Why is it so difficult to determine what has Lawful and / or Chaotic alignments, but so easy to determine Good and Evil alignments?


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As the title.

What sparked this, is I know there are a lot of planar beings that are only purely Chaotic, or purely Lawful, and don't have any sort of Good or Evil ties to them. But without the Beastiary slapping a "This is Lawful/Chaotic" tag on the outsider in question, the only way a player can determine whether something is Lawful or Chaotic is by using things like Detect (Alignment goes here) abilities, or a very lucky Knowledge check, which may or may not even work due to things like Undetectable Alignment and the such.

A lot of such creatures can be determined by their behavior, or even their appearance. But these guys? You'd have to basically get a spreadsheet or schedule to determine whether they are Lawful or Chaotic, and even that's iffy because you wouldn't even know what to look for.

Am I missing something? Are purely Lawful/Chaotic beings that much more difficult to determine, and more powerful than those who are more easily detected and dealt with?


Place ranks in Knowledge: Planes?

EDIT: Oh, wait, the player and not the character? You shouldn't know, at least not until one of your characters interacts with it, uses an appropriate divination ability, or uses its ranks in Knowledge: Planes.


Blake's Tiger wrote:

Place ranks in Knowledge: Planes?

EDIT: Oh, wait, the player and not the character? You shouldn't know, at least not until one of your characters interacts with it, uses an appropriate divination ability, or uses its ranks in Knowledge: Planes.

I'm not saying that the player himself needs to know. In fact, I'm saying the opposite; the character should know before the player does, and it usually ends up being the opposite because the tools you need to use to actually determine such things, even for a player, are obsolete or don't even work half the time.

The line between Lawful and Chaotic seem so blurred (and at the same time, so glossed over and insignificant) that it's just never dealt with.

That being said, I would still agree that even for the Player, it's more difficult to determine what is Lawful/Chaotic before knowing what is Good/Evil without the player looking into the Beastiary entry and seeing the "This is Lawful/Chaotic" tag on the creature's type.

It shouldn't require what is effectively cheating to know how to actually deal with a Lawful/Chaotic outsider.


I always thought (or at least ran it in my games) that a Lawful or Chaotic creature has just as obvious a behavior as a Good or Evil creatures.

If Good Outsiders shine with radiance and can't help but be nice and Evil creatures look dark, foreboding, and wrong and can't help but kick puppies, then a Lawful creature looks so perfect that it was hand assembled (whether it's an Inevitable or an Axiomite) and can't even imagine going against the grain and a Chaotic creature has a form that feels like it's shifting and going every which way even if it isn't and seems like it can't stay on one train of thought.


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Everyone has a caricature villain or hero in their mind. It is lot easier to make someone edgy and violent than really serious about order of things.

Does not help that lot of people kinda just throw chaos to evil corner and lawful to good corner and be done with it.


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A lawful creature will kill you for littering, but he will place said litter and your corpse in the proper receptacle. A chaotic creature will rearrange your furniture until the room has a nice organic flow to it. You will need to use the smell test to tell which of the clothes strewn about have been laundered.


It's because the Law vs. Chaos axis isn't really an ethical spectrum; it's a collection of personality traits. Whereas many cultural and philosophical beliefs can be projected onto the Good vs. Evil axis, Law and Chaos are collections of personality traits*. And because personality traits are not at all mutually exclusive, determining what's Chaotic, Neutral, and Lawful can be nigh-impossible unless a creature falls neatly into one of those three boxes.

For example, I keep my word and largely tell the truth. When I'm on a team, I play for the team and can be relied upon to do at least my share. I can also be slow to react to new situations. However, I also strongly believe in personal freedom and don't particularly like being part of a team in the first place. I have a facile mind and imagination, and understand new concepts quickly. I don't believe in change for the sake of change, but nor do I believe in continuity for the sake of continuity. I have near-endless patience for putting things in order, but almost none for things that I consider trivial or politicking.

Am I Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic? I think you can see the problem.

*2e Law and Chaos are more philosophical/ethical, but the only vestige of this in 3.x is the "dedicated to balance" option for True Neutrals.

Shadow Lodge

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Time to bring this out again.

Law and Chaos: Your Rules or Mine? wrote:

Let's get this out in the open: Law and Chaos do not have any meaning under the standard D&D rules.

We are aware that especially if you've been playing this game for a long time, you personally probably have an understanding of what you think Law and Chaos are supposed to mean. You possibly even believe that the rest of your group thinks that Law and Chaos mean the same thing you do. But you're probably wrong. The nature of Law and Chaos is the source of more arguments among D&D players (veteran and novice alike) than any other facet of the game. More than attacks of opportunities, more than weapon sizing, more even than spell effect inheritance. And the reason is because the "definition" of Law and Chaos in the Player's Handbook is written so confusingly that the terms are not even mutually exclusive. Look it up, this is a written document, so it's perfectly acceptable for you to stop reading at this time, flip open the Player's Handbook, and start reading the alignment descriptions. The Tome of Fiends will still be here when you get back. … There you go! Now that we're all on the same page (page XX), the reason why you've gotten into so many arguments with people as to whether their character was Lawful or Chaotic is because absolutely every action that any character ever takes could logically be argued to be both. A character who is honorable, adaptable, trustworthy, flexible, reliable, and loves freedom is a basically stand-up fellow, and meets the check marks for being "ultimate Law" and "ultimate Chaos". There aren't any contradictory adjectives there. While Law and Chaos are supposed to be opposed forces, there's nothing antithetical about the descriptions in the book.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

One issue with the law vs chaos divide is that behavior may not appear all that different between lawful and chaotic characters in the short run. They just have different worldviews that drive how they look at situations and rationalize how they behave. This can make things pretty murky, particularly for newer players or ones who don't have as much time on their hands to mull over this crap as I do.

So I try to provide a bit more oomph to what it means to be lawful or chaotic. I tell people to think more along the lines of collective vs individual when looking at lawful vs chaotic. Lawful characters see themselves fitting into collectives as important pieces of the machine of society (or pieces of the puzzle, whatever metaphor turns you on) by their nature. Chaotic characters think of themselves as unique individuals and, if they fit into society (which they can), it's not by nature, it's by choice.
And it's not just any single society for either of these questions. It's a bunch - nation, ethnic group, religion, guild, company, order, whatever. As someone who is a part of these societies by nature, the lawful character tries to conform to the expectations of all of the societies they belong to - prioritizing competing expectations only when they need to. Those instances may be difficult, but conformity is otherwise relatively easy on the psychology. The chaotic character picks and chooses which tenets of which societies they will follow - this irons out many of the internal philosophical conflicts a chaotic individual might face, but lead to more outward conflict as they buck traditions and expectations they don't like.

Once I define things that way, I have no problem seeing paladins in Cheliax, paladins as Hellknights, and paladins living alongside slave owners. They may be good and belong to the Church of Iomedae, but they're also Chelaxians and don't trust willfully disrespectful and unreliable Andoranians. I also have no problem with chaotic characters following consistent codes of behavior - they're just idiosyncratic codes of behavior - suitable to themselves. This is also why Batman is Chaotic Good, not Lawful. He does things HIS way, not the way everyone expects him to behave (that's LG Superman).

Once I put things in those terms, lawful and chaotic are a lot easier to deal with.


@Daw: Or the other way around. Works too.

Liberty's Edge

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

I have my own notions of what Lawful and Chaotic mean in the game and they are as strong as my notions of Good and Evil. And so do all who play the game. It's just that we feel more strongly about Good and Evil and debate them more in places such as these boards, thus ending up with clearer and more refined views on that axis than we do on the Lawful-Chaotic one


I suspect it has to do with the following.

A) Alignment is a poorly designed system carried over from previous editions. If you remove paladin, antipaladin, and a handful of spells from the game it can easily be abolished.

B) Law and Chaos are based on patterns, and so smaller sample sizes (one action) can't really show a proper pattern. Good and Evil are based on direct acts (kicking puppies/saving orphans) as well as how those acts effect the world (greater good/lesser evils), but a lawful act would be followed by a dozen more.

C) See TOZ above for a better explanation than I could write.

D) Because if it is too easy to see law from chaos then monks would fall as often as paladins, which considering how the original (core) monk already had a lot weighing him down, would just be a kick in the teeth.

E) People rarely look for chances to make a character to slide anywhere but evil. Rarely are there conflicts between lawful and chaotic PCs, so putting someone in the "wrong box" isn't going to have a big effect. But 1 evil character in a party with a good cleric or paladin is a way to generate conflict and enhance some stories.


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Because what's chaos for the fly is normal for the spider.


It's...

uh...

maybe if...

there might be a reason...

Look, it just is. Now run before the crazy alignment arguers find this thread and rip it apart.


I've gained the impression over the years that Michael Moorcock's work probably had a big influence on D&D's concepts of Law and Chaos. For some reason I'd never read the Elric stories up until now, but I'm currently in the process of doing so. Maybe when I'm done I'll better understand what folks were thinking when they made Law basically good and Chaos basically evil in Basic D&D. Obviously alignments were a lot more nuanced and confusing (perhaps even advanced) in AD&D and subsequent editions. I remember when I first saw a copy of the AD&D Monster Manual and was slightly fascinated by the concept of creatures who were Chaotic Good or those noted to have "good tendencies".

I can't help but notice that some of us (me included) have a tendency to put Law before Chaos just as we might tend to put Good before Evil even though that's not how they'd appear in alphabetical order. Maybe this is why Lord Arioch wants our blood and souls.

Back to the actual subject of the thread, I have no idea what the OP is talking about. Is there some special rule which makes it harder to ID a Lawful or Chaotic outsider with Knowledge (Planes) than it is to ID a Good or Evil one?


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Nerd alert!

I don't see how you can define chaos perfectly. If you could define chaos perfectly then you could write a law that describes it and it would no longer be chaotic. It is a paradox. Similarly you can't define law perfectly because that would allow you to define chaos perfectly as the exact opposite of the definition of law. A perfect understanding of law and chaos is in principle impossible and therefore their true relationship unknowable.

I suppose an analogy for this in mathematics would be if I wrote down a sequence of numbers without explaining where they came from. There is no way of knowing, just looking at the numbers, whether they were randomly determined (chaotic) or generated by a formula (a law). The number Pi is composed of digits that go on for ever and never repeat and also pass every mathematical test for randomness. At the same time Pi can be generated to any desired level of precision by a formula. And that is not nearly as strange as uncomputable numbers. These are numbers that we can know of without knowing anything about their structure, we can't even reliably estimate their value but they are a fundamental part of our modern system of mathematics. How is it that a well defined and orderly system like mathematics contains numbers so chaotic that they are unknowable? Weird.

In chemistry we don't know how a given molecule decides whether to head down one reaction pathway or another but we can accurately predict what the population will do.

In physics we don't yet know what causes fundamentally random quantum events to coalesce into predictable phenomenon that obey physical laws.

Chaos and law are obviously linked but how they are linked is a mystery. My point? Who knows? Maybe this is just a random collections of thoughts. Carry on with what you were doing, fnord 42, nerd rant over.


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The main two issues are that
a)The actual definitions of Law and Chaos in the Core Rulebook are highly ambiguous, and
b)The two definitinos aren't mutually exclusive.

In particular,

Core Rulebook wrote:

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.

...
Chaos implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility.

A nomadic hunter/gatherer tribe that has been living the same traditional lifestyle for centuries, for example, fits both the definitions of Lawful and Chaotic. The default fluff of the barbarian class suggests that all barbarians should be lawful (which contradicts the Core Rulebook's assertions that no Barbarians may be Lawful).

...
Which goes back to the passage TOZ quoted above: there is really no substantive basis on which a character is assigned a "lawful" or "chaotic" alignment, anyone can assign any alignment to any character because the Lawful/Chaotic alignment axis is completely meaningless.


Yes, Gygaxi was fascinated with Moorcocks work, in fact, he was so fascinated that he registered copyrights on it to protect his rights to it in D&D.

Imagine his surprise when he was informed that Mr. Moorcock was in point of fact, still alive, and still in possession of the Copyrights for his books.
No more Chaos Lor'ds for D&D.

Want to know why we are halfling's and not Hobbits, just need a couple cuts and pasts.

I had a Nuetral character go Nuetral Good in game, always wavered on that though. Good Heart, Ruthless Training.

I do not have strong feelings either way on the alignment system. It will neither force someone or stop someone from role playing a 3 dimensional character.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Law and chaos aren't well defined, kind of like defining art. Most people feel it rather than define it - "I know it when I see it". The problem is that many disagree on what is and is not art when something challenges perception of it. The same applies to law and chaos.

Worse, it's not like there is a planar language for lawful or chaotic creatures that happen to be non-evil.

If it wasn't for alignment spells, items, or class feature prerequisites, the discussion would be pointless.


I'd say that you can think of examples of Lawful Neutral and Chaotic Neutral characters. I'd say that Judge Dredd is Lawful Neutral, for example.
As for Chaotic Neutral characters, I'd say that they emphasize selfishness in most cases. I think that both Lina Inverse and Nick (who is from Deep Secret and The Merlin Conspiracy, both by Diana Wynne Jones) would be classed as Chaotic Neutral.


I'm pretty sure Dredd is Lawful Evil, actually. At least from what I've been told, he's more extreme than need be.


Devilkiller wrote:
Back to the actual subject of the thread, I have no idea what the OP is talking about. Is there some special rule which makes it harder to ID a Lawful or Chaotic outsider with Knowledge (Planes) than it is to ID a Good or Evil one?

I clarify what I meant in my following post. (Read: Get ready for a wall-of-text rant.)

Let me give you some examples. A Demon is Chaotic Evil. A Devil is Lawful Evil. It's quite clear that they are Evil, because they are usually performing things like killing innocents, preparing schemes to stop the forces of Good, etc.

But, it's unclear if they are, for example, Chaotic or Lawful. I mean sure, in this specific instance, Demons don't much care for contracts or legal bindings or words of honor or commitment. Devils, on the other hand, treat such legal bindings or agreements with more brevity and authority. That is, if a contract or agreement stated that the Devil would grant so-and-so an Unholy Boon, they would be obligated to do so (but that doesn't stop them from making said Boon a toxic and unhealthy "buff" for so-and-so).

And the worst part is, you wouldn't be able to tell whether that is actually the case unless you either A. Know the Beastiaries like the back of your hand and Metagame the absolute hell out of Pathfinder (in which case, I applaud your system mastery and knowledge), B. Bear witness to several, character-defining actions to determine whether they fall on the Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic axis, C. Succeed at a Knowledge check so the GM can tell you, in-game, that said creature is on the Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic axis, or D. Have a Detect Lawful/Chaotic spell going at all times to determine if they are Lawful or Chaotic. If you're using both and they don't ping, then they are Neutral (or using an Undetectable Alignment spell).

There's also the matter of appearances, abilities, etc. Evil and Good are much more clearly contrast in appearance, and have abilities that sync much more closely to said appearance. Law and Chaos' appearances are not so well known, and making the assumption that because you don't know so much about them, that they are Lawful or Chaotic, isn't much to go on because that can easily be the result of lack of system mastery, a failed Knowledge check, Undetectable Alignment is cast, or simply because you can't use spells like Detect Lawful/Chaotic. As such, this makes any resources (and therefore action economy) spent as an attempt to counter their defenses risky and perhaps useless investments that could have been better spent doing something besides that.

Not to mention, because of the opposite levels of awareness between the two axis, the preparedness for said foes are significantly reduced as well. Truth be told, this is what makes +5 Weapons so good; not only because of the bonuses to attack and damage, but being able to just ignore the required preparedness needed to properly deal with purely Lawful or purely Chaotic enemies. (I mean, Align Weapon, Protection from X, etc. are spells that most nobody prepares for Chaotic or Lawful enemies unless they know that they'll be fighting them, and since they're very unpredictable and people don't have the knowledge to fight them, they become overly-situational spells that will only see the light of day once per few sessions.)

Another in-game example of this is to look at Martial character builds. How many players run around with Holy Weapons? Most every one of them do, because Evil is commonly prepared for, the most predictable to come across, and expected to fight against. Unholy, not so much, but it does see use in Evil campaigns as much as any other, typical campaign. But how many people run around with Axiomatic or Anarchic weapons? They're practically non-existent; and like the Bane weapon property, are best served as temporary attachments to your weapon through things like Divine Bond, Arcane Pool, etc. because the odds of knowing that you're fighting such enemies is about the equivalent of winning the lottery without getting some outside knowledge, through a check, detection ability, metagaming, etc.

My original point is that Lawful/Chaotic subjects should be just as easily determined as Good/Evil subjects, and as such, should be just as easily prepared against. The fact that they aren't changes the paradigm of power significantly between the four alignments (i.e. for optimizing and powergaming purposes, Good/Evil alignments suck unless you absolutely need them for something, such as being a Paladin). If you're simply a Lawful/Chaotic character, the likelihood for enemies to be using Axiomatic/Anarchic weapons, or Anti-Lawful/Anti-Chaotic spells against you, unless they too, are Chaotic/Lawful, respectively, are extremely reduced (and if you're True Neutral, you're basically immune to anything that requires specific Alignments, or you suffer the least effects, both benefits and penalties, of every Alignment-based effect).


For what it's worth, I actually try to emphasize the differences between Devils and Demons in the game I run. In general, Devils are willing to talk to people, and can actually be negotiated with... mostly because I run them as REALLY liking deals and agreements, which they will honor the letter (but generally not the spirit) of. That said, they are not Stupid Evil. They wouldn't break an agreement just to break it, but because creative interpretation gives them some kind of advantage... and they'll try to worm that in whenever they can. XD It's worked out rather well thus far.


This will spiral on forever, but I love a lost cause. Most people think that they have a good handle on good and evil, many really don't but irrelevant for this thread.

Lawful vs Chaotic is harder because people want tack a moral value to it. Lawful vs Chaotic is an Ethical divide, not a moral one. Is keeping your word the most important thing? You are a bit Lawful. Is not being bound to concepts that you no longer enamored with? You are a bit chaotic.

A lawful person will see a chaotic person as untrustworthy and unreliable, unethical.
A chaotic person will see a lawful person as unable to see past his rules, unable to deal with the world as it is.

These are edge case examples, even in a game it is not so cut and dried.

Neither is good and evil, ask any philosopher or theologian. Most people think it is, because it is easier not to think.


I choose "C": Succeed at a Knowledge check. I think that's the way PCs are supposed to know about stuff like a creature's DR. Depending on the situation options B or D might garner the creature's alignment and allow you to guess about DR. As an aside, I've seen a lot of DMs house rule away the ability to overcome metal and alignment based DR using a weapon's enhancement bonus. I'm not sure if that would ameliorate or exacerbate your concerns though.

I do agree that the Law vs Chaos axis seems a little ill defined for roleplaying purposes. I sometimes wonder if being Chaotic is more about not making plans or if making plans is fine but you won't necessarily stick to them if something else strikes your fancy. I've been kind of taking the latter approach lately.


I've always seen it as such.
Law and Chaos is how you implement your Good and Evil intents.


I've definitely seen it that way for all of the Good and Evil alignments. Basically... Good and Evil are the ends, while Law and Chaos are the means.


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As far as describing the different outsiders it is mostly a matter that we have a more developed cultural idea of what Good and Evil look like than we do Law and Chaos. If you want to see how those descriptions have changed take this scene:

"The hairs of its head were white, like ice. Its eyes burned with fire, its feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and its voice was like the roar of many waters. In its right hand it held seven stars, from its mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and its face burned to hot to lay eyes on. When I saw it, I collapsed at its feet." Have and NPC say that and I can promise the players will plan for everything other than a lawful good native outsider. (This is a slightly modified version of the how Jesus is described in Revelations.)

*edit* The "Four Living Creatures" are even worse. "In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings."


silverrey wrote:
edit* The "Four Living Creatures" are even worse. "In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings."

Yeah, the actual descriptions of angels in the Bible sound more like something from Call of Cthulhu than any of Pathfinder's Good Outsiders.

....and therein lies a potential setting... :D


Morgan Champion wrote:

I'd say that you can think of examples of Lawful Neutral and Chaotic Neutral characters. I'd say that Judge Dredd is Lawful Neutral, for example.

As for Chaotic Neutral characters, I'd say that they emphasize selfishness in most cases. I think that both Lina Inverse and Nick (who is from Deep Secret and The Merlin Conspiracy, both by Diana Wynne Jones) would be classed as Chaotic Neutral.

If you want a chaotic neutral character, look at Captain Jack Sparrow. Yes, he makes lots of deals and bargains and even sticks to them. But he is always willing and trying to twist the letter of the agreement around to suit himself later. He understands the concept of a law/contract/obligation perfectly, yet he always goes in lying through his teeth and manipulating the other party to believe him till the last second.


Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:
Morgan Champion wrote:

I'd say that you can think of examples of Lawful Neutral and Chaotic Neutral characters. I'd say that Judge Dredd is Lawful Neutral, for example.

As for Chaotic Neutral characters, I'd say that they emphasize selfishness in most cases. I think that both Lina Inverse and Nick (who is from Deep Secret and The Merlin Conspiracy, both by Diana Wynne Jones) would be classed as Chaotic Neutral.

If you want a chaotic neutral character, look at Captain Jack Sparrow. Yes, he makes lots of deals and bargains and even sticks to them. But he is always willing and trying to twist the letter of the agreement around to suit himself later. He understands the concept of a law/contract/obligation perfectly, yet he always goes in lying through his teeth and manipulating the other party to believe him till the last second.

Yes that does sound chaotic. It also sounds like your typical devil, supposedly the very embodiment of lawful evil, and that is where the dilemma lies.


That's because devils should be chaotic. Twisting the words of the contract is pretty much the excact opposite of fulfilling what was agreed to in said contract. [b]Law]/b]ful, not letterful. Devils are "lawful" evil because they wanted to have an iconic outsider for the LE alignment and shoehorned something in.


But they did exactly as it said in the contract, they held true to their every word and followed through just as agreed upon. This is what devils do. Is that Chaotic?


Arbane the Terrible wrote:
silverrey wrote:
edit* The "Four Living Creatures" are even worse. "In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings."

Yeah, the actual descriptions of angels in the Bible sound more like something from Call of Cthulhu than any of Pathfinder's Good Outsiders.

....and therein lies a potential setting... :D

Asmodeus never killed Ihys! It is just that everytime Ihys tries to talk to mortals they think he is an Outer God trying to break free. lol


Because:

* Law is an outdated name. For today's geeks, "Order" would make more sense. In popular fiction, we read about arcane forces of chaos, or order. We don't read about law so much.

* It becomes tied to political/ethical stances. Communism v. capitalism, anarchy v. everything else, and so on.

...but really the first one. I believe we could clean up so much just by bringing the language into the common era.


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Rub-Eta wrote:
But they did exactly as it said in the contract, they held true to their every word and followed through just as agreed upon. This is what devils do. Is that Chaotic?

Except they don't do the bolded part. What is written down is not necessarily what was agreed on. Twisting the agreement for personal gain means that by the very definition you are no longer following what was agreed (even if you technically follow what was written down). The very intend devils have for making contracts is to trick you*. In my opinion, trickery and lawfulness are mutually exclusive.

If you abuse every loophole and every outdated law text to pay only a friction of the taxes everyone else pays, you may not be striktly speaking breaking any laws, but you are definitly not a lawful citizen. You could still be a presidential candidate, though.

*"Thus, even the least of devilkind might come to the Material Plane intent on further corrupting souls, cleverly escaping the bonds of their contracts to indulge their own plots, or to further the unspeakable goals of the archdevils of Hell." (Bestiary p71)

Sovereign Court

DominusMegadeus wrote:
I'm pretty sure Dredd is Lawful Evil, actually. At least from what I've been told, he's more extreme than need be.

Maybe more extreme than others think that he needs to be, but I'd still peg him at solidly Lawful Neutral. (Not that I'm an expert on Judge Dredd.)

He simply has absolutely no compassion for any who dare to break the (admittedly extremely harsh) laws of his post-apocalyptic future.

I'd say that the big thing which keeps him from going Lawful Evil is that he would never even consider using, much less manipulating, the laws to his own benefit. And he does care about protecting the innocent etc. (Though arguably he cares more about punishing the guilty - which is why he's definitely not LG.)

In Pathfinder terms he'd likely be a Lawful Neutral Inquisitor.

Shadow Lodge

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
My original point is that Lawful/Chaotic subjects should be just as easily determined as Good/Evil subjects, and as such, should be just as easily prepared against. The fact that they aren't changes the paradigm of power significantly between the four alignments (i.e. for optimizing and powergaming purposes, Good/Evil alignments suck unless you absolutely need them for something, such as being a Paladin). If you're simply a Lawful/Chaotic character, the likelihood for enemies to be using Axiomatic/Anarchic weapons, or Anti-Lawful/Anti-Chaotic spells against you, unless they too, are Chaotic/Lawful, respectively, are extremely reduced (and if you're True Neutral, you're basically immune to anything that requires specific Alignments, or you suffer the least effects, both benefits and penalties, of every Alignment-based effect).

I think this is by design. If the conflict between Law and Chaos were as important in the game as the conflict between Good and Evil, then it would be just as difficult to have parties with both Lawful and Chaotic party members as it would be to have Good and Evil party members, eliminating a source of interesting but usually not disruptive party disagreement.

And if you're going to have one axis being superior it makes sense for it to be G/E for the reasons other posters suggested - G/E is a bigger part of the larger culture than L/C, and L/C isn't all that well defined in any case (maybe a chicken and egg issue, but result is the same).

I actually redesigned my current setting to focus more on the Law/Chaos side. Archons and Devils now have DR/Chaotic, Demons and Azata have DR/Lawful, and there are some relatively easy physical markers. For example, in this setting, outsiders with both animal and humanoid parts are chaotic - azata and demons have feathered, batlike, or insectoid wings while wings of archons and devils are constructed of metal, light, shadow, flame etc. It's been interesting but more as a diversion. In fact I think it's trending in the general direction of LG vs CE as the party has been going out of their way to mediate disputes wherever possible in a way that gets the grudging respect of a lot of CG opponents.

I remember seeing a post by James Jacobs explaining that the L/C conflict was pretty significant on the outer planes but usually wasn't as relevant to mortals. Can't find it, though.


Unlike the two axis system of D+D Alignment, Warhammer's alignment graph ran on one axis in this order. Law, Good, Neutral, Evil, Chaos.

Sovereign Court

Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Unlike the two axis system of D+D Alignment, Warhammer's alignment graph ran on one axis in this order. Law, Good, Neutral, Evil, Chaos.

Well - it has a substantially different world from Golarion. Especially with the Chaos gods all basically being variants on Rovagug.

Though I'm a bit surprised that there was a 'Good' alignment at all in Warhammer. :P


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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Unlike the two axis system of D+D Alignment, Warhammer's alignment graph ran on one axis in this order. Law, Good, Neutral, Evil, Chaos.

Well - it has a substantially different world from Golarion. Especially with the Chaos gods all basically being variants on Rovagug.

Though I'm a bit surprised that there was a 'Good' alignment at all in Warhammer. :P

Well the rpg has a slightly higher moral potential than the tabletop. The latter is generally gray, dark gray, really really dark gray, black, and green(da best).


I'd agree that law vs chaos is just too awkward to define. If there's a No Littering law, is Barbie the Barbarian risking her class abilities when she picks up after herself? Maybe she just doesn't like littering and chose to do it. We want to AVOID Chaotic Stupid, after all, and while Barbie's CN herself and less interested in restoring the legitimate ruler in favour of the rewards, she still might have to (or even WANT to) do things that might count as 'lawful'. And if a paladin decides that it does no good to arrest Barbie when she accidentally drops a corndog stick ... well, do we really need another way to hose paladins?


Arbane the Terrible wrote:

Yeah, the actual descriptions of angels in the Bible sound more like something from Call of Cthulhu than any of Pathfinder's Good Outsiders.

....and therein lies a potential setting... :D

Something like this?


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Qaianna wrote:
well, do we really need another way to hose paladins?

Paladins do not fall for committing isolated chaotic acts. They only fall for wilfully committing evil acts, violating the code of conduct or changing their alignment. Your alignment doesn't change because of a single action (unless it's a really important action, maybe), which is why the paladin's class description specifically calls out wilfully committing an evil act.


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Chaotic means they don't feel beholden to a law just because it is a law - they don't stop doind something they think is right anyway just because someone passes a law about it in order to be contrary.


Derklord wrote:
What is written down is not necessarily what was agreed on.

Oh, but it is. It's writen in the contract as well.

I'm sorry that you don't agree with your own signature.
Derklord wrote:
If you abuse every loophole and every outdated law text to pay only a friction of the taxes everyone else pays, you may not be striktly speaking breaking any laws, but you are definitly not a lawful citizen.

What do you mean? I follow the law, do I not? Why should I provide more than I'm asked for? If the tax collectors are expecting more, why don't they ask for more? Seems very counterintuitive, if you ask me. Almost like they're mad men. Or are you advocating that the tax collectors should be allowed to pry and squeeze every penny out of me and my fellow citizens? Even when it's writen by law that we shouldn't pay more? You, sir, is the one who's a dishonest propagator of anarchy.

Shadow Lodge

Qaianna wrote:
I'd agree that law vs chaos is just too awkward to define. If there's a No Littering law, is Barbie the Barbarian risking her class abilities when she picks up after herself? Maybe she just doesn't like littering and chose to do it. We want to AVOID Chaotic Stupid, after all, and while Barbie's CN herself and less interested in restoring the legitimate ruler in favour of the rewards, she still might have to (or even WANT to) do things that might count as 'lawful'. And if a paladin decides that it does no good to arrest Barbie when she accidentally drops a corndog stick ... well, do we really need another way to hose paladins?

Have you read Law is Not Legal?


I have to agree with Derklord. Law implies 'honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority and reliability' and devils embody literally none of those traits. In fact devils are pretty much defined by trickery, deceit, backstabbing and opportunism. Even Demons are more relaible, because you can at least pretty easily figure out what a succubus or balor wants.

Which I think is a large part of the problems the OP describes. Lawful sometimes refers to lawful traits and sometimes it merely refers to organization. Devils have a social structure, so they're lawful even if devils rarely or never display any lawful character traits.

There's also an inherent association people make between law and good and chaos and evil, partly stemming from societal norms and partly stemming from old editions where that literally was true.

So consequently CG characters are usually more good than chaotic and LE characters are often not lawful at all.

It makes the middle axis a bit fuzzy too. Most of my players couldn't tell me any meaningful differences outside environment between a daemon and a demon in Pathfinder. Probably doesn't help that they have nearly the same name though.


Squiggit wrote:
Law implies 'honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority and reliability' and devils embody literally none of those traits.

Is this just your interpretation or is this implication actually defined somewhere? Because the fact that Devils are Lawful would argue otherwise.


Rub-Eta wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
Law implies 'honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority and reliability' and devils embody literally none of those traits.
Is this just your interpretation or is this implication actually defined somewhere? Because the fact that Devils are Lawful would argue otherwise.

That's taken verbatim from the CRB's section on alignment. "Law vs Chaos"

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