why alignment (for characters) needs to go


Prerelease Discussion

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Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Rysky wrote:
Revan wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Graystone wrote:
Some unknown factor makes undead evil.

Except it’s not unknown, there’s been plenty of factors given.

A main one being that they’re powered by a corruption of a natural energy of the multiverse. Not that the energy itself is corrupting, but that is has been corrupted.

So it's evil to use fire to warm my house, when it's natural purpose is to burn things?
... I’m pretty sure you still burn stuff to keep your house warm.

Even if you don’t due to magical fire or what have, provinding warmth is still something fire does.

Making fire freeze things you could make the statement for, but it doesn’t reanimate anything either.


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Rysky wrote:
Graystone wrote:
Some unknown factor makes undead evil.

Except it’s not unknown, there’s been plenty of factors given.

A main one being that they’re powered by a corruption of a natural energy of the multiverse. Not that the energy itself is corrupting, but that is has been corrupted.

Which book is that from?


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Malk_Content wrote:
Well they have different Creative Directors, but it changed in Starfinder so there is hope.

This is a somewhat misleading statement. Mindless undead remain Evil in Starfinder, while intelligent undead are capable of any Alignment in both PF1 and Starfinder (though the majority are Evil in both).

All that really changed is that spells lack Alignment descriptors in Starfinder so the Animate Dead spell lost that, too.

I suspect that mindless undead will continue to be Evil, that intelligent undead will still tend toward Evil but be capable of any alignment, and that Animate Dead will remain an Evil spell in PF2, and Starfinder only offers an argument on the third point, and even then only if they remove Alignment descriptors from spells (which seems unlikely).

Actually, Alien Archives has introduced neutral mindless undead(the Cybernetic Zombie).

Additionally, the undead template no longer automatically makes a target evil. Instead, we are told that "without control from an external force, these three kinds of undead[occult, skeletal and cybernetic] simply go through the motions of their former lives".

So by default, animated undead should be neutral.


Aristophanes wrote:
This may have been addressed already, but 740 posts is too many right now: If creating undead is evil, then a good god would not even give their clerics the ability to do it in the first place.

uh, they dont.

Quote:

Chaotic, Evil, Good, and Lawful Spells A cleric can’t cast spells of an alignment opposed to her own or her deity’s (if she has one). Spells associated with particular alignments are indicated by the chaotic, evil, good, and lawful descriptors in their spell descriptions.

Liberty's Edge

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johnlocke90 wrote:
Actually, Alien Archives has introduced neutral mindless undead(the Cybernetic Zombie).

Which is explicitly animated through technology rather than magic, making it a rather different case. Mindless undead animated through magic are still listed as Evil.

johnlocke90 wrote:
Additionally, the undead template no longer automatically makes a target evil.

Templates never say anything about alignment in Starfinder, so this is more of a rules artifact than anything. Demons and Devils as template grafts also no longer make the creature's alignment Evil, simply because that's not the way the template rules work.

johnlocke90 wrote:
Instead, we are told that "without control from an external force, these three kinds of undead[occult, skeletal and cybernetic] simply go through the motions of their former lives".

If we're gonna cherry pick quotes it also says about a paragraph earlier: "Whether encountered as servants of a mastermind who coordinates their movements or as a mindless threat in the wake of a cataclysmic disaster, undead minions are always a force to be reckoned with and a scourge to the living."

But really, the flavor text is ambiguous on this point.

johnlocke90 wrote:
So by default, animated undead should be neutral.

No. By default it's up to the GM since templates say nothing on the subject. Based on what we've got, mindless undead animated by magic (re: negative energy) remain Evil.


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Yep, if they are overhauling things in V2, PC alignment has to go or change.

Besides what has already been mentioned, it makes players play clichéd characters, where there character personalities are designed and constrained around their alignment. "Oh your character is this, you MUST do XYZ". "Chaotic neutral is crazy" (throw back to earlier versions that still exist in people's minds). "I'm neutral, I can do anything".

No matter what is written in core or what I say, people continue to think like this.

I'm not a fan of alignment. I'd be very interested in how PF2 treats alignment, it should be the subject of a blog.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
johnlocke90 wrote:
Actually, Alien Archives has introduced neutral mindless undead(the Cybernetic Zombie).

Which is explicitly animated through technology rather than magic, making it a rather different case. Mindless undead animated through magic are still listed as Evil.

johnlocke90 wrote:
Additionally, the undead template no longer automatically makes a target evil.

Templates never say anything about alignment in Starfinder, so this is more of a rules artifact than anything. Demons and Devils as template grafts also no longer make the creature's alignment Evil, simply because that's not the way the template rules work.

johnlocke90 wrote:
Instead, we are told that "without control from an external force, these three kinds of undead[occult, skeletal and cybernetic] simply go through the motions of their former lives".

If we're gonna cherry pick quotes it also says about a paragraph earlier: "Whether encountered as servants of a mastermind who coordinates their movements or as a mindless threat in the wake of a cataclysmic disaster, undead minions are always a force to be reckoned with and a scourge to the living."

But really, the flavor text is ambiguous on this point.

johnlocke90 wrote:
So by default, animated undead should be neutral.
No. By default it's up to the GM since templates say nothing on the subject. Based on what we've got, mindless undead animated by magic (re: negative energy) remain Evil.

You are incorrect regarding templates and alignment. If you check out dragons in the same book, they have suggested alignments for each template. Summoning monsters *also* has alignment requirements for the casters(unlike Animate Dead).

So based on what we have, mindless undead animated by magic can be any alignment.

Liberty's Edge

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johnlocke90 wrote:
You are incorrect regarding templates and alignment. If you check out dragons in the same book, they have suggested alignments for each template. Summoning monsters *also* has alignment requirements for the casters(unlike Animate Dead).

The Summoned stuff is rather a special case due to the nature of its formatting, which is very specific and different from just about everything else.

And I'd argue that the Dragon listings are purely so that people who've never played Pathfinder know what Alignments they usually are, since there's not a sample stat-block for that...which there are for undead (ie: templates generally only have suggested alignments if stat blocks don't already exist to suggest such things).

johnlocke90 wrote:
So based on what we have, mindless undead animated by magic can be any alignment.

Mechanically? Sure, Starfinder cares a lot less about Alignment making those rules fuzzier. In world lore? Not quite so much.


Jason S wrote:

Yep, if they are overhauling things in V2, PC alignment has to go or change.

Besides what has already been mentioned, it makes players play clichéd characters, where there character personalities are designed and constrained around their alignment. "Oh your character is this, you MUST do XYZ". "Chaotic neutral is crazy" (throw back to earlier versions that still exist in people's minds). "I'm neutral, I can do anything".

No matter what is written in core or what I say, people continue to think like this.

I'm not a fan of alignment. I'd be very interested in how PF2 treats alignment, it should be the subject of a blog.

Signs point to it being more restrictive (no LN asmodean clerics was mentioned somewhere) with clarifying text like Anathema and a sidebar discussing how to play without it.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hopefully they flip that around.

It's far easier to *add* restrictions than to remove them once they are in print.


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Hopefully they flip that around.

It's far easier to *add* restrictions than to remove them once they are in print.

We're going to have to disagree on that.

Edit: because thinking up a whole list of restrictions is a lot more work than simply saying "we're not using alignment"


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A happy medium for people who have to deal with a rotating selection of GMs at PFS with inconsistent standards might be to just make a rule for PFS that alignment restrictions don't matter, only the actual anathema of the classes. This can even be called out in a sidebar in the CRB, saying that is going to be the case, and establishing a canon precedent right there that it is okay for inexperienced GMs not yet sure of themselves to also drop alignment in their own games if they find it problematic, because it won't break the game.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Ckorik wrote:

Quote here

James Jacobs wrote:

I often see this type of sentiment on the internet, and it frustrates the hell out of me.

The ONLY person who gets to decide if something is insulting is the person being insulted by it. If someone says something that ends up offending someone else, the responsible and mature solution is not to justify their insulting/offensive actions by trying to describe how they don't see it's insulting. That just digs their hole deeper and makes them condiscending as well as insulting to the person who's offended.

The right solution is to either nod your head and stop using that sort of offensive behavior (preferably altogether, but certainly when speaking to the person you, perhaps inadvertently, offended).

This is why alignment needs to go. Any other part of the game that causes as much hurt at the table as alignment is gone over with a fine tooth comb or given BIG WARNINGS ABOUT CONSENT (such as in the horror rules book).

Morality is SUBJECTIVE and as such has no place being used as a game mechanic. The rules of pathfinder are crunchy - morality rules are squicky, moist, and libel to smell like last week's cheese.

When the creative director (and company honestly) understand why trying to explain away why something is insulting/offensive is in fact just digging in deeper - after so many years of anguish about alignment and codes and evil spells and how it ruin's peoples games why is this still a core mechanic?

New edition - time for alignment to go - at least for player characters who should have sole authority over a subjective category that two reasonable college professors who spent lives studying ethics and morality could argue all day over.

The largest problem, while many of the commenters claim that morality is an objective truth in Golarion, the fact is that morality is subjective for the real-world GMs and players that deal with a morality-based system.

A player decides to kill a cursed innocent to prevent the curse from spreading to the rest of the town. The player argues that it is a good act, he's doing it to save the town. The GM argues that murder is always an evil act. What about when attacking monsters? Or evil creatures? If you attack a drow first without proof that they have done wrong, is it an evil act? Is laying ambushes for monsters evil? Eating meat as an omnivore? What about the town over, that considers it evil to burn their dead due to spiritual beliefs? Would it be evil for the paladin to cremate their dead? For the sorcerer to use burning hands on the town's zombies? Or is it only evil if you belong to the town?

I'm not saying you can't have a system of objective morality. But, because morality is not inherently objective in the real world, the constraints of this morality need to be clearly written and defined. Not a paragraph detailing what evil is, but a defined list of what constitutes an evil/good act, what would cause a shift in alignment, and how a clearly-stated intention can affect it. This way, if there is a rules concern about an alignment-based mechanic, the player (or GM) can bring out the book and read, "According to X, this is an evil action." If such rules are not clearly defined, it will continue to be based on the subjective beliefs of the people playing the game- which is only fine so long as the players have the same moralistic views.

If the game cannot have a defined list of good or evil acts (It does not need to be pages long, but it needs to be clear and precise), then it is clear that morality cannot be used as a game mechanic due to its subjective nature.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

And the danger with having such a defined list falls back to the 'paladin problem'

"Well, I didn't eat the meat of the dead person, so I didn't violate the desecration clause."

"I didn't 'strike first', I only 'readied to prevent them from striking first'."

"I didn't realize that poison was illegal and immoral, having grown up in Daggermark where there's a Guild that lives on using it."

Etc, etc, etc.

Attempting to say 'what is good' 'what is lawful' 'what is chaotic' is as dangerous as leaving it loose and open. Most gamers I've encountered (including myself) can find themselves 'moving the goalposts' without realizing that they are doing it on a subconscious level.

Using it as a straightjacket for player behaviour in any fashion makes it ten times worse at least.


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Well considering how much this have caused arguments through the decades just states how this system works/not works. Personally the benefits of having defined codes is that it will be consistent from table to table when it comes to different GMs.

Like Wei is saying thats a danger that someone will "circumvent the rule" is solved in that its not a rule and thus all those excuses are in all technicallity valid. A Paladin that doesnt know that poison is Immoral or Illegal is a sign that his order obviously dont have a negative stance or even a stance at all for this usage.


Camellen wrote:

The largest problem, while many of the commenters claim that morality is an objective truth in Golarion, the fact is that morality is subjective for the real-world GMs and players that deal with a morality-based system.

A player decides to kill a cursed innocent to prevent the curse from spreading to the rest of the town. The player argues that it is a good act, he's doing it to save the town. The GM argues that murder is always an evil act.

The GM should start here by explaining to the player what murder is. Murder is not just the act of killing. Murder is a crime, it's more legal than ethical in terms of good and evil.

The more important word is, "Innocent."

Killing an innocent is an evil act. Full stop. Always. For most characters this isn't important. It takes multiple evil acts to alignment shift.

For a typical moral quandary this is actually working as intended. This, in comic books, is why you have the Wolverine. Sometimes someone has to do something evil in order to do something good. That's what the antihero is for.

This is the exact situation why Paladins are a thing. Your typical hero might do that, a Paladin, however, is better than that. That is the point. The Paladin can't make those "hard choices" and it is supposed to create friction.

The Paladin has to choose, let people die, kill an innocent and lose his powers, or find a way to save everyone. Typically a Paladin will choose option 3. The hardest one. Save everyone or die trying. That's why Paladins are revered as they are.

Quote:
What about when attacking monsters? Or evil creatures?

Monsters are threatening creatures, 99% of the time they are attacking you when encountered. Self defense or defending another is not an evil act. The same is true of evil creatures.

Attacking a group of Harpies that have been attacking and killing villagers is a lot different than killing every dog you come across just because.

Quote:
If you attack a drow first without proof that they have done wrong, is it an evil act?

Context is king here. A drow, inside a city, who is just a minding his own business, is much different from attacking a warrior drow in the underdark quite frankly.

Quote:
Is laying ambushes for monsters evil?

Usually no. Depends on the context and on the monster. A monster that's been killing villagers is different from just a monster. A territorial dangerous beast? Not evil in the slightest.

Quote:
Eating meat as an omnivore?

No.

Quote:
What about the town over, that considers it evil to burn their dead due to spiritual beliefs? Would it be evil for the paladin to cremate their dead?

No.

[Qupte] For the sorcerer to use burning hands on the town's zombies? Or is it only evil if you belong to the town?

Burning the dead isn't evil. Even if the villagers think it is. That just makes them wrong.

Quote:
I'm not saying you can't have a system of objective morality.

Yes you can. This system is such.

Quote:
But, because morality is not inherently objective in the real world, the constraints of this morality need to be clearly written and defined. Not a paragraph detailing what evil is, but a defined list of what constitutes an evil/good act, what would cause a shift in alignment, and how a clearly-stated intention can affect it. This way, if there is a rules concern about an alignment-based mechanic, the player (or GM) can bring out the book and read, "According to X, this is an evil action." If such rules are not clearly defined, it will continue to be based on the subjective beliefs of the people playing the game- which is only fine so long as the players have the same moralistic views.

I, personally, like to think that morals are universal. I reject the real world subjective morality theory. Right is right, wrong is wrong, and deep down we all know what those things are. Some of us just convince ourselves that evil isn't evil to ease our own consciences.

Quote:
If the game cannot have a defined list of good or evil acts (It does not need to be pages long, but it needs to be clear and precise), then it is clear that morality cannot be used as a game mechanic due to its subjective nature.

Morality has been used as a game mechanic for decades. Clearly then it can be. These moral issues are, largely a modern invention.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
HWalsh wrote:


The more important word is, "Innocent."

But you didn't define innocent. And innocent in my book isn't a binary. So we still have problems.

The fact of the matter is for Alignment to be objective it is going to take more pages than every Pathfinder book ever printed to define. Even just in describing the Law category.


Malk_Content wrote:
HWalsh wrote:


The more important word is, "Innocent."

But you didn't define innocent. And innocent in my book isn't a binary. So we still have problems.

The fact of the matter is for Alignment to be objective it is going to take more pages than every Pathfinder book ever printed to define. Even just in describing the Law category.

I don't agree with this.

Every kid who grew up in the 70's or 80's knows what good and evil is. This isn't really that complex.

An innocent is an innocent. Any player should know what an innocent is. It shouldn't need to be explicitly explained. An innocent, especially in this context, is simply someone not responsible for the situation.

In the example of the person I quoted:

Quote:
A player decides to kill a cursed innocent to prevent the curse from spreading to the rest of the town.

So we are told this is an innocent - So full stop, we should assume the person is an innocent rather than sit here and debate if the person is innocent.

Anyway, we know the "innocent" you know, we will call them what they are, the victim. We know the victim is under a curse. We are told the victim is an innocent, so we can assume that the curse was not something he cast on himself, nor did he actually do anything intentional, to deserve said curse, as he was stated to be an innocent.

Examples of "Innocents" of this type in media:

The Beast and his servants - Disney's Beauty and the Beast (animated version) is arguably an innocent, he was disfigured for being rude to an old woman, the punishment was so far out of step with the crime it is unfathomable. Not only was he disfigured, but all of the servants, who did nothing at all, were hit by the curse as well. They are absolutely innocent as they had no bearing on the situation.

I mean... This is basic life stuff... We really shouldn't have to explain to adult players what is and isn't good and evil. I don't see how people can possibly struggle with this. They should have learned this as children.

When I was a kid every single television show I watched, like, everything that went on the air when I was a little kid, was all about teaching moral lessons when they weren't trying to sell us toys.

If you really, I mean really, aren't sure what good and evil are... Just go out and buy some 80's DVD's of popular children's cartoons or something... That is how basic some of this information is... This isn't generally hard.


Other examples of what an "Innocent who is cursed" looks like:

Aurora - Sleeping Beauty - A child who is cursed by an evil fairy for a slight made against her by the child's father. The child had nothing to do with what happened to her, she had no influence on the situation.

----

Random Mutant in Ultimate X-Men - A teenager who's mutation kills everyone who gets within a few miles of him. He did nothing, this simply happened. Wolverine is the only one who can survive getting close and has to kill him because Charles Xavier knows that the child is a walking WMD and his existence would hurt the cause of mutant-kind.

This is one of those situations where a Paladin couldn't do the deed and a non-Paladin had to.

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Sleeping Beauty - A person placed under a magical curse because she was more physically attractive than her aging step mother.

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Deken - Super Sentai - Is not an innocent. He sacrificed his humanity and memory to save the woman that he loved. He knew what he was doing and did it anyway. His curse is his own fault.

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Mummra - Thundercats - Ancient and immortal. This once young and vibrant mummy was cursed with eternal life, but not eternal youth, when he made a pact with the Ancient Spirits of Evil. He is not an innocent.

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Odette - The Swan Princess - Transformed into an animal because she refused someone else's advances. She was an innocent.

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I mean... Again, I am intentionally using children's shows here and comic books to prove a point... Morality isn't a complex issue that people are making it here in the context of a fantasy game. This is normal stuff.


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HWalsh wrote:

Every kid who grew up in the 70's or 80's knows what good and evil is. This isn't really that complex.

An innocent is an innocent.

Sure everyone KNOWS what they are. The thing is, each person's idea of what those are varies from person to person. People aren't monoliths of conformity, holding the exact same/identical understanding of a complicated and nebulous concept.

For instance, we often have trials where 12 people can't agree on guilt or innocence. Good and evil have been philosophical debating points for as long as rational thought has existed and there is still no consensus on that.

It just a plain fact that it's not as easy as you make it unless the entire setting is filled with cartoony alignment tropes with super exaggerated 'good' and 'evil' practically stamped on everything.


graystone wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

Every kid who grew up in the 70's or 80's knows what good and evil is. This isn't really that complex.

An innocent is an innocent.

Sure everyone KNOWS what they are. The thing is, each person's idea of what those are varies from person to person. People aren't monoliths of conformity, holding the exact same/identical understanding of a complicated and nebulous concept.

For instance, we often have trials where 12 people can't agree on guilt or innocence. Good and evil have been philosophical debating points for as long as rational thought has existed and there is still no consensus on that.

It just a plain fact that it's not as easy as you make it unless the entire setting is filled with cartoony alignment tropes with super exaggerated 'good' and 'evil' practically stamped on everything.

Graystone - Here is the thing:

In trials were 12 people can't agree on guilt or innocence it is because they don't have all of the facts, or how those facts are presented. The waters are intentionally muddied. The jury doesn't even decide if the person did it or not, the jury just decides on if there is a reasonable level of doubt if the person did it or not.

That isn't the same thing.

We don't debate good or evil in court. We debate if the evidence proves someone did something beyond a reasonable doubt. In court, specifically, it is the job of the defense to obscure things as much as possible and cast as much doubt as possible.

Then there is the fact that, factually, Pathfinder (Golarion) is filled with "cartoony alignment tropes" because it is a work of high fantasy with brave knights who are empowered by the forces of Good directly, Angels made of pure good, Demons made of pure evil, magic, the whole bit...

Golarion isn't Dragon Age Origins here or the World of Darkness. It isn't a grim dark mega shades of gray setting. It has never been presented as such.

Look at the APs, with rare exceptions they are pretty black and white. That is the general state of the universe that the game takes place in.


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Yeah. Morality is 100% objective in Pathfinder. I would say it's objective in real life too. Just because people have different ideas of what's right doesn't mean it's subjective. Just that some people are wrong.


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HWalsh wrote:

Graystone - Here is the thing:

In trials were 12 people can't agree on guilt or innocents it is because they don't have all of the facts, or how those facts are presented. The waters are intentionally muddied. The jury doesn't even decide if the person did it or not, the jury just decides on if there is a reasonable level of doubt if the person did it or not.

That isn't the same thing.

But it IS the same unless you intentionally play games that only have 'silver age' comic morality. Things JUST aren't good OR evil, innocent or not. You do NOT have to be "grim dark" to have a actual real breathing story that has shades of grey in it.

You can play in a game with only "cartoony alignment tropes" but that doesn't mean they are the only ones that exist in the setting or that the setting is limited to them. I mean does the setting NOT have room for a starving kid stealing to eat? Is he evil for trying to survive? Is he innocent? Is the paladin 'good' for turning the child over to lawful authorities? This DOESN'T seem out of place IMO and shatters the black and white simple morality you claim is the standard of the setting.


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CactusUnicorn wrote:
Yeah. Morality is 100% objective in Pathfinder. I would say it's objective in real life too. Just because people have different ideas of what's right doesn't mean it's subjective. Just that some people are wrong.

Sure... Now what if the DM is wrong? ;)


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If someone things that a kids show is a valid moral point of view to have, I don't think their opinion on morality can be taken seriously. Sure if you want to play saturday morning cartoons that is perfectly fine. But to suggest that it isn't simplified POV that doesn't hold up to any kind of scrutiny is just flat out delusional.


graystone wrote:
But it IS the same unless you intentionally play games that only have 'silver age' comic morality. Things JUST aren't good OR evil, innocent or not. You do NOT have to be "grim dark" to have a actual real breathing story that has shades of grey in it.

No, you don't, but that isn't the foundation for the genre. The "cartoony silver age comic morality" is. I mean... Okay... I'm going to use actual Paizo APs as the example for the intention of the game.

Just... Go look at APs. You don't see the kind of stories that you are claiming should be the baseline. Those stories *aren't* the baseline stories for Pathfinder.

I get that you want a more "mature" as the term goes game, but that isn't really Pathfinder... Or D&D...

Quote:
You can play in a game with only "cartoony alignment tropes" but that doesn't mean they are the only ones that exist in the setting or that the setting is limited to them.

No the setting isn't limited to them, no. They are the exception though rather than the rule. They tend to require house rules and such too, hence why they did release a whole book with the house rules if you wanted to play that way. They aren't the default for the setting.

Quote:
I mean does the setting NOT have room for a starving kid stealing to eat?

Okay, let us look at this.

Is stealing evil? The problem here is that this is just a generality. It is a trap.

If someone says, "Yes it is evil." then it is possible to say, "But he's only taking as much as he needs from rich food vendor carts, how is that evil?"

If someone says, "No it isn't." then it is possible to say, "But he's mugging people at knife point who are also starving."

So, we need to know what he is stealing, how he is stealing, and who he is stealing from.

Assuming it is the former, IE he is stealing say bread loaves and apples from a food cart... No. No it isn't evil. It isn't lawful (but may not be chaotic), but it isn't evil.

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Is he evil for trying to survive?

As long as he is not trying to survive by intentionally inflicting pain on others no. Stealing from other starving kids so that he can survive? Yes, probably evil. Stealing from, as mentioned above, a rich food vendor cart? Not evil. (Providing of course he's only stealing what he needs, and not robbing the guy of everything he has at knife point or something.)

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Is he innocent?

Is he innocent of? Like... Innocent isn't just a blanket statement. Innocence requires context. Is he innocent of stealing? Did he know that stealing was wrong?

Like, a 3 year old that steals a pack of gum is likely innocent, they don't really understand.

A teenager, who steals a loaf of bread, may have felt they had no choice, but they knew what they were doing when they did it. Which means they aren't innocent of theft.

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Is the paladin 'good' for turning the child over to lawful authorities?

The turning over the child to lawful authorities isn't good or evil. That would be lawful. Which is what you are describing here. You're confusing law and chaos with good and evil.

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This DOESN'T seem out of place IMO and shatters the black and white simple morality you claim is the standard of the setting.

Not really. I just explained it in the "simple morality" that is the default of the setting.

You didn't present a good or evil scenario.


Wultram wrote:

If someone things that a kids show is a valid moral point of view to have, I don't think their opinion on morality can be taken seriously. Sure if you want to play saturday morning cartoons that is perfectly fine. But to suggest that it isn't simplified POV that doesn't hold up to any kind of scrutiny is just flat out delusional.

You missed the point Wultram.

The point was that you're conflating real world morality with the morality that is the general rule for high fantasy adventure settings.

You're talking about a world that generally *does* follow those simplistic rules. Therefore it isn't illogical when talking about that world's fictional morality scale.

I'm not saying that those rules work in the real world. They don't work in the world of Dragon Age. They don't work in Game of Thrones. They don't work in the World of Darkness.

They do work in Pathfinder (Golarion) and this has been a thing for a long time. That is why they came up with an alternative system for morality in horror adventures because those games use a different kind of default morality.


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That argument fails to take into consideration that alignment wasn't invented in golarion. And I could care less what goes in that useless setting. If you start looking at DnD settings there is plenty grey instead of black and white. And lot more nuance than one would expect from a kids show.

Like I said if someone wants to play more simpleminded setting go ahead. The issues is forcing everyone else to steep down to the level of children. Not to mention that rules for morality are completely unnecessary to create a black and white setting.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
graystone wrote:
CactusUnicorn wrote:
Yeah. Morality is 100% objective in Pathfinder. I would say it's objective in real life too. Just because people have different ideas of what's right doesn't mean it's subjective. Just that some people are wrong.
Sure... Now what if the DM is wrong? ;)

The DM is ALWAYS RIGHT.

Which is why it is important that they share their view on alignments with the players before the PCs are even created. Just so there is no misunderstanding

And I think it is easier to do it starting with some description in the CRB of what alignments are (the clearer the better) rather than invent it all from scratch


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The Raven Black wrote:
The DM is ALWAYS RIGHT.

Oh they can be VERY wrong: I've walked away from games because they weren't right.

The Raven Black wrote:
Which is why it is important that they share their view on alignments with the players before the PCs are even created.

This is a near impossibility unless you have history with the DM/game and have a 'meeting of the minds' and can predict how the Dm and party will react.

The Raven Black wrote:
And I think it is easier to do it starting with some description in the CRB of what alignments are

For me, the CRB descriptions border on useless: they are vague enough that you can make legitimate cases for multiple alignments for a single action.

HWalsh wrote:
Just... Go look at APs.

I'd say go look at the lore: there are plenty of instances of 'grey' events. Secondly, pathfinder isn't limited to the AP's. You are perfectly capable of playing the setting without the adventures. That and there are adventures that aren't APs.


When you walk away from a game because the DM is wrong, you only prove that the DM was right.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Instead of getting rid of alignment, we need the alignment we deserve!

Batman


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Instead of getting rid of alignment, we need the alignment we deserve!

Batman

I'm Bat Man!!!!

oh most esteem lords and ladies of the Forum moderation's guild.

I do believe this thread has run its course and has become a paladin thing, or so it seems for the past page or 2


RE: cursed innocent A 9th level paladin can remove curse by touch and lay hands.


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Wultram wrote:

That argument fails to take into consideration that alignment wasn't invented in golarion. And I could care less what goes in that useless setting. If you start looking at DnD settings there is plenty grey instead of black and white. And lot more nuance than one would expect from a kids show.

Like I said if someone wants to play more simpleminded setting go ahead. The issues is forcing everyone else to steep down to the level of children. Not to mention that rules for morality are completely unnecessary to create a black and white setting.

Unfortunately for people who hate that "useless" setting pf2 is MORE golarion not less. So i could personally care less what people who don't use that setting feel regarding alignment.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Well, we are supposed to care for our fellow human beings, which do include players and posters of all stripes. Caring about people's feelings is important, especially here, and especially in contentious threads


Cant we all just get along?


CE Pan wrote:
Cant we all just get along?

I am, but at this point its pretty clear alignment is in, playing a larger role in the game with things like anathema helping to flesh out behaviors, and golarion IS the setting of PF2 with setting neutrality taking a back burner. Railing against that is old man yells at cloud, or slapfighting with the tides.


I couldn't care less about any opinion phrased to include "I could care less."


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Ryan Freire wrote:
CE Pan wrote:
Cant we all just get along?
I am, but at this point its pretty clear alignment is in, playing a larger role in the game with things like anathema helping to flesh out behaviors, and golarion IS the setting of PF2 with setting neutrality taking a back burner. Railing against that is old man yells at cloud, or slapfighting with the tides.

Sometimes, punching a wall is a stupid thing to do, but it just feels right.


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Tequila Sunrise wrote:
I couldn't care less about any opinion phrased to include "I could care less."

But its accurate, i cared enough to post about it showing that it was indeed possible to care less XD


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I'm not sure that using 70s/80s cartoons and/or Disney is the best way to model right and wrong, good and evil outside of strict black and white representation -- and even then it falls short.

Now, if a black and white world is what some tables want then go for it. However, there are some, if not many, that desire a little more gradients to alignment if and when they use it. They are hoping for something more complex than grade school level morality.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

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While there was the possibility for this topic to become contentions, I wanted to state that upon review I have not removed any of the content since the discussion was last reviewed. This is because, while some arguments sought to polarize the topic, I can see the effort in which posters have taken to broaden the conversation scope to allow for these different points of view.

It is often very easy to equate out-of-game morality with the concept of alignment in Pathfinder, and that is what can infuse passion into these discussions. It is hard for people with different definitions on the specifics of morality to come together and reach a combined understanding of one another's viewpoints. This is not to say that you ever have to adopt ideas which you are uncomfortable with, nor agree or validate, but I appreciate that we can all look at what could be a dichotomizing argument, and recognize that forcing a "my way versus yours" argument is never productive. While the use of grey areas in alignment may be contested here, I appreciate the openness to allow for these grey areas in forum discussion, as a discussion should not have two distinct and opposite goals, but a myriad of experiences which can culminate in this social community setting.

With that in mind, if you feel a conversation has run its course and has no more to offer, feel free to abandon the conversation. Refrain from direct attempts to dichotomize the argument and force ultimatums in discussion. These stunt topics and cause a harmful oversimplification where people should be allowed to have more complex opinions.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

With the above note, then...

What is the definition of Innocent?

Everyone is going to have a *different answer* and that is going to be the end of no small discussion, discussion that a goodly chunk of folks aren't going to want to have in their *game*.

It doesn't have to be morality plays all the time, nor ethical debates, but it does need to be a playable environment where it doesn't boil down to what Sam said above.

Someone who grew up in a violent home environment is going to have a decidedly different opinion on what'Innocent' is compared to someone who grew up in a placid one, just like someone who grew up in a rough portion of an urban area is going to have a far different view than someone who grew up in a rural community.

How can a loaded word like it exist in an open gaming community?

Is it fair to penalize one viewpoint over another because their views are different?

Batman is sounding more and more like the Alignment we need.


Can we take that a step further and ask why people have a different answer to what innocent is? Is their an absolute correct answer I'd like to think so even if it isn't apparent and obvious.

I would like to think some peoples definition of right and wrong are in fact Wrong and its not perspective but absolute. not everyone can be right and someone out their must have a definition of morality so F-ed up that their is no way it can be right.

does that mean that someone out their has it right as well? (statistically you would think so.)

maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea for one to explain their own definition of morality before engaging in a morale debate. It would definitely aid the process if people were on the same page.


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Looks like alignment is still, if not more so, tied to the game than PF1, as Evil seems to be a tag for spells and damage.


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Sam Phelan wrote:

While there was the possibility for this topic to become contentions, I wanted to state that upon review I have not removed any of the content since the discussion was last reviewed. This is because, while some arguments sought to polarize the topic, I can see the effort in which posters have taken to broaden the conversation scope to allow for these different points of view.

It is often very easy to equate out-of-game morality with the concept of alignment in Pathfinder, and that is what can infuse passion into these discussions. It is hard for people with different definitions on the specifics of morality to come together and reach a combined understanding of one another's viewpoints. This is not to say that you ever have to adopt ideas which you are uncomfortable with, nor agree or validate, but I appreciate that we can all look at what could be a dichotomizing argument, and recognize that forcing a "my way versus yours" argument is never productive. While the use of grey areas in alignment may be contested here, I appreciate the openness to allow for these grey areas in forum discussion, as a discussion should not have two distinct and opposite goals, but a myriad of experiences which can culminate in this social community setting.

With that in mind, if you feel a conversation has run its course and has no more to offer, feel free to abandon the conversation. Refrain from direct attempts to dichotomize the argument and force ultimatums in discussion. These stunt topics and cause a harmful oversimplification where people should be allowed to have more complex opinions.

And again, I'm having a hard time seeing this viewpoint being something the folks at Paizo can express while at the same time shutting down perfectly valid character concepts such that those players are left to their own devices, having to bribe, beg, or twist arms in order to not be unfairly excluded. Though maybe it's a matter of interdepartmental miscommunication.

"It is hard for people with different definitions on the specifics of morality to come together and reach a combined understanding of one another's viewpoints." That, that right there, is why alignment (for characters) needs to go, so their ability to come together and reach such a combined understanding doesn't have such an obstacle constantly imposed on them. As an option that can be put back in (such that any tripping over their different definitions on the specifics of morality is entirely the players' doing)? Sure. But players should be able to sit down for this without such a knockdown, dragout philosophical war being a requirement.


There is definitely a problem with folks being able to relate these days. It seems like folks would rather avoid, ostracize, and make a villain out of someone of opposing view, than understand and compromise with them. knockdown dragout philosophical discussion makes the game worth playing. IMO, of course.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Innocent in my game is someone who has not willfully done an Evil act.

You can even have innocent Evil people with my definition. Which nicely explains why pinging Evil does not make you automatically guilty

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