Getting Rid of Alignment Restrictions for Classes


Homebrew and House Rules

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I would say its veryor a monk to actually act like a CG character and maintain the kind of discipline necessary, but it would be possible to try.


Big Lemon wrote:
Floating a line between discipline and uncontrolled fury is an interesting way to play NG.

BUT IT'S WROOOOOOONG!!!


Evil Finnish Chaos Beast wrote:
Big Lemon wrote:
Floating a line between discipline and uncontrolled fury is an interesting way to play NG.
BUT IT'S WROOOOOOONG!!!

Because I am a barbarian I feel a strong desire to disregard your social constructions.


I don't like alignment restrictions in general, but play with them anyway. Except Lawful for monks. That one seems totally wrong to me.
For one side we have drunk master... only lawful? Really?
On other hand, I love Rokugan, and the Tattoed Monk of the Dragon are the one of the less lawful parts of the setting. Togashi Mitsu is not Lawful.
Monks need to have strong discipline, but discipline are not exclusive to lawful alignment.
Any new edition of D&D / Pathfinder has fewer alignment restrictions. Restrictions to Rogue and Bard are gone, and I would like to se more restrictions disappear the same way.


Roberta Yang wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
I'm not a cultural anthropologist, but
Is this going to be the new "I'm not racist, but"?

I'm not familiar with the meme, but I take it I've come off as some kind of sexist.

Sorry for giving that impression, but the traditional female gender role was the best example I could think of to demonstrate why tribal cultures have more reason to be Lawful than more tech-advanced cultures.

Anyway Big Lemon says we're getting off-topic, so moving on.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

I'd say you're all going into it with preconceptions of What Lawful and Chaotic don't mean.

Chaotic is inherently small and regionalized, tribal. Following tradition doesn't make you Lawful...it makes you habit forming. Chaos reaches only where it has the strength to, and doesn't give a fig for anything outside its borders. A Chaotic society does not impose its will on outsiders or expect them to adhere to its own principles. That is almost the perfect description of a tribal society.

A Lawful society, on the other hands, DOES expect that of outsiders...you will abide by our ways or be punished for it. Furthermore, the laws and such are often decided on and imposed from above, by members of society who have you have no interaction with, and yet are expected to obey. You might not even never lay eyes on those who call themselves your rulers, and yet are expected to be blindly loyal and obey their dictates, instead of the traditions and customs of your blood kin!

This is an important distinction, because in a Lawful society, the weak can rule over the strong. In a Chaotic society, that just isn't going to happen...the elite will rise to the top based on pure strength. The anarchy of being Chaotic is often mitigated by strong blood ties, which are emotional bonds, not 'legal' bonds, and also by strong senses of personal honor, superstitions, ancestor worship, and similar things.

Most societies will tend towards neutrality, where respect is given to laws that are beneficial, and then they are ignored if they come up against long established custom or blood ties. Remember that custom and tradition are not laws. You don't suddenly become a criminal and thrown into jail by not attending the Feast of the Bright Moon, or invoking the River God's name when crossing a bridge, or whatever.

Lawful societies are designed to perpetrate the power of those in power, allowing them to pass it down from one generation to the next, and make it difficult to unseat them. Chaotic societies make this quite hard to accomplish, as the best at the job usually rises to the top regardless of efforts made to keep them down, and they are admired for the deed instead of vilified for it. I mean, would you rather be led by the best warrior of the tribe to battle, or the simpering twit who is the current cheif's son? If you aren't strong, going against the will of the people in a tribal culture can be extremely hazarous to your health.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

I'd say you're all going into it with preconceptions of What Lawful and Chaotic don't mean.

Chaotic is inherently small and regionalized, tribal. Following tradition doesn't make you Lawful...it makes you habit forming. Chaos reaches only where it has the strength to, and doesn't give a fig for anything outside its borders. A Chaotic society does not impose its will on outsiders or expect them to adhere to its own principles. That is almost the perfect description of a tribal society.

A Lawful society, on the other hands, DOES expect that of outsiders...you will abide by our ways or be punished for it. Furthermore, the laws and such are often decided on and imposed from above, by members of society who have you have no interaction with, and yet are expected to obey. You might not even never lay eyes on those who call themselves your rulers, and yet are expected to be blindly loyal and obey their dictates, instead of the traditions and customs of your blood kin!

This is an important distinction, because in a Lawful society, the weak can rule over the strong. In a Chaotic society, that just isn't going to happen...the elite will rise to the top based on pure strength. The anarchy of being Chaotic is often mitigated by strong blood ties, which are emotional bonds, not 'legal' bonds, and also by strong senses of personal honor, superstitions, ancestor worship, and similar things.

Most societies will tend towards neutrality, where respect is given to laws that are beneficial, and then they are ignored if they come up against long established custom or blood ties. Remember that custom and tradition are not laws. You don't suddenly become a criminal and thrown into jail by not attending the Feast of the Bright Moon, or invoking the River God's name when crossing a bridge, or whatever.

Lawful societies are designed to perpetrate the power of those in power, allowing them to pass it down from one generation to the next, and make it difficult to unseat them. Chaotic societies make this quite hard to...

I disagree. Most INDIVIDUALS will tend toward neutrality, following the predominately helpful laws and ignoring those that seem unhelpful to anyone, but a Lawful-aligned character will obey things simply because they are law, because they recognize that one sacrifices freedoms in order to be protected by law, whether it's convenient or not.

The whole precedent of society is that everyone follows the laws, and if you break them you have to pay consequences. No law is created with the intent for people to just ignore it, which is why a society that makes and enforces laws in lawful by nature. Social customs, like invoking the name of a River God when cross a bridge, is not automatically a law just because the society is described as Lawful. You're making specific assumptions about a broad category. Things like faith and common courtesy are not laws, and would be considered traits in the Good/Evil spectrum of things. Laws, while their purpose is to help people live in peace with eachother, to not exist to uphold a moral standard of conduct.

I also disagree entirely with your opinion that "Lawful societies are designed to perpetrate the power of those in power, allowing them to pass it down from one generation to the next, and make it difficult to unseat them.", which frankly seems to make an assumption that all Lawful societies are Monarchies, which is obviously not true. a Democratic government is just as likely to create and enforce laws as a monarchy.

Shadow Lodge

Aelryinth wrote:
I'd say you're all going into it with preconceptions of What Lawful and Chaotic don't mean.

As are we all. But our understanding is based on the description of alignment in the CRB.

Aelryinth wrote:
Chaotic is inherently small and regionalized, tribal. Following tradition doesn't make you Lawful...it makes you habit forming.
Law vs Chaos wrote:
Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties.

Traditions are lawful. Following the tradition that the new ruler is the person who wins a test of skill, or the person selected by a circle of elders, is no less lawful than following the tradition that the new ruler is the old ruler's oldest son. Also no description of scale of any of this. Authority could be the emperor, or it could be your grandmother.

Aelryinth wrote:

Chaos reaches only where it has the strength to, and doesn't give a fig for anything outside its borders. A Chaotic society does not impose its will on outsiders or expect them to adhere to its own principles. That is almost the perfect description of a tribal society.

A Lawful society, on the other hands, DOES expect that of outsiders...you will abide by our ways or be punished for it. Furthermore, the laws and such are often decided on and imposed from above, by members of society who have you have no interaction with, and yet are expected to obey. You might not even never lay eyes on those who call themselves your rulers, and yet are expected to be blindly loyal and obey their dictates, instead of the traditions and customs of your blood kin!

Again, no mention of scope in the law/chaos description, or whether a lawful society imposes its laws on those outside of itself. Also note:

Law vs Chaos wrote:
Chaotic characters follow their consciences, resent being told what to do, favor new ideas over tradition, and do what they promise if they feel like it.

This doesn't say that a chaotic person follows family traditions, it says that they don't like tradition and prefer new ideas. It doesn't say that chaotics obey family members or leaders they know personally, it says they don't like being told what to do, period!

Aelryinth wrote:
This is an important distinction, because in a Lawful society, the weak can rule over the strong. In a Chaotic society, that just isn't going to happen...the elite will rise to the top based on pure strength. The anarchy of being Chaotic is often mitigated by strong blood ties, which are emotional bonds, not 'legal' bonds, and also by strong senses of personal honor, superstitions, ancestor worship, and similar things.

I agree that strong blood ties can help hold a group of chaotics together, and that a strong person may be able to rule over chaotics by sheer force where a weak person would be immediately removed from power. But this doesn't mean that blood ties and strong leaders make a society inherently chaotic - rather, these things are able to mitigate or overcome the individualist and anti-authority tendencies of a chaotic group, which would otherwise drive such a group apart should their personal goals ever diverge. Also:

Law vs Chaos wrote:
Law implies honor

Therefore a tribal society held together by a sense of personal honour is acting in a lawful way.

Aelryinth wrote:
Remember that custom and tradition are not laws. You don't suddenly become a criminal and thrown into jail by not attending the Feast of the Bright Moon, or invoking the River God's name when crossing a bridge, or whatever.
Law vs Chaos wrote:
Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties. ... On the downside, lawfulness can include closed-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition...

Custom and tradition may not have legal force, but following them is lawful, at least by the CRB definition.

Aelryinth wrote:
Lawful societies are designed to perpetrate the power of those in power, allowing them to pass it down from one generation to the next, and make it difficult to unseat them.

Nowhere in the description of Lawfulness. Would you consider democratic government inherently nonlawful?

Aelryinth wrote:
Chaotic societies make this quite hard to accomplish, as the best at the job usually rises to the top regardless of efforts made to keep them down, and they are admired for the deed instead of vilified for it. I mean, would you rather be led by the best warrior of the tribe to battle, or the simpering twit who is the current cheif's son? If you aren't strong, going against the will of the people in a tribal culture can be extremely hazarous to your health.

Going against tribal custom can be dangerous, period, since the group is stronger than the individual in most realistic situations (ie excluding high-level adventurers). And being ostracized from the group for going against custom would be a death sentence even for strong individuals. Tribal cultures often have mechanisms that allow the strong to rise to the top because that is beneficial for the tribe, but they also often have rules limiting this conflict. For example:

Hamlet in the Bush wrote:
“No,” pronounced the old man, speaking less to me than to the young men sitting behind the elders. “If your father’s brother has killed your father, you must appeal to your father’s age mates: they may avenge him. No man may use violence against his senior relatives.

Source, page 4.

In summary, the official description of law and chaos treats all traditions and honour codes as lawful, regardless of their nature or scope of influence. Rule by the strong is not inherently chaotic, especially if there are traditions defining by what means the strong should come to power.


We found a plot hole. Does that mean we're all going to die?


Questioning class alignment restrictions is underlying the problem introduced by the 9 nine alignments division some 35 years ago.
I think the problem was crossing the monotheist opposition (Good/Evil) with Moorcock's duality (Law/Chaos), who also introduced the concept of a balance wrongly represented by the Neutral alignment.
The mistake is that in both Moorcock's universe and religions/mythologies Law equal Good and, Chaos equal Evil. I admit it's not exactly the same but it's mainly the same.

Then that game modeling mistake from AD&D was maintained through editions to D&D3.5 and kept by Paizo in Pathfinder. I think the paladin class, vorpal sword or, the war between demons and devils were part of that choice to keep it.

That's a mistake as the original D&D division of Good/Evil was quite enough (and completed later adding the Neutral unaligned alignment); look at most comics, books, movies or video games: they mainly have the Good/Evil opposition and no need for more.

The only reason to accept classes alignment limitations would be considering classes also have an archetype function that should not be adjustable (the paladin being kind of prince charming and the barbarian a short-term brute ally).

Alignments are also giving a fake feeling of freedom of choice for players as they "all" play Good characters; they may be sometimes cruel, ruthless or amoral but they're almost never Evil.

To come back to the title of this thread it's not alignment limitations that should be lifted but the full alignment concept we should get rid of.


Well as I've said previously, the alignment system is fine for creatures like amgels and demons that are supernaturally bound to one way of thinking, but for players it can't be applied in the same way, so alignment is irrelevant to them.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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Honoring tradition strongly is a lawful trait. But following tradition is also not NOT a Chaotic trait. Chaotics tend to place faith in their own judgement and those of their blood over 'laws', i.e. the opinion of the self over the opinions of others, especially others to which they have no tie. Lawfuls are not the ONLY ones that follow traditions...they just tend to be more rigorous about the ones they do, and hold outsiders to them.

Chaotics are also considerably more willing to reinterpret tradition to their own benefit, holding to what they consider the personal spirit of it instead of the letter of it.

No man may use violence against his senior relatives? In other words, my sister can kill them, but I can't? I can kill my neighbor's a!&~~~# grand-dad, and he can kill my father? SOunds like a plan. I can kill them if I'm not a 'man' yet? How about if I change gender and kill the bastard then? What if I turn into a bear and maul the SOB to death? I wasn't a 'man' then either.

A Lawful person would look at this as interpretive wording. A Chaotic would say, "This tradition is there so sons don't murder their elders to take their lands and holdings. It is not there so the seniors can do anything they wish to the young without recourse. So I will follow the tradition of my ancestors, and before I become a man, or as something as other then a man, I will have my vengeance for the evils heaped upon me."

Chaotics can also be extremely honorable. But their code of honor is defined personally, not by some external force, and face and reputation, being individual measures, often reflect strongly in it. For Lawfuls, this reflects upon their family strongly as well, or even moreso. The facts codes converge because of blood ties doesn't suddenly make them Lawful...they are missing the overall uniformity which defines lawfulness.

The sole trait I'd give Lawfuls that Chaotics don't have is long-term discipline. I'm reminded of a description of the two evil kingdoms in the Belgariad. Kingdom X was a doer of deeds, where Empire X was an accomplisher of tasks. A deed once done is done, but tasks must be done over and over. One was a kingdom of knights and warriors, and the other of soldiers and legions and engineers and merchants and whatnot.

What Chaotics have that Lawfuls don't is pure emotional power, which is unfortunately much harder to typify then absolute discipline. It's actually well represented by rage...Chaos can reach greater heights of pure power then Law, but will gutter and fade in time to lower depths, as well. This up and down strength level is why monks are Lawful...the ideal of a monk is to build up that shell of internal discipline and serenity to a level of unbreachable strength. The goal of the barbarian is to be able to be strong enough when he needs to be to overwhelm anything.

And it's this reliance on emotions, blood ties and tribal bonds, over words and written things, that seperate Chaotic societies from Lawful ones. Of course they are going to share many things, but the root of reason vs emotion, society vs individual, are always going to be there.

Oh, and I'm not saying you can't have a Lawful tribe, or that members of a family unit cannot be Lawful. I am also not saying you can't have Chaotics in the center of Lawful civilizations, which is basically what you are trying to say.

What I am saying is that Chaotic societies are going to be be focused on the family and tribal level, and anything larger is going to be based on increasingly murky and less bonding ties of blood, and shared traditions or languages. These can be quite strong (as in the elves) and you can make a functioning society out of them, but individuality and loyalty aren't neccessarily contradictions, which is what you seem to make them out to be.

A Lawful type obeys the Throne because whoever holds the throne is to be obeyed. A Chaotic type obeys the Throne because he thinks the Throneholder is worth obeying, and if they aren't, only because he fears the consequences of disobedience.

And yes, democracies work to establish their own heirs in centers of power, too. You think Democrats don't try to have Democrats inherit their posts? Republicans, too? In this case, the 'inheritance' is less focused on bloodline then political beliefs, but the system is still there. And all I gotta say is "George Bush, George W Bush, Jeb Bush," or 'the Kennedys', and I'm sure you'll realize the family aspect of it is still alive and well.

===Aelryinth


I'm still not seeing a connection between inheritance of authority as a trait of a Lawful society. Clearly you have a problem with this idea in the real world, as well you should, but it is not an inseparable aspect of Democracy as a form of government, in fact one could say its undenocratic. Getting off topic again.

Getting back on topic, orderly structure, precedence, and ruless regarding government and leadership express Law, inheritting power is not a Lawful trait in and of itself, it is simply a flaw that is shared by most real world governments that happen to be Lawful by this system of classification. Actually, you seen to be contradicting yourself by saying that emphasis on family ties is Chaotic (which I disagree with) but then saying that a son inheriting leadership from his father is a Lawful trait. How is that anynore descriptive of Law than a leader being elected by the people democratically? I'm confused.

Sovereign Court

Eh. The problem with Law/Chaos is that you can't get a consensus* on what they mean. So anything else in the game derived from them is a bit shaky.

And yet, the concept of a universal struggle between forces of law and chaos feels like it belongs in high fantasy. This can be forces of order trying to keep the strands of reality from unravelling/sliding back into the primordial soup. Or maybe it's civilization vs. barbarism. Often the side of Law comes across as a bit nicer; "Chaos" is rather negative, "Law" suggests it was at least at first intended to achieve something desirable.

Maybe if you rename Chaos as Wild, it doesn't sound so automatically negative?

*You can have a personal opinion, but convincing everyone else is the hard part.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Those at the top of a power structure will naturally attempt to move the structure to their benefit. Thus, at the TOP of a Lawful society, laws will be in place to let inheritors take up the positions of those before them.

At the lower levels of society, this may not be the case.

A Chaotic society will undoubtedly have more nepotism going on, because 'only family can be trusted'. But this will often be offset by the fact that a Chaotic system is often a meritocracy, because truly Chaotic people aren't impressed by the weak, and simply won't follow them...they cleave to strength, for one reason or another.

The inheritance structure in a Chaotic society will be on family holdings, but not so much the political power structure...because other worthies want it, too, and there's no laws stopping them from taking it.

As for democracies...there are political dynasties even in our own democracy, and inherited posts within the political parties themselves. It's not as prevelant in the bureaucracy as it might be in older societies where nepotism thrives (think the Middle East), but it is definitely still there. And those in power are definitely moving things to their own advantage, instead of equitably for all people.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

Varisian Wanderer

Honoring tradition strongly is a lawful trait. But following tradition is also not NOT a Chaotic trait. Chaotics tend to place faith in their own judgement and those of their blood over 'laws', i.e. the opinion of the self over the opinions of others, especially others to which they have no tie. Lawfuls are not the ONLY ones that follow traditions...they just tend to be more rigorous about the ones they do, and hold outsiders to them.

Chaotics are also considerably more willing to reinterpret tradition to their own benefit, holding to what they consider the personal spirit of it instead of the letter of it.

No man may use violence against his senior relatives? In other words, my sister can kill them, but I can't? I can kill my neighbor's a%&%+#! grand-dad, and he can kill my father? SOunds like a plan. I can kill them if I'm not a 'man' yet? How about if I change gender and kill the bastard then? What if I turn into a bear and maul the SOB to death? I wasn't a 'man' then either.

A Lawful person would look at this as interpretive wording. A Chaotic would say, "This tradition is there so sons don't murder their elders to take their lands and holdings. It is not there so the seniors can do anything they wish to the young without recourse. So I will follow the tradition of my ancestors, and before I become a man, or as something as other then a man, I will have my vengeance for the evils heaped upon me."

Chaotics can also be extremely honorable. But their code of honor is defined personally, not by some external force, and face and reputation, being individual measures, often reflect strongly in it. For Lawfuls, this reflects upon their family strongly as well, or even moreso. The facts codes converge because of blood ties doesn't suddenly make them Lawful...they are missing the overall uniformity which defines lawfulness.

The sole trait I'd give Lawfuls that Chaotics don't have is long-term discipline. I'm reminded of a description of the two evil kingdoms in the Belgariad. Kingdom X was a doer of deeds, where Empire X was an accomplisher of tasks. A deed once done is done, but tasks must be done over and over. One was a kingdom of knights and warriors, and the other of soldiers and legions and engineers and merchants and whatnot.

What Chaotics have that Lawfuls don't is pure emotional power, which is unfortunately much harder to typify then absolute discipline. It's actually well represented by rage...Chaos can reach greater heights of pure power then Law, but will gutter and fade in time to lower depths, as well. This up and down strength level is why monks are Lawful...the ideal of a monk is to build up that shell of internal discipline and serenity to a level of unbreachable strength. The goal of the barbarian is to be able to be strong enough when he needs to be to overwhelm anything.

And it's this reliance on emotions, blood ties and tribal bonds, over words and written things, that seperate Chaotic societies from Lawful ones. Of course they are going to share many things, but the root of reason vs emotion, society vs individual, are always going to be there.

Oh, and I'm not saying you can't have a Lawful tribe, or that members of a family unit cannot be Lawful. I am also not saying you can't have Chaotics in the center of Lawful civilizations, which is basically what you are trying to say.

What I am saying is that Chaotic societies are going to be be focused on the family and tribal level, and anything larger is going to be based on increasingly murky and less bonding ties of blood, and shared traditions or languages. These can be quite strong (as in the elves) and you can make a functioning society out of them, but individuality and loyalty aren't neccessarily contradictions, which is what you seem to make them out to be.

A Lawful type obeys the Throne because whoever holds the throne is to be obeyed. A Chaotic type obeys the Throne because he thinks the Throneholder is worth obeying, and if they aren't, only because he fears the consequences of disobedience.

And yes, democracies work to establish their own heirs in centers of power, too. You think Democrats don't try to have Democrats inherit their posts? Republicans, too? In this case, the 'inheritance' is less focused on bloodline then political beliefs, but the system is still there. And all I gotta say is "George Bush, George W Bush, Jeb Bush," or 'the Kennedys', and I'm sure you'll realize the family aspect of it is still alive and well.

===Aelryinth

Poetry, this is!


Ascalaphus wrote:

Eh. The problem with Law/Chaos is that you can't get a consensus* on what they mean. So anything else in the game derived from them is a bit shaky.

And yet, the concept of a universal struggle between forces of law and chaos feels like it belongs in high fantasy. This can be forces of order trying to keep the strands of reality from unravelling/sliding back into the primordial soup. Or maybe it's civilization vs. barbarism. Often the side of Law comes across as a bit nicer; "Chaos" is rather negative, "Law" suggests it was at least at first intended to achieve something desirable.

Maybe if you rename Chaos as Wild, it doesn't sound so automatically negative?

*You can have a personal opinion, but convincing everyone else is the hard part.

The lore that Paizo put behind it interests me the most. In Bestiary 2, where they introduce the Axiomites and Proteans, they describe a first war between Law and Chaos (perhaps better named Order and Chaos), with the Axiomites being "reality made flesh in an attempt to understand itself" and Proteans as being a manifestation of the primordial disorder that existed before Order. I find it fascinating because it doesn't have, the way I see it, the grey areas that you have on the morality scale:

Law is order, rationality, structure, and equations.
Chaos is disorder, emotion, lack of organization, and instinct.

As for Good/Evil... auxiliary to that is the duality of Positive Energy versus Negative Energy. The two are so closely associated but kept separate, maybe the Good/Evil duality should be done away with, and angels, devils and the like will all simply be lawful or chaotic beings attuned to one of those energies. As it is, though Positive Energy and Negative Energy are often expressions of Good and Evil respectively (good clerics channel positive energy, evil ones channel negative energy), Good and Evil are not expressions of them (neutral clerics can channel either without being Good or Evil).

So Order and Chaos would be the only "alignment" left, while creatures may be "attuned" to positive or negative energy as well. Things like DR/Good would become DR/Positive, and Holy weapons would simply deal positive energy damage against creatures with negative energy affinity, like undead and, in this reworking, demons as well.

Shadow Lodge

Big Lemon, interesting idea, though it plays with the traditional "heroic" fantasy game where Good and Evil conflict is key.

Aelryinth, I'm really not sure we're accurately communicating our respective viewpoints.

Aelryinth wrote:
Chaotics tend to place faith in their own judgement and those of their blood over 'laws', i.e. the opinion of the self over the opinions of others, especially others to which they have no tie. Lawfuls are not the ONLY ones that follow traditions...they just tend to be more rigorous about the ones they do, and hold outsiders to them.

Scope of tradition in terms of whether it is shared among blood relatives or imposed on outsiders is not in the official CRB description of law vs chaos and therefore should not have bearing on the CRB's designation of Barbarians as nonlawful.

Aelryinth wrote:

Chaotics are also considerably more willing to reinterpret tradition to their own benefit, holding to what they consider the personal spirit of it instead of the letter of it.

No man may use violence against his senior relatives? In other words, my sister can kill them, but I can't? I can kill my neighbor's a~*$&!+ grand-dad, and he can kill my father? SOunds like a plan. I can kill them if I'm not a 'man' yet? How about if I change gender and kill the bastard then? What if I turn into a bear and maul the SOB to death? I wasn't a 'man' then either.
A Lawful person would look at this as interpretive wording. A Chaotic would say, "This tradition is there so sons don't murder their elders to take their lands and holdings. It is not there so the seniors can do anything they wish to the young without recourse. So I will follow the tradition of my ancestors, and before I become a man, or as something as other then a man, I will have my vengeance for the evils heaped upon me."

I think that the former is an attempt to subvert the clear purpose of the tradition for personal benefit – which is as you stated a chaotic trait. So why are you describing the second bit as chaotic? To “follow the tradition of my ancestors” is lawful, especially if that tradition disadvantages you.

Aelryinth wrote:
The sole trait I'd give Lawfuls that Chaotics don't have is long-term discipline. ... What Chaotics have that Lawfuls don't is pure emotional power, which is unfortunately much harder to typify then absolute discipline.

Again, not in the official description of law vs chaos.

Aelryinth wrote:
And it's this reliance on emotions, blood ties and tribal bonds, over words and written things, that seperate Chaotic societies from Lawful ones. Of course they are going to share many things, but the root of reason vs emotion, society vs individual, are always going to be there.

I agree that society vs individual is the core of the law vs chaos dilemna, but I do not see how tribal societies inherently favor the individual over the social group. Many historical tribes have collectivist mentalities that see the group itself as an entity and also have shared property rather than individual property. Having a strong sense of group identity is also an evolutionary benefit, hence traditions and taboos that enforce cooperation or support cohesion. I don't think that tribal societies are inherently anti-individual (there seems to be some debate on that point and it's not my field). I do think that the fact that many tribal societies have a strong sense of tradition, and see the group as an entity that has its own needs and deserves respect, indicates that they are at least no more biased towards the individual (Chaos) on a society vs individual scale than a large republic would be.

I'm a bit less confident in describing law vs chaos as reason vs emotion, but in any case I think it's a little simplistic to say that a tribal society inherently favors emotion over reason.

Aelryinth wrote:
Oh, and I'm not saying you can't have a Lawful tribe, or that members of a family unit cannot be Lawful. I am also not saying you can't have Chaotics in the center of Lawful civilizations, which is basically what you are trying to say.

No, I'm trying to say that a tribal society, and its elite berserker warriors who follow the traditions of that society, could be Lawful as well as Chaotic. If you believe that a barbarian tribe could be lawful, why do you think that a barbarian beserker can't be? The Barbarian class inherently favours chaos over law only in that it favors emotion/instinct over reason. This is only one possible element of that axis, and it is one that never featured in the CRB descriptions of law and chaos on which the alignment restriction was founded. Not to mention that Rage is essentially "an extraordinary and unsustainable burst of effort" and doesn't need the emotional subtext, especially the Urban Barbarian's controlled rage.

I actually agree that Chaotics do not function well in Lawful societies. It's the whole “I don't like the law” thing.

Aelryinth wrote:
What I am saying is that Chaotic societies are going to be be focused on the family and tribal level, and anything larger is going to be based on increasingly murky and less bonding ties of blood, and shared traditions or languages. These can be quite strong (as in the elves) and you can make a functioning society out of them, but individuality and loyalty aren't neccessarily contradictions, which is what you seem to make them out to be.

That is the opposite of what I am saying. I am saying that while Chaotic societies are going to be focused on the family and small closely-knit groups, a society composed of a small group with strong family bonds is not necessarily Chaotic.

Aelryinth wrote:
As for democracies...there are political dynasties even in our own democracy, and inherited posts within the political parties themselves. It's not as prevelant in the bureaucracy as it might be in older societies where nepotism thrives (think the Middle East), but it is definitely still there. And those in power are definitely moving things to their own advantage, instead of equitably for all people.

Agreed, but that doesn't mean that a Lawful society and a meritocracy are fundamentally incompatible.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Actually, 'meritocracy' is a form of government, and inherently lawful. Chaotics will place individuals they trust in a position, and use their strength to defend that choice...the meritocracy is clawing for the top, it doesn't neccessarily exist at every level, and it's one reason why nepotism is considered synonomous with inefficiency and corruption, too!

Meritocracies simply make the rules so that only the select few who toe the line and master increasingly specialized and arcane systems can advance...the legal profession is an example of just such an institution, as are many PHD programs...and the medical profession! It's a very well known phenomanon...the guilds in old Europe were based on it. It's also very discouraging of the sharing of and advancement of new knowledge, since that threatens the 'mastery' of those already in power. What you get is the studiers and specialists mastering increasingly irrelevant knowledge, while the true geniuses shed the restrictions and go off on their own...ALSO a well-established phenomanon.

And you seem to be taking my point as being "tribes can't be lawful", when I'm actually noting that "chaotics are tribal by nature." You can have berserkers as part of a lawful tribe...they'll be marginalized, because they've made themselves outsiders, and they definitely aren't lawful themselves...but they respect the position they've been given and as long as they're left alone they're happy grinding bar tables into sawdust on a regular basis.

And as for "those arguments aren't part of the official definition of lawful and chaotic"....there's more that's NOT in those definitions then are in them, and I'm simply pointing out commonly accepted traits of the alignments. You're free to argue that they aren't traits, but a sweeping "that's not in the rules!" isn't a defense. The very reason we're having this discussion is because the alignment rules are so bare bones, so don't go leaning back on the fact they are bare!

And after all, a definitive guide to alignments could be big enough for a sourcebook on its own, and doubtless thrill philosophy majors and bore the rest of us to tears.

==Aelryinth


The whole "tribal by nature" statement doesn't stand for me because I don't see a real difference between a small tribe and a metropolitan society beyond size. Obviously they may have different customs, but that isn't in and of itself something that makes them more or less chaotic, and if there is no fundamental difference in that regard, why woukd a chaotic person be more tribal by nature" since sinply being a tribe is not inherently chaotic.

Wierdo was by no means falling back on a "not in the rules" argument to support his point, but was pointing out that most of your reasoning for what makes a society chaotic or lawful is either not included in or contradicts the descriptions given in the book, while we have been trying to reason with what description the books give, prinarily that lawful characters adhere to traditions, so by extention rukes and traditions are lawful and any society with rules of any kind, in other words one that is a society at all, is inherently lawful.


Also, the discussion about the merits of meritocracy and the corruption of real world government is completely irrelevant. How the system is applied (for good or evil) is not important to this discussion, the system itself is. Any kind of structured government is lawful because it has laws and structure, whether a tribe of 20 or a coty of 50,000.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

"laws" mean different things to different societies.

To a Chaotic, Laws are guidelines to follow so you don't piss off anyone, and something to freely ignore when there are no consequences for doing so...or when you don't care if you piss people off. In other words, Laws are elective, and certainly not something you obey because it's 'the law'. Obeying the law is more a reflection on how you honor the society. It definitely doesn't mean taking responsibility for others and stuff. Self-reliance is big for chaotics.

To a lawful person, law is something you obey because it's the law, silly. Laws let everyone know where they are standing, their place, and the proper way to do things.

So, Chaotic societies can have 'laws'...they have exactly as much respect as whatever enforces them. As soon as that force is removed, they are ignored unless convenient to follow. Traditions, being widely respected, can have force of law in many societies, because personal reputation and shame can be huge things in individuals looking for respect and glory...but they can also be gaffed when you're alone, or if you're strong enough.

==Aelryinth


You keep talking about how a Chaotic and Lawful "person" look at Laws, but that is conpletely different from saying a society is chaotic or lawful.

No government creates a law under the pretense "you guys only ha e to obey this as long as you want to". The leader if a small, nomadic society (i'm going to stop using the term tribe because i'm starting to think it's a loaded term) who decides that every citizen must offer one pound of corn every week in tithe to be saved for the winter is passing a law everyone is expected to follow because it is the law and he is the leader. An individual that doesn't see a point in that law, doesn't believe the leader capable of enforcing it, and chooses to disobey is acting chaotic and as such acting outside of ehat his society and government expect him to do. A group of people doing this, though they ate a group, are still diverging from their society.

These Chaotics are disregarding laws they are expected to follow. The mere fact their society expects them to follow the laws means that their society is lawful and they are not. A Law, regardless of why it exists, is a law. A government, however it functions, cannot be created laws and still be considered chaotic. That is my assertion. If you can, give me an example of a government that creates laws but is not lawful.


Big Lemon wrote:

I would never get rid of alignment outright. I'm far to involve with the concept of the Outer Planes and the concept of primordial, abstract forces at war to remove them from my games entirely. I'll admit, I'm more attached to Law/Chaos than I am to Good/Evil because the latter more often has those vague areas and every GM handles them differently.

Really, the only problem I have with the Alignment system as is is how it pertains to mortals. It's easy to assign an angel or demo nan alignment that they will rigidly stick to because it is literally what they are made of, but in the real, physical world it is so much more complicated.

So for me, I say alignment for characters is a role-playing aid and nothing else, and a player doesn't have to think about it if they don't want to. This would change the following things in my games:

-First, Protect/Detect alignment spells will only work on outsiders and character wielding intelligent magic items. Alignment descriptors for spells are also out; casting Animate Dead is not in itself an evil act, though desecrating a corpse might be. Furthermore, classes with alignment descriptions change in the following ways:

-Paladins: A Paladin must choose a two of the following three "codes" from a list (I haven't decided yet on how many they must choose), and violating that personal code will cause them to lose their powers for 24 hours, repeated transgressions may constitute a fall. This would allow a paladin to survive making some tough, morally grey calls without losing class abilities for good Codes may include:
1. Mercy: The paladin cannot kill a sentient creature and cannot allow torture of any kind.
2. Charity: The paladin must refuse any monetary reward for good deeds, and must give any wealth in excess of their needs to a charitable cause.
3. Integrity: The paladin cannot lie, cheat, or steal (they may use Bluff to feint)

-Clerics: A Cleric must obey the tenants of their deity; if they commit an act forbidden by their deity or fail to do...

yes, i agree with the aligment restriction, except for the monk that you sugest:

Bard cant be lawful (mostly for the purpose of the class itself and the munchkins playng a bard/pal)

a monk learns those abilities from his inner focus, mind, and fisic training. so if he broke the rules from his temple, or philosophy, he cannot gain monkish abilities further more.

i also love the idea for a cleric falling form his god grace and favor
rangers were hunters of the wild, and a semi paladins for the nature lore and places. maybe he can loose his spells as the same way than a druid

for the cavalier/samurai i think they should just dissapear because are the worst classes in the whole game!!

for the inquisitor: after read the description, maybe the most flavorful new class at all, since he only motive is to punish the fallen pal/clr of theyre order, religion, etc. the worst job ever is for this guy, he has to gather the fallen back the right way or kill them or jail them or alike!! so, for the adventures, there can be a cleric who give them a letter were its explained that he must go to X place and inquisit one guy


See my issue with the advancement block for Monks is that an adventuring Monk is not gaining experience from training at his temple. He's out exploring the world and growing in power from what he learns killing monsters and practicing in the field, so reasoning that he can't advance in levels because he isn't allowed back at his temple doesn't cut it for me.

Shadow Lodge

Aelryinth wrote:
And as for "those arguments aren't part of the official definition of lawful and chaotic"....there's more that's NOT in those definitions then are in them, and I'm simply pointing out commonly accepted traits of the alignments. You're free to argue that they aren't traits, but a sweeping "that's not in the rules!" isn't a defense. The very reason we're having this discussion is because the alignment rules are so bare bones, so don't go leaning back on the fact they are bare!

Big Lemon is right about my intended point with "that's not in the rules." I don't think that the CRB descriptions are the sum and total of what alignment is. However, I do think that they are the first and most definitive source for what Law and Chaos mean in a PF context. Additional elements such as "law is rational, chaos is emotional" may be a factor, but there may be debate over the specifics - some people think obsessive perfectionism is lawful, others do not. Some (such as myself) consider discipline or organization personality traits rather than an element of morality/alignment. In addition any interpretations of law and chaos that directly contradict the CRB guidelines are suspect, especially when we're talking about how to interpret the class alignment restrictions from the same CRB.

Therefore when you stated that "Following tradition doesn't make you Lawful...it makes you habit forming" I pointed out that this was in contradiction with the official description. When you suggested that following family authority is less lawful than following national authority, I pointed out that this distinction is not made in the CRB and that in lieu of any exceptions to "a lawful person respects authority" we should conclude that respecting authority in any form (real respect, not just obeying out of fear) should be considered lawful behavior.

The complexity of alignment is an extremely good argument for replacing class alignment restrictions with behavioral restrictions similar to Big Lemon's. "A monk must be disciplined and exercise moderation/hold a simple lifestyle" is much clearer than "a monk must be lawful." The latter could mean "A monk must follow laws, be honest, be reliable, be organized, be rational" or some subset of that description, depending on the interpretation of the player/GM/group. You could even according to the current system have a monk who is very undisciplined and loves luxury but strictly follows laws and traditions, never lies, and has a strong sense of honour - lawful by many peoples' definitions.

As for barbarians, my argument is:

1) A small, nomadic or seminomadic society ("tribe") may be lawful
2) A member of the barbarian class is typically part of a tribe
3) A barbarian can follow (and value for their own sake) the laws and traditions of his/her tribe, have a sense of honour, etc.
4) A barbarian can be lawful

You appear to agree with (1) and (2). Do you disagree with (3) or (4)?

The only argument I see against a lawful barbarian is that rage represents uncontrolled emotion. But one trait rarely defines an alignment. Moreover the Urban Barbarian gets a controlled rage and still cannot be lawful, whereas a Cleric of Nethys or Zon-Kuthon be lawful and still have the Rage domain. So this restriction makes little sense.

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