So I lost my lawful good alignment. Discussion of what lawful good means...


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Arbane the Terrible wrote:

Town full of clueless people infected by something harmless-seeming...

.... Isn't that how Arthas ended up becoming the Lich King in Warcraft III?

I think there's a massive difference between the two situations. For one, the PC's solution was, after diplomacy failed, to scare the crowd into dropping their death-flowers. That's quite different from, "This entire city must be purged."

EDIT: Unless, of course, you're talking about Hearthglen. Then the difference becomes the absence of the massive undead army and the mind-breaking fun of watching people turn into undead before your eyes without being able to do anything.


The Guy With A Face wrote:
Arbane the Terrible wrote:

Town full of clueless people infected by something harmless-seeming...

.... Isn't that how Arthas ended up becoming the Lich King in Warcraft III?

I think there's a massive difference between the two situations. For one, the PC's solution was, after diplomacy failed, to scare the crowd into dropping their death-flowers. That's quite different from, "This entire city must be purged."

EDIT: Unless, of course, you're talking about Hearthglen. Then the difference becomes the absence of the massive undead army and the mind-breaking fun of watching people turn into undead before your eyes without being able to do anything.

To be honest, Arthas provides a very good example of what happens when you play Lawful Stupid.

He wanted to destroy a Greater Evil so badly that he used an Evil object (that was probably even more Evil than his Greater Evil enemy) to do so, even though in the long run, he would become one of the Greatest Evils to ever exist in the universe by claiming and using said object.

And in that same exact moment, he decided to kill those who were (or going to become) plagued into mindless Undead, instead of finding a means to reverse those effects before resorting to the ultimatum of "They must be cleansed by fire and by sword," like a typical Pathfinder Paladin would probably do.

But, back to the OP's situation...

The first thing that should be discussed in a game where PCs are required to keep a specific alignment are what the GM's expectations for the PC with said alignment (or even with said deity, if they have an influence on how the character is supposed to act), and give examples on things that would break that alignment, whether eventually, or immediately. If the GM feels that threatening a child is an extremely Evil act, then that should have been discussed with the OP, because we (and several others) don't think so, and have used rules to back up our claim.

(Which also calls into question as to whether that's a healthy train of thought; threatening a child, that is. Luckily, this is only a fantasy-world discussion, so...)


Arthas Derailment:
Quote:

To be honest, Arthas provides a very good example of what happens when you play Lawful Stupid.

He wanted to destroy a Greater Evil so badly that he used an Evil object (that was probably even more Evil than his Greater Evil enemy) to do so, even though in the long run, he would become one of the Greatest Evils to ever exist in the universe by claiming and using said object.

And in that same exact moment, he decided to kill those who were (or going to become) plagued into mindless Undead, instead of finding a means to reverse those effects before resorting to the ultimatum of "They must be cleansed by fire and by sword," like a typical Pathfinder Paladin would probably do.

In his defense, he had no idea Frostmourne was that bad. Regardless, he was so revenge-crazy at that point he wouldn't have cared if it the dais read "This thing is going to literally take your soul and turn you into evil incarnate."

However, he didn't really have a choice about Stratholme. There really was no option that wouldn't result in the Scourge winning. Either he killed 'em all and got baited by Mal'ganis or the zombie apocalypse happened and Lordaeron died anyway. According to word of god (Chris Metzen), he did the right thing in Stratholme (obviously not the good/righteous thing, but the "right" thing).


The Guy With A Face wrote:

You're thinking of Mengkare the ruler of Hermea.

Pathfinderwiki doesn't have a whole lot of information on them sadly.

Though, James Jacobs has said if it is ever his decision, he would mark Mengkare as some evil alignment. He acquiesces in that Sutter is the person "in charge" of Hermea and therefore that dragon. Sutter has said he wouldn't make him evil just to mess with us, essentially, and make him a neutral alignment. So, take that for what it's worth.


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In my mind Law has always meant 'submission to authority beyond one's self', and what sort of authorities you were willing to submit to influenced where you were on the G/E axis.

Which is why I figured that, being a gold dragon and (presumably!) actually 100% benevolent, Mengkare had an interesting experiment going and would actually therefore be one of the epitomes of LG.

I can see the points against that, though. It's certainly an interesting argument. Today's societies view personal freedom as a very important right.


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Snakers wrote:

In my mind Law has always meant 'submission to authority beyond one's self', and what sort of authorities you were willing to submit to influenced where you were on the G/E axis.

Which is why I figured that, being a gold dragon and (presumably!) actually 100% benevolent, Mengkare had an interesting experiment going and would actually therefore be one of the epitomes of LG.

I can see the points against that, though. It's certainly an interesting argument. Today's societies view personal freedom as a very important right.

You should read more source material on Hermea. It strongly hints the society is merely a facade. ;)

Sovereign Court

Buri Reborn wrote:
Snakers wrote:

In my mind Law has always meant 'submission to authority beyond one's self', and what sort of authorities you were willing to submit to influenced where you were on the G/E axis.

Which is why I figured that, being a gold dragon and (presumably!) actually 100% benevolent, Mengkare had an interesting experiment going and would actually therefore be one of the epitomes of LG.

I can see the points against that, though. It's certainly an interesting argument. Today's societies view personal freedom as a very important right.

You should read more source material on Hermea. It strongly hints the society is merely a facade. ;)

Indeed - it always seemed to have a Jonestown sort of vibe to me.

Except if you annoy him, Mengkare can breath fire on you!


If you could point me at it, that would be appreciated. Like was mentioned, the wiki has sparse info at best.


Torbyne wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
swoosh wrote:

It seems a bit absurd to call them 'meaningless' merely because he can find more than one way of expressing a given alignment. Alignments have nuance. They're broad brushes that can hold a variety of character concepts without being incongruous or pointless just because there's variety in there.

Also you should make up your mind between the backhanded compliments and 'did not mean to imply you are doing it wrong', because they look silly put in the same post with each other.

It was not a backhanded compliment. The CRB uses the word: "ruthless" to describe chaotic evil. A different Pathfinder book says that lawful good (supposedly the extreme opposite alignment) can be described as "ruthless". It is an incoherent system that is contradictory and is therefore meaningless. Gulthor's table resolves the contradiction differently to me, both ways are valid, That is the point.

I don't care, but other people might, so you probably shouldn't go around calling people silly.

But Ruthless does not have any inherent morality to it.

You can ruthlessly follow any alignment combination because having a lack of pity does not prevent you from doing something selfish or selfless. A beggar on the streets asks for a handout to buy food for his starving family, the character does not give it to him. Sounds ruthless but is it evil? What if that money is going towards an orphanage that has 50 children to keep fed and off the streets. Now its a ruthless action for the "greater good".

Heroes of the kind modeled in Pathfinder can go on to have an impact on nations, worlds or even planes of existence. What seems evil and cruel on a personal level may be beneath their notice as they are ruthlessly focused on using all of their resources on defeating the lich that wants to wipe out all life so, sorry, i dont have time to wander the back alleys with cure disease and create food and water as my daily allotment of spells.

You are confusing ruthless with strict or disciplined. There is a subtle but important difference. It is not ruthless to weigh up who deserves charity over a beggar or a group of orphans. All you are doing with your example is confusing the issue. You are describing something that may appear ruthless at first but in actual fact is not ruthless when you look at the situation in totality.

I propose the much more simple idea: ruthlessness is not compatible with being good.


So you can't imagine a single good concept that doesn't intrinsically require compassion and pity?


swoosh wrote:
So you can't imagine a single good concept that doesn't intrinsically require compassion and pity?

Excellent question!

I suppose characters can have other admirable qualities like being courageous and honest. But if you want to define what good means, that is what traits all good characters share, then compassion makes sense. Ruthlessness by contrast would be an evil trait.


Ruthless is to be without pity or compassion, to know that you are serving a higher purpose and not feeling bad about it can very easily be thought of as ruthless by those who are not seeing the big picture. This is where the concept of "greater" good comes from. In practice someone could be considered by almost everyone to be entirely ruthless in pursuit of their goals but still be good.

For example, drafting the populace and training them to fight, letting the weaker ones be broken down so that a few of them may become strong enough to serve, restricting rations to the point where the sick and elderly start to die off, this would be considered almost universally evil. A few months after this when the town is attacked by demons and they are able to save themselves and realizing that the ruthless dictator foresaw this happening and that was what drove the policies, was it still evil? The cost of a few hundred lives up front saved not only the lives but the souls of thousands. Such a benevolent dictator would be a strict, harsh and lawful kind of good in my opinion. They had a vision, they could have warned people and left, holed up in their own safe house, instead they took the most direct path to save as many as possible even knowing the cost.


Boomerang Nebula wrote:
swoosh wrote:
So you can't imagine a single good concept that doesn't intrinsically require compassion and pity?

Excellent question!

I suppose characters can have other admirable qualities like being courageous and honest. But if you want to define what good means, that is what traits all good characters share, then compassion makes sense. Ruthlessness by contrast would be an evil trait.

But what about a whole person concept? Honorable, honest, courageous, out to benefit others who are follow the same set of laws as them but completely uncaring about taking prisoners or redeeming their enemies. so... evil?


Gulthor wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
I am glad you don't have alignment arguments at your table. I am not surprised since you define them so broadly as to make them meaningless. If lawful good characters can be characterised as: "cruel and ruthless". I am not sure how anyone could tell what alignment you are portraying at any given time.

Whoa, there. You haven't played at our table, and I can assure you that they're very distinct. The CE barbarian I mentioned? He *was* Chaotic and Evil. He was vicious, destructive, and delighted in the suffering of those he fought. But when not in combat, he loved nature, and art, and beauty, and quiet moments. He surrounded himself with handmaidens, and killed them if they became "impure" in his sight. He was most assuredly CE. He was also likely modeled, in some part, after the angel Islington, from Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere."

And speaking of angels, may I present Ragathiel, whose daily obedience requires you to sacrifice an evil or chaotic person in his name. He's a Lawful Good Archangel of Wrath and Vengeance. Who requires a daily sacrifice of a living, sentient being. A CN street urchin who stole bread to feed his family? Lawbreaker. Fair game to sate Ragathiel's vengeance.

Now, we've had LG characters all over the spectrum. Loving, kind, gentle, merciful, altruistic, compromising, uncompromising, righteous, wrathful, vengeful, hateful. The litmus test is whether or not they are objectively Good and Lawful, irrespective of their personality or demeanor.

The OP's inquisitor is objectively Good and Lawful, even if he's rough, mean, and abrasive.

EDIT: And the alignment dispute that did recently occur was because a relatively new player wanted to play a CN barbarian (which was *not* a warning sign for our group, as we've had many successful CN characters over the years) but began playing her in a very clearly CE way, and we called the player out on it, and ruled that the...

I don't play at your table and I am curious to learn more about how you define alignments. From your explanations so far I don't see any clear differences between good, neutral and evil. You say you have objective measures, okay, what are they?


swoosh wrote:
So you can't imagine a single good concept that doesn't intrinsically require compassion and pity?

I take this from the spiritual aspect of things. Good and evil care nothing about the flesh but of the immortal soul. That is the fundamental crux of the issue. This puts the perspective into:


  • Is what I'm doing condemning me to damnation?
  • Is what I'm doing condemning others to damnation?

and


  • Is what I'm doing uplifting me to salvation?
  • Is what I'm doing uplifting others to salvation?

The manner with which you go about answering those questions can be lawful, neutral, or chaotic.


Torbyne wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
swoosh wrote:
So you can't imagine a single good concept that doesn't intrinsically require compassion and pity?

Excellent question!

I suppose characters can have other admirable qualities like being courageous and honest. But if you want to define what good means, that is what traits all good characters share, then compassion makes sense. Ruthlessness by contrast would be an evil trait.

But what about a whole person concept? Honorable, honest, courageous, out to benefit others who are follow the same set of laws as them but completely uncaring about taking prisoners or redeeming their enemies. so... evil?

Correct, that is textbook evil with a pleasing facade of goodness. That is how evil hides within an otherwise good community. A less palatable way of describing the same thing is: I will kill whoever I like and I will make sure it is legitimate by calling them my enemy first.


Buri Reborn wrote:
swoosh wrote:
So you can't imagine a single good concept that doesn't intrinsically require compassion and pity?

I take this from the spiritual aspect of things. Good and evil care nothing about the flesh but of the immortal soul. That is the fundamental crux of the issue. This puts the perspective into:


  • Is what I'm doing condemning me to damnation?
  • Is what I'm doing condemning others to damnation?

and


  • Is what I'm doing uplifting me to salvation?
  • Is what I'm doing uplifting others to salvation?

The manner with which you go about answering those questions can be lawful, neutral, or chaotic.

Interesting, can you give an example of how that works in your game?


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Quote:
Correct, that is textbook evil with a pleasing facade of goodness. That is how evil hides within an otherwise good community. A less palatable way of describing the same thing is: I will kill whoever I like and I will make sure it is legitimate by calling them my enemy first.

You just called every paladin of Torag evil who we know are lawful good.

Part of the Code Followed By Torag Worshipping Paladins wrote:
Against my people’s enemies, I will show no mercy. I will not allow their surrender, except when strategy warrants. I will defeat them, yet even in the direst struggle, I will act in a way that brings honor to Torag.

If they're following their code properly, its 100% acceptable to kill every enemy without offering surrender unless it serves a strategic purpose. Nothing in there requires redemption or mercy.

Similarly, you've called every Mystery Cultist of Ragathiel evil despite having a required alignment of LG, NG or technically CG (which wouldn't make much sense). Their daily obedience is to

Quote:
Slay a proven wrongdoer in Ragathiel’s name. It is not enough for the sacrifice to have an evil heart or evil intentions; the sacrifice must have committed evil or unlawful deeds. Gain a +4 sacred bonus on saving throws against spells and effects cast by evil creatures.

Once again, no mercy, no redemption.

I'm not saying you're having wrongbadfun, but if I were at your table I would go insane due to your extreme alignment views.


Boomerang Nebula wrote:
Buri Reborn wrote:
swoosh wrote:
So you can't imagine a single good concept that doesn't intrinsically require compassion and pity?

I take this from the spiritual aspect of things. Good and evil care nothing about the flesh but of the immortal soul. That is the fundamental crux of the issue. This puts the perspective into:


  • Is what I'm doing condemning me to damnation?
  • Is what I'm doing condemning others to damnation?

and


  • Is what I'm doing uplifting me to salvation?
  • Is what I'm doing uplifting others to salvation?

The manner with which you go about answering those questions can be lawful, neutral, or chaotic.

Interesting, can you give an example of how that works in your game?

Basically, everything you do in life makes your soul "resonate," for lack of a better term, with a given plane of existence. Also, each deity has inherent claim to their portfolio. Pharasma's judgement takes place with a mix of answering which deity you've been most faithful to regardless of your outward displays and confessions or even what you believe unless you're a cleric or something else intrinsically ties you to a particular deity. If no single deity qualifies, then it falls to what plane of existence you're most aligned to. This isn't necessarily related to your stated alignment but, again, by your actions.

So, having explained that, a paladin could totally keep forced repentance (a paladin spell) on you and if they ever sense a moment of genuine remorse apart from the direct spell effect, can kill you and still be a LG character hoping your soul just went somewhere better. Similarly, corrupting children or the weak minded in thought or deed is likely to permanently tarnish them and most certainly you and is extremely evil. Trying to coerce adults is a bit more difficult as they tend to have their own sense of right and wrong which requires them to consent somewhere along the line. Then there are effects like malediction which forcefully banishes a soul to Hell which tend to be more self explanatory.

Basically, it allows for all the classic depictions of good and evil while also allowing for a lot of gray without violating what I feel is the point of the alignment system regardless of how it's explained.


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D&D alignment system continues to make no real-world sense, Major Images at 11.

Though I am personally inclined to agree with Granny Weatherwax that "treating people like things" is the root of most if not all evil.


The Guy With A Face wrote:
Quote:
Correct, that is textbook evil with a pleasing facade of goodness. That is how evil hides within an otherwise good community. A less palatable way of describing the same thing is: I will kill whoever I like and I will make sure it is legitimate by calling them my enemy first.

You just called every paladin of Torag evil who we know are lawful good.

Part of the Code Followed By Torag Worshipping Paladins wrote:
Against my people’s enemies, I will show no mercy. I will not allow their surrender, except when strategy warrants. I will defeat them, yet even in the direst struggle, I will act in a way that brings honor to Torag.

If they're following their code properly, its 100% acceptable to kill every enemy without offering surrender unless it serves a strategic purpose. Nothing in there requires redemption or mercy.

Similarly, you've called every Mystery Cultist of Ragathiel evil despite having a required alignment of LG, NG or technically CG (which wouldn't make much sense). Their daily obedience is to

Quote:
Slay a proven wrongdoer in Ragathiel’s name. It is not enough for the sacrifice to have an evil heart or evil intentions; the sacrifice must have committed evil or unlawful deeds. Gain a +4 sacred bonus on saving throws against spells and effects cast by evil creatures.

Once again, no mercy, no redemption.

I'm not saying you're having wrongbadfun, but if I were at your table I would go insane due to your extreme alignment views.

i don't have extreme views, my views on morality are in line with the general community. Modern soldiers are not allowed to kill enemy combatants who surrender to them. Killing someone who is no threat to you is a cowardly, inhumane and evil act. This is recognised in the modern rules of warfare. No paladin would do that.

Whoever wrote the Paladin code has extreme views, accepting no surrender is psychopathic. It makes no sense for a lawful good character.

In my games if a player wanted to play a paladin of Torag I would give them options that actually make sense. Like for instance the no surrender part of the code only applies to undead, demons etc. not sentient beings. Or they could modify the code to something we both agree is suitable for a lawful good paladin. Or they can choose a different alignment. I like the way 5e handles Paladins much better anyway.


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Quote:
i don't have extreme views, my views on morality are in line with the general community. Modern soldiers....

Erm, I'm pretty sure we were talking about a particular pen and paper RPG universe. In which case, your views are extreme. If we're talking real life (which we aren't) I have no interest in this topic anymore.

Quote:
No paladin would do that.

Torag's paladins just did and are still lawful good.

Quote:
Whoever wrote the Paladin code has extreme views, accepting no surrender is psychopathic.

Not in the Pathfinder universe I guess.

Quote:
In my games if a player wanted to play a paladin of Torag I would give them options that actually make sense. Like for instance the no surrender part of the code only applies to undead, demons etc. not sentient beings.

I see. Just putting this out there, but that's Sarenrae's deal. If you want a deity who smites the irredeemable only and is obsessed with redemption and mercy you go to her.

EDIT: And that's what I meant when I'd go insane. If I wanted to play a good character, I'd have to worship Sarenrae because he'd either be evil or his deity's code would start mutating into Sarenrae's.


@ The Guy With A Face

I am interested in improving the alignment rules. If that is considered an unconventional opinion then so be it.

If you want to strictly follow the alignment rules despite their obvious flaws, then fine.

If you are open to a conversation on how lawful good and other alignments should be defined then great. If not, then let's agree to stop here.

Edit: name misspelled.


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Yeah, we should stop here. I can't even agree that the alignment system has horrible glaring flaws and that the alignments need further defining. :/

After all, I might not be able to tolerate your games (and you probably wouldn't like mine), but mine work fine for me!


Boomerang Nebula wrote:
The Guy With A Face wrote:
Quote:
Correct, that is textbook evil with a pleasing facade of goodness. That is how evil hides within an otherwise good community. A less palatable way of describing the same thing is: I will kill whoever I like and I will make sure it is legitimate by calling them my enemy first.

You just called every paladin of Torag evil who we know are lawful good.

Part of the Code Followed By Torag Worshipping Paladins wrote:
Against my people’s enemies, I will show no mercy. I will not allow their surrender, except when strategy warrants. I will defeat them, yet even in the direst struggle, I will act in a way that brings honor to Torag.

If they're following their code properly, its 100% acceptable to kill every enemy without offering surrender unless it serves a strategic purpose. Nothing in there requires redemption or mercy.

Similarly, you've called every Mystery Cultist of Ragathiel evil despite having a required alignment of LG, NG or technically CG (which wouldn't make much sense). Their daily obedience is to

Quote:
Slay a proven wrongdoer in Ragathiel’s name. It is not enough for the sacrifice to have an evil heart or evil intentions; the sacrifice must have committed evil or unlawful deeds. Gain a +4 sacred bonus on saving throws against spells and effects cast by evil creatures.

Once again, no mercy, no redemption.

I'm not saying you're having wrongbadfun, but if I were at your table I would go insane due to your extreme alignment views.

i don't have extreme views, my views on morality are in line with the general community. Modern soldiers are not allowed to kill enemy combatants who surrender to them. Killing someone who is no threat to you is a cowardly, inhumane and evil act. This is recognised in the modern rules of warfare. No paladin would do that.

Whoever wrote the Paladin code has extreme views, accepting...

Paladins will do those things if their code requires it. Ever heard of "Take No Prisoners"? Yeah, that's a thing in today's society, even for certain Paladins of Pathfinder (i.e. Torag Paladins). Quite frankly, in certain situations, procluding an enemy to live longer, except that increased longevity is via obvious suffering, torturing, etc. is significantly more unethical (and probably more evil). In those instances, it's actually more of a Good act to put them out of their misery than it is to keep them alive.

Don't confuse psychopathy with fanatacism. Remember that they are divine champions of a deity, and they follow the teachings and code set by their deity. The code of their deity says "Show no mercy, and take no prisoners unless tactically beneficial." That's not Good (which Torag isn't), but not Evil either (which, again, Torag isn't). Not all Paladin deities have to actually fall between both Lawful and Good for Paladins to select (and worship) them, nor is it a necessity for Paladins to maintain their alignment.

But at the end of the day, it's ultimately the GM who determines what the Paladin's code means for the player, and how it should be represented. If you, as a GM, feel that a Paladin being a murderhobo toward most everything he fights would be against Torag's code of "Show no mercy," then by all means communicate that to your Paladin player before he commits himself to the deity.

Otherwise, you're gonna have a bad time.


It also helps if you consider things in-context. For example, I'm pretty sure the feud between dwarves and giants has been actively going on for generations. It's entirely possible that they've concluded they can't negotiate with them, and that risking themselves for peace would only expose their Paladins to additional risk and reduce their ability to stand against their foes. That's a pretty harsh outlook... but Lawful Good finds it easier to lean in that direction, and each alignment permits many different interpretations.

Though, I do agree that GMs and Players should talk whenever alignment issues might come into play. XD


Boomerang Nebula wrote:
swoosh wrote:
So you can't imagine a single good concept that doesn't intrinsically require compassion and pity?

Excellent question!

I suppose characters can have other admirable qualities like being courageous and honest. But if you want to define what good means, that is what traits all good characters share, then compassion makes sense. Ruthlessness by contrast would be an evil trait.

Gwyn of Iomedae, Paladin of Iomedae.

Gwyn offered every enemy he ever fought a chance to surrender. He took no pleasure in killing. Once the enemy refused surrender though Gwyn of Iomedae did not hold back.

Sapient beings, humans, elves, dwarves, etc he would ask them as the battle went on, "Please sir (or lady) do not make me do this. Lay your weapon down and surrender!"

He would always try to stabilize them if he could.

Once he was tricked into a death battle with a Barbarian who couldn't be knocked out by non-lethal damage or by going into negative HP and Gwyn realized he would have to take the life of a half-orc.

He begged them to surrender, "The battle is lost. You are beaten! Do not make me end you!"

Demons? Devils? No. He had no remorse for them. They were evil beyond measure. They were slain without hesitation.

By your definitions he wouldn't be a Paladin. Despite his attempts (and successes) at redeeming enemies. He was as text book as one got as a Paladin.

He once even had an enemy surrender but won the sense Motive to realize he was lying so he could get close enough to stab him. Gwyn shook his head, "May you find mercy in death." He said as he killed him.

Good doesn't mean someone who doesn't kill. It means someone who protects others.


I like the alignment rules. I like how there's a fair amount of wiggle room within each alignment, so not everybody falls in the exact same spot.

I had some fun recording the alignment of each of my characters (not just ones I played, but NPCs in my GMed campaign) not just by alignment, but within a smaller 3x3 box enclosed within each alignment (making a 9x9 grid in total), to record which of the Lawful Good characters were more lawful than good, or in danger of slipping.


@Saethori: The wiggle room is a requirement for it to not be a total disaster.

I used to like the alignment system. Now I just see less and less of the point of it.
All creatures in the bestiary has one listed, rarely does the players care what kind of evil it is and rarely does it actually matter in the encounter at all:
Knowing that it's a lawful evil creature doesn't mean a thing to them. It either means that they can reason with it, unlike a chaotic evil creature who is blinded by rage and destruction. Or it means that it's loyal to its' master and can't be reasoned with, unlike the chaotic evil creature.

And as for my own characters, it rarely matters to me what exact alighnment they have. I'll do a bit of everything, because I refuse to play a character with only pre-defined choices; "I'm LG, this means that I should react like this" doesn't exist to me. The only thing I'll really refrain from is blatantly evil acts as a good aligned character. But that's because of the character, not because it says "Good" on my character sheet.

It really shouldn't be a mechanic.


Rub-Eta wrote:

And as for my own characters, it rarely matters to me what exact alighnment they have. I'll do a bit of everything, because I refuse to play a character with only pre-defined choices; "I'm LG, this means that I should react like this" doesn't exist to me. The only thing I'll really refrain from is blatantly evil acts as a good aligned character. But that's because of the character, not because it says "Good" on my character sheet.

It really shouldn't be a mechanic.

For most characters it isn't a mechanic. Alignment for the vast majority is descriptive and not prescriptive. If your GMs are making it prescriptive for everyone, they have it backwards.

Shadow Lodge

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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Don't confuse psychopathy with fanatacism. Remember that they are divine champions of a deity, and they follow the teachings and code set by their deity. The code of their deity says "Show no mercy, and take no prisoners unless tactically beneficial." That's not Good (which Torag isn't)

Torag is in fact Lawful Good.

HWalsh wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
swoosh wrote:
So you can't imagine a single good concept that doesn't intrinsically require compassion and pity?

Excellent question!

I suppose characters can have other admirable qualities like being courageous and honest. But if you want to define what good means, that is what traits all good characters share, then compassion makes sense. Ruthlessness by contrast would be an evil trait.

Gwyn of Iomedae, Paladin of Iomedae.

Gwyn offered every enemy he ever fought a chance to surrender. He took no pleasure in killing. Once the enemy refused surrender though Gwyn of Iomedae did not hold back.

...

By your definitions he wouldn't be a Paladin. Despite his attempts (and successes) at redeeming enemies. He was as text book as one got as a Paladin.

He once even had an enemy surrender but won the sense Motive to realize he was lying so he could get close enough to stab him. Gwyn shook his head, "May you find mercy in death." He said as he killed him.

Good doesn't mean someone who doesn't kill. It means someone who protects others.

In your description, Gwyn appears to show a great deal of compassion and pity, even when required to kill his enemies. Therefore he is not at all ruthless.

The question at hand is not whether you can be good and still kill but whether you can be good without feeling compassion and pity.

I'd say no, compassion is basically the definition of goodness. If all you do is destroy evil without compassion for others, you're actually neutral.

I do agree that some good characters might appear ruthless if their actions are observed without an understanding of context. Triage can look pretty pitiless to those deemed too costly to save. However I personally prefer to play those that are also outwardly compassionate.

Liberty's Edge

Grumbaki wrote:

Story time, followed by discussion time.

I was playing a lawful good inquisitor of Torag. Key word, was. He is now lawful neutral. What caused the fall is this...

We pathfinders found cultists spreading diseased flowers in town, looking to spread the gifts of Urgathoa. A great practitioner of dwarven diplomacy, my character put an arrow through the head of one of the cultists. The other got a badger to the face, and a crossbow bolt to the stomach. This left us with a bemused crowd, holding said infected flowers.

A few failed diplomacy checks later, the crowd was still staring at us slack jawed. A few looked ready to leave. Knowing that spreading infected flowers through town was going to lead to bad times, my dwarf pointed his bow at the crowd and rolled an intimidate check to make them drop the flowers. Seeing as how he just straight up killed a cultist, it seemed like a good threat. The DM pointed out that there was a small child in the crowd. I proceeded to roll my intimidate check, and botched it. This led to the child screaming and running away with her infected flower. Our hunter sent his badger after her. Good times!

But this led to a quick discussion where someone pointed out that my character was supposedly "lawful good" and a lawful good character shouldn't threaten children with bodily harm/death. I argued that a lawful good character wouldn't let stupid humans get themselves killed. Said table also argued that Torag wouldn't approve of threatening children. At which point my dwarf threw his hands in the air, said "ye humans deserve what ye get!" and went off to find the town guards. I offered to change his alignment to lawful neutral, as he proceeded later argued with the party that it was the town guard's job to deal with tracking down said flowers/quarantine measures.

But this got me thinking, and I pose this for discussion...

(1) Can you be lawful good and threaten children with bodily harm/death?
(2) Different deities can be lawful good and have different points of...

I have found that much of alignment comes down to intent. LG can mean a lot of things but threats are not evil by any stretch of the imagination. Even against a child. A good example of Good being bad comes from one of the pathfinder tales called the redemption engine. I won't give too much away but there are creatures that do good things for bad reasons that are evil and creatures that do really bad things for good reasons. If your character had no intention of killing the child then you can still be good because you wanted to help the child.


I'm back after doing a little thinking & sleeping! Maybe the best way to look at alignment is not what you do, but why and how you'd do it? Idk, what do you guys think?

EDIT: ninja'd by cdkc


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


And in that same exact moment, he decided to kill those who were (or going to become) plagued into mindless Undead, instead of finding a means to reverse those effects before resorting to the ultimatum of "They must be cleansed by fire and by sword," like a typical Pathfinder Paladin would probably do.

Y'know, I really hate the Stratholme discussion because there is NO cure for the plague of Undeath during the time of Warcraft 3. In fact, it takes literally divine intervention on the behalf of three Naaru( divine entities of the Light) during the events of Wrath of the Lich King to simply stop a person from rising as Undead. Said intervention occurs after the attempts of the Life-Binder and super druid healing acorns taken from the Emerald Dream.

All that for a single person and they STILL die. Arthas made the right call in Stratholme. The real reason he fell as a Paladin was his obsession with hunting Mal'ganis. After Mal'ganis ditched Lordaeron to go to Northrend, he should've just stayed and secured his nation against the undead already there.


Scavion wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


And in that same exact moment, he decided to kill those who were (or going to become) plagued into mindless Undead, instead of finding a means to reverse those effects before resorting to the ultimatum of "They must be cleansed by fire and by sword," like a typical Pathfinder Paladin would probably do.
Y'know, I really hate the Stratholme discussion because there is NO cure for the plague of Undeath during the time of Warcraft 3.

A fact Arthas may not have known. More importantly, it was entirely possible to have quarantined Stratholme, possibly evacuating uninfected civilians to a secondary quarantine camp for further screening while Arthas's troops provided security.

Instead, In the darkest moment for the city of Stratholme, Arthas, a paladin, took the bloodiest action possible signalling the end of hope for Stratholme. That's why Arthas' fall began at Stratholme, in theory: he forsook hope itself, and in so doing committed a massacre.

"Half of the city appears to have been exposed to a contagion we don't know how to cure. Seal the gates, kill everyone, burn the bodies."
-The Worst Paladin Ever.

This is also why the initial reaction to something like H1N1 or Zika virus isn't "nuke the site from orbit."


Arthas Derailment II: Necromantic Boogaloo:

Quote:
A fact Arthas may not have known.

That doesn't matter. The city was beginning to turn as they stood outside the gates. There was no time to research a cure.

I already went over this at the top of the page. Arthas' only choice was to purge Stratholme. If he didn't, the Scourge would have destroyed Lordaeron anyway. Quarantining it wasn't possible as they'd just be overwhelmed. Finally, Chris Metzen stated that Arthas made the right choice in purging Stratholme. Basically, word of god states that what he did was not stupid, but the correct option.

Quote:
"Half of the city appears to have been exposed to a contagion we don't know how to cure. Seal the gates, kill everyone, burn the bodies."

It wasn't only half the city and I have no idea why you think it was. In fact, both in Warcraft 3 and the WoW dungeon, there are very, very few people who were not infected. There is nothing, that I know of, that eludes to only part of Stratholme being infected; as far as I know almost everyone was.

Your comparisons to real world problems don't work because neither of those bring about a nigh unstoppable zombie apocalypse.


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Right. Alignment debate thread. What was I thinking? No point arguing, I'll just see myself out.


HeHateMe wrote:

Threads like this are why all my characters are Neutral. The big issues with the alignment system from my perspective are: 1) Criteria for which actions belong to which alignment are entirely subjective; no two people can seem to agree on what each alignment is supposed to be. 2) Alignments force players to roleplay a vague set of ethics/morals instead of an actual CHARACTER.

I despise the alignment system, it seems to cause more arguments in gaming groups than all other Pathfinder rules/systems COMBINED.

Not if you take out all of the threads which are about falling Paladins.


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
HeHateMe wrote:

Threads like this are why all my characters are Neutral. The big issues with the alignment system from my perspective are: 1) Criteria for which actions belong to which alignment are entirely subjective; no two people can seem to agree on what each alignment is supposed to be. 2) Alignments force players to roleplay a vague set of ethics/morals instead of an actual CHARACTER.

I despise the alignment system, it seems to cause more arguments in gaming groups than all other Pathfinder rules/systems COMBINED.

Not if you take out all of the threads which are about falling Paladins.

I actually wasn't talking about paladin falling threads, I was talking about my own gaming experiences. You are correct though, all the paladins falling threads certainly don't help.

As long as alignment continues to be extremely vague, and certain classes continue to have alignment requirements, this whole thing will continue to be a massive charlie foxtrot.


Culling of Stratholme 2: Revenge:

If anything, Uther should have fell so hard! He and his paladins abandoned Stratholme to it's own destruction when Arthas said what he would do. His forces might have even made it feasible to protect the incredibly few non-infected citizens.

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