Align this character.

Klaus

First Post
Tarek said:
Conan had a strong personal code. Conan was not lawful; he routinely ignored the laws of the lands he was in.

Again, I have to put this out there: A personal code of ethics and conduct does not necessarily mean that the person is Lawful.
Lawful doesn't equate someone who follows laws. A villain who breaks the law on a daily basis but has an unshakable devotion to his own credo is Lawful.

Case in point: Deathstroke The Terminator (DC Comics). He's a hired assassin, the world's finest killer. He breaks the laws just by being there. But he has a deep devotion to his own moral code. He would rather let a rival slash his infant son's throat than to break his code and name his latest employer. His son died without finishing his contract, so he took it upon himself to finish that contract (kill the Teen Titans).

Lawful. and Evil.
 

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Tarek

Explorer
I went back and looked at the alignment definitions in 3e again. They've changed a bit from 1e.

However, I really don't see this character's "code" as being Lawful. "I won't hurt an innocent or a child, but if they're useless or stupid I'll neuter them. I'm really loyal to my friends... I hope they never become useless or stupid. I'm going to set out to liberate people from this tyrant, and after I seduce enough women, I'll get all my kids together when they're grown up and we'll all take him down together. Plus I'll get laid a lot, woohoo."

This really sounds more like a "Free Spirit" with anger problems than a "Judge" who believes in law and order.
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
Merkuri said:
Really? I thought loyalty was a trait of Lawful characters, just like keeping your word.
IMHO loyalty to an abstract concept or an organization is a Lawful trait.

Loyalty to individuals is a Chaotic trait.

Basically, a Lawful person sees themselves (and everyone else) as a cog -- they pay attention to social status and the like -- while a Chaotic person sees everyone as a unique individual.

A Lawful person forges a treaty with nation X, and expects it to be honored by the next king.

A Chaotic person forms a bond of honor with the king of nation X, and expects nothing from the next king.

Cheers, -- N
 

GSHamster

Adventurer
Will said:
I vote CE. No tendency about it.

He's a selfish bastard who happens to have high-minded ideals that he chooses to apply as he sees fit. Torturing as 'primary questioning technique' shows a casual attitude towards cruelty, beating someone to death with their own limbs is chaotic, eugenics is thoroughly evil, seducing women along the way is chaotic and possibly evil (does he lie and pressure them?).

By way of reference, I think it's perfectly possible to have a character with LG motives and goals who is thoroughly CE... typically, a revolutionary/committed warrior who will HAPPILY do anything and everything to save the kingdom, and doesn't see a contradiction between breaking the law to save the law.

Going to have to go with Will on this one.
 

Tarek

Explorer
Conan's code of conduct came down to three rules:

1. Face your enemies bravely.
2. Keep your given word unless you've been betrayed or coerced into giving it.
3. Never, ever, allow yourself to be imprisoned. If imprisoned, always seek the best opportunity to escape.

Deception was okay, no problems there. Lie to someone? If necessary. Theft? Sure, easy peasy. Seduce married women? Sure, why not, more's the fun! Assassination? Murder? Never!

Conan was not Lawful. Conan respected no laws, no traditions, no rituals. His code was all personal. Everything in the world was free for his taking.

This is where 3e gets it wrong. A code of conduct can be followed by a Chaotic character as well as by a Lawful one.
 

Merkuri

First Post
Nifft said:
Loyalty to individuals is a Chaotic trait.

:confused:

Why? How does sticking by your friends imply that your character leans towards disorganization, freedom, and chaos? I'm sorry, but I'll need more explanation before I believe that.
 

Aust Diamondew

First Post
Merkuri said:
:confused:

Why? How does sticking by your friends imply that your character leans towards disorganization, freedom, and chaos? I'm sorry, but I'll need more explanation before I believe that.
Sticking with your friends over society might be chaotic.
Argument for it:
If one of your friends were arrested for theft and you knew you could lead the cops to proof that he did it and you chose to do so you're acting lawfully if you chose that loyalty to friends comes before rule of law and duty to society you're acting in line with being chaotic.

To the OP: I can see both the arguments for CE and LE for this character therefore I'd be inclined to say he is NE.
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
Merkuri said:
:confused:

Why? How does sticking by your friends imply that your character leans towards disorganization, freedom, and chaos? I'm sorry, but I'll need more explanation before I believe that.
Loyalty to individuals over organizations is Chaotic.

Loyalty to organizations over individuals is Lawful.

If there's never a conflict between an individual friend and a respected organization, then you may never find out if that person is Lawful or Chaotic with respect to loyalty. :)

But this guy is allegedly known specifically for his personal loyalties, which I assumed (bad me) meant he had demonstrated them in exclusion to the other kind.

Cheers, -- N
 

Squire James

First Post
Hey, I invited discussion, right? I guess my initial thought of him was that he was Lawful Good, but various hangups were threatening that image. Maybe starting from True Neutral is really the only fair thing to do... let's see how my "strike system" works now...

Never harm a defenseless child. Most people wouldn't. No Strikes.

Wants to save the world from a tyrannical evil government. All good guys want this, chaotic or otherwise. 2 Good Strikes.

He'll give the shirt off his back to a stranger if that would help them. Two Good Strikes.

Staunchly loyal to his friends. Again, most people are. Loyalty is a trait of Law, though, so I'll give him 1 Law Strike.

Won't keep rewards from quests, preferring to give it back to the town or to another worthy cause. 2 Good Strikes, and 2 Law Strikes. The main reason why I started him Lawful Good in my first assessment.

Uses torture as his primary questioning technique for prisoners. OK, 2 Evil Strikes like before... this cancels out 2 Good Strikes. Heck, take away 1 Law Strike as well - this sort of thing is usually against the law...

Has, on several occasions, beaten someone to death with their own limbs. I fail to see the big distinction between one using limbs and using swords. Dead is dead. Killing is killing. I'd be giving him more Good Strikes if I knew all the people he did this to deserved it. The other text implies this might be the case, but the general gristliness of the deed cancels it out. No Strikes.

A fervent believer in eugenics, he has sterilized many useless or stupid people along his travels. I believe I gave him 2 Evil Strikes for this. Nothing has happened to change my opinion of this. I understand his hatred of "stupid" and/or "useless" people and share some of it, but I consider it a fault within me rather than a virtue.

Seduces women in every town he comes across, hoping to sire an army along the way. 1 Law Strike for his strangely lawful purpose, and 2 Chaos Strikes for the odd way he chooses to go about it.

To tote things up: 2 net Good Strikes. He's True Neutral guy whose evil traits drag him down like a lead weight. My answer was different, but not by much. I still refuse to ignore all his positives and judge his alignment purely by his negatives (which I would have to do, to declare him Evil).
 

Nifft

Penguin Herder
Tarek said:
This is where 3e gets it wrong. A code of conduct can be followed by a Chaotic character as well as by a Lawful one.
Very much agree.

IMHO the difference is that a Lawful person follows the code of an organization (e.g. paladins or monks of a specific order), while a Chaotic person follows a personal code.

Cheers, -- N
 


Will

First Post
Quick alignment reference:
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/description.htm#alignment

Loyalty to friends is actually pretty Neutral; on the one hand, it's lawful because you are honorable and trustworthy, on the other hand it's chaotic because you favor them over society's rules and obligations.

So maybe it counts 10 to 15 on the lawful side of the equation. But eugenics, punishment through disarming (har har!), seducing up an army, I think the recklessness and disregard for social rules counts several billion on the chaos side.

Squire James said:
I still refuse to ignore all his positives and judge his alignment purely by his negatives (which I would have to do, to declare him Evil).

I don't ignore his positives, I just weight them differently than you. For one thing, eugenics counts as like 6 evil strikes in my book.

As for the 'beating people with their arms,' it counts under the 'dignity of life' element of Good.

An execution where you take someone's last words and make an effort to track down their family to tell them what happened? Good.
An execution where you fill them with poop until they explode? Evil.
 
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DarthDiablo

First Post
Nifft said:
Very much agree.

IMHO the difference is that a Lawful person follows the code of an organization (e.g. paladins or monks of a specific order), while a Chaotic person follows a personal code.

Cheers, -- N

I agree with your interpretation. Lawful characters will follow a code, even if they disagree with certain parts of it. For example: a Paladin will not kill a defenseless enemy (let's say he's a big baddie-on par with the Emperor from Star Wars or Hitler), though he may want to, and though it may be for the greater good, because it violates his code. Another character (especially non-lawful types) would be more likely to, unless it violated their own personal code or beliefs. This type of character would not care about the codes or laws of others and IMO be Chaotic.

If you want to check out another good alignment debate, see the Changes to Demons & Devils thread: http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=205929&page=1&pp=40
Lots of good discussion on Law vs. Chaos there.
 

Archon of Light

First Post
Here's the problem: Everyone assumes that they can simply pinpoint every action or description to a single, defined alignment per the rules. If only it were so easy... but it's not. You must account for motivation and intent by one's actions; not just actions alone. That's why there are so many different answers being offered, and in all likelyhood, more than a few correct, but differing answers as well. I can give you another estimation based on my own ideas, but that resolves nothing. Instead, here are a few things you need to consider, and perhaps the original author could provide some more information as it is needed.

He would never harm a child or defenseless person.
Why not? Because he is morally decent, or because he believes it is bad karma that could come back to him? It's obvious that he seems to protect the innocent, but brutally punishes the guilty. This would generally suggest that he is generally Good, but again, motive needs to be defined better. Why would he never harm these people? And more importantly, to what extent does he define a child or a defenseless person? Is the farmer who bravely defyies him from entering his house no longer considered defenseless because he is armed with a weapon? More definition is needed here.

He wants to save the world from a tyrannical and thoroughly evil organization.
Again, what is his motivation for doing so? Does he fight for the oppressed people of the land, or does he just want to take it's place instead? Maybe he's out to prove something to himself or everyone else, seeking the fame and renowned of becoming a hero. Does he have a personal vendetta against this organization, perhaps? Motivation reveals a lot.

He'll give the shirt off his back to a stranger if that would help them.
So you're saying he is generous and gives of himself. That seems pretty straightforward. And you're certain he'll do this everytime, or just with people he judges first as 'needy' and 'deserving'?

Staunchly loyal to his friends.
This defines a quality of the character that is not restricted to a single alignment, and thus has little bearing in this exercise. Most people who are truly friends with others tend to be loyal to them. Alignments will simply define the extent and the manner of their loyalty.

Won't keep rewards from quests, preferring to give it back to the town or to another worthy cause.
See, this is where you're just painting an obvious picture of someone who is clearly selfless and generous beyond reproach, but then you've added these other traits that are highly questionable. Up until this point, without any other information provided, he is clearly a person of Good alignment. But I must stress again, that without a clearly defined motive, we're only assuming such. Is he really Good, selfless, and generous by nature, or is there some other reason he behaves this way?

Uses torture as his primary questioning technique for prisoners.
And here we begin to see his other side, or his 'dark half'. What I want to know is, how does he feel about committing such actions? Is it a 'necessary evil' to do what is needed for the good of the innocents in danger? Or is it just a method he prefers because it gets results? Motivation and intent define alignments better than actions alone.

Has, on several occasions, beaten someone to death with their own limbs. (This was their punishment for a crime, most likely hurting children or the defenseless.)
That is an extremely brutal and violent act for any 'Good' person to commit. He may have Good intentions at heart, but his methods suggest there is a level of Evil that he is comfortable with.

A fervent believer in eugenics, he has sterilized many useless or stupid people along his travels.
What is his definition of "useless or stupid people"? This character seems to have placed himself on a very high and righteous pedestal to pass judgement on others, and more so to execute what he deems is the appropriate punishment based solely on his perceptions. A lot more detail on circumstances, motivation, and intentions would help paint a clearer picture regarding the methods of his madness in this case.

Seduces women in every town he comes across, hoping to sire an army along the way (ala Ghengis Khan).
This seems to have little to do with alignment and more to do with some kind of dementia. Is he keeping track of all the little bastards he's producing? Seriously, he would have to plant his seed quite frequently and throughout many far-reaching locations to infect the region with his own personal army. And you really must wonder, what is he thinking? Assuming this long-termed scheme of his actually works... what does he want with an army of his own? If he's so good and righteous, why doesn't he expect people to follow him loyally after all his efforts? This, above all else, seems to make the least bit of sense given all the other details provided about this character.

Without any further explanations given, I can't even guess what alignment really suits him. Depending on what is revealed by his motivations, I might venture to say that he's either Lawful Neutral or Chaotic Neutral. Hard to say which way, at this point.
 

pawsplay

Banned
Banned
He seems to lack either an unwavering commitment to good nor a rejection of it. He has goals and plans, but they mainly fulfill his personal vision. His main motivation seems to be doing what he considers a wise person does. I'd say solid Neutral. His unusual combination of behaviors and motivation show him to be motivated by something other than abstract good and evil as defined in d&d terms.
 

abri

Mad Scientist
I generally stay away from alignement discusion, but this one really is a clear cut example IMC.
This is LE to the core, as depicted in animes: you don't agree with the SOB, you'd probably want to rip his throat, but you have to admit that some part of him are kind/and or admirable.


- He would never harm a child or defenseless person.
He is not doing evil for evil sake
- He wants to save the world from a tyrannical and thoroughly evil organization.
He has a goal and the goal is admirable
- He'll give the shirt off his back to a stranger if that would help them.
Again he want to do some good.
- Staunchly loyal to his friends.
Nothing on this one, even the worst CE guy can have some real friends.
- Won't keep rewards from quests, preferring to give it back to the town or to another worthy cause.
keeping with the good intentions.
- Uses torture as his primary questioning technique for prisoners.
Any means necessary... Isn't that the definition of LE

- Has, on several occasions, beaten someone to death with their own limbs. (This was their punishment for a crime, most likely hurting children or the defenseless.)
Really depend on campaign setting, but doesn't mean much: after all hurting children is such an horrible crime that no punishment can be considered too much (although using their own limbs deserve a :confused: )
- A fervent believer in eugenics, he has sterilized many useless or stupid people along his travels.
That's LE: thining the herd...
- Seduces women in every town he comes across, hoping to sire an army along the way (ala Ghengis Khan).
Even makes plan when having sex, that's hardcore lawfull (pun non intended). Weird plan, but plan nonetheless.


-TRRW[/QUOTE]
 



Kahuna Burger

First Post
Squire James said:
Has, on several occasions, beaten someone to death with their own limbs. I fail to see the big distinction between one using limbs and using swords. Dead is dead. Killing is killing.
So, just so I'm not misinterpreting you - you are saying that if a character decides to kill someone, the choice between killing them in a relitively slow and painful way has no moral impact, compared to the choice to kill them in a quick, efficient way? Because "killing is killing". Is this your stand?
 

roguerouge

First Post
I'll give my analysis below. But I think that everyone's missing the real question here. The OP referred to this moron as a "character." Would you play with someone playing this character?

- He would never harm a child or defenseless person.

Bully for him. He's going to abide by one of the most basic rules of civilization!

- He wants to save the world from a tyrannical and thoroughly evil organization.

That's any alignment under the sun. If they're lawful, it could be because their organization opposes that organization for good or evil reasons. If they're chaotic, it could be the tyranny or it could be the fun of slaughter and phat l00t. If they're neutral, it could be upsetting of the balance or this time, it could be personal.

- He'll give the shirt off his back to a stranger if that would help them.

Chaotic 'cause he helps individuals rather than deal with root causes or think in systems. A Lawful would give cash to a homeless shelter or volunteer at an organization devoted fighting unemployment or sponsor laws that aid the poor or organize a union. Could be good but could also be evil, if he wants the rep of altruism or because his player wants cover at the gaming table for his character's other urges.

- Staunchly loyal to his friends.

As other posters have noted, this trait could be any alignment, good or evil, lawful, neutral, or chaotic. Again, it depends on the why. (My friends are uniquely precious people vs. my friends are my best minions or make me feel good about myself, despite everything I've done.) Absent the "why" it's such a basic thing that I'm not going to weigh it heavily.

- Won't keep rewards from quests, preferring to give it back to the town or to another worthy cause.

This is the one trait most likely to signal a good alignment, but it could very well be evil or neutral as well, depending on motivation. If the motivation is that first you get the power then you get the gold and then you get the women, your "altruism" is essentially self-promotion in the pursuit of naked power.

- Uses torture as his primary questioning technique for prisoners.

Chaotic Evil (Stupid, Sadist). As the Inquisition discovered, tortured prisoners tell you what they think you want to hear. If maintaining your cultural and political power is your real but unstated goal, as it became very quickly with the Inquisition, then torture's for you. Also, no matter what your conscious beliefs, these kinds of acts tend to grind you down psychologically and morally, undermine the empathy you must repress to torture, and blunt your sense of the inherent worth of other people until you tilt towards.... evil.

- Has, on several occasions, beaten someone to death with their own limbs. (This was their punishment for a crime, most likely hurting children or the defenseless.)

Chaotic Evil (Sadist). Using a bludgeoning weapon for execution, whatever the underlying game mechanic, is more about inflicting pain than efficiently administering justice. "The defenseless" seems to be defined as "those people who might be useful to me now or in the future as pawns." See above posters on the pregnancy issue.

- A fervent believer in eugenics, he has sterilized many useless or stupid people along his travels.

Chaotic Evil (Stupid). Acts as an individual. Has no long list of accepted, questionable, and banned traits. Does not refer to any organization or society backing. And, in DnD, is using castration, not a vasectomy. Pursues a system-changing goal alone and thus with no chance of success. Presumably his victims are "defenseless" against him.

- Seduces women in every town he comes across, hoping to sire an army along the way (ala Ghengis Khan).

Chaotic Evil (Sociopath). Seeks a long term goal with no viable plan (no provision for care, no indoctrination, no follow-up to determine successful pregnancy.) Does not treat these women as people, but rather as incubating chambers. Treats people as a means to an end rather than an end precious in themselves. Has no concept that the mothers might possibly resent the deception and abandonment and incipient poverty, and raise the children to hate him.

I'll second Kahuna Burger's verdict of Player Chaotic and go one step further:

Alignment Verdict: Player Psychotic with a case of DM Spinelessness.

And, frankly, I'd talk to the player of this character and the DM to let them know that such fantasies are emotionally and spiritually damaging both to them and the people around them. If no change was in the offing, my last act as a player at the table would be to break my iron-clad rule against PC vs. PC and convince as many players as possible to gang up on him and bring his poorly conceived character to justice.
 

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