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thejeff's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 21,668 posts (22,589 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 2 Pathfinder Society characters. 8 aliases.


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Anzyr wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
Anzyr wrote:
Remember people... you can 1. sacrifice your child's mother to 2. set off a terrible ritual with 3. the intention of committing genocide; and still be a good person, despite the evil act. Maybe even more good for it. Just ask one Harry Dresden. The "Good" a lot of people here are arguing for is dumb. And many of us believe that pretending good is ignorant and foolish is kind of insulting to "Good".

You don't understand Harry Dresden.

He never claimed what he did was good. We are also seeing that what he did actually may have made the situation in the world a lot worse. Even Harry admits that, though he didn't see another option, as, if he didn't then they were both going to die anyway and the only way to stop the big bad evil ENTIRE POPULATION OF RED COURT VAMPIRES was there. If he didn't then he dies, she dies, his daughter dies, and a lot worse happens.

Make no mistake though, even in the Dresden-verse what he did was NOT good and he carries the scars from it and there is a darkness in him and he's well aware of it.

Doing it *was* Good though. Not doing it would have incredibly Evil not to mention selfish. Good is all about personal sacrifice and what is more valuable then one's values? A person's values are certainly worth more then something as simple as their life. To sacrifice one's values, their purpose, their cause for Good is the highest Good, even if those values are Good values.

Is this the "To be good you have to do evil" argument?

Cause I ain't buying that one.


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Lord Snow wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Rednal wrote:
Ahahahaha... XD Yeah, thinking back, Jordan probably could have cooled off on the Men vs Women dynamic a bit. I mean, I'm totally fine with the "no weak women" thing going on, but there's a difference between having confident characters and ones that are deliberately ungrateful when they get help.

Bridgette did smack some sense into them over that.

"so he broke you out of the most impregnable fortress on the planet while it was being attacked by black veiled Aiel??!?!?!?!

"Well its not like he knew about the forsaken

"Right. And we TOTALLY had the black Ajah covered...

"...you...thank .. him.. NOW...

Correct me if I'm wrong, books and events do blend together when you read so much of them in such close proximity, but that was in Sanderon's era, right?

I think the entire discussion of the war of the sexes can pretty much leave the last three books out, in which it becomes almost a non-issue.

Don't think so. It was while they were in Ebou Dar, looking for the Bowl, IIRC.


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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
And I was born even earlier, because I come from a generation that still considers spelling correctly a thing.

And I'm ancient.

"tis a pore mynd that can only think of one wai to spel a wurd"


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I am glad we can have this conversation on the morality issues presented by the Star Wars prequel trilogy. As a follow-up question, what type of action was it when the Jedi rescued Jar-Jar Binks from being crushed in the first movie?

Evil, obviously.

They could have spared the world from more Jar-Jar.


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Trogdar wrote:
HWalsh wrote:


Anyway... Back on topic.

Evil in Pathfinder is measurable. We know certain spells are evil. We may not know why, but we know they are.

The nay sayers who refuse to accept that without an in depth Paizo explanation are frankly out of order. We know it's Evil, why isn't really important.

This isn't an in-universe opinion it is an in-universe fact.

In universe it's evil. I certainly haven't disputed that. The only thing I suggest is that EVIL by the book is not analogous to evil in reality. It kind of seems like you get the conclusion before you get the premise, and it seems to me personally as a kind of Cartesian circle.

If you want me to agree that casting an Infernal Healing spell in reality isn't evil, I'll happily go along.

It'd be delusional, but not evil.


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As sort of an aside, getting more sucked into the Lashunta discussion than I really care about:

Quote:
From the backs of their terrible lizard steeds, the breathtakingly beautiful women of the Lashunta city-states maneuver for political position while banding together to keep the hordes of dangerous fauna away from their settlements."

It's quite possible to take that, along with the other comments about battle and war-like, to mean that the (all or mostly) female cavalry is relegated to dealing with animals while for actually fighting wars, they turn (mostly) to the more war-like males.


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HWalsh wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:

For context, Inner Sea Races (the most recent word on the subject) had this to say:

Inner Sea Races wrote:

Yet for all their external differences, lashunta of both genders are united by a deep and abiding love of knowledge, believing that unlocking the mind’s full potential is the greatest achievement to which a mortal can aspire. Female lashunta are able to form empathic bonds with powerful saurian mounts, and practitioners of psychic magic are common among both genders—for more information on the occult traditions pursued by lashunta, see Pathfinder RPG Occult Adventures.

Lashunta society is matriarchal, though not categorically so: men of particular achievement are welcome to rise to positions of prominence, but most lashunta point to their women’s level-headed persuasiveness as better suited to leadership than the men’s brash violence. Similarly, while men are often seen as innately suited to physical combat, both genders are well represented among soldiers and adventurers. To a lashunta, gender may predispose, but it never prescribes.

You don't think, if someone said:

"most point to their men’s level-headed persuasiveness as better suited to leadership than the women’s emotional behavior."

That there wouldn't be calls for that guy's head on a plate followed by (well-deserved) cries of misogyny?

I stand by my statement. You divide people up along lines like gender, race, religion, etc. and it's going to breed contempt on both sides.

I wonder how it would work in a race with an even stronger biological gender divide. Is there a point at which it stops being prejudice and contempt and just starts being reality?

Are Formians misandrist, for example?


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Freehold DM wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I never said he'd rather let Zod kill people than kill Zod. Just that he would give his own life before he would do so. Careful about putting words in my mouth.

Unless he's giving his life to permanently imprison Zod, or Zod is already imprisoned, this is kinda a distinction without a difference. I mean...once Superman is dead, Zod's pretty much got a 100% chance of killing others.

Now, that doesn't mean I don't like an idealistic version of Superman, but there are limits.

very much agreed and well said. Zod and other insane/evil kryptonians have been a problem storywise for a long time. Lots of hand waving and storyline torturing.

Basic serial heroic fiction problem. You want to reuse good villains, so you can't kill them off. And when you do, they just get brought back for some later storyline anyway.

Back in earlier comic days - Silver Age at least, villains died all the time. Mostly accidentally or at the hands of their own schemes. Mostly to provide dramatic endings. And then they'd show up in a few months or years with an implausible excuse. They backed off on that because it was becoming more of a joke than heroes coming back from the dead.

As for Zod & Superman, it's not as much a problem in the comics as in movies. Logically, even if Superman was dead, he's far from the only one on Earth who could take on Zod. Nor is Zod nearly the most powerful threat out there.
And even if Superman did go against his moral code and deliberately kill Zod (or anyone else), he'd still come back. Some later writer would want to do another Zod story. It would all be for nothing.
At least Batman's genre-savvy enough to know that. When the Joker breaks out of Arkham to go on a killing spree, he sometimes gets a call to let him know there's trouble. When the Joker's thought dead and comes back there's no warning. I don't think Superman has the same level of genre awareness though.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

The ruling caste are all women, are all beautiful, who can bond with powerful lizard steeds and the men are soldiers at best who are considered, at least as far as wisdom is concerned, inferior.

If that doesn't breed some amount of contempt between the two sexes NOTHING will.

Presumably the women look beautiful to humans, but since the purpose of beauty is to say "Look at the DNA i'm packing over here!" the men probably look handsome to the women of their species.

Though in the pulp inspirations for such races, that doesn't seem to be true.


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amethal wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
amethal wrote:


But there is no practical difference between "no reason that we can determine" and "no reason".
Actually, it's arguably the most single important difference in the history of mankind. It gave us, for example, the scientific method.

I don't think the scientific method allows the determination of things that cannot be determined.

(EDIT - I can't believe I'm adding this, but just to be clear, you do know what the word "cannot" means, right?)

It has certainly identified a lot of stuff that can be determined. We all know that (although a few people seem to think I don't).

Unless you can determine that something cannot ever be determined the difference remains moot.

There are plenty of things that we have determined through the scientific method, that once fell into "no reason we can determine".
I, and I think Orfamay, read "no reason that we can determine" as "we don't know" rather than "We know we can't ever know".

And under the Pathfinder rules, there are far more tools for directly investigating evil than there are in the real world. Which certainly changes the "can we determine it" question.


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Jessica Price wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

I also think we have to dispense with the notion that because a group hates everyone that means they aren't misogynists or misandrists. All that means is that they hate someone for their gender. That doesn't mean that they don't hate everyone else for some other reason.

So in Pathfinder, I'd have to say the following groups are likely misandrists:

Note:
I am denoting the ones most likely to be misandrists, one of the main criteria is any matriarchal society that doesn't explain, or mention, their male counterparts. The reason for this is simple, if they don't warrant a mention at all in their society then it is safe to assume, in my opinion, that there is discrimination going on. I would assume the same for any patriarchal society that doesn't mention women at all.

1. Drow
This is a no-brainer. They berate men for being men and they classify men as second class citizens. They are the definition of misandrists.

2. Lamia
There are no known instances of Lamia males. So we don't know, we can assume though since it is a purely matriarchal society with no mention of men what-so-ever that it is a high likeWe tell stories about things the lihood.

3. Lashunta
Though not said to mistreat, or look down on, males again this is a matriarchal society with absolutely no mention what-so-ever about the males.

Hags.

Harpies.

But I think when you get to a species of only women using males of other species to reproduce you're talking something more basic than misandry.


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Tormsskull wrote:


PT.B=The Devil wrote:
My players reminisce about the time they played a ranger who became a city vigilante. They talk about the time their Bard became Baron of a small wilderness country. They talk about fighting dragons, old ones, and beholders. They never ever talk about their stats. Ever. I guess that explains why PB isnt seen as "cookie cutter" or "unearned" by me and the homies.

That's awesome - but I think you missed the point. If you use PB, why would a player ever tell stories about their stats? "Dude, do you remember that time I bought an 18? That was really smart on my part."

For the record, up until the last few years and some online play, I've always played with rolled stats - at least in D&D style games.

I don't recall any stories about stats. Not since my middle school days, but we were mostly cheating those stats anyways.


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Weirdo wrote:
Finally, because I think this was dismissed too easily earlier in the discussion, I do believe that the stereotype of incompetent dads is a form of misandry. It might be limited in scope and softened with a sort of tolerant affection, but there's a dose of contempt here of the same sort as seen here. Of course, this doesn't disprove Ms. Price's overall point. The "dumb dad" is yet another example of a scornful attitude that developed in order to support a sexist system by assigning the duties of homemaking to women - because a man "can't" do them right. Predictably, this leads to career sacrifices for many women. As an added "bonus", hostility towards male

I would agree, but I wouldn't call it misandry. It's contempt for a feminine role and contempt for a man who attempts to fulfill it. It's toxic masculinity.

There have been societies that implemented gender roles successfully, but that doesn't mean it was the right system—they just never ran into trouble because they were small civilizations (like the "isolated tribes" Drahlianna somewhat contemptuously cited) and gender roles hadn't yet begun to take on disproportionate weight. Having women in charge of nurturing and having them voice the "peaceful" mindset during wartime negotiations didn't cause a meaningful problem for the same reason a hippie commune works: It's small and there's less chance for things to get f*&*ed up. There were probably still tons of examples of unhappy Kalinago women who wanted to work on boats or fight in battles, though, as well as men who weren't interested in the roles they'd been assigned.

It was an unsustainable system. Had those relentless bogeymen the Europeans not intervened and forced their transphobic, racist, mysoginist agendas on everyone else, I'm confident that most of these civilizations would have gone through their own cultural revolutions in time, coming around to have more enlightened views on gender and sexuality just as we are theoretically trying to do now. Many of them probably would have come by it much sooner than we have, really, and with much greater success, since they'd already developed a good chunk of the way there.

We can recognize that a culture implemented gender roles without incident without a) reducing that culture to some sort of "obscure isolated incident", and b) determining that this is proof institutionalized gender roles can work or are healthy.

It's at least as likely that those small groups with more equality, but strong gender roles would have developed into less equal societies as they grew into large, more citified societies. At least, that's the only pattern we see in the historical record. Or wiped out/taken over by other societies that had taken that route.

OTOH, to the best of my knowledge before modern times, that's the only pattern we have for even semi-gender equality. I know of no societies that haven't had strong gender roles. I definitely support our "more enlightened views", but it's worth remembering that this really is an experiment. It hasn't been done before. Ever. Anywhere. There's no real reason to believe it's actually sustainable. Absolutely worth trying, but very, very radical.


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KarlBob wrote:
A novel that specifically explores different approaches to marriage is Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. The version I remember most clearly is known as a line marriage. Under this system, every man in the line is married to every woman in the line. This type of marriage evolved in a penal colony, to avoid legal wrangles over inheritance. If the entire line owns property, then the death of the oldest members of the family doesn't open up the property to "reclamation" by the colonial government/wardens.

Heinlein explored a number of different forms of marriage (and other relationships) in his books.

Unfortunately, it often seemed mostly a kind of creepy way of having his characters have lots of inappropriate sex. I just reread Glory Road a little while back and that one scene was a lot creepier than I remembered it being. Different perspective than when I read it in my youth.


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Patrick C. wrote:
thejeff wrote:
People in the real world who believe in objective morality generally don't talk about particles, but about God.
Not necessarily. See Aristotle.
I did say generally, but point taken.
Patrick C. wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Because it takes rage to use Force Lightning, and emotion is a conduit to the Dark Side.

Passion is a conduit to the Dark Side, because it clouds reason, makes serenity impossible, and thus, good judgement. It's not "emotion" in itself. Luke

The Expanded Universe had made that pretty clear with the New Jedi Order before f-ing Disney decided to throw all in trash.

The EU added a lot of stuff that wasn't in the original movies, as I think I said earlier. Often while trying to explain or justify the exact kinds of things we're talking about in this thread.

Patrick C. wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Whereas even love or righteous anger leaves you a servant of the Emperor, for reasons I've never understood.

*sigh* Let's go.

It was not love that drove Anakin to the Emperor. It was the fear of loss. Anakin didn't want to lose Padme, and that eventually drove him to slaughter children for the promise of eternal life/ressurection.

Compare Luke. He loved Leia. The Emperor tried to use Leia as a bait to make him feel wrath, despair and fear and turn over to the Dark Side. It didn't work.

The only "love" that leads to the Dark Side is the kind that says "I'd rather watch the world burn than lose you".

The Dark Side is all about emotions, because it's all about "me". It's selfishness without any consideration for the other. If I feel angry, it doesn't matter if the person didn't mean to offend me, or that it wasn't even a offense to begin with. In fact, it doesn't even matter if this person really offended me or someone that looks a lot like her. I feel offended, and thus angry, and I am entitled to let it loose.

If I want something, it's mine. If I despise something, it has no right to exist. And so it goes.

Agreed. Sort of. They showed negative emotions leading to the Dark Side. They said emotion led to the Dark Side. The Jedi preached and practiced detachment.

Vader spent half the trilogy trying to get Luke to give in to anger against him and the Emperor, so that Luke would turn to the Dark Side and join them. That's not "selfish anger even though the person didn't really do anything wrong". Anger at Vader and the Emperor is completely justified. Righteous, even.
But somehow it would still lead to joining them.
Quote:
thejeff wrote:
Along with the whole "bring balance to the force" thing meaning they need more Dark side, less Light side control.
Considering that the prophecy is fulfilled when Anakin gets rid of the Emperor and of Vader (By repeting his actions as a Sith), that's a pretty... creative idea.

Well, it's certainly not original to me. And I agree it wasn't what Lucas meant. But what sense does it make in the over all series?

The prophesy is introduced in the prequels. When the Jedi run everything and aren't even aware of the existence of a Sith Lord, but still think it means something.
Then Anakin helps Palpatine wipe out the whole Jedi Order, then years later kills himself and the Sith Lord, leaving only one half trained Jedi apprentice. Is that supposed to be balance? Wiping out both sides counts, I guess.


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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

Yeah..using the Lashunta race write-up (which isn't even IC) as evidence for misandry is reaching at best. Those descriptions are also literally correct given the racial stat-mods, which makes treating them like you would subjective or prejudiced commentary is both odd and inappropriate.

Their actual in-world description in People of the Stars very much emphasizes that both sexes go out and become warriors and adventurers...or pursue scholarly pursuits (which the culture values highly). The only difference mentioned in terms of roles is that the women are usually leaders and the word 'matriarchal' is used. So...only female politicians. Other roles open to anyone.

And even there, the Lashunta are stated as matriarchal only in the sense of mostly having female leaders...but given that, as compared to male Lashunta females have +2 Wis and +2 Cha, that'd be true even in a completely meritocratic society.

Now, my suspicion is that the Lashunta aren't completely meritocratic and a male with higher Wis than most females would still not wind up in charge...but calling them misandrist is pretty clearly way harsher than they deserve. Especially since it's explicitly a Good aligned culture, and bad traits in Good aligned cultures tend not to be to severe or the aren't Good.

You do have to understand that from some viewpoints any society where man aren't dominant is going to be perceived as misandric. Again the bipoloar viewpoint which only allows for a dominant/submissive viewpoint.

I'm sure that's true for some, but I don't think it's relevant in this discussion. Even the Lashunta writeup is a long way from just "men aren't dominant". It's actually a pretty good reversal of the usual "Men tend to run things, but women aren't actually prevented from doing anything so it's ok" setup.


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HWalsh wrote:

I also think we have to dispense with the notion that because a group hates everyone that means they aren't misogynists or misandrists. All that means is that they hate someone for their gender. That doesn't mean that they don't hate everyone else for some other reason.

So in Pathfinder, I'd have to say the following groups are likely misandrists:

Note:
I am denoting the ones most likely to be misandrists, one of the main criteria is any matriarchal society that doesn't explain, or mention, their male counterparts. The reason for this is simple, if they don't warrant a mention at all in their society then it is safe to assume, in my opinion, that there is discrimination going on. I would assume the same for any patriarchal society that doesn't mention women at all.

1. Drow
This is a no-brainer. They berate men for being men and they classify men as second class citizens. They are the definition of misandrists.

2. Lamia
There are no known instances of Lamia males. So we don't know, we can assume though since it is a purely matriarchal society with no mention of men what-so-ever that it is a high likelihood.

3. Lashunta
Though not said to mistreat, or look down on, males again this is a matriarchal society with absolutely no mention what-so-ever about the males.

Lamia may just not have males. It's not actually clear from the bestiary writeups. I don't know if there's more info out there.

The Lashunta write up does mention it being matriarchal, but then goes out of its way to stress equality - both become warriors, both are equally intelligent and value scholarship.


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Trogdar wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Trogdar wrote:
I'm more concerned with the idea of a solid idea. How do you make something that's metaphysical physical without loosing all sense of the thing in the first place.
I'm not sure what you're responding to there, but I suspect it's more of that talking past each other again.

Well, evil is objective in this universe right? Demons and devil's are made of the stuff apparently. What is solid idea? How does the idea of evil become a sentient creature. What changes about an idea when it becomes something that is explicitly not an idea anymore?

Is that more clear?

Are they actually made out of evil? They are evil. They are, at least in most cases, born from mortal souls.

But more generally, whether they're actually made of evil or not, evil isn't an just an idea in the setting. There are places, lower planes, that are evil. It's not that the idea of evil becomes a physical thing and somehow changes. We get our poor understanding of evil (your idea) from that real pre-existent thing. Think Platonic ideals.

Alternately, it's not clear to me what "solid" even means in the context of the outer planes. Souls go there and can be directly interacted with - tortured for example. Souls aren't ideas, but they also aren't physical things. In the outer planes though, they seem to have physical existence. Does that mean some other body is built up out of some planar matter around the soul or is the nature of those planes and the creatures there more like souls already?


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Hitdice wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
I'm just surprised at the lack of Dark Side references. After all - why would force lighting be inherently more evil than stabbing someone with a plasma sword? It makes the same amount of sense.
Because it takes rage to use Force Lightning, and emotion is a conduit to the Dark Side.

But that's just more arbitrary words. Why do you need rage to use force lighting? Why does emotion lead to the Dark Side?

Which also pushes the "Is the Dark Side evil?" question.

Going by the lore and the RPG materials, essentially to be a proper Light Side Force user, you essentially have to be going for the Vulcan ideal of Kohlinar. Emotions,both positive and negative are a distraction from the Light Side's ideal of serenity. The method of Force Lightning involves feeding off your internal rage, so that's about as Dark Side as you can get.

Being of the Light side has nothing to do with being good. A Force-using assassin who maintains a cold level-headed demeanor can be just as much a light-sider as Ben Kenobi.

Whereas even love or righteous anger leaves you a servant of the Emperor, for reasons I've never understood.

But I'm pretty sure that interpretation exists only in the EU stuff, not in the original conception or movies. Probably largely because of fan arguments like this one. :)

Yoda does caution against strong emotion in Empire; it kind of gets immediately rolled over by fear leading to hate and hate leading to the dark side, but it's there. I would have loved it if the prequel trilogy had explored the Jedi code as repression is the key to enlightenment, but we got space hippies instead.

Why is my first post on the thread about Star Wars? Because I've been following it for all 9 pages and I still can't tell if we're discussing players not understanding the repercussions of their characters' actions, or whether or not an evil alignment is a valid character choice.

Yeah, it's hinted at, but as you say, only negative emotions are actually addressed. And it's never explicitly stated, but the Dark Side is definitely presented as evil and the Light as good.

Because the movies are basically straightforward space opera/epic fantasy, with little focus on ethical implications or deep philosophical underpinnings. Black and white. Good guys and bad guys. Fall and redemption.
The fans and some of the EU authors took all the world-building and metaphysics far more seriously than it was ever intended.
As we're doing here.

as far as this thread, I don't think we're discussing either.


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Freehold DM wrote:
bugleyman wrote:
Charlie Bell wrote:
I'm amused that objective morality would shatter anyone's verisimilitude in a game with literal gods and demons.

Except the "gods" in Pathfinder are nothing of the sort. At least not in the modern western understanding. They're not omnipotent, they're not omniscient, and they didn't create the universe. They're mostly just people with a bigger stick.

"Atheists" in Golarion don't deny the obvious evidence that those beings exist; they deny that those beings are worthy of worship.

I wish more people understood this.

Reminds me of the gods in Dragaera, since I just read one of those. The Easterners worship them, the Dragaerans respect their power and sometimes serve them, but do not worship them.


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Ventnor wrote:
In an objective alignment world, are there aligned subatomic particles?

I suppose in theory there could be. I think that's something like what pH unbalanced was describing.

It's certainly not necessary. It's far more of a pseudo-sciencey explanation than I like with my fantasy.

People in the real world who believe in objective morality generally don't talk about particles, but about God.

In a fantasy setting, you can just talk about evil without bringing pseudo-science into it. It's not like midichlorians made anyone happier about the Force.


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Trogdar wrote:
I'm more concerned with the idea of a solid idea. How do you make something that's metaphysical physical without loosing all sense of the thing in the first place.

I'm not sure what you're responding to there, but I suspect it's more of that talking past each other again.


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pH unbalanced wrote:

Now...if you want to debate *why* having your soul coated in evil tends to make you behave in a vile manner, then we have an interesting conversation.

Perhaps evil is like a heavy metal for the soul. Evil poisoning being equivalent to lead poisoning. Chaos to mercury poisoning.

We've touched on bits of that earlier, but foundered again on "The rules don't actually say that it does".


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bugleyman wrote:
thejeff wrote:
It's a fantasy world. The rocks can be happy if they want to be. You can ask them.
Pathfinder fails to establish that rocks are sentient. Therefore, all that is accomplished is confusion and dilution of the definition of "happy."

I don't think Tolkien established rocks were sentient either, other than that passage and a few others that hint at it.

Pathfinder however does establish that good and evil (and law and chaos, if not all the subdivisions) have objective reality in a way that is, at the very least, not clear in the real world.


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TOZ wrote:
Tormsskull wrote:
If someone rolls an 18 I feel like they earned it, if someone buys an 18 it cheapens the value of an 18 IMO.
I can't for the life of me understand such a view.

I can kind of understand such a view, but it doesn't appeal to me at all.

I wonder if it's linked to the "Must start at first level and earn your way up" thing. While I'm just as happy starting at a higher level, if that's better for that campaign.


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bugleyman wrote:

People..."evil" has a meaning. Applying the label in a way that ignores the definition of the word is no more useful than declaring that rocks are happy.

"See? It says rocks are happy right there in the rules!"

Still meaningless. :P

It's a fantasy world. The rocks can be happy if they want to be. You can ask them.

Quote:

'There is a wholesome air about Hollin. Much evil must befall a country if it wholly forgets the Elves, if once they dwelt there.'

'That is true', said Legolas. 'But the Elves of this land were of a race strange to us of the silvan folk, and the trees and the grass do not now remember them. Only I hear the stones lament them: deep they delved us, fair they wrought us, high they builded us; but they are gone. They are gone. They sought the Havens long ago.'". (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Ring Goes South).


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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
thejeff wrote:

My preference for that is everyone rolls a set and then every one uses whichever of those sets they like.

Keeps some of the randomness, but also the balance.

Help me understand - you're saying "6 players, 6 suites, pool and distribute?"

If I'm not mistaken, that does seem a little like the sort of setup that can lead to players bidding Quatloos against each other....

Nah. they can all use the same one if they want. That was actually the original approach - six sets, pick the best for everyone to use. Then we decided someone might want a more MAD array and someone else might want the SAD one.


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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:

That's quite a story - and it may say a great deal about why gaming's gone in some of the directions it has, even if I'd rather that not be the case.

I like semi-random ability generation best (and more power than '4d6, drop 1'); there's some stat arrays I just don't want to play.

On a related note, I determined a while back that, whatever else one does, the ideal dice formula for rolling abilities is in fact 1d12+6 - that guarantees a wholly equal chance of all possible scores from 7 to 18, whereas the more common "roll Xd6, maybe drop a few" setup has an annoyingly strong tendency toward middling scores.

One thing I've seen people do that I like is rolling 'suites' - you roll multiple sets of six scores, and pick which set of six you like best (but all those sets of six are a discrete "item," so you can't just cherry-pick the best scores freely).

My preference for that is everyone rolls a set and then every one uses whichever of those sets they like.

Keeps some of the randomness, but also the balance.


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Tormsskull wrote:

I love rolling in order - it feels more authentic to me for characters and avoids cookie-cutter concepts.

That being said, I've seen people fiercely argue against rolling stats, and rolling in order they rank up there with criminal behavior.

Sounds like you have a good group of players.

I wouldn't rank it with criminal behavior, but I've had some pretty bad experiences with it. Wild power disparities. Pushed into classes (or concepts at least) that I had little to no interest in playing.

I do wonder how much his group's love for the concept is tied to their "amazing luck with the rolls". Will it fall apart when they don't have such luck in later games? Or when a couple have such luck and a couple don't?


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Weirdo wrote:
Orfamy Quest wrote:
Not buying the product is, indeed, the ultimate critique.

Yes, ultimate. As in, final, as in, not the first form of critique. If I never bought anything I could find fault with, my bookshelf would be much less cramped.

Orfamy Quest wrote:
"Objective morality" is a deeply controversial philosophical position in the real world. But in Pathfinder, it's less controversial than heliocentrism, because it's much easier experiment to perform. And precisely because of the objective nature of Pathfinder morality, contentment is not a necessary component of the inhabitants' lives.
It is not the contentment of the characters that I'm concerned with, but that of the players.

And yet there are also players who believe in objective morality, who find all this modern relative morality stuff very much wrong.

You can't please everyone.

And it's easy to fix if you want to. So other than provoking internet debates and probably the occasional clash between player & GM (which happens anyway, since no matter your philosophical stance, no one actually agrees on defining good and evil) it really has little effect on players.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
Hate to say it

No you don't.

And my satisfaction is absolutely relevant to the fictional world the GM is trying to get me to play in.

That's certainly true. What breaks someone's sense of disbelief is a very personal thing. But it's essentially a matter of taste.

As I keep saying: House rule it, find an explanation that lets you accept it or find another system to play.

I don't think the real world works by objective morality. I have no problem with a fantasy world having one. I have no problem with magic having its own moral rules and definitions.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
We know it does something and that something is bad enough that the spell itself radiates with an aura of evil.
I can't agree with that.

I can't either. It might. That's one possible reason for the spell's evil.

All we really know is that the spell is evil. That's all we've got in the rules. Why it's evil is left undefined.


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Patrick C. wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Patrick C. wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Patrick C. wrote:
Don't even get me started on how neighbouring countries have wildly different technological sophistication levels. Simply absurd.
Ever look at the Korean peninsula at night from space?
Yep. But I also know they have pirate Chinese DVD players, so it's hardly the same thing.
that makes no sense.

Let me explain, then.

They don't have the same level of technological sophistication widely available, because there's a central power deliberately keeping them from accessing most of it (along with a wide variety of stupid decisions about economy).

But it's artificial. It's more about withholding technology from the undesirables than being unable to access it. And the government itself cannot utterly banish technology, something always slips in.

That is completely different than a Kingdom roughly on the level of XIX-century Russia sandwich between cavemen and Dark Ages vikings.

Not to mention world trading powers with lower tech than small isolated nations.


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bugleyman wrote:

People have -- and will continue to have -- this argument because the concept of objective evil literally makes no sense. Calling a spell evil is like calling a screwdriver evil.

Consider using Animate Dead to create skeletons in order to protect orphans from attack, or to evacuate a burning building full of invalids, or to work the fields and stave off starvation when there aren't enough laborers.

They might as well have a rule that says down is up.

And we're off again with a new contestant making the same argument.

House rule it. Add some consequences that make it make sense to you. Suspend your disbelief so you can enjoy the game.

Or you know, rant about how one more thing in the Pathfinder rule set doesn't make sense as world building.


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Trogdar wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Trogdar wrote:
Okay, I just can't square this circle because the fundamental impossibility of objectivity issuing from any conscious entity combined with the utter impossibility of value coming from anything without consciousness is clearly lost on you.
So your argument boils down to... "No way is that true! And I'm going to be snotty about it."?
I do, however, like the description Trogdar incorporated of himself: "the utter impossibility of value coming from anything without consciousness."
So a rock can make a judgement call. K.

If it's a magic rock in a fantasy world, sure. Why not?


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Trogdar wrote:

It's not a plot hole issue, it's a universe that contradicts itself issue. Objective good is like saying it's black white out. It makes just that much sense. There's no way to be objective and place value because to place value requires subjectivity. Let me reiterate; valuation requires consciousness, consciousness is fundamentally subjective innately, subjectivity cannot be objective ever.

All these analogies relating to armor statistics being off or some other element of the universe is at least consistent within its universe, objective value is completely inconsistent with itself and the reality it lives in.

If your whole universe would implode immediately due to the rules you place on it, then I suggest that those rules are not plot holes, they're black holes devouring your whole setting before you play.

I guess my arguments are going to fall on deaf ears. It's kind of like trying to describe how gravity isn't a force as much as a consequence of curved spacetime to a person who doesn't really get relativity.

And yet there are plenty of people in the real world who believe in objective morality. And far, far more throughout history.

As for imploding immediately - the PF verse wouldn't physically implode, but none of the economics works on anything better than a fiat level. There's little attention paid to things like monster population densities and whether the ecology should be at all stable. Nor should there be really. It's all designed around making fun adventures and keeping PC gear vaguely balanced.


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Trogdar wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Trogdar wrote:
And how is calling things like saving lives evil, or calling turning an entire population into pillars of salt(genocide) good equivalent to spoks parentage? For God or Golarion, you have to accept that, for good to be what it says, it has to be good to do harm.

No, I don't. And that's the fundamental disagreement. You have your own view of how things (in this case, the nature of evil) have to be which you are then attempting to impose upon someone else's work of fiction. Which is not only arrogant, but also stupid.

I'm arrogant and stupid because I point out logical inconsistency with the concept of objective morality... Really? I can certainly be arrogant as can anyone, but the topic of discussion and the nature of my responses put the lie to the second.

It's all irrelevant really, because attacking my person has no impact on my position.

I think certain things have to work a certain way because if they don't, then the defined thing becomes senseless.

"There is objective good, but no one knows or can know what that good is because no one is or can ever be objective."

So, if the above is true, what's the point in this idea of objective good/evil?

Now we've moved from "I don't like this particular bit of the alignment system" to "I oppose one of the major philosophical approaches to morality and get upset that the author doesn't agree with me." This really is a big philosophical question that's been debated for centuries. We're not going to hash it out here. The authors of an RPG aren't going to resolve.

For the record, I don't buy into objective morality either, but I'm perfectly happy suspending that disbelief for fiction. Or games.


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Trogdar wrote:

And how is calling things like saving lives evil, or calling turning an entire population into pillars of salt(genocide) good equivalent to spoks parentage? For God or Golarion, you have to accept that, for good to be what it says, it has to be good to do harm.

The Vulcan analogy really doesn't represent that.

Only in that one is an ethical question and one is a scientific question.

In either case, it simply doesn't make sense to say the author is wrong about how their own system works. It may not correspond with the real world. It might not match your understanding. It may upset you so much you can't keep reading the book or playing the game, but the author still gets to define their own world or game system.

Luckily in the game system, it's trivial to house rule.


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Trogdar wrote:
It's definitely defined as evil within the game. I guess we just have to swallow Divine command theory like good little Christians.

Not sure what it has to do with "Divine command theory", whatever that is. Or Christians, for that matter.

It's a rule, like any other game rule. It's "Paizo command theory", if anything. OTOH, if you don't like it, house rule it. Won't break the game.


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Weirdo wrote:
Patrick C. wrote:

See: why use Infernal Healing when Healing is available? Why Summon Devils when summoned Archons, or heck, even hired hands could do what you want them to do?

Because it's easier. Because it's more expedient. Because I wanna show them who's boss

All of which are the kind of thinking that will eventually lead someone to lose consideration for others... Which is the opposite of what the Good alignment is all about.

But expedience is only evil when it actually comes at the expense of others. Killing someone because it's easier than taking them prisoner, yes. Buying a prepared meal instead of cooking, no. Again going back to my "where's the harm" question, if casting an [evil] spell doesn't actually come at the expense of someone else somehow somewhere down the line, why is it evil?

That right there is where the disconnect exists.

We can make up reasons why the [evil] spells actually do harm if we want, but the only thing we actually know from the rules is that they are evil. The basic disconnect is that "is only evil when it actually comes at the expense of others" isn't actually true when it comes to supernatural evil in Pathfinder. There is real independent, objective evil in the system. There are things that are magically evil, whether or not they harm others. Simply because of the nature of the magic.

If you don't like that assumption, house rule it away. Make them not evil. Or house rule in some effect that justifies them being evil in your philosophy.

But you can't logic around the basic unshared axiom.


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Freehold DM wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:

The reason that Men's Right's Groups teach that feminism leads to misandry, is that many of them do have some awareness of history.

However they can only view things solely through a power arrangement, Master over slave, or Slave overthrowing and enslaving or killing Master.

They can only see feminists as misandrists precisely because they have been instilled in the meme of genders only existing in a bipolar relationship of one dominating the other. This is an example of the kind of damage that patriarchy does to men.

hmmm.

I've seen the same argument applied race relations and other shifts as well.

Essentially - "We treated them so horribly, if they get the upper hand they'll do the same to us." Equality often doesn't seem to be considered.


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James Jacobs wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
thejeff wrote:
It's also a fantasy world, which means we're not necessarily dealing with humans. Different species can have different psychologies and respond differently to such pressures or even have completely different gender divides or even genders for that matter.
True but since we have very limited to no experience with non-human sapience, we generally characterize these races with caricatures of human behavior.
Absolutely. The "fantasy world" is written by humans and read by humans, and that's important to keep in mind. PARTICULARLY for us who are creating the game, and who place the goal of making inclusivity at the top of the goals for creating and developing the world.

I agree. At least for a game world. I've read some fascinating fantasy & SF that explores non-human psychologies, but it takes a really good writer to do it well.

Not as good an idea for a game world where random players (or even GMs) would have to try to implement the weirdnesses without degenerating into bad caricatures.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Petrus222 wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
The argument is that enforcing social roles based on physical gender inevitably leads to the misery we've lived through for all genders.
I'm not so sure that's what was said earlier. The argument was more along the lines that inherent differences unavoidably lead to hate. I don't think they do and no one's offered a good reason why they have to.

You really are blithely ignoring facts presented to you. You get daily demonstrations on the fact that they DO. All of the Abrahamic religions put the fall of Man on Eve, as it's fallen Eve who tempts Adam to the forbidden fruit and it's Adam's fall, not Eve's that dooms Humanity. For the Greeks it was Pandora, and they thought that the proper way to treat their women was to shut them up in darkened isolated rooms.

I don't really care if you find one isolated tribe, or some sci-fi social experiment of a society that works the way you imagine it.

We live and bleed in the real world, and the real world gives constant examples that you can not have equality when you put value and role differences on physical gender. And putting role differences will, has, and always will lead to value differences as well. The only way to get out of the trap of the conclusion is to stop buying into the premise.

I think that's going too far. This is a discussion about a fantasy universe, not the real one (look at which forum it's in!) and therefore about the possible, not the merely probable. As such, our real world experience is a guide but not a straightjacket, because part of the role of fantasy is to explore the improbable possible.

It's also a fantasy world, which means we're not necessarily dealing with humans. Different species can have different psychologies and respond differently to such pressures or even have completely different gender divides or even genders for that matter.


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Jessica Price wrote:
thejeff wrote:

But all of those are cases deriving from historical roots of serious, blatant discrimination. This thing we're currently trying to do - treating women like actual equals capable of filling any of the same roles in society as men, and vice versa - is really a completely new experiment as far as I know. That we've come as far and as quickly as we have is surprising. That there are still serious problems and backlash isn't.

That's sort of an aside though, I really wanted to suggest looking outside the well known larger cultures, particularly the Christian and Islamic ones. I...

Yup, Medieval/Renaissance Jewish culture, for example, viewed learning/scholarship as the defining masculine characteristic, which meant that men who could afford to spent their time studying while women ran businesses. It wasn't quite a straight reversal of the men=public, women=private spheres that the Victorians set up, but it definitely resulted in a different dynamic. (Of course, it also privileged scholarship and devalued what women were doing, but that's a different point.)

And there were a ton of different gender setups in Africa and Asia. (See the Mosuo, the Igbo, etc.)

Yeah, that's the kind of thing I was thinking of, though not the specific examples. I'd forgotten about the Jewish culture thing.

There seem to be at least hints that it's possible to have different gender roles without one gender being the dominant one. OTOH, I'm not aware of any past cultures without different gender roles, which is the experiment we're aiming for today, however far we still are from it.


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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
thejeff wrote:
That's sort of an aside though, I really wanted to suggest looking outside the well known larger cultures, particularly the Christian and Islamic ones. I know there were some tribal cultures that shocked Europeans at contact with how differently their women were treated. I believe most still had strong gender roles, but I'm not sure how much that translated into dominance of one over the other or into hate.

Women are still being brutally murdered for the crime of being raped thus "dishonoring" their families. There are still countries that either overtly sanction this behavior by not outlawing it, or by looking the other way when it is done. Just today, an author who advocated LGBT rights in Bangladesh was brutally literally hacked to death.

Are you still not sure?

I was once naive enough to think that we had made great progress during the 60's and 70's having lived through those eras.

Now I have to face the brutal realization that we've just barely started, and the backlash from what little we've accomplished is hitting back seven fold.

I'm not sure how that really relates to what I said.

Yes, all the horrific s%#@ you say happens. Some of it as backlash, some of it as just the way it's been in those cultures.

I do think we've made some progress in the US and in at least parts of Europe - despite the problems that still exist and despite the backlash. And there is a long way to go. It really is a huge cultural shift. One of the biggest I'm aware of.

When I said I wasn't sure, I was thinking of some Native American cultures that seem to have had both divided gender roles and at the least more equality than the Europeans who encountered them. Possibly some Pacific groups as well. I'm not anything like an expert on those cultures, so I'm not sure what they really were like. That's the "not sure" I meant, not anything about what's happening in Bangladesh today.


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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Petrus222 wrote:

However I also think that's a shortsighted place to end up. There are ways, even if we haven't perfected them yet, to be different from one another and not have those differences result in hate or hateful attitudes.

History however has yet to show where this hasn't been the case. When men fail at being parents, they get treated with amusement or sympathy. When women have issues being parents, they will get no slack for circumstances... such as the single mother having to work 80 hours of unpaid labor to get a welfare check, or one facing post partum depression issues. We don't give those roles support because quite frankly as a society we don't value them.

Conversely when women DO excel in leadership roles that have been traditionally assigned to men, they're denigrated with terms such as "bossy" and others that won't past the messageboard censors, for behaving exactly the way we expect male leaders to behave.

This isn't just an American or Christian thing. In other cultures, we have gender based mutilation. In ISIS, troopers regularly kidnap women to use as sex slaves and in an ironic twist force them to take birth control to keep them usable as slaves under their version of Islamic law.

So yes in a purely theoretical sense you may be right, but history has yet to show ONE example of a culture that validates your assessment over that of Ms. Price's.

But all of those are cases deriving from historical roots of serious, blatant discrimination. This thing we're currently trying to do - treating women like actual equals capable of filling any of the same roles in society as men, and vice versa - is really a completely new experiment as far as I know. That we've come as far and as quickly as we have is surprising. That there are still serious problems and backlash isn't.

That's sort of an aside though, I really wanted to suggest looking outside the well known larger cultures, particularly the Christian and Islamic ones. I know there were some tribal cultures that shocked Europeans at contact with how differently their women were treated. I believe most still had strong gender roles, but I'm not sure how much that translated into dominance of one over the other or into hate.


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HWalsh wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
If you want devil's blood just buy a spell component pouch, no questions asked about how you get anything in one of them, it's just there.
Actually no. You're assuming Devil's Blood is in such a pouch. In any world where the blood is given a cost (usually around 25 GP) that's not the case. Also it still has to get there so someone still has to summon a devil and barter for it. So lore-wise my point 100% stands.

Except you're house-ruling in the 25 gp cost. RAW, there's no such cost, so it's available in the pouch.

Lore-wise, it's not clear where the blood comes from. It's a Cheliax spell and devils are relatively common in Cheliax, so it's quite possible they do bleed themselves for this purpose, probably in hopes of tainting less scrupulous mages.
OTOH, if adventurers happen across a devil up to no good elsewhere in the world, killing it is perfectly good. I bet you can get a lot of doses of blood from a single devil. Depends of course on how much blood is needed, which is again, not specified.


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Patrick C. wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Patrick C. wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Not my point. It's not the labels that are the issue. You use the evil spells sufficiently, your alignment changes to evil.

The question is does the character who uses such spells in the course of his normal adventuring life, but who otherwise adheres to Good behavior make sense? Or should the corruption from those spells that changes his alignment also lead to changes in behavior in other ways?

Does dealing with devils or raising undead just change some arbitrary magical tag that affects how you interact with certain spells and effects or does your actual behavior and personality reflect the change in that tag?

A strict reading

You're going from the premise that the adventurer will use such spells but behave perfectly Good the rest of the time.

What we are arguing is precisely that it's very unlikely that someone using such spells would continue acting perfectly Good the rest of the time.

I mean, why does the adventurer uses such spells in the first place? There are Good and neutral (small-case n neutral) spells with the same effect. Why this affinity for Evil?

I think in character it would be unlikely, but there are plenty of players who look at those spells and go "They aren't really evil, so I might as well use them", even though they wouldn't have their characters do things they consider evil.

So we really do see characters who behave that way.
Well, yeah. But in that case, it ceases to be a "role-playing" game and it becomes a sort of videogame... Which is okay, if you're having fun, but in that case, it's better to ditch the alignment mechanics altogether.

Please leave the videogame analogies out. They do nothing but piss people off.

So you're on the "If use of magic changes your alignment, you should actually behave like your new alignment" side. Which is basically where I am. With some nuances.

Pretty much everything I've said here is in the way of providing reasons for it to work that way.


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Patrick C. wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Not my point. It's not the labels that are the issue. You use the evil spells sufficiently, your alignment changes to evil.

The question is does the character who uses such spells in the course of his normal adventuring life, but who otherwise adheres to Good behavior make sense? Or should the corruption from those spells that changes his alignment also lead to changes in behavior in other ways?

Does dealing with devils or raising undead just change some arbitrary magical tag that affects how you interact with certain spells and effects or does your actual behavior and personality reflect the change in that tag?

A strict reading

You're going from the premise that the adventurer will use such spells but behave perfectly Good the rest of the time.

What we are arguing is precisely that it's very unlikely that someone using such spells would continue acting perfectly Good the rest of the time.

I mean, why does the adventurer uses such spells in the first place? There are Good and neutral (small-case n neutral) spells with the same effect. Why this affinity for Evil?

I think in character it would be unlikely, but there are plenty of players who look at those spells and go "They aren't really evil, so I might as well use them", even though they wouldn't have their characters do things they consider evil.

So we really do see characters who behave that way.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
thejeff wrote:

My point is that I consider both to similar, though the Helm is obviously more direct.

Regularly casting the evil spells is changing you. Corrupting you. Your roleplay should reflect that. If you don't want to play the Chaotic Evil character, stop doing the magical things that are changing you into one.

That's a House Rule though. Casting Evil spells changes you, but no more than any other Aligned act (indeed, Animate Dead aside, it's specified as a 'minor act'). It's corrupting, not controlling.

A Helm of Opposite Alignment has specific language that forces you to like your new Alignment...no other Alignment change (including that from casting spells) has that 'mental as well as moral' language, and thus no other Alignment change actually enforces any particular behavioral changes.

I'm not sure I'd call it so much a House Rule as an interpretation (or a justification?) that allows the "casting evil spells makes you evil" and "you should roleplay your alignment" parts to work together. I guess the last is sort of a house rule?

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Patrick C. wrote:

This.

An Evil act, like summoning devils to save children, does not force you to start murdering children the next day. But it watts at your conscience. Either you are going to repent of it, bemoaning the circumstances that forced you to rely on devils... Or you will start to think that it's morally permissible to use devils to save children. And from there, it's easier to "fall" for a position in which you think it's morally permissible to use devils to topple oppressive lords... And from there, to using devils for torturing Evil people... Or criminals... Or people you just don't like.

Will this necessarily happen? No, not necessarily... It might not happen. But everyone has to agree that it is easier to fall from "it's okay to use devils to save children" to "it's okay to use devils to beat my enemies" than from "it's never okay to use devils at all".

Yeah. This. this is corruption. It doesn't compel behavior, or force you to do or think anything...it just starts you on a path. You can certainly always turn around, but it's easier to just keep going.

But if the "corruption" doesn't actually do anything but mechanically change your alignment even though you keep exactly the same behavior, other than maybe being willing to use devils for more good purposes, we're back at the "Well why is that a problem in the first place?" You might be evil, but there's no reason your behavior has to change to do things you wouldn't have done in the first place - like torture, you're just willing to use devilish magic to do the things you would have been doing anyway.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Patrick C. wrote:
Good is not symmetrical to Evil. Good is way more demanding, and way easier to fall from.

This I kinda disagree with. Kinda.

It's not true that Good acts somehow impact your alignment less than Evil ones. It's not true that a minor Evil act taints every Good related to it but not vice versa. The two are equal in force and function.

But...Good acts are, on a practical level, often much harder to accomplish than Evil ones. Saving an innocent life at risk to your own is simply more difficult to do than the cold-blooded murder of an innocent. And so on.

So...I disagree that Evil is easier on a conceptual level, but I agree that it often is on a practical one. At least the extreme stuff. Small acts of both types are generally pretty easy...though even minor acts of Good are easier for some than others.

Here I'd agree with Orfamay below - especially when it comes to acts of supernatural evil - things that are magically corrupting. Evil and good don't have to work the same way there and don't have to cancel out cleanly.

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