Chaotic Good Is The Most Popular Alignment! - Page 30
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  1. #291
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    I actually thought that was a typo until I read the rest of the post.
    I'll give you this much. When I try to explain this sort of thing, I run short of English vocabulary. "Selflessness" has several different definitions, one of which contains only emphasis on a lack of self concern, and one of which contrasts the lack of self concern with a deep concern for others. Selflessness as characterized by deep concern for the well-being of others I don't disagree is good, and in fact if you closely read my post you'll find I say so (in apparent contradiction) at one point. However, be clear that by "selflessness" I mean exactly what I said in the post - utter disregard for the value of self. The selflessness that I'm holding up as bad is not the one that for example causes a police officer to trade his life for something of equal or greater value - the lives of the people he's sworn to protect, for example. Recognizing the value of others equals ones self value is fully laudable even to a Chaotic Good philosophy, and indeed is central to it. The selflessness that I'm talking about is when someone sells their life for something of little or no value or is made to believe by themselves or others that they lack value, an impulse seen for example in self-destructive lifestyles.

    Needless to say, I disagree with this. As does pretty much every single moral code in human history.
    Well, feel free to disagree with me all you want, but your assertion that every single moral code in human history disagrees with me is both erroneous and short-sighted.

    Erroneous, because I'm pretty sure what I've stated is congruent with mainstream Judeo-Christian ethics, which is one of the more (most?) influential moral codes in human history. For example, the fact that the self has value and should be valued is why self-destructive acts can be considered to be wrong in its framework, and as I pointed out why the Golden Rule works. This is something not all moral philosophies agree with. Some more "lawful" minded moral philosophies reject the Golden Rule precisely on the grounds of its self-centeredness, proof if any more were needed that it leans Chaotic. I could get into a very detailed discussion here and start quoting scripture, but when I start doing things like that it makes people uncomfortable. Suffice to say, under one of the more dominate moral codes in human history seeing great value in even the least valued others is good", but seeing no value in the self and so selling the self cheaply is bad.

    Short-sighted, in that other even more "chaotic" philosophies go the other way and assert the complete sovereignty of the self, and so reject both selflessness and additionally that self-destructiveness (so called "victimless crimes") can be condemned by anyone else. For example, selflessness is the great evil of Objectivism, which while it's not a moral philosophy I subscribe to, is nonetheless definitely a code of normative ethics and one that a great deal of people claim to subscribe to. In the description I've outlined, Objectivism is unsurprisingly Chaotic Neutral (pure self-interest, but not at the expense of others freedom), and unsurprisingly sees calls for "the greater good" and collectivism as being the basis of all wrong in the world.

  2. #292
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oofta View Post
    You've been given examples, you just ignore them or disagree. I think even Jayne from Firefly was reliable ... to those that he valued and considered friends such as Mal.

    As far as other examples, I can't point out any (i.e. Han Solo) because you'll just say he wasn't CN. Unlike my own personal characters, some of whom were CN and reliable to those he knew, we don't know the alignment of fictional characters.
    River was also CN. Jayne was unreliable, even to Mal, which is why Mal was so upset with him all the time.

  3. #293
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxperson View Post
    River was also CN. Jayne was unreliable, even to Mal, which is why Mal was so upset with him all the time.
    I'll just have to plead "I don't remember every detail of a TV show I last watched over a decade ago."
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  4. #294
    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Or its a case of a character shifting alignment. would not be the first time in Wheedonverse shows. We won't ever know because the show got cancelled.
    Character growth arcs often involve shifting priorities. Insofar as D&D has a personality stat, this could well be indicated by an alignment shift.



    Umm, yes it does? Caring about people is the definition of good? If you actually care about people, that makes you good. Now, caring about this group of people once probably doesn't make you good, but, it makes you a bit leaning in that direction. Repeatedly caring about other people does show a pretty strong leaning towards good.
    Sure, and one interpretation someone else suggested was essentially a notion of how large the circle of caring was.


    And, @Celebrim, LG being the most good has always been the standard in D&D. I'm surprised you'd argue otherwise. There's a reason paladins were restricted to LG, once upon a time. And, every archetype for LG is among the most good of characters - Superman, King Arthur, Gawain, that sort of thing. Chaotic is selfish it its heart. It's all about the self. You can't be as good as the selfless (Lawful) by definition.
    I agree that's how things were implied, but D&D has been inconsistent about this. Of course, it's a game, not a treatise on moral philosophy and D&D has always been a pastiche of many different influences.

    Part of it is because alignment didn't originally even have Good and Evil, just Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic, with an implication that these also were Good, Neutral, and Evil, respectively, though it's not explicitly spelled out. These were lifted from Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson as well as Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion (who got them from Anderson) and indeed the paladin class really is a direct lift from the protagonist ofTHaTL's abilities. From what I understand (I am not a Medieval historian) the notions of Order vs. Chaos are pretty strongly represented in Medieval thought.

    I don't know the exact history of the Hollywood Squares grid alignment but it was there in AD&D but Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic was around in BECMI until the end of the line. Lots of things got assigned alignments pretty much on the "oh, crap, we need to put something in to make the deadline... let's just get it done!" line.

    I do like the different paladin takes that appeared in 3.5's Unearthed Arcana, where they had paladins for the other three extreme alignments (paladin of freedom for CG, paladin of tyranny for LE, paladin of slaughter for CE), representing divinely inspired warriors of different types. I played a Paladin of Freedom for a bit in a late 3.5 game. This character was constantly bucking the dictums of the temple, feeling it was more focused on the organization than on actually helping people. 5E kept this to some degree with the different Oaths, which are loosely related to particular alignments, though not exactly so.

  5. #295
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    But, hey, what do I know. Apparently selflessness is evil, chaotics can act 100% reliable all the time and this makes sense to some people.
    For the record, while I don't really care about the topic, I do agree with you that CN characters are not reliable.

    Although, I think the actual argument you are in is over what is meant by "reliable". I concur with some of the other posters in the discussion that Chaotic characters can form friendships and have commitments and emotional bonds to other people, and that these feelings will make them somewhat trustworthy with respect to those people. I'm just not sure that this makes them "'reliable" in the usual sense of the word. It more means that you can be assured that some CN values you enough, that they would not sell you out cheaply. For example, Malcolm can rely on Jayne to the extent that as their relationship progresses, he knows Jayne will value it more and more highly because Jayne recognizes the benefit of the relationship and the value of Malcolm as a person. I don't think Malcolm ever believes that there is some point at which Jayne would never sell him out.

  6. #296
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    Both of you are overlooking the one overriding difference between a fantasy world and our own: THE GODS ARE REAL.

    And make their realness known in several ways, from the granting or withholding of spells to various forms of direct communication up to and including direct communication through actual appearances. In short, an external definition of what meets a given ethos has been established, and will be enforced.

    Most GMs and fantasy novelists overlook this factor, but it's going to influence how people in that world will react.

    Edit: One example of a novelist who doesn't overlook this is David Weber in his Bazell Banahkson series. I highly recommend it.
    Last edited by SDN; Monday, 24th June, 2019 at 04:01 PM. Reason: additional example
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  7. #297
    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    And basically my argument is that Gygax's ideas of what constituted Goodness were biased in a complex way by his own personal upbringing. This can be seen by the fact that at the same time Gygax was capable of both advancing the idea that Lawful Good was the most good or goodness++, and also presenting ostensibly Lawful Good figures in a derogatory and even villainous manner. This is reflective in my opinion of Gygax's own personal moral struggles.
    Or, you know, him not actually thinking that the various things he wrote for the PHB and DMG were, you know, equivalent in intellectual depth to, say, A Theory of Justice... which is to say, E. Gary Gygax != John Rawls. Whatever his own personal flaws, Gygax wasn't pretending to present anything besides useful fictional source material.

  8. #298
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    It's a game, not moral philosophy

    I'm all for philosophy, I have a degree in it. But this is a game. The alignment mechanics is a simplified system to provide some parameters or restrictions to a character. You can't one day risk your life with no reward to save the village, and the next torture someone cause it "might be fun." That's it. There's no great moral code nor philosophy behind it. In many ways it is silly. Only in comic books - and the older ones at that - do you find this type of one-dimensional categorization. Even the terms are poorly chosen. The common definition for the term "chaotic" doesn't mean what it is meant to mean in RPG's. Perhaps using this simplistic system designed for a game is asking far more than it was ever intended to provide. It's a game. Fun, but not the basis for a master's thesis on morality. Maybe the better, as in more productive, discussion would be on whether or not we should continue to use this system. Or at the least, redefine and rebuild it.
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  9. #299
    Quote Originally Posted by SDN View Post
    Both of you are overlooking the one overriding difference between a fantasy world and our own: THE GODS ARE REAL.

    And make their realness known in several ways, from the granting or withholding of spells to various forms of direct communication up to and including direct communication through actual appearances. In short, an external definition of what meets a given ethos has been established, and will be enforced.
    Yeah I mentioned somewhere upthread the fact that RL morality and ethics descriptions and so on have pretty limited degree of applicability. The goal of fantasy ethics and morality is to make for interesting and thought-provoking fiction and allow us to explore things that don't exist IRL. One could, for instance, view Tolkien's elves as an exploration of comparative theology---evidently he did to no small degree.


    Most GMs and fantasy novelists overlook this factor, but it's going to influence how people in that world will react.

    Edit: One example of a novelist who doesn't overlook this is David Weber in his Bazell Banahkson series. I highly recommend it.
    There are examples of fantasy fiction that doesn't, but ones that are much more focused on personal scale things won't tend to. There are examples, though, all throughout fantasy fiction of characters who have some kind of stronger relationship with a divine being having to deal with that relationship in some fashion or another. A good example is Janet Morris' Tempus from Thieves' World. Tempus has a personal relationship with a war god, Vashanka, that causes him a great deal of grief. Tempus is, of course, essentially an avatar. Another is Yardiff Bey from Brian Daley's Coramonde duology. He sold his soul to a devil for arcane power and needs to deal with the consequences. However, one thing I do think that this kind of relationship might be a tough one for a protagonist character, and indeed, Yardiff Bey, while a POV character at times, is the story's main antagonist. Daley actually explores this issue a good bit when one of the other characters describes the difference between wizardry and sorcery (terms defined in the novel, not connected to D&D usage) and how it relates to the ethical choices a practitioner of the arcane arts makes. Harry Turtledove put quite a bit of this into the Videssos series, with the protagonist of the first four novels (The Misplaced Legion, etc.), Marcus, being extremely skeptical but coming to understand the role the divine played in life over time and eventually accepting the faith of Phos. I don't really know more modern fantasy because I've largely stopped reading it, so pardon that my examples are rather old.
    Last edited by Jay Verkuilen; Monday, 24th June, 2019 at 04:49 PM.

  10. #300
    Quote Originally Posted by RobertBrus View Post
    I'm all for philosophy, I have a degree in it. But this is a game. The alignment mechanics is a simplified system to provide some parameters or restrictions to a character. <...> That's it. There's no great moral code nor philosophy behind it. In many ways it is silly.
    Totally agree that it's really no more than a sometimes useful two-word phrase descriptor of a PC and that we shouldn't treat it with the same seriousness as genuine RL moral inquiry.

    You can't one day risk your life with no reward to save the village, and the next torture someone cause it "might be fun."
    I think you could, but that kind of character might be a good candidate for Chaotic Neutral.

    Only in comic books - and the older ones at that - do you find this type of one-dimensional categorization. Even the terms are poorly chosen. The common definition for the term "chaotic" doesn't mean what it is meant to mean in RPG's. Perhaps using this simplistic system designed for a game is asking far more than it was ever intended to provide. It's a game. Fun, but not the basis for a master's thesis on morality. Maybe the better, as in more productive, discussion would be on whether or not we should continue to use this system. Or at the least, redefine and rebuild it.
    Given that it has two descriptors, I would call it two dimensional, right? (You may have meant by one dimensional that it wasn't very deep. I agree with that.) From what I understand, many authors and screenwriters find assigning alignments useful as a starting point for their characters, so the D&D alignment system has seen some use outside of D&D. However, I think it's important to recall it's a starting point, not a finishing point.

    I've played with various rebuilds of it. A friend of mine used a three score system: Integrity, Mercy, and Courage. Characters had values assigned to them and (on an optional basis for the player) one could check against that score. I often found that helpful to make decisions when I felt genuinely torn about what action I'd take, essentially using the dice as a way to help guide improvisation. For example, a character with high Integrity and Courage but low Mercy would likely be OK with treating prisoners harshly as long as it wasn't against a personal code but would be highly unlikely to run in the face of opposition. Of course, if a Courage check was failed, this might be a good opportunity for some uncharacteristic behavior to emerge. White Wolf's Exalted had four numbers: Compassion, Conviction, Temperance, and Valor and one often needed to make checks against these stats.
    Last edited by Jay Verkuilen; Monday, 24th June, 2019 at 04:46 PM.

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