Align this character.

roguerouge

First Post
From the SRD:

"A chaotic evil character does whatever his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is hot-tempered, vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. If he is simply out for whatever he can get, he is ruthless and brutal. If he is committed to the spread of evil and chaos, he is even worse. Thankfully, his plans are haphazard, and any groups he joins or forms are poorly organized. Typically, chaotic evil people can be made to work together only by force, and their leader lasts only as long as he can thwart attempts to topple or assassinate him."

Brutality? Check.
Arbitrary definition of defenseless? Check.
Haphazard plans? Check.
Seems motivated by hatred (of those he feels superior to: women, commoners, NPCs with low combat utility): Check.

And I can hardly believe that posters would sincerely believe that a LG character would beat prisoners to death with their own severed limbs, use torture indiscriminately, practice involuntary castration, and impregnate random women for fun and future power.
 

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Tal Rasha

Explorer
Technik4 said:
:\ Evil people would stab their friends in the back, not chaotic. Wrong axis.

I beg to differ. As already mentioned by others, I do not believe evil people are less likely to be loyal to their friends - if they have any. Sure, they are more likely to con and deceive people into thinking that they are their friends, then stab them in the back. That's something else. A chaotic character on the other hand, granted CE and CN more than CG, could IMO just decide one day for some reason that he does not need to be loyal anymore, or that his friends are not actually his friends, or some such. Hence, the stabbing in the back thing.

Kahuna Burger said:
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?

An interesting discussion in itself. Kahuna Burger, would you agree that the above decision would only impact the character in question's persona, his morals, and the opinions of those around him? Because, as far as I see it, the end results are the same, and then you have to (again) go into the whole debate of whether torturing an evil character is itself evil.

Interestingly enough, Squire James seems to contradict himself in the same paragraph. I mean no offense, I just think it is worth noting, for the discussion, that he said

"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."

right after he said

I fail to see the big distinction between one using limbs and using swords.
 

delericho

Legend
theredrobedwizard said:
- He would never harm a child or defenseless person.

Inaction - Neutral.

- He wants to save the world from a tyrannical and thoroughly evil organization.
- He'll give the shirt off his back to a stranger if that would help them.

Leans towards Good. No Lawful/Chaotic weight.

- Staunchly loyal to his friends.

Leans towards Lawful. No Good/Evil weight.

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

Leans towards Lawful and Good.

- Uses torture as his primary questioning technique for prisoners.

Evil. Furthermore, leans towards Chaos, given the known unreliability of torture, especially when compared with the available magical means.

- 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.)

Leans towards Evil. No Lawful/Chaotic weight.

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

Evil. Leans towards Lawful.

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

Leans towards Chaos and Evil.

Verdict: I peg the character as a strong Neutral Evil. He has good intentions, and some very admirable traits, but the evil he propogates vastly outweighs this. He leans somewhat towards law, but not strongly enough to counteract those of his actions that are strongly chaotic. This character probably thinks he is Good. He is mistaken.
 

Kahuna Burger

First Post
Tal Rasha said:
An interesting discussion in itself. Kahuna Burger, would you agree that the above decision would only impact the character in question's persona, his morals, and the opinions of those around him? Because, as far as I see it, the end results are the same, and then you have to (again) go into the whole debate of whether torturing an evil character is itself evil.
I'm not entirely sure I understand the question... Since this entire discussion is about the character's persona and morals, I can't figure out what's "only" about it. The end results? The end results of everyone's life are the same, you end up dead. Maybe there's no practical difference if you torture someone for a few minutes just before they die.... maybe it can be for an hour... I suppose you could torture them for a few days straight and as long as you were going to kill them anyway, it would only impact your persona and morals. :confused:

(Yes, I consider torture evil and the target is irrelevant to that judgement. I wouldn't consider it a subject I'd be interested in debating.)
 

Technik4

First Post
I beg to differ. As already mentioned by others, I do not believe evil people are less likely to be loyal to their friends - if they have any. Sure, they are more likely to con and deceive people into thinking that they are their friends, then stab them in the back. That's something else. A chaotic character on the other hand, granted CE and CN more than CG, could IMO just decide one day for some reason that he does not need to be loyal anymore, or that his friends are not actually his friends, or some such. Hence, the stabbing in the back thing.

I disagree, though I am not following the RAW so much as my own interpretation of the alignment axes. This act has little to do with the lawful/chaos axis in my mind.

'Stabbing a Friend in the Back'

This is hurting someone that you have an emotional bond with. A good person would not do this on a regular basis. An evil person would, and would find plenty of ways to justify/rationalize their behavior (he didn't give me a birthday present, etc). The key point here is how often they do it and how they feel about it afterward. Would a good person stab a friend in the back once, in their lifetime? Maybe, no one is perfect (even LG paladins, which is why we have rules for fallen paladins). Would a good person be able to count off a list of people they've stabbed in the back? No. That person is not good.
 

+5 Keyboard!

First Post
theredrobedwizard said:
I recently came across a character, and would like to get your opinions on his alignment. I'll list a few points on his morals and let the thread go on from there.

- He would never harm a child or defenseless person.
- He wants to save the world from a tyrannical and thoroughly evil organization.
- He'll give the shirt off his back to a stranger if that would help them.
- Staunchly loyal to his friends.
- Won't keep rewards from quests, preferring to give it back to the town or to another worthy cause.
- Uses torture as his primary questioning technique for prisoners.
- 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.)
- A fervent believer in eugenics, he has sterilized many useless or stupid people along his travels.
- Seduces women in every town he comes across, hoping to sire an army along the way (ala Ghengis Khan).

So, what's the verdict? I've heard every alignment offered up as an answer, so I'm eager to see what the bright minds of EN World have to say.

-TRRW

I was in the middle of a lengthy reply wherin I answered each point above and... FRIGGIN LOST MY POST! The gist is that IMO this describes a Lawful Evil person in spite of a few points that could be seen as good. Bottom line, the person described has a few personal codes that are strangely out of sync with the rest, but aren't attributes that are unheard of in many villains in pop culture media.
 


+5 Keyboard!

First Post
It really pisses me off that my first post got lost in the ether, so regardless of already posting my opinion, I'll try the detailed explanation of how I got there... again. To repeat, I believe this person is Lawful Evil. Here is how I came to that conclusion:

theredrobedwizard said:
- He would never harm a child or defenseless person.

My answer to this is based on the entire picture painted here. This individual has a personal code he adheres to or more accurately, a fetish or quirk. One that's inconsistent with his overall lifestyle, but most villains, and yes this is a villain, have a few strange quirks with which they fool themselves into believing they are actually good or rationalize their behavior by espousing these good qualities. These ones are a couple that this villain uses to that end.


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

Well, based on the rest of this guy's qualities, especially seeding maidens for a plan to raise his own little bastard army, this is only because he a) doesn't support the policies or laws that this government enforces, b) wants to overthrow the government and place himself or someone of his choosing in power, or c) all of the above. By thinking of it in terms of "saving" the world makes him believe that his plan is "good". You could construe this alone as Chaotic behavior, but given the rest of the behavior, it is Lawfully Evil motivated.


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

This might be strange behavior isolated by itself, but this person is lying to himself that he is good. A lot of good deeds are done by people that just want the world to think that they are great people. This guy is probably motivated to do this to earn the esteem and hero worship of the "little people". Not because he's truly compassionate Whatever the reason, there is a sinister motivation.


theredrobedwizard said:
- Staunchly loyal to his friends.

Irrelevant when it comes to alignment. His loyalty may be motivated by different things than a LG or NG or CE person, but it all comes down to the fact that people are social creatures and enjoy having friends.

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

This one is really at odds with everything else. It reeks of trying to be good, but given everything else it just seems like he, again, is trying to build up a reputation as a great guy. Either that or it's a strange code of conduct he has decided to live by. Maybe by doing this, it eases his conscience about the other things he has done and continues to do? It's a ping on the good side, for sure, but not enough to change that he's at heart a villain.


theredrobedwizard said:
- Uses torture as his primary questioning technique for prisoners.

This is evil. It doesn't matter what your rationale is.

theredrobedwizard said:
- 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.)

Sadistic and cruel. The reason for doing things like this is irrelevant. It's just an excuse for this villain to do the things he enjoys doing.

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

This is the epitome of Lawful Evil behavior and gives some incite into this PCs megalomaniacal behavior. You could also say it was Neutral Evil behavior by itself, but given the methodical practices described, I'm sticking with LE.

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

Seducing women is irrelevant. In D&D terms, libido has no real bearing on alignment by itself. How chaste or whorish you are is unimportant. If we apply real world religious values to this PC one could argue that this wanton act of fornicating everywhere he goes is evil. But we are not applying that to D&D. It's the motivation for why he is doing which is truly devious and evil. He want to impregnate every maiden he can so he can create his own army he obviously intends to come back and collect for his own selfish reasons.


theredrobedwizard said:
So, what's the verdict? I've heard every alignment offered up as an answer, so I'm eager to see what the bright minds of EN World have to say.

Lawful Evil. Definitely Lawful Evil.
 
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Technik4

First Post
Out of Curiousity

This is the epitome of Lawful Evil behavior and gives some incite into this PCs megalomaniacal behavior. You could also say it was Neutral Evil behavior by itself, but given the methodical practices described, I'm sticking with LE.

How do you associate this with a methodical plan? He sterilizes people he considers stupid or useless as he adventures. He isn't keeping a log of people he's sterilized and doesn't appear to have a list of people that he will keep from breeding in the future. He's easy-come, easy-go, doing it as he goes. That's not lawful.

Further:

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

Good conquers evil. There is nothing lawful suggested from the above statement. If he had a problem with the way the organization was being run or the practices, that may hint at a lawful or chaotic motivation, but it seems to me he perceives them as evil and thus wants to overthrow them because he perceives himself as good.
 

Klaus

First Post
Technik4 said:
How do you associate this with a methodical plan? He sterilizes people he considers stupid or useless as he adventures. He isn't keeping a log of people he's sterilized and doesn't appear to have a list of people that he will keep from breeding in the future. He's easy-come, easy-go, doing it as he goes. That's not lawful.

Further:



Good conquers evil. There is nothing lawful suggested from the above statement. If he had a problem with the way the organization was being run or the practices, that may hint at a lawful or chaotic motivation, but it seems to me he perceives them as evil and thus wants to overthrow them because he perceives himself as good.
1) He's removing freewill. He's making a life-changing decision for people who haven't asked for him to do so, and haven't given any permission. That's just plain ol' tyrannical, and tyranny is LE.

2) He wants to save the world from a tyrannical and evil organization. Nice, so he antagonizes a LE group. He could do that being of any alignment. The reason why he does that would help us define it more. And "saving" is self-deception.

In fact, I think I see a trend with this character: he won't harm children, he'll donate his earnings, he'll help someone in need and he sees himself as saving the world... all while doing some of the most despicable things a human can do. He clearly believes that he is a Good person, but can't see the Evil of his other actions.

That's not only Lawful Evil, that's a self-delusional Lawful Evil.
 

+5 Keyboard!

First Post
Technik4 said:
How do you associate this with a methodical plan? He sterilizes people he considers stupid or useless as he adventures. He isn't keeping a log of people he's sterilized and doesn't appear to have a list of people that he will keep from breeding in the future. He's easy-come, easy-go, doing it as he goes. That's not lawful.

Further:



Good conquers evil. There is nothing lawful suggested from the above statement. If he had a problem with the way the organization was being run or the practices, that may hint at a lawful or chaotic motivation, but it seems to me he perceives them as evil and thus wants to overthrow them because he perceives himself as good.

You can't isolate each of these things and come up with a conclusion. You have to put them all together. This guy is totally methodical. The mere fact that he does this repeatedly (not just once, but repeatedly) because he has for some reason appointed himself as judge of who is worth or not worthy of breeding is most definitely methodical.
BTW, what does a log have to do with anything? If this guy doesn't immortalize each snip (or whatever) he makes, he is somehow not Lawful? That makes no sense.

Good conquers evil? Sure. That's the way a lot of adventures and stories go, but it's not the way they ALL go. In D&D or any other RPG for that matter evil has just as much motivation and chance at conquering (and replacing) evil as good does. Demons and Devils, anyone?

Anyway, that's my opinion and how it looks to me.
 

Technik4

First Post
This guy is totally methodical.

Ok, if he's methodical (lawful) describe to me someone doing the same action in a chaotic way. It's not keeping a log, or having a list of people that he's going to take care of next that are necessary components to what I feel a lawful mien would be, but some kind of aspect involving planning or bookeeping or strict criteria to adhere to that would indicate lawfulness.

This guy, he basically castrates people he thinks are stupid or useless.

That is not a 'judgement' aspect of law. He's just a self-righteous guy with a big stick. You can call it 'tyranny', but he's not in any way methodical about it. That's just evil, without much taint of law or chaos, in my book.
 

DevoutlyApathetic

First Post
You don't have to be methodical to be lawful. Doing something to abridge individual rights in service to a greater whole is lawful though.

Stopping people from breeding to (apparently) improve the gene pool is very lawful.
 

+5 Keyboard!

First Post
Technik4 said:
Ok, if he's methodical (lawful) describe to me someone doing the same action in a chaotic way. It's not keeping a log, or having a list of people that he's going to take care of next that are necessary components to what I feel a lawful mien would be, but some kind of aspect involving planning or bookeeping or strict criteria to adhere to that would indicate lawfulness.

This guy, he basically castrates people he thinks are stupid or useless.

That is not a 'judgement' aspect of law. He's just a self-righteous guy with a big stick. You can call it 'tyranny', but he's not in any way methodical about it. That's just evil, without much taint of law or chaos, in my book.

Tell me if this guy sounds familiar:

A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank. He is loath to break laws or promises.

This reluctance comes partly from his nature and partly because he depends on order to protect himself from those who oppose him on moral grounds. Some lawful evil villains have particular taboos, such as not killing in cold blood (but having underlings do it) or not letting children come to harm (if it can be helped). They imagine that these compunctions put them above unprincipled villains.

Some lawful evil people and creatures commit themselves to evil with a zeal like that of a crusader committed to good. Beyond being willing to hurt others for their own ends, they take pleasure in spreading evil as an end unto itself. They may also see doing evil as part of a duty to an evil deity or master.

Lawful evil is sometimes called "diabolical," because devils are the epitome of lawful evil.

Lawful evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents methodical, intentional, and frequently successful evil.
PHP pg. 105


Now, I hadn't actually looked in the PHB until now. My take on this PC was from memory of how the alignments are described. Now that I've read this, it's almost as if this particular character went and duplicated some of this stuff exactly as described in the PHB.

If you still believe this guy isn't Lawful Evil, that's cool. I do.
 
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+5 Keyboard!

First Post
DevoutlyApathetic said:
You don't have to be methodical to be lawful. Doing something to abridge individual rights in service to a greater whole is lawful though.

Stopping people from breeding to (apparently) improve the gene pool is very lawful.

That's my opinion as well. But this methodical approach to impregnating women from town to town and sterilizing people that this PC deems unfit to reproduce is in fact a methodical practice. It is planned. It is repeated. Being methodical in itself is not necessarily something that makes you lawful, but in this character's case, it reinforces his Lawful Evil qualities and supports my argument for it.

BTW, to the OP, great topic. I love a lively debate over alignment. This was fun :)
 
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Tal Rasha

Explorer
Kahuna Burger said:
I'm not entirely sure I understand the question... Since this entire discussion is about the character's persona and morals, I can't figure out what's "only" about it. The end results? The end results of everyone's life are the same, you end up dead. Maybe there's no practical difference if you torture someone for a few minutes just before they die.... maybe it can be for an hour... I suppose you could torture them for a few days straight and as long as you were going to kill them anyway, it would only impact your persona and morals. :confused:

Right, I could probably have expressed myself better. I meant to ask to which degree you think the character's intentions matter. That is, he's at one point beating a person to death. Agreed, the act in itself is evil. But how, if at all, do you factor in his motivation? Although a bit hard to imagine, it is possible that he thought he was doing the right thing. Suppose the character was a member of a clergy that considered physical pain a way to expunge one's sins. This is also why I had the "same end results" reference in there - since you end up with the same situation, the difference between mercifully and quickly terminating an opponent and doing the same in a different manner is either in the process used or in the reasons behind the process - or both.

Incidentally, +5 keyboard made a very good point with the above quote from the PHB. Maybe he's not NE after all...
 

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