Chaotic Good Is The Most Popular Alignment! - Page 26
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  1. #251
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxperson View Post
    I know you want to avoid a real world discussion, and this is not to start one, but... All the time we hear stories of a pastor or other upstanding citizen who gets arrested for something like this. And many times those interviewed talk about how kind and upstanding the person was, and how he was constantly doing good deeds. The good person with a dark secret is a pretty common happening.
    Yeah, but people are not only really bad at evaluating their own alignment; they are really bad at evaluating the alignment of their friends and neighbors as well. Most people will identify as good people whom they like, and who are friendly. But a person who is amazingly friendly and cheerful and who makes you feel good and who is nice to you doesn't have to be good.

    Fundamentally, your alignment is revealed by what you do in secret when you have to make a choice about what you believe and making the choice like what you say you believe is costly. Alignment is something that is only revealed by the testing. A person who is comfortable and reasonably wealthy does not reveal their alignment by being generous. A person who has nothing to lose doesn't reveal their alignment by telling the truth. A person who is poor doesn't reveal their virtue through their austerity. Most people will never know whether or not they are a thief until they don't have anything. Alignment isn't how you treat upstanding members of the community who can reward you with status, respect, and financial remuneration. Alignment isn't what you say you believe or what you do that gets you rewarded, it's what you do when you think you can get away with it. So the fact the neighbors respected the guy and thought he was a good person tells us nothing about his alignment. And real evil doesn't look like snarling villains. It looks like the person in the mirror. Above all, people assume goodness of people who are like themselves. It's the old monkey hind brain talking.

    There is a line in Lord of the Rings, where Aragorn who looks like homeless ruffian is trying to win the trust of Frodo - an aristocratic hobbit. Frodo's servant is telling him that it's beneath him to have anything to do with a person like Aragorn, and Frodo has a gift of discernment and says that Aragorn "Seems foul, but feels fair" but a servant of the enemy would go out of his way to look fair, but would feel foul. Most people are not as wise as Frodo, and what seems fair feels fair to them.

    Many good and wise stories teach this lesson - practically the complete works of Jane Austin, and of course The Good Samaritan come to mind.

    I agree that the flaws typically won't be as severe as the one I described in this thread. I went with the more severe one to illustrate the point and because it was a realistic one, having heard similar stories many times in my life.
    What I'm trying to get at is that the superficial aspects of a person like his charisma and his personality are not a person's alignment. Without knowing the person I couldn't say what they were really like, but there is a saying that you only see a real man when he's behind closed doors. And there is the old saying that if you want to do a good deed, make sure to do it in secret. Good deeds done before others don't cultivate a good heart.
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  2. #252
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlivetWidget View Post
    I feel like some of us have taken a suggested definition of Lawful and are arguing really hard for or against it as if it's the given definition. From PHB122, while they do say the first attribute refers to:



    Let us approach this with 5e eyes and take specific over general. The general description mentions both society and order, but for the specific description, let us consider the Lawful Neutral writeup (being Neutral on the morality side means we should just get a definition of Lawful):



    "Or" means only one of law, tradition, or personal codes has to be true to be Lawful. I agree the general description muddies the waters, but the specific definition seems pretty clear and it doesn't have to be tied to society.
    I also, uh... Dont really like what little 5e has to say about alignment. Its vague enough that you can argue pretty much any character you want is whatever alignment you want them to be, and it has basically no effect on the game anyway, so it might as well not be there.

  3. #253
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    Chaotic Good wins, because players can't be anything else, it's too hard, and your DM won't let you be evil.
    Last edited by Gryphon04; Saturday, 22nd June, 2019 at 07:11 AM.
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  4. #254
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    Fundamentally, your alignment is revealed by what you do in secret when you have to make a choice about what you believe and making the choice like what you say you believe is costly. Alignment is something that is only revealed by the testing. A person who is comfortable and reasonably wealthy does not reveal their alignment by being generous. A person who has nothing to lose doesn't reveal their alignment by telling the truth. A person who is poor doesn't reveal their virtue through their austerity. Most people will never know whether or not they are a thief until they don't have anything. Alignment isn't how you treat upstanding members of the community who can reward you with status, respect, and financial remuneration. Alignment isn't what you say you believe or what you do that gets you rewarded, it's what you do when you think you can get away with it. So the fact the neighbors respected the guy and thought he was a good person tells us nothing about his alignment. And real evil doesn't look like snarling villains. It looks like the person in the mirror. Above all, people assume goodness of people who are like themselves. It's the old monkey hind brain talking.
    Agreed. Or, to take an example from The Good Place:
    Spoiler:
    In life, Tahani was a world-famous philantropist, raising billions and billions of dollars for charity. Objectively, the world was a better place because of her. But the main reasons she did that was to impress her parents and to outshine her sister - not because of a sincere desire to help. And that is why she went to the Bad Place after death.
    Last edited by Staffan; Saturday, 22nd June, 2019 at 10:34 AM.

  5. #255
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    Quote Originally Posted by Staffan View Post
    Agreed. Or, to take an example from The Good Place:
    Spoiler:
    In life, Tahani was a world-famous philantropist, raising billions and billions of dollars for charity. Objectively, the world was a better place because of her. But the main reasons she did that was to impress her parents and to outshine her sister - not because of a sincere desire to help. And that is why she went to the Bad Place after death.
    Well, in all fairness
    Spoiler:
    Everyone is going to the bad place and has been for a while now

  6. #256
    Quote Originally Posted by Charlaquin View Post
    I also, uh... Dont really like what little 5e has to say about alignment. Its vague enough that you can argue pretty much any character you want is whatever alignment you want them to be, and it has basically no effect on the game anyway, so it might as well not be there.
    Agreed, it's exceptionally brief, much like the almost total lack of description of skills. On one hand this gives the DM freedom but on the other hand it provides essentially nothing to work with. The only parts of the game that got solid attention (in the PHB especially) were the classes, combat, and spells.

  7. #257
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    Fundamentally, your alignment is revealed by what you do in secret when you have to make a choice about what you believe and making the choice like what you say you believe is costly. Alignment is something that is only revealed by the testing. A person who is comfortable and reasonably wealthy does not reveal their alignment by being generous. A person who has nothing to lose doesn't reveal their alignment by telling the truth. A person who is poor doesn't reveal their virtue through their austerity. Most people will never know whether or not they are a thief until they don't have anything. Alignment isn't how you treat upstanding members of the community who can reward you with status, respect, and financial remuneration. Alignment isn't what you say you believe or what you do that gets you rewarded, it's what you do when you think you can get away with it. So the fact the neighbors respected the guy and thought he was a good person tells us nothing about his alignment. And real evil doesn't look like snarling villains. It looks like the person in the mirror. Above all, people assume goodness of people who are like themselves. It's the old monkey hind brain talking.
    Well, if you want to get down to it, everything everyone does is motivated by selfishness. Good deeds make the person doing the feel good about themselves. You work so you can survive. You eat to live and avoid hunger pains. Loving others makes you feel happy. People will even gives up their lives, because it makes them feel good about themselves to sacrifice for others. It's all about self.

    Now, I also don't really agree with the blanket assessment that alignment is revealed by the secret self or through testing. Many people genuinely enjoy helping others and doing good deeds, so who they are in public is also who they are in private and when tested. What they do in private or under duress(testing) can confirm it, but it was revealed prior to that.

    There is a line in Lord of the Rings, where Aragorn who looks like homeless ruffian is trying to win the trust of Frodo - an aristocratic hobbit. Frodo's servant is telling him that it's beneath him to have anything to do with a person like Aragorn, and Frodo has a gift of discernment and says that Aragorn "Seems foul, but feels fair" but a servant of the enemy would go out of his way to look fair, but would feel foul. Most people are not as wise as Frodo, and what seems fair feels fair to them.
    Some of us can read people fairly easily. We're essentially human Frodos.

    What I'm trying to get at is that the superficial aspects of a person like his charisma and his personality are not a person's alignment. Without knowing the person I couldn't say what they were really like, but there is a saying that you only see a real man when he's behind closed doors. And there is the old saying that if you want to do a good deed, make sure to do it in secret. Good deeds done before others don't cultivate a good heart.
    None of them really do. All good deeds, public and private, are motivated by selfishness.

  8. #258
    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    Yeah, but people are not only really bad at evaluating their own alignment; they are really bad at evaluating the alignment of their friends and neighbors as well. Most people will identify as good people whom they like, and who are friendly. But a person who is amazingly friendly and cheerful and who makes you feel good and who is nice to you doesn't have to be good. <...> There is a line in Lord of the Rings, where Aragorn who looks like homeless ruffian is trying to win the trust of Frodo - an aristocratic hobbit. Frodo's servant is telling him that it's beneath him to have anything to do with a person like Aragorn, and Frodo has a gift of discernment and says that Aragorn "Seems foul, but feels fair" but a servant of the enemy would go out of his way to look fair, but would feel foul. Most people are not as wise as Frodo, and what seems fair feels fair to them.
    Real life is filled with examples like that and I've used the Frodo meeting Aragorn story more than once to illustrate the difference of "seems fairer but feels fouler".


    Alignment isn't what you say you believe or what you do that gets you rewarded, it's what you do when you think you can get away with it. So the fact the neighbors respected the guy and thought he was a good person tells us nothing about his alignment. And real evil doesn't look like snarling villains. It looks like the person in the mirror. Above all, people assume goodness of people who are like themselves. It's the old monkey hind brain talking.
    This is all very useful IRL, but one huge difference between RL and fantasy is that, at least in many (but not all) fantasy games, there are supernatural forces of Good, Evil, Law, Chaos, etc., and, indeed, many characters are servants of these very powers.

    Even in a setting where there isn't a supernatural evil is often signaled by some kind of serious violation of personal integrity and total submission. So, for instance, in Mass Effect: Andromeda (unfairly maligned IMO), the main adversary, the Kett, have goals that involve essentially a forced union of all other species with them, with the corresponding complete loss of identity. I think in D&D terms they're a good example of Lawful Evil. There's another adversary group, the Roekaar, that starts out as misguided whose methods go too far. Their primary motivation is fear of loss of identity after contacting aliens. However, things really get out of hand and they start going down the well-worn path that revolutionaries and resistance groups often have of fighting a dirty war. It's hard to say what their alignment is, exactly, but they're pushing towards Lawful Evil. Finally, the last set of adversaries, the various outcasts and pirates, are mostly motivated by selfishness and/or outright homicidal crazy. Many of them seem to qualify as Neutral or Chaotic Evil.

    Where one can play with these ideas in a D&D context often lets Good metamorphose into Evil. For instance, a Lawful Good society can have the leader go bonkers, much as the Kingpriest of Istar did in Dragonlance. Indeed, Sauron's motivation to turn to serve Melkor in Tolkien's Legendarium comes primarily from an excessive love of order and keen results that Melkor seemed to accomplish.

  9. #259
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxperson View Post
    None of them really do. All good deeds, public and private, are motivated by selfishness.
    IF, and this is a big "IF" you subscribe to that philosophy. It's biggest flaw is that it's a philosophy of projection, developed by capitalist thinkers, who from other philosophical standpoints appear to be simply trying to justify the core element of capitalism "greed is good".

    I'm not going to engage in a deep ethics debate on real world philosophical systems. I'm just going to point out that like most philosophies it's as true as you believe it to be.

    I much prefer to continue to talk about fantasy philosophical systems and fantasy morality.
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  10. #260
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    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal Sun View Post
    IF, and this is a big "IF" you subscribe to that philosophy. It's biggest flaw is that it's a philosophy of projection, developed by capitalist thinkers, who from other philosophical standpoints appear to be simply trying to justify the core element of capitalism "greed is good".

    I'm not going to engage in a deep ethics debate on real world philosophical systems. I'm just going to point out that like most philosophies it's as true as you believe it to be.

    I much prefer to continue to talk about fantasy philosophical systems and fantasy morality.
    Name one thing that at the root, isn't motivated by what the doer wants or how it makes the doer feel. This isn't some nebulous philosophical question.

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