A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    The vow of nonviolence doesn't actually prevent the vower from killing other living things
    Bad writing strikes again. (But that's not just evident in the edition of D&D we are discussing)
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    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    Bad writing strikes again. (But that's not just evident in the edition of D&D we are discussing)
    It's more a vow of "nonviolence toward Humanoids and Monstrous Humanoids" than "vow of nonviolence toward everything".
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  3. - Top - End - #213
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Has anyone brought up the Vulcans from Star Trek yet? Not the Klingons, the Vulcans. If you're not familiar with the finer points of the show's lore, the Vulcans aren't naturally emotionless, their society is built around brainwashing them into not feeling anything at all because that's the only way their society can remain stable in the face of the Vulcans' inborn tendency towards sociopathy and violent outbursts.

    And that's kind of how I imagine creatures like Orcs, Hags, and Goblins. Given the right circumstances they can be good, or even good more often than not, but their predisposition is to be evil.
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2021-07-29 at 03:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Has anyone brought up the Vulcans from Star Trek yet? Not the Klingons, the Vulcans. If you're not familiar with the finer points of the show's lore, the Vulcans aren't naturally emotionless, their society is built around brainwashing them into not feeling anything at all because that's the only way their society can remain stable in the face of the Vulcans' inborn tendency towards sociopathy and violent outbursts.

    And that's kind of how I imagine creatures like Orcs, Hags, and Goblins. Given the right circumstances they can be good, or even good more often than not, but their predisposition is to be evil.
    That model, is one of the models I use. It establishes the moral agency without ignoring the pressures different species might face. In the case of Illithids you would see almost always evil (and usually lawful evil) but a non evil or even good Illithid is possible.

    I liked how 3E D&D included hunger rules and dietary requirement rules for undead.
    Oh, has anyone watched Threnody by Missmi? Part 5 slightly touches upon a vampire and their relationship with their diet.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-07-29 at 06:08 PM.

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Has anyone brought up the Vulcans from Star Trek yet? Not the Klingons, the Vulcans. If you're not familiar with the finer points of the show's lore, the Vulcans aren't naturally emotionless, their society is built around brainwashing them into not feeling anything at all because that's the only way their society can remain stable in the face of the Vulcans' inborn tendency towards sociopathy and violent outbursts.
    I'm not sure that the idea is quite right, having spent the last few weeks up to my armpits in Reddit's Daystrom Institute. I might suggest it is more that they choose to have extreme control of their emotions through "logic" in an effort to not having those extreme outbursts.

    And that's kind of how I imagine creatures like Orcs, Hags, and Goblins. Given the right circumstances they can be good, or even good more often than not, but their predisposition is to be evil.
    I'm willing to swing that hags are naturally evil. They might not be out to eat your face 100% of the time, but nothing they do is anything but selfish. They're inherently magical, which to me tends to make them less flexible than something like an orc. Orcs always feel the pull of Gruumsh, but they aren't obligated to follow it but it's always there telling them to get violent; sometimes quiet, sometimes loud, but ever present.

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Like that Beatles song Helter Skelter?
    Have you read Bugliosi's book?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malifice View Post
    (paraphrased) Rulings are not 'House Rules.' Rulings are a DM doing what DMs are supposed to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by greenstone View Post
    Agency means that they {players} control their character's actions; you control the world's reactions to the character's actions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lacuna Caster View Post
    ...given the vow of non-violence, how does she eat, exactly?
    VoNV only applies to humanoids and monstrous humanoids. She can eat all the cow and even unicorn brains she wants, though I'm guessing she limits herself to the former. (In whatever village she lives near, those cows are getting killed anyway.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    Have you read Bugliosi's book?
    No, but I've read about the case.

    And the point is, that the fact that someone's wack misintepretation of the song caused significant material harm doesn't and shouldn't make the writers in any way culpable

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    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    VoNV only applies to humanoids and monstrous humanoids. She can eat all the cow and even unicorn brains she wants, though I'm guessing she limits herself to the former. (In whatever village she lives near, those cows are getting killed anyway.)
    i mean humans can't eat cow brains right? waste not want not!
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    I dont think that is correct
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    How about, "Humans can't eat cow brains without placing themselves at needless risk of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease"? Does that work?

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    I'm late to the party; but is this only involving PC races or in general. If in general, I'm sorry, demons and devils and the like are Evil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    How about, "Humans can't eat cow brains without placing themselves at needless risk of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease"? Does that work?
    The disease is a relatively modern concern caused by the habit to feed cows other cows. Under normal circumstances the only risk is if you eat a cow that spontaneously mutated the disease, which is extremely rare.


    I think feeding a friendly mind flayer might be rather expensive all things considered. IIRC they need to eat one human brain or an equivalent each month at a subsistence level. Cow brains are smaller than human ones, and other livestock smaller still. It takes about 2 1/2 cow brains to mass the same as a human brain, which is a lot of dead cows over the course of a year for one person, especially since they'll need to be slaughtered at varous different times of the year that might not match up with normal farming practices. Obviously other people can eat the rest of the cow, but routinely slaughtering three adult cows each month would be rather odd for much of human history.

    Not impossible by any means, but even a large farming community would only be able to support a few mind flayers at a time without having to make some difficult decisions about how they raise their livestock. A city that gets livestock brought in to market from nearby towns semi-frequently might be able to have an 'ilithid quarter' of sorts, though it would be very small.
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  14. - Top - End - #224
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    Quote Originally Posted by paladinn View Post
    I'm late to the party; but is this only involving PC races or in general. If in general, I'm sorry, demons and devils and the like are Evil.
    The conversation can happen at many levels (Human vs Human, Dwarf vs Orc, Flumph vs Illithid, Angel vs Devil)

    Questions:
    1) Do you let angels have moral agency?
    2) Do you let demons have moral agency?
    3) If your answers differed, why did they differ?

    Two common arguments in favor of moral agency are:
    If an entity does not have moral agency, then I don't think it makes sense to claim it is morally culpable.
    The OP thinks it is more interesting when IF good has moral agency, then evil has moral agency.

    For example, in D&D 3E almost all Demons are Evil. However since being evil requires moral agency, there can be exceptions that are non evil demons.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-07-30 at 05:29 PM.

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    angels and demons are basically MADE of the very embodiment of Good and Evil themselves aren't they? Saying Demons can't be evil because they didn't get to decide to be evil is like saying a water elemental can't be wet because it didn't get to decide to be wet.
    Last edited by Draconi Redfir; 2021-07-30 at 06:01 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Portent View Post
    The disease is a relatively modern concern caused by the habit to feed cows other cows. Under normal circumstances the only risk is if you eat a cow that spontaneously mutated the disease, which is extremely rare.


    I think feeding a friendly mind flayer might be rather expensive all things considered. IIRC they need to eat one human brain or an equivalent each month at a subsistence level. Cow brains are smaller than human ones, and other livestock smaller still. It takes about 2 1/2 cow brains to mass the same as a human brain, which is a lot of dead cows over the course of a year for one person, especially since they'll need to be slaughtered at varous different times of the year that might not match up with normal farming practices. Obviously other people can eat the rest of the cow, but routinely slaughtering three adult cows each month would be rather odd for much of human history.
    Actually, it would possibly be more like 5. IIRC the intelligence of the brain makes a difference too, so it could be argued that five 2 INT cow brains would be required to replace one 10 INT human brain

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    get a big enough city and you'd probably be able to make 5 cow brains in a month easy. I'm in a small city near a big city with local cattle farms myself. from the amount of beef in the grocery stores, it's VERY likely we slaughter dozens if not hundreds of cattle every month.

    you'd need the people for it certainly, but it's far from impossible.
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  18. - Top - End - #228
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    Quote Originally Posted by Draconi Redfir View Post
    angels and demons are basically MADE of the very embodiment of Good and Evil themselves aren't they? Saying Demons can't be evil because they didn't get to decide to be evil is like saying a water elemental can't be wet because it didn't get to decide to be wet.
    If an entity is not a moral agent, then they are not morally culpable for their actions. You can say the mindless automaton was constructed out of solidified evil. But without moral culpability I cannot call them immoral. Thus to have immoral demons, I have demons with moral agency. This is how D&D 3E demons exist.

    Now I fully expect a moral agent made as the embodiment of evil would initially be evil. They would probably stay evil. However to be morally culpable, they need moral agency. The embodiment of evil includes the agency to continue to be morally culpable.

    The alternative is to claim that Evil is detached from moral culpability or that moral culpability is detached from moral agency. In either case you enter a world where "evil" means something other than the topic we were discussing.


    @Tanarii I did not appreciate the heckling. Why join a conversation that you consider so terrible?
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-07-30 at 10:55 PM.

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    what if they just don't have agency then? Or if they do, it's extremely limited.

    A demon has agency in that he's able to decide between torturing souls, ripping mortals asunder, or planning material-plane domination, but he's just flat out incapable of deciding to go and adopt a puppy.


    now that could certainly change with outside influence. maybe when the demon was made, he wasn't made entirely correctly, giving him a small "bug" that lets him choose to do good things from time to time, and if practiced, could lead to the demon being fully redeemed. or the demon could learn good moral choices from angels or heroes, again allowing for the possibility of redemption.

    but a demon in a vacuum just does not have the ability to do good things intentionally, it's physically impossible for them. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Again, if a Demon can't be evil because it didn't have the moral agency to be evil, then you also need to agree that a water elemental can't be wet.
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  20. - Top - End - #230
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    Quote Originally Posted by Draconi Redfir View Post
    what if they just don't have agency then? Or if they do, it's extremely limited.

    A demon has agency in that he's able to decide between torturing souls, ripping mortals asunder, or planning material-plane domination, but he's just flat out incapable of deciding to go and adopt a puppy.

    now that could certainly change with outside influence. maybe when the demon was made, he wasn't made entirely correctly, giving him a small "bug" that lets him choose to do good things from time to time, and if practiced, could lead to the demon being fully redeemed. or the demon could learn good moral choices from angels or heroes, again allowing for the possibility of redemption.

    but a demon in a vacuum just does not have the ability to do good things intentionally, it's physically impossible for them. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Again, if a Demon can't be evil because it didn't have the moral agency to be evil, then you also need to agree that a water elemental can't be wet.
    If a being does not have moral agency, then they are not morally culpable for the moral choices they don't have.
    If a being has extremely limited moral agency, then they only have moral culpability for what extremely limited part they have moral agency over.

    Consider a human barbarian that can only control their right fist. The rest of them is controlled by some Illithid. The Illithid can force the human barbarian's body to do terrible things. However the human barbarian has extremely limited moral agency. Occasionally they can choose to grab a pole with their right fist to delay the slaughter OR they can choke a neck. Is the human barbarian morally culpable for what they can't control?


    I don't see why saying an entity without moral agency to be morally culpable lacks the moral agency to be morally culpable, would require me to say a water elemental can't be wet. It is a rather bad analogy. Also did you notice I said that Demons do have moral agency since they can be morally culpable. If an entity is made up of solidified "moral culpability resulting from choices made with moral agency" then why wouldn't it have the moral agency to allow it to be morally culpable?
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-07-30 at 11:21 PM.

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    I don't see why saying an entity without moral agency to be morally culpable for would require me to say a water elemental can't be wet.
    If a creature made of evil can't be evil,

    then a creature made of water can't be wet.

    i don't know how else to describe it really. You have Demons, physically built out of evil, they tourture people, kill people, consume souls, seek to destroy and / or conquer the mortal realm, killed Daisy the bunny, would love nothing more then to see you slowly suffer for trillions of years, and actively take part in ensuring all of that happens as soon as possible.


    Demons are Evil.
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  22. - Top - End - #232
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    Quote Originally Posted by Draconi Redfir View Post
    If a creature made of evil can't be evil,

    then a creature made of water can't be wet.

    i don't know how else to describe it really. You have Demons, physically built out of evil, they tourture people, kill people, consume souls, seek to destroy and / or conquer the mortal realm, killed Daisy the bunny, would love nothing more then to see you slowly suffer for trillions of years, and actively take part in ensuring all of that happens as soon as possible.

    Demons are Evil.
    1) A creature made out of water is not made out of wet. They are made out of water and water has some properties. Those properties include making things wet. If a creature is made out of Evil and Evil has some properties like being the moral culpability resulting from moral agency, then you should expect the creature to have moral agency in the same way a water elemental makes things wet.
    2) Wet is descriptive. Immoral is normative. You know about the is ought barrier. Water makes things wet. Evil is the word we use to describe a normative concept.

    I too have Demons, physically built out of evil, they torture people, kill people, consume souls, seek to destroy and / or conquer the mortal realm, etc etc. The have moral agency because that is why they are morally culpable. A wolf kills people. A demon is the embodiment of choosing the immoral choices. But that comes with the consequence of demons like Fall-from-Grace being possible exceptions out of the literally infinite horde of demons.

    Without being moral agents, demons become amoral entities that are the fallout of someone else's evil.
    Last edited by OldTrees1; 2021-07-30 at 11:45 PM.

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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Is it possible that demons (et al) are uniformly evil not because they don't have a choice, but because they have a choice and all made the choice to be evil? Because any outsider who didn't make those choices is, by definition, not a demon? Outsiders are their choices, made an eternity (or an instant) ago and followed ever since. A demon that makes different choices ceases to be a demon. Or one who had the potential (not the possibility, but the probability) of making different, non-evil choices never became a demon in the first place.

    A (hypothetical) uniformly saintly man has just as much moral agency as a wicked one, despite (hypothetically) never having done evil. Never having chosen evil. They can choose evil, they just won't (to 100% certainty). So angels are the set of those types of people. And demons are the inverse.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Is it possible that demons (et al) are uniformly evil not because they don't have a choice, but because they have a choice and all made the choice to be evil? Because any outsider who didn't make those choices is, by definition, not a demon? Outsiders are their choices, made an eternity (or an instant) ago and followed ever since. A demon that makes different choices ceases to be a demon. Or one who had the potential (not the possibility, but the probability) of making different, non-evil choices never became a demon in the first place.

    A (hypothetical) uniformly saintly man has just as much moral agency as a wicked one, despite (hypothetically) never having done evil. Never having chosen evil. They can choose evil, they just won't (to 100% certainty). So angels are the set of those types of people. And demons are the inverse.
    I believe this if 5E D&D's version of Demons. Those demons have moral agency but the agency causes delayed body transformations.

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    Celestials are quite capable of falling. Sometimes, when they fall, they become demons or devils. But sometimes they don't - they just become evil-aligned - while still retaining their [Good] subtype. Avamarin, the planetar in the Elder Evils splatbook, is a good example of the latter.


    So, proof that "a celestial who becomes evil ceases to be a celestial" is not always true.


    And, just as celestials can fall, so fiends can rise. Fall-from-Grace is far from the only "risen fiend".


    5e did away with alignment subtypes - so you can have a celestial that is evil-aligned, and there's no Good subtype to provide rules complications. It also had examples of evil celestials (Radiant Idols from the Eberron setting, and a medium-sized percentage of Empyreans (MM).
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2021-07-31 at 12:11 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Draconi Redfir View Post
    If a creature made of evil can't be evil,

    then a creature made of water can't be wet.

    i don't know how else to describe it really. You have Demons, physically built out of evil, they tourture people, kill people, consume souls, seek to destroy and / or conquer the mortal realm, killed Daisy the bunny, would love nothing more then to see you slowly suffer for trillions of years, and actively take part in ensuring all of that happens as soon as possible.


    Demons are Evil.
    If i understand my D&D cosmology correctly demons and devils are made from human souls that were juiced of all energy previously. I guess some of them could have been originally Angels or just been made as demons outright, but at least all those who were made with the core of a human soul should be able to be redeemed somehow.

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    Yup - both were usually mortals once, though there's ancient demons - "obyriths" which were never mortal souls.


    Many demons incorporate "sins" or other evil concepts into their makeup though. Succubi are both "the souls of CE mortals" and "made from the sin of lust". Possibly a mortal soul whose primary sin in life was lust, attracts energy that remakes their form from that of the weakest and most basic tanar'ri form, the mane.

    The oldest tanar'ri, Demogorgon, was made mostly from "mortal fears" (though down at the core of him, is the soul of a CE mortal - as the first tanar'ri created, he was probably created using the first mortal soul condemned to the Abyss).
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2021-07-31 at 02:52 PM. Reason: correction "mane", not "lemure".
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    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Draconi Redfir View Post
    If a creature made of evil can't be evil,

    then a creature made of water can't be wet.
    Obligatory

    Quote Originally Posted by OldTrees1 View Post
    Consider a human barbarian that can only control their right fist. The rest of them is controlled by some Illithid. The Illithid can force the human barbarian's body to do terrible things. However the human barbarian has extremely limited moral agency. Occasionally they can choose to grab a pole with their right fist to delay the slaughter OR they can choke a neck. Is the human barbarian morally culpable for what they can't control?
    I'd say that actually depends. Can they use their right fist to incapacitate or even kill themselves to stop the rest of their body from committing atrocities? If not, then they are not culpable for what their body does, but if they CAN and they're unwilling or afraid to do so, they could indeed be moral agents. In other words, inaction can make you a moral agent too, provided your actions can materially affect the outcome (trolley problem.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Portent View Post
    I think feeding a friendly mind flayer might be rather expensive all things considered. IIRC they need to eat one human brain or an equivalent each month at a subsistence level. Cow brains are smaller than human ones, and other livestock smaller still. It takes about 2 1/2 cow brains to mass the same as a human brain, which is a lot of dead cows over the course of a year for one person, especially since they'll need to be slaughtered at varous different times of the year that might not match up with normal farming practices. Obviously other people can eat the rest of the cow, but routinely slaughtering three adult cows each month would be rather odd for much of human history.

    Not impossible by any means, but even a large farming community would only be able to support a few mind flayers at a time without having to make some difficult decisions about how they raise their livestock. A city that gets livestock brought in to market from nearby towns semi-frequently might be able to have an 'ilithid quarter' of sorts, though it would be very small.
    I don't know that I believe that 2.5 cows per month is harder to sustainably source than 1 humanoid per month. For an isolated community maybe, but once you pass a certain number of cows in the region then sustaining that mind flayer becomes easy.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Yup. That's the problem with trying to being in real world moral theory. It's a niche specialization that doesn't really have much to do with games.

    Kinda like being a LARPer or an Archer or taking Kung Fu classes. It doesn't really improve the games to try and bring that knowledge into games.
    Untrue. Knowledge of real moral philosophy will allow for better portrayal of it in games. Real archery has overlap with LARP archery and will allow you to be a better LARP archer, construct better LARP bows and help making rules for LARP archery. Fighting with kung fu weapons has the exact same relation to fighting with LARP weapons.

    EDIT:

    Quote Originally Posted by Draconi Redfir View Post
    get a big enough city and you'd probably be able to make 5 cow brains in a month easy. I'm in a small city near a big city with local cattle farms myself. from the amount of beef in the grocery stores, it's VERY likely we slaughter dozens if not hundreds of cattle every month.

    you'd need the people for it certainly, but it's far from impossible.
    How sure are you that the economic paradigm and how city people think of and treat cattle, is different from the economic paradigm and way of thinking Lawful Evil Illithids apply to humans?
    Last edited by Vahnavoi; 2021-07-31 at 05:53 AM.

  30. - Top - End - #240
    Titan in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Jul 2013

    Default Re: There should be no evil alligned races

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    I'd say that actually depends. Can they use their right fist to incapacitate or even kill themselves to stop the rest of their body from committing atrocities? If not, then they are not culpable for what their body does, but if they CAN and they're unwilling or afraid to do so, they could indeed be moral agents. In other words, inaction can make you a moral agent too, provided your actions can materially affect the outcome (trolley problem.)
    Agreed, they are morally culpable for the moral choices (action and inaction) within their limited control (only the fist). If the best they can do is grab onto a pole/railing to momentarily delay things, then they have a moral choice between inaction and grabbing that pole/railing. However the moral culpability ends at the end of moral agency.

    In this case I suspect the barbarian that can only control their right fist (not even their right arm) would generally not have the ability to incapacitate or kill themselves. However I will not rule out the possibility (being lucky enough to be able to grab a weapon that can reach their body).

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