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  • Originally posted by Maitrecorbo View Post
    I've always had it that Lawfuls think laws are important and necessary and chaotics think laws are useless or downright harmful.
    Met with an unjust law a lawful good wont follow it but will still think that there should be a law, a better law, to replace it.
    I tend to think of "lawful" as less about law-as-legal-code as about the appropriate exercise of power. The Lawful alignments say: we should have boundaries laid down, we should have responsibilities delegated, if we want life to be good we need some structure. Leadership should be the product of agreement or merit.

    The Chaotic alignments say: we have seen how hierarchy and structure go. Wherever there has been structure, it has been used to enshrine tyrants. Wherever there has been assigned responsibility, it has been used by those tyrants to chip away at intrinsic freedoms.

    For the Lawful, loyalty is about serving something bigger than yourself because that will bring you closer to your ideal world.

    For the Chaotic, loyalty is about finding something or someone concrete you can put your faith in, where that faith can be easily withdrawn if misused.

    A culture can give spoken allegiance to one alignment or cast Protection From its opposite, but everything in the multiverse has to have components of both. Everything has some structure, but some deviation from structure. In every Lawful society there is discretion and dissent, in every Chaotic one certain known rules evolve.

    Nobody in the multiverse is just one thing.



    Except modrons. But there's a reason you don't see a lot of modron political advisers.
    Last edited by Rose Bailey; 08-08-2019, 08:25 PM.


    Cavaliers of Mars Creator

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    • Law/Chaos Just because you have a society/Kingdom/Ruler/Laws, doesn't mean that place is Lawful either, lots of non-nonsensical laws or a non orderly and fair society should not be considered lawful regardless of having laws

      Something many here I would think people can relate too, if a society is denying LGBTQ+ rights, then it's not a humane, let along a lawful society if it's not treating it's people equally


      Rez: I've heard of no rez games many times and observer bias may make it seem prevalent

      But something I at least do is I may get overly cautious with a character if I get really attached and death seems to close or permanent to the point that I'm really under playing what they could or used to do

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      • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
        It’s probably relevant to note that I prefer to keep the gods distant in my D&D, so the political is generally going to have a more direct, noticeable impact on characters’ lives than the philosophical.
        I would argue that the absence of imminent deities does not preclude philosophical and ethical matters to play into alignment. It just means in a world where the gods are distant, the people within it can't just call those gods to ask what the "right" answer is, alignment-wise. People will still ask these questions. As such, even in such a world, it won't just come down to politics.

        I mean, just look at our world, where plenty of folks question the very premise of theism, and deny that deities (if they even exist) have interaction with mortals. Nonetheless, most of them will still agree that questions of Ethics are important ones, even divorced from a purely political context. Especially as matters of politics can (and do) stray far from purely ethical or philosophical matters.


        As for 5e, I like how it made Alignment, not less important, but much more optional. It had as much weight as the DM and Players want it to have. This is reflected in the Paladin most especially. Where before some of its abilities keyed directly off of Alignment, they now key off of the presence of certain types of creatures, like Fiends, Celestials, Undead, etc. Which doesn't mean Alignment isn't a factor, since all Fiends are Evil, by definition. A Fiend that changed Alignment from Evil would cease to be a Fiend entirely, and become a wholly different class of being. (in that sense, it's Celestials that are more head-scratching, since they have room to be Evil in a way a Fiend could never be Good).

        Moreover, Paladins adhere, not to the general ideas of Lawful or Good, but to specific and codified sets of standards, as laid out in their Oaths (and even then, the Oath values we get in the subclass descriptions are directly stated as guidelines, that Players and DMs can change as they see fit). The degree to which Alignment enters into it is up to the individual campaign. Even with the decoupling, though, the books still give pointers on how each different kind of Paladin could be run, Alignment-wise.

        With 5e, I think Alignment is used as a tool for making the game better or fleshing out a world/character. Not a shackle for dictating behavior or play. To me, this is the ideal approach.


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        • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
          Resurrection being too easy is up there with unrealistic gold economics in the list of things a lot of DMs seem to think are problems that no player has ever complained about. A lot of us DMs get so caught up in the implications that things like resurrection or decimalized currency have on our precious settings that we forget that it’s supposed to be a game too. Leave a DM to their own devices long enough and they’ll worldbuild the fun right out of D&D.
          ^This, absolutely. DMs who have a lot of time on their hands will theorycraft and worldbuild DnD into oblivion, simply to do it. Regardless of whether it enhances DnD as a game that people play to have fun.

          Is it really a problem that spears do less damage than longswords? No. Is it really a problem that languages are often simplified to "Common" and "X Racial Language"? No. Is it a problem that the economy in DnD makes no real-world sense? No.

          I myself have theory-crafted myself to conniptions over all those things, but trying to "fix" them doesn't really make DnD "better". They were all chosen for reasons having to do with making play easier.

          DMs who want to strip an entire aspect of the game out for imaginary scenarios are the same people who cannot countenance the idea of letting Players run PCs with innate flying. Aside from some edge cases, the "problem" is probably not nearly as detrimental as it seems on paper. So long as you understand the risks involved, you can adapt the game to it. (As an aside, unless all the PCs play flying characters, it's going to just amount to a "Rogue goes off alone" scenario, but in the sky; there's a reason the adage "don't split the party" exists).

          If a DM can't find a way to make resurrection not only work, but be a source of fun and challenge, the DM isn't trying very hard.

          I don’t think it is banned from all that many campaigns, let alone most, but I can certainly see how one might get that impression from the way many DMs talk about resurrection online. Like, myself included, I’ve certainly participated in conversations about if access to resurrection should be restricted and how. But a lot of that stuff is just shop talk. When it comes down to it, most of us don’t use half the house rules we spend hours discussing online.
          It's probably the case that people who dislike resurrection are simply more vocal about their dislike.

          No one is generally going to go out of their way to make a thread about how "okay" they are with a rule as written. Nor do those threads tend to attract much attention, least of all by people who also agree that RAW is working well and does not need changing. If you like a rule, what do you have to talk about?

          It's only when you have someone who vehemently disagrees with the rule that you get threads about it, because they have something to complain about. In turn, one person complaining about X rule invariably attracts other people who share similar views. Even when it attracts people who defend X rule, that just starts discussions (or arguments), which keeps the thread going. Fixing the question in everyone's minds.

          It's not that most people are anti-resurrection. It's that the anti-resurrection minority tends to get more people talking and attracts everyone in that group to one location, skewing the perception of what "the community" wants.


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          • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post

            Devils and demons have plenty to fight about without needing a system to catalogue their ideologies into one of 9 neat little boxes. I enjoy the 9-alignment system (when the two axies represent clear, meaningful spectra, anyway) but D&D absolutely doesn’t need it to function.
            Except not really. The reason why demons are so strong, is because there's just an infinite number of them being churned out every day. They're a wild, chaotic mess of back stabbing and savagery, but they breed faster than you can kill them.

            The reason why Devils are strong is because of their militaristic cohesion and chain of command hierarchy They can't afford to throw endless waves of themselves at the enemy, but they have a stable infrastructure, and the ability to carry out complex strategies.

            You take away the axis of order and chaos, and what do you have left? Nothing but a bunch of evil spirits fighting over the privilege of eating the most souls.

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            • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post

              Except not really. The reason why demons are so strong, is because there's just an infinite number of them being churned out every day. They're a wild, chaotic mess of back stabbing and savagery, but they breed faster than you can kill them.

              The reason why Devils are strong is because of their militaristic cohesion and chain of command hierarchy They can't afford to throw endless waves of themselves at the enemy, but they have a stable infrastructure, and the ability to carry out complex strategies.

              You take away the axis of order and chaos, and what do you have left? Nothing but a bunch of evil spirits fighting over the privilege of eating the most souls.
              You misunderstand me. You don’t need alignment for devils to be a wild, chaotic mess of back stabbing and savagery that breed faster than you can kill them, or for devils to have a stable infrastructure, and the ability to carry out complex strategies.


              Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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              • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                You misunderstand me. You don’t need alignment for devils to be a wild, chaotic mess of back stabbing and savagery that breed faster than you can kill them, or for devils to have a stable infrastructure, and the ability to carry out complex strategies.

                I'm confused, because it sounds like you're suggesting we use a Law / Chaos system, but don't actually refer to it as a Law / Chaos system?

                So then what? Asmodeus keeps the 9 Hells in check because he's just that ridiculously powerful? I think the current system of Devils having Order (and subservience) woven into the very core of their being seems far more plausible.

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                • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post


                  I'm confused, because it sounds like you're suggesting we use a Law / Chaos system, but don't actually refer to it as a Law / Chaos system?

                  So then what? Asmodeus keeps the 9 Hells in check because he's just that ridiculously powerful? I think the current system of Devils having Order (and subservience) woven into the very core of their being seems far more plausible.
                  Ultimately, the alignment system is just a label. It seems more important because it is acknowledged diegetically and has been woven into the metaphysics of the Great Wheel, but it’s not actually necessary. Devils are tyranny embodied, both as rulers and as middle management. That key behavioural and personality trait is true whether you apply the lawful label to them or not. I, personally, would not get rid of the alignment spectrum because I’m a Planescape person and Planescape played with pushing alignments to their extreme, but it is 100% doable. You just ended up working with themes as opposed to a dichotomous summary of personality.

                  And honestly, fiends are better when you do that anyhow. Devils, Rakshasa, and Kytons are not the same things and play to very different themes (yes, late 3.5 to 5e lump Kytons in with Devils, but they are more interesting when they aren’t. See Planescape and Pathfinder. Demons, Qlippoth, and Obyriths aren’t remotely similar either. Not are Yugoloths and Night Hags. All of them share an alignment, but have different themes. And are most memorable when they play to latter rather than the former.

                  Look at it this way. Captain Barbossa principle. Alignment isn’t hard coded rules that must be followed to the latter. They are guidelines that give a general picture to be fleshed out. If you know the themes you are working with already, alignment is largely superficial.


                  Freelancer (He/His Pronouns): CofD - Dark Eras 2, Kith and Kin, Mummy 2e, Oak Ash and Thorn; Scion - Mysteries of the World

                  CofD booklists: Beast I Changeling | Demon | Deviant (TBA) | Geist l Hunter l Mage | Mummy | Promethean | Vampire | Werewolf (WIP)

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                  • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                    I'm confused, because it sounds like you're suggesting we use a Law / Chaos system, but don't actually refer to it as a Law / Chaos system?
                    No, I’m suggesting having characters just behave act lawfully and/or chaotically (or for that matter, goodly and/or evilly) without needing to systematize it.

                    For the record, I’m not opposed to the alignment system, in fact I like it when it’s used well, I’m just arguing that is isn’t necessary. You could remove it from D&D entirely and change nothing else, and you’d barely notice its absence.

                    Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                    So then what? Asmodeus keeps the 9 Hells in check because he's just that ridiculously powerful? I think the current system of Devils having Order (and subservience) woven into the very core of their being seems far more plausible.
                    You don’t need order and chaos to be tangible cosmic forces to have tyrannical evil vs. decentralized evil. You don’t need subservience “woven into the very core of [demons’] being” to have demons be subservient to more powerful demons. They can just do it.


                    Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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                    • Second Chances That makes things a lot clearer, thank you.

                      Charlaquin Thing is, I can kind of agree with the idea of the alignment spectrum being somewhat unnecessary in regards to the Prime Material Plane. It's whole thing is that it involves a little bit of the entire cosmology wheel all melded together in one place. So of course it would make sense that the native inhabitants aren't hard coded to any specific form of behavior. But when it comes to the outer planes, and determining the fate of a character's soul in the afterlife, having a codified system of alignment makes things a lot easier. There are (at least) three different versions of Heaven in the upper planes. How do you decide which one the soul goes to without a codified set of behavior to rationalize it?


                      And I can't be the only player who struggled for years to figure out what the difference was between Demons, Devils and Daemons, before finding out they represented different aspects of the alignment spectrum. Maybe that was a result of my Christian upbringing, but for a long time I painted all Fiends with the same brush. To me, they were supposed to be the embodiment of evil, and yet they spent more time destroying their own armies, than they did targeting the forces of righteousness. It was all very confusing, and since that is the second time in a row, you've used the phrase Devil when you meant to say Demon, and Demon when you meant to say Devil, I suspect you can see what I mean?

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                      • So, going back to the subject of Pathfinder attempting to humanize the monster races, somebody brought a matter to my attention that I think has been overlooked. And that is the state at which the Gods responsible for having created these monsters currently present themselves. If Lamashtu and Rovagug are anything to go by, it sounds ridiculous that the monster races can be provided more nuance, and yet have the deities responsible for their very existence remain as evil and monstrous as they've been in the past.

                        Because if that's the way they're going with it, then that kind of doubles down on the racism aspects, instead of resolving them.

                        "Oh yes, monsters can be people too, but only after they agree to abandon their heathen traditions and assimilate to our culture like proper civilized beings!"

                        This isn't like real life, where racism is largely attributed to perceived notions of supremacy and purity. Monsters in D&D and Pathfinder were literally spawned from evil and barbarism. Gnolls, for example, are descended from hyenas that devoured humans in the wake of a demon lord rampaging through the land. Goblins in Pathfinder were created from the blood shed by the 8 heroes, when they went on a mass killing spree!

                        So, unless these evil creators are somehow Neutral now, or have expanded their list of available alignments, it seems like you'd need a really convincing backstory for why you're playing a monster who isn't a man eating savage!
                        Last edited by Nyrufa; 08-10-2019, 08:31 PM.

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                        • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                          So, going back to the subject of Pathfinder attempting to humanize the monster races, somebody brought a matter to my attention that I think has been overlooked. And that is the state at which the Gods responsible for having created these monsters currently present themselves. If Lamashtu and Rovagug are anything to go by, it sounds ridiculous that the monster races can be provided more nuance, and yet have the deities responsible for their very existence remain as evil and monstrous as they've been in the past.
                          Why? Just because a people’s creator god espouses evil, that shouldn’t necessarily mean that people must be universally evil. As long as the people in question have free will, they should have the autonomy to choose not to follow their evil creator.

                          Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                          Because if that's the way they're going with it, then that kind of doubles down on the racism aspects, instead of resolving them.

                          "Oh yes, monsters can be people too, but only after they agree to abandon their heathen traditions and assimilate to our culture like proper civilized beings!"
                          I see the parallel you’re trying to draw to colonialism, but it’s a false equivalence, because in Golarion and other fantasy settings, these gods are actually evil, whereas in real-life examples, colonizing cultures have painted the gods of indigenous cultures as evil to encourage assimilation.

                          For what it’s worth, I very much like the idea of a setting where deities’ alignments aren’t known by mortals; where so-called evil deities are only considered so by the enemies of their followers. In fact, in my take on the default setting of 4e, the devil-worshiping humans of Bael Turath believed that He Who Was (the unnamed god that Asmodeus rebelled against and usurped) was a cruel and wrathful god who demanded slavish adherence to his whims and his whims alone, and Asmodeus was seen as a liberator and champion of free thought.

                          So, I certainly empathize with your desire for more malleable deity alignments. But I think that requires more distant gods to work believably. As long as the gods are present, and intervene directly in mortal affairs, that kind of removes the necessary ambiguity for different peoples to interpret their alignments differently. Kind of hard to argue that a god isn’t evil when she’s regularly communicating with people, telling them to eat the flesh of the innocent, ya know?

                          Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                          This isn't like real life, where racism is largely attributed to perceived notions of supremacy and purity.
                          That’s quite the oversimplification.

                          Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                          Monsters in D&D and Pathfinder were literally spawned from evil and barbarism. Gnolls, for example, are descended from hyenas that devoured humans in the wake of a demon lord rampaging through the land. Goblins in Pathfinder were created from the blood shed by the 8 heroes, when they went on a mass killing spree!

                          So, unless these evil creators are somehow Neutral now, or have expanded their list of available alignments, it seems like you'd need a really convincing backstory for why you're playing a monster who isn't a man eating savage!
                          I don’t agree. As long as these creatures have free will, they have the power to make decisions that may be contrary to their creators’ intent. If dwarves, created by a Lawful Good god, can be evil, why is it so unbelievable that gnolls could be good?


                          Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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                          • Did Pathfinder ever change their take on drow? Their take on drow was rather dumb so I'm hoping they did.

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                            • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                              Why? Just because a people’s creator god espouses evil, that shouldn’t necessarily mean that people must be universally evil. As long as the people in question have free will, they should have the autonomy to choose not to follow their evil creator.


                              Actually, it kind of does. Why in the holy hells would a DEMON LORD create a race with the capacity for empathy, mercy, generosity and love? They're supposed to be the very embodiment of raw, unmitigated evil, and creating anything that is not single mindedly focused on spreading that kind of mayhem makes absolutely no sense within the context of the setting.

                              Whether they were created intentionally by said deity, or accidentally by having some of their essence seep into the creature, I simply can not accept the idea that a being who is outright confirmed to be evil would create a self propagating species that could deviate from their desire to terrorize the world of mortals.

                              Now, if the gods have more malleable alignments, or like you suggested, having those alignments unknown / open to interpretation, then it would start to make a lot more sense. Baphomet may act like a feral minded savage, but he wants to liberate the world of all forms of restraint, encouraging his followers to acknowledge no authority beyond themselves. I can see a way to spin that into a positive outlook, if we stop restricting his followers to those who are solely of evil intent.

                              And while Lamashtu may be primarily worshiped by monsters, she's also a goddess of fertility; and while playing Kingmaker, I came across a cult of human worshipers that were praying to her for a healthy birthing process.


                              So once again, in order to make the monsters more nuanced, we would also have to make their creators more nuanced as well. That's the only way I can see this kind of change making any sense.

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                              • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                                Actually, it kind of does. Why in the holy hells would a DEMON LORD create a race with the capacity for empathy, mercy, generosity and love? They're supposed to be the very embodiment of raw, unmitigated evil, and creating anything that is not single mindedly focused on spreading that kind of mayhem makes absolutely no sense within the context of the setting.

                                Whether they were created intentionally by said deity, or accidentally by having some of their essence seep into the creature, I simply can not accept the idea that a being who is outright confirmed to be evil would create a self propagating species that could deviate from their desire to terrorize the world of mortals.
                                By the same token, why would a good god create a race that was capable of being evil? Again, if a dwarf can turn to evil, why is it so hard to believe a gnoll could turn to good? You could say “a being cannot be good unless it has the capacity for evil” but first of all that’s clearly not the case in D&D (see celestials), and second of all, if you do decide that it’s the case in your setting, then why is it the case that a being can be evil despite lacking the capacity for good? I think the most believable answer to why any god creates beings capable of disobeying it is that free will is an inalienable aspect of mortality.

                                Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                                Now, if the gods have more malleable alignments, or like you suggested, having those alignments unknown / open to interpretation, then it would start to make a lot more sense. Baphomet may act like a feral minded savage, but he wants to liberate the world of all forms of restraint, encouraging his followers to acknowledge no authority beyond themselves. I can see a way to spin that into a positive outlook, if we stop restricting his followers to those who are solely of evil intent.

                                And while Lamashtu may be primarily worshiped by monsters, she's also a goddess of fertility; and while playing Kingmaker, I came across a cult of human worshipers that were praying to her for a healthy birthing process.
                                Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for more nuance in how gods are depicted. I’m only arguing that it is not necessary in order for more nuanced mortal creatures to make sense.

                                Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                                So once again, in order to make the monsters more nuanced, we would also have to make their creators more nuanced as well. That's the only way I can see this kind of change making any sense.
                                That sounds like a you problem, frankly.
                                Last edited by Charlaquin; 08-11-2019, 02:36 PM.


                                Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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