D&D 5E A Villain For Every Alignment

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
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.
Where does the antagonist part come in? The CG rebel continues to hide their involvement?
 

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Reynard

Legend
Where does the antagonist part come in? The CG rebel continues to hide their involvement?
The PCs end up on the wrong side of the paperwork rebel. Those adventurer types are always throwing money around the brothels and gambling halls. Maybe it would be better if they got a special visit from the tax collector.
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
i'm just putting core driving mentalities here of what i think could make a 'villian' of said alignment

LG: desires to make sure people are safe and provided for but is stifiling people's freedoms and liberties to ensure they are healthy and protected, lost the distinction between 'living' and merely 'being alive'

NG: trying to solve all the problems for everyone, refuses to consider the posibility that they cannot solve them so long as they just have more power, tampering with forces beyond their control in order to 'fix' things

CG: thinks things could be better than they are, but would gamble it all or tear everything down for a slim possibility of a better outcome, doesn't consider the outcome where they loose

LN: a place for everything and everything in it's place, doesn't consider people as individuals and not just cogs for the machine.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Dr Doom is a Lawful Good villain, as the hero of Latveria he overthrew the former Kleptocracy and used his own wealth tp provide economic development, universal free health, education and housing for its citizens. He appointed himself ruler and will allow no dissension. He installed his own doombots and drones to maintain public order and requires strict obedience and service for the ‘common good’. The people of Latveria love him as the benevolent Master of his nation. Of course he also believes that he is the best person to rule the World and those who oppose his will are misguided fools who need to be taught their folly (especially that fool Reed)
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
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 think it’s easier to have a “good” villain. Evil is selfish. That’s not hard at all and generally is limited to gaining for themselves. Good however is focused on the community. That’s really easy to turn into villain territory. The do-gooder who thinks they know better than everyone else how they should live their lives. Gary Gygax’s idea of a LG paladin, slaughtering innocents lest they grow up to be monsters. The parental tyrant doing what they think is right for the “childish” people. The guards enforcing unjust laws. It doesn’t take much looking to find exactly that kind of “good-hearted” villain in the real world. I’d almost say history is replete with them.
 
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Reynard

Legend
Dr Doom is a Lawful Good villain, as the hero of Latveria he overthrew the former Kleptocracy and used his own wealth tp provide economic development, universal free health, education and housing for its citizens. He appointed himself ruler and will allow no dissension. He installed his own doombots and drones to maintain public order and requires strict obedience and service for the ‘common good’. The people of Latveria love him as the benevolent Master of his nation. Of course he also believes that he is the best person to rule the World and those who oppose his will are misguided fools who need to be taught their folly (especially that fool Reed)
Doom is a sociopath and a narcissist, in addition to being a megalomaniac. How does that interact with "alignment"?

I think Magneto is a more interesting villain in that he is an evil character using evil means to achieve good ends.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Doom is a sociopath and a narcissist, in addition to being a megalomaniac. How does that interact with "alignment"?

I think Magneto is a more interesting villain in that he is an evil character using evil means to achieve good ends.
He may well be a megalomaniac and narcissist but those arent necessarily ‘evil’ as per alignment. I’d also argue he isnt a sociopath for the simple reason that he genuinely wants to achieve peace and prosperity for ALL and knows that he has the capacity to achieve it. There may be extreme decisions and some collateral damage that occurs in pursuit of Good, but he is resolute that sentimentality and the whims of emotion will not deter him from achieving his ultimate purpose…
 
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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
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.
The fundamental flaw is that that isn't what the trolley problem was posed for, and everyone forgets this.

Philippa Foot and Judith Jarvis Thomson developed these as an active area of philosophical research because they revealed a fundamental problem with the assertions of consequentialism, specifically the claims of the more "calculus"-like schools of thought, claiming to offer a way to calculate the best action in any circumstance.

The original trolley cases were proposed by Foot in the late 1960s. The core of the "problem" (term coined by Thomson in the 70s) wasn't, and never has been, "how do you calculate the answer to this unanswerable problem." It was, and has always been, "Why is it that the same exact person will give different answers if you simply change small details of the individual cases in question?"

Foot knew quite well that the default case—classically, a person at a switch, choosing whether to redirect a trolley from five people to one person—was not supposed to have any clean, neat solutions. It was very intentionally a Kobayashi Maru situation, meant only to be used for contrast against other trolley cases with different details.

The true, actual "trolley problem" is that consequentialism seems to be inadequate for explaining why many (not all, but many) people intuitively agree with the consequentialist position in the default "man at a switch" case, but vehemently oppose certain other cases which seem to be morally equivalent, e.g. the "fat man" case where there is only one track, but you have the choice to push a fat man onto the track, causing the trolley to stop before it reaches the five people.

That is the actual trolly problem: if consequentialism is truly how morality works, why do people so vehemently reject it in comparable ethical dilemmas? Why is it that changing the mechanism of killing a person in order to save five other people changes our (allegedly) pure calculations of what must be done?

Foot's answer, of course, is that consequentialism isn't the actual root of human moral behavior. She was part of the movement that reestablished virtue ethics as a contender in the field, and the trolley problem (again, "why so people give different answers to questions that should be equivalent in consequentialist terms?", NOT the individual "person at a switch" case) was part of the foundation of this "aretaic turn," as philosophers put it.

You're right that the trolley problem, the real one, reveals a seeming requirement for perfect knowledge. That statement, that exact flaw, is not a problem with the trolley cases. It is a problem with consequentialist moral theory. Consequentialism tried to argue that it could resolve whole swathes of ethics by replacing complicated mental gymnastics (e.g. what are virtues, why do cultures seem to disagree about them, how do virtues produce moral imperatives, etc.) and weird conflicting duties (e.g. the classic "do you lie to a Nazi to save the Jew in your basement?" problem) by replacing all that tedious work with nice, simple, straightforward calculations. Do that which adds more Happy Points to the world, or if you have no action that can do so, at least do that which removes the fewest Happy Points from the world. (I am being a bit facetious, but fundamentally that is the idea going from Bentham and Mill through Sidgwick to Moore, all the way up to the late 20th century...aka when Foot, Thomson, Anscombe, and others started showing the cracks.) The whole point of contrasting different trolley cases was to show that all this alleged simplification falls away as soon as you furnish problems of the right shape; consequentialism is no better than deontology or virtue ethics, it's simply reshuffled its difficulties into different areas.
 
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EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
He may well be a megalomaniac and narcissist but those arent necessarily ‘evil’ as per alignment. I’d also argue he isnt a sociopath for the simple reason that he genuinely wants to achieve peace and prosperity for ALL and knows that he has the capacity to achieve it. There may be extreme decisions and some collateral damage that occurs in pursuit of Good, but her is resolute that sentimentality and the whims of emotion will not deter him from achieving his ultimate purpose…
That all sounds pretty gorram evil to me. "No you don't understand, I could make a utopia if everyone would just obey me like good little sheeple!"

Also, gotta disagree on the narcissism thing. Narcissism drives much evil behavior in the world. The ironclad conviction that you cannot be wrong and that others' suffering is their own fault.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
The fundamental flaw is that that isn't what the trolley problem was posed for, and everyone forgets this.

Philippa Foot and Judith Jarvis Thomson developed these as an active area of philosophical research because they revealed a fundamental problem with the assertions of consequentialism, specifically the claims of the more "calculus"-like schools of thought, claiming to offer a way to calculate the best action in any circumstance.

The original trolley cases were proposed by Foot in the late 1960s. The core of the "problem" (term coined by Thomson in the 70s) wasn't, and never has been, "how do you calculate the answer to this unanswerable problem." It was, and has always been, "Why is it that the same exact person will give different answers if you simply change small details of the individual cases in question?"

Foot knew quite well that the default case—classically, a person at a switch, choosing whether to redirect a trolley from five people to one person—was not supposed to have any clean, neat solutions. It was very intentionally a Kobayashi Maru situation, meant only to be used for contrast against other trolley cases with different details.

The true, actual "trolley problem" is that consequentialism seems to be inadequate for explaining why many (not all, but many) people intuitively agree with the consequentialist position in the default "man at a switch" case, but vehemently oppose certain other cases which seem to be morally equivalent, e.g. the "fat man" case where there is only one track, but you have the choice to push a fat man onto the track, causing the trolley to stop before it reaches the five people.

That is the actual trolly problem: if consequentialism is truly how morality works, why do people so vehemently reject it in comparable ethical dilemmas? Why is it that changing the mechanism of killing a person in order to save five other people changes our (allegedly) pure calculations of what must be done?

Foot's answer, of course, is that consequentialism isn't the actual root of human moral behavior. She was part of the movement that reestablished virtue ethics as a contender in the field, and the trolley problem (again, "why so people give different answers to questions that should be equivalent in consequentialist terms?", NOT the individual "person at a switch" case) was part of the foundation of this "aretaic turn," as philosophers put it.

You're right that the trolley problem, the real one, reveals a seeming requirement for perfect knowledge. That statement, that exact flaw, is not a problem with the trolley cases. It is a problem with consequentialist moral theory. Consequentialism tried to argue that it could resolve whole swathes of ethics by replacing complicated mental gymnastics (e.g. what are virtues, why do cultures seem to disagree about them, how do virtues produce moral imperatives, etc.) and weird conflicting duties (e.g. the classic "do you lie to a Nazi to save the Jew in your basement?" problem) by replacing all that tedious work with nice, simple, straightforward calculations. Do that which adds more Happy Points to the world, or if you have no action that can do so, at least do that which removes the fewest Happy Points from the world. (I am being a bit facetious, but fundamentally that is the idea going from Bentham and Mill through Sidgwick to Moore, all the way up to the late 20th century...aka when Foot, Thomson, Anscombe, and others started showing the cracks.) The whole point of contrasting different trolley cases was to show that all this alleged simplification falls away as soon as you furnish problems of the right shape; consequentialism is no better than deontology or virtue ethics, it's simply reshuffled its difficulties into different areas.
The interesting bit about consequentialism is also how folks view it after ethical decisions have been made. In the case of Ozymandias, folks often point to how he was right and succeeded at his plan to why he is good. Though, if his plan failed, how would folks view him then? I mean, he did carry out his plan in cloak and dagger fashion. Killed many folks involved in helping the plan along, were a risk to the plan, and gave cancer to the poor folks who just happened to know Doc Manhattan. Not only that, but Oz will have to maintain the illusion while continuing to kill anyone who gets too close to revealing the conspiracy. Its a fragile peace he brought, and Nite Owl is absolutely right about Oz not saving humanity, but mutilating it. I guess the line between a madman and a genius really is measured only in success...

After more thought about the good villian/antagonist, I keep thinking of the Serenity definition of a hero. "A person who gets people killed". I think this is demonstrated well in the series The Expanse. I wont spoil the series, but I will say there is a character who believes in open transparency, justice, and never compromising on the right thing to do. In other words, a hero. He quickly learns his ethical policies lead to a lot of strife, war, and death. A measured response, while seemingly unethical, can lead to better outcomes. I would create my good antagonist as someone who wouldn't compromise on this, and leave a wake of destruction (and prosperity) in their pursuits.

Sometimes doing the right thing leads to suffering, like sometimes doing the wrong thing leads to prosperity. Doesn't change the actions themselves, and the type of person making them. Though, folks do find happy points a compelling argument and salve to the hurt caused on the way.
 

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