Can you play True Neutral alignment?


Advice

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Dark Archive

Kryzbyn wrote:
It can be morally justified to kill another human being, but not to murder one.

No. There are people who need to be stopped, but no one deserves to die.

There are situations in which killing someone sadly seems to be the only option, but that does not make it moral.

Mahorfeus wrote:
Certainly, but amongst aligned PCs who are motivated to do just that, it's a little hard for the Neutral PC to join the ride. The promise of a reward is not always a reasonable exception.

It does not have to be a material reward. It might be as simple as surviving, gaining knowledge, defeating an enemy or just proving that you are the best at what you do.

Every character should have a motivation.


Kryzbyn wrote:
Jadeite wrote:
I don't think that murdering another person is ever morally justified.
FTFY. It can be morally justified to kill another human being, but not to murder one. IMHO.

*hops on the chaotic soapbox*

Murder is a legal definition, not a moral one. Morally, whether someone takes a life as a government sponsored execution, an act of war, for the commission of a heinous crime is fully dependant on the rational for the killing itself: not on whether the killer has a piece of paper or an order from the state. Some truly horrific killings in history have been completely legal and conversely some people that really really needed to die die in a fire have been protected under the law.

Scarab Sages

It seems to me the key to playing a neutral character is to become animalistic!!!

Get your intelligence as low as possible!!! =D You can be the party brute and guard dog... You're practically a pet =D

You've achieved true neutrality?


Mahorfeus wrote:
KaeYoss wrote:


There are more reasons than "doing good" and "doing evil".
Certainly, but amongst aligned PCs who are motivated to do just that, it's a little hard for the Neutral PC to join the ride. The promise of a reward is not always a reasonable exception.

And there are more rewards than "having done good", "having done evil", or "getting a reward".

You can, for example, like your country and will fight anyone who wants to make the whole thing a sacrifice to Jubileus. That's just one of about a killion possibilities that don't submit to the banalities of goodness versus evil.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Jadeite wrote:


Thanks for reminding me why I dislike atheist extremists nearly as much as religious ones.

I think we need a new thread if you want to discuss George Carlin as an extremist.

Jadeite wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:
It can be morally justified to kill another human being, but not to murder one.

No. There are people who need to be stopped, but no one deserves to die.

There are situations in which killing someone sadly seems to be the only option, but that does not make it moral.

For what it's worth, +1.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Jadeite wrote:


Thanks for reminding me why I dislike atheist extremists nearly as much as religious ones.
I think we need a new thread if you want to discuss George Carlin as an extremist.

No we don't. :)

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
LazarX wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Jadeite wrote:


Thanks for reminding me why I dislike atheist extremists nearly as much as religious ones.
I think we need a new thread if you want to discuss George Carlin as an extremist.
No we don't. :)

I said if Jadeite wants to discuss it we need a new thread. Not that we need to discuss it. :P


I will say this then, morality is a social construct not intuitively obvious. Morality is no more than guidelines as to how we should operate so that we don't step on each others' toes, in a vacuum we have no morality. Infants have no morality, they are pure of influence, it is not until we subject them to normative cultural standards that they learn what is and is not acceptable, whether by discipline or by "osmosis" as it were.

Reason, however, is as objective as mathematics. I declare that the purpose of life is to enjoy yourself as much as possible. This does not mean hedonism, as delayed gratification often means giving up small pleasures now for something immensely more satisfying down the road. To that end, all things that assist you in your endeavors are virtuous, except those that directly impede another's similar endeavors, in which case it is "immoral". In which case it disrupts the social contract we all enter into in order to exist within society. The degree to which your actions impede another's is a grey area, with the most extreme examples being murder or imprisonment.

Is this a fair enough philosophical framework from which we can attempt to rationally discuss morality without bringing invisible friends into the mix?

Dark Archive

meatrace wrote:

I will say this then, morality is a social construct not intuitively obvious. Morality is no more than guidelines as to how we should operate so that we don't step on each others' toes, in a vacuum we have no morality. Infants have no morality, they are pure of influence, it is not until we subject them to normative cultural standards that they learn what is and is not acceptable, whether by discipline or by "osmosis" as it were.

Reason, however, is as objective as mathematics. I declare that the purpose of life is to enjoy yourself as much as possible. This does not mean hedonism, as delayed gratification often means giving up small pleasures now for something immensely more satisfying down the road. To that end, all things that assist you in your endeavors are virtuous, except those that directly impede another's similar endeavors, in which case it is "immoral". In which case it disrupts the social contract we all enter into in order to exist within society. The degree to which your actions impede another's is a grey area, with the most extreme examples being murder or imprisonment.

Is this a fair enough philosophical framework from which we can attempt to rationally discuss morality without bringing invisible friends into the mix?

That's a passable system. Some similarities to my own. But that gray area is the point that matters. Most moral systems work rather well under normal conditions.

The problem with many religions is that they replace that uncertainty with dogma.

If people live just according to the ten commandments, that's fine with me. It only becomes a problem if they start to make exceptions like 'thou shalt not kill except ...'
As long as religious people don't try to force their laws upon others they should be free to believe whatever they want. But they better not try to force their young earth creationism into scientific teachings (although where I live such believes are thankfully very rare).


Thanks for reminding me why I dislike atheist extremists nearly as much as religious ones.

Religious extremist: He's got a bomb! RUN!

Animal rights extremist: He's got a crowbar! RUN!

Political extremist: He's got a law, RUN!

Atheist extremist: He's got a Comedy special, RUN!


Jadeite wrote:

If people live just according to the ten commandments, that's fine with me. It only becomes a problem if they start to make exceptions like 'thou shalt not kill except ...'

As long as religious people don't try to force their laws upon others they should be free to believe whatever they want. But they better not try to force their young earth creationism into scientific teachings (although where I live such believes are thankfully very rare).

The problem with this is that the original commandment IS Thou Shalt Not Murder. In fact in the old testament the hebrews went around slaughtering their enemies which was righteous and blessed by god. And if you really want to get down to it, the 10 commandments are just an abridged version of the laws in the Torah, of which there are some 138 IIRC. Something like don't covet your neighbor's ass has about as much weight as don't eat shellfish and don't work on the Sabbath.

The point of the Carlin clip so graciously provided by TOZ, is that other than stuff it isn't rational to follow, it can be boiled down to "hey don't kill anyone, and generally be honest" which I think everyone can agree on.

Dark Archive

In the past fifty years, in my home country much more people have been killed by political extremists, right wing as well as left wing, than by religious extremists.
Of course, much more have died because of traffic accidents.

Even though Westphalia is predominately catholic, I grew up in a rather liberal environment, so I probably lack the traumatic memories that are necessary to develop a certain dislike of religions in general.


Meh I haven't found it too taxing to play Heutrals in the past, especially classes like Druids - you are more in line with the animals whos company you keep. You do your thing, you survive, and sometimes you find you have to go out and achieve X task to stop something stepping on you.

You can fit into a party easily enough, generally because you are curious - you aren't all that fixed on their motives just enjoying a journey, and sometimes you do stuff that drives them up the wall. NG is easier to play, but N isn't impossible.

The most 'misplayed' alignment is CN; so many people simply use it as a cover to play an XEvil when evil isn't really permissable, or just act like a douche.

Dark Archive

meatrace wrote:
Jadeite wrote:

If people live just according to the ten commandments, that's fine with me. It only becomes a problem if they start to make exceptions like 'thou shalt not kill except ...'

As long as religious people don't try to force their laws upon others they should be free to believe whatever they want. But they better not try to force their young earth creationism into scientific teachings (although where I live such believes are thankfully very rare).

The problem with this is that the original commandment IS Thou Shalt Not Murder. In fact in the old testament the hebrews went around slaughtering their enemies which was righteous and blessed by god. And if you really want to get down to it, the 10 commandments are just an abridged version of the laws in the Torah, of which there are some 138 IIRC. Something like don't covet your neighbor's ass has about as much weight as don't eat shellfish and don't work on the Sabbath.

The point of the Carlin clip so graciously provided by TOZ, is that other than stuff it isn't rational to follow, it can be boiled down to "hey don't kill anyone, and generally be honest" which I think everyone can agree on.

As it has been said before, the 'thou shall not covet' part is kind of important. Unless you think it's a normal economic practice to drive your neighbors of their land to make it your own. Besides the fifth commandment, it's probably the one most often broken in the name of god ('We have to missionize the Prussians' 'God has promised us this land thousands of years ago, so it belongs to us')

And the reason why I chose the Ten Commandments and not one of the more 'complete' versions is, that they make no exceptions. They don't explain when it's actually okay to kill or lie, they just say that those action should not be done. Compared to most other stuff in the old testament, they are rather harmless. They can of course be boiled down even further to 'Love thy neighbor' but that's pretty hard for most people.


My advice on playing true neutral is the same as my advice for all the other alignments:

Just play the character the way you think the character should act. If that jives with your listed alignment, great. If it is way out of line with your alignment, it should be considered "drifting" by the GM. If you drift a lot, your alignment should eventually shift.

As for GMs, alignment is a tool for measuring behavior in the game so that you can apply rules to that behavior. It is something you should endeavor to adjudicate fairly, like doling out experience points. Since it is a meaningful part of the character, you should let the PC guide you as to the desired alignment, and communicate in an ongoing manner to ensure you are on the same page.

After a few game sessions, the PCs personalities are often strong enough that their actions inform their alignment, not vice-verse. I use this method and it has never steered me wrong.


BigNorseWolf wrote:


Political extremist: He's got a law, RUN!

But what if it's a law against running?


Jadeite wrote:

In the past fifty years, in my home country much more people have been killed by political extremists, right wing as well as left wing, than by religious extremists.

Of course, much more have died because of traffic accidents.

Well, some of the political stuff has religion mixed in. Of course, that is often just another excuse for jingoism.

Jadeite wrote:


Even though Westphalia is predominately catholic, I grew up in a rather liberal environment, so I probably lack the traumatic memories that are necessary to develop a certain dislike of religions in general.

You don't need traumatic memories to develop a dislike of religions. We were never very pious at home (no insistence on regular prayer, no regular mass attendance except for certain times, like before First Communion, and even the Christmas church visit stopped being mandatory early enough) and I still dislike religion. Nothing against faith, but once people organise and give certain people authority based on the whole faith thing, and generally start to play the "we and them" game, things get ugly.

I didn't need to experience things like suicide bombings or the Inquisition first-hand.


Jadeite wrote:


As it has been said before, the 'thou shall not covet' part is kind of important. Unless you think it's a normal economic practice to drive your neighbors of their land to make it your own. Besides the fifth commandment, it's probably the one most often broken in the name of god ('We have to missionize the Prussians' 'God has promised us this land thousands of years ago, so it belongs to us')

As I said earlier, it can be okay to covet. It depends on how you act on it.

If you make war upon your neighbour and take his pretty land because you envy him, that's bad, but if you decide to make your own land pretty, too, it's actually good.

Jadeite wrote:


And the reason why I chose the Ten Commandments and not one of the more 'complete' versions is, that they make no exceptions. They don't explain when it's actually okay to kill or lie, they just say that those action should not be done. Compared to most other stuff in the old testament, they are rather harmless.

The problem is that there is that list of things you should never do, no exceptions, and then the rest of the book keeps going on and on about people who totally did that, and were not only punished, they were actually the heroes, righteous people whose acts please the lord.

The commandments might not say "Thou shalt not kill, except when...", but there seems to be a system of exceptions to the rule.


KaeYoss wrote:


You don't need traumatic memories to develop a dislike of religions. We were never very pious at home (no insistence on regular prayer, no regular mass attendance except for certain times, like before First Communion, and even the Christmas church visit stopped being mandatory early enough) and I still dislike religion. Nothing against faith, but once people organise and give certain people authority based on the whole faith thing, and generally start to play the "we and them" game, things get ugly.

I didn't need to experience things like suicide bombings or the Inquisition first-hand.

That's a very narrow view of it. I have witnessed many people hail a zealous view of their beliefs, but not religion, but politics. "you're a moron if you don't believe this", "down with those X wingers". They have no basis in faith, but their own codes. This is the law chaos axis and here in America, it is becoming a bigger hot button than religion. I work with a lot of blue collar people and man are they self righteous. While I like to rail on and support religions as much as the next guy, the subjective good/evil is only as bad as the subjective law/chaos. And walking into another sovereign country to instill your political beliefs sounds a lot like what Catholicism has done. Not mention the Communistic (law) suppression of faith.

Going true neutral really, I think, can only be done in a naturalistic, hippy-like fashion living amongst the trees.

Shadow Lodge

Beyond a few settings like DL and 2E, I cant buy TN as playable outside of a temporary state of being, (like a deep depression after a major life changing event) or a sign of very low Int and lower Wis.

I can see it for animals and creatures with no ties to anything, but thats not at all player material. My experience is that especially morally neutral alignments is an ommature cop out, an attempt to play evil/douche characters without mechanicle or RP restrictions, or simple lack of creativity.

Even the much overused Shades of Grey doesnt need TN, but is hindered and worse for it. Would be much more fun and realistic to simply have a scale between Good and Evil, Law and Chaos that you slid between, allowing for more and less good characters.

Liberty's Edge

A True Neutral person isn't somebody who holds no convictions.
A TN person isn't one who has no goals, desires, or wants.

A TN person is one who isn't dedicated to doing good or evil. It's likely that such a person will do more good than evil (after all, one is usually punished for doing evil and praised for doing good), but has no genuine desire to do so. He can be a nice person, donate to the poor, help orphans, and set up a scholarship, but he probably will ask for something in return, and is definitely not on a crusade to be righteous. He can also be a mean person, spiteful of others and is capable of evil things. But he has enough respect for the lives and wishes of others to avoid being evil.

My personal method of measuring D&D characters' alignments on the good-evil axis is something like this:
- A person who values the lives, wants, needs, and desires of others very close to his own is a Good person.
- A person who values the lives, wants, needs, and desires of others less than his own is a Neutral person.
- A person who does not value the lives, wants, needs, or desires of others at all is an Evil person.

A TN person is also a person who isn't really dedicated to upholding whatever law, organization, or social structure that exists. On the other hand, he isn't actively trying to bring it down, either. He probably values the protection and order such structures bring, but may resent their meddling in his affairs at the same time.

- A lawful person is likely to say "I must."
- A neutral person is likely to say "I should."
- A chaotic person usually just says "I want to."

So a TN person is actually pretty normal, as I see it. They're not dedicated to law, chaos, good, or evil. This is why humans are TN by default, not LN or LG.


LG: Hooray for you, even if it costs me

LN: Hooray for us

LE: Hooray for me, while screwing you

NG: Hooray for whats right

TN: hooray for me without hurting you

NE: Hooray for me; your probably dying soon

CG: Hooray for freedom, especially mine

CN: Hooray for me; screw you

CE: Hooray for me. Kill everything else

Short version

Liberty's Edge Contributor

Mahorfeus wrote:

Another alignment thread? I would sigh, but to do so as many times as necessary would rob me of all the air in my lungs.

Core wrote:
Such a character probably thinks of good as better than evil—after all, she would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, she's not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way.
For lack of words, True Neutral is a load of bull, at least for the case of a PC. The very definition of Neutrality seems to imply an overall lack of motivation to act on any inhibitions related to morality or other personal beliefs. PCs generally act on motivation to reach some ultimate goal; without an alignment shift involved, I don't see how a Neutral character could possibly do this while still suspending disbelief.

I disagree, neutrality doesn't mean having lack of goals or motivation. That's sloth or apathy or something. In fact, sloth being a pursuable sin, it is feasible that one could pursue the goal of doing nothing, vehemently. Thus earning the title of slacker!

A neutral character may adventure simply because it suits them, they might enjoy adrenaline. They might enjoy the notoriety or infamy of being perceived as a hero- in a manner akin to being rock star or similar celebrity. The individual's deeds may be as much to satisfy ego as to save lives.
A neutral character might be an escapist, leaving behind a horrid, or worse mundane existence- or perhaps even be an heir to a magnificent throne to which they have no interest. They might hate the politics or views of their people, perceiving them as extreme, and as such travel for knowledge and perspective. Adventuring for money, knowledge, or self-discovery while refusing to establish any sort of commitments to a specific cause, country, or lover.
A neutral character might simply be interested in trying everything once- being a pauper, being a king, being a prostitute- and then finding their own concept of what that means in the grand scheme of things.
They might be a lawyer, willing to argue any case simply for the sake of arguing- because argument intrigues them on an intellectual level.
They might be a (to use a Planescape term) sensate- interested in experiencing all manner of sentiment and emotion.
They might simply be an emotional child- unsure and unable to choose sides in times of crisis, or contrarily an intellectually advanced being whose fixations focus upon a profound fascination with the mortal condition, and following a desire to study it to the fullest without interrupting what exists, to the extent that what exists doesn't pose a greater threat to their lives or what exists. A individual with such a mindset might seek to protect the world against an external threat or destruction in order to study it as it self-destructs. Or something like that.
I'll note that I do find neutral characters altogether playable as PCs and that I think its a viable alignment choice, with as many diverse options for character builds as any other alignment.


CG: Hooray for freedom, especially mine:

Thats chaotic neutral. Chaotic Good is freedom for all. A chaotic good person will fight for another's freedom, chaotic neutral will not.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

CG: Hooray for freedom, especially mine:

Thats chaotic neutral. Chaotic Good is freedom for all. A chaotic good person will fight for another's freedom, chaotic neutral will not.

A CN person could be a freedom fighter that's willing to do some less moral stuff in that pursuit.


Lyrax wrote:

A True Neutral person isn't somebody who holds no convictions.

A TN person isn't one who has no goals, desires, or wants.

A TN person is one who isn't dedicated to doing good or evil. It's likely that such a person will do more good than evil (after all, one is usually punished for doing evil and praised for doing good), but has no genuine desire to do so. He can be a nice person, donate to the poor, help orphans, and set up a scholarship, but he probably will ask for something in return, and is definitely not on a crusade to be righteous. He can also be a mean person, spiteful of others and is capable of evil things. But he has enough respect for the lives and wishes of others to avoid being evil.

My personal method of measuring D&D characters' alignments on the good-evil axis is something like this:
- A person who values the lives, wants, needs, and desires of others very close to his own is a Good person.
- A person who values the lives, wants, needs, and desires of others less than his own is a Neutral person.
- A person who does not value the lives, wants, needs, or desires of others at all is an Evil person.

A TN person is also a person who isn't really dedicated to upholding whatever law, organization, or social structure that exists. On the other hand, he isn't actively trying to bring it down, either. He probably values the protection and order such structures bring, but may resent their meddling in his affairs at the same time.

- A lawful person is likely to say "I must."
- A neutral person is likely to say "I should."
- A chaotic person usually just says "I want to."

So a TN person is actually pretty normal, as I see it. They're not dedicated to law, chaos, good, or evil. This is why humans are TN by default, not LN or LG.

This is very well written!


Lyrax wrote:

A True Neutral person isn't somebody who holds no convictions.

A TN person isn't one who has no goals, desires, or wants.

A TN person is one who isn't dedicated to doing good or evil. It's likely that such a person will do more good than evil (after all, one is usually punished for doing evil and praised for doing good), but has no genuine desire to do so. He can be a nice person, donate to the poor, help orphans, and set up a scholarship, but he probably will ask for something in return, and is definitely not on a crusade to be righteous. He can also be a mean person, spiteful of others and is capable of evil things. But he has enough respect for the lives and wishes of others to avoid being evil.

My personal method of measuring D&D characters' alignments on the good-evil axis is something like this:
- A person who values the lives, wants, needs, and desires of others very close to his own is a Good person.
- A person who values the lives, wants, needs, and desires of others less than his own is a Neutral person.
- A person who does not value the lives, wants, needs, or desires of others at all is an Evil person.

A TN person is also a person who isn't really dedicated to upholding whatever law, organization, or social structure that exists. On the other hand, he isn't actively trying to bring it down, either. He probably values the protection and order such structures bring, but may resent their meddling in his affairs at the same time.

- A lawful person is likely to say "I must."
- A neutral person is likely to say "I should."
- A chaotic person usually just says "I want to."

So a TN person is actually pretty normal, as I see it. They're not dedicated to law, chaos, good, or evil. This is why humans are TN by default, not LN or LG.

Until third edition, I never appreciated Neutral Neutral as an alignment. I always saw it as some sort of "MUST" maintain balance. My own rigid thunkin' I guess.

With third edition, they introduced the nondedicated to good or evil part. BAM. All of a sudden TN as an alignment made sense to me.

Lyrax, thanks for writing it out so clearly. You said what I lack the words to impart.

Thanks,
Greg


Personally, I love playing True Neutral characters because it is an alignment of freedom. For instance, this Half-Elven Diviner I play as a pretty standard character is True Neutral: he opposes the party's paladin because he is overzealous, and thus works chaotically and evilly in order to retain the balance. However, in the same breath, he may be act very lawful when he is around the the party's Chaotic-Neutral cleric (we have a strange party) because he is overpowering the Chaotic side of things to the point of imbalance. All in all, to me at least, True Neutral boils down to two things: the first one, which I prefer to play, is keeping balance amongst the four extreme positions; the second is the uncaring individual who just does not react.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The frightened boy asked of the stranger: "Are you a good man or an evil man?" --to which the man simply replied: "A good man is altruistic and sacrifices himself for others while an evil man puts himself above all others and cares nothing for the harm that may befall his fellow man, be it from his fist, the fist of another, or from a natural force. I am neither one. I am simply a man traveling the road."


Ronin Pi wrote:
"down with those X wingers"

Could you leave Star Wars out of this? ;-P


Ronin Pi wrote:
KaeYoss wrote:


You don't need traumatic memories to develop a dislike of religions. We were never very pious at home (no insistence on regular prayer, no regular mass attendance except for certain times, like before First Communion, and even the Christmas church visit stopped being mandatory early enough) and I still dislike religion. Nothing against faith, but once people organise and give certain people authority based on the whole faith thing, and generally start to play the "we and them" game, things get ugly.

I didn't need to experience things like suicide bombings or the Inquisition first-hand.

That's a very narrow view of it. I have witnessed many people hail a zealous view of their beliefs, but not religion, but politics.

Where did I say that I'm a huge politics fan?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This thread has pretty much added to my determination to remove alignment entirely for the next home campaign I run, especially if it's a WOW D20 one.

I'll go with Monte Cook, why restrict yourself to nine alignments when you can have nine million?


dave.gillam wrote:

LG: Hooray for you, even if it costs me

LN: Hooray for us

LE: Hooray for me, while screwing you

NG: Hooray for whats right

TN: hooray for me without hurting you

NE: Hooray for me; your probably dying soon

CG: Hooray for freedom, especially mine

CN: Hooray for me; screw you

CE: Hooray for me. Kill everything else

Short version

Short and incorrect version.

Your description of LG is more NG - ultimate benefactor
Your description of LN is LG - Pro-order because that is best for most
Your description of NG is LG or LN - depending on how you define "right"
Your description of CG is CN - Freedom is great, and mine is the greatest. Your CN is just a harsher version.
CG Is more "Hooray for freedom" Good means selfless and willing to take risks on behalf of strangers.

And as an aside: It's "You're probably dying soon." (Or "you'll probably be dying soon" even). The different uses of "your/you're" (as well as "they're/there/their" and "it's/its") and getting them wrong are a pet peeve of mine.


Tim Hitchcock wrote:


I disagree, neutrality doesn't mean having lack of goals or motivation. That's sloth or apathy or something. In fact, sloth being a pursuable sin, it is feasible that one could pursue the goal of doing nothing, vehemently. Thus earning the title of slacker!

I think Krune still holds that title.


Umbral Reaver wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

CG: Hooray for freedom, especially mine:

Thats chaotic neutral. Chaotic Good is freedom for all. A chaotic good person will fight for another's freedom, chaotic neutral will not.

A CN person could be a freedom fighter that's willing to do some less moral stuff in that pursuit.

Quite possible. Such a character could champion Freedom as a concept. Not because he doesn't like seeing poor little kids as slaves or anything, but because he thinks Freedom is the proper state of the 'verse and wants to lead the world towards that.

Such persons might have listened to the Speakers of the Depths...


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Kryzbyn wrote:
Jadeite wrote:
I don't think that murdering another person is ever morally justified.
FTFY. It can be morally justified to kill another human being, but not to murder one. IMHO.

*hops on the chaotic soapbox*

Murder is a legal definition, not a moral one. Morally, whether someone takes a life as a government sponsored execution, an act of war, for the commission of a heinous crime is fully dependant on the rational for the killing itself: not on whether the killer has a piece of paper or an order from the state. Some truly horrific killings in history have been completely legal and conversely some people that really really needed to die die in a fire have been protected under the law.

You, know I have a real hard time with this issue in Western Culture today. Like most rational people, I believe that you don't take human life lightly, but saying it's never justified, even when it ... is? Come on, now. You're saying it can be the right thing to do and not the right thing to do at the same time.

The bottom line, is it IS the right thing to do in many cases, it just makes us feel icky so we come up with pious platitudes about how, "it's necessary, but never justified." I think that distinction isn't about morality, it's about rationalizing and making oneself feel better about what must be done.

Oh, there's a million arguments for and against capital punishment, and sorting out people worth redeeming from people who need to be terminated isn't an easy task, but saying that killing is never justified is simply burying your head in the sand. Some people need to die, and the person who does it is committing no sin as long as their doing out of necessity and not to gratify their own bloodlust.

This is why, despite my love of comic books, I'm frequently frustrated with them. The way I see it, when Super Hero A spares Super Villain B's life, with the near-certain knowledge that Super Villain B will go on to murder and committ other atrocities, then he's accomplice to those crimes. Oh, Batman stays true to his morals at the end of the Dark Knight, but of what use is that to the next average Joe that the Joker terrorizes and murders? How about to his wife and kids? Is Batman feeling good about himself worth innocent people's lives?

You can do good without the willingness to kill, but you cannot effectively fight evil without the willingness to do so. Which is fine, if that's your thing, join the Peace Corps of your local Fire Department instead of the militay or the police to make the world a better place, but please don't try to sell me on the idea that one should feel guilty about killing a murderer or rapist or pedophile before that person can do it again.

Saddam Hussein and his sons, whether you approve of the war or not, (and I understand if you don't, I fought there, twice, and I think it was a mistake to invade) got what was coming to them. Ditto the Nazis at Nurenberg (err, not sure on the spelling of Nurenburg, es tud mir leid, mein deutche ist sehr schlecht), Timothy McVeigh, Ted Bundy, Richard Snell and the list goes on and on of people who swung or fried and, in doing so, made the world a better place. I'll waste not one tear on them and save it for their victims, I only wish more like them went to the same fate. I can think of a few right off the top of my head that pretty much got away with their crimes practically scott-free. A large number of Soviet troops in post-war Germany, LT Kalee (sp?) and his men from the My Lai Massacre. The list goes on, but the point is: our squeamishness about eliminating monsters is part of the reason they populate the world faster than good men and women.


KaeYoss wrote:
Mahorfeus wrote:
KaeYoss wrote:


There are more reasons than "doing good" and "doing evil".
Certainly, but amongst aligned PCs who are motivated to do just that, it's a little hard for the Neutral PC to join the ride. The promise of a reward is not always a reasonable exception.

And there are more rewards than "having done good", "having done evil", or "getting a reward".

You can, for example, like your country and will fight anyone who wants to make the whole thing a sacrifice to Jubileus. That's just one of about a killion possibilities that don't submit to the banalities of goodness versus evil.

True, I suppose I'm in the habit of thinking of things in terms of black and white. Shades of gray tend to complicate things for me, though it's definitely worth a shot.

May Jubileus the Creator grace you!


Sorry for the off-topic diatribe. That particular issue is just bound to get a reaction out of me.

As far as playing true neutral, I always saw the alignments as serving two purposes:

1) Being fun to argue about. See? It's working right now!

2) A vague way to make players roleplay a little more honestly, i.e. your Knight of Solamnia can't kill the innkeeper when no one's looking and take his money, and why would your Red Robe(I'm a DL nut) Wizard of High Sorcery REALLY want to do that, what's in it for her?

If you try to take them much beyond that, I think they fall apart rapidly.

A sliding scale would probably be more nuanced, but even that would be problematic, because, as that little sidebar about the morality of killing shows, no two people agree down to the letter about what constitutes good and evil. Even if they share a common culture, religion, etc etc, their opinions will still differ greatly. I have no compunction about killing my definition of a "bad guy" but there are several people within Christianity who are out and out pacifists and have good arguments for their position, at least scripturally, that is. I still don't see how submitting to someone who IS willing to use violence is a more logical option than resisting them and perhaps saving your life and freedom, but I digress.

I still think alignments have some value, though, in trying to make players act like a person with real principles of some sort, rather than an amoral construct than will take the shortest route to treasure and XP every time.


KaeYoss wrote:
dave.gillam wrote:

LG: Hooray for you, even if it costs me

LN: Hooray for us

LE: Hooray for me, while screwing you

NG: Hooray for whats right

TN: hooray for me without hurting you

NE: Hooray for me; your probably dying soon

CG: Hooray for freedom, especially mine

CN: Hooray for me; screw you

CE: Hooray for me. Kill everything else

Short version

Short and incorrect version.

Your description of LG is more NG - ultimate benefactor
Your description of LN is LG - Pro-order because that is best for most
Your description of NG is LG or LN - depending on how you define "right"
Your description of CG is CN - Freedom is great, and mine is the greatest. Your CN is just a harsher version.
CG Is more "Hooray for freedom" Good means selfless and willing to take risks on behalf of strangers.

And as an aside: It's "You're probably dying soon." (Or "you'll probably be dying soon" even). The different uses of "your/you're" (as well as "they're/there/their" and "it's/its") and getting them wrong are a pet peeve of mine.

See, I see LG as upholding "the greater good", as in "the good of the many outweighs the good of the few, or the one" (yes, Star Trek Reference. I shall go beat myself now)

LN is upholding Order without judgment of "good" or "evil"; of course you prefer "good", but thats defined by the society. Hobgoblins will have a different definition of "good" than Halflings

NG is looking for what is "good"/right regardless of law/chaos. Its almost Stupid Good the way most people Ive seen play it.

CG is about freedom, but wont force it on you. They WILL be free, and if you want it, they will help you. But if your happy where you are, it would be just as tyranical to force their beliefs onto you as the tyrant your currently under, so......

CN Is all about ME; and you dont matter. at all. Not random craziness; but pure selfishness (think your average toddler; the world exists solely for them, in their minds)

As for the grammar correction: yeah, Im bad about that sometimes. Thanks for the assist


GreyRaist05 wrote:
Ditto the Nazis at Nurenberg (err, not sure on the spelling of Nurenburg, es tud mir leid, mein deutche ist sehr schlecht),

I know it as "Nürnberg", though you English-speaking people turn it into "Nuremberg"

And, in the spirit of education, that should be "Nürnberg/Nurenberg, es tut mir leid, mein Deutsch ist sehr schlecht". :)


Mahorfeus wrote:
True, I suppose I'm in the habit of thinking of things in terms of black and white. Shades of gray tend to complicate things for me, though it's definitely worth a shot.

So little is truly black or white, it's always worth a shot throwing out the switches and investing in dials.

Mahorfeus wrote:


May Jubileus the Creator grace you!

I've got a fever, and the only cure is more dead angels!


dave.gillam wrote:

See, I see LG as upholding "the greater good", as in "the good of the many outweighs the good of the few, or the one" (yes, Star Trek Reference. I shall go beat myself now)

[...]

NG is looking for what is "good"/right regardless of law/chaos. Its almost Stupid Good the way most people Ive seen play it.

I agree mostly. I'm just saying that "Hooray for you, even if it costs me!" is NG, because it's the very definition of NG: Benevolent, helping others, even strangers and even if it is risky, dangerous or costly"

"Hooray for what is right" sounds very LG. The "right" part. LG, like CG, is still prone to helping others even at their own risk and expanse, but it's coloured by their views on order/chaos.

dave.gillam wrote:


LN is upholding Order without judgment of "good" or "evil"; of course you prefer "good", but thats defined by the society. Hobgoblins will have a different definition of "good" than Halflings

LN isn't really "Hooray for us", though. "Hooray for us" sounds like that Star Trek thing you are currently flogging yourself for quoting. That would make it more LG.

LN is mostly "Hooray for law and order". If the law happens to screw "us", then that's too bad.

dave.gillam wrote:


CG is about freedom, but wont force it on you. They WILL be free, and if you want it, they will help you. But if your happy where you are, it would be just as tyranical to force their beliefs onto you as the tyrant your currently under, so......

Since good is about selflessness and taking risks to save others, I would say that "Hooray for freedom, especially mine" isn't quite right. It's more "Hooray for freedom for everyone". A CG person might even sacrifice his own freedom so that someone else can be free.

dave.gillam wrote:


CN Is all about ME; and you dont matter. at all. Not random craziness; but pure selfishness (think your average toddler; the world exists solely for them, in their minds)

Not quite. Pure egotism and selfishness is more evil than neutral. CN means neutral in regards to good and evil. That means they're not especially selfish, but will not risk themselves for just anyone, either. However, they can develop friendship or love for others and then take risks for these people.

And of course, if they're champions of chaos, they might risk themselves for the Cause.

dave.gillam wrote:


As for the grammar correction: yeah, Im bad about that sometimes. Thanks for the assist

No problem. And I don't want to come off as too smart-aleck (though I sometimes have to ;-).

By the way, it's "I'm" ;-P

Liberty's Edge

Thank you, Greg and Trista!
I aim to please.

The Exchange

dave.gillam wrote:

LG: Hooray for you, even if it costs me

LN: Hooray for us

LE: Hooray for me, while screwing you

Short version

All Lawfuls would be Hooray for Us...Good didnt need to kill anyone to get there, Neutral didnt care how they got there only that there wasnt any 'collateral damage' - aka nature preserve, and Evil got there through a bus full of protestors.

As to the OP - Neutral is a moment of transition between two polar opposite alignments for anyone other than Druids. Even Elementals are non true neutral - having their polar opposites. But their Alignments are Elemental rather than Fundamental.


KaeYoss wrote:
GreyRaist05 wrote:
Ditto the Nazis at Nurenberg (err, not sure on the spelling of Nurenburg, es tud mir leid, mein deutche ist sehr schlecht),

I know it as "Nürnberg", though you English-speaking people turn it into "Nuremberg"

And, in the spirit of education, that should be "Nürnberg/Nurenberg, es tut mir leid, mein Deutsch ist sehr schlecht". :)

That's right, all nouns are capitalized, and Deutsch is proper in any case. Oh, and I've always had trouble with possessive pronoun agreement. Danke.

It's been two years since I lived in Baumholder, and I was never that good to begin with. You see, every time I got out on the economy and tried to exercise my three semesters of college German, the person I was conversing with would allow me to butcher their language for about three sentences and then say, "Anglisch?" Which was very nice, but really, folks, how am I supposed to learn your language if you won't let me suffer in it for awhile?

I will say I was proud of myself and annoyed with my countrymen that most Germans and Austrians thought I was English rather than American because my grammar was more or less clean (in my native tongue, of course, we've established that I suck at German) and I minded my manners.

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