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  • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post


    I'm sorry, but... really? You honestly believe that you debunked an entire political ideology in an argument on the Onyx Path forums? ...You must have a very high opinion of your own debate skills. Have you considered a career in politics?


    What I'm hearing is that you, personally, don't believe that civil anarchy can work. That's fine. You don't have to agree with this political ideology to recognize that it is an ideology that some people hold. And it is the ideology that the Chaotic Good alignment represents. Just because you don't subscribe to it, doesn't mean it's not a legitimate archetype that fictional characters might fall into. There are plenty of examples of just such characters in novels, comics, movies, TV, games, etc.

    If I was able to give legitimate reasons for how and why it doesn't work? Then yeah, I'd say I properly debunked it.

    Yes, I'm aware this is an ideology that some people hold, both in fictional setting and presumably in real life. But I think I gave a pretty sensible explanation for why the ideology is short lived and can not operate in the way its followers think that it should. To do so would inevitably require them to establish some form of societal structure that they claim to be fighting against, and then you either give up on the anarchist movement, or you repeat the cycle over and over again of tearing down the government in the name of freedom, only to build a new government to monitor that freedom, which in turn leads to tearing it down once more.

    You can not claim to value personal freedom, and then turn right around and say that everybody should behave in a cooperative fashion to one another. In a true, anarchist state, the only law people would be held to is survival of the fittest. Those with power get to do whatever they please. Those without power have two choices: They can either work on getting stronger so they can properly defend themselves against oppression in the future, or they can accept their weakness and submit to whatever fate befalls them.

    That is the way a society without government would operate. And surprisingly enough, you pointed out that very concept with your Druid analogy when you brought up fighting against monsters in the wilderness over the safety of the city. Any other system besides "Might Makes Right" is not truly anarchy and therefor can not exist in anarchist society.


    Demons (who are Chaotic Evil) are a fine example of this. They don't have an official hierarchy or any form of government. The Abyss is pure chaos and is always changing. If a Demon follows another person's orders, it is because they are being coerced into doing so. Either with a binding ritual, or their master is just blatantly stronger than them. But the very instant that Demon has a chance to break free, they will pounce it and more than likely wreak bloody vengeance upon the one who tried to control them.



    Chaotic Neutral is another prime example, as earlier versions of the game said that madmen and unintelligent beasts usually followed this alignment. They didn't care about societal expectations or norms, they did whatever the heck they pleased and for whatever motivation struck their fancy at the time. That doesn't sound like a group of people who can operate in a respectable society to me.
    Last edited by Nyrufa; 02-13-2018, 12:20 AM.

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    • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
      If I was able to give legitimate reasons for how and why it doesn't work? Then yeah, I'd say I properly debunked it.
      O... Okay. I'm not going to touch that.

      Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
      Yes, I'm aware this is an ideology that some people hold, both in fictional setting and presumably in real life. But I think I gave a pretty sensible explanation for why the ideology is short lived and can not operate in the way its followers think that it should. To do so would inevitably require them to establish some form of societal structure that they claim to be fighting against, and then you either give up on the anarchist movement, or you repeat the cycle over and over again of tearing down the government in the name of freedom, only to build a new government to monitor that freedom, which in turn leads to tearing it down once more.

      You can not claim to value personal freedom, and then turn right around and say that everybody should behave in a cooperative fashion to one another. In a true, anarchist state, the only law people would be held to is survival of the fittest. Those with power get to do whatever they please. Those without power have two choices: They can either work on getting stronger so they can properly defend themselves against oppression in the future, or they can accept their weakness and submit to whatever fate befalls them.
      This argument assumes that people will always act on self-interest first unless forced to do otherwise. No societal structure is required for people to live peacefully together if the people in said society make decisions with the best interest of the society as a whole as their first priority. You may not believe human beings are capable of such un-coerced altruism, but may people do believe we are. Those people's ideals would fall under (my definition of) Chaotic Good.

      Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
      That is the way a society without government would operate. And surprisingly enough, you pointed out that very concept with your Druid analogy when you brought up fighting against monsters in the wilderness over the safety of the city. Any other system besides "Might Makes Right" is not truly anarchy and therefor can not exist in anarchist society.
      This argument is not logically sound, as it is founded on No True Scotsman fallacy. Anarchism is defined as a society with no centralized government or leadership. Non-centralized social contracts can still exist within an Anarchic state, and it would still fall under the definition of anarchy. Moreover, it is hypothetically possible for a society to exist and function without any social contract, if each and every citizen acts out of the interest of the group over self-interest. Whether or not you believe such a society could practically exist is irrelevant. It is possible in theory, therefore Might Makes Right is not the only form of true anarchy. Hypothetical arguments aside, Might Makes Right isn't even anarchy; it is fascism.

      Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
      Demons (who are Chaotic Evil) are a fine example of this. They don't have an official hierarchy or any form of government. The Abyss is pure chaos and is always changing. If a Demon follows another person's orders, it is because they are being coerced into doing so. Either with a binding ritual, or their master is just blatantly stronger than them. But the very instant that Demon has a chance to break free, they will pounce it and more than likely wreak bloody vengeance upon the one who tried to control them.
      And demons are a great example of a Chaotic Evil society. A Chaotic Good society would be one where there is no hierarchy or form of government, and yet the citizens act to support each other anyway. Can such a society exist? That's a matter of much real-life debate. But certainly, people exist who believe that it can, and such people would fall under my definition of Chaotic Good.

      Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
      Chaotic Neutral is another prime example, as earlier versions of the game said that madmen and unintelligent beasts usually followed this alignment. They didn't care about societal expectations or norms, they did whatever the heck they pleased and for whatever motivation struck their fancy at the time. That doesn't sound like a group of people who can operate in a respectable society to me.
      Indeed it doesn't. Though under my assessment (which I've already said is stricter than most DMs interpret the alignments), Chaos is defined by being opposed to law, and Neutrality on the Good and Evil axis is defined by not taking a stance with regards to altruism vs. individualism. A Chaotic Neutral society would be one of people who believe that hierarchies and organization are detrimental to society, and are neither willing to put themselves at risk for the good of others, nor to bring harm to others for the benefit of themselves. I don't disagree that such a society would hardly be functional - with no laws to encourage cooperation and no motivation to either cooperate or compete, you could hardly describe this collection of people as a society. More like a bunch of people doing as they please and otherwise leaving each other alone. A Chaotic Good society, on the other hand, would be one of people who believe laws are harmful to society, and are willing to make sacrifices for others, but not harm others for their own benefit. Frankly, I don't see such a society really needing laws. If everyone is doing what's best for the group over what's best for themselves anyway, there's not much point in laws. Whether or not such a society is plausible is not the point being discussed.
      Last edited by Charlaquin; 02-13-2018, 12:45 AM.


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      • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post



        This argument assumes that people will always act on self-interest first unless forced to do otherwise. No societal structure is required for people to live peacefully together if the people in said society make decisions with the best interest of the society as a whole as their first priority. You may not believe human beings are capable of such un-coerced altruism, but may people do believe we are.

        Where as your argument assumes the best case scenario.

        I want to clarify that I am not saying people are incapable of behaving in the way you are describing. I am pointing out the flaws in what happens when they don't behave like that. Opinions are like ass holes, everybody has one, not everybody respects them. So what does this anarchist society do when they inevitably come across people who have a disagreement and refuse to back down from their side of the argument? Well, they're going to have to settle their dispute somehow, and that's when the idea of government starts getting involved. Even something as small as appointing a mediator classifies as government, because now you have an elected official who's job it is to bring about a satisfying conclusion to the debate.


        And then there's the matter of how this society is able to sustain itself, specifically in regards to future generations. Sure, you could say the previous generations pass their ideology onto their children. But I've met a lot of children who can be selfish little bastards that only care about themselves. Well, what happens when they act out of line? Does the community discipline them for their poor behavior? In which case, they're interfering with the child's personal freedom by indoctrinating it to their way of life. At that point, the function of social anarchy might be present, but the spirit behind it would no longer exist.

        The moment a group of people start forcing others to behave according to what they think is acceptable, it stops being an anarchy.


        ------------------------

        But I can see that we're just going around in circles with each other, and may have horribly derailed this topic.


        Let's just agree that we have different view points on the concept and try to move on from there?


        Your view Chaotic Good as people who don't need to be told "stop doing that" in order to behave properly.


        I view Chaotic Good as people who do whatever it takes to rid their society of evil.


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        • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
          In order for a character to hold Chaotic ideals, they must believe that societal structure is harmful.
          Do you maintain that opinion while staying up to date on how the current D&D editions define alignment, or because that's how things first made sense to you regarding alignment and you've stuck with that despite whatever may have changed in the D&D game text? (A curiosity, not a judgement. For reference, here is the current edition's definition of Chaotic Good: "Chaotic good (CG) creatures act as their conscience directs, with little regard for what others expect.")

          Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
          A better example of a Chaotic Good character would be a druid.
          In editions which restrict the alignment of druids, that particular combination is impossible for them to have. (3rd edition restricting them to being neutral on at least one spectrum, and BECMI D&D restricting them to neutral - though that system only used the Law-Chaos spectrum.) Which isn't to say I don't think what you are saying makes sense, just that it doesn't exactly gel with the way the designers of some editions viewed alignment.

          But I tend to not get too deep into alignment discussions because A) I see it as a much more reasonable and consistent to apply system if you look at alignment as being the why of a character's actions rather than the what (so that killing in defense of others is not treated the same as killing for sport) and B) I play a Neutral Good character and see no problem with that character favoring swift-but-violent death for the offenders as the solution to most problems (such as killing, rather than imprisoning, bandits - just so long as their motivation for banditry is greed, rather than necessity/hunger)
          .


          Not so noble anymore.

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          • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
            Where as your argument assumes the best case scenario.
            Not so. My argument makes no assumptions about what is or is not feasible as a model for a functional society. My argument is that the civil anarchy, whether practical or not, is the ideal form of the intersection of altruism and conservatism.

            Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
            I want to clarify that I am not saying people are incapable of behaving in the way you are describing. I am pointing out the flaws in what happens when they don't behave like that. Opinions are like ass holes, everybody has one, not everybody respects them. So what does this anarchist society do when they inevitably come across people who have a disagreement and refuse to back down from their side of the argument? Well, they're going to have to settle their dispute somehow, and that's when the idea of government starts getting involved. Even something as small as appointing a mediator classifies as government, because now you have an elected official who's job it is to bring about a satisfying conclusion to the debate.

            And then there's the matter of how this society is able to sustain itself, specifically in regards to future generations. Sure, you could say the previous generations pass their ideology onto their children. But I've met a lot of children who can be selfish little bastards that only care about themselves. Well, what happens when they act out of line? Does the community discipline them for their poor behavior? In which case, they're interfering with the child's personal freedom by indoctrinating it to their way of life. At that point, the function of social anarchy might be present, but the spirit behind it would no longer exist.

            The moment a group of people start forcing others to behave according to what they think is acceptable, it stops being an anarchy.
            Duly noted. I would in turn like to clarify that my own self-identified ideals fall in line with what I would define as Lawful Good. I don't disagree with you that civil anarchy is ultimately an untenable societal model. Where we differ is that I don't feel any need to find such a model tenable in order to recognize it as the logical extreme of the ideology represented by the intersection of a preference for Chaos on the law/chaos axis and for Good on the Good/Evil axis. I'll also reiterate that I would also identify Libertarianism as a less extreme form of Chaotic Good ideology. It prioritizes the good of the community above the good of the individual, and posits that lack of government oversight is the best way to achieve the good of the community. Just because I don't find that ideology to be sound doesn't mean I can't identify characters who hold it as Chaotic Good.

            Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
            But I can see that we're just going around in circles with each other, and may have horribly derailed this topic.


            Let's just agree that we have different view points on the concept and try to move on from there?
            Sure.

            Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
            Your view Chaotic Good as people who don't need to be told "stop doing that" in order to behave properly.
            That's not quite right. My view is that Chaotic Good is an ideal that prioritizes individual liberty over communal security, and the wellbeing of the community over the wellbeing of the individual. In order for a character's actions to be in line with those ideals, the character would have to take measures to support individual liberty over communal security and wellbeing of the community over the wellbeing of the individual. A difficult line to walk, no doubt. In my view, most rational actors tend towards Lawful Good or Neutral Good ideals and Neutral or Neutral Evil actions, though there are always exceptions.

            Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
            I view Chaotic Good as people who do whatever it takes to rid their society of evil.
            I respect that you wish to move on from this line of conversation, but if you don't mind, I am curious what in your view is the distinction between Chaotic and Neutral with respect to Law and Chaos?
            Last edited by Charlaquin; 02-13-2018, 02:41 AM.


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            • Originally posted by Drake View Post
              Do you maintain that opinion while staying up to date on how the current D&D editions define alignment, or because that's how things first made sense to you regarding alignment and you've stuck with that despite whatever may have changed in the D&D game text? (A curiosity, not a judgement. For reference, here is the current edition's definition of Chaotic Good: "Chaotic good (CG) creatures act as their conscience directs, with little regard for what others expect.")
              A very fair question! Given the options you present, I would say that I hold this opinion because it is how things make sense to me regarding alignment, not because of the current D&D game text. I am relatively certain that my interpretation is not consistent with the intent of the designers of 5th edition on this subject. But to be honest, I don't like what I believe their intent to be.

              For a very long time, I hated alignment, and this was due mainly to its presentation within the actual text, although my first impressions were formed from the text in the 3.5 Player's Handbook. Yet, when 4th edition reduced the 9-alignment system to a 5-alignment system (Lawful Good, Good, Unaligned, Evil, Chaotic Evil), and removed all mechanical impact of alignment, I found myself having very mixed feelings about it. The part of me that hated alignment in 3.5 was thrilled that my character could be any alignment I wanted without fear of losing my class abilities, but part of me I hadn't previously identified hated that my character's alignment didn't mean anything and that the options that mixed good and chaos, law and evil, or any form of neutrality had been removed. It wasn't until the 5th edition playtests that I would recognize why, and it was thanks to (surprise, surprise) an Angry GM article: Alignment: Shit or Get off the Pot. This was actually the very article that first got me reading the Angry GM. He wrote more on the subject here and here as well (though the latter was written long after I had been converted to the interpretation I have been espousing here, and the discussion of alignment is kind of a secondary point in the article).

              Long story short, Alignment does add something to the game when it matters, but D&D has struggled to make it matter, and the alignments as they have been presented have a lot of problems, such as failing to adequately distinguish between Law and Good, and between Chaos and Evil, between Neutrality and Evil, and between Chaos and Neutrality. My interpretation of alignment is based on what I find to be useful definitions of each position on each axis, disregarding the text in the book on the subject.

              This is why I earlier asked about Drow being Chaotic Evil much earlier in the thread. To me, there is no useful definition of Chaotic that the Drow would fall under. They certainly fall under the book's definition. But I don't find the book's definition to be useful. And while I love alignment, I hate when it isn't used effectively.

              Originally posted by Drake View Post
              In editions which restrict the alignment of druids, that particular combination is impossible for them to have. (3rd edition restricting them to being neutral on at least one spectrum, and BECMI D&D restricting them to neutral - though that system only used the Law-Chaos spectrum.) Which isn't to say I don't think what you are saying makes sense, just that it doesn't exactly gel with the way the designers of some editions viewed alignment.
              On the BECMI spectrum, which includes only Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic, I would agree with the archetypal Druid being Neutral. Likewise, I would say they are Unaligned in the 4e 5-alignment paradigm. I think the mistake 3e made was in failing to recognize that Chaos and Neutrality take on very different meanings in a 9-alignment system than they do in the 3-alignment system. In my opinion, if you're going to restrict classes by alignment and your alignment system uses AD&D's 9 alignments, then druids should need to be Chaotic, not Neutral.

              Originally posted by Drake View Post
              But I tend to not get too deep into alignment discussions because A) I see it as a much more reasonable and consistent to apply system if you look at alignment as being the why of a character's actions rather than the what (so that killing in defense of others is not treated the same as killing for sport) and B) I play a Neutral Good character and see no problem with that character favoring swift-but-violent death for the offenders as the solution to most problems (such as killing, rather than imprisoning, bandits - just so long as their motivation for banditry is greed, rather than necessity/hunger)
              See, for me the why of a character's actions is their ideals, and the what is their actions. Again with the separating the two. And I would agree with you that there should be no problem with a Neutral Good character favoring swift-but-violent death to offenders as a solution to most problems. Such a policy favors the good of the group over the good of the individual (bandits are bad for society, killing them is therefore good for society, even if it is bad for the bandit as an individual), and doesn't take a stance on the legality of such action.
              Last edited by Charlaquin; 02-13-2018, 03:11 AM.


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              • In brief, under my interpretation the ideal represented by Lawful alignments is “I believe Laws are necessary for a functional society.” In order for a character who holds those ideals to maintain a Lawful alignment, they must actively support societal law. The ideal represented by Chaotic alignment is “I believe laws are detrimental to society.” In order for a character who holds such ideals to maintain a Chaotic alignment, they must act against or avoid societal laws. Neutrality on this axis is a lack of conviction towards either of the above ideals. A character does not need to do anything in particular to maintain a Neutral alignment on this axis, but may fall into one if they do not act in support of either.

                On the Good/Evil side, the ideal represented by Good is, “I would put myself in harm’s way for the sake of others.” In order to maintain a good alignment, a character must walk that talk and take risks for others’ sakes. Neutrality on this axis, like the other, is a lack of commitment to the ideal espoused by the Good alignments. A character who regularly avoids risk to themselves at the expense of others will likely fall to a Neutral alignment. Evil is not really an ideal either but an outright rejection of the ideals of Good. Where a Neutral character avoids harm to themselves even when it could help others, an Evil character will actively harm others if it benefits themselves. Again, you don’t exactly have to work to maintain an Evil alignment as you have to work to avoid it.

                For a CofD analogy, Good/Evil is like Humanity. The high end is where most people want to be, but it takes work to keep from falling. Law/Chaos, on the other hand, is like Harmony. Or... Well, kind of like a reverse-Harmony. Different characters might have reasons to want to be at one extreme or the other, but their actions will tend to pull them towards the middle unless they work at it.
                Last edited by Charlaquin; 02-13-2018, 03:48 AM.


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                • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post



                  I respect that you wish to move on from this line of conversation, but if you don't mind, I am curious what in your view is the distinction between Chaotic and Neutral with respect to Law and Chaos?

                  A good question, actually, because I didn't realize until just after reading that that being neutral and being lawless is kind of difficult to separate. If I were to put it into words, however, I'd probably say that Neutral is going with the flow to find some level of compromise towards the situation. Like I said earlier, somebody who is Neutral Good might not take up arms against the government, but they would offer their assistance to those innocent people who were negatively impacted by the government's actions. They embody the path of least resistance, acting in accordance with their morality, and yet at the same time trying to avoid unnecessary trouble along the way.


                  Those who are Chaotic, go against the flow in order to achieve what they think is right, and damn the consequences. Again, I refer to my hypothetical scenario of somebody waiting outside the court house who's about to shoot the guy who escaped a prison sentence. The government found the guy innocent, but the disgruntled citizen doesn't care. He know they're guilty, and if society won't punish them for their actions, then he'll do it himself. They embody the concept of self rule, unconcerned about the consequences behind their actions, or the judgement imposed upon them by those around them.
                  Last edited by Nyrufa; 02-13-2018, 08:24 AM.

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                  • Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                    A good question, actually, because I didn't realize until just after reading that that being neutral and being lawless is kind of difficult to separate.
                    Yeah, that’s a big part of the reason behind my interpretation - removing the overlap between different alignments.

                    Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                    If I were to put it into words, however, I'd probably say that Neutral is going with the flow to find some level of compromise towards the situation. Like I said earlier, somebody who is Neutral Good might not take up arms against the government, but they would offer their assistance to those innocent people who were negatively impacted by the government's actions. They embody the path of least resistance, acting in accordance with their morality, and yet at the same time trying to avoid unnecessary trouble along the way.

                    Those who are Chaotic, go against the flow in order to achieve what they think is right, and damn the consequences.
                    I don’t really see a difference here.

                    Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                    Again, I refer to my hypothetical scenario of somebody waiting outside the court house who's about to shoot the guy who escaped a prison sentence. The government found the guy innocent, but the disgruntled citizen doesn't care. He know they're guilty, and if society won't punish them for their actions, then he'll do it himself. They embody the concept of self rule, unconcerned about the consequences behind their actions, or the judgement imposed upon them by those around them.
                    Ok, so that’s a Chaotic Good response to the scenario. What would be a Neutral Good response to it? Is the difference only in premeditation? The Chaotic character plans to break the law while the Neutral character only breaks it in the heat of the moment?


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                    • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                      Ok, so that’s a Chaotic Good response to the scenario.
                      That would really depend on the crime. If you're waiting outside the courthouse to kill someone who managed to be found innocent of killing a bus full of orphans despite them actually doing it, sure. If you're waiting outside the courthouse to kill someone who was found innocent of, say, disturbing the peace, then that's not Chaotic Good.

                      The traditional media version of Robin Hood is the better example of Chaotic Good. Steals from the rich, who have more money and aren't truly hurt by the situation, and gives to the poor, who need money. No bigger picture.

                      What would be a Neutral Good response to it? Is the difference only in premeditation? The Chaotic character plans to break the law while the Neutral character only breaks it in the heat of the moment?
                      You can't base an alignment off of individual situations, because it's something that guides a character's entire life, to the point that it affects their world view and perspective. Being 'Lawful Good, except when people are watching or I really want to,' isn't really a thing. This is one of the big reasons why you can't convert alignments to real life, because characters in D&D and Pathfinder worlds are aligning themselves to cosmic forces that demonstrably exist and demonstrably show what they represent, to the point that you can flick on a couple spells and see how people will act.

                      And characters can afford to act that way, because they don't usually have to deal with things like bigger pictures or downtime. They don't have idle thoughts, and if an evil creature is rampaging in your town then killing it is good, even if it was made that way because it put on a hat or belt. It's why alignment doesn't change except over extended periods of time or sudden cases of dramatic magical alteration. It's also why things like having interesting new experiences turns you into a better killing machine rather than a well-rounded individual (unless you're poorly optimized).

                      That said, each alignment has two parts and thus two focuses. If you're Neutral Good, you're either all about being Good, or you place the emphasis on Neutral but from a Good angle.
                      Last edited by nofather; 02-13-2018, 03:44 PM.

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                      • Originally posted by nofather View Post
                        That would really depend on the crime. If you're waiting outside the courthouse to kill someone who managed to be found innocent of killing a bus full of orphans despite them actually doing it, sure. If you're waiting outside the courthouse to kill someone who was found innocent of, say, disturbing the peace, then that's not Chaotic Good.
                        Sure, I just assumed we were talking about a scenario where Nyrufa would consider the character’s actions Good, since Chaotic Good seemed to be the point of disagreement between our interpretations of alignment.

                        Originally posted by nofather View Post
                        The traditional media version of Robin Hood is the better example of Chaotic Good. Steals from the rich, who have more money and aren't truly hurt by the situation, and gives to the poor, who need money. No bigger picture.
                        There is a bigger picture though. He doesn’t just steal from a nebulous upper class, to redistribute to the lower class, he steals wrongly collected tax money from a usuper to the throne and returning it to the people to whom it rightfully belongs. His actions are motivated by a desire to restore order to a kingdom where it has broken down, which makes him Lawful Good in my book.

                        Originally posted by nofather View Post
                        You can't base an alignment off of individual situations, because it's something that guides a character's entire life, to the point that it affects their world view and perspective. Being 'Lawful Good, except when people are watching or I really want to,' isn't really a thing.
                        See, this is one of the things that made me think I hated alignment. I don’t see any use for this interpretation of alignment, except to shame people for playing their characters in a way that is inconsistent with what one thinks a Lawful Good character “would do.” Alignment can’t be both a character’s worldview and their behavior and still leave room for nuanced characters. It’s far more interesting if characters are capable of acting in ways that go against their own ideals and worldview. Maybe that will change their alignment as far as the universe is concerned - maybe the Paladin who firmly believes in honor, chivalry, law, and good but occasionally slips when he thinks he can get away with it is shocked to find that the holy sword of evil’s bane is painful for him to touch. But that doesn’t mean his morals should shift to Chaotic Evil.


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                        • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                          Yeah, that’s a big part of the reason behind my interpretation - removing the overlap between different alignments.


                          I don’t really see a difference here.


                          Ok, so that’s a Chaotic Good response to the scenario. What would be a Neutral Good response to it? Is the difference only in premeditation? The Chaotic character plans to break the law while the Neutral character only breaks it in the heat of the moment?

                          The difference is that a Neutral Good character is able to recognize the negative consequences of taking the law into their own hands and makes an impartial judgement depending on the situation. While a Chaotic Good character simply doesn't care about the consequences and goes straight for the option that they think is the quickest path to justice. It's the difference between acting rationally and acting on impulse.



                          The Neutral Good response would be contributing aid to the wounded parties affected by the criminal's actions. They can't take back what the bad guy did, but they can at least try to ease the suffering of those they hurt. And if they should encounter a situation in which the villain can be tried again or taken out of the picture entirely, they might decide capitalize on it.

                          Actually, half way through writing that, I think I came up with the answer. Neutral characters act in accordance to what their conscience dictates when the opportunity to do so presents itself. They don't walk into a town and immediately start questioning the populace about any problems they might be having. But if they happen to overhear something, they'd probably lend a hand if it was within their power to do so.

                          Neutral characters are the middle ground who deal with situations as they come to them. They have a code of morality, be it good, bad or somewhere in between, but they don't try to actively force others to assimilate to it. Hence the term "neutrality."

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                          • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                            There is a bigger picture though. He doesn’t just steal from a nebulous upper class, to redistribute to the lower class, he steals wrongly collected tax money from a usuper to the throne and returning it to the people to whom it rightfully belongs. His actions are motivated by a desire to restore order to a kingdom where it has broken down, which makes him Lawful Good in my book.
                            It's not really about order there, though, it's corruption. Tax collections are still tax collections even if they're unfair, and in D&Dworld giving money to the ambiguously unaligned poor is one of those always good acts. A Lawful Good character would stand up against them as unjust, or angrily pay them anyways, but wouldn't resort to a constant stream of criminal activity in response.

                            Unless the ruler is found to be an evil monster, in which case they don't count.

                            I meant bigger picture as in, the end result is a showdown with the ruler, the deaths of him and people who work for them, a potential weakening of the nation's defense and economic climate.

                            See, this is one of the things that made me think I hated alignment. I don’t see any use for this interpretation of alignment, except to shame people for playing their characters in a way that is inconsistent with what one thinks a Lawful Good character “would do.” Alignment can’t be both a character’s worldview and their behavior and still leave room for nuanced characters. It’s far more interesting if characters are capable of acting in ways that go against their own ideals and worldview. Maybe that will change their alignment as far as the universe is concerned - maybe the Paladin who firmly believes in honor, chivalry, law, and good but occasionally slips when he thinks he can get away with it is shocked to find that the holy sword of evil’s bane is painful for him to touch. But that doesn’t mean his morals should shift to Chaotic Evil.
                            You can have nuanced characters, a tormented paladin who abides by their Oaths but lament it being a classic example. The change from LG to CE for breaking an oath is a weird mystical thing, I'm not sure if they got rid of it with the expansion of paladins to incorporating other alignments, or at least having paladins of every other alignment. As a bad example (because it's always basically evil) but one I can associate with, look at Vampire the Requiem's Beast. It is the core of your vampire, wanting blood and dominance, it's their alignment. They can act differently, or want to, but you flay away all the pretense and touchstones and sudden cravings or metagaming, their heart that Beast is needling them. In D&D the Chaotic Good's Beast is saying look how unjust that law is, someone must do something for good to prevail, the Lawful Good's Beast whispering how this evil wouldn't happen if there was some good laws in place, the Neutral Good Beast saying 'Do good,' even as the character is sneaking into a castle and about to steal a holy artifact to finish a quest. And that won't change with one act, unless it's a really momentous one. It probably shouldn't, if only because alignment really affects how your powers work and how powers work against you.

                            This complication is at least it's one of the reasons why 4e tried to offer Unaligned, but the 3x3 alignment chart is, I think, one of those sacred cows you were talking about before.
                            Last edited by nofather; 02-13-2018, 05:12 PM.

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                            • Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post



                              See, this is one of the things that made me think I hated alignment. I don’t see any use for this interpretation of alignment, except to shame people for playing their characters in a way that is inconsistent with what one thinks a Lawful Good character “would do.” Alignment can’t be both a character’s worldview and their behavior and still leave room for nuanced characters. It’s far more interesting if characters are capable of acting in ways that go against their own ideals and worldview. Maybe that will change their alignment as far as the universe is concerned - maybe the Paladin who firmly believes in honor, chivalry, law, and good but occasionally slips when he thinks he can get away with it is shocked to find that the holy sword of evil’s bane is painful for him to touch. But that doesn’t mean his morals should shift to Chaotic Evil.

                              I think the alignment system is important when you consider there's a different afterlife for each one. There's a realm for Good, Evil and Neutral, as well as being a realm of Lawful, Chaotic and Neutral. That's at least 9 different places your soul can go to after you die. The alignment system makes it easier for the players and the DM to figure out what ultimate fate awaits your character should the worst come to pass.



                              As for it being a sacred cow, I actually prefer the alignment system, because it provides context for how my character would react to a situation. I prefer having a guideline for my character's course of action, rather than leaving it up to the player's choice. Speaking from personal experience, it is very difficult to separate real life motivations from in game motivations without some kind of mechanics system in place. And removing that mechanic would eventually lead to the characters becoming stale and repetitive as they all start to play the same way after a while.

                              There have been times in other games (that don't use this mechanic) where I have wanted to role play a character of a certain alignment, whether that be good or evil, and yet I come across a situation where I know what option my character would have gone with. But my real life personality feels compelled to side with the other option. Thus, I reluctantly break character and project my own morality onto them. It breaks the sense of immersion when I have no idea what the reason for my character's actions are. They're just a blank slate that I project my own mind into, and that's boring. At that point, it stops being a role playing game, and turns into a power fantasy.
                              Last edited by Nyrufa; 02-13-2018, 05:02 PM.

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                              • Originally posted by nofather View Post
                                It's not really about order there, though, it's corruption. Tax collections are still tax collections even if they're unfair, and in D&Dworld giving money to the ambiguously unaligned poor is one of those always good acts. A Lawful Good character would stand up against them as unjust, or angrily pay them anyways, but wouldn't resort to a constant stream of criminal activity in response.
                                I just don't see "breaks the law" as a useful way to define Chaotic, especially when Neutral exists. I define Chaotic as "opposes law," which Robin Hood does not. You could make an argument for him being Neutral Good, but ultimately he is loyal to King Richard and outlawed for that. His lawbreaking stems explicitly from his desire for (just) order.

                                Again, I'm aware that my interpretation is not consistent with the text, but I don't find the text to be useful in this matter.

                                Originally posted by nofather View Post
                                Unless the ruler is found to be an evil monster, in which case they don't count.
                                Well, while not a monster in the D&D sense of the word, King John would definitely fall under Lawful Evil by a traditional D&D definition and Neutral Evil under mine.

                                Originally posted by nofather View Post
                                I meant bigger picture as in, the end result is a showdown with the ruler, the deaths of him and people who work for them, a potential weakening of the nation's defense and economic climate.
                                The intended end result was a return to the throne of King Richard once he returned from the crusades.

                                Originally posted by nofather View Post
                                You can have nuanced characters, a tormented paladin who abides by their Oaths but lament it being a classic example. The change from LG to CE for breaking an oath is a weird mystical thing, I'm not sure if they got rid of it with the expansion of paladins to incorporating other alignments, or at least having paladins of every other alignment.
                                Right, and it's dumb that because a character who believes in law and good failed to live up to his oaths would suddenly change his worldview to support chaos and evil. It flies in the face of intelligent humanoids supposedly having free will. I find it much more interesting if the character merely becomes vulnerable to magic that smites evil, and perhaps loses his oath-granted powers, but retains his convictions and has the opportunity to seek redemption, instead of suddenly becoming a mustache-twirling villain who kicks puppies for fun because of "a weird mystic thing."

                                Originally posted by nofather View Post
                                As a bad example (because it's always basically evil) but one I can associate with, look at Vampire the Requiem's Beast. It is the core of your vampire, wanting blood and dominance, it's their alignment. They can act differently, or want to, but you flay away all the pretense and touchstones and sudden cravings or metagaming, their heart that Beast is needling them. In D&D the Chaotic Good's Beast is saying look how unjust that law is, someone must do something for good to prevail, the Lawful Good's Beast whispering how this evil wouldn't happen if there was some good laws in place, the Neutral Good Beast saying 'Do good,' even as the character is sneaking into a castle and about to steal a holy artifact to finish a quest. And that won't change with one act, unless it's a really momentous one. It probably shouldn't, if only because alignment really affects how your powers work and how powers work against you.
                                Eh, if that's how you run alignment, more power to you. I prefer not to tell players what their characters think and feel. Their characters can believe and behave any way they choose, and their actions will have natural consequences. But it's up to you how your character responds to those consequences. It's enough that you making the wrong decisions can lead to your character losing their abilities, without me also telling you "and now you also have a strong desire to murder orphans and laugh about it." I also find it telling that it tends to be a one-way slide. Do an evil thing as a Lawful Good character and you risk your alignment shifting. Try to do a good thing as a Chaotic Evil character and you're not allowed to because that's not something your character "would do" because of his alignment.

                                Originally posted by nofather View Post
                                This complication is at least it's one of the reasons why 4e tried to offer Unaligned, but the 3x3 alignment chart is, I think, one of those sacred cows you were talking about before.
                                I actually like the idea of unaligned, I use it for animals and other creatures who act primarily on instinct. And yeah, the 9-alignment system is definitely one of those sacred cows, which is why it still nominally exists in 5e despite not mattering at all in the actual rules.


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