A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    @Samoja, I don't think you have responded to Bohandas's comment. What context is the thread assuming? D&D generally avoids inherently evil species. The 3E Monster Manual explicitly mentions exceptions exist. 5E is less clear but also has no always evil species by my reading.



    Spoiler: Tangent: free will is not mutually exclusive with being always evil
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    A free agent has the capacity to make moral choices. That capacity for choice means they could invariantly choose the immoral option. Just like you can travel along a binary tree by always picking the right branch.

    We can extend this from 1 individual, to 2 individuals, to a population of N individuals, and let N grow to equal the current population of the species. We could have a species with the capacity for individuals choosing otherwise but have no example exceptions in the population.

    This is where the free will based objection ends. The species has free will. The species is not inherently always evil with no moral agency despite the entire population having used that moral agency to be evil.
    I don't know why everyone seems to be so hyper focused on DnD when my original post never specified it was about that. It's really about fantasy trope in general. But ok, let's focus on dnd and accompanying literature, since there is no denying it was extremely influential for modern fantasy. Whether or not the races are technically not inherently evil pretty much everyone, including authors writing for official WoTC settings treat them exactly this way. So it's basically the same thing. There may be some non evil orcs somewhere out there, but you never see them so they may as well not exist.

  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Marvel's X-men are a poor sub-topic for this discussion for two reasons:

    1) mutants have never been portrayed as inherently evil. They've always been portrayed as morally varied and people making sweeping generalizations about mutants have always been portrayed as wrong in X-men stories.

    2) the X-men franchise has become a posterboy example of mixed metaphors undermining the fundamentally benign message its trying to tell.

    Put differently, X-men are the opposite of what "always evil" fantasy races are claimed to be. Rather than unintentionally sending a bad message that's effective at making the world worse, X-men are intentionally sending a good message and failing at it.

  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Samoja1 View Post
    I don't know why everyone seems to be so hyper focused on DnD when my original post never specified it was about that.
    That's fair enough, let's go through the list

    *Pathfinder is explicitly a D&D clone
    *Exalted doesn't really have anything that falls between "human" and "not even remotely human"
    *Paranoia only has humans and robots
    *Warhammer 40000 is the trope namer for grimdark, plus I think it does a good job of justifying orks, genestealers, elves, and humans being overwhelmingly evil
    *Toon is deliberately played for laughs, no matyer what is going on in the game

    the only thing I can think of that's really problematic are the Tcho Tcho from Call of Cthulhu, which IIRC are basically "Darksun halflings except inexplicably asian because Lovecraft" and really it's only that last part that makes them problematic. Plus the Tcho Tcho aren't exclusively evil either, despite Lovecraft.
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2021-07-25 at 08:59 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Samoja1 View Post
    Whether or not the races are technically not inherently evil pretty much everyone, including authors writing for official WoTC settings treat them exactly this way. So it's basically the same thing. There may be some non evil orcs somewhere out there, but you never see them so they may as well not exist.
    Could you clarify?
    1) It sounds like you are talking about when an author decides to treat a species as inherently evil.
    2) It sounds like you want visible variance rather than confirmed capacity for variance.

    I am trying to bring this back to the generic topic since you mentioned this thread is not specific.

    PS (no reply expected, just providing data): In the 5E Monster Manual (pg 246) they have a sidebar about King Obould Many Arrow who carved out the kingdom of Many Arrow and then established peace with the neighbors. This is a summary of events that happened in 3E accompanying literature.


    @Bohandas Thank you for going through that list.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-07-25 at 09:07 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #155
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    In the 5E Monster Manual (pg 246) they have a sidebar about King Obould Many Arrow who carved out the kingdom of Many Arrow and then established peace with the neighbors. This is a summary of events that happened in 3E accompanying literature.
    True, but after the 5E MM came out, Many-Arrows collapsed, in the novels.

    https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Many-Arrows

    As the battles raged, Bruenor and his men were able to defeat the last of Chief Hartusk's forces at Dark Arrow Keep, before restoring control of the fortress to Lorgru, the son of Obould XVII, who had been framed for the assassination of his father. His name was cleared, and he took control of the remnants of the Kingdom of Many-Arrows, retreating back to Dark Arrow Keep and the Spine of the World, to try and continue his father's legacy of peaceful integration with the people of the Silver Marches.

    ...

    As of 1484 DR however, Many-Arrows was ruled by King Lorgru in the wake of his father's assassination and the coup staged by War Chief Hartusk.

    Vengeance of the Iron Dwarf (1484-1485 DR)


    https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/w...chmage_(novel)


    Realm Year: 14851486 DR

    On the surface, Dark Arrow Keep is dismantled and Lorgru and the orcs of Many-Arrows are banished into the Spine of the World by the combined forces of the three dwarven kingdoms, the elves of the Glimmerwood, and the humans of the Silver Marches.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2021-07-25 at 09:28 AM.
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  6. - Top - End - #156
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by meandean View Post
    Alright, I mean, that's your opinion about, in some different hypothetical world, it could be done in such a way that appeals to you more. My point is that, in the world that exists, they've spent half a century using it as a metaphor for current political issues, and it's made them billions of dollars and (more importantly) meant a lot to a lot of other people.
    The X-Men films are good despite their hamfisted aesops, not because of them.

    It takes a lot of fighting and explosions that stuff over and it still only kind of works.

  7. - Top - End - #157
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    Could you clarify?
    1) It sounds like you are talking about when an author decides to treat a species as inherently evil.
    2) It sounds like you want visible variance rather than confirmed capacity for variance.

    I am trying to bring this back to the generic topic since you mentioned this thread is not specific.

    PS (no reply expected, just providing data): In the 5E Monster Manual (pg 246) they have a sidebar about King Obould Many Arrow who carved out the kingdom of Many Arrow and then established peace with the neighbors. This is a summary of events that happened in 3E accompanying literature.


    @Bohandas Thank you for going through that list.
    Ok, let me get this across. If we want a balanced portrayal of different races then not only do we need individuals of inherently evil races that fall on the other side of the isle, but even those individuals who are evil should have a variance as to how far they are willing to push it. Just because someone is willing to take part in a sack of a city does not mean they are willing to set fire to an orphanage just for fun. It's not just that evil seems to be all encompassing and all consuming, but it seems to also be completely uniform. Everyone on the evil side likes to murder, torture and stuff equally.

    Also the evil side seems to be completely overpowering, even humans who join team evil immediately become ok with everything, they don't even mind the same evil army burning down their home village.

    But the most irksome thing is most of this settings preach some kind of ideal of balance, which seems kinda skewed when one side consitently has people jump ship while the other has such a tight grip on their pawns thay none of them seems to ever question their actions.

  8. - Top - End - #158
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Samoja1 View Post
    Ok, let me get this across. If we want a balanced portrayal of different races then not only do we need individuals of inherently evil races that fall on the other side of the isle, but even those individuals who are evil should have a variance as to how far they are willing to push it. Just because someone is willing to take part in a sack of a city does not mean they are willing to set fire to an orphanage just for fun. It's not just that evil seems to be all encompassing and all consuming, but it seems to also be completely uniform. Everyone on the evil side likes to murder, torture and stuff equally.

    Also the evil side seems to be completely overpowering, even humans who join team evil immediately become ok with everything, they don't even mind the same evil army burning down their home village.

    But the most irksome thing is most of this settings preach some kind of ideal of balance, which seems kinda skewed when one side consitently has people jump ship while the other has such a tight grip on their pawns thay none of them seems to ever question their actions.
    Let's take one of the most hide-bound settings on this matter. Forgotten Realms.

    In that setting, we have
    * more than one good drow (one of the poster boys for "evil races"), as well as wide variance on how evil they are. Both at the cultural level (some cities are hellholes, others are, if not enlightened, at least less baby-murdering) and at the individual level. You have Jarlaxle, who is evil...but will work with good people and is mostly a mercenary. And who fights evil pretty frequently.
    * at least one novel where a devil acts all good for a while (it turned out to be somewhat due to meddling by another, but they were genuine as long as their memories were gone)
    * many cases where evil creatures care about each other
    * many cases where good people turn to evil but don't go all indiscriminate puppy-kicking
    * etc.

    I think the portrayals are way more nuanced than you give them credit for. And this isn't me having some particular attachment to alignment and aligned races--cosmological alignment and aligned races (in any direction) were one of the first things I ripped out (and will never add back willingly) from my personal setting. Yes, that includes outsiders. Angel, devil, demon--these are statements of how you get the necessary energy to survive, not which cosmic team you're signed up for. Dragons retain their color-coding for elemental purposes, but not at all for alignment or personality. Alignment is entirely a derived quantity of an individual, and exists only as a role-play aide.
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  9. - Top - End - #159
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Samoja1 View Post
    To me the issue really is that it creates a less interesting world. There are no surprises when you encounter always evil race, they are kill on sight. This prevents you from developing individuals of that race into compelling characters, even compelling villains. They don't need elaborate reasons to do evil things, they just do it because the book says they do.
    i'd think a solution to this is to not try and focus on the evil race as individuals, but rather as a whole. if you can't do "Skoll has been reading books and is beginning to think farming might be a better alternative to raiding", then instead do "The Dogoz splinter faction has set up camp in a location filled with strange fruit, and has begun incorporating them into their diets. Now they're addicted to the fruit and can't wander too far away from their new settlement or face withdrawals, this has caused them to clash with other factions even among their own kind. Being set in one place for longer has also allowed them to develop new technologies that other splinter groups might not have thought of yet."


    A good example might be the Tyranids from the Warhammer 40k universe. There are no individuals in the Tyranid species, there are breeds and fleets. So your genestealers have wildly different personalities and interactions with the world then your rippers would, and one fleet might have vastly different tactics or even "Personality" from other fleets. Some fleets send out a massive bulk swarm to overwhelm their opponents, others send smaller, thinner forces to surround their conquest and approach from multiple angles, cutting off sources of supply and reinforcement. If a swarm found itself falling off a cliff, some of the bigger, more valuable members would likely claw and scrape to try and save themselves, while the smaller creatures would resign themselves to their fate and let themselves fall.

    These are still all distinct and valid personalities and stories that can be just as compelling as "Steve the baker who became a soldier who got trapped fifty years in the future and really likes football now."
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  10. - Top - End - #160
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    As far as drow go, it's worth noting that R.A. Salvatore codified drows for Forgotten Realms with the Drizzt novels, which also codified the idea of a good defector from decadence in Drizzt. The idea was so popular that for a while, every drow you actually saw played were good defectors from decadence, and other works, like Order of the Stick web comic by Rich Burlew, could base jokes on that cliche.

    (Drows did exist before that, but Greyhawk drows created by Gygax and Sutherland are less iconic than the Forgotten Realms version.)

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    More likely Salvatore just straight ripped that from the game materials. (Salvatore had author's notes or foreword for some printing of the early Drizzt books where more or less tells outright which parts he took from the rules and which he invented). Doesn't matter; Drizzt is what made that popular.

  12. - Top - End - #162
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    The thing about avoiding that is that most often rather than examining the implications, instead stories just move that 'always evil' label somewhere else. It's instead okay to kill bandits or slavers, or members of the Church, or members of the army, (and conveniently, none of those people ever have noncombatants) instead.

  13. - Top - End - #163
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphire Guard View Post
    The thing about avoiding that is that most often rather than examining the implications, instead stories just move that 'always evil' label somewhere else. It's instead okay to kill bandits or slavers, or members of the Church, or members of the army, (and conveniently, none of those people ever have noncombatants) instead.
    If they're actively doing bad things, preparing to actively do bad things, or intrinsically key to the doing of bad things people have a lot easier time not overthinking the moral qualms. It's when you start to show no regard for people who are at best incidental (e.g: killing captured support staff) and sometimes innocent of any relevant wrongdoing (e.g: caregivers and children left back at camp) that you see a lot of people start to get uncomfortable.

  14. - Top - End - #164
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Samoja1 View Post
    The most distinct trait of evil creatures seems to be sadism, killing and torturing with no apparent reason.
    Like killing an orc because it's an orc? Not trying to be combative here. Again, I generally agree with your basic point about there being no inherently evil species. To me it makes logical sense and feels more real and less racist-ish. But, again, I think most players like the idea of inherently evil species because it's a strong good-vs-evil trope that simplifies a lot of their game play. And by "simplifies a lot of their game play" I mean it justifies their characters' murder-hobo life-styles. :) I also mean that it avoids a lot of real-world issues that players don't want to drag into their recreational activity.

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by jjordan View Post
    I also mean that it avoids a lot of real-world issues that players don't want to drag into their recreational activity.
    Exactly, how many times have you seen in game or in media "Oh that Orc mook you just killed who was guarding the BBEQ and his evil scheme? Well that Orc was just doing his job and had a family. after punching out he was going to go home and kiss his pregnant wife and attend his son's first baseball game before meeting up with his parents and taking his dog for a walk to it's favorite park. DON'T YOU FEEL BAD NOW!?"


    Like, you don't need that. You really, REALLY don't need that kind of stuff when you're trying to actively prevent the evil lich from taking over the world or whatnot. Having a race, group, faction, or whatever else that is solidly and consistently evil helps prevent this and assures the readers / viewers / players that they're not going to be gut-punched with a "YOU'RE THE REAL MONSTER!!!!" BS backstory.

    When you're playing left 4 dead and you shoot a zombie, you don't get into the details of who that zombie used to be or how they got into that situation, you just shoot the zombie because it is trying to eat you!

    The heck are you supposed to do if you find out that all the zombies have loving home lives and their own feelings? they're still trying to eat you!
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    As I brought up earlier, people are usually fine with games where they kill humans, so I don't think having certain groups being inherently objectively evil is a prerequisite. I don't think the only options are "this is an objectively evil inhuman monster" and rubbing people's faces in killing someone.

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Most major empires have had slavery in one form or another at some point of their history and most of these could not have reached their height without it. Additionally, I think you'd probably be hard pressed to find one from more than maybe 50-100 years ago that didn't have a completely draconian system of laws

    EDIT:
    You don't know the power of the dark side
    Actually, I do, and I find your assertion otherwise to be bizarre. It would appear, based on the vehemence of your assertions, that you believe that the whole of humanity has been evil until recently. Not buying that box of soap.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    The X-Men films are good despite their hamfisted aesops, not because of them.
    The third one could have made the whole pretty good, but, it didn't. Quite a disappointment after a nice start. And we are back to fiction...
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Batcathat View Post
    As I brought up earlier, people are usually fine with games where they kill humans, so I don't think having certain groups being inherently objectively evil is a prerequisite. I don't think the only options are "this is an objectively evil inhuman monster" and rubbing people's faces in killing someone.
    sure, there are more options. but "this is an objectively evil inhuman monster" is still a valid option just like all the others. You don't throw away the black and white paints when making a colourful painting after all.
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by jjordan View Post
    Like killing an orc because it's an orc? Not trying to be combative here. Again, I generally agree with your basic point about there being no inherently evil species. To me it makes logical sense and feels more real and less racist-ish. But, again, I think most players like the idea of inherently evil species because it's a strong good-vs-evil trope that simplifies a lot of their game play. And by "simplifies a lot of their game play" I mean it justifies their characters' murder-hobo life-styles. :) I also mean that it avoids a lot of real-world issues that players don't want to drag into their recreational activity.
    Again it's not black and white morallity i am complaining about here, it's black and grey. Imho it should either be black and white or grey and grey. You can have different shades of grey for different factions but black and grey just makes the world feel overly bleak and depressing, and when it comes to the settings that preach balance it feels way too lopsided in favor if the team evil.

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Lets consider the Illithid as described in the book lords of madness. Here they are biologically compelled to torture, eat and otherwise be nasty to sentient beings in order to survive. they are obligate parasites with their reproductive cycle being that they have to tunnel into some ones head and eat the brain in order to grow from larval form into adult form. they are textbook definition of cannot be good. Yes I am aware that the boed has a illithid as a good guy in it, but that guy would just starve to death really.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vasilidor View Post
    Lets consider the Illithid as described in the book lords of madness. Here they are biologically compelled to torture, eat and otherwise be nasty to sentient beings in order to survive. they are obligate parasites with their reproductive cycle being that they have to tunnel into some ones head and eat the brain in order to grow from larval form into adult form. they are textbook definition of cannot be good. Yes I am aware that the boed has a illithid as a good guy in it, but that guy would just starve to death really.
    IIRC
    Illithids can live off of rothe brains. (I think it would be unfair to mention rings of sustenance).

    Illithid tadpoles are unlikely to be moral agents (they are not intelligent enough).

    The Neothelids life cycle skips Ceremorphosis and eventually becomes intelligent enough (Larval Flayers from complete psionics) to make moral choices about which brains to eat (rothe or intelligent life).

    And, while the Illithids were secretly slaves of the Elder Brains, 5E made that involve more overt control than the 3E lore. The moral agency, and thus moral culpability of Illithids is decreased while under that mind control.

    So I think Illithids can be good, but are highly unlikely to be good.

    Edit: Also fans of Illithid lore will want to know about "The Adversary"
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illithid
    an Illithid legend of a being called the "Adversary". The legend holds that, eventually, an Illithid larva that undergoes ceremorphosis will take on the host's personality and memory in its entirety. This Adversary would, mind and soul, still be the host, but with all the inherent abilities of an Illithid.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-07-25 at 10:31 PM.

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    from what I've heard, if an Illithid finds itself separated from the giant brain's influences, it can be more civilized and even work alongside other races. But that's only so long as it's not under the Brain's influence
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Illithids are an example of a species with a physiological inclination towards 'evil.' Their sustenance requires brain matter, which means they are obligated to kill other creatures of a certain intelligence to survive - not necessarily sapient beings, but definitely creatures of some intelligence, and you can forget about vegetarianism. Theirs is an extreme case, but any species with a hypercarnivore physiology (this generally includes that well-known fantasy standby, cat people) is going to be more inclined to prey upon others than omnivorous humans.

    There's lots of trends and gradations at work in terms of physiological and psychological factors that might incline a species to be more or less 'evil' than humans when placed in a single universal moral framework. Importantly there's a lot of room between 'a species whose median individual is born more inclined to evil than the median human' and 'born as bad as a fiend.'
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    RE:cats - it's worth noting that while cats are carnivores, their diets can* be supplemented by plant-based proteins, especially legumes. This is why many cat foods marketed as "grain-free" include filler such as peas or lentils. Fantasy catfolk could expand on this by cultivating such crops in their settlements to go along with the livestock, poultry and fish you might expect, and thus more credibly scale up to match other humanoid societies in a setting like halflings or dwarves.

    *I'm not commenting on how healthy these fillers ultimately are as I'm not an expert. But for a fantasy author, it's at least an accepted enough practice in the industry that you could have your catfolk do that without raising too many eyebrows. They are humanoid after all.

    Quote Originally Posted by vasilidor View Post
    Lets consider the Illithid as described in the book lords of madness. Here they are biologically compelled to torture, eat and otherwise be nasty to sentient beings in order to survive. they are obligate parasites with their reproductive cycle being that they have to tunnel into some ones head and eat the brain in order to grow from larval form into adult form. they are textbook definition of cannot be good. Yes I am aware that the boed has a illithid as a good guy in it, but that guy would just starve to death really.
    IIRC for an illithid, eating non-sapient brains like cows is sustainable, but akin to a very bland diet like gruel and boiled vegetables. The BoED illithid and those who follow his path would essentially be ascetic. He/they wouldn't starve, but the chances of getting widespread conversion to such a path would be extremely slim.
    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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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    RE:cats - it's worth noting that while cats are carnivores, their diets can* be supplemented by plant-based proteins, especially legumes. This is why many cat foods marketed as "grain-free" include filler such as peas or lentils. Fantasy catfolk could expand on this by cultivating such crops in their settlements to go along with the livestock, poultry and fish you might expect, and thus more credibly scale up to match other humanoid societies in a setting like halflings or dwarves.

    *I'm not commenting on how healthy these fillers ultimately are as I'm not an expert. But for a fantasy author, it's at least an accepted enough practice in the industry that you could have your catfolk do that without raising too many eyebrows. They are humanoid after all.



    IIRC for an illithid, eating non-sapient brains like cows is sustainable, but akin to a very bland diet like gruel and boiled vegetables. The BoED illithid and those who follow his path would essentially be ascetic. He/they wouldn't starve, but the chances of getting widespread conversion to such a path would be extremely slim.
    A diet of just gruel and veggies would not be able to sustain a person for long unless they were mostly sedentary. even then the lack of proteins would lead to health problems. I could see Illithids having similar problems.
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Again, Illithids aren't evil just because they eat people. Eating people is a naive signal of evil, but it's not the be-all-end-all. Illithids are evil because they are supremacists and your suffering makes your brains tastier to them. Hence, they consider it their right to treat you badly for their own benefit.

    Merely eating meat isn't evil. Lizardfolk are also described as eating people, including their own. But the situations this comes up is when lizardfolk are hungry or panicked. They aren't supremacist, they don't consider it their moral right to treat you however they want.

    Since fantasy is fantasy, you can make this aspect even clearer by eradicating the moral difference between eating plants versus animals versus people. They're all living beings with spiritual worth of their own and virtue dictates a conduct of respect and moderation towards all. So a herbivore than overconsumes and disrespects the land is just as bad as an omnivore or carnivore that overconsumes and disrespects their prey.

    This gets to AD&D's concept of True Neutral. Principled neutrality is about maintaining status quo of the natural world, it's ecological conservatism. You can't have people hacking forests into farmlands to feed an evergrowing population and still have that. You can't uncritically accept the idea that benefit of people always trumps benefit of animals and plants and still have that. This is why AD&D druids get away with sacrficing people or abandoning few babies in the woods without being evil. It would be pretty easy to make game where AD&D druids are the "good guys" and civilized humans are basically the exact moral equivalent of Illithids and just sore about how Illithids do to them what they do to the natural world.

  27. - Top - End - #177
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Jun 2009

    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Additionally lizard folk are rarely depicted killing people to eat them instead eating those they kill an important difference.

    Lizard-folk are also rarely depicted leaving their swamps they are not normally the aggressors while the implication is often that the evil humanoids are leaving their territory and coming into your to raid.

    The main exception to this is when they are controlled by a lizard king a type of evil lizard man the exact nature of which varies from edition to edition.

    Course all this is complicated by the fact that alignment shifts from edition to edition and monster descriptions dont always shift with them leaving some stuck on the wrong side of the new paradigm. Its Also not immune to bad writers.

    The TSR era true neutral of making sure you kick a baby for every orphan you save would be considered evil by most post TSR alignment systems.

  28. - Top - End - #178
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by awa View Post
    The TSR era true neutral of making sure you kick a baby for every orphan you save would be considered evil by most post TSR alignment systems.
    That's a strawman version of the original. Granted, it's a strawman that sometimes pops up in real games, but it's still a strawman. The non-straw version is that for every tree you cut down, you should plant and nurture a new tree. It's about preserving a status quo, of avoiding extreme one-sided action. Applied to humans or animals, it means you will neither kill more nor let live more than what nature allows. So, you abandon a few kids in the woods, if feeding those extra mouths would require hacking too much forest into farmland, and you adopt a few orphaned kids, if those kids dying would threaten a species dying off and screwing up the foodchain.

    I know some people would consider even the non-straw version evil. They don't want to think of humans or other sapient species as being part of a zero-sum game where a person's worth is circumstantial and weighed against some state of nature. This goes double if they think that state of nature is miserable and evil by itself. The joke is, in context of AD&D alignment, these are valid ways for Good people to view True Neutral people, especially principled neutrals like druids. True Neutral may not be Evil, but it's also not Good and its goals are not Good goals.

  29. - Top - End - #179
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Old school TSR had a chaotic good race that would sometimes murder you if you gave it a gift. the greater cyclops in the deities and demigods book 1st edition AD&D. I do not consider old school TSR a guide to good and evil for a reason, thank you very much.

    Palladium had a better alignment system that actually made sense, even if their books were a mess.
    the first half of the meaning of life is that there isn't one.

  30. - Top - End - #180
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    Psyren's Avatar

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    I didn't say Illithids were evil just because they eat sapients. But choosing to do so when there are sustainable non-sapient alternatives certainly would be.

    Quote Originally Posted by vasilidor View Post
    A diet of just gruel and veggies would not be able to sustain a person for long unless they were mostly sedentary. even then the lack of proteins would lead to health problems. I could see Illithids having similar problems.
    "Veggies" was shorthand; there are plant-based proteins and other vitamin/nutrient sources. My point was that a non-evil Illithid can probably find ways to not starve, but the level of self-sacrifice/ascetism involved likely explains why few attempt this.
    Last edited by Psyren; 2021-07-28 at 02:23 PM.
    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?
    Plague Doctor by Crimmy
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