Alignment conflict: Chaos vs Evil


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

Lantern Lodge

Hello! I'm guessing a lot of us have seen plenty of examples of a paladin having to decide between obeying the law or doing good. For the sake of developing my own understanding of the subject of alignment, I want to look at the conflict at the opposite corner of the spectrum.
What would a moral dilemma between chaos and evil be like? What kind of situation would an anti-paladin have to be in that they would have to choose between acting chaotic or acting evil?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Hell's rebels ?

Kowtowing to the Hellknights and being restricted by all their rules or siding with the goody rebellion

Grand Lodge

The Antipaladin falls rises.

The city if Geb might have such 'moral dilemmas' if say, you want to destroy the market of black onyx, but you also want to raise undead for yourself.

Or what about a group of ghouls that want fresh flesh and you have to choose between feeding them slaves or orphans.

Decisions decisions...


The Antipaladin (appropriately) gets to cheat.

Antipaladin Code wrote:
An antipaladin must be of chaotic evil alignment and loses all class features except proficiencies if he willingly and altruistically commits good acts. This does not mean that an antipaladin cannot take actions someone else might qualify as good, only that such actions must always be in service of his own dark ends. An antipaladin’s code requires that he place his own interests and desires above all else, as well as impose tyranny, take advantage whenever possible, and punish the good and just, provided such actions don’t interfere with his goals.

Just justify any action you take as furthering your evil plans.

As for when there would be a conflict between Chaos and Evil, the primary example I can think of would be when the Evil act assisted a Lawful Evil end (such as crushing a rebellion of innocent farmers) or when the Chaotic act assisted Good (helping innocent farmers overthrow the evil king).

However, in either case, so long as it was part of your plan to eventual Chaotic Evil ends, you are covered.

Grand Lodge

I believe the iconic antipaladin was specifically good and nice to some guy and then later sacrificed him.

http://pathfinderwiki.com/wiki/Urgraz

Yep, what a jerk.

Shadow Lodge

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Firefly verse the Alliance, Hell's Rebels, BlackSails, while mostly Law vs Chaos at times tilts to good vs evil with the good more often than not usually being on the side of chaos. Robin Hood in many versions is CG.

Doctor Who could be a Paladin of frickin CG goodness.

In fact Chaos more often than Law tilts toward goodness. To get what I mean look at the damage the mostly CE serial killers do verses the LE dictatorships we see in rl.

But if you want to see an example of a CG character being tempted to neutralness and eventually evil, I'd go with Captain Malcom Reynolds in the movie Serenity. At the begining he's wondering if his cg ness useful, when he's ready to dump the Tamm kids and Zoe asking why they didn't take the dumbass who tried to go with them during the bank heist.

"In time of war, we'd never have left a comrade behind," Zoe admonishes him.

"Maybe that is why we lost," he replies.

This is someone on the edge of alignment change.

By the end he's redeemed and has done significant damage to the forces of law/evil(in that order). But he could have allowed the Tamm kids to be captured and gone about his business. His outlaw ways would gradually lead him to more and more unscrupulus tactics and before long you have a CE captain Mal, probably with few of his comrades still with
him.

And this is the core difference between LG and CG. LG will have a moment where he's asked to start following orders that are evil. LG will have to decide whether to be lawful rather than good at that moment because he's tied to the structure of his society. A CG will fall more gradually, with more and more incrimentally selfish desicions, untill he's no longer CG.

Hope that was helpful.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

The good/law conflict is generally doing good conflicting with law. Evil/chaos conflicts are probably going to be accomplishing an evil goal requiring setting aside chaotic tendencies and playing by the rules. Being offered power in exchange for giving up a degree of freedom is a conflict between evil and chaos.


Now THIS is an interesting thought game. While a Paladin's conflict usually comes down to 'doing the right thing would break a law' an Anti-Paladin by their very nature does not have to worry about trying to follow rules (being chaotic) or doing a greater good (since they are evil).

The only thing that is currently coming to mind is the idea of a revolution(say against Chelix). Many anti-paladins would love nothing more than to tear down a government for the simple joy of tearing it down and watching it burn. But to do so could advance the cause of revolutionaries wanting to tear down the tyrannical government. So does the Anti-Paladin side with the Rebellion and aid the cause of freedom with hopes of spreading chaos, OR does the Anti-Paladin side with the Empire and continue their evil?

My opinion is that MOST Anti-Paladins would side with the Empire to keep the system of oppression in place. Unless they either A) REALLY hated the empire, or B) thought they could manipulate events to corrupt the Rebellion to spread further destruction.


Since you brought up The Doctor... The Master is pretty much chaotic evil. He only became prime minister to break the laws of time to try to turn Earth into his own selfish war base. Are your anti paladins only using outward appearance of good or law to trick others into help your plan that will fill them with horror?

Packaging saving the dead as a way to create a vast cyberman army and then tempt the Doctor when the plot seemed irreversible, is another example.


Now, trust me when I say this, I am a total expert in this area. The forces of EVIL just can't STAND the forces of DARKNESS! One is East coast, the other is West coast, and if you listen to the way that they sound it's completely different. One doesn't even use instruments in the tracks. The other one is all like looping and like, *swish swish* you know, like THAT stuff. They try group therapy and everything, but it hasn't worked out.

Let's head to the next scene because I'm talking nonsense again!


The main way an Antipaladin rises, in my experience, is when they run into something that the player/character is so morally opposed to that they can't help but stop it even though stopping it doesn't serve an evil purpose.

The Pathfinder board rules prohibit really giving examples on that, as they are usually quite distasteful.

So to use a non-good/evil example:

Some people really love the environment. Those same people, some of them, also are huge behind the idea of non-regulation and the right of a business to make money.

If a business is damaging the environment these people can become conflicted. Side with the business or side with the environment. These things are now in direct opposition.

The problem is the Antipaladin can't personally have skin in the game. Helping the good rebels to overthrow the evil government because the destabilized government will allow them to smuggle goods easier, for example, doesn't qualify.


I feel like an antipaladin could choose either evil or chaos, as long as it is for the greater good of bad. Evil and chaos are (practically by definition) much more flexible than good and law.

For example, I think that crushing a good rebellion could be an option, particularly if the antipaladin gets paid for it, but equally valid would be supporting the good rebellion, gaining their trust, becoming their hero, and ensuring that their struggle to overthrow the oppressive evil government succeeds.

Because revolutions are so easily corrupted. You can't just kill the leader, you have to kill all of his family, and all of his supporters, and any traitors to the revolution, and anyone else you feel like, and the best part is you can pretend to be good the whole time, and your allies might even believe you!

So for an antipaladin, there rarely is a truly irreconcilable conflict. In the worst case scenario, if your allies seem too incorruptibly lawful or good, you just cut your losses, stab them all in the back and then find somebody worse to associate with.


Edward the Necromancer wrote:

Now THIS is an interesting thought game. While a Paladin's conflict usually comes down to 'doing the right thing would break a law' an Anti-Paladin by their very nature does not have to worry about trying to follow rules (being chaotic) or doing a greater good (since they are evil).

The only thing that is currently coming to mind is the idea of a revolution(say against Chelix). Many anti-paladins would love nothing more than to tear down a government for the simple joy of tearing it down and watching it burn. But to do so could advance the cause of revolutionaries wanting to tear down the tyrannical government. So does the Anti-Paladin side with the Rebellion and aid the cause of freedom with hopes of spreading chaos, OR does the Anti-Paladin side with the Empire and continue their evil?

My opinion is that MOST Anti-Paladins would side with the Empire to keep the system of oppression in place. Unless they either A) REALLY hated the empire, or B) thought they could manipulate events to corrupt the Rebellion to spread further destruction.

Isn't that Gulf War 2 and didn't B happen?


HWalsh wrote:

The main way an Antipaladin rises, in my experience, is when they run into something that the player/character is so morally opposed to that they can't help but stop it even though stopping it doesn't serve an evil purpose.

The Pathfinder board rules prohibit really giving examples on that, as they are usually quite distasteful.

So to use a non-good/evil example:

Some people really love the environment. Those same people, some of them, also are huge behind the idea of non-regulation and the right of a business to make money.

If a business is damaging the environment these people can become conflicted. Side with the business or side with the environment. These things are now in direct opposition.

The problem is the Antipaladin can't personally have skin in the game. Helping the good rebels to overthrow the evil government because the destabilized government will allow them to smuggle goods easier, for example, doesn't qualify.

Arming the rebels with poisoned arrows, bolts, and bullets, would be a good start. Turning a Glabrezu loose in the capital would be icing on the cake.


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Good is benevolence, Law is tradition. What is benevolent is not always what is traditional, and this is where problems occur.

Evil is selfishness, Chaos is individuality. Selfishness and Individuality often get along just fine. Note that the two aren't the same- Selfishness means doing what's best for yourself, while Individuality means sticking to your core values that make you unique. Where these conflict, then, is when Individuality interferes with Selfishness.

A classic example is when a villain's desire for bloodshed gets the best of them and they do something stupid that gets them caught. In those cases, there was a conflict between Evil and Chaos, and they ended up going with Chaos. Burning down the city when it's in your best interest to hide from the heroes that are onto you, for example.

The AntiPaladin's code, then, by this interpretation, is slightly biased towards Evil. The only thing that can screw an Antipaladin up is if they do something self-destructive that works against their goals, which, let's face it, is usually going to be when the Chaos Impulse overrides the Evil Impulse.

Note that this is NOT a typical 100% canon reading of the Pathfinder alignments, but I find these are the elements of alignment that are most interesting for storytelling so I end up focusing on them.


Hugo Rune wrote:
Edward the Necromancer wrote:

Now THIS is an interesting thought game. While a Paladin's conflict usually comes down to 'doing the right thing would break a law' an Anti-Paladin by their very nature does not have to worry about trying to follow rules (being chaotic) or doing a greater good (since they are evil).

The only thing that is currently coming to mind is the idea of a revolution(say against Chelix). Many anti-paladins would love nothing more than to tear down a government for the simple joy of tearing it down and watching it burn. But to do so could advance the cause of revolutionaries wanting to tear down the tyrannical government. So does the Anti-Paladin side with the Rebellion and aid the cause of freedom with hopes of spreading chaos, OR does the Anti-Paladin side with the Empire and continue their evil?

My opinion is that MOST Anti-Paladins would side with the Empire to keep the system of oppression in place. Unless they either A) REALLY hated the empire, or B) thought they could manipulate events to corrupt the Rebellion to spread further destruction.

Isn't that Gulf War 2 and didn't B happen?

In the case of the Anti-Paladin, they would WANT the conflict to turn into a huge quagmire of conflict killing and perpetual civil war. The out come of the Second Gulf War happened because the people in charge underestimated the scope of the issue and the potential chain reaction.


While this is an interesting idea it is ignoring one important detail about evil. Evil often masquerades as good. When a good person comments and evil act they become less good and eventually become evil. The reverse is not true. You can be an evil person and do what is considered good without becoming a better person. Take the example of setting up a charity to help kids. Most people would consider this a good act, but what about when a pedophile does it to get access to young children? Even when the person doing the good act is not directly benefiting from the act it often gives them cover for other actions. It’s a lot easier to manipulate people if they trust you than if they hate you. Evil often has a veneer of good to allow it to function more efficiently.


BrotherBen wrote:

Hello! I'm guessing a lot of us have seen plenty of examples of a paladin having to decide between obeying the law or doing good. For the sake of developing my own understanding of the subject of alignment, I want to look at the conflict at the opposite corner of the spectrum.

What would a moral dilemma between chaos and evil be like? What kind of situation would an anti-paladin have to be in that they would have to choose between acting chaotic or acting evil?

Strictly speaking I don't think it's really sensible for their to be a moral conundrum for an antipaladin with regards to evil vs chaos. Antipaladins aren't agents of chaos who try to impose chaos on the world. Antipaladins are mostly just bastard who are out there for themselves.

Remember, it's almost always valid for an antipaladin to simply say "I'm doing this because I want to".


Claxon wrote:
Remember, it's almost always valid for an antipaladin to simply say "I'm doing this because I want to".

One possible conflict comes to my mind: What if an organization offers him the opportunity to cause a lot of harm to his enemies, but he dislikes being involved with them because they will try to control him? He desires both to do harm and to keep his personal freedom.

But I can't resist: In reality there is usually no real dilemma - because there are usually more than two options. And given a chaotic being's mental flexibility, it has an easier time to spot alternatives than a lawful creature.


SheepishEidolon wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Remember, it's almost always valid for an antipaladin to simply say "I'm doing this because I want to".
One possible conflict comes to my mind: What if an organization offers him the opportunity to cause a lot of harm to his enemies, but he dislikes being involved with them because they will try to control him? He desires both to do harm and to keep his personal freedom.

I really don't see that as a conflict. Sure the organization offers him a chance to do evil. But he doesn't really want to work with the organization. So he easily choose to not work with them and go about doing evil on his own.

He doesn't need to "do the most evil" all the time, especially if he thinks the origination will interfere with what he wants.

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