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Should "Lawful" Alignment be Renamed "Ordered"


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew

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One of my perennial aggravations of the alignment system has been that I always thought Lawful alignment sounded a bit like the odd one out.

It doesn't help that this has (at least in my experience) led to a a fair number of new-ish players thinking lawful alignment is entirely about obeying the law.

Personally, I think that "Order vs Chaos" sounds a lot more archetypal/iconic, and it would avoid the whole issue of some players thinking that lawful alignment is only about following the law by having a clearer base term.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Regardless of if it should, it can't. People are too ingrained with it for the game to be edited that way.

I'd support such a decision however.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yes yes yes yes yes YES yes yes a thousand times YES.

Shadow Lodge

9 people marked this as a favorite.

If for no other reason than to have my paladins alignment be OG.

Shadow Lodge

*snerk*


I certainly think that you are on to something. However I could see this being used as grounds to never follow the law. No I am orderly and devoted to a life routine I see no need to follow the law. It would be reduced to just a personality trait. The strength of the current alignment system is that invokes both personality, morality, and the individuals relation ship with various types of authority.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

IF you did that, wouldn't you get sued by whathisname of Palladium?

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The thing is, the law has no bearing on whether a character is lawful/orderly or not. It never has, and only the misnomer of the name has introduced that confusion. A L/O character lives by a strong, mostly-unwavering personal code that may or may not coincide with their religious dogma, oaths, orders, and/or local regulations.

A L/O character respects the existence of law and the rule of authority figures in concept because they believe a life ordered by rules and restrictions is one that promotes safety and productivity, but their respect for the specific regulations and/or persons of power depends on their personal code and how the two compare more than their alignment.

You'll find no one more opposed to a set of laws than a lawful/orderly character whose own code conflicts very strongly with them - s/he may support the concept of law, but obviously lives by their code because they see it as the best way to live, and a code in opposition to their own would be deemed harmful to those it claims to protect, and thus in need of revoking: whether by revolution and destruction of the offending regulations or by more "within the system" methods, depending on their specific alignment and other facets of their personality.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
IF you did that, wouldn't you get sued by whathisname of Palladium?

Does he have them trademarked or something?

Grand Lodge

The term "Lawful" has been used for Alignments for at least 35 years.

It's almost like asking everyone to switch from using d20's to 2d10. "Hey look, this way is better. No more natural 1's!"

I believe your view on "Lawful <> following the Law" is not held by the majority.

Shadow Lodge

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Better idea - drop the antiquated concept of alignment altogether.

Shadow Lodge

I like alignments too much to get rid of the system. Plus, much of the game is built around them, it would be an excessive and unnecessary addition of work. I simply think the rename would clear up some irritating confusion.

Baby, bathwater, you know the drill.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Don Walker wrote:

The term "Lawful" has been used for Alignments for at least 35 years.

It's almost like asking everyone to switch from using d20's to 2d10. "Hey look, this way is better. No more natural 1's!"

I believe your view on "Lawful <> following the Law" is not held by the majority.

You shouldn't refrain from improving something just because it's been around long. For example, Paizo changed class hit dice that have been the same for a LONG TIME.

(I don't think that they should have improved the hit dice for full casters. by the way.)

Andoran

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I've excised alignment from my game without a problem for the last few years.

Shadow Lodge

Nimt wrote:
You shouldn't refrain from improving something just because it's been around long. For example, Paizo changed class hit dice that have been the same for a LONG TIME.

Wish I could favorite just this part of the post, heh.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Don Walker wrote:
I believe your view on "Lawful <> following the Law" is not held by the majority.

Except there's no such thing as 'the Law'. As soon as you bring that up, you have to ask 'which Law'.

Most Lawful characters are likely going to follow the laws they were raised with, most of the time. But that's not the same as following 'the Law'. Which can get confusing, which is why the OP made they're suggestion.

I have no idea about what 'the majority' believe. But the majority of the people I've played with believe "Lawful <> following the Law".


LazarX wrote:
IF you did that, wouldn't you get sued by whathisname of Palladium?

Palladium didn't use an "Ordered" alignment. It had "Principled" and "Scrupulous."

Shadow Lodge

I should probably drop this disclaimer: I pretty much already do this in my groups. In my more experienced group it's a well-understood thing already. In my newbie group I was very clear in explaining "Lawful is a somewhat inaccurate misnomer, Ordered or Orderly would be more accurate" right from the get-go. We're just lazy about actually changing the use of the word, since the books all use Lawful. =P


calling lawfull ORDERED would be a good idea

just like

calling barbarian class BERZERKER or RAGER would be a good idea


If it helps your group get a feel for alignments then by all means rename it. You don't need our permission.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Is renaming anything 5 years into the game's lifecycle a good idea?

There's awesome tradition in the alignments. When Stephen Colbert thanks his audience for their applause by saying "That's good of you... that's lawful good of you..." I dunno. Ordered just won't cut it.


My definition of "Lawful" is pretty simple. A "Lawful" Character always keeps their word as promised. LN and LE may use deceit in the wording of their promises, as long as it is not stretched. Other than that I could care less.

Andoran

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Damn, EL pulled the Colbert card. Pack it in, we're done here.


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Orthos wrote:

The thing is, the law has no bearing on whether a character is lawful/orderly or not. It never has, and only the misnomer of the name has introduced that confusion. A L/O character lives by a strong, mostly-unwavering personal code that may or may not coincide with their religious dogma, oaths, orders, and/or local regulations.

This isn't lawful. Everyone, Lawful, Chaotic, Neutral, Evil, Good, unless insane, follows a personal code. The alternative to following a personal code is just selecting a random action at any time by flipping a coin. Even if you only do what feels correct to you in a particular moment, the personal code is "do what feels good."

Lawful follows the law. Depending on how strictly lawful, they follow the law unwaveringly. If they don't like it, they do something within the law to challenge it. They try to expose a corrupt magistrate, not murder him in his courtroom. Lawful sees someone in a position of power doing something unlawful and blames the person; chaotic blames the system. Lawful's solution is to put a better person in the position, or more drastically, fix the system if it needs fixing. Now just because your character sheet says you're lawful, doesn't mean you always have to work that way. It simply means that it's the best general description of his approach.

Now as far as changing the name? Sure, whatever. I actually think that chaos more of a misnomer. A chaotic character doesn't ALWAYS prefer chaos, he simply values personal freedom above adherence to the law. It doesn't mean he goes around breaking every available law in interest of chaos.

TLDR version: the problem with the alignment system is people understanding and using it poorly, not the system itself.

Shadow Lodge

MyTThor wrote:
Lawful follows the law. Depending on how strictly lawful, they follow the law unwaveringly. If they don't like it, they do something within the law to challenge it. They try to expose a corrupt magistrate, not murder him in his courtroom. Lawful sees someone in a position of power doing something unlawful and blames the person; chaotic blames the system. Lawful's solution is to put a better person in the position, or more drastically, fix the system if it needs fixing. Now just because your character sheet says you're lawful, doesn't mean you always have to work that way. It simply means that it's the best general description of his approach.

I'm at work so can't get to the official paperwork, but I'm pretty sure that's not what it says. Explain to me the Lawful Evil conquering tyrant who dismisses other lands' laws and regulations with an uncaring wave of the hand as he crushes their soldiers and citizenry under his heel, to start.

Also, as PH said, saying "Lawful follows the law" invites "Which Law?" as the obvious response, and demands an answer to what happens when the law changes to something the character's personal morals object to.

MyTThor wrote:
TLDR version: the problem with the alignment system is people understanding and using it poorly, not the system itself.

This on the other hand I agree with 100%.


Pathfinder Campaign Setting Subscriber

I don't know... I feel like we'd go from Lawful Jerky Paladins to Obsessive Compulsive Paladins.

Although the idea of Monk being a paladin does make me chuckle a bit.


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pH unbalanced wrote:
Except there's no such thing as 'the Law'. As soon as you bring that up, you have to ask 'which Law'.

Which is one of the advantages of using Order over Law as a term; Order as a concept is far less prone to getting pigeonholed and misinterpreted the way Law has tended to be. Personally, I think that people playing "Ordered Stupid" wouldn't be as frequent of a problem as "Lawful Stupid" tends to be.

If you go with Lawful = Always obeys the Law, then you get preposterous situations like every evil kingdom simply having a Law that Paladins must surrender to the lawful authorities for immediate execution.

To quote from PFSRD:

"Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties...

Law implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include closed-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, self-righteousness, and a lack of adaptability. Those who consciously promote lawfulness say that only lawful behavior creates a society in which people can depend on each other and make the right decisions in full confidence that others will act as they should."

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

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Lawful and Orderly

In the Pathfinder alignment system, there are two separate but equal lawfully-aligned character classes: the paladins who detect offenders, and the district monks who prosecute them. These are their stories.

*bing bong!*

(If I had even a modicum of artistic talent, this would be a web comic right now.)

Sczarni

I vote no. Does the law allow that?

"Order" does not invoke a "following" of something. It simply means you put up building blocks to suit your whim. A two year old can "Order" blocks and make "words".

"Lawful" does invoke a "following" of something. I means you put up building blocks to suit society's needs. It takes a much older person to put the blocks in "lawful" alignment and make "words" acceptable to the rest of society.

A Lawful Evil person follows the law and twists it to expose the weaknesses in this inherent difference. A Orderly Evil person would be the same as Chaotic Evil, as his "Order" is total evil and destruction and this "Order" has nothing to give to a structured society. Whereas the Lawful Evil person wants people to follow... Perhaps you would say Order Evil is the same thing as Lawful Evil... then why change it? So again, I vote no.

The first part of an alignment describes how you attempt to carry out the second part. And the second part is a reflection of intent of the first part.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
MyTThor wrote:

This isn't lawful. Everyone, Lawful, Chaotic, Neutral, Evil, Good, unless insane, follows a personal code. The alternative to following a personal code is just selecting a random action at any time by flipping a coin. Even if you only do what feels correct to you in a particular moment, the personal code is "do what feels good."

Lawful follows the law. Depending on how strictly lawful, they follow the law unwaveringly. If they don't like it, they do something within the law to challenge it. They try to expose a corrupt magistrate, not murder him in his courtroom. Lawful sees someone in a position of power doing something unlawful and blames the person; chaotic blames the system. Lawful's solution is to put a better person in the position, or more drastically, fix the system if it needs fixing. Now just because your character sheet says you're lawful, doesn't mean you always have to work that way. It simply means that it's the best general description of his approach.

Dude, this is exactly why he wants to change it. in the game Lawful means you follow a strick set of rules, and chaos means you do things on a whim. That is quite simply how the law vs chaos thing goes. Realisticly, no one can be chaotic unless they are insane, because as you said, every one has a personal code, however the more chaotic character is the one that is willing to break that code when push comes to shove.


J3Carlisle wrote:
Dude, this is exactly why he wants to change it. in the game Lawful means you follow a strick set of rules, and chaos means you do things on a whim. That is quite simply how the law vs chaos thing goes. Realisticly, no one can be chaotic unless they are insane, because as you said, every one has a personal code, however the more chaotic character is the one that is willing to break that code when push comes to shove.

I disagree with that. The point of the chaotic character isn't whether they are willing to break their code, the point of the chaotic character is they don't care how their code meshes with everyone else's.

Orthos wrote:
Explain to me the Lawful Evil conquering tyrant who dismisses other lands' laws and regulations with an uncaring wave of the hand as he crushes their soldiers and citizenry under his heel, to start.
SRD wrote:
A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order, but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank.

Simply, your lawful evil tyrant follows the golden rule, but the one from Aladdin - he who has the gold (power) makes the rules.

The only way it makes sense to ask for an explanation as to how a character can act a certain way contrary to his alignment is if you assume that everyone must always act according to their alignment. That's not how the alignment system is intended to work. It's a general indication of your outlook on life, NOT a prescribed set of actions that must guide how you act in every moment of every day.

Shadow Lodge

MyTThor wrote:
SRD wrote:
A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order, but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank.

Yes, note how that makes absolutely zero mention of how he follows the local laws of any land, which is what I was asking you to explain.

And also may I point out in that very same quote:

SRD wrote:
A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order, but not about freedom, dignity, or life.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am in no way wanting to seem like an ass, but you kind of just proved yourself wrong.

"A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts"

This is the same as

"the point of the chaotic character is they don't care how their code meshes with everyone else's."

Shadow Lodge

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Here. Let's try it this way.

A Lawful/Orderly character is predictable. He will act, according to his personal code of beliefs, in the same manner whenever the same situation comes up. He decides these sort of things in advance and abides by them. Put him in the same box several times in a row, with similar modifying circumstances and intents, and you'll get the same response (or an extremely similar one) every time.

A Chaotic character is whimsical. He does not make preparations for choices in advance or set in stone proper reactions to events, preferring to judge each situation according to its individual whim and respond as he feels at that time. Regardless how similar the situation at hand may be to one that he's encountered before, he is no less likely to follow the same pattern as previous than he is to decide to do something completely different.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Orthos wrote:
MyTThor wrote:
SRD wrote:
A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order, but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank.

Yes, note how that makes absolutely zero mention of how he follows the local laws of any land.

And also may I point out in that very same quote:

SRD wrote:
A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order, but not about freedom, dignity, or life.

Just because your general code of ethics means you follow the law, doesn't mean that you will submit to any local law no matter how disadvantageous to you. If a lawful character enters a land where there is a law stating no swords may be drawn in public, he will likely follow the law. If he is attacked by bandits, he will most likely defend himself with his sword. The most lawful thing to do at this point would be to then turn himself in to the authorities pleading justification of self-defense. Now yes, the most perfectly law-abiding thing to do would have been to fight the bandits hand-to-hand. But that's suicidal. That's called lawful stupid, and it's what crappy role-players do with paladins.

A chaotic character, on the other hand, (at least a chaotic good character), would probably still keep his blade sheathed until necessary, but after the fight would feel no compunctions about what he did, and wouldn't turn himself into the authorities. Just because the law is to keep your sword in its sheath, and he's chaotic, doesn't mean he's just going to walk around swinging his sword.


Orthos wrote:

Here. Let's try it this way.

A Lawful/Orderly character is predictable. He will act, according to his personal code of beliefs, in the same manner whenever the same situation comes up. He decides these sort of things in advance and abides by them. Put him in the same box several times in a row, with similar modifying circumstances and intents, and you'll get the same response (or an extremely similar one) every time.

A Chaotic character is whimsical. He does not make preparations for choices in advance or set in stone proper reactions to events, preferring to judge each situation according to its individual whim and respond as he feels at that time. Regardless how similar the situation at hand may be to one that he's encountered before, he is no less likely to follow the same pattern as previous than he is to decide to do something completely different.

Well, I don't totally disagree, but I'll do mine.

A lawful character is much more likely to be constrained or conflicted about something he wants to do based on the pressures put on him by society. He does this because he feels law is necessary to protect those who cannot protect themselves (if they're good), because he feels like people are idiots and need to be directed by a person in power, who can then extract gain from the masses in exchange (if he's lawful evil).

Chaotic characters, on the other hand, relish the fact that if the code on which they have decided becomes obsolete for them, they have the flexibility to change it. It doesn't mean they are as likely to steal from a shop as they are to pay. It means that the law isn't what governs that decision - for a chaotic good character he probably decides to pay because the shopkeep hasn't wronged him in any way. For a chaotic evil character he probably bases the decision on whether he thinks he can afford having the shopkeep and the town watch as enemies.

Andoran

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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I guess we were due for another annual alignment thread anyway.

Shadow Lodge

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Yeah.

Thor, we're gonna have to agree to disagree, as I've had my fill of this thread and am making it go away.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
I guess we were due for another annual alignment thread anyway.

Annual? Don't you mean weekly?


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I like chaotic neutral. Because I can do whatever I want to do.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Within the limits of CN, yes.


El Cid Vicious, AnarkoPaladin wrote:
I like chaotic neutral. Because I can do whatever I want to do.

Any alignment can do whatever they want to do. It may not be consistent with their alignment, but they can do it.


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MyTThor wrote:
El Cid Vicious, AnarkoPaladin wrote:
I like chaotic neutral. Because I can do whatever I want to do.
Any alignment can do whatever they want to do. It may not be consistent with their alignment, but they can do it.

I know. That's why I'm lawful good.


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I try to handwave alignment away and not have it be an important part of play.


I like the idea.

You also made me lol at a bad time toz. Bad toz.


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TOZ wrote:
If for no other reason than to have my paladins alignment be OG.

Asmodeus doesn't always drink malt liquor, but when he does, it's OE.


I prefer TCM

Traditional-conservative muppet.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Lawful should be renamed 'Control'. Then you would have 'Control vs. Chaos'.

But really, the alignment system is only confusing for those who aren't aware of the literature that was its origin. Law vs. Chaos was all there was in the original 'Chainmail' rule system, and it spawned from Micheal Moorcock's Eternal Champion novels (of which the Elric series is the most famous. And note that Moonglum is the companion to Elric in that series...)

In those books, Chaos and Law are more cosmic forces than definitions of a character's personality.

In D&D, people wanted to create other kinds of fantasy worlds, such as the traditional one where the overall conflict is a simple good vs. evil one. So they ended up adding good and evil.

I once made an 8 dimensional alignment system. I think there was life vs. death, knowledge vs. oblivion (thank you Excaliber), law vs. chaos, love vs. selfishness, magic vs. mundanity, truth (light) vs. deception (shadow), and I forgot what the other 2 dimensions were. So you could be 'lawful-death-oblivion-deception-selfish-mundane' in alignment. It never really was very popular with players, but they thought it was a fun idea.

Another alignment system I have seen was based on the Kholberg's stages of moral development. This just gave in and said that alignment was a character's personal ethical outlook. The better wisdom score a character had, the more advanced alignment they could adopt. So unwise character would have alignments like 'nice' or 'nasty-unfair', or for vermin 'mechanistic', while very wise characters could have alignments like 'relativistic', 'just', or 'principled-dark'.


Um... I think the OP was talking about changing the name for his own game... not for the whole world. But it's fun to see the various arguments.

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