D&D 5E A Villain For Every Alignment

Reynard

Legend
I have an issue seeing a "good" person killing hundreds of thousands for an end; premeditatedly of course. I view, the needs of the many outweigh the few, as strictly LN territory. Good is much more trickier than anything else in a antagonist. Though, the philosophical discussions are the real treat of alignment, for me anyway.
Real people in the real world make decisions that lead to thousands of deaths in order to save even more lives. It is called war, and the people involved usually consider themselves good.

This of course leads to the question of whether we are talking about an objective truth, or if we are asking what a person who thinks of themselves as LG might do.
 

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payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Real people in the real world make decisions that lead to thousands of deaths in order to save even more lives. It is called war, and the people involved usually consider themselves good.

This of course leads to the question of whether we are talking about an objective truth, or if we are asking what a person who thinks of themselves as LG might do.
War is different than what Ozymandias did though. The worst evils are often committed in the name of good and preventing war.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Very nice.

I have an issue seeing a "good" person killing hundreds of thousands for an end; premeditatedly of course.

Have you ever read Max Brooks' book, World War Z?

WWZ is a zombie apocalypse book. In it, a plan is created to save civilization. In the US, it is enacted by pulling as many people as possible back to a defensible position west of the Rocky Mountains, and leaving everyone else to the zombies. It is enacted similarly worldwide

It is absolutely the only way they had to win. It is very clearly presented as the best possible choice. It still meant the death of many millions (billions, worldwide). And while it is a major issue of conscience for the creators of the plan, it is hard to call it anything but good, ultimately.
 

Reynard

Legend
War is different than what Ozymandias did though. The worst evils are often committed in the name of good and preventing war.
There was a very real possibility that an accidental nuclear strike during the cold war would require a reciprocal strike -- a sacrifice by the nation responsible for the accident -- in order to avert billions of deaths. Where would we put that on an alignment chart?
 

MarkB

Legend
I have an issue seeing a "good" person killing hundreds of thousands for an end; premeditatedly of course. I view, the needs of the many outweigh the few, as strictly LN territory. Good is much more trickier than anything else in a antagonist. Though, the philosophical discussions are the real treat of alignment, for me anyway.
Which is why it's tough to have a truly good villain. But that's the premise of the thread, so we try to get as close as possible.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
War is different than what Ozymandias did though.

Moore is a highly cynical writer. Remember that Ozymandias doesn't act just because he thinks what he'll have is better. He is sure (and is the smartest man around, so he may be right) that the nations of the world will destroy each other if humankind is not given a common enemy.

And it is also important to remember that, in the original comic - Ozymandias is RIGHT. His plan works, and brings about a new era of peace for billions.
 
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payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Have you ever read Max Brooks' book, World War Z?

WWZ is a zombie apocalypse book. In it, a plan is created to save civilization. In the US, it is enacted by pulling as many people as possible back to a defensible position west of the Rocky Mountains, and leaving everyone else to the zombies. It is enacted similarly worldwide

It is absolutely the only way they had to win. It is very clearly presented as the best possible choice. It still meant the death of many millions (billions, worldwide). And while it is a major issue of conscience for the creators of the plan, it is hard to call it anything but good, ultimately.
Well, of course, there is the ultimate result of an action, and then the person who enacted it. I don't believe in consequentialism or ends justify the means. An evil person can carry out plans that lead to good outcomes. That doesn't ultimately excuse their evil, or make them a good person.

What is really interesting is the WWZ scenario where this awful action is the only action to save humanity. This is the type of back to wall decision making that pushes a good person into an evil decision. That was forced upon them though, Ozymandias manufactured his plan to avoid anyone having to be in that position. I see them differently, although I see the similarities in existential threat.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Which is why it's tough to have a truly good villain. But that's the premise of the thread, so we try to get as close as possible.
I dont think you have to settle for examples because of the difficulty.
 

Reynard

Legend
We might be better off getting back to the subject rather than spiraling down the alignment rabbit hole yet again.

A CG Villain: An otherwise inconsequential clerk in the vast bureaucracy of a city or nation or temple, who makes edits to things like arrest warrants and tax bills and such in order to help the innocent and punish the bad. But because this is a just a person acting unilaterally, it is inevitable that someone undeserving is going to be hurt by these micro-rebellions, and since it is D&D, it is likely to be the PCs or someone they care about.
 

MarkB

Legend
Well, of course, there is the ultimate result of an action, and then the person who enacted it. I don't believe in consequentialism or ends justify the means. An evil person can carry out plans that lead to good outcomes. That doesn't ultimately excuse their evil, or make them a good person.

What is really interesting is the WWZ scenario where this awful action is the only action to save humanity. This is the type of back to wall decision making that pushes a good person into an evil decision. That was forced upon them though, Ozymandias manufactured his plan to avoid anyone having to be in that position. I see them differently, although I see the similarities in existential threat.
Yeah, things like this are just the trolley problem writ large. If you intervene, people will die at your hand. But if you don't, more people will die as a result.

The fundamental flaw, of course, being that the thought experiment requires perfect information. You don't know for sure the outcome of either option until it happens. Which is why such villains only work if they (think they) know all the variables, and why in less cynical works their villainy becomes clear once someone tips the scales.
 

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