Law, Chaos, Monks and Barbarians


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Malk_Content wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Yeah I view alignment as more of an average of the characters behavior. not an absolute. Now outsiders however I always consider them exactly that alignment without the option to do something not within there alignment.
Although even the latter falls down. At least unless you make even finer distinctions. Demons are, for example, demonstrably not 100% chaotic. They great rigid heirachies among themselves and attempt to impose those on others. Even ignoring that they can't be 100% Chaotic, despite having the Choatic descriptor because there are things described as being even moreso (Proteans for example.)

It depends on your definition of chaos I would imagine and the compromise made between chaos and evil in there case. I will say there hierarchy are based on power Which in complete chaos one would expect the strongest to be on top. One of the reasons I always say that Demigorgon is on top is because hes literally two powerful demons in one.

But yeah with any of the edge far axis alignments I feel there is always a compromise made between the two. Also it is possible that due to the structure that the books present the demons they tend to seem more lawful then they might actually be just because they are being described by a lawful medium. Also I like to bring up modrons who were described as being so lawful they almost seemed chaotic and would go through destroying the face of there plane to later build it up again while still maintaining being one of the most lawful outsiders. (sadly they didn't make it to pathfinder)

However this conversation can get really indept and would derail so I better stop.

Liberty's Edge

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Malk_Content wrote:
Although even the latter falls down. At least unless you make even finer distinctions. Demons are, for example, demonstrably not 100% chaotic. They great rigid heirachies among themselves and attempt to impose those on others. Even ignoring that they can't be 100% Chaotic, despite having the Choatic descriptor because there are things described as being even moreso (Proteans for example.)

Imposing dictatorial rule by force in a 'the strongest is in charge' sense is not actually very Lawful. A Lawful society has some sort of actual organization, not simply people who grab what they can and hold it through brute force. That sort of thing is pretty much textbook CE, really.


He summed it up way better then me^


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
Although even the latter falls down. At least unless you make even finer distinctions. Demons are, for example, demonstrably not 100% chaotic. They great rigid heirachies among themselves and attempt to impose those on others. Even ignoring that they can't be 100% Chaotic, despite having the Choatic descriptor because there are things described as being even moreso (Proteans for example.)
Imposing dictatorial rule by force in a 'the strongest is in charge' sense is not actually very Lawful. A Lawful society has some sort of actual organization, not simply people who grab what they can and hold it through brute force. That sort of thing is pretty much textbook CE, really.

I don't think that holds up. Unless we think Wakanda in Black Panther is a Chaotic society. They use trial by combat as a legitimate usurpation of power. I also wouldn't consider the many tyrannical usurpers or dictators of history to be Chaotic either. Stalin to me is the very epitome of LE for example.

Liberty's Edge

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Malk_Content wrote:
I don't think that holds up. Unless we think Wakanda in Black Panther is a Chaotic society. They use trial by combat as a legitimate usurpation of power.

I said that Lawful countries had built in systems of rule. The challenging in Wakanda is deeply formal, and only carried out in a very specific manner under very specific circumstances. It is such a built in system.

If somebody shot the king in the head, or blew him up with a bomb, or killed him in any way other than the explicit formal setting of a duel in exactly the right spot with all due ceremony, they would not be given rulership of Wakanda, they'd be executed. And only certain people are allowed to challenge for leadership, they need to be what amounts to a member of the nobility.

Meanwhile, anyone who does win the challenge is legally the ruler of Wakanda and supported as such by the military forces of the state. They have legitimacy because they have followed the specific traditions and rules of the ceremony.

Now, having legitimacy is also possible in a Chaotic government, mind you. Wakanda is Lawful due to the nature of its views on legitimacy, as well as several other reasons, IMO. And the Abyss is only one specific version of Chaotic.

Speaking of which, in the Abyss, in stark contrast to the above, murdering a ruler by stabbing them in the back gets you just as much authority as a straight fight and anybody who can do it can probably rule as long as nobody else thinks they can take them (and only that long). Nobody has any legitimacy or authority beyond the reach of their own direct power. It's a very different situation.

Malk_Content wrote:
I also wouldn't consider the many tyrannical usurpers or dictators of history to be Chaotic either. Stalin to me is the very epitome of LE for example.

Stalin set up a bureaucracy and system of rule, along with guidelines for succession and the like (or at least acknowledged those other had set up). It lasted for decades after his death. Again, most people could not simply have shot Stalin and immediately assumed rulership of the Soviet Union. Certainly not openly at any rate.

Stalin was a monster and a tyrant, but he rose to power more or less legitimately within the organization of the early Soviet Union, he just used that power in a tyrannical fashion.


Powerful demons have been shown to do that as well. Yes they can be usurped through sheer power (fair point on the Wakanda issue) but that doesn't mean that these beings of supposedly near-pure chaos once they have that power don't use it to establish rigid structures that (if they manage to rule for long enough) are essentially de-facto laws. We've seen rigid military hierarchies, rules about petitioners, establishment of jurisdictions etc. That all that can be torn down by another, and that another has as much as authority as their strength allows, doesn't changes what they tend to do with that authority.

Or I guess another way to put it. demonic society is chaotic to a degree but those actions of those at the top of that society show lawful tendencies.

Of course this could just be one of the persistent disagreements about what fundamentally is and isn't law/chaos.


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Secret Wizard wrote:

It's all up to interpretation.

Take Robin Hood.

Is he Chaotic Good because he's a Libertarian hero, someone who spurns taxation from an oppressive regime?

Or is he Chaotic Good because he's a Socialist hero, someone who wishes to undermine an unfair hegemony to redistribute to the poor?

Or is he Lawful Good because he fights in the name of the rightful king, Richard, against the usurper Prince John? He resorts to guerilla tactics simply because those are the means that remain to him when he returned from Crusade to find his land seized by the corrupt Sheriff.


Again, these discussions go to show that there are many viewpoints as to how the Alignment tool is used. I personally enjoy these discussions, but can easily lead to arguments and numerous rabbit trails. There are so many divergent thoughts and opinions on the matter. Though I still will back up the Collectivism vs Individuality of the Law vs. Chaos spectrum as a general definition. (at least in the Pathfinder world anyways...)
Bringing it back to Monks and Barbarians, I am glad that Barbarians (at least) can now be Collectivists. I never had an opinion on the matter before, but now seeing the direction they're taking it. I'm glad.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Iron_Matt17 wrote:
But the Law and Chaos spectrum?... That's more tricky. I myself am a LG person. I see Law as Order/Boundaries. I find one can have GREATER individuality within the confines of Order/Boundaries. So I don't personally see Chaos as Individuality, but that's me.

The difference between Individualism and Collectivism isn't really about the suppression of individuality (though that can be one result), it's about a difference in priorities. A Collectivist believes that their primary focus should be on the good of the group as a whole, while an Individualist believes they should focus on maximizing the good of the individual.

There's some overlap there and the two aren't precisely the opposite of each other, but neither is really about suppressing individuality. It's a bout priorities.

The Raven Black wrote:
I think the last point above hits it on the head. For some time now I have seen alignment as a statistical thing : a Good person's next significant action has a higher likelihood of being a Good action. Same thing for all alignment components

Alignment is entirely a descriptive phenomenon. A character has an Alignment because historically the balance of their behavior has been most consistent with that Alignment.

Alignment is only predictive of how someone will act inasmuch as past behavior is a predictor of future behavior. That's usually a fairly good predictor, mind you, but there are certainly situations where it isn't.

I found this statement form the wiki VERY interesting...

Wikipedia wrote:


"Collectivism is often discussed alongside the cultural value of individualism, but these are two distinct concepts and are not considered to be opposites."

Edit- Which is exactly what you said DMW, but I wonder if the overlap is also found in the Law/Chaos spectrum as well...

Liberty's Edge

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Malk_Content wrote:
Powerful demons have been shown to do that as well. Yes they can be usurped through sheer power (fair point on the Wakanda issue) but that doesn't mean that these beings of supposedly near-pure chaos once they have that power don't use it to establish rigid structures that (if they manage to rule for long enough) are essentially de-facto laws. We've seen rigid military hierarchies, rules about petitioners, establishment of jurisdictions etc. That all that can be torn down by another, and that another has as much as authority as their strength allows, doesn't changes what they tend to do with that authority.

Where are rigid hierarchies listed? All the Demonic hierarchies I've seen are a bit...flexible. They exist but they're subject to change based on the inherently unstable nature of Demonic society.

Malk_Content wrote:

Or I guess another way to put it. demonic society is chaotic to a degree but those actions of those at the top of that society show lawful tendencies.

Of course this could just be one of the persistent disagreements about what fundamentally is and isn't law/chaos.

CE people tend to be Chaotic because they hate others controlling them, not because they hate controlling others. It's part of the Evil=Selfishness thing. Many will happily try this sort of thing, yes. When it's done to other Chaotic people it tends to not work out well in the long run, though.

Iron_Matt17 wrote:

I found this statement form the wiki VERY interesting...

Wikipedia wrote:


"Collectivism is often discussed alongside the cultural value of individualism, but these are two distinct concepts and are not considered to be opposites."

Indeed! Real life is complicated like that. In Pathfinder, a synthesis of both is probably Neutral (NG if we're talking Good Aligned stuff).


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Iron_Matt17 wrote:

I found this statement form the wiki VERY interesting...

Wikipedia wrote:


"Collectivism is often discussed alongside the cultural value of individualism, but these are two distinct concepts and are not considered to be opposites."
Indeed! Real life is complicated like that. In Pathfinder, a synthesis of both is probably Neutral (NG if we're talking Good Aligned stuff).

Yes, I would see Neutral as being committed to NOT choosing one or the other. Or not caring which one he or she does. I would say that both sides will sometimes fall into the Neutral side from time to time. But that's the beauty, they don't need to stay there.


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Ok so here's some alternate definitions that we've talked about:

Lawful Good=Selflessly Collectivistic
Neutral Good=Selflessly Neutral
Chaotic Good=Selflessly Individualistic

Lawful Evil=Selfishly Collectivistic
Neutral Evil=Selfishly Neutral
Chaotic Evil=Selfishly Individualistic

These could go a long way in explaining the nuances of the Alignment spectrum. But they are far from perfect. They don't cover the whole spectrum of what it means to have an alignment. My knee jerk reaction to the term "selflessly Individualistic" is to call it an oxymoron, for instance. They are also subject to abuse, (we can't get away from that) and are particularly wordy. But they can aid to understand the Alignments in a Thesaurus like way quite easily. So they have their merit.

Liberty's Edge

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Iron_Matt17 wrote:
These could go a long way in explaining the nuances of the Alignment spectrum.

Yep, they're quite useful. :)

As you say they aren't complete, but still handy.

Iron_Matt17 wrote:
But they are far from perfect. They don't cover the whole spectrum of what it means to have an alignment. My knee jerk reaction to the term "selflessly Individualistic" is to call it an oxymoron, for instance.

Someone selflessly individualistic probably believes that personal freedom is the highest good, a fundamentally individualistic point of view, and is willing to make personal sacrifices to protect and create such freedoms for others.

A lot of people working for an Underground Railroad type organization would probably qualify, as might those who wrote things like the Bill of Rights to limit what powers a government can have over their citizens. Soldiers who fight to defend the freedom of others would definitely qualify as well, as might someone who works on legislation to limit the ability of powerful entities to abrogate the freedom of individuals. A lot of well intentioned revolutionaries against corrupt or tyrannical regimes would also qualify.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
Powerful demons have been shown to do that as well. Yes they can be usurped through sheer power (fair point on the Wakanda issue) but that doesn't mean that these beings of supposedly near-pure chaos once they have that power don't use it to establish rigid structures that (if they manage to rule for long enough) are essentially de-facto laws. We've seen rigid military hierarchies, rules about petitioners, establishment of jurisdictions etc. That all that can be torn down by another, and that another has as much as authority as their strength allows, doesn't changes what they tend to do with that authority.

Where are rigid hierarchies listed? All the Demonic hierarchies I've seen are a bit...flexible. They exist but they're subject to change based on the inherently unstable nature of Demonic society.

Malk_Content wrote:

Or I guess another way to put it. demonic society is chaotic to a degree but those actions of those at the top of that society show lawful tendencies.

Of course this could just be one of the persistent disagreements about what fundamentally is and isn't law/chaos.

CE people tend to be Chaotic because they hate others controlling them, not because they hate controlling others. It's part of the Evil=Selfishness thing. Many will happily try this sort of thing, yes. When it's done to other Chaotic people it tends to not work out well in the long run, though.

[Q

Well I know its looking for not techniacally Game Golarion, but the way Demons are presented in The Worldwound Gambit shows a pretty damned ordered military and religious hierarchy. There also isn't much in the way of usurpation via violence in there. Yeah there is some politicking and factionalism but most seem to view Yath as a "legitimate power."

I also dare say that human society is, historically, one in which legitimate authority only ever lasts until someone (or group) with enough power comes along and takes it.

But this is a bit of a digression. I shouldn't have brought up the very validity of that axis (probably obvious I don't think it has much) when the thread is about restrictions related to two particular classes.

Liberty's Edge

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Malk_Content wrote:
Even ignoring that they can't be 100% Chaotic, despite having the Choatic descriptor because there are things described as being even moreso (Proteans for example.)

Chaos laughs at logic's feeble attempts to classify it

;-)

Liberty's Edge

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I see Chaotic as tending to reject what is imposed from outside. But if the Chaotic individual thinks it their best interest to obey, they will obey

This can happen through great rewards and/or great punishment for example

Or simply be something they agree with


The Raven Black wrote:

I see Chaotic as tending to reject what is imposed from outside. But if the Chaotic individual thinks it their best interest to obey, they will obey

This can happen through great rewards and/or great punishment for example

Or simply be something they agree with

The problem with that is, for most people, whether or not something is in their best interest is just a matter of scale. Not an intrinsic value. It makes how Chaotic you are merely a function of "how good is the reward/how bad the punishment versus effort to acquire/likely hood of receiving the punishment." Also in a world in which the punishment is "your soul is torn into infinite pieces until no recognizable shred is left and then reformed into a grub" and the likely hood of that happening is "basically always you idiot" I think the scale breaks entirely.

EDIT: Oops I did it again. I promise not to bring it up here again! I'll just be happily glad the alignment restriction for Barbs is gone in favour of thematic Anathema and hope the same is true for Monks.

Liberty's Edge

Malk_Content wrote:
Well I know its looking for not techniacally Game Golarion, but the way Demons are presented in The Worldwound Gambit shows a pretty damned ordered military and religious hierarchy. There also isn't much in the way of usurpation via violence in there. Yeah there is some politicking and factionalism but most seem to view Yath as a "legitimate power."

It's been quite a while since I read The Worldwound Gambit, but the impression I seem to recall is that the thing they were working for would be good for everyone, and they were smart enough to cooperate to that end.

Demons aren't necessarily stupid or short sighted, after all.

Malk_Content wrote:
I also dare say that human society is, historically, one in which legitimate authority only ever lasts until someone (or group) with enough power comes along and takes it.

The legitimacy of power is an interesting area to talk about, but my point was rather that Demon society has no concept of legitimate as opposed to illegitimate authority. All authority is enforced by raw strength, and there's no concept of a 'proper' line of succession or manner of acquiring more authority or power.

That's been true of some human societies as well, but they tend to not be very stable and descend into infighting regularly. You need some concept of 'legitimacy' whether that be the Divine Right of Kings or The Will of the People, or whatever, in order to maintain any continuity of leadership and authority.

Malk_Content wrote:
But this is a bit of a digression. I shouldn't have brought up the very validity of that axis (probably obvious I don't think it has much) when the thread is about restrictions related to two particular classes.

Eh. I actually enjoy a good Alignment debate and, frankly, this choice has already been made for the playtest and we'll find out what it was fairly soon, I'm sure.


Deadmanwalking wrote:


Iron_Matt17 wrote:
But they are far from perfect. They don't cover the whole spectrum of what it means to have an alignment. My knee jerk reaction to the term "selflessly Individualistic" is to call it an oxymoron, for instance.

Someone selflessly individualistic probably believes that personal freedom is the highest good, a fundamentally individualistic point of view, and is willing to make personal sacrifices to protect and create such freedoms for others.

A lot of people working for an Underground Railroad type organization would probably qualify, as might those who wrote things like the Bill of Rights to limit what powers a government can have over their citizens. Soldiers who fight to defend the freedom of others would definitely qualify as well, as might someone who works on legislation to limit the ability of powerful entities to abrogate the freedom of individuals. A lot of well intentioned revolutionaries against corrupt or tyrannical regimes would also qualify.

I thought you'd call that one on me DMW. ;-) I dare say that you are a Collectivistic individual, imparting your knowledge for the benefit of others. Whether it's for selfish or selfless reasons has yet to be seen... haha ;-) (I have a guess to which one...)

I agree, but that's the reason I said "knee jerk reaction". In other contexts "individualistic" can have undertones of vanity and narcissism. This is one of the reasons that I think these terms should supplement, not supplant the current Alignment terms.


I always took the prior alignment restrictions was that the makers back in 1999 did not like the idea of a Raging monk or paladin. And give reasons, whatever rationale for the alignment restriction and use that to block the idea.


All I have to say about the Barbs getting Anathemas instead of Alignment restraints is that if it does what the alignment restriction was supposed to do, then I'm all for it. I'm intrigued as to how they'll handle Monks.

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Iron_Matt17 wrote:
I thought you'd call that one on me DMW. ;-) I dare say that you are a Collectivistic individual, imparting your knowledge for the benefit of others. Whether it's for selfish or selfless reasons has yet to be seen... haha ;-) (I have a guess to which one...)

I tend to think of myself as more of an individualist, at least as a matter of political principle, with the imparting of knowledge more of a selfless impulse, but it's all a bit muddled sometimes (I certainly do also care about the community). Whenever I take those online Alignment tests they peg me as NG, if it helps. :)

Iron_Matt17 wrote:
I agree, but that's the reason I said "knee jerk reaction". In other contexts "individualistic" can have undertones of vanity and narcissism. This is one of the reasons that I think these terms should supplement, not supplant the current Alignment terms.

Yeah, collectivist can have some bad connotations in certain people's heads too. I definitely agree that using them to replace the current terms has potential issues.

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Malk_Content wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

I see Chaotic as tending to reject what is imposed from outside. But if the Chaotic individual thinks it their best interest to obey, they will obey

This can happen through great rewards and/or great punishment for example

Or simply be something they agree with

The problem with that is, for most people, whether or not something is in their best interest is just a matter of scale. Not an intrinsic value. It makes how Chaotic you are merely a function of "how good is the reward/how bad the punishment versus effort to acquire/likely hood of receiving the punishment." Also in a world in which the punishment is "your soul is torn into infinite pieces until no recognizable shred is left and then reformed into a grub" and the likely hood of that happening is "basically always you idiot" I think the scale breaks entirely.

EDIT: Oops I did it again. I promise not to bring it up here again! I'll just be happily glad the alignment restriction for Barbs is gone in favour of thematic Anathema and hope the same is true for Monks.

I think I again fumbled what I wanted to say. My apologies

To me, Lawful has the ingrained reflex of following outside commands and needs some good reason not to do it. While Chaotic tends to reject and needs good reason to obey. How much is needed to convince a Chaotic individual to obey might be a measure of how Chaotic they are. But it does not make them Lawful IMO


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Saint Evil wrote:
I always took the prior alignment restrictions was that the makers back in 1999 did not like the idea of a Raging monk or paladin. And give reasons, whatever rationale for the alignment restriction and use that to block the idea.

That could've been a reason, but I personally think that the thematics of the classes played more of a role in the restrictions...


Saint Evil wrote:
I always took the prior alignment restrictions was that the makers back in 1999 did not like the idea of a Raging monk or paladin. And give reasons, whatever rationale for the alignment restriction and use that to block the idea.

The paladin and monk alignment restrictions predate the rage mechanic. I think barbarians being nonlawful does too but I'm too lazy to dig out my 2nd ed books and check.

Liberty's Edge

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I think someone asked for an example of a LG Barbarian. Drax the Destroyer from the Guardians of the Galaxy's movies is a prime example IMO


The Raven Black wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

I see Chaotic as tending to reject what is imposed from outside. But if the Chaotic individual thinks it their best interest to obey, they will obey

This can happen through great rewards and/or great punishment for example

Or simply be something they agree with

The problem with that is, for most people, whether or not something is in their best interest is just a matter of scale. Not an intrinsic value. It makes how Chaotic you are merely a function of "how good is the reward/how bad the punishment versus effort to acquire/likely hood of receiving the punishment." Also in a world in which the punishment is "your soul is torn into infinite pieces until no recognizable shred is left and then reformed into a grub" and the likely hood of that happening is "basically always you idiot" I think the scale breaks entirely.

EDIT: Oops I did it again. I promise not to bring it up here again! I'll just be happily glad the alignment restriction for Barbs is gone in favour of thematic Anathema and hope the same is true for Monks.

I think I again fumbled what I wanted to say. My apologies

To me, Lawful has the ingrained reflex of following outside commands and needs some good reason not to do it. While Chaotic tends to reject and needs good reason to obey. How much is needed to convince a Chaotic individual to obey might be a measure of how Chaotic they are. But it does not make them Lawful IMO

Those are excellent points good sir. Enough room to give the Chaotic person a reason to act Lawful. (or vice versa)


To further the group/person the Law/Chaos I take as Society (or some sort of social group) vs the Individual. And I think The Raven Black summarized it there.

I checked my books, neither monk nor barb was in the 2ed PHB.
I did find the barb in Unearthed Arcana (1985) and it had non-lawful.

They were cut for 2nd then brought back for 3rd because the later designers missed it.

Liberty's Edge

Saint Evil wrote:

To further the group/person the Law/Chaos I take as Society (or some sort of social group) vs the Individual. And I think The Raven Black summarized it there.

I checked my books, neither monk nor barb was in the 2ed PHB.
I did find the barb in Unearthed Arcana (1985) and it had non-lawful.

They were cut for 2nd then brought back for 3rd because the later designers missed it.

It was around in AD&D 2E. I know because I've got the Complete Barbarian's Handbook for that edition. It just wasn't in the core rulebook.

Looking at said book, they were restricted from being Chaotic Neutral in that edition (well, and Evil, but that seems to be a 'no non-Evil PCs' thing), but otherwise had no alignment restrictions.


Just agreeing that alignment's too ingrained/part of the system to remove it. I'm loving the discussion, here. Updating the dictionary may be the best way forward; preserving tradition, while preparing it for the new generation of gamers to join us at the table.


I should have noted the core only and I was uncertain about any supplements.

I think Complete Fighter had a kit for savage or other cultural links.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
To be frank, any rule that makes it impossible to build Sun Wukong as a Monk is a failed rule.
Sun Wukong is a supernatural being and his legends are based on him being a supernaturally strong and quick warrior. The fact that he used a staff and martial arts does not a monk make. Most of his supernatural abilities stem from stealing things he had no right to.

He is literally a monk. Twice over. This is the second time I've had to say this. He shaves his head and converts to Buddhism after having been an entirely different discipline/spirituality of monk. He is straight up living an ascetic lifestyle and is on the path of enlightenment. IIRC he even achieves moksha at the end of the story. If Sun Wukong isn't a monk, no one is a monk.

Furthermore, he's a supernatural being, yes, and like zero percent of his powers come from that. Every trick he is known for is a spiritual skill that he trained to learn. He's like a Pathfinder kitsune or tengu: Supernatural? Sure, but his abilities are all borne of his class levels, not racial HD.

Edit: And what the hell is this about all his powers coming from stealing things? Like yeah, he has magical gear like any Pathfinder character, and he also has a list of abilities a mile long that he did super training to get. Did you even read the story? The only reason he can even LIFT the staff he "stole" (more like bullied a dragon into giving him with his already nigh on invincible powers gained through super training) is because he is incredibly ridiculously strong on his own merits. Even his immortality was a learned skill; he just beefed it way way way up with drugs after the fact.


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Saffron Marvelous wrote:
If Sun Wukong isn't a monk, no one is a monk.

I haven't read the actual story, but from a brief glance at Wikipedia, and from various other sources (like "The Forbidden Kingdom" w/ Jackie Chan & Jet Li, I know, HollyWood stretches tales blah blah) I have to agree with Saffron. To quote the first 2 paragraphs from the Wikipedia article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Wukong):

Wikipedia wrote:

Sun Wukong, also known as the Monkey King, is a fictional figure who features in body of legends, which can be traced back to the period of the Song dynasty.[2] He appears as a main character in the 16th century Chinese classical novel Journey to the West (西游记). Sun Wukong is also found in many later stories and adaptations. In the novel, he is a monkey born from a stone who acquires supernatural powers through Taoist practices. After rebelling against heaven and being imprisoned under a mountain by the Buddha, he later accompanies the monk Tang Sanzang on a journey to retrieve Buddhist sutras from "the West".

Sun Wukong possesses immense strength; he is able to lift his 13,500 jīn (7,960 kilograms (17,550 lb)) staff with ease. He is also extremely fast, able to travel 108,000 li (21,675 kilometres (13,468 mi)) in one somersault. Sun knows 72 transformations, which allow him to transform into various animals and objects; however, he has trouble transforming into other forms, due to the accompanying incomplete transformation of his tail. Sun Wukong is a skilled fighter, capable of defeating the best warriors of heaven. Each of his hairs possesses magical properties, capable of being transformed into clones of the Monkey King himself, and/or into various weapons, animals, and other objects. He knows spells to command wind, part water, conjure protective circles against demons, and freeze humans, demons, and gods alike.[3]

(the bold is my emphasis)

Later on, it makes this point under "Names and Titles":

Wikipedia wrote:

Xíngzhě (行者)

Meaning "ascetic", it refers to a wandering monk, a priest's servant, or a person engaged in performing religious austerities. Tang Sanzang calls Wukong Sūn-xíngzhě when he accepts him as his companion. This is pronounced in Japanese as gyōja (making him Son-gyōja).

and

Wikipedia wrote:

Sūn Zhǎnglǎo (孫長老)

Zhǎnglǎo used as honorific for monk, because Sun Wukong believed in Buddhism.

So yeah, Sun Wukong - the Monkey King - is LITERALLY a monk, and is referred to as a monk even by other monks. So this isn't like that Hells Angels biker guy you just met at a bar saying he's a Nun. This is one of the many ways that a monk can be.

Sure, there are some things that he can do because he is a supernatural being (like his hairs being able to transform into clones of himself) but many of his powers are from his Taoist practices.

So yes. He's a monk

Sovereign Court

The Raven Black wrote:
I think someone asked for an example of a LG Barbarian. Drax the Destroyer from the Guardians of the Galaxy's movies is a prime example IMO

You've mentioned this before and I'd love to hear you expand on it.


Also Wukong is extra impressive if you know that 72 in the lore doesn't represent the actual number but is basically infinite.


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The Raven Black wrote:
I think someone asked for an example of a LG Barbarian. Drax the Destroyer from the Guardians of the Galaxy's movies is a prime example IMO

I super disagree, he's definitively not lawful. Maybe neutral, but never lawful.

From the top of my head on his list of chaotic acts in the movies.:

-Calls Ronan the Accuser to Knowhere without consulting with, confirming with or even telling his allies.
-Leaps inside the huge monster they fight in the opening sequence of vol.2 again on his own, spur-of-the-moment instinct.
-supports (and finds humorous) Rocket's stealing from their employers.
-lies repeatedly to Mantis about his perception of her.

I can't think of a single truly lawful thing he does. His vengeance quest is inherently chaotic (best exemplified when he finishes his quest,by helping kill Ronan, but decides to keep going with it anyway).

Like Good and Evil, the Lawful and Chaotic alignments aren't defined solely by one thing.

For me some key points lie in
-planning vs spontaniety (acting over long term vs acting in the moment)
-working with others vs working by yourself (that's in a momentary sense rather than a communal one)
-reasoning and logic vs passion and emotion

there's more i'm sure, but nothing I can put to words at the moment. Consistency vs Inconsistency might be one (sticking to your word or a higher principle or a code vs tworking on a case-by-case basis).

I feel difficulty seeing a Lawful barbarian because their main feature (Rage) is all about being overcome with emotion in the moment. barbarians don't have to be chaotic, but I don't see one remaining lawful for long if they keep raging (up to multiple times) every combat.

I feel similarly about the monk, discipline over long time doesn't leave much room for spontaneity, and the ordered routine and form relies more on a structured basis than on what "feels" right. Though I strongly agree with neutral monks being a thing.


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I don't think I could disagree in more terms with NorthernDruid.

In no way, shape or form, could I conflate a deliberate, calculating temper with the Lawful end of the alignment spectrum.

Similarly, it seems preposterous to me to think that a flexible, resilient person would need to be confined to the Chaotic side.

Two give two celebrated examples, it's hard to see Petyr Baelish from Game of Thrones as someone who celebrates order, or at least has anything that resembles a code of honor. Yet he takes few decisions on the spur of the moment. Although he's quick-witted, he's still a very methodical man.

In the opposite side, we have Brienne of Tarth. She's as Lawful as Lawful gets. Yet she's a very spontaneous duelist – as proven with her encounter with the Hound, where she's able to surprise him with several brawling moves. She's not loathe to renounce an oath, but she's makes them on the basis of emotion – for love for Renly and for admiration for Catelyn.

At some point, you say Drax can't be Lawful because he lies. There's an incredibly large amount of Lawful characters who'd lie constantly, even pathologically.

The question you should be asking yourself is as follows: would this character ever invoke punishment on itself or those he care for if they broke a commandment they saw as just?

The Chaotic Good character is flexible – "if my intentions were good, then my wrong acts can be mended."

The Lawful Good character says different – "even if my intentions were good, my wrong acts deserve penance."

Liberty's Edge

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Pan wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
I think someone asked for an example of a LG Barbarian. Drax the Destroyer from the Guardians of the Galaxy's movies is a prime example IMO
You've mentioned this before and I'd love to hear you expand on it.

I would need to check the movies again to find all the items that pointed me to that direction

IIRC, Drax tends to do as he is told, he prefers being within a collective (the Guardians) rather than on his own and the way some of his quotes are worded reminded me of a lawful mindset, like agreeing to fight and die with the Guardians because Peter Quill is a honorable man (the translation in French had this meaning)

Nobody told Drax not to call Ronan BTW ;-)


I actually could see Drax falling anywhere on the Law-Chaos axis. I definitely there are, and should be, lawful barbarians. It's not a very common character type, but it's out there and can make sense.


Working for the collective is being Good, not lawful.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ah, thank you all for so helpfully illustrating how divergent our definitions and perceptions of Law/Chaos and Good/Evil. I disagree with *everypne* of course, but that's to be expected.

That's why I said upthread Law and CHaos is functionally useless. It's great for RP! DOn't get me wrong, especially if you encounter beings of pure law or chaos. BUt when it comes to applying standards of behavior, or interpreting the same in another character, none of us can agree.


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Let's abolish alignments.

There, I said it.

Since the hoary beginnings of this hobby they've tried to impose rules for how individuals are expected to act. At first it was merely to make sure no player engaged in anti-party shenanigans, like the off chance a rogue would steal more than their fair share of a monster's treasure. Then moral judgment was added to the mix, and various examples started being given to help players and GMs understand what the heck these arbitrary restrictions meant. Every group debated whether any given action or character was lawful or chaotic, good or evil, neutral, true neutral, and so on - and it too often stopped at that.

It has *never helped once*.

Proof? Paladins need a code to abide to. They need anathema to avoid. Their alignment is said to be necessarily lawful good, but in actuality, it will never be enough, because alignments are so painfully vague they don't really have any recognizable function in the game.

Clerics need to know what their gods want, too, and what they don't want. And so on - on their own, alignments only restrict the imagination of players and gms and cause disruptive debates that may well destroy a group if handled without the utmost care, and always take up precious time which would be better spent just playing the damn game or doing something more constructive.

I'm not bashing on you guys who are discussing the fine points of law and chaos - it *is* a fascinating discussion, and it's easy to get lost in it.

What I'm absolutely certain is that pcs and monsters definitely don't need an alignment. PCs will have their own personalities and act according to those. They will follow a certain deity and prefer to stand by their creed, with moments of crisis that make for great roleplaying opportunities. They'll be part of a certain culture and generally accept those practices, refuse them, or somewhere in between, grabbing what appeals to them and just paying lip service, or even outright rebelling to, what doesn't. Perhaps they'll be paladins, or monks, or barbarians, or clerics, and they'll have to respect further strictures.

Who the hell cares about alignment at this point? Are we incapable of having a pc or npc act consistently, that we need a label on our sheet or prep? Is the best trait we can come up with really "Chaotic Neutral", when anyone and their little dogs would interpret the meaning a thousand different ways - and that holds for *any* alignment?

I like the fact that demons are strongly influenced by chaos and evil, and that inevitables are pure law and order, and so on. Remove the labels, keep the conflict and the cosmic forces - like in Elric, there are Order and Chaos (and yeah, if we need to get all monolithically moral, sure, even Good and Evil, although I would avoid such gross oversimplifications as naming factions in the struggles of the multiverse as such, but I sure love celestials and fiends) - but let's leave this as background, fluff, supernatural allegiance, sure, even damage vulnerability (maybe "celestial" instead of "good", certainly has more flavor). Let's stop using these antiquated, maddening, incredibly vague *straitjackets* to somehow "guide" our roleplaying of fictional characters - it only makes for worse stories.

Why do orcs attack us? Because they're chaotic evil. Boooriiing!! The orcs attack us because they have a culture in which warring for dominance with others is paramount, prestige is gained through martial prowess, they need to eat and re-arm themselves, they want slaves, and their first impulse as a *species* (and not a race, good thing the terminology has changed to Ancestry in the Playtest, so why can't alignment, another outdated, disruptive concept kept only as the ultimate sacred cow?) - meaning the way their brains work - is to resolve their problems predominantly through violence. One could even posit the hypothesis that their culture has become more violent in response to the way other races have historically treated them, but I'll leave that one to the philosophers.

Don't tell me this isn't much more interesting and nuanced than just being "chaotic evil". And by the way, Paizo, let's just say having a "race" of *evil* savages with non-white skin, strong facial features and "savage" body art like tattoos and scarification isn't exactly gonna give you more players these days. It's all good, they can be all this and more - but not *evil*. You can't say, in this day and age, that *a race is evil*. It's just *gross* and, sincerely, vomit-inducing. It suggests thoughts of genocide, of killing baby orcs because you don't want them to grow up and threaten your people - is this actually an intended side-effect of the alignment system? No, right? So *why in the 9 Hells is it still there*?

"Ancestry" is much better - well done. And let's not use the term "race" anymore, because, unlike "culture", it is a disruptive social construct, these are different species entirely. It doesn't matter if elves and orcs can somehow cross-breed with humans (who cares about the finer points anyways, it's fantasy), they remain completely alien, even though they superficially resemble us. Likewise, restricting them to a human (and western) moral compass doesn't do them any justice. Let them be defined by their cultures, creeds, backgrounds, and yeah, sometimes just the different way their brains work, or their impossibly long lifespans affect them, the fact that, again, they're just not humans in funny suits.

Let's take the chance of a 2nd edition to get rid of all the ugly leftovers from less enlightened times. Let's not denounce people as evil or praise them as good, declaring they're on the side of Law or Chaos, and even less have pcs and npcs abide by this illogical strictures.

Supernatural beings *might* incarnate law or order, and as celestials try to be empathic and altruistic (and they certainly have selfish urges too, otherwise they would act vastly differently), demons probably will never even understand what the point is, or at least will say so when they're not trying to eat you - but altruism and selfishness are cultural artefacts as well, so step lightly in making them cosmic forces. Do so if you want, but each has its place at the opportune moment, and an angel can't embody perfect good as much as a demon or qlippoth can't be completely evil - they'd act vastly differently if they actually were. Don't try to force relative concepts into a cosmic struggle between inherently alien forces.

I've said my piece, I've wasted enough of your time, but if there's anything you take away from this, please let it be that we don't need alignment as anything more than fluff for the cosmic struggle between celestials, fiends, order and chaos.

Thank you.


A+ Roswyn

Your introduction sprouted a thought –

Q: Can a Paladin abide their code without being Lawful Good?

If not, why do we need the aligment restriction?


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Secret Wizard wrote:

A+ Roswyn

Your introduction sprouted a thought –

Q: Can a Paladin abide their code without being Lawful Good?

If not, why do we need the aligment restriction?

Can a Paladin/Knight/Oathbpund/pick-a-name in a game without alignment have a code? If so, then your answer is "yes". And therefore, we don't need the alignment restriction from a roleplaying perspective. And we already know from earlier designer statements that the code isn't meant as a drawback to counter extra powerful class features/mechanics.


I want to double down on alignment. I want my character to be able to banish demons and smite undead. I also want characters who can grab an anarchic hammer and reduce a marut to scrap in the name of chaos! As a neutral character I want to be able to protect the innocents caught in the cosmic fallout. In between all that, I want my table to have phil 101 discussions about our characters weekly. As GM, I want quick shorthand to guide running the thousands of characters in any given campaign.

That said, I like the idea of removing class restrictions and moving towards anathema instead. I think this allows more concepts to be created with less argumentative hassle. This is the path of the barbar, so im guessing Monk will follow suit.


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Roswynn wrote:

Let's abolish alignments.

There, I said it.

Since the hoary beginnings of this hobby they've tried to impose rules for how individuals are expected to act. At first it was merely to make sure no player engaged in anti-party shenanigans, like the off chance a rogue would steal more than their fair share of a monster's treasure. Then moral judgment was added to the mix, and various examples started being given to help players and GMs understand what the heck these arbitrary restrictions meant. Every group debated whether any given action or character was lawful or chaotic, good or evil, neutral, true neutral, and so on - and it too often stopped at that.

It has *never helped once*.

Proof? Paladins need a code to abide to. They need anathema to avoid. Their alignment is said to be necessarily lawful good, but in actuality, it will never be enough, because alignments are so painfully vague they don't really have any recognizable function in the game.

Clerics need to know what their gods want, too, and what they don't want. And so on - on their own, alignments only restrict the imagination of players and gms and cause disruptive debates that may well destroy a group if handled without the utmost care, and always take up precious time which would be better spent just playing the damn game or doing something more constructive.

I'm not bashing on you guys who are discussing the fine points of law and chaos - it *is* a fascinating discussion, and it's easy to get lost in it.

What I'm absolutely certain is that pcs and monsters definitely don't need an alignment. PCs will have their own personalities and act according to those. They will follow a certain deity and prefer to stand by their creed, with moments of crisis that make for great roleplaying opportunities. They'll be part of a certain culture and generally accept those practices, refuse them, or somewhere in between, grabbing what appeals to them and just paying lip service, or even outright rebelling to, what doesn't. Perhaps they'll be...

I wish I could favorite this more than once. Though I will say, while I'd be down for effectively removing alignment, in terms that it isn't necessary for PCs to define their alignment, it is sometimes useful to have for NPCs, especially in APs, where non-major NPCs rarely get much definition other than what they do and maybe a sentence that gives a quirk or aspect of their personality. However the fact that they get a parenthetical like (LN Female half-elf ranger 4) lets you at least know a little bit more about how to represent them in game, without taking up much more precious page space.


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R0b0tBadgr wrote:
Sure, there are some things that he can do because he is a supernatural being (like his hairs being able to transform into clones of himself) but many of his powers are from his Taoist practices.

Thank you for your post. Just a minor clarification on this: The changing his hairs and duplicating himself is probably "weird taoist sorcery" that he learned. I can't recall if it is made explicit in the narrative, but I'm pretty sure it's the expected assumption. It's kind of the underlying assumption with the entire tradition, that with enough practice and overcoming trials (such as surviving the eight trigrams furnace), you can learn to do anything. Anyway, he certainly never did anything like this BEFORE his super training.

Sovereign Court

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Secret Wizard wrote:

A+ Roswyn

Your introduction sprouted a thought –

Q: Can a Paladin abide their code without being Lawful Good?

If not, why do we need the alignment restriction?

For some folks a paladin is basically a knight. In that case, pallys can be any alignment, and it doesnt interfere with that viewpoint. For myself, I view the paladin as a specific archetype or prestige class that is duty bound to order and decency.

For me the answer is no. Though clearly the answer changes based on what a person thinks a Paladin should be.

If I was making PF2 I would have demoted the Paladin back to archetype/prestige to maintain its tradition. Clearly, Paizo wants to take a different path. Though, it was quite confusing to see the barbar blog and alignment removal in favor of anathema. Seems like changing the pally to anathema would have been uniform and a smoother transition.

Liberty's Edge

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Alignment is a respected and comforting part of the game to me. I do not wish it apart from the core game though I believe that it will be rather easy to work without it in PF2.

If we do not have alignment, then we relinquish broad descriptive categories for creatures, such as outsiders. Also iconic spells such as Protection from Alignment, Holy Word and even Detect Alignment

It becomes more difficult to tell the usual tales of Fantasy RPG. It might even end up in people replacing the usual alignments with other notions that will be but pale copies of the originals


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The Raven Black wrote:

Alignment is a respected and comforting part of the game to me. I do not wish it apart from the core game though I believe that it will be rather easy to work without it in PF2.

If we do not have alignment, then we relinquish broad descriptive categories for creatures, such as outsiders. Also iconic spells such as Protection from Alignment, Holy Word and even Detect Alignment

It becomes more difficult to tell the usual tales of Fantasy RPG. It might even end up in people replacing the usual alignments with other notions that will be but pale copies of the originals

Aside from spells that are tagged to alignment, not a whole lot changes if you excise alignment. If you include in the descriptor for Demons that they're all a bunch of anarchic jerks looking to despoil all life in amusing ways, it doesn't particularly matter if you have a CE tag in their alignment or not, they're as CE as proteans are CN per their description text, etc. You don't need those tags to have a bunch of noble heroes standing against the vile forces of darkness or something grim, grey, and straight out of Westeros.

On the flip side, it's not like removing alignment is going to dramatically change the game in terms of roleplay restrictions or change much beyond spells/smites either. A paladin acting per his code isn't going to play any different if alignment poofed away, ditto with clerics acting as agents of their deities, or druids and nature etc.

On top of that, removing alignment will change virtually nothing in regards to people whining. It'll just shift to the various specific codes and anathemas and people moaning that random concept x doesn't precisely fit into any particular class/sub class.

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