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    Default A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Heres an alignment question I'd like to throw to the peanut gallery. So a man has fallen in a ditch and cannot get out, when somebody else comes along in a cart, the man in the ditch cries for help. Which of the following sets of actions do you believe is more respective of the three moral alignments
    It is a Good Act to help the man out of the ditch and give him a ride to wherever he was going.
    It is a Neutral Act to help the man out of the ditch.
    It is an Evil Act to ignore the man and leave him in the ditch.

    Or
    It is a Good Act to help the man out of the ditch.
    It is a Neutral Act to leave the man in the ditch.
    It is an Evil Act to stop and throw a rock at the man in the ditch, then spit on him.
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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    I would go with the second set, with the following additions:

    While it is a good act to help him out, it would be another good act to offer him a ride.

    While it is neutral-leaning evil to ignore him, you could also ask for some kind of compensation before or after helping the man and still aid him, if you wanted to.

    While arbitarily attacking him in the described fashion would be keeping with a CE alignment, other evil options would include: Killing him if you felt he was weak, incompetent or disruptive to normal trafic and trade (LE), mugging (possibly killing) him in order to steal his possessions (NE). Simply shooting him a look of contempt as you go on about your business (NE or LE).

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    I would say,

    It is a Lawful act to help the man out of the ditch, because you're obeying his wish.

    It is a Chaotic act to leave the man in the ditch, because you're disobeying his request.

    Helping him out and leaving him in the ditch are both justifiably neutral activities on the Good/Evil axis. By leaving him in the ditch you are not actively hurting him, so it can't be classed as an inherently evil act.

    It is a Good act to give the man a ride.

    It is an Evil act to throw a rock at the man and spit on him.

    Giving the man a ride is generosity for the sake of generosity, while it is certainly wrong to harm a man asking for help.

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    The second one.

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    When I say "It's a good act to help the man out of the ditch" That means that is the minimum in the situation, it dosn't invalidate that giving him a ride would still be a good act, it would be an even better act in fact (it rhymes so it must be true), same with spitting on him versus leaving him in the ditch. My question was more one of neutrality, does neutrality equal inaction, or lack of personal sacrifice, in the first scenario it takes almost nothing to help the man out of the ditch, but there is some sacrifice on your part to give the man a ride. Meanwhile in the second one, you are undergoing a small sacrifice (taking time to throw a rock at and spit on him) in order to harm him.
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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Neither. Barring any unmentioned conditions in this little scenario, I'd say:

    Both a good character and a neutral character would help the man out and give him a ride, either because it's the right thing to do or because...well, there's no personal risk involved so why wouldn't the neutral guy help? Besides, the guy in the hole might do the neutral guy a favor when he gets out.

    An evil character would likely help the guy out of his hole and give him a ride, at the very least for appearance's sake. Unless he's just plain insane why would the evil guy spit on the guy or refuse to help the guy in the hole? If the guy in the hole looks wealthy or has some kind of rank or maybe just a money pouch, the evil character might very well demand a reward for his services. Again, there's no personal risk involved so even if the guy in the hole is a peasant the evil guy might help him out just to get a hero's koodos point with the locals.
    Last edited by Tequila Sunrise; 2008-01-04 at 10:25 PM.

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Helping him out would be a good act.
    Ignoring him would be a neutral act. Helping him and asking for a reward afterwards is also more or less neutral.
    Robbing him while he's stuck would be an evil act. Note that this includes helping him and demanding a reward for doing so, as this is extortion.
    Throwing rocks and spitting on him is a stupid act. People who actually do this fit the bill for chaotic stupid.

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Well there is no real neutral action here. The guy's either out of the ditch at the end of the day or still in. I will mark my suggestions with + for good and - for bad, the more marks the more good/evil.

    Help him out +
    Leave him in -
    Help him make up some time ++
    Make the ditch safer +++
    Only get him out to rob him ----
    Throw a rock at him --
    Ransom his situation --
    Push him back in later ---
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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    A mix of the two.

    Good people would help the man out of the ditch, and help if possible. A neutral person might too, as long as there's no threat to themselves.

    An evil person can do whatever they want, even help the man out of the ditch.

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by MCerberus View Post
    Well there is no real neutral action here. The guy's either out of the ditch at the end of the day or still in. I will mark my suggestions with + for good and - for bad, the more marks the more good/evil.

    Help him out +
    Leave him in -
    Help him make up some time ++
    Make the ditch safer +++
    Only get him out to rob him ----
    Throw a rock at him --
    Ransom his situation --
    Push him back in later ---
    I like your breakdown of the actions, but I don't agree with some of it. Specifically, I don't see how leaving the man in the ditch is an evil action. It's certainly not a good act, but it's also not evil. In fact, it's almost the definition of neutral: inaction. It's not your fault that the man is in the ditch to begin with, and therefore it's not your moral obligation to help him out.

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by SadisticFishing View Post
    An evil person can do whatever they want, even help the man out of the ditch.
    It's not a question of can or cannot, any alignment is capable of doing anything, its which action would be a good, evil, or neutral act.
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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Personally, I look acts like this:

    Good act: Doing something good, risking yourself. Ex: Fighting a red dragon attacking a city with no reward, or with the reward not being the primary reason.
    Non-evil act: Doing something good. Ex: Helping a man out of a ditch.
    Neutral act: Doing something self-serving at no cost to anyone else. Ex: Working a paying job.
    Non-good act: Doing something bad, but not strictly evil. Ex: Ignoring the man in the ditch because you have no reason to help.
    Evil act: Doing something evil. Should be fairly obvious, actually.

    The same thing applies to Chaos and Law.

    I honestly believe this system is far superior to what most people use.

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by Bloddyredcommie View Post
    It's not a question of can or cannot, any alignment is capable of doing anything, its which action would be a good, evil, or neutral act.
    As important as actions are to alignment, intentions are too. Not knowing more about intentions... Helping the guy out of his ditch is a good action, giving him a ride is more good. (Though neither of these actions are particularly good, as they are at most inconveniences rather than self sacrifices) Ignoring him would be evil, spitting on him would be evil and stupid. There are no actions in this scenario that are neutral in and of themselves.
    Last edited by Tequila Sunrise; 2008-01-04 at 10:56 PM.

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by Bloddyredcommie View Post
    Heres an alignment question I'd like to throw to the peanut gallery. So a man has fallen in a ditch and cannot get out, when somebody else comes along in a cart, the man in the ditch cries for help. Which of the following sets of actions do you believe is more respective of the three moral alignments
    It is a Good Act to help the man out of the ditch and give him a ride to wherever he was going.
    It is a Neutral Act to help the man out of the ditch.
    It is an Evil Act to ignore the man and leave him in the ditch.

    Or
    It is a Good Act to help the man out of the ditch.
    It is a Neutral Act to leave the man in the ditch.
    It is an Evil Act to stop and throw a rock at the man in the ditch, then spit on him.
    1. is a good act
    2. Good or Neutral
    3. Neutral or Evil
    4. Good
    5. Evil maybe CN
    6. Evil

    1. It is good to help those in need and even better to help them on their way
    2. It is good go help a man in need, or Neutral, both can have the same motives
    3. Leaving a helpless man is abanding him to suffering, evil
    4. As i said good
    5.Neutral only if their is some larger stakes invovled (AKA the person is running from something. other wise evil
    6. Cruelty and harming others for no reason evil
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    Last edited by EvilElitest; 2008-01-04 at 11:01 PM.

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by Kellus View Post
    I like your breakdown of the actions, but I don't agree with some of it. Specifically, I don't see how leaving the man in the ditch is an evil action. It's certainly not a good act, but it's also not evil. In fact, it's almost the definition of neutral: inaction. It's not your fault that the man is in the ditch to begin with, and therefore it's not your moral obligation to help him out.
    Well it doesn't seem that evil, but we're forgetting that he's at the mercy of whatever comes along. Chances are unless someone else comes along (who may refuse to help him), the man will die. Condeming a man who did nothing to you to die seems evil, even if it's indirectly in this case.
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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by MCerberus View Post
    Well it doesn't seem that evil, but we're forgetting that he's at the mercy of whatever comes along. Chances are unless someone else comes along (who may refuse to help him), the man will die. Condeming a man who did nothing to you to die seems evil, even if it's indirectly in this case.
    It seems like what you're saying is that humans have a moral obligation to do good, and not fulfilling this obligation is evil. I see it as being in DnD that neutral beings have no strong moral obligation one way or the other: neither to harm or to help. In this scenario, leaving the man in the ditch is a neutral act because by walking away you have made no impact on the situation. The man is no better off than he was before, and no worse off either.

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by Kellus View Post
    It seems like what you're saying is that humans have a moral obligation to do good, and not fulfilling this obligation is evil. I see it as being in DnD that neutral beings have no strong moral obligation one way or the other: neither to harm or to help. In this scenario, leaving the man in the ditch is a neutral act because by walking away you have made no impact on the situation. The man is no better off than he was before, and no worse off either.
    No, because it is the good and decent obligation to help others, Neutral isn't delibertly cruel, and while he might not help him, only if their is some other pressing matter, otherwise that is just being cruel and heartless. Leaving him their is harming him and ignoring a pled for help
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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Frankly I think campaigns are cooler when "evil" people are far more common and "good" people are few and far between, so I'd say that ignoring him is solidly evil. Inaction can be miserably evil. If lifting a pinky saved a thousand lives it's bluntly evil not to do it.

    The good act is to help him out and give him a ride and fill the ditch for future travelers. Anything else is neutral because it is not the extent to which you can help. The exception to this is if someone needs rescuing like -right- now and filling the ditch would take too much time. Only a higher moral imperative could justify not acting selflessly.

    The neutral act is helping him out only and it remains neutral if you ASK for a reward, though not if you demand one. A LN person would ask before they help them out of the hole, but would help them out anyway if they said no. I could even see trying to swindle the guy a little bit, especially for CN "I could help you out, but you better give me some coin" as long as the intent is to help him out no matter what.

    Evil is to ignore or rob him.

    I agree with an earlier poster that throwing rocks or spitting on him is just stupid and overly chaotic and your character should be struck by lightning.


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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    I dunno, in the D&D world I'd be scared that he was not what he appears to be.

    He could even be exactly what he appears, except, also a bandit that will slit your throats while you sleep and take your stuff.
    Last edited by SadisticFishing; 2008-01-04 at 11:24 PM.

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by Murongo View Post
    Frankly I think campaigns are cooler when "evil" people are far more common and "good" people are few and far between, so I'd say that ignoring him is solidly evil. Inaction can be miserably evil. If lifting a pinky saved a thousand lives it's bluntly evil not to do it.

    The good act is to help him out and give him a ride and fill the ditch for future travelers. Anything else is neutral because it is not the extent to which you can help. The exception to this is if someone needs rescuing like -right- now and filling the ditch would take too much time. Only a higher moral imperative could justify not acting selflessly.

    The neutral act is helping him out only and it remains neutral if you ASK for a reward, though not if you demand one. A LN person would ask before they help them out of the hole, but would help them out anyway if they said no. I could even see trying to swindle the guy a little bit, especially for CN "I could help you out, but you better give me some coin" as long as the intent is to help him out no matter what.

    Evil is to ignore or rob him.

    I agree with an earlier poster that throwing rocks or spitting on him is just stupid and overly chaotic and your character should be struck by lightning.
    I pretty much agree with you on everything (in my games, mabye 30 percent of all humans are evil) but in my game for the last part, one brillent character did something like that

    Me-Alright, you walk down the road and see a begger asking you for a coin
    Him (tiefling thief, chaotic evil)- I past him a coin
    Rest of the party (hasn't gotton their)
    Begger- Oh thank you my lord
    Thief- I back stab him
    Me-??? Ok he dies in agony. Why the hell did you do that
    Thief- Because i could? To see how he bleed. For the sheer joy of watching a broken and hopless man without any family or friends left in this world die alone and unloved with his final fate unknown to the world. For the the chance to laugh at his final expression of disbelief and betrayal and see the shock in his eyes as i simple laugh at his pain, almost as if he knew i didn't care about his suffering. Just out of the mild amusment of seeing how fragile life is and to feel empowered taking it. Because i didn't think he deserved to live. The irony in that i used his knife. The inhuman joy of feeling the blade sliding through his skin and into his back. The knowlage that out their somewhere somebody will wonder what ever happened to him, and taht hte next traveler on the road will have no knowlage about his existence. Because i wanted to see if the rest of the party would belive me if i told them he attacked me first. Take you pick?
    Rest of the party- what happened
    Him- I recongize him, he was cut throat from the thief guild we are fighting, he must be an assasin, he has a knife on him. I was giving him a coin when he drew a knife, i was lucky enough that i was able to stab him (he had hight bluff).
    He was a really scary player but a good one
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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by Kellus View Post
    I like your breakdown of the actions, but I don't agree with some of it. Specifically, I don't see how leaving the man in the ditch is an evil action. It's certainly not a good act, but it's also not evil. In fact, it's almost the definition of neutral: inaction. It's not your fault that the man is in the ditch to begin with, and therefore it's not your moral obligation to help him out.
    You are incorrect. If you can easily help someone at little cost to yourself, you are obligated to do so. Inaction can definitely be evil.

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    You are incorrect. If you can easily help someone at little cost to yourself, you are obligated to do so. Inaction can definitely be evil.
    letting somebody be mugged when you could have done something is evil. Real life story related to that accually
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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by MCerberus View Post
    Well there is no real neutral action here. The guy's either out of the ditch at the end of the day or still in. I will mark my suggestions with + for good and - for bad, the more marks the more good/evil.

    Help him out +
    Leave him in -
    Help him make up some time ++
    Make the ditch safer +++
    Only get him out to rob him ----
    Throw a rock at him --
    Ransom his situation --
    Push him back in later ---
    I like the way you think, but if you look at it again you'll see you've got the wrong number of pluses and minuses. For example:
    Helping him out surely must have more pluses than fixing the ditch or helping him make up some time. To prove this, imagine you did only one or the other. If you help him out and then ride on, you've done most of what you could do. If you leave him in but offer to carry a message from him (hastening his mission without actually saving him), you're clearly a jerk.

    Similarly, leaving him in must be worse than helping him out but demanding $ for it. And actually throwing rocks must be the worst of all the options.

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by Kellus View Post
    It seems like what you're saying is that humans have a moral obligation to do good, and not fulfilling this obligation is evil. I see it as being in DnD that neutral beings have no strong moral obligation one way or the other: neither to harm or to help. In this scenario, leaving the man in the ditch is a neutral act because by walking away you have made no impact on the situation. The man is no better off than he was before, and no worse off either.
    I'm going to play devils-advocate here kellus, lets say that the ditch was slowly filling with water, and that if left in there the man would drown. Is leaving the man in the ditch still a neutral act?
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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    I like the way you think, but if you look at it again you'll see you've got the wrong number of pluses and minuses. For example:
    Helping him out surely must have more pluses than fixing the ditch or helping him make up some time. To prove this, imagine you did only one or the other. If you help him out and then ride on, you've done most of what you could do. If you leave him in but offer to carry a message from him (hastening his mission without actually saving him), you're clearly a jerk.

    Similarly, leaving him in must be worse than helping him out but demanding $ for it. And actually throwing rocks must be the worst of all the options.
    Yes but they stack, add, and subtract from each other. Many of these aren't mutally exclusive.
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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Just to play devil's advocate, I don't know this guy from Adam. More importantly, I don't know this guy from Cain. Random person down in a ditch, yelling for help... he's probably genuinely in need. He might be trying to lure me into a trap so he can rob me or worse. It's good to assume that he's actually in need, or to decide that the chance is worth it, and go save him, but it's not bad to leave him down there paranoidly, or just because the chance isn't worth the effort.

    It's also not chaotic, because I didn't cause the situation, so I'm not responsible, nor am I acting in a disorderly fashion or the like by just going on my way.

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by Bloddyredcommie View Post
    I'm going to play devils-advocate here kellus, lets say that the ditch was slowly filling with water, and that if left in there the man would drown. Is leaving the man in the ditch still a neutral act?
    Yes, actually. It's not the neutral person's fault that the man is drowning. To help him out of the water would be a good act, because you are doing something to help someone with no reason aside from it being the right thing to do. To push him further under the water would be an evil act, because you're actively harming him. But to leave him as he is is a solidly neutral action. To a neutral person there is no moral obligation to help or to harm.

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by Kellus View Post
    Yes, actually. It's not the neutral person's fault that the man is drowning. To help him out of the water would be a good act, because you are doing something to help someone with no reason aside from it being the right thing to do. To push him further under the water would be an evil act, because you're actively harming him. But to leave him as he is is a solidly neutral action. To a neutral person there is no moral obligation to help or to harm.
    Leaving a man to die is cowardly, cruel and insensitive, evil. You are causing evil by leaving a man to die for no good reason
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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilElitest View Post
    Leaving a man to die is cowardly, cruel and insensitive, evil. You are causing evil by leaving a man to die for no good reason
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    False. You're doing nothing to harm him. You're not performing a good act by rescuing him, but neither are you actively harming him. Cowardly, cruel, insensitive, evil, you said. Those are all relevant descriptions from a good-aligned point of view. From a neutral point of view, leaving the man alone is none of these.

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    Default Re: A Question of Alignment, The ditch scenario

    Quote Originally Posted by Kellus View Post
    False. You're doing nothing to harm him.
    Leaving him to drown is in fact harming him
    You're not performing a good act by rescuing him,
    saving an innocent life is always good
    but neither are you actively harming him.
    Assesory to murder
    Cowardly, cruel, insensitive, evil, you said. Those are all relevant descriptions from a good-aligned point of view. From a neutral point of view, leaving the man alone is none of these.
    No, a neutral will not save him if their a reason not to (he is an evil man, their some more pressing concern) but the act of leaving a man to die is still murder
    from
    EE

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