Why are PCs forced to side with the Devil in every Adventure Path?


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Jason Nelson wrote:


Having an all-in-for-Good AP doesn't in any way have to mean some kind of retarded Care Bears/Rainbow Brite/Dudley Do-Right caricature. In another thread (The Next AP, I think) I posted a quick brainstorm on a Worldwound/Mendev AP that could easily be done and be completely balls-out awesome without ever having to ally/dabble with evil to succeed.

Great, now people on the boards are going to call you insensitive and classless too!

EDIT:
Also, apparently Patrick Curtin is no longer interested in anything you write. Here

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Jared Ouimette wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:


Having an all-in-for-Good AP doesn't in any way have to mean some kind of retarded Care Bears/Rainbow Brite/Dudley Do-Right caricature. In another thread (The Next AP, I think) I posted a quick brainstorm on a Worldwound/Mendev AP that could easily be done and be completely balls-out awesome without ever having to ally/dabble with evil to succeed.
Great, now people on the boards are going to call you insensitive and classless too!

From Tropic Thunder: "You never go full retard." :)

Jared Ouimette wrote:

EDIT:

Also, apparently Patrick Curtin is no longer interested in anything you write.

???

Dark Archive

Jason Nelson wrote:
Jared Ouimette wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:


Having an all-in-for-Good AP doesn't in any way have to mean some kind of retarded Care Bears/Rainbow Brite/Dudley Do-Right caricature. In another thread (The Next AP, I think) I posted a quick brainstorm on a Worldwound/Mendev AP that could easily be done and be completely balls-out awesome without ever having to ally/dabble with evil to succeed.
Great, now people on the boards are going to call you insensitive and classless too!

From Tropic Thunder: "You never go full retard." :)

Jared Ouimette wrote:

EDIT:

Also, apparently Patrick Curtin is no longer interested in anything you write.
???

I put a link there just before you posted. Just follow the thread to Pat's post.

Dark Archive

You know, I agree with you Jason, but I think the next few APs are going to be more Heroes being Heroes than anything shady. I really would've wanted that Cheliax campaign to be more "fight the power" than it was. THAT was a campaign that should have been heroic, but the writers got stuck in "winning hearts and minds" mode. (That tactic never works if you already burned your bridges, but don't tell anyone I said that) :)

The Jungle AP should be more Indiana Jones-ish, from what I'm seeing. No real moral dillemas there.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Jared Ouimette wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:
Jared Ouimette wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:


Having an all-in-for-Good AP doesn't in any way have to mean some kind of retarded Care Bears/Rainbow Brite/Dudley Do-Right caricature. In another thread (The Next AP, I think) I posted a quick brainstorm on a Worldwound/Mendev AP that could easily be done and be completely balls-out awesome without ever having to ally/dabble with evil to succeed.
Great, now people on the boards are going to call you insensitive and classless too!

From Tropic Thunder: "You never go full retard." :)

Jared Ouimette wrote:

EDIT:

Also, apparently Patrick Curtin is no longer interested in anything you write.
???
I put a link there just before you posted. Just follow the thread to Pat's post.

Eh, I went through 1-1/2 pages of em and gave up looking. I'm sure it was funny, though! :)


Jason Nelson wrote:
stuff

I agree with you about everything except the fact that "good" and "evil" do not mean anything. In fact "Good is this. Evil is that." is an excellent way to put it. There's nothing inherently "goody" about the word good. Nothing "evilish" about the word evil. There is only "I like this" or "I do not like this" in varying degrees. The universe has what is more accurately called positive and negative, and the two are the antithesis of one another. That's it. It doesn't matter which side you prefer, you're just picking a side. You might as well call them red and blue.

Do they have different methods? Yes, typically. Do they have different motivations? No. Evil and good, or positive and negative, seek to destroy each other on a cosmic scale because they're opposites that despise their counterpart, and they fail because they're evenly matched.

I should include the caveat that this is not my personal philosophy, but what I feel to be the underlying truth of any universe divided neatly into good/bad, law/chaos.

Jason Nelson wrote:


Some people are simply advocating that, as a change of pace, an adventure path might be created where PCs did not have strong encouragement (if not a pseudo-requirement) to ally themselves with the forces of evil or dabble in fringe evil themselves in order to succeed.

...

Nobody on the "it's too much" side of the argument has, to my observation, asked that Paizo stop making such adventures and APs. Instead, they are asking if some creative space can be made for an adventure or AP that did NOT use this plot device, or if they must use it, that they might more robustly support good or neutral alternatives.

The folks on the "no it's just right" side repeat the canard that "making tough moral choices is interesting"; those on the "it's too much" side say that there *IS* no real choice when the APs, as written, given little to no support for alternative solutions to the adventure, implying to DMs that siding with evil is the preferred and supported method for solving the adventure...

Actually, if I'M not mistaken the arguing portion of the thread kicked off when someone suggested they'd like just ONE actual "evil" module or AP. No one I know of has argued against a heroic game, they've just argued that heroes should be willing to ignore temptation and said that there's nothing wrong with the temptation being there. We don't want to have to fill in moral quandaries in a purchased product any more than you want to tear them out. So... sorry? I'll probably get no evil product due to most people not being open-minded enough to pick them up. You probably WILL get a less gritty, more sunshine adventure at some point because "big damn heroes" always sell. So how exactly has your side been made a victim?

Your implication is that we've been getting our way, when in fact we've just been happy that they were willing to give us the occasional friendly nod. And now we should lose even that? Boo.

"I don't want cow every time I go to the store or a restaurant"

How should I feel? I've been getting your style of play for my entire gaming career and now that someone is making adventures darker you want to take it away?

"There is nothing particularly "alien" in the sense of "existing on different and unknowable wavelength" about most of Lovecraft bestiary."

I don't have as much time as usual for running on, so if you haven't actually read Lovecraft, I recommend you do. If you have, try it again. A key truth in his universe, that Lovecraft often wrote about in correspondence, was that those creatures ARE alien and unknowable. While there's a certain amount of creative license taken with them in PF, aberrations have followed this tradition since 3.0. (I always thought the Alienist was a fun idea, but never saw one in play)

"don't always paint them into a corner where the only way out is to compromise their morals and ethical beliefs."

When has that happened? They might not be comfortable with the repercussions of sticking to their guns, but the only person who gets to choose when to abandon their beliefs is the player. As mentioned previously, just because those monsters seem too tough to say no to in the eyes one group does not make it a universal truth.


Jason Nelson wrote:


Eh, I went through 1-1/2 pages of em and gave up looking. I'm sure it was funny, though! :)

It's near the bottom of the page linked. It's pretty funny. :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Jared Ouimette wrote:
I really would've wanted that Cheliax campaign to be more "fight the power" than it was. THAT was a campaign that should have been heroic, but the writers got stuck in "winning hearts and minds" mode. (That tactic never works if you already burned your bridges, but don't tell anyone I said that) :)

For the record... the reason why we didn't go more "fight the power" with Council of Thieves is because we'd already done that plot with Curse of the Crimson Throne.


Speaking of Lovecraft's letters, I believe I read somewhere that "Cthulhu" is actually pronounced with a gargling "SH" sound at the beginning that's the closest human tongues can actually come to pronouncing his name.

Good times.


Kuma wrote:

Speaking of Lovecraft's letters, I believe I read somewhere that "Cthulhu" is actually pronounced with a gargling "SH" sound at the beginning that's the closest human tongues can actually come to pronouncing his name.

Good times.

Blasphemous just to say it.

Grand Lodge

FatR wrote:
Kuma wrote:


I believe that's actually the issue. Aberrations in general and PF aberrations especially owe a great deal to Lovecraft. Their thoughts are supposed to be as alien to us as those of a microbe (if they could be considered thinking beings) and trying to hang our morals on them is just going to fail.

There is nothing particularly "alien" in the sense of "existing on different and unknowable wavelength" about most of Lovecraft bestiary. Colour out of Space might qualify for that, barely. Cthulhu or Nyarlathotep or Mi-Go are your garden-variety evil. Cthulhu disregards lesser beings because he has power and they have not. Nyarly is a petty bastard who toys with people for lulz. Mi-Go are greedy, paranoid and ruthless. Neither of them are hopelessly hard to understand, just hard to stop.

As about DnD aberrations, you know the inter-fiction association of vampires intends to sue certain species for stealing the idea that choosing to eat sentient beings for prolonging your existence puts you "above good and evil". Others are just power-tripping dicks.

That is in my opinion an unconvincing arguement in regards Lovecraft. But it is my opinion so take that for what it is worth. I doubt that Paizo considers Cthulu as "garden variety" evil, what ever that means.


Herald wrote:
"garden variety" evil, what ever that means.

Surf the web long enough and even vegetables have negative images associated with them...

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Kuma wrote:

"There is nothing particularly "alien" in the sense of "existing on different and unknowable wavelength" about most of Lovecraft bestiary."

I don't have as much time as usual for running on, so if you haven't actually read Lovecraft, I recommend you do. If you have, try it again. A key truth in his universe, that Lovecraft often wrote about in correspondence, was that those creatures ARE alien and unknowable. While there's a certain amount of creative license taken with them in PF, aberrations have followed this tradition since 3.0. (I always thought the Alienist was a fun idea, but never saw one in play)

I assume this part of your post is directed towards someone else - I don't think I mentioned aberrations, Lovecraft, etc.

Kuma wrote:

"don't always paint them into a corner where the only way out is to compromise their morals and ethical beliefs."

When has that happened? They might not be comfortable with the repercussions of sticking to their guns, but the only person who gets to choose when to abandon their beliefs is the player. As mentioned previously, just because those monsters seem too tough to say no to in the eyes one group does not make it a universal truth.

Again, not sure exactly who you're arguing with here, but I believe the point you're trying to distill is the "it's too much" side argument that an adventure that, as written, offers but one legitimate route to success is not offering a legitimate choice or a morally complex choice or even an interesting choice. It's a railroad-and-make-the-best-of-it choice. It's a "do THIS or else you lose and the Even More Evil wins."

Take Savage Tide, the only one of the APs that I have personally played through all the way.

Spoiler:
For about the last third of the AP in order to collect the plot tokens necessary to succeed in the final adventure (not to make it EASY, but to make it POSSIBLE), you must go on a bit of a grand tour of nether realms and make bargains with a half-dozen or so irredeemably evil Ultimate Villains... and one good outfit, although the plot coupon the good guys give you is only helpful (in the form of a power-up), not necessary (as in, you must have this particular dingus or you CAN'T proceed past point X).

We could not choose not to side with the good guys and ignore the bad guys and their offers, because the good guys did not possess the appropriate plot tokens and the bad guys did. Now it could be that all of those bad guys were lying to our characters about the ACTUAL necessity of their particular plot tokens; I haven't read the adventures post playing in them to see the DM background and see what was actually literally necessary. However, as the adventure was presented to the players, and including the information available to us, in order to prevent the Badpocalypse that happens if you fail to stop the final BBEG's plot, you MUST ally with evil. You can't not do it or the Badpocalypse happens.

It's not about the monsters being too tough or some characters dying (heck, my character DID die in the last adventure), it's about being essentially unable to complete the mission without going that route. Not harder. Not trickier. Not. Able.

Not able to enter certain areas without a plot token. Not being able to even FIND certain areas without a plot token. Not being able to achieve certain necessary events without a plot token (using the token to lure NPC A to one place so you can access NPC B in another place) without a plot token.

When all plot tokens held by evils who are Tougher Than You (TM), so you have to deal with them on their terms, not yours, and when the campaign is on a timer so that you don't have the option to just go adventure somewhere else and keep leveling up until you acquire some other means to trump the plot immunity that the plot token helps you bypass, then you DON'T have a choice to not ally with evil.

And, as stated repeatedly, that's not inherently a terrible thing to have in an adventure path. It becomes tedious, however, if it keeps showing up in EVERY adventure path.


FatR wrote:
Except, what is right and what is not is hardcoded in the very fabric of the universe...

Hmmmm... you can live very well in your deities realms in hell sometimes. But i am not talking about this. Let´s take Asmodeus, he is the god of contracts (not only, but he is), i guess that doing a contract (not involving souls trading) is not an evil act in Golarion or is ? So even evil gods have administrative functions in the cosmos not directly tied to his status as good or evil. So, evil gods can have neutral servitor that are not doing evil, but doing they job as overseers of contracts or like things. Of course he can be mistrusted sometimes, but its a job someone has to do.

FatR wrote:
A worthy goal, but often not very realistic in the world where a lot of beings are wired to be evil. By the way, that's another reason why I'm against "Always Evil" mortal races.

Maybe. But when you aren´t talking with one of those races (like humans who don´t tend to good or evil), you can see some reasonable doubt about his soul fate written in stone.

FatR wrote:
Being able to use any means to achieve their ends is one of the perks of being a villain.

Is it ? So a evil villain follower of an evil god can spend all his life doing good things and when he die he say to his god that he was only bluffing and be transformed instantly into a Balor because he deluded the heaven ? I don´t think so.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Kuma wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:
stuff
I agree with you about everything except the fact that "good" and "evil" do not mean anything. In fact "Good is this. Evil is that." is an excellent way to put it. There's nothing inherently "goody" about the word good. Nothing "evilish" about the word evil. There is only "I like this" or "I do not like this" in varying degrees. The universe has what is more accurately called positive and negative, and the two are the antithesis of one another. That's it. It doesn't matter which side you prefer, you're just picking a side. You might as well call them red and blue.

Red/blue, positive/negative, Chevy/Fnord, any dyad is fine... but the D&D game calls them "good" and "evil."

Kuma wrote:
Do they have different methods? Yes, typically. Do they have different motivations? No.

Actually, they do.

Kuma wrote:
Evil and good, or positive and negative, seek to destroy each other on a cosmic scale because they're opposites that despise their counterpart, and they fail because they're evenly matched.

Perhaps you won't agree with this, but try it on for size:

The "seek to destroy" is more of outgrowth of their motivations, which at a very fundamental level are these: Good = give, Evil = take.

Evil doesn't mind if good keeps on giving, as long as they can keep on taking. Good is the golden goose, the gift that keeps on giving! Destroy them? Perish the thought! Without good, who would they take from? Themselves? Well, sure, if they needed to, but then they'd have to watch their backs even more than they already do.

Good does mind if evil takes, because it gets in the way of their giving to others. They want to give and keep giving, and prevent evil from taking more than they need. They want evil to get out of the way and stop messing up the giving. Destroy them? Hardly. That would be taking, and good wants to give. They even want to give to evil, and they want evil to appreciate the spirit of the gift, and have their Grinchly small hearts grow three sizes that day, but if not then they just want them to stay on Mount Crumpit.

Neither side truly wants to destroy the other, because its not their fundamental nature. Really, that happens when chaos comes into the picture, Chaotic Evil only gets the "destroyer" rap because they combine "take" with the "churn" they get from Chaos, which leaves them with something that looks to the rest of the universe like "puree."

Kuma wrote:
I should include the caveat that this is not my personal philosophy, but what I feel to be the underlying truth of any universe divided neatly into good/bad, law/chaos.

Is bad = evil?

P.S. As to the point in the middle of your post, which I'll make quickly cuz I've spent wayyy too much time on this when I'm supposedly at work, but:

1. You probably won't get your "pure evil" adventure for the marketing/PR reasons James has articulated previously. Even the "Porphyry House Horror" wasn't really an adventure for evil PCs, just an adventure that used BoVD content.

2. As for adventures in years past being more "pure good" than the current Paizo offerings, that's probably true; a lot of the hobby was more slanted that way back in the 80's in particular. "Go kill those giants? "Why?" "Cuz they're EEEEVIL!!!" "Sir, yes sir!"

3. As for "hey, we evil/gritty favoring folks are just now getting a little bit of a hit from Paizo, don't take that away from us!" - well, all I can say is Paizo is a company with a lot of customers and has to do its best to appeal all of them either all the time, or sequentially where interests don't ally. Hence it has weaved between different flavors of APs, different settings, different kinds of stories. Think of Paizo diverging into a "pure good" AP as just one more flavor of AP. Maybe you skipped Legacy of Fire cuz you just aren't into that arabian stuff, or maybe you loved it but skipped Second Darkness cuz you're sick to death of drow, or you only play the urban-themed APs cuz that's just how you roll.

Paizo can't be all things to all people all the time, but they can be strategic about trying out new things (witness Kingmaker, the much-begged-for sandbox AP), knowing full well that some folks just won't like everything they do. While other companies have done "pure good" adventures (see #2 above), Paizo really hasn't done an AP like that. For *THEM* it would be a departure and an experiment, and one that a certain subsection of Paizo's fanbase would like to see them try.


Maybe I'm spoiled, but I would like to see an AP that doesn't use demons or devils as archvillains. Don't get me wrong, I like Chelax as much as the next gal, but can we see some other "evil"? I always liked the notion of Mechanus as far too orderly to be comprehended by mortals, and therefore an excellent villain. Not to mention the constructs and other types of creature not as commonly encountered. True Neutral villains would be fun for a change.

I really liked Legacy of Fire for its Arabian Nights theme, so can we please do a Vudran adventure with an Indoasian flare? Prehaps using some of the cool Indian and Hindu myths? [Without blaspheming their faith...]

Oh, and I love playing a paladin, but as one of the early posters said, paladins and clerics have it rough in Golarion.

Note also that different capaign settings also seem to have their favorite villians. In Eberron, there doesn't appear to be any demons. The rashashkas are lawful, as are the daelkyr. Eberron is full of abhoritions, however.

Grand Lodge

Kuma wrote:
Herald wrote:
"garden variety" evil, what ever that means.
Surf the web long enough and even vegetables have negative images associated with them...

Darn you, I almost did a spit take all over my laptop.

Dark Archive

GreatKhanArtist wrote:

Maybe I'm spoiled, but I would like to see an AP that doesn't use demons or devils as archvillains. Don't get me wrong, I like Chelax as much as the next gal, but can we see some other "evil"? I always liked the notion of Mechanus as far too orderly to be comprehended by mortals, and therefore an excellent villain. Not to mention the constructs and other types of creature not as commonly encountered. True Neutral villains would be fun for a change.

I really liked Legacy of Fire for its Arabian Nights theme, so can we please do a Vudran adventure with an Indoasian flare? Prehaps using some of the cool Indian and Hindu myths? [Without blaspheming their faith...]

Oh, and I love playing a paladin, but as one of the early posters said, paladins and clerics have it rough in Golarion.

Note also that different capaign settings also seem to have their favorite villians. In Eberron, there doesn't appear to be any demons. The rashashkas are lawful, as are the daelkyr. Eberron is full of abhoritions, however.

True Neutral is original, it's a monster anyone can have a beef with, even Paladins and evil groups. It was possible they have been avoided because a fight against true neutral may be boring, or bland, or the developers didn't think of it.

I'm sure they can do one with Hindu and Indian myths, as long as they avoid cows. Bethesda, creators of the video game Fallout 3, had to remove the Brahmin (mutant two-headed cows) from their game for their Indian release. So don't expect minotaurs...unless they're HOLY minotaurs.

It's not that Paladins and Clerics have a rough time, the new rules gives them more leeway when it comes to dealing with evil to defeat a worse evil. Enemy of my enemy, and all that, but it's more of a truce. An evil being dedicated to harvesting souls and a good being dedicated to harvesting souls probably don't want their supply of souls to dry up.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

GreatKhanArtist wrote:
Maybe I'm spoiled, but I would like to see an AP that doesn't use demons or devils as archvillains. Don't get me wrong, I like Chelax as much as the next gal, but can we see some other "evil"? I always liked the notion of Mechanus as far too orderly to be comprehended by mortals, and therefore an excellent villain. Not to mention the constructs and other types of creature not as commonly encountered. True Neutral villains would be fun for a change.

Rise of the Runelords, Legacy of Fire, and Kingmaker are all relatively light on devils and demons.

But a BIG part of why you see devils and demons as bad guys at ends of APs so often is the simple fact that in 3.5, the vast majority of monsters above CR 12 are demons and devils. With Pahtfinder's Bestiary, we started being able to fix that... but since we also wanted to retain the game that came before, it's a legacy that carries on to this day.

Dark Archive

Come to think of it, an Indoasian campaign would be perfect for people who decry evil being a part of the adventure, as Karma is a part of that particular theology, as is reincarnation.

Think about it: You get choices throughout the AP, the easier choice is the evil choice and the harder one is the good choice, and everytime you make a decision you get Karma points. At the end of the AP, everything you did affects how the last adventure plays out.

How does that sound?

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

GreatKhanArtist wrote:

Maybe I'm spoiled, but I would like to see an AP that doesn't use demons or devils as archvillains. Don't get me wrong, I like Chelax as much as the next gal, but can we see some other "evil"? I always liked the notion of Mechanus as far too orderly to be comprehended by mortals, and therefore an excellent villain. Not to mention the constructs and other types of creature not as commonly encountered. True Neutral villains would be fun for a change.

I really liked Legacy of Fire for its Arabian Nights theme, so can we please do a Vudran adventure with an Indoasian flare? Prehaps using some of the cool Indian and Hindu myths? [Without blaspheming their faith...]

Oh, and I love playing a paladin, but as one of the early posters said, paladins and clerics have it rough in Golarion.

Note also that different capaign settings also seem to have their favorite villians. In Eberron, there doesn't appear to be any demons. The rashashkas are lawful, as are the daelkyr. Eberron is full of abhoritions, however.

Kingmaker should be right up your alley.

Liberty's Edge

I didn't intend this thread to put Mr. Jacobs on the defensive :P Like I said before the AP's are awesome, and to be fair he's right, at high levels the go to bad guy was the engine of destruction that is the demon.

Kuma wrote:
I should include the caveat that this is not my personal philosophy, but what I feel to be the underlying truth of any universe divided neatly into good/bad, law/chaos.

On another note, one of the things that irritates me was how True Neutral was portrayed. From OD&D through the Red Robes of DragonLance. That instead of just being non-committed, to that they actively try to balance good & evil. Which I think is a western misinterpretation of Ying Yang theory, which is about internal balance of impulses, not about "Oh I gave money to charity, now I have to boil a baby." ?!? (An actual example from a book, granted it was a White Wolf book, so take that with a grain of salt. Hint those people are screeeeewed up)


GreatKhanArtist wrote:
Oh, and I love playing a paladin, but as one of the early posters said, paladins and clerics have it rough in Golarion.

This isn't a problem limited to the PF setting. Many DMs see it as their "moral" obligation to make sure that paladins fall on regular basis. You can't be a paladin if you aren't constantly put into situations where you have to break your code (usually by setting up two or more opposing code elements). Kill the baby or the world ends, types of things are all too common. Funny, you don't see very many things like, put on this metal armor or the world ends, for the druids or others with strict code issues. Frankly, I think a lot of people like to play paladins so they can play the arch-hero for a change, not to be put into constant catch-22 situations, this is something too many DMs fail to recognize IMO.


Kuma wrote:
The universe has what is more accurately called positive and negative, and the two are the antithesis of one another. That's it. It doesn't matter which side you prefer, you're just picking a side.

Don't dance around the fact that for mortals it is always better to pick one of them and not another. By the way "evil gods reward you for your evilness in afterlife" is mostly fanon. It is definitely not true in 2E Planescape, and, AFAIK, it is definitely not true in Golarion (someone should correct me if this is wrong). 3.X MotP and FR tend to not answer this directly, but descriptions of Lower planes suggest that devout worshippers of evil still are screwed. Yes, if you were a super-bada$s in life, you might be picked as a personal servant to an evil power, but for one such winner a million of losers get to be turned into lemures afrer a couple centuries of torment.

Kuma wrote:
I don't have as much time as usual for running on, so if you haven't actually read Lovecraft, I recommend you do. If you have, try it again. A key truth in his universe, that Lovecraft often wrote about in correspondence, was that those creatures ARE alien and unknowable.

I really don't care about what he wrote in his correspondense. I do care about what he wrote in his stories. In the stories, the only thing unknowable about these creatures are the ways to effectively and permanently stop them. Mi-Go are not more alien or more advanced than the Elder Race, which motives can be understood by humans with no problem. They just feel that their superior science gives them the right to do whatever they want. And so on.

Kuma wrote:
While there's a certain amount of creative license taken with them in PF, aberrations have followed this tradition since 3.0. (I always thought the Alienist was a fun idea, but never saw one in play)

And DnD aberrations follow their lead, by playing the same old "you're different and weaker, therefore we're not obligated to treat you like a fellow sentient" justification for their evil. Note, that they still will be roasted in Hell for that.


ChrisRevocateur wrote:

What's the greatest sacrifice anyone could make? Their life? Nah, they've got something much more important. Their soul.

Now if you do something evil, tainting your soul, or even irrevocably damning you to Hell for eternity, but the reason and result was for good, then it's possible that you just made the greatest sacrifice in the name of good that anyone ever could. You gave your soul so that others may be saved.

To illustrate my point, here's an example:

Say that I had a child, and somehow I found out that my child is THE Anti-Christ. True blue, take over the world and make everyone suffer Anti-Christ. I decide to murder my child so that he will never rise to be the Anti-Christ. If this actually ended the threat of the Anti-Christ (and didn't just postpone it until he was born as another child), then I've literally just saved EVERYONE from the worst fate possible, and by committing an utterly evil and reprehensible act, murdering my own child. It doesn't matter that he's going to be the Anti-Christ, he's still just a child, with no understanding of good or evil or any of that stuff. I murdered an innocent child, my own to boot. I am surely damned to Hell, where the soul of my child and I get to spend eternity together, only I'm being tortured the entire time.

But in sacrificing my soul, I have saved the entire world from the Apocalypse and the resulting suffering and destruction that comes from it. Good wins by default, and there is no need for the great battle between good and evil, meaning no war, less useless suffering.

So really, by committing these evil acts (and I don't know the specifics for any except the Shackled City one), could it be possible that their personal self sacrifice might just be the "goodest" thing they could do?

If the "Late, Great Planet Earth" described Anti-Christ properly, its first "miracle" is surviving what should be a fatal wound to the head. If were to attempt to murder the child and failed, you would not be postponing or cancelling the Tribulation and Last Judgment, you would hasten it.

At any rate, you'd probably remove whatever marked the kid as Anti-Christ out of sheer pity -- the kids at school would be teasing him mercilessly about that strange birthmark. End of Anti-Christ, no deaths.

Grand Lodge

FatR wrote:
said stuff

Yea, once again, unconvincing arguement. You might feel that way. But for all of the other writers who built upon the mythos, don't feel that way.

I do understand that in your opinion that you feel that it is easily defined. But IMHO your in the minority on this one. Almost every writer and game designer I have ever read has talked about the alien mindset of the mythos that refuses to be understood, is alien and unhuman.


Herald wrote:
FatR wrote:
said stuff

Yea, once again, unconvincing arguement. You might feel that way. But for all of the other writers who built upon the mythos, don't feel that way.

I do understand that in your opinion that you feel that it is easily defined. But IMHO your in the minority on this one. Almost every writer and game designer I have ever read has talked about the alien mindset of the mythos that refuses to be understood, is alien and unhuman.

It actually doesn't matter about the original mythos, all that matters is in a game with objective morality, their morality can be measured on the same scales as those that apply to humans. And it is not the humans doing the measuring, but the very fabric of existence.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

I'll make a note for Savage Tide.

Having to deal with higher level Evil characters to stop Demogorgon is not inherently Evil, nor even wrong. It's a standard tactic of the Upper Planes that the best foil to Evil is evil itself. One demon tries something, alert another demon, who'll move the Abyss to prevent any chance that the first will gain an advantage.

A Good character should actually be reluctant to involve the Eldarin, because what is that going to involve? The death of Eldarin. What happens if he involves rival demon lords? Well, the death of more demons...is that a bad thing?

My personal viewpoint would be..."Waitasecond. So, you're saying that if we meet all these Evil people, they'll do 90% of the work for us, not charge us anything, and give us a shot at the big guy? And all that happens is a lot of demons die?"

If it involved at all the death of good folk, or being held in debt to an evil person, you should swear off the 'railroading'.

and if you REALLY want to throw a monkey wrench in the machinery, come on...you're Epic level people. Go to the Seven Heavens, scare up a Solar, and inquire if they might not want to contribute to this noble effort. Go visit the Guardinals, hobknob with the Archons, jest with the Asuras. There IS no way to railroad high level people. The AP lays out a convenient way for the DM to get the job done. That hardly means the characters are in the box.

======
For the alignment discussion, I'd rephrase Good as 'generous' and Evil as 'selfish'. It isn't that Evil wants to take...it wants to take and leave you with nothing, and keep taking so that it has it all. Good wants everyone to get to a level where they can give without being inconvenienced themselves. So Good fights to try to advance all its people, and Evil fights to advance the one person. It's the empathy with others, the generousity, and the ability to sacrifice for others that is a Hallmark of good. Evil has no empathy but manipulation, no generousity that doesn't in the end benefit itself more, and no ability to sacrifice without greater gain to itself (and preferably some other should be the sacrifice!)

Lovecraft's idea of unknowable motivations of Elder Evils doesn't mean squat in a D&D game as far as alignment goes. Alignment is a hypercosmic force, it is greater then any of them, and they don't get to define it any more then mortal philosophers do. Just because we can't understand their motives and actions doesn't mean they can't be rated on The Scale. And they are Rated, and they're almost universally Evil. As was said, it basically comes down to: Total lack of empathy ('lesser races' and all), no generousity, and no willingness to sacrifice for others. Every action they take is completely in their own self-interest, whatever that interest may be.

Too, they have another Evil trait - they are bloody lazy. They take the direct, brutal, sinister path because it's the easiest and the most economical.

===Aelryinth

Grand Lodge

pres man wrote:
Herald wrote:
FatR wrote:
said stuff

Yea, once again, unconvincing arguement. You might feel that way. But for all of the other writers who built upon the mythos, don't feel that way.

I do understand that in your opinion that you feel that it is easily defined. But IMHO your in the minority on this one. Almost every writer and game designer I have ever read has talked about the alien mindset of the mythos that refuses to be understood, is alien and unhuman.

It actually doesn't matter about the original mythos, all that matters is in a game with objective morality, their morality can be measured on the same scales as those that apply to humans. And it is not the humans doing the measuring, but the very fabric of existence.

And I disagree with you on two points.

1) The original mythos does matter.

2) The mythos by definition is from beyond the fabric of existance.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
FatR wrote:
BS. He chose his damnation himself, with Jedi Council being guilty mostly of being too lenient with him. Primarily, he could have avoided the fall by, you know, not being a possessive dick, and asking Padme what she thinks about the whole deal.

Or if perhaps Obiwan Kenobi had listened to the Jedi Council instead of taking on a problem student while admittedely not being prepared for the role of taking on a Padawan. The thing is the story pretty much requires for Obiwan, Yoda, and pretty much the entire Jedi Council to be carrying a rather serious Idiot Ball.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Herald wrote:
pres man wrote:
Herald wrote:
FatR wrote:
said stuff

Yea, once again, unconvincing arguement. You might feel that way. But for all of the other writers who built upon the mythos, don't feel that way.

I do understand that in your opinion that you feel that it is easily defined. But IMHO your in the minority on this one. Almost every writer and game designer I have ever read has talked about the alien mindset of the mythos that refuses to be understood, is alien and unhuman.

It actually doesn't matter about the original mythos, all that matters is in a game with objective morality, their morality can be measured on the same scales as those that apply to humans. And it is not the humans doing the measuring, but the very fabric of existence.

And I disagree with you on two points.

1) The original mythos does matter.

2) The mythos by definition is from beyond the fabric of existance.

But the mythos, as it exists in the context of a D&D game, is from within the fabric of existence, even if it's from beyond the fabric of existence familiar to the "normal" universe.

Shadow Lodge

Tikon2000 wrote:
On another note, one of the things that irritates me was how True Neutral was portrayed. From OD&D through the Red Robes of DragonLance. That instead of just being non-committed, to that they actively try to balance good & evil.

Honestly, that is the only way neutrality really works for intelegent beings. It is also the best. Instead of having characters defined by their lack of interest and connections, they are defined by their belief in a cause. This weak neutral concept of 3E (besides DragonLance and a few other small settings) not only unrealistic, but straight boring. Most of the time it is Evil in all but name anyway. There is a big difference between good with shades of gray, or evil with shades of gray and Neutral, which is not at all shades of gray. Just my opinion.


Beckett wrote:
Tikon2000 wrote:
On another note, one of the things that irritates me was how True Neutral was portrayed. From OD&D through the Red Robes of DragonLance. That instead of just being non-committed, to that they actively try to balance good & evil.
Honestly, that is the only way neutrality really works for intelegent beings. It is also the best. Instead of having characters defined by their lack of interest and connections, they are defined by their belief in a cause. This weak neutral concept of 3E (besides DragonLance and a few other small settings) not only unrealistic, but straight boring. Most of the time it is Evil in all but name anyway. There is a big difference between good with shades of gray, or evil with shades of gray and Neutral, which is not at all shades of gray. Just my opinion.

It really depends on how one views things. Looking at the good-evil axis, we could have:

1)good and evil are large regions with neutral being very narrow. Nice people are good, mean people are evil, and a very strange and small group is neutral.
2)good and evil are very small regions with neutral being very wide. Only the most righteous are good and only the most vile are evil, most people might be nice or mean or neither, but they do not rise above neutral.
3)good and neutral can be wide with evil being narrow. Nice people are good, mean people are neutral, and only the most vile are evil.
4)evil and neutral can be wide with good being narrow. Nice people are neutral, mean people are evil, and only the most righteous are good.
5)good is wide, but neutral and evil are both narrow. Most people are good, the vile are neutral and the truly fiendish are evil.
6)evil is wide, but neutral and good are narrow. Most people are selfish and mean, the righteous are neutral, while only the divinely inspired are truly good.
7) all alignments are equally sized.

Personally, it only makes sense from my standpoint that evil is narrow despite the idea that it is "easy". I do not feel comfortable condemning to the hells bully kids, just for giving wet-willies to nerdy kids that play games with strange dice. I feel that kind of fate is reserved for something a bit more excessive. And since I believe in balance, I believe it requires a bit more effort to be good than just being a nice person, so good should be narrow in my view as well. Of course others have views that make perfect sense to them.


Jason Nelson wrote:


Take Savage Tide, the only one of the APs that I have personally played through all the way.

I'll be perfectly honest here. I'm pretty drunk and just cannot remember the AP in question, much less the particular module. From what I've seen of Paizo though, I'd be relatively secure in saying there's probably a sidebar for the DM detailing two or three other ways to proceed while bucking what the NPCs present as "necessary".

I can't be sure though, not having the AP on hand.

Don't think I'm saying that my party always walks through modules getting their way either. I believe I was personally killed something like 9 times in the last module of AoW. Why did all those NPCs have a friggin' vorpal weapons?

Your next post I do indeed mostly agree with. Especially the unfortunately dim chance of an actual "evil" premade campaign. :(

Oh, and bad could = evil in that example; but only if you're good. If you're evil then good = bad. Is that remotely coherent? Sorry...

I very much do wish to witness Kingmaker. Haven't yet.

Oh, and those other quotes were indeed from other people. I was being lazy on the code.

"Darn you, I almost did a spit take all over my laptop."

:D

Tikon2000 wrote:
stuff

I think you mean "Yin" and Yang, which is Taoism. Yeah, the classic "druidic" version of true neutral was sociopathic. I have recommended the book "Necessary Evil" as a study of an Evil party that works (and fun fiction), it also includes a portrayal of a druid trying to pursue TN of that stripe while still being human. (She errs on the side of goodness)

FatR wrote:
stuff

Your afterlife very much depends on setting. I was given to understand that everyone (by default in D&D) goes to the appropriate plane as a petitioner and your satisfaction/opportunity was based entirely on your merits in the eyes of the correctly aligned peeps. I don't really know how that follows the discussion though.

Well, if you want to set up your interpretation of something as opposed to that of its creator, that's certainly your prerogative. Anthropomorphism can really get in your way when it comes to abstract concepts though.

"And it is not the humans doing the measuring, but the very fabric of existence."

Which aberrations are specifically outside of. That's why they're "aberrant".

Happy weekend, everyone! Kanpai!


Jared Ouimette wrote:

You know, I agree with you Jason, but I think the next few APs are going to be more Heroes being Heroes than anything shady. I really would've wanted that Cheliax campaign to be more "fight the power" than it was. THAT was a campaign that should have been heroic, but the writers got stuck in "winning hearts and minds" mode. (That tactic never works if you already burned your bridges, but don't tell anyone I said that) :)

The Jungle AP should be more Indiana Jones-ish, from what I'm seeing. No real moral dillemas there.

Mrs. Fishy has hopes and dreams of Indiana Jones-fish.


Kuma wrote:

"And it is not the humans doing the measuring, but the very fabric of existence."

Which aberrations are specifically outside of. That's why they're "aberrant".

Which may be true, that is until they actual enter it, and then they are not outside it anymore.

Shadow Lodge

pres man wrote:
Kuma wrote:

"And it is not the humans doing the measuring, but the very fabric of existence."

Which aberrations are specifically outside of. That's why they're "aberrant".

Which may be true, that is until they actual enter it, and then they are not outside it anymore.

Also, not all aberrations are from the great primordial plane beyond reality, of chaos and maddness in the past that is really the future of yesterday, but was changed so actually never existed except for maybe tomorrow. Some are simple created being by experimenting Wizards and Clerics.


Beckett wrote:
Honestly, that is the only way neutrality really works for intelegent beings. It is also the best. Instead of having characters defined by their lack of interest and connections, they are defined by their belief in a cause. This weak neutral concept of 3E (besides DragonLance and a few other small settings) not only unrealistic, but straight boring. Most of the time it is Evil in all but name anyway. There is a big difference between good with shades of gray, or evil with shades of gray and Neutral, which is not at all shades of gray. Just my opinion.

The problem with that is nature. Is nature good or evil ? Is a hungry wolf who kills a lone orphan in the woods evil ? Is the storm who kills a fisher father of many evil ?

Good and evil only apply to human experience, outside of that there is only the circle of life. All the people committed to that can be considerated outside the scope of good and evil. Any people who try to balance good and evil so they don´t mess with the circle of life also.

I do think that law vs chaos is a conflict much more interesting than good vs evil.

EDIT: Substitute Life for Money and you have capitalism.

Shadow Lodge

I did specify intellegent beings. I agree neutrallity works in nature, but it does not work for individuals in a society (except perhaps in the most basic and generic of senses).

People have beliefs, causes, ideas, philosophies, and societal group affiliations. These are the things that set them apart and make them interesting, not their absolute lack of all of them. Neutral is the same thing. I'm specifically talking about True Neutral, but LN and CN especially also fall into this trap often. NG and NE don't often have the problem. Again just my experience and opinion. I think Dragonlance was the one rare example of doing it right. There are also a few exceptions. Namely Clerics and Druids, whose actual cause is balance. For most other players though, it is just an excuse to play evil in all but name. (By that I do not mean that they are evil raping, murdering, orphan butchering, psycho's, but rather that their motivating drive is completely selfish and self centered).


A guy fights off a group of bandits and escapes into the woods. He is injuried. As he stumbles through the woods, he passes under a tree where a bird sits, unknown to him the bird is actually a druid.
a)A good druid would appear to the man and try to treat his wounds and get him safely through the woods.
b)An evil druid would go and find a wolf pack and lead them to the man to be devoured (I always think of zorak when I use that).
c)A neutral druid would not interfer one way or another. If the man survives, great, if a wolf pack finds him and kills him, that is fine also.

Shadow Lodge

pres man wrote:
c)A neutral druid would not interfer one way or another. If the man survives, great, if a wolf pack finds him and kills him, that is fine also.

And how is that not evil? He could have easily saved the persons life, (or what I could possibly see as being neutral act, healed them man and pointed him in the right direction and then walked away), at no cost to himself. He purposefully chose to let the man risk death, so he wouldn't have to deal with it. The fact that he is a druid does not make it less evil than if a Blackguard did the same exact thing here.

Grand Lodge

Jason Nelson wrote:
Herald wrote:
pres man wrote:
Herald wrote:
FatR wrote:
said stuff

Yea, once again, unconvincing arguement. You might feel that way. But for all of the other writers who built upon the mythos, don't feel that way.

I do understand that in your opinion that you feel that it is easily defined. But IMHO your in the minority on this one. Almost every writer and game designer I have ever read has talked about the alien mindset of the mythos that refuses to be understood, is alien and unhuman.

It actually doesn't matter about the original mythos, all that matters is in a game with objective morality, their morality can be measured on the same scales as those that apply to humans. And it is not the humans doing the measuring, but the very fabric of existence.

And I disagree with you on two points.

1) The original mythos does matter.

2) The mythos by definition is from beyond the fabric of existance.

But the mythos, as it exists in the context of a D&D game, is from within the fabric of existence, even if it's from beyond the fabric of existence familiar to the "normal" universe.

And you don't have anything that goes to prove that. There is nothing in writing that the far realms follow any sort of rules. WOTC avoided it, so did Piazo.

Shadow Lodge

Herald wrote:


But the mythos, as it exists in the context of a D&D game, is from within the fabric of existence, even if it's from beyond the fabric of existence familiar to the "normal" universe.
And you don't have anything that goes to prove that.

It is pretty simple. If it is outside of existence, it does not exist. Period. :) (not intending it to come out as rude as it might seem)

If it is outside a view of reality, it does exist, just not to your understanding.


Beckett wrote:
pres man wrote:
c)A neutral druid would not interfer one way or another. If the man survives, great, if a wolf pack finds him and kills him, that is fine also.
And how is that not evil? He could have easily saved the persons life, (or what I could possibly see as being neutral act, healed them man and pointed him in the right direction and then walked away), at no cost to himself. He purposefully chose to let the man risk death, so he wouldn't have to deal with it. The fact that he is a druid does not make it less evil than if a Blackguard did the same exact thing here.

But he has no obligation to save the person's life. He did not put the person's life at risk, he did not create the situation. It is not his concern. You seem to be implying that not being a "good samaritan" means you are acting in an evil fashion. The system is not binary. Something that is not good, does not automatically become evil, just as something that is not evil is not automatically good. How easy it is to do the deed is not really relevant, only the obligation to do it is.

PRD wrote:

Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.

People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent, but may lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others.

Remember we are not talking about RL morality, but in game morality.

Shadow Lodge

pres man wrote:
Beckett wrote:
pres man wrote:
c)A neutral druid would not interfer one way or another. If the man survives, great, if a wolf pack finds him and kills him, that is fine also.
And how is that not evil? He could have easily saved the persons life, (or what I could possibly see as being neutral act, healed them man and pointed him in the right direction and then walked away), at no cost to himself. He purposefully chose to let the man risk death, so he wouldn't have to deal with it. The fact that he is a druid does not make it less evil than if a Blackguard did the same exact thing here.
PRD wrote:

Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.

People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent, but may lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others.

Remember we are not talking about RL morality, but in game morality.

? Thanks for proving my point?

There was no sacrifice needed, he simply chose to let the innocent man die (he very likely will die). That is evil.


Beckett wrote:
pres man wrote:
Beckett wrote:
pres man wrote:
c)A neutral druid would not interfer one way or another. If the man survives, great, if a wolf pack finds him and kills him, that is fine also.
And how is that not evil? He could have easily saved the persons life, (or what I could possibly see as being neutral act, healed them man and pointed him in the right direction and then walked away), at no cost to himself. He purposefully chose to let the man risk death, so he wouldn't have to deal with it. The fact that he is a druid does not make it less evil than if a Blackguard did the same exact thing here.
PRD wrote:

Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.

People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent, but may lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others.

Remember we are not talking about RL morality, but in game morality.

? Thanks for proving my point?

There was no sacrifice needed, he simply chose to let the innocent man die (he very likely will die). That is evil.

Actually, your own words prove my point. To be evil, they have to be willing to kill innocents. As you keep repeating, he is letting the man die, he is not killing him. To kill him, he must take an active role, since he is not, he is therefore not killing the man, not even for profit or fun, thus he is not evil. Clearly he is not good, so if he is not evil and is not good, then what does that leave you?

As for there being no sacrifice, that depends on how you depend sacrifice, you obviously have a high standard for what is a sacrifice, others may have a lower one. It would be interesting to see an official view as to what constitutes a "sacrifice".


Beckett wrote:
There was no sacrifice needed, he simply chose to let the innocent man die (he very likely will die). That is evil.

Such is the way of nature. The weak shall die, the strong shall live. If the weak start living, the whole will die. Nature is a self preserved system, the world can feed an finite number of beings before collapse. Is not evil, nor is good, it only how things are.

Life, death, war, love, law, chaos, magic, money. None of these things are good or evil. All these things have reason to exist, also rules imprinted by the "cosmos". All can be used for good and evil, but the regulators of those things aren´t one or another.

Shadow Lodge

No, he is killing the man, (if the man does in fact die). He is choosing a corse of action that directly leads to an innocent man's death.

The fact that the action in question is inaction does not change the fact that said Druid did take part in killing the man.

Shadow Lodge

Draco Bahamut wrote:
Beckett wrote:
There was no sacrifice needed, he simply chose to let the innocent man die (he very likely will die). That is evil.
Draco Bahamut wrote:
Such is the way of nature. The weak shall die, the strong shall live. If the weak start living, the whole will die. Nature is a self preserved system, the world can feed an finite number of beings before collapse. Is not evil, nor is good, it only how things are.

That is Chaotic, not Neutral. It works for nature, because nature is not sentient. Your conussing two different arguements. If it were a demonworshiper, otherwise under the exact same conditions, there wouldn't be any question that it is evil. The fact that the druid follows a path that leads to this evil act being ok, does not make it "not evil". Said Druid could have healed the man with no required pay or reward, and that druid, who still believe in nature, (in nature some species do look out for and protect each other), would have done a good act.

Again, if a powerful druid called down an Avalanch and destroyed a random town, because he believed that nature is about balance, (things die so that others can live), that is still an evil act. The fact he believes in nature's way doesn't change the fact that he just murdered a whole freaking town, that is innocent because he had no reason to think they were not.

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