an excuse to get the party into trouble or to fight with other PCs, unless everyone else at the table is comfortable with such situations. Be prepared for the DM to throw additional difficulties in your path - your attitude makes new enemies faster than you can deal with the ones you already have."

    Quote Originally Posted by Cityscape: page 156
    Racial Conflict

    "Most cities that formally oppress one or more races are lawful, while those who informally allow such persecution are chaotic. No good society permits this sort of racial persecution."
    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    IIRC Fiendish Codex 1 states that Tanar'ri can be created either way, ex nihilo or from the souls of the dead
    Tulket Nor Ahm claims that demons in general created from the souls of the dead are the exception, not the rule - but he's a fallible in-universe author. I don't recall anything in the book that confirms his theories, or that states outright that tanar'ri not created from mortal souls do exist.

    Other demons, but not tanar'ri specifically.
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  2. - Top - End - #272
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    BoED would disagree (it emphasises that Good hews a lot closer to "modern" than "medieval").
    If a moral system like alignment is truly universal, it doesn't change over time. As such, the moral standards of 10,000 years ago and the moral standards of the present would be exactly the same in a D&D setting. There's strong in-universe logic to support this, in that alignment was put in place by immortal deities who don't change their minds on anything like mortal timescales (and that one time in FR when a couple of them did it really screwed everything up).

    At the same time, if you hold societies in a fantasy world up to modern moral metrics those societies need to be changed from their medieval forms in order to reflect this. After all, many of the forms of prejudice we consider hideous today were actively supported by the moral paragons of societies of the past. The a Bronze Age world where it is understood that ethnic prejudice will get you consigned to the Nine Hells for all eternity looks very different from the actual Bronze Age world.

    And this isn't just an intellectual exercise, it has major consequences for gameplay. If the game setting produces a bunch of quasi-medieval cultures that are all 'evil' due to applying modern standards to a decidedly non-modern context, then any party of 'good' PCs is fundamentally obligated to act in opposition to their homes cultures and frankly just about any culture they encounter. This is a difficult proposition and it verges on grimdark since every conflict is gray vs. black at best.

    On the other hand, D&D is so awash in magic it can conduct the magitech revolution and modern morality makes a lot more sense. But...not that many people want to place in magitech revolution settings.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

  3. - Top - End - #273
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    I a species that produces dozens of offspring every year
    thanks for the link, that was a good read

    only downside is that i've now lost three hours i was going to devote to other things. ahwell.
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  4. - Top - End - #274
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    @Mechalich: the obvious built-in solution is to play Neutral and Evil.

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Draconi Redfir View Post
    thanks for the link, that was a good read
    Happy to help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    At the same time, if you hold societies in a fantasy world up to modern moral metrics those societies need to be changed from their medieval forms in order to reflect this. After all, many of the forms of prejudice we consider hideous today were actively supported by the moral paragons of societies of the past. The a Bronze Age world where it is understood that ethnic prejudice will get you consigned to the Nine Hells for all eternity looks very different from the actual Bronze Age world.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Regularly behaving/acting* on those prejudices in specific ways can easily be D&D evil, and it's certainly possible someone with prejudice may have dehumanized someone they are prejudiced against that they're more likely to do so. But merely holding the prejudice isn't D&D evil.
    Agreed. I find the idea that 'holding ethnic prejudice' in and of itself should automatically consign a person to the Nine Hells to be absurd. Setting aside that a person could consider other ethnicities to be inferior and still acquit themselves impeccably in the 90% of their dealings that involve co-ethnics, prejudice can manifest in a lot of ways. "Kill them all and Pelor will know his own" has a pretty different valence from "I don't want my daughter to marry a drow" or the kind of generalised mistrust that might be indistinguishable from rational cost-benefit pattern-recognition. It could even manifest as a kind of perverse chivalry, in the bigotry-of-low-expectations or noblesse oblige sense. Those beliefs might not be morally optimal but they don't just obliterate every other consideration of a person's moral character.
    Give directly to the extreme poor.

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    I actually ceded that most people in those times weren't actually evil since evil requires evil acts. My point was that it wasn't necessarily for lack of inclination, and in some cases not even for lack of trying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    At the same time, if you hold societies in a fantasy world up to modern moral metrics those societies need to be changed from their medieval forms in order to reflect this. After all, many of the forms of prejudice we consider hideous today were actively supported by the moral paragons of societies of the past. The a Bronze Age world where it is understood that ethnic prejudice will get you consigned to the Nine Hells for all eternity looks very different from the actual Bronze Age world.
    In a bronze age world the Nine Hells might be what people see as good

    Quote Originally Posted by Mechalich View Post
    On the other hand, D&D is so awash in magic it can conduct the magitech revolution and modern morality makes a lot more sense. But...not that many people want to place in magitech revolution settings.
    My headcanon is that the Baatezu are deliberately keeping the world in stasis to prop up their influx of souls. Either by conventional sabotage or through some part of the multiversal magic of the Pact Primeval
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2021-07-31 at 07:29 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #277
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    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    I see the active gods and magic use as opening lanes of information gathering that were unavailable to humans on earth. you would think with super intelligent gods guiding them, gods that were truly good and cared for others, would share information that they would benefit from or give out ways of having them learn things for themselves. Withholding this information could be seen as an act of evil in itself, especially information that reduced suffering and death.
    the first half of the meaning of life is that there isn't one.

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    I'm actually inclined to agree with this. My suspicion is that an Always Evil society would eat itself, and an Always Chaotic society would disintegrate.

    With that said, biology can play a significant role here- a species that produces dozens of offspring every year would not and could not invest the same degree of parental care and attachment as a species with lower rates of reproduction, and so might have a less developed instinct for reciprocal altruism. But it's possible those would have a harder time forming stable civilisations in the first place- it's hard to say.


    Yeah yeah, fine, but all of these societies also regularly featured parents taking care of their young, stable friendships, keeping your word, and often some form of organised charity. I'm willing to say that doesn't work out as Always Evil (and many of the features of modern societies may be a luxury afforded by technological progress.)
    what did I just read? these links? weirdness I say. Yet, enjoyably so.
    the first half of the meaning of life is that there isn't one.

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    Again, debatable.
    I don't see what saving the envrionment has to do with anything. And even if it did the environmentalists would clearly be in the first group with the ascetics and the animal rights activists who have been consistently failing at getting people to stop people from eating meat for ages. I didn't include them in my initial argument because their stake in the matter was already so negligible that it literally didn't even cross my mind that they might have something to say about the matter until you brought it up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    (and many of the features of modern societies may be a luxury afforded by technological progress.)
    By the way, to be clear, that first list in that article is EXACTLY what I talk about "the power of Evil". That sociopathic ruthlessness is the REAL power of Evil.

    Things like summoning the devil or choking a man out from a distance are merely flowery embellishments of evil, and the beginning of folly.

  10. - Top - End - #280
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forum Explorer View Post
    Anyways, I disagree that you can't make a prosperous country through evil. All you have to do is set up the conditions for success to be, well evil. Take slavery as an example. Pretty much always evil. But if you are in a society that promotes slavery, it would be difficult, and maybe impossible to get ahead in that society without enslaving people.
    *is still angry about the constant attribution of Slavery to the Good/Evil axis with vicious refusal to consider it as a Law/Chaos matter*

    Seriously. Explain to me how slavery is intrinsically evil without mention of personal liberty. Because personal liberty is why the Law/Chaos axis is there. Specifically because there's a hell of a gap between post-enlightenment liberalism, wondrously cooperative tribal societies, and Feudal Philosopher Kings. The last one's going to have a hell of a lot of infringements on "personal liberty" thanks to the defining features of noble hierarchies, and yet is the archetype of Lawful Good. It is literally the defining framework of the Good King with Holy Knights at odds with the Evil Count, and that is a system that specifically has a legally-advantaged hereditary ruling class, which is a major factor of why the Evil Count is ever a problem to begin with.

    The Good King is Good not because the peasants are free, but because he acts primarily to keep all the people of the land happy and healthy. The Evil Count is Evil not because he is in an inherited position of hard power over the peasants, but because he is abusing those peasants.

    When you're talking pre-modern societies, they did not have the ability to get away with "do as you please" to anywhere near the still-limited degree we have it. Their economies were too manpower intensive for that. As societies, they could not work without heavy coercion. Whether this be levies for infrastructure, farmers having limited allowance to leave, or viciously normalizing social institutions to minimize internal friction so you don't end up with major civil wars sufficient to make you a trivial target for conquest.

    Evil, in D&D, is very focused on personal gains. Emphasis on one's own group, at great expense to the self, to the exclusion of other groups, is not something at all clearly covered under the way D&D defines Evil, because group-focused thinking like that is rarely touched on and Alignment definitions are overwhelmingly discussed on the lone personal level. It is exactly why Law/Chaos axis and the Neutral boundaries exist. To say slavery is 100% guaranteed Evil is to make the medieval fantasy standard literally impossible because the justification for slavery being Evil is precisely why we got rid of the serfdom that's so thoroughly expected and set to work grinding away the nobility.

    Edit: About the "Universal Rights", this is actually a core part of the transition from feudalism to parliamentarianism. The House of Lords still held positions of inherited power. The Crown was still a hereditary institution. But the defining change that occurred is that nobody was above the law as a whole. The nobles retained their governmental functions in a number of respects for a good amount of time, but lost their immunity to punishments meted out to the masses. It's a matter of rule of law, not a matter of liberty. It being a matter of liberty is not a logically operable proposition for Elfgame, because then you've forsaken the defining genuine ethical issue of Law vs. Chaos and turned that into meaningless sludge while making it extremely difficult to have Lawful Good work in practice with the settings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    And were racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, xenophobic, religiously intolerant, often abusive to animals, and willingly complicit with slavery, child labor, and draconian laws even if they'd been on the short end of these last three themselves
    Is it Evil to establish a system of enforced work ethics for survival of the whole community? Because "animal abuse", slavery, and child labor are all about that. The resources literally did not exist to not be what you call "evil", because your idea of Evil is tied to the historically utterly incomprehensible idea of globalist cooperation. The vast majority of the "racism, xenophobia, and religious intolerance" was a pure and simple consequence of cultural incompatibilities arisen from divergence over time and the instinctive aversion to the unknown combining into over-generalized heuristics making a bigger issue than remotely necessary.

    Most religions have heavy endorsement of comprehensive roles for men and women, after all, and a great many of them take serious issue with sharing territory with unrelated faiths. What you call "Good" is wildly exclusionary of everything but Modern Liberal Globalism, and presses against the limits of even that with how much of a fuss you seem to be making about historic societies being fueled by Evil like literal demon worshippers.

    If your idea of Good cannot coexist with draft animals and feudalism and demonic cults and expecting homemaking women, it has no business in medieval fantasy. Period, check, put a stake in it, throw everything that trips that straight in the trash for this discussion. Elfgame is not real life, Elfgame is heavily referential to bygone days, morality fundamentally does not operate in Elfgame like it does real life, and in real life there are plenty who disagree with you who also buy Elfgame. Not every single piece of fiction has to whole-heartedly endorse "The Mainstream Ethics". That is normally called propagandizing.

    You want not a single governing authority figure in any published setting to ping as Good? You do you. But doing that makes the Alignment system wholly untenable, because for that system to really mean anything useful the in-universe societies the players interact with have to actually have Good characters. And Lawful Good has to get populated somehow for Paladins to exist, which just flatly doesn't work with my understanding of your proposition, because it appears to make "Law" in the context of D&D civilizations wildly incompatible with "Good" because society-level "Good" as you define it cannot exist in their context. Directly and specifically coerced labor is required somewhere along the line for these societies to work.
    Last edited by Morphic tide; 2021-07-31 at 09:41 PM.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/n5TqCuizyJDfAPjkr/the-baby-eating-aliens-1-8
    That was/is an enjoyable empathy pop quiz. I am currently on 3/8. Thank you.

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    Is it Evil to establish a system of enforced work ethics for survival of the whole community? Because "animal abuse", slavery, and child labor are all about that. The resources literally did not exist to not be what you call "evil", because your idea of Evil is tied to the historically utterly incomprehensible idea of globalist cooperation. The vast majority of the "racism, xenophobia, and religious intolerance" was a pure and simple consequence of cultural incompatibilities arisen from divergence over time and the instinctive aversion to the unknown combining into over-generalized heuristics making a bigger issue than remotely necessary.
    Which is exactly my point. That it's possible or indeed probable for all members of a population to necessarily be evil.

    Also, it's not just "animal abuse" in quotes. That's part of it but there was also things like bear baiting and making beasts fight each other in the colisseum making beasts fight people in the colisseum.

    Also fake medicines like powdered rhino horn that don't work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    *is still angry about the constant attribution of Slavery to the Good/Evil axis with vicious refusal to consider it as a Law/Chaos matter*
    ...regardless of whatever bronze-age simulationism is used to justify it, I think you are going to have one hell of a time trying to get any group of players to buy the premise of a group of Lawful Good slavers. Because the players do not live in the bronze age nor subscribe to bronze-age notions of Good, they live in the modern age, and subscribe to some modern notion of Good (very few of which include chattel slavery), and that is the viewpoint the game tends to revolve around, even when they are actively roleplaying characters who *do* buy into bronze-age-flavored principles.

    Incidentally, this is why I find the idea of Universal Cosmic Good and Evil to be kind of silly. Because in the real world, Good and Evil are almost always created in relation to a specific society in a specific time and place, used to outline acceptable and unacceptable behaviors within that society. So yeah, a society that depends on slavery is obviously not going to define slavery as evil. Except in DnD the actual apparently atemporal infallible laws of reality have defined slavery, along with a basket of other things, as objectively evil, and people know that. So you get people and organizations proudly strutting around calling themselves "Evil" and the whole thing just starts to feel goofy, and more like color-coded teams than anything to do with any coherent moral philosophy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zzzzzzzz414 View Post
    ...regardless of whatever bronze-age simulationism is used to justify it, I think you are going to have one hell of a time trying to get any group of players to buy the premise of a group of Lawful Good slavers. Because the players do not live in the bronze age nor subscribe to bronze-age notions of Good, they live in the modern age, and subscribe to some modern notion of Good (very few of which include chattel slavery), and that is the viewpoint the game tends to revolve around, even when they are actively roleplaying characters who *do* buy into bronze-age-flavored principles.
    The move toward "slavery is evil in D&D" seems to have taken place over the space of 3.0 to 3.5. 3.0 Forgotten Realms had Mulhorand, a nation with slavery, have a paladin as the nation's leader. But by time of the 3.5 splatbook Cityscape:
    Quote Originally Posted by Cityscape page 148: "Slavery"

    The institution of slavery should always be regarded as an evil by any good-aligned characters in a campaign.
    4e took the approach that it's nigh impossible to be a good-aligned slaveowner - but easy to be a Neutral (4e called it "unaligned") slaveowner.
    Quote Originally Posted by 4E Dark Sun Campaign Setting page 197: "Slavery and Alignment"

    Keeping slaves is not compatible with a good alignment, but doing so does not necessarily make a character evil. Most slave owners are unaligned. Overseers who treat their slaves brutally are definitely engaging in evil acts that should outrage good characters.
    The question is whether anything can be reasonably done about the situation. Given how commonplace slavery is on Athas, good characters can't reasonably attempt to free every slave they meet, nor should they recklessly challenge slave owners who are too powerful to overcome.
    Good characters should be anguished by the abundance of human misery in civilized areas, however, and they should be dedicated to aiding however they can short of attempting suicidal actions.
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by zzzzzzzz414 View Post
    ...regardless of whatever bronze-age simulationism is used to justify it, I think you are going to have one hell of a time trying to get any group of players to buy the premise of a group of Lawful Good slavers. Because the players do not live in the bronze age nor subscribe to bronze-age notions of Good, they live in the modern age, and subscribe to some modern notion of Good (very few of which include chattel slavery), and that is the viewpoint the game tends to revolve around, even when they are actively roleplaying characters who *do* buy into bronze-age-flavored principles.
    But I'm not suggesting Bronze Age views, nor am I asking for in-your-face Lawful Good slavers. I'm saying to have medieval views be able to be good, and to have Lawful Good but fairly historically accurate Kings. The lesser nobility were bound to some level of obedience entirely on the basis of what their ancestors did, the peasants were overwhelmingly not allowed to move away from their farming communities. There were vanishingly few people free in the capacities we criticize slavery for in feudal Europe, because even extremely powerful Dukes were required to manage territory on behalf of their King, purely because of the family they were born into.

    I'm asking for the system to support directly translating medieval Europe to high fantasy, because that is the context it puts so much effort into aping the broad strokes of. And given the extremely fine line between the various strains of serfdom and slavery, this renders slavery being explicitly by name Evil without any actual explanation of it being a Good/Evil matter rather than Law/Chaos one or what precisely it is that makes it Evil a non-functional property.

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    Given how many CE societies in D&D practice slavery, it being primarily Lawful rather than primarily Evil was always going to be a non-starter.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    And given the extremely fine line between the various strains of serfdom and slavery, this renders slavery being explicitly by name Evil without any actual explanation of it being a Good/Evil matter rather than Law/Chaos one or what precisely it is that makes it Evil a non-functional property.
    FRCS (3.0) provides the fundamental distinction between serfdom and slavery in D&D context:

    Quote Originally Posted by FRCS pages 86-87: Slavery

    Few of the human kingdoms and cities of the Heartlands permit slavery within their borders. Indentured servitude and serfdom are relatively common practices that approach the brutality of slavery in some lands, but even the most wretched serf or servant is considered a human being, not property.

    Conditions of slavery vary wildly between different lands. Slaves in Mulhorand outnumber the free citizens- and, not surprisingly, the life of a slave in Mulhorand is little worse than the life of a peasant in most other lands. Slaves in Thay and Unther endure far harsher treatment, both by callous masters and a society that considers them to be nonentities.

    Regardless of the conditions, most Heartland humans find slavery extremely distasteful at the very least, and more than a few consider it an abomination in the sight of the gods.
    with "The Heartlands" being the most "high fantasy" part of the setting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Given how many CE societies in D&D practice slavery, it being primarily Lawful rather than primarily Evil was always going to be a non-starter.
    I always interpreted CE slavery as being of the chained-up-in-the basement or pouring-acid-into-someone's-brain-to-make-them-your-mindless-servant variety, not the kind where someone's actually gonna go out and get them back for you if they escape.

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Drow elves spring to mind - NE but with CE tendencies - the deity is CE and it's a theocracy with the deity's priests in charge.

    Orcs and ogres also fit, as CE tribal societies which routinely enslave people to work for them.


    If slavery really was a Lawful but not Evil thing in D&D, then it wouldn't be prevalent in CE societies, because it would be an affront to the Chaotic aspect of those societies.
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Given how many CE societies in D&D practice slavery, it being primarily Lawful rather than primarily Evil was always going to be a non-starter.
    Physically browbeating proximate individuals into doing work for you is literally how Chaotic Evil societies reach any meaningful scale in the first place so calling the individuals of other species enslaved is meaningless because it's not really noticeably different from the norms of interpersonal interaction among those supposedly not enslaved beyond a differential of simple physicality causing permanent inferior status, while serious slave markets with transfers of ownership meaningfully expected to be respected are not a feature of the "strong take what they can" or "any means necessary for whatever I damn well please" that typify CE societies.

    Another issue that gets run into is, frankly, there isn't the room to differentiate the lowermost classes of CE "societies" from slaves. The constant on-pain-of-death demands, torture, and thorough disregard for others of the supposed dominant population that typify them are all the precise things that get used to describe D&D enslavement, as detached from the reality of the matter as it is, so what is there left to set the slaves apart? What in the world is separating a destitute Drow man from an enslaved goblin? An oft-losing weak example of an Ogre from a browbeaten dwarf?

    Also, not all things fully well recognized as slavery treat the person as property. Indeed, Athenian slaves actually had some property rights to give them reason to want to work harder! Debt slavery's one of the biggest counter-examples because it is very explicitly a matter of being bound into servitude because you owe something. It is defined solely by loss of freedom, not a loss of protection under the law. The forced service is specifically predicated on personhood.

    The lists of examples even include forced marriage, which is such an utterly universal part of the aftermath of war that it has widespread identifiable genetic impacts from the men of a population being wiped out while the women were taken by the conquerors. In addition to matters of work-camps using criminals, forced labor from prisoners of war, certain strains of dependent, children being required to do serious work...

    Very little historic slavery is predicated on wholesale denial of personhood. The defining feature of actual real slavery, throughout the breadth of history, is solely the loss of freedoms. So that blurb is essentially saying that D&D slavery is not at all like the majority of slavery throughout human history even when it's incongruously the outright majority of a population, because even chattel slaves were usually seen as still people. They were virtually never seen as draft animals, maybe in the very darkest pits of Antebellum Slavery that outright lecherous and sadistic plantation owners would recoil at.

    Literal dehumanization, to the extent of flat-out rejection of personhood, is so far outside the norm that it is seen almost exclusively alongside fully-fledged genocide. Why. The. Hell. Call. That. Slavery. It is wildly unrecognizable as a definition when compared to literally any historic institution of it I can find.

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    "Property" can still be "protected" in the sense that damaging property is seen as vandalism.


    The point is that if a sapient being is property, it is by definition a slave.


    Though I'd agree that it is possible for a being to not be "legally, property" and yet still be a slave.


    In the context of D&D, "indenturing" is much less out of character for a Good character, than "buying and selling sapients" is.

    Bruenor Battlehammer in the Icewind Dale books springs to mind - he's LG and he indentures a captured enemy soldier for 5 years (Wulfgar) but he does not buy or sell anyone - and when Wulfgar comments on how he is a slave, Drizzt tells him he is no slave - but only paying a debt owed.
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    I see CE slavery as fundamentally diffetent than classic LE slavery. LE slavery is propped up by the law, whereas CE slavery is propped up by the lack thereof.

    LE slavery is

    "It is also agreed that if any servant run away from his master, upon due proof the said servant shall be delivered, either to his master, or any other that pursues and brings such certificate or proof"

    Whereas CE slavery is more like:

    "Feeble, enfettered creatures destined solely for our pleasures, I trust you have not deluded yourselves into supposing that the ascendancy given you in the outside world would be accorded you in this place. Give a thought to your circumstances, think what you are, what we are, and may these reflections cause you to quake -- you are beyond the border in the depths of an uninhabitable forest, high amongst naked mountains; the paths that brought you here were destroyed behind you as you advanced along them. You are enclosed in an impregnable citadel; no one on earth knows you are here; you are beyond the reach of your friends, of your kin: insofar as the world is concerned, you are already dead, and if yet you breathe, 'tis by our pleasure, and for it only"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    I see CE slavery as fundamentally diffetent than classic LE slavery. LE slavery is propped up by the law, whereas CE slavery is propped up by the lack thereof.
    CE characters will still buy and sell slaves among themselves. Or trade them, in return for favours, rather than goods.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    serious slave markets with transfers of ownership meaningfully expected to be respected are not a feature of the "strong take what they can" or "any means necessary for whatever I damn well please" that typify CE societies.

    "Take what you have the power to take" only really applies when there is a massive power disparity. When there isn't, attempted robbery just carries too many risks, over buying and selling.


    The "black market slave trade" in a country where slavery is illegal, can be "CE slavery" rather than "LE slavery" - with all the slavers being CE or NE, and yet still buying and selling.


    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.p...cialKindOfEvil

    The Other Wiki defines slavery as a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. It's not just bad: it's literally treating them as less than a person — and barely better than cattle — for the sake of having a servant you don't have to put on a payroll. And, naturally, this practice opens the door for many other horrible things to be done to the souls unfortunate enough to be enslaved.
    In many works, owning or otherwise dealing in slaves is treated by either the protagonists and/or the narrative as a qualitatively different level of evil than "lesser" crimes. In these works, a Well-Intentioned Extremist or Punch-Clock Villain may be offered the opportunity for a Heel–Face Turn even if their crimes include murder or puppy-kicking, but a slaver will NEVER be redeemed because their crimes are just too horrible, and Laser-Guided Karma will always find them. Even other villains will recoil from the monstrousness of their crimes.
    In short, these works or characters treat slavery as a Special Kind of Evil.

    Some works and characters will draw a distinction between chattel slavery (applying principles of property law to humans and other sapient beings, allowing them to be formally owned, bought, and sold) and other systems of forced servitude such as debt bondage, Indentured Servitude, Prisoner's Work, serfdom, etc., while others will consider all of them equally heinous and dismiss such distinctions as hair-splitting. For the purposes of this trope, either attitude counts as a valid example.

    In classical international (admiralty) law, a category exists called hostis humani generis, that is, enemies of all mankind, whose behavior places them totally outside all forms of legal protection, and leaves them liable to attack, capture, and destruction by anyone at all with the ability and desire to carry it out. The category was originally defined to include solely pirates but was later extended to include slavers as well as these were far from mutually exclusive professions, quite the opposite in fact, and the transition from classical to modern international law has thus far preserved the designation. Legally speaking, then, slavery is indeed, quite literally, a special kind of evil. Of course this goes first and foremost for those who make a profit in life out of taking away other people's freedom and less so for slave-owners who are raised in a slavery-based society and who may or may not be cruel to the slaves themselves.
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    @Morphic tide: there is an alignment for collectivist Evil, it's Lawful Evil. In general, the function of alignment isn't to ensure or portray medieval societies as good - applying alignment to societies is dubious anyway*) - you can just accept feudal systems with serfdom (etc.) are Lawful Neutral to Lawful Evil. Good people can still exist in such societies, they'll just be going against the grain to some degree or another - I honestly don't get why some posters in this thread consider this "bleak" or difficult, it's pretty much classic for player characters to be relative outsiders who violate social norms and act as agents of change, that isn't a drastic change to usual gameplay formula.

    I do agree with you larger point that "slavery" is used overbroadly or equivocationally by hobbyists and this leads to jumping to conclusions.

    *) Law versus Chaos on human(oid) level is principally defined as conflict of large organized groups versus individual benefit - using 1st edition AD&D definitions once again, because it's clearer. In other words, collectivism versus individualism. Naively on the face of it, this makes the very concept of "society" into a Lawful one - which is largely correct - but characterizing a society as Lawful doesn't have the implications to personal alignment one would think. It's possible to have a large collection of Chaotic individuals - people who value individual freedom and well-being over group identity and benefit - and end up with organized-looking behaviour given their interests are sufficiently congruent. Or even more generally: any large group of anything will exhibit systemic behaviour, that is distinct from members of the group actually valuing and striving for systemic behaviour. See the concept of chaos attractors, in real chaos theory.

    Somewhat related: someone wondered how a "Chaotic Evil society" can have slavery, when loss of individual liberty should be an affront to Chaos. There is a straightforward answer to that: it is an affront, every Chaotic Evil slave hates their enslavers and wants to claw their way out of slavery - indeed, I would go so far and say everyone in a "Chaotic Evil society" hates everyone else and any semblance of organization exists only because whoever is at the top for the moment has no qualms treading on liberties of others for the sake of their own liberty. There is a contrast between that and a "Lawful Evil society" where slaves have internalized their subservient status and believe those on top have a right to treat them that way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Which is exactly my point. That it's possible or indeed probable for all members of a population to necessarily be evil.

    Also, it's not just "animal abuse" in quotes. That's part of it but there was also things like bear baiting and making beasts fight each other in the colisseum making beasts fight people in the colisseum.

    Also fake medicines like powdered rhino horn that don't work.
    Quote Originally Posted by zzzzzzzz414 View Post
    Incidentally, this is why I find the idea of Universal Cosmic Good and Evil to be kind of silly. Because in the real world, Good and Evil are almost always created in relation to a specific society in a specific time and place, used to outline acceptable and unacceptable behaviors within that society. So yeah, a society that depends on slavery is obviously not going to define slavery as evil. Except in DnD the actual apparently atemporal infallible laws of reality have defined slavery, along with a basket of other things, as objectively evil, and people know that.
    I think that some of the problems with Historical Moral Standards Inflation can be reconciled if you allow (A) that which is necessary is not wicked and (B) that which is expedient is not virtuous. Some of the apparent wickedness of the past was a matter of survival and some of the apparent virtue of the present is a matter of convenience.

    I'm not sure whether an institution like slavery was necessary, though. Bear-baiting and gladiatorial combat almost certainly weren't in the strictest sense. Some of it comes back to the legal system- pre-modern societies with limited resources couldn't really afford to have a substantial, unproductive prison population being fed and incarcerated at public expense, so you had to punish criminals by (A) execution, (B) painful and humiliating public rituals, like flogging or the stocks, or (C) fines and penal labour, which segue into debt slavery, indentured servitude and other forms of bondage. Much of the same logic applies to war captives. But whether the status was hereditary or whether the person still had legal rights and protections or could be bought or sold seem like very different questions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    There is a contrast between that and a "Lawful Evil society" where slaves have internalized their subservient status and believe those on top have a right to treat them that way.
    Slaves in LE societies don't have to have internalised their status - they can still be believing that how they're treated is wrong - but also that resisting is more trouble than its worth.


    This would be fairly standard when the slave has been kidnapped from territory outside the LE society's bounds.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    Much of the same logic applies to war captives. But whether the status was hereditary or whether the person still had legal rights and protections or could be bought or sold seem like very different questions.
    In some societies, both are true - the slaves have some "legal rights and protections" and they can be bought and sold.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Drow elves spring to mind - NE but with CE tendencies - the deity is CE and it's a theocracy with the deity's priests in charge.

    Orcs and ogres also fit, as CE tribal societies which routinely enslave people to work for them.

    If slavery really was a Lawful but not Evil thing in D&D, then it wouldn't be prevalent in CE societies, because it would be an affront to the Chaotic aspect of those societies.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    Somewhat related: someone wondered how a "Chaotic Evil society" can have slavery, when loss of individual liberty should be an affront to Chaos. There is a straightforward answer to that: it is an affront, every Chaotic Evil slave hates their enslavers and wants to claw their way out of slavery - indeed, I would go so far and say everyone in a "Chaotic Evil society" hates everyone else and any semblance of organization exists only because whoever is at the top for the moment has no qualms treading on liberties of others for the sake of their own liberty. There is a contrast between that and a "Lawful Evil society" where slaves have internalized their subservient status and believe those on top have a right to treat them that way.
    My take is take that 'Chaotic Society' is something of a contradiction in terms in the first place- without the internalised acceptance of certain rules and procedures there's simply too much turmoil and instability for coherent large-scale polities to coalesce and persist for any real length of time. Hence, hamish's example of small-scale feuding tribes among orcs and ogres might be the best they can scrape together. I'm somewhat skeptical that drow society makes any particular sense, but then again D&D doesn't exactly have robust rules for determining what even counts as law and chaos, or to what extent, or what happens when a person or society has elements of both (as virtually all do.)

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    In some societies, both are true - the slaves have some "legal rights and protections" and they can be bought and sold.
    Granted. I'm just pointing out that the arguments for slavery being, under some circumstances, hard to avoid, are distinct from the arguments for extending or stripping legal protections or for allowing purchase on the open market. It's probably good to protect slaves from arbitrary punishment and possibly evil to allow them to be bought without consent (risk of breaking up families and so on.)

    As for a society of Lawful Good slave-owners: well, using OotS as an example, Roy technically enslaved Belkar for a while on grounds very similar to 'penal servitude', so... I guess the literature has that precedent?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    As for a society of Lawful Good slave-owners: well, using OotS as an example, Roy technically enslaved Belkar for a while on grounds very similar to 'penal servitude', so... I guess the literature has that precedent?
    Roy's never tried to sell Belkar to anyone else, though.

    I'd say that Good (of any kind) + outright chattel slavery are fundamentally incompatible.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    My take is take that 'Chaotic Society' is something of a contradiction in terms in the first place- without the internalised acceptance of certain rules and procedures there's simply too much turmoil and instability for coherent large-scale polities to coalesce and persist for any real length of time. Hence, hamish's example of small-scale feuding tribes among orcs and ogres might be the best they can scrape together.
    Orc tribes tend to grow and grow, clashing at one-another's borders till some warlord unifies the lot and leads them as a horde.

    Elf societies (CG) can often get quite large and long-lasting as well.


    It's CN societies, that are too lacking in rules to grow large.
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    @hamisphence: I don't really disagree with that addendum, my point is that slave behaviour can be distinct between societies of different alignments, if you wish to apply alignments to societies at all. Additionally, internalized slave behaviour isn't simply "my masters have right to treat me poorly", it's about what counts as being treated poorly. For example, a human slave in an orc society might object to being left to starve, but still unquestioningly accept the idea that orcs are superior to humans and thus have right to raid human settlements for slaves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    My take is take that 'Chaotic Society' is something of a contradiction in terms in the first place- without the internalised acceptance of certain rules and procedures there's simply too much turmoil and instability for coherent large-scale polities to coalesce and persist for any real length of time.
    This part of the contradiction goes away once you realize Chaos, on the human level, doesn't mean "without rules", it means individualism. Beyond that I largely agree, as I explained earlier.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    Hence, hamish's example of small-scale feuding tribes among orcs and ogres might be the best they can scrape together. I'm somewhat skeptical that drow society makes any particular sense, but then again D&D
    As I mentioned earlier, orcs were Lawful Evil and got swapped to Chaotic Evil somewhere along the line. With either version, it's been fairly explicit that orcs don't naturally form large armies, such armies tend to be generated by evil sorcerers and warlords who might not even be orcs themselves. Again, the obvious archetypes for this are Tolkien's Morgoth and Sauron - a dark lord bending entire peoples to their will.

    As far as Drow society goes, I agree it doesn't make sense - as Chaotic Evil. As repressive theocracy built on tenets of racial supremacy, it too would make more sense as Lawful Evil.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    doesn't exactly have robust rules for determining what even counts as law and chaos, or to what extent, or what happens when a person or society has elements of both (as virtually all do.)
    Which is why I repeatedly go back to 1st Edition. It may not have detailed list of what's collectivist and what's individualist, but that is at least a genuine conflict a game master can order their thoughts around. Also, there's a fairly straightforward answer to what happens to persons and societies that try to strike a balance between the two - they're Neutral.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    My take is take that 'Chaotic Society' is something of a contradiction in terms in the first place- without the internalised acceptance of certain rules and procedures there's simply too much turmoil and instability for coherent large-scale polities to coalesce and persist for any real length of time. Hence, hamish's example of small-scale feuding tribes among orcs and ogres might be the best they can scrape together. I'm somewhat skeptical that drow society makes any particular sense, but then again D&D doesn't exactly have robust rules for determining what even counts as law and chaos, or to what extent, or what happens when a person or society has elements of both (as virtually all do.)
    Law vs Chaos can be described as stability vs. change, and a society in a constant state of change could be described as such, or has achieved rules of significant complexity, unintelligible law is indistinguishable from chaos and vice visa.
    A Chaotic Good society in this purview would be one that is constantly trying to restructure itself to improve well being.
    A Lawful Good society would actively fight changes in policy and systems, valuing structures remaining stable as having inherent value.
    A Truly chaotic society would probably be more like a social group than a government, like an artistic movement or a lax religious denomination, but it could be a government where multiple groups with conflicting goals are constantly trying to take power with a framework to accomplish that, like a dysfunctional representative democracy.
    Chaotic Evil societies are a bit of an odd duck though, since the very appeal of Lawful societies is the ability to maintain power, which obtaining and retaining power would be the goal of Evil, and a Chaotic society is counter to that idea. This would probably come from groups that lack power trying to use instability to gamble at improving their lot in life. Drow Society in the Forgotten Realms where infighting, frequently disobeyed rules and complex hierarchies are used by individuals for incremental advantage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    The volume of livestock consumed by humans would be more than adequate to supply enough brains for the microscopic percentage of illithids that are not evil- the problem is that illithids can't reliably live on the brains of unintelligent animals. You either need to supply the brains of intelligent species or brains from unusually intelligent members of animal species, and nobody is out there measuring the INT scores of individual cattle.
    The article you're linking to cites Underdark as its source, but Underdark in fact says this is actually quite possible:

    Quote Originally Posted by Underdark pg. 20
    Cold, calculating and completely self-serving, Illithids make dangerous allies and unreliable companions. Few mindflayers regard any cause or comrade as worth dying for. Due to their diet, if nothing else, most mindflayers are simply incapable of becoming truly good, but the occasional exceptional individual who restricts its feeding to the brains of nonsentient creatures might become neutral, or possibly even good in extreme cases.
    "restricting feeding to the brains of nonsentient creatures" may not be likely, but given that they can potentially do it long enough and consistently enough to improve their alignment all the way to good, starving to death is clearly avoidable.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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