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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Churches of Philosophy

    I have worked on developing a new set of churches for my coming campaign (which my be in the D&D-system, but I haven't decided quite yet). The Gods died when trying to protect the world from galaxy horror of doominess and in the end, it was the mortal races that won the battle. Now, new churches have grown forth around the core alignments and they are more churches of a philosophical way of viewing life. I hereby present the new Churches of Philosophy.

    The Bastion: LG
    Guardianship, judgment, just law, time, farming
    Time is our guide. Everything is bound by time and thus, time is the only true cosmic law. However, there are humans laws as well, erected to make sure order and goodness reigns. It is the duty and honour of the Bastion to make sure that these laws are followed, but also to make sure that the laws themselves serve their purpose. It is also its lesser purpose to make sure the proper passage of time is observed and that farmers and others, who rely on them, make the most of the changing seasons.

    The Temple: NG
    Healing, goodness, equality, architecture
    The world is in pain. The reasons are many, but foremost among these is our inability to recognize each other as brothers and sisters. We are all equals until we eschew that right by trying to harm others and even then it is better to heal than to condemn. We must build our bonds and make sure that the Temple within our hearts is as the strong as the physical Temples. Both provide equal amounts of shelter, but of a different kind.

    The Ride: CG
    Freedom, nomads, stamina, movement, hunting
    We have to move, we cannot stagnate. Evil erupts when we grow complacent, when we believe someone else will fight even the lesser evils. The strong will survive and the weak will perish, but better that the Ride claims them now than that they slow us down and become envious pawns of dark powers. Not even animals should be accustomed to slavery and laws are invariably tools of tyranny.

    The Fane: LN
    Bureaucracy, aristocracy, arbitration, knowledge, necessity
    The mortal races, immortal creatures, they are all governed by laws. These laws are created by those most fit to create them and thus, represent the greatest good. But we must always strive to be better. We cannot afford to miss out on knowledge or to do what must be done just because it is unpalatable. The Fane is the church for those who understand that only by determining the best course of action and following through, we will triumph.

    The Groves: N
    Nature, wilderness, equilibrium, fertility, will
    Nature runs the gamut of goodness, cruelty, order and disorder. The wild heart that follows its instincts will not hesitate to do what must be done, whether it be harmful to himself or others. Wisdom comes from experience and only wisdom can prevail. We must not bind ourselves by laws that restrain, but neither should we fight them when they are beneficial and protect us as we evolve.

    The Wind: CN
    Magic, storms, disease, travel, oceans
    Change… is a beautiful thing. It must happen, whether through travel and learning of new customs, disease or storms that tears down and forces us to rebuild in a new way or a potent thaumaturgical ritual that changes the laws of the cosmos itself. Much like the sea or the air, elements of movement, must we always seek to find new, better things. So what if we struggle along the way? The Wind cannot die and neither can the spirit, if it’s true to what it believes in.

    The Guild: LE
    Manipulation, elitism, corruption, cartels
    There are rules and they are very important. We are worse than animals without them – even nature has its laws. However, these laws were created so that the strong could govern the weak effectively. It is always better to subjugate and enlighten a foe, make them understand these two simple axioms. Just respect the system as you do it.

    The Catacombs: NE
    Murder, secrecy, obsession, envy
    Everyone is evil; they have dark little thoughts of villainy, of schadenfreude and of revenge. Furthermore, everyone knows this. Just don’t mention it. It is the duty of the Catacombs to bring these little desires out in everyone, but make sure they’re still kept hidden so that they’re even more forbidden, even juicier. Give in to the temptations for they are the only thing that’s really real.

    The Raid: CE
    Slaughter, entropy, overindulgence, randomnessDon’t worry about next week, tomorrow or even tonight. You will be tested and if you’re with us, you won’t be found lacking if you do what we suggest. The Raid is exactly what it sounds like and the world is our playground. Let the other fat sheep play their little games. We take what we want and a little more in case we want more later. There is, after all, nothing that can stop the raid when it really wants something.
    Last edited by Abbott; 2008-11-23 at 05:58 PM.

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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Philosophy churches

    The setting that these churches belong to, by the way, is one where clerical bards and paladins are the only ones with holy power, there are no clerics and no favoured souls.

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    Default Re: Philosophy churches

    These are good. However, the Guild doesn't seem very evil - they come off as rather merciful and thoughtful. You might want to harshen their doctrine a bit.

    @V You'd appreciate this, then.
    Last edited by SurlySeraph; 2008-11-23 at 05:26 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thespianus View Post
    I fail to see how "No, that guy is too fat to be hurt by your fire" would make sense.

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    Default Re: Philosophy churches

    Quote Originally Posted by SurlySeraph View Post
    These are good. However, the Guild doesn't seem very evil - they come off as rather merciful and thoughtful. You might want to harshen their doctrine a bit.
    I dunno about that.
    I hate it when lawful evil characters are always portrayed as "I'm going to cut your baby in half because it's the law." It's so cliche.
    I think the best examples of LE can be seen in the CEO's of major corporations (Bill Gates, I'm looking at you) and politics (not George Bush though; he's not lawful evil, he's just stupid evil.)
    It's possible to be evil without cutting people's fingers off. Laying off a father of five children so you can increase your profits is pretty evil too.
    You could base the Guild on Hasbro.
    Eat & Run
    Prerequisites: Con 13
    Benefit: You may eat an entire chicken, ham, or steak to spend a healing surge as a minor action. Instead of the hit points you would normally regain, you regain 10 hit points.

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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Philosophy churches

    The Guild are all about being evil in all ways. If you need to cut fingers off, do so. If it's more effective to threaten to fire the bastard do that. If it's more fun doing both, well, as long as it's not against the law, do both.

    They are evil, but they think they're just working within natural selection in society.

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    Default Re: Churches of Philosophy

    Hmm, interesting. I've spent some time thinking about what philosophies naturally associate with which alignment. What I've come up with roughly is

    LG Egalitarianism
    NG Utilitarianism
    CG Libertarianism
    CN Anarchism
    CE Barbarism
    NE Sadism
    LE Chauvinism
    LN Traditionalism
    NN Self-interest

    Is there a better word for "Kill them all and take their stuff!" than "barbarism"?
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Churches of Philosophy

    Not sure I agree on all of them, but it does look interesting. I intend to post rules concerning their organisation using Complete Champion soon as well.

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    Default Re: Philosophy churches

    Quote Originally Posted by chronoplasm View Post
    I dunno about that.
    I hate it when lawful evil characters are always portrayed as "I'm going to cut your baby in half because it's the law." It's so cliche.
    I think the best examples of LE can be seen in the CEO's of major corporations (Bill Gates, I'm looking at you) and politics (not George Bush though; he's not lawful evil, he's just stupid evil.)
    It's possible to be evil without cutting people's fingers off. Laying off a father of five children so you can increase your profits is pretty evil too.
    You could base the Guild on Hasbro.
    Bill Gates is evil? Even after setting up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? Granted, he is a cutthroat CEO who makes shoddy OSs, but still... Other than that I agree with your post.

    BTW: the philosophies also have to be able to seem legitimate on some level, or they would have a hard time attracting new followers and surviving in a civilized society. It would be the Dragonlance problem all over again : "I say, hello there! I am a Chaotic Evil cleric of Tiamat, just strolling around minding my own business. Hey, I'm due to meet the local governor for a spot of tea. Got to dash!"
    Last edited by The Minx; 2008-11-25 at 07:09 PM.

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    Default Re: Philosophy churches

    Quote Originally Posted by The Minx View Post
    Bill Gates is evil? Even after setting up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?
    You get tax breaks and good PR if you donate to charities. Tax breaks and good PR translate to $$$$ in the end.
    A truly evil person will use any means to reach their end. Sometimes that means that evil people must feed the hungry, heal the sick, and defend the weak so that they may continue to be evil. It's motives that are important!
    Eat & Run
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    Benefit: You may eat an entire chicken, ham, or steak to spend a healing surge as a minor action. Instead of the hit points you would normally regain, you regain 10 hit points.

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    Default Re: Philosophy churches

    Quote Originally Posted by chronoplasm View Post
    You get tax breaks and good PR if you donate to charities. Tax breaks and good PR translate to $$$$ in the end.
    A truly evil person will use any means to reach their end. Sometimes that means that evil people must feed the hungry, heal the sick, and defend the weak so that they may continue to be evil. It's motives that are important
    Well, perhaps. Though I wouldn't presume to second-guess what his motives are. And going by this, any successful businessman can be seen as "evil" if the motive to make profits makes you so. It's not just motives, but motives and means together.

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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Churches of Philosophy

    Ah, but the way I see it, all Churches but the Raid and the Catacombs are more or less legitimate. Everybody loves good churches, the Fane promotes stability, the Groves act as a balancer and represent a huge aspect of the world, i.e. Nature, the Wind has such powerful magical scholars and all people affiliated with magic do pay at least lip service to them. Also, the Guild is one of the most powerful churches. They understand the rules of the political and they don't have any compulsions against exploiting them. That = profit. There would be major upheavals if the Guild was taken care of and not all of them act evilly, just very, very selfishly, which Chronoplasm has shown can be by putting on a good facade using genuinely good acts.

    The Catacombs prefer to work in secret. They're an evil organisation based on temptation to give in to your darker sides, they'll prosper anywhere as logn as they're not open about it. The Raid too, is more of a roving army of discontent maniacs. Sure, they're not legitimate, but if you happen to be of that bent, you'll seek them out. They may be bloodthirsty, but they're not going to kill you before asking at least a few questions (at the very least, "Care to join us?").

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    Quote Originally Posted by Abbott View Post
    Ah, but the way I see it, all Churches but the Raid and the Catacombs are more or less legitimate. Everybody loves good churches, the Fane promotes stability, the Groves act as a balancer and represent a huge aspect of the world, i.e. Nature, the Wind has such powerful magical scholars and all people affiliated with magic do pay at least lip service to them. Also, the Guild is one of the most powerful churches. They understand the rules of the political and they don't have any compulsions against exploiting them. That = profit. There would be major upheavals if the Guild was taken care of and not all of them act evilly, just very, very selfishly, which Chronoplasm has shown can be by putting on a good facade using genuinely good acts.

    The Catacombs prefer to work in secret. They're an evil organisation based on temptation to give in to your darker sides, they'll prosper anywhere as logn as they're not open about it. The Raid too, is more of a roving army of discontent maniacs. Sure, they're not legitimate, but if you happen to be of that bent, you'll seek them out. They may be bloodthirsty, but they're not going to kill you before asking at least a few questions (at the very least, "Care to join us?").
    I was only objecting to the idea that he presented regarding Bill Gates being "evil" on account of going for profit, despite his doing good deeds, dismissing the latter as mere PR. After all, there are plenty of rich businessmen who do far less for their fellow man and still make lots of money and gain powerful influence, so philanthropy isn't really all that necessary for them. I guess my main quibble is the idea that "desire for profit = evil" combined with "philanthropy by businessmen is evil because they are only after the PR".

    On the legitimacy angle, if you allow selfishness to be included in their portfolio along with Lawful Evil then that solves it very nicely.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Churches of Philosophy

    Utilising my Amazing Moral Math(tm), I deduce that Bill Gates is Lawful Neutral, possibly sliding toward LG.
    He was completely ruthless as a businessman, but the worst you can really charge him with is a few million man-hours of lost productivity due to shoddy, second-rate products in what are already very rich countries.
    Also, as far as I recall, tax breaks only apply to cover what you specifically donate to charity, it doesn't actually put more money in your pocket at the end of the day. If Bill were in it solely for profit, he'd invest in the stock market.
    And the PR argument is just silly. Short of putting on a mask and spandex costume for philanthropic purposes, that logic would rule out just about any attempt at doing good deeds, as genuinely altruist, ever.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Churches of Philosophy

    I like those church ideas... overall, I think I'd be a "Temple" follower in such a world, with a degree of support for the adjacent "Bastion" and "Groves". I'm not so sure about "The Ride"... the emphasis on ruthless self-sufficiency might well alienate quite a few of the more easy-going CG characters out there.

    Meanwhile, I think the whole "Bill Gates' ethics/alignment" debate is a tad irrelevant, but I feel honour bound to throw some numbers at the thing. You see, Bill and Melinda Gates have so far given away $29 billion, and although they currently remain with a net worth of some $58 billion, they have pledged to give pretty much all the rest away in due course (I think the kids can expect something like $1 million each from the will). They put together their own foundation to make sure that the money was well spent on what they believed to be the most important projects, invested a considerable amount of time and effort in doing so, and managed to convince other people sufficiently of the importance of their aims as to bring them on board (most notably Warren Buffett). IMHO, this seems to be about much more than just doing something for good PR, and it even makes me mind less about the way the man did business. The LE approach, having that money, would have been to go buy a country of your own somewhere and set yourself up as King Bill I.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Churches of Philosophy

    Yeah...

    Just as a suggestion, I'd recommend moving 'disease' to under the CE portfolio, and maybe 'fertility' to NG. Otherwise it looks fine.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Churches of Philosophy

    Actually, I felt that I wanted something that was different. Fertility seems like it belongs more with nature if truth be told and nature is an indifferent force. As for disease, storms can be considered negative too. However, the Wind is a church of powerful transformation, and a brush with death is a very potent tool when it comes to that kind of change.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Churches of Philosophy

    Nature is an indifferent force because it involves both good and bad aspects: Fertility is one of the good aspects, it promotes life. Disease is one of the bad- by definition it hurts, kills, or oppresses people. You can argue that disease and fertility don't have conscious motives, but neither does randomness, which you've pegged as CE, or time, which you've got as LG.

    But hey, it's your system. These're just minor nitpicks.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

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    Default Re: Churches of Philosophy

    I think the issue here (which is the same problem I had with the Ride) is that these philosophies, while fitting the alignment they have, truly don't define that alignment; so that it might be imagined to be of most of these alignments, and yet be very opposed to the school of philosophy that has been put there (e.g. a TN character that doesn't like nature wouldn't have much to do with the Glade; a sociable CG character like Elan wouldn't get along with the Ride; and so forth).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    Hmm, interesting. I've spent some time thinking about what philosophies naturally associate with which alignment. What I've come up with roughly is

    LG Egalitarianism
    NG Utilitarianism
    CG Libertarianism
    CN Anarchism
    CE Barbarism
    NE Sadism
    LE Chauvinism
    LN Traditionalism
    NN Self-interest

    Is there a better word for "Kill them all and take their stuff!" than "barbarism"?
    That's not a bad breakdown actually. Though, 'Authoritarianism' could work for LN, and 'Naturalism' might be more suitable for TN. Self-interest slides very easily into Evil if you don't have qualms about harming others in the process, which is not the same as outright sadism.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Churches of Philosophy

    But fertility can be bad too, imagine a slum without contraceptives... It's a part of nature, an indifferent force. Disease culls the weak and some societies saw it as a force that was necessary. If it's a disease that brings change, then it falls under the Wind, however, a plague that leaves nothing standing is just a "tool" of entropy, thus, it falls under the Raid. I'll agree that it's an unpalatable aspect of the Wind, but we're talking CN here - CN is far from wholly palatable.

    The alignment of the churches are of course not straitjackets. An Elanesque character would be likely to join the Temple or perhaps just not affiliate himself with a church at all. A TN on the other hand would usually choose to focus on the equilibrium side of the Groves or, depending on his other interests, choose another church that works. I can imagine a TN farmer joining the Bastion just for its agricultural blessings or a TN gladiator approaching the Raid to practice his deadly bladework without fear of reprisal. A mercenary with Raid-honed martial skills would be sought after by many, at least in this setting, which is fairly grim.

    As for the Ride, strengths can be many things. If a person is generally well-liked and can boost morale, that will of course be considered a strength. The weak are those who have given up on life, who are cowardly and just take without giving back. Anyone from a deformed jester to an able-bodied bully to a blind, old archery master who's willing to take on students can contribute to the Ride and thus, they're welcome as long as they do contribute. Heck even those who merely show potential, as long as they accept that the Ride often quickly and painfully awakens the abilities that you show promise for.
    Last edited by Abbott; 2008-11-27 at 02:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Abbott View Post
    But fertility can be bad too, imagine a slum without contraceptives... It's a part of nature, an indifferent force.
    So is time. So is 'randomness.' 'Envy' can be 'good', too- imagine rebellion against a privileged elite.
    Disease culls the weak and some societies saw it as a force that was necessary. If it's a disease that brings change...
    The only direct change it can bring is people dead, hurt, or crippled. That is definitionally evil. 'Culling the weak is both natural and healthy' happens to be a classic CE philosophy.
    ...I'll agree that it's an unpalatable aspect of the Wind, but we're talking CN here - CN is far from wholly palatable.
    Yes, but you should either be picking aspects that have an equal potential for good and evil effects, or picking an equal number of good and bad aspects. You've got CN pegged as verging-on-evil. Heck, the Ride are practically CN.
    As for the Ride, strengths can be many things. If a person is generally well-liked and can boost morale, that will of course be considered a strength.
    That is a weasel-definition of 'strength.' I think a major problem here is the 'We' and 'Us' aspect in your descriptions: Chaotic souls tend to be independent, free-spirited and unpredictable. CE means doing what you want, regardless of consequence or obligation to others, but I think CG implies the active exploration of new possibilities, new ideas, and new creative vistas. If LG preserves, refines, and defends, then CG creates something worth preserving, refining and defending. You might try working from that angle.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

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    Default Re: Churches of Philosophy

    'Culling the weak is both natural and healthy' happens to be a classic CE philosophy.
    Well, classic E, anyway. Actively doing it in an organised fashion could be classic LE.

    As for fertility being a "good" thing vs a "neutral" one; I'd tend to think that it does fit the Grove best, and see the part of the balance of nature argument, but isn't inherently tied to any specific alignment, other than being clearly non-evil. It's more there for the individual character of the organisation (just like farming, architecture, time etc.) and I have no problem with it being there.

    And as for disease... I think, in D&D alignments, it's usually seen as Evil, and whether in D&D or not, deliberately employing it is very definitely evil. (There's a reason we have conventions against bioweapons). To have it as part of your religious portfolio... that's classic Evil, and in terms of the organisation profiles, I'd say that it fits the general character of the Catacombs much better than the Wind.

    Chaotic souls tend to be independent, free-spirited and unpredictable. CE means doing what you want, regardless of consequence or obligation to others, but I think CG implies the active exploration of new possibilities, new ideas, and new creative vistas. If LG preserves, refines, and defends, then CG creates something worth preserving, refining and defending. You might try working from that angle.
    According to the SRD:

    Chaotic Good, "Rebel"
    A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he’s kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society.

    Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit.


    Chaotic Neutral, "Free Spirit"
    A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn’t strive to protect others’ freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it.
    For me, the classic part of the CG description is the final "good heart with a free spirit". I'd kind of like to suggest merging the Ride and the Wind as the CN lot (being fundamentally all about independence, personal freedom and standing up for yourself), and maybe having a new CG lot that are more to do with tolerance, mutual respect of other people's rights and freedoms, generosity of spirit, and maybe a bit of beauty/the arts. Not sure what I'd call such a pseudo-hippy (idealised version thereof) bunch of people. The Sky, perhaps?
    Last edited by paddyfool; 2008-11-28 at 10:10 AM. Reason: formatting

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    Default Re: Churches of Philosophy

    I suppose that's one way to look at it. Personally, I've never seen merely disregarding social convention or rule of law as Chaotic, because it's entirely dependant on external context- plonk a paladin down in the middle of an LE planet, and by that logic she spontaneously becomes Chaotic. I prefer to think of CG as an active attempt to harness Chaos for good ends.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

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    Default Re: Churches of Philosophy

    I would put architecture into the Lawful Good church just because dwarves are Lawful Good, but that's me.

    How does the Fane decide which laws and deeds are "best"? Obviously they have different standards than the Bastion, but what are those different standards? As written, it's quite vague.

    Quote Originally Posted by Abbott View Post
    The setting that these churches belong to, by the way, is one where clerical bards and paladins are the only ones with holy power, there are no clerics and no favoured souls.
    Ooh, I like this.

    The problem with repurposing paladins as generic holy warriors in 3E is that clerics already fill that role. Replace clerics with bards, though, and you genuinely can have divinely empowered servants nicely split into support spellcasters and melee warriors. It also gives bards a less handwaved power source. ("Divine spellcasters don't have to prepare spells like wizards because they receive them from their deities, sorcerers have an innate gift for magic, and bards can learn to spontaneously cast spells by... uh... something.")

    Also, bards actually seem to have abilities more suitable to a priest than clerics: They know how to lead, bolster morale, and influence others. A cleric heals, curses, buffs, and messes with undead in ways that aren't necessarily appropriate to the role of priest or to the cleric's particular deity so why does he have all these abilities exactly bleah. Every cleric functions as either holy or unholy with an odd grab bag of utility tacked on, which... fails to represent the philosophies and portfolios of some deities. And domains don't fix this, since they don't take the inappropriate things away, only add appropriate things. (I gather that clerics were done better in 2E in this regard, with most power packaged into "spheres" instead of a bit extra stuck in domains.)

    There are more than a few healing spells that only clerics get in core, though, I think. That might make it hard for PCs to deal with some Bad Things they get afflicted with... which you might like, depending on the feel you want the setting to have. If you don't like it, you might consider including the Healer class from the Miniatures Handbook.

    Quote Originally Posted by Abbott View Post
    The Guild are all about being evil in all ways. If you need to cut fingers off, do so. If it's more effective to threaten to fire the bastard do that. If it's more fun doing both, well, as long as it's not against the law, do both.
    Well, that's hardly clear from what you wrote for them. Specifically, to subjugate and enlighten a foe is always better than what, exactly?

    Quote Originally Posted by chronoplasm View Post
    A truly evil person will use any means to reach their end.
    So someone who prefers to accomplish things via harming others isn't truly evil, according to you? Seriously?

    It's motives that are important!
    Making money is not an evil motive, though. It's a Neutral motive.

    Zilchus, the Oeridian god of wealth int the world of Greyhawk, is Lawful Neutral. His motto is "Anything done in the world can be done better for a profit", and his clerics are ruthless businessmen. This is the god that Scrooge McDuck would follow if he lived in Greyhawk. (Scrooge, too, is LN: honorable, doesn't go out of his way to exploit anyone, but also generally isn't about to go out of his way to help anyone either, unless there's something in it for him. Worked his way up to the top from the bottom through hard work, tends to think that most potential targets for handouts could too if they really tried.)

    I don't know why you'd suppose that Gates is only out for more money, anyway. He's smart enough to recognize that money only has value as a means to an end, and if he wants his profits to mean anything, he'd better do something with them. It seems most plausible to me that because he has more than enough wealth to buy all the luxury he could ever want, he's worked his way up to the self-actualization part of the Maslovian hierarchy of needs. That is to say, he's trying to leave a positive impact on the world because that's what's left for him to do. The material comfort end of things is totally covered already.

    I don't get this idea that some people seem to have that people are divided into the selfish and ruthless on one hand and the selfless and altruistic on the other hand. That seems like an obviously false dichotomy. "I care about strangers, but not nearly so much as I care about myself and those close to me" probably describes the vast majority of human beings. I mean, hell, you're not working right now to feed the hungry, cure disease, and prevent violence, even though you could probably find means to those ends to employ if you looked hard enough. You're reading a thread on an internet messageboard, because that's more enjoyable to you personally. That doesn't mean that you'd stab someone in the eye and run off with his wallet even if you thought you could get away with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by paddyfool View Post
    I'm not so sure about "The Ride"... the emphasis on ruthless self-sufficiency might well alienate quite a few of the more easy-going CG characters out there.
    Since I've got a dictionary lookup thingy built into my web browser toolbar, I've sort of fallen into the habit of checking the definitions of terms when I'm at all uncertain about them. I mention this because it turns out that merriam-webster.com gives "morally lax" as one of the definitions of "easy-going", which ties in with the point I'm about to make.

    If you're dedicated to helping others, then you're pretty much not going to take a lackadaisical approach to it. If you approach something lackadaisically, then you're not terribly dedicated. I know that D&D sort of has a tradition of labeling eh-kinda-good characters as Chaotic Good, but that's a stupid tradition. If you're kind-hearted but lazy, or kind-hearted but greedy, or kind-hearted but reckless, or kind-hearted but some other thing that interferes with virtuous behavior, that just plain makes you less Good, and not any more Chaotic unless there's something Chaotic about your vice.

    The above tradition is so prevalent that fake Chaotic Good has basically become the standard for things labeled CG. So it's really refreshing to see a Chaotic Good group that's actually all "THE PRICE OF LIBERTY IS CONSTANT VIGILANCE!"

    Quote Originally Posted by paddyfool View Post
    I think the issue here (which is the same problem I had with the Ride) is that these philosophies, while fitting the alignment they have, truly don't define that alignment; so that it might be imagined to be of most of these alignments, and yet be very opposed to the school of philosophy that has been put there (e.g. a TN character that doesn't like nature wouldn't have much to do with the Glade; a sociable CG character like Elan wouldn't get along with the Ride; and so forth).
    That's pretty much inevitable. Each alignment is broad. There's not really one philosophy held by everyone who's both Chaotic and Good.

    What you want to do is to give everyone a church within one step of their own alignment. Deities & Demigods talks about this. Basically, if you've got Chaotic Good, Chaotic Evil, and Lawful Neutral deities appropriate to Rogues, that's enough.

    Elan would work fine as one of the more Chaotic members of the Temple, so he's covered.

    Quote Originally Posted by Samurai Jill View Post
    'Authoritarianism' could work for LN
    Good point. I suppose that the most Lawful of societies would have a strong, largely-unquestioned authority that enforced traditional values.

    Self-interest slides very easily into Evil if you don't have qualms about harming others in the process
    Only in those situations where harming others leads to maximum personal benefit. It slides just as easily into Good in those situations where one best helps oneself by helping others.

    I selected self-interest as a philosophy that doesn't promote either end of either alignment axis over the other. It doesn't particularly encourage an equal balance either, though. You're right that naturalism is a more True Neutral philosophy. Self-interest is more False Neutral, if you see what I'm saying. It encourages a variety of extreme behaviors instead of consistently moderate behavior.

    Quote Originally Posted by Samurai Jill View Post
    Yes, but you should either be picking aspects that have an equal potential for good and evil effects, or picking an equal number of good and bad aspects. You've got CN pegged as verging-on-evil.
    Magic is good by default in basically the same sort of way that disease is evil by default. Magic makes it easier for sapient beings to accomplish their goals with minimal effort and lead more productive, more comfortable, longer, happier lives. It's a tool of progress. It can also be used to do bad, bad things to people, but that's true of a lot of stuff.

    Heck, the Ride are practically CN.
    They do have the whole constant vigilance against Evil thing going on, but I suppose that that alone only makes you borderline Good if St. Cuthbert is any indication. They could do with a bit more about protecting and nurturing individual potential.

    Quote Originally Posted by Samurai Jill View Post
    I suppose that's one way to look at it. Personally, I've never seen merely disregarding social convention or rule of law as Chaotic, because it's entirely dependant on external context- plonk a paladin down in the middle of an LE planet, and by that logic she spontaneously becomes Chaotic.
    A paladin wouldn't disregard social convention in that context, she'd actively work to change it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    Only in those situations where harming others leads to maximum personal benefit. It slides just as easily into Good in those situations where one best helps oneself by helping others.
    A. No it doesn't, since Good definitionally requires personal sacrifice.
    B. Situations where you can (directly or indirectly) hurt others and benefit tend to outnumber those where you help others and benefit, by a simple extension of the principle that building things up is harder than tearing them down. Good laws can make this harder, but they will never cause exclusively self-interested behaviour to become Good. Just beneficial.
    Magic is good by default in basically the same sort of way that disease is evil by default. Magic makes it easier for sapient beings to accomplish their goals with minimal effort and lead more productive, more comfortable, longer, happier lives. It's a tool of progress. It can also be used to do bad, bad things to people, but that's true of a lot of stuff.
    Technology springs to mind as the prime example, but I don't think many people would make the argument that technology is exactly as beneficial as disease is harmful. It increases the effectiveness of what people want to do in the first place, which is, on balance, neutral.
    I can think of many ways that magic could be used for both good or bad purposes, but I can't think of any reasonable way that disease could be thought of as a direct force for Good.
    A paladin wouldn't disregard social convention in that context, she'd actively work to change it.
    Quite possibly, but she wouldn't become Chaotic by so doing. I mean, just consider the case where the paladin journeys through the LE warlord's kingdom- she doesn't spontaneously turn CG the minute she crosses the border.
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    Default Re: Churches of Philosophy

    I would again like to bring up near-death experiences as a way that disease can make you reevaluate your life. Helps you live it to its fullest, when you've managed to fight it. It tries you and forces you to find that inner strength you never knew you had.

    But then again, let's look at the paragons of CN - the Slaad. They're precisely like a disease, so if the MM is any indication, slaughter and parasitism is apparently CN. I'm sure most of us would probably classify that as part of the CE, but the MM doesn't necessarily agree. Disease is a natural phenomenon, and even though it brings more evil than good, it's not wholly black. If I had to have a run-in with a Slaad and a disease, I know very well what I'd choose.

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    which may be why 4th ed made them CE, Death Slaadi were typically Evil, and Black Slaadi tended to be Evil.

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    They took away the CN alignment altogether. The alignment systems don't really compare. They could hardly make them Unaligned, seeing as they were the paragons of unabated Chaos. Sure, they're a bit on the evil side, but there are degrees in Hell (or rather, the Abyss, or as the case may be, Limbo. But you get my drift) and some of those degrees are on the LN/TN/CN scale.

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    yes- some natives of Elemental Chaos are Evil rather than CE, and some might be unaligned from what I remember.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Samurai Jill View Post
    A. No it doesn't, since Good definitionally requires personal sacrifice.
    Eh, the alignment rules don't really give definitions, or at least it turns things weird if you treat 'em that way. E.g. almost all adventurers commit Evil acts if killing others is inherently Evil. Still, you could reasonably extract the conclusion that Good always involves personal sacrifice. I just don't like it. The concept of putting others' interests ahead of your own just doesn't really make sense to me. If you put helping others ahead of everything else, doesn't that make that your primary interest? You're not more concerned with others' goals than your own, it's just that achieving others' goals is one of your own highest goals.

    Of course, by similar logic, "self-interest" covers pretty much anything anyone could want to do, so I really don't know what I was thinking treating it as a distinct philosophy. Even "selfishness" just says that someone isn't concerned about others; it doesn't tell you what they do care about. So... Yeah, naturalism is definitely better. My bad.

    Situations where you can (directly or indirectly) hurt others and benefit tend to outnumber those where you help others and benefit, by a simple extension of the principle that building things up is harder than tearing them down.
    People tend to have safeguards against being exploited. There are probably plenty of people who'd rob you blind if it were easy to do so, but it isn't. Actually benefiting from tearing things down can be harder in practice than profiting by building them up.

    Technology springs to mind as the prime example, but I don't think many people would make the argument that technology is exactly as beneficial as disease is harmful. It increases the effectiveness of what people want to do in the first place, which is, on balance, neutral.
    Well, I certainly wouldn't make that argument, because I consider technology to be far more beneficial than disease is harmful. If you could permanently eliminate all disease, but that also came at the price of permanently eliminating all artificial objects and substances, would you do it? I sure wouldn't. Even if it were just everything invented in the last 500 years, I don't think so.

    I can think of many ways that magic could be used for both good or bad purposes, but I can't think of any reasonable way that disease could be thought of as a direct force for Good.
    It isn't. The direct, immediate effects of disease are just plain bad. I don't think that anyone disputes that. But that's different from not being able to serve as a tool for Good. Violence is immediately bad, but that doesn't mean it can't serve Good ends.

    Mind you, I don't really think that disease can, personally. It seems that in practice, disease tends to so reliably cause so much more harm than good that promoting disease would nearly always be Evil. So long as we're ruling out odd medically beneficial uses of disease, inoculation and the like. Maybe it could theoretically be used for Good, but only in the sense that, like, anything could be used for Good in bizarre enough circumstances. So yeah.

    Quite possibly, but she wouldn't become Chaotic by so doing. I mean, just consider the case where the paladin journeys through the LE warlord's kingdom- she doesn't spontaneously turn CG the minute she crosses the border.
    Well, no, she doesn't. She isn't going to outright ignore local authority just because the guy at the top is Evil.

    Quote Originally Posted by Abbott View Post
    But then again, let's look at the paragons of CN - the Slaad. They're precisely like a disease, so if the MM is any indication, slaughter and parasitism is apparently CN. I'm sure most of us would probably classify that as part of the CE, but the MM doesn't necessarily agree.
    Unless I'm missing something, slaadi don't just mindlessly attack, kill, and/or implant any random person they encounter, or anything like that.

    Blue slaadi are an interesting case, because they "gather to wage horrific battles against other societies and their own" and "are bullies that value only strength and power." Yet they're supposedly Usually Chaotic Neutral.

    What makes this interesting is that the description of their behavior and personality looks to be outright incompatible with their listed alignment tendency. I mean, I really can't imagine how that would work out to not be Evil.
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