Chaotic Neutral and Warmongering; War, Evil?


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Sczarni

I had this crazy, late night discussion with my roommate, who is a Chaotic Good kinda guy. My character, a devout follower of Sekhmet, wishes to bring war to all the happy nations in a home game (which is a seriously difficult task to pull off).

But my roommate says, "War, is evil!" Evil war? But isn't war simply two or more groups of people fighting each other over something? If war is evil, what are wartime atrocities? What are war heroes, if they were never heroes to begin with? Does that mean that the ultimate trick for a chaotic neutral person to do is to declare war on their least favorite paladin group, and if they agree to it (willingly committing to an evil act), that they all fall? Can you imagine? It'd be the prank of the century!

I'd love to hear what the Paizo forums have to say on this matter.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

War is hell.
Hell is the plane of Lawful Evil outsiders.
So not only is war evil, it's also lawful.

...wait, let me start over.

Waging war can be done for any number of reasons. However, when one looks at it, especially in fantasy tropes, one thing is evident: it's usually the people who declared war that are the aggressors. War is rarely declared defensively, and there aren't often reasons for declaring it in a benevolent fashion.

So, wars often start with two sides: the one which initiated it, and the one who had it declared against them. In your example, the paladins are not evil because you declared war on them. War was declared, and whether they agree or disagree never comes into it; they can either defend themselves, which is waging war against you, or they can not, which often results in either diplomacy or dead paladins.

Even in the violence of war, there are rules. The evil, if there is any, is in the hearts of the leaders waging war for selfish purposes, so the soldiers and citizens are, comparatively, innocent. It is best to win battles decisively, and this is where distinctions lie. It is heroic to minimize casualties and focus only on leaders, and to offer mercy and surrender. It is atrocious to kill civilians, surrendered troops, and other non-combatants.

So, while war is horrible, by itself it is not evil, and participating in it is not evil. Initiating it for your own benefit, exploiting it for profit, or taking advantage of the chaos to slaughter innocents, however, is.


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War itself is not evil, but the reasons for it can be.


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Deliberately starting a war to create discord, disharmony and suffering is a chaotic evil act. About the only reason I can imagine a chaotic neutral person starting a war for is if they see an opportunity to profit from it


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

War is definitely not Good.

In abstract, it's no more evil than a hurricane... however, someone who went around starting hurricanes every place that wasn't currently dealing with one WOULD be a candidate for supervillain of the year.

Bringing war where it would not arise is, at best, a complete jerkwad move. Bringing strife and warfare between people who have no real reason to kill one another in heaps is pretty hard to justify.


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Cole Deschain wrote:

War is definitely not Good.

What about War on Evil?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Envall wrote:
Cole Deschain wrote:

War is definitely not Good.

What about War on Evil?

Depends. Is this Evil, or just "evil"?

In the context of a fantasy universe where the evil of a being is an objective and measurable thing, I'd still say that launching a war on a bunch of Frost Giants who were nastily minding their own business is decidedly on the Not-Good end of things.

If you're launching a campaign to get them to stop murdering people, then it's still not Good. It's simply justified.

Sorry if I seem intransigent, but I've seen far too many of my friends come back-or fail to come back, or come back minus a few body parts and/or marbles to believe in a "good" war. The best it gets is "necessary."


Cole Deschain wrote:
Envall wrote:
Cole Deschain wrote:

War is definitely not Good.

What about War on Evil?

Depends. Is this Evil, or just "evil"?

In the context of a fantasy universe where the evil of a being is an objective and measurable thing, I'd still say that launching a war on a bunch of Frost Giants who were nastily minding their own business is decidedly on the Not-Good end of things.

If you're launching a campaign to get them to stop murdering people, then it's still not Good. It's simply justified.

Sorry if I seem intransigent, but I've seen far too many of my friends come back-or fail to come back, or come back minus a few body parts and/or marbles to believe in a "good" war. The best it gets is "necessary."

War on demons, undead, etc. that sort of thing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Still no better than necessary.

War is a means of turning living people into dead people in large numbers, often prematurely, and often with a lot of loss and misery to people with no stake in the outcome.

Even if your enemy is an extraplanar nightmare fashioned of pure evil, the fact that you're going out there to kill them in heaps is not inherently a good thing. It's just what you have to do.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

In other words, waging war on evil, or even Evil, while clearly in the name of Good, is falling into the whole "for the greater good" argument, which has been used to justify some pretty atrocious actions.

It gets pretty bad when you can say your enemy is Evil with a capital E. It's worryingly easy to justify anything you do because it's in the cause of Good, which can lead to situations where you sacrifice the lives of Good soldiers to deal a decisive blow to the forces of Evil, or you capture and torture an enemy agent because information it knows is important for your cause.

It is worryingly easy to become evil fighting evil.


Don't really wanna get into the morality of war. But the war god Gorum is Chaotic Neutral


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Gorum and Calistria are both CNs that should really probably be CE.


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While war is rarely good to say that it is never good is untrue. What it really comes down to is that war is killing and for the most part killing is evil. But in some cases killing is not evil and can actually be good. Again I want to emphasize it is rare but there are some cases were violence is justified and necessary. In the case of fighting undead or evil outsides this would also be the case. If something is irredeemably evil and the only way to stop it is to destroy it, destroying it is a good thing. Even in the real world there are situations where war is not evil. World War II would be a good example; the threat of Nazi Germany was not going to simply go away on its own. Fighting to stop the extermination of whole racial groups was in no way an evil act.

There is a saying that goes “All it requires for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”. How can you consider yourself good if you allow someone else to suffer when you could have stopped it? The real problem in the real world is making sure that the other person is actually evil. Too often we perceive that which is different from us as evil, when it is simply different. In the game this is a lot easier to figure out due to things like detect evil.

By declaring war you are not only attacking the opponent, you are also agreeing to abide by some rules. In the real world we have the Geneva Convention that specifies that certain actions are not permitted even in a time of war. There is no reason something similar could not exist in a game world. Even without a legal agreement culture and tradition will often limit what is acceptable in times of war. Declaring war does not mean you are the aggressor, it can be recognizing that a conflict exists and your country is going to abide by the rules.


Causing a war for no practical reason is inherently bad because you're knowingly causing people to SUFFER AND/OR DIE. If you defend yourself, it's a necessary act, but if you go around attacking "happy nations" for no good reason other than to cause a war, it's definitely evil.

Wade Erban wrote:


But my roommate says, "War, is evil!" Evil war? But isn't war simply two or more groups of people fighting each other over something? If war is evil, what are wartime atrocities? What are war heroes, if they were never heroes to begin with? Does that mean that the ultimate trick for a chaotic neutral person to do is to declare war on their least favorite paladin group, and if they agree to it (willingly committing to an evil act), that they all fall? Can you imagine? It'd be the prank of the century!

I'd love to hear what the Paizo forums have to say on this matter.

Yes, war is simply 2 or more groups of people fighting over something. Wartime atrocities are considered to be things so EFFED UP that it shouldn't be used even during war. If you kill someone because he was threatening you or your cause, that can be justified as necessary(though it depends entirely on the severity of the murder and circumstances). Holding a person in place and torturing him for no reason, even if they're your enemy, other than "I wanted to do it" is NOT necessary or humane in any way whatsoever.

This is my opinions, but one can be participating in a war for many reasons, people could be defending themselves from an attack or maybe they attack because they are forced to. Nothing is black and white and there are many grey areas. BUT, if you feel that you're creating war to spread the ideals of your god is neutral, I would ask you to reconsider. Spreading war may be your god's ideal and is what she considers "good", but think of it another way. You are forcing your ideal/faith onto others. THAT is evil. You may think you're neutral/good, but to me forcing ideals onto others is something an evil person does. Maybe your character is actually evil but thinks he is neutral?


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DominusMegadeus wrote:
Gorum and Calistria are both CNs that should really probably be CE.

Eh.

As CN, they make the world seem more sane.


I think you need to define what you mean by war first.
If you use Wikipedia's definition "...extreme aggression, destruction and morality..."

But simply looking at the definition it does not seem to be a good thing no matter what lip stick and dress you put on it. are there times you have to go to war, IMHO yes.

Second you should decide why are you going to war and what are your goals for the wars outcome vs the possible negatives you might experience. Note I said should but at times in our history it has been for petty things such as greed, perceived slights and a way to hide problems at home.

The third thing is to decide the rules of war, ie a thumb war (100 of my men vs 100 of your men) to decide if the land is mine is a lot less violent then sending in armies to attack and take the land.
So basically I am trying to say that not all wars of wars of physical violence but it can take other forms and at times people use the word War to give it the weight of the effort they are putting behind a feeling and or position. ie we are having a trade war with country X generally is not physically violent in nature but instead monetarily violent.

The last thing is you should always think before going to war (again not always going to happen for use humans) as the possible outcomes are often drastic changes to what we are experiencing at the time.

MDC


Wade Erban wrote:
I had this crazy, late night discussion with my roommate, who is a Chaotic Good kinda guy. My character, a devout follower of Sekhmet, wishes to bring war to all the happy nations in a home game (which is a seriously difficult task to pull off).

Don´t really know if I get your Character concept here... but if you tone down the ambition to cause outright wars to just "helping" conflicts along.

You should take up Arms trading. Pretty sure Sekhmet wouldn´t mind and its much more ...errmmm.... "Alignment neutral".

The Exchange

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I'm reminded of The Screwtape Letters, in which one junior devil muses to another that despite finding wars amusing because of all the misery and suffering, he doesn't really approve of them. Wars produce atrocities, but in a fantasy setting, they also produce heroes and champions.

"We have made men proud of most vices, but not of cowardice. [...] In peace we can make many of them ignore good and evil entirely; in danger, the issue is forced upon them in a guise to which even we cannot blind them. [...] A chastity or honesty, or mercy, which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions."


DominusMegadeus wrote:
Gorum and Calistria are both CNs that should really probably be CE.

Nah


DominusMegadeus wrote:
Gorum and Calistria are both CNs that should really probably be CE.

I'm gonna have to disagree with you here. Gorum's schtick is demonstrating strength through battle and claiming what you believe is yours through force, but those aren't evil concepts inherently. A Chaotic Good soldier or mercenary following Gorum still makes sense, because they can apply those concepts to things that are in fact good. A military company of half-orcs in Lastwall, for instance, waging war against the Hold of Belkzen in the name of reclaiming former territory and gaining new footholds against orc invasions, that sort of thing. The key here is that war can absolutely be justified, and a justified war, while not good, is certainly not evil. It instead becomes about your actions in the course of war. There it gets tricky, because Gorum doesn't allow for mercy, but Ragathiel isn't exactly a merciful god either.

A similar concept applies to Calistria. We know that vengeance isn't evil because Ragathiel is all about vengeance. True, Calistrians can easily be evil, and aren't likely to be good, but the concept she embodies, exacting and enjoying vengeance, is not an inherently evil one. You can exact vengeance for good reasons, or for evil reasons, or entirely morally neutral reasons, and the same goes for the ways you can exact it.

Sczarni

So what I've heard is War is a neutral act. It's something that must be, but doesn't have to be for good, nor does it have to be evil. Vengeance is neither good nor evil. And I loved the "War is Hell" comment. Beautiful stuff.

@ Kjeldorn She is the most helpful of people. She arms all the citizens that she meets and offers them free sandwiches. But if the citizens wish for more sandwiches, she says that she already gave them away. And if a citizen takes the dagger that my character and stabs someone, way down the road, my character would be okay with that. Chaotic neutral is about self-freedom and respecting, but not necessarily caring, about the freedom of others. If she hands a bad man a dagger, says, "This is a gift. I hope you enjoy it", that isn't evil at all. My character neither knows nor cares if the man is good or bad. Neutral people are allowed to give gifts. And from this highly detailed document about Chaotic Neutral, there's this line: "Whether the individual exercising such freedom chooses to do good or evil is of no concern." But she can't attack the innocent, she can't murder populations of people dressed as a dwarf to get the elves to attack the dwarves. But she'll give gentle pushes by talking, not diplomacizing nor intimidating, just talking.

http://easydamus.com/chaoticneutral.html

Also in that document is the best descriptor of the dangers of Chaotic Neutral, "Chaotic neutral can be a dangerous alignment when it seeks to eliminate all authority, harmony, and order in society." My character is very smart and makes plenty of observations, and may travel between rival cities to speak of her observations. If she tells one King that his enemy doesn't have the manpower, defenses, and weaponry that his kingdom has, that King is allowed to declare war and my character remains neutral. She doesn't force her power over the King and threaten his life with her tiny blade if he doesn't declare war, like a Chaotic Evil person would do. If the King does, great! That was his own decision. If he doesn't, well, she'll try a different place.

I understand that corrupting good nations to attack other good nations is evil. If they have no real reason to fight each other, that's fine. Skip and sing right to the next one. But neutral nations that have beef with one another, but -aren't- fighting is weird. Nobody profits, nothing changes, and Chaotic Neutral sees hindering change as dishonorable.

@RandomReverie I like the idea of having the goddess's ideals be forced on others as an evil act as well. On that principle, we take war, a highly neutral act, and we take Sekhmet's ideals about war and we replace them. We take the same highly devoted person and give them Andoletta, the Grandmother Crow and the character's want to make everyone safe and protected. They want to console anyone they meet, any of which that are having problems. Everything is going just fine, until one Chaotic Good guy stands up and says, "Hey, that's part of your god's ideal. How dare you force that upon me!" And attacks the poor good cleric. Shameful, good cleric, shameful. Maybe that good cleric is just pretending to be good, but might be evil. The world needs change, and war is what my character knows will change it into something beautiful.

And don't get me wrong, it's a great world. It's just...we sit around every weekend and sit in town. There's no conflict, because everyone, even those who are enemies of each other, is nice enough to not attack each other. There's no driving points to go outside and adventure (unless you're an explorer, but we don't have any of those). No damsel needs saving from evil men (or good men), and every thug wants to talk to you about the weather.


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It might be worth noting that the criteria for 'just war' are incredibly slippery, and have been debated for ages. 'Just war' is probably the single most common excuse used by warmongers, zealots, profiteers, and ideologues, and it tends to be the focus of vast amounts of deceptive propaganda even when the people invoking it truly believe themselves to be in the right. The examples are as old as history, and as recent as... what day is it?

Edit: ...why did I say "probably"?

The Exchange

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M. Bison: Tuesday.


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Wade Erban wrote:

I had this crazy, late night discussion with my roommate, who is a Chaotic Good kinda guy. My character, a devout follower of Sekhmet, wishes to bring war to all the happy nations in a home game (which is a seriously difficult task to pull off).

But my roommate says, "War, is evil!" Evil war? But isn't war simply two or more groups of people fighting each other over something? If war is evil, what are wartime atrocities? What are war heroes, if they were never heroes to begin with? Does that mean that the ultimate trick for a chaotic neutral person to do is to declare war on their least favorite paladin group, and if they agree to it (willingly committing to an evil act), that they all fall? Can you imagine? It'd be the prank of the century!

I'd love to hear what the Paizo forums have to say on this matter.

Starting a war for s**ts and giggles is a pretty evil act, imo. Especially if none of the countries involved actually had any good reasons to war with each other in the first place.


Causing war for s~#*s and giggles is pretty evil. If you have a legitimate reason like the country over there is causing harm to the world you can have somewhat justifiable reasons, but without a good reason it's a pretty evil to create a situation that causes lots of death and harm to people.


That's the problem with Gorum being CN. He does seek conflict without any reason or moral restraint. He's willing to give power to CG guys because they like to fight, but he also sponsors Antipaladins because they like to fight, cause larger conflicts, prolong/escalate warfare for no reason other than to incite more and grander wars.

If my CN character did this, you would kick his ass to CE a few moments before you kick me out of your group. Being a God doesn't put you above Good and Evil. You are in the spectrum, same as any other being.


I thought the whole point of the 'neutral' thing in these contrived moral alignment systems is that someone goes after what they want or like, and doesn't care about the moral consequences. It's a goofy system considering how many things that would normally be considered 'evil' fall under "I just wanted mine, and damn the consequences"... but that seems to be the system.

Scarab Sages

War is the ultimate expression of Lawful Evil.

That's my drive-by 2 cp.


DominusMegadeus wrote:

That's the problem with Gorum being CN. He does seek conflict without any reason or moral restraint. He's willing to give power to CG guys because they like to fight, but he also sponsors Antipaladins because they like to fight, cause larger conflicts, prolong/escalate warfare for no reason other than to incite more and grander wars.

If my CN character did this, you would kick his ass to CE a few moments before you kick me out of your group. Being a God doesn't put you above Good and Evil. You are in the spectrum, same as any other being.

Isn't that a problem (to a degree) with any Neutral aligned god? All the Neutral gods have no issues with handing out incredible power to total scum if that scum promotes their interests. I don't see Gorum as being particularly more problematic than, oh say, Calistra, or Nethys, or Abadar. Putting the uncivilized to the sword, spitefully tormenting others over petty crap or conducting horrifically immoral experiments in the name of science magical research is all horrible, but AFAIK all those gods openly enable it. They are all apparently totes OK for a neutral Deity to promote.

I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:

War is the ultimate expression of Lawful Evil.

That's my drive-by 2 cp.

Have a look at this.

The Great Beyond wrote:
The archons are often described as a race designed from their lowest to highest ranks as the perfect army. Foremost in the archons’ eyes is the Abyss, and their armies drive deep into the Maelstrom borderlands to fight demons as they emerge from each newly opened chasm. They have even brought their holy war into the Abyss itself, though such instances are rare and hideously costly. While many archons take orders from their paragon leaders, a nearly equal number serve the lawful good gods whose domains are in Heaven.

Celestials of other Good alignments are far less warlike.

On the other hand, the abyss is for the most part one big battleground.

Based on this, I think you could make a pretty good argument for war being alignment agnostic. The specific circumstances of each conflict would determine where it lies on the alignment chart.


DominusMegadeus wrote:
Being a God doesn't put you above Good and Evil. You are in the spectrum, same as any other being.

It doesn't, but it entirely changes how your place in that spectrum is determined based on the sheer scope of action available to you.

Consider the difference between a level 1 Commoner and a level 20 Wizard. The scope of good or evil that they could perform is massively different, and so the standards to which we hold them is also massively different. Where for the level 1 Commoner an expression of evil would be refusing to feed his family and an expression of good is giving out charitable donations despite his own destitution, our Wizard's expression of good is using magic to end a massive drought plaguing a neighboring kingdom, and his expression of evil is causing that drought in the first place. In the grand scheme of things, how he treats individual people still matters, but is a minor blip on his scale of morality. In essence, the Commoner exists on a moral scale of 1 to 10, and the Wizard exists on a moral scale of -1000 to 1000. Now that's not to say that the super moral wizard at 1000 is any better than the kindly commoner at 1; it's a percentage thing.

So, if that's the scale we're working with, then I would say that the range for deities is probably in the billions. There's so much they can do to impact the world. Gorum doesn't stir his followers to go out and rape and pillage and topple the kind and merciful king for daring to have the weakest army, he simply grants magic and/or power to those who believe in using violence to solve their problems, and no, that is not an evil philosophy in the greater scheme of things because quite a lot of problems do need to be solved with violence. Even Shelyn took up arms against Zon-Kuthon and Rovagug after all. Now, do Gorum's philosophies lend themselves poorly to those mortals who work towards the benefit of others (i.e. CG)? Not particularly well. It can happen, that person can exist, but most of his followers are going to be N or E. But in the grand scheme of things, and the greater balance of things, he isn't granting powers to those people because he wants them to murderkilldeath all the innocent women and children and burn down the puppy orphanages, he simply wants to see the strongest side win, whether it's the puppy orphanage burning raiders or the valorous paladin order dedicated to the defense of puppy orphanages.


I would call a level 20 wizard refusing to feed their family an expression of evil.

More importantly, if a level 1 commoner placed the lives of their family at severe risk by refusing to feed them despite easily having the means, I would easily call them Evil (barring extreme extenuating circumstances).

If a level 20 wizard did the exact same thing, I would still call them evil.

Really, the main problem is that the Alignment system seems to want to treat the balanced spread of Good and Evil as neutral when done by gods, while making the exact same behavior by lowly mortals Evil. It also seems to want to pretend that gods and mortals are bound by the same rules of objective morality. A merchant telling a debtor that its totally fine by them if the debtor murders random innocent people for the merchant's money is well into the evil side of the alignment spectrum. A god telling a servant that its totally fine to torment, experiment upon or murder random innocents for the god's glory is neutral, apparently.

Although frankly this is yet another inconsistency in a system riddled with hand-waving, inconsistency, nonsense and fridge horror. What else do you expect than the act of not giving a *(&* while actively enabling evil things counting as neutral.


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For an interesting perspective on War read Wielding a Red Sword. In it the incarnation of war is sees it as a vehicle for change. The character would actually be considered good and recognizes the injustice that war brings, but still views it as something necessary. A chaotic neutral god would take a similar approach. The neutral alignments allow for some actions from both sides of the divide. So a chaotic neutral will do both good and evil acts.


I think the gave the god a N rating do to the fact the war can be good or evil depending on your definition and cause.
Now defining such things have been debated for many many years.

I remember (IIRC) the quote of Robert E Lee "Good think war is so terrible otherwise we would grow to love it so much." Or something along those lines.
MDC

Sczarni

Quote:

A god telling a servant that its totally fine to torment, experiment upon or murder random innocents for the god's glory is neutral, apparently.

Although frankly this is yet another inconsistency in a system riddled with hand-waving, inconsistency, nonsense and fridge horror. What else do you expect than the act of not giving a *(&* while actively enabling evil things counting as neutral.

Woah there, neutral gods don't tell their servants to murder innocents. Maybe cause panic and disorder, but not to actually kill anyone. Murdering brings them down to evil, as does torture. Experimenting upon without doing harm to another person is perfectly fine though. That's well within the neutral ground. Examples would be social experimenting, mostly. I guess that was it; can't think of others, but social experiments is a large umbrella term.

But war doesn't kill innocent people; that's not war's purpose. War is to have soldiers, trained to fight, fight soldiers. It's evil people that kill innocent people, not their weapons.

Quote:
A merchant telling a debtor that its totally fine by them if the debtor murders random innocent people for the merchant's money is well into the evil side of the alignment spectrum.

Actually, the merchant would be perfectly neutral in doing so. Not a very nice neutral, if he used those exact words. But why isn't the merchant evil, you say? Clearly, he is not a nice man! Because you have to do more than talk to be an evil character. And shady, neutral characters like to talk about dirty things, but won't actually run around murdering innocents. Now, if the merchant used his position to -force- the debtor to kill innocent people, that's evil. Probably Lawful Evil.

But the above example is a neutral merchant, telling a guy, "Hey, I really don't give a s#!! where you get the money. Just get me what you owe me. You could chop up some guy and take his gold teeth for all I care. Shiv some old ladies with fat wallets, just do something!" That may give the debtor an idea of how he could get money, but in the end, the debtor is the only evil person if he decides he needs to murder an innocent person. That was his choice, made of his own free will, to murder that old lady for her purse. If he was neutral, he would have just held her at knife point and waited ten minutes for her to get all her gold out, or rough her up with a punch or two, but he would have not used his +5 Greatsword to cut her in two.

Sczarni

Mysterious Stranger wrote:
For an interesting perspective on War read Wielding a Red Sword. In it the incarnation of war is sees it as a vehicle for change. The character would actually be considered good and recognizes the injustice that war brings, but still views it as something necessary. A chaotic neutral god would take a similar approach. The neutral alignments allow for some actions from both sides of the divide. So a chaotic neutral will do both good and evil acts.

This, 100%. Except for the chaotic neutral doing both acts. There are nice chaotic neutrals and not-so-nice chaotic neutrals, but neither will murder innocent people (but both can harm them. The nice one is less likely to do so). I mean, taunting a guy to fight you, and then having your seven buddies jump out behind the buildings as you beat him up does sound evil, I guess. But it's highly neutral, as long as nobody murders the poor chump. In the same instance, a chaotic neutral can interrupt several guys beating someone up, to beat them up, or if they pull weapons, to kill them. While a True Neutral guy either just watches or doesn't get involved at all to save the poor innocent person! What kind of sick evil is that, right?

Just kidding, he's just being his neutral self.


I have to disagree with the idea that a person of any specific alignment never does anything out of alignment. No one is absolutely pure to their alignment. Even the worst villain will occasionally do a good deed, and even a saint will occasionally do something bad. Not everything is black and white; there are many shades of gray between the extremes. If the extremes of the alignments occasionally stray those that straddle the fence are going to do so a lot more often.


Hugo Rune wrote:
Deliberately starting a war to create discord, disharmony and suffering is a chaotic evil act. About the only reason I can imagine a chaotic neutral person starting a war for is if they see an opportunity to profit from it

Starting a war, deliberately bringing about death and misery for the sake of personal gain...No that's not neutral. You're solidly in the lower right hand corner of the alignment chart.

Chaotic Neutral is a very touchy alignment. Frequently the border between it and Chaotic Evil is a mushy one at best, more so than the border between Chaotic Neutal and Chaotic Good.


The other thing is to remember that our morals today were not the morals of yesterday and the reasons we do or do not do things now is vastly different than in ages past.
MDC


Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

The other thing is to remember that our morals today were not the morals of yesterday and the reasons we do or do not do things now is vastly different than in ages past.

MDC

Maybe so, but after almost 2,500 years, the old maxim of Thucydides still pretty much holds up:

"Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."


BadBird wrote:
Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

The other thing is to remember that our morals today were not the morals of yesterday and the reasons we do or do not do things now is vastly different than in ages past.

MDC

Maybe so, but after almost 2,500 years, the old maxim of Thucydides still pretty much holds up:

"Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must."

Yes I agree, and I am reminded of some info after watching the Secrets of Westminster last night on Oregon Public Broadcasting in which the British Monarch rushed into House of Common's to talk to some MP's. Since then the British Monarch is not allowed into the HoC, ie the week (semi-weak or the monarch was not as strong) have at times greatly shifted the balance of power be taking a stand.

I also try and not be amazed by the smart things people have said in the past and how they can still have great meaning/impact/weight today but often I am.

MDC


Mark Carlson 255 wrote:

The other thing is to remember that our morals today were not the morals of yesterday and the reasons we do or do not do things now is vastly different than in ages past.

MDC

Which is totally irrelevant since the alignment system in the game IS based on our present values.


War is action it's not evil or good. The intent is what make it evil or good.


Mark Carlson 255 wrote:
Since then the British Monarch is not allowed into the HoC, ie the week (semi-weak or the monarch was not as strong) have at times greatly shifted the balance of power be taking a stand.

And yet often enough throughout history, it is the monarch or tyrant who ends up protecting or avenging the truly weak against the aristocrats or oligarchs - even when the aristocrats supposedly 'represent' the lower orders. Levels upon levels...


Good people do not declare war on each other if that's what you are going for IMO. Good people compromise and form alliances.

Neutral people might want to fight over land or some other resource because they are selfish but they will settle for pushing the other side off the goal. They might form alliances if it helps their cause. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Evil people want to take other peoples stuff also, but when war starts they will try to exterminate the other side. They may make slaves or take forced conscripts, from the defeated.

Just my two cents.


voska66 wrote:
War is action it's not evil or good. The intent is what make it evil or good.

A perspective from one fictional character: a Major "Hawkeye" Pierce.

God banishes sinners to Hell, but humans force other humans into something worse than Hell. According to Christianity, whether you go to Hell or Heaven is based on your choices in life, but a draft order by your government sent Hawkeye and the MASH unit to war regardless of what they did in life. Worse off are the innocent bystanders who get caught up in wars that have nothing to do with them, like children, the disabled and the elderly. Hawkeye used to think war was Hell, but now he's finally realized that it's worse than that.

And as he notes, while in Hell it's only the evil that suffer, in War, the only folks who typically don't suffer, are the ones who started the mess in the first place.


DominusMegadeus wrote:
Gorum and Calistria are both CNs that should really probably be CE.

That's a negative Ghost Rider. Are war and vengeance "good" things? Nope, but they're not inherently evil things either. There's a difference between "bad" and "evil". Poverty and ignorance are bad things, but they're not evil.

War and vengeance can both be justified as well, depending on circumstances.


Now, even though war itself isn't necessarily evil, someone who goes around starting wars specifically to get large numbers of people killed should be considered evil.

A warrior who prays to Gorum to give him strength before a battle? Not evil. A Gorum follower who goes around manipulating nations to war with each other? Definitely evil. That's why Gorum is CN, because he has a wide range of followers. The common soldier who wants to survive the next battle could be CG. A raging barbarian who lives for the thrill of battle could be CN. A manipulative warmonger who goes around starting wars for his own gratification is probably CE.


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Wade Erban wrote:

I had this crazy, late night discussion with my roommate, who is a Chaotic Good kinda guy. My character, a devout follower of Sekhmet, wishes to bring war to all the happy nations in a home game (which is a seriously difficult task to pull off).

But my roommate says, "War, is evil!" Evil war? But isn't war simply two or more groups of people fighting each other over something? If war is evil, what are wartime atrocities? What are war heroes, if they were never heroes to begin with? Does that mean that the ultimate trick for a chaotic neutral person to do is to declare war on their least favorite paladin group, and if they agree to it (willingly committing to an evil act), that they all fall? Can you imagine? It'd be the prank of the century!

I'd love to hear what the Paizo forums have to say on this matter.

War being evil, is a modern concept that originated out of the cynocism created in western society by World War 1. Prior to this Countries often not only thought war was fine, but that it was necessary. Wars were a good way to create a strong nation-state, and in pre-nation states they were a good way to obtain money and pressure the creation of pseudo-bureaucracies to organize the nation.

To wage war you need to be able to tax your people so you can pay your men, thus kingdoms not only became more centralized and orderly the more an empire waged war, they were also more likely to create a standard currency and trade with their neighbors that they weren't warring with.

there are many benefits for a pre-machine-gun society waging war, especially since a lot of the time the wars ended with local kings simply swearing loyalty to the invader or simply the taking of resources, or hell even just after a few battles if the war was an "honor" war where the goal was simply to humiliate your adversary.

other times wars were usually a "civilized" society attacking a primitive one to claim their land and push the uncivilized people off of it.


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I feel this way about Gorum for the same reason that Chaotic Neutral PCs have such a bad rep. He supports people going out and doing horrific things in peaceful places as long as conflict is the end result. Not caring about the consequences of your actions doesn't absolve you of responsibility for them. You can't empower(grant divine spells) people who serve you(Antipaladins) to do awful s!#@(I will bathe in blood and breathe in iron/Where there are skirmishes, I will make war) without assuming some of the blame. If you consider needless bloodshed and serial escalation to be 'worth it' for the sake of conflict, then you're really really f@~~ing Evil.

And to anyone saying "it was different back then", this is not about Earth or our past. It's about Golarion, and on Golarion, Good was always modern-good and Evil was always modern-evil because it's a fantasy land created by modern people.


FedoraFerret wrote:
DominusMegadeus wrote:
Gorum and Calistria are both CNs that should really probably be CE.
I'm gonna have to disagree with you here. Gorum's schtick is demonstrating strength through battle and claiming what you believe is yours through force, but those aren't evil concepts inherently. A Chaotic Good soldier or mercenary following Gorum still makes sense, because they can apply those concepts to things that are in fact good. A military company of half-orcs in Lastwall, for instance, waging war against the Hold of Belkzen in the name of reclaiming former territory and gaining new footholds against orc invasions, that sort of thing. The key here is that war can absolutely be justified, and a justified war, while not good, is certainly not evil. It instead becomes about your actions in the course of war. There it gets tricky, because Gorum doesn't allow for mercy, but Ragathiel isn't exactly a merciful god either.

Sure, but those examples you listed aren't clerics. A Lawful Good wizard can totally worship Asmodeus, because they only worship aspects of the deity. A cleric has to respect every aspect of their god, though (since this isn't Eberron or Ravenloft), so it's a different story there.

As a warmongering murderer, Gorum should be an evil god. Celebrating battle is evil. But morality in Golarion is sort of lazily assigned. Remember the kerfuffle when Paizo had to retcon Erastil? I get the sense they sometimes don't put as much thought into their deities as they ought to. And let's just put aside the fact that in real life, war generally is evil, because it's self-perpetuating.

Any sort of war not fought in self-defense is evil. And how could a god of war accept seeking diplomatic solutions wherever possible? Gorum is a god of war, and not just war between humans and demons. I'm pretty lukewarm on him as a neutral god, just like I'm lukewarm on Kord, god of "the strong should rule the weak", as a good god (a retcon from earlier versions of the guy).

*Shrug*

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