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D&D General D&D doesn't need Evil

Continuing with the idea of Capital E Evil, I even think the idea of "evil gods" could be excised from D&D.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but historically in polytheistic mythology (such as Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt), there aren't really "evil" gods. There are gods in conflict, and trickster gods, and gods of war, but as far as I know there wasn't an Ancient Greek God of Evil.

Eris was pretty bad; she might fall under the "trickster" category, although she's much less nice than even Loki.

Her children and most of her siblings though - yeah, they're pretty much flat out evil, being the personifications of all the woes of humanity: Lies and Murders and Pains and Lawlessness and so on...
 

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BookTenTiger

He / Him
Erie was pretty bad; she might fall under the "trickster" category, although she's much less nice than even Loki.

Her children and most of her siblings though - yeah, they're pretty much flat out evil, being the personifications of all the woes of humanity: Lies and Murders and Pains and Lawlessness and so on...
Good point, I forgot about manifestations of harmful phenomena. I think Greek Mythology had those too.
 


Sure. However, there's a huge difference between deducing that the word is apt based on evidence, and using the word as a prescriptive definition.
Exactly this. In my adventures, I try to avoid telling the characters that the opponents are evil. Instead, I try to show them why those opponents need to be stopped, and let the characters come to their own conclusions about their characterization.

I am extremely leery of the approach “rando tells you the goblins in the hills are evil, party goes and murders them and takes their stuff”.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
And this is exactly what fiends do when weighing your soul and your sins.

Because chaotic demons are going to stick to a strict sin pricing schedule? :p And, would celestials trust fiends to do the weighing?

And overall, I don't see how fiends are the ones weighing your soul when spells like "Detect Evil" can detect its weight in realtime while you are still alive. And in the Great Wheel, the fiends are on various alignment planes - the measure of your actions must be taken to send it to the proper plane, before any fiends see it.

The one thing that you are not accounting for is the fact that there is a DM, who actually has the objective view of he multiverse on your actions, and who plays the archons and devils you weigh your soul, in a purely factual (for them) manner.

Except, of course, the DM themselves, being human and using human morals as their baseline, are probably not being particularly objective (or, perhaps more importantly, consistent)...
 

Mort

Legend
I am extremely leery of the approach “rando tells you the goblins in the hills are evil, party goes and murders them and takes their stuff”.

If I'm DMing and this happens 99% of the time the rando is trying to take advantage of the party (especially if they've established any kind of murder hobo reputation)!
 

Mort

Legend
Except, of course, the DM themselves, being human and using human morals as their baseline, are probably not being particularly objective (or, perhaps more importantly, consistent)...

While this is true, If you're playing some kind of cosmic objective good vs. evil and actions objectively matter campaign The DM has to pretend to be objective and the players have to accept (pretend) that he is. Probably doesn't hurt to lay out some written guidelines.

And of course, in this case, I would recommend binging The Good Place which while it would show the futility of trying to lay out objective good and evil it would also show how fun it is to pretend to do so!
 

John R Davis

Adventurer
Many games don't need a big E. I like loads different games with all sorts of shades. For D&D it does need a big E. It's one of its appeals and what it's system is set up for. IMO/IME
 

Aldarc

Legend
If something in the game is labelled as evil its actions will reflect that. (label leads to actions). If something in the game does a series of evil acts it'll end up getting labelled as evil (actions lead to label). Chicken and egg.

Exactly, and in D&D I wouldn't have it any other way.
So not even B/X D&D?

I personally find Good vs. Evil to be boring. Law vs. Chaos is where it's at! Chaoskampf! Woohoo!
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
Many games don't need a big E. I like loads different games with all sorts of shades. For D&D it does need a big E. It's one of its appeals and what it's system is set up for. IMO/IME
Can you expand on why you feel D&D needs a big E Evil?

D&D's foundation is based on war games (no big E Evil) and exploring dungeons for treasure (no big E Evil).

At what point do you feel like Big E Evil became necessary for D&D?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
While this is true, If you're playing some kind of cosmic objective good vs. evil and actions objectively matter campaign The DM has to pretend to be objective and the players have to accept (pretend) that he is. Probably doesn't hurt to lay out some written guidelines.

And of course, in this case, I would recommend binging The Good Place which while it would show the futility of trying to lay out objective good and evil it would also show how fun it is to pretend to do so!
Only if Ted Danson is DMing.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Is this even a necessary component of necromancy in 5e? Do we imagine that a soul is at all involved in a zombie?
A soul is not there, but desecration of the dead has and is regarded as evil. It's pretty hard not to view raising the dead to be servants and warriors for you as desecration of the dead.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Because chaotic demons are going to stick to a strict sin pricing schedule? :p And, would celestials trust fiends to do the weighing?

I should have put devils rather than fiends, because demons are more interested in destruction that your soul. But you do know that Asmodeus was indeed granted by the upper planes the right to judge how evil souls are because he uses them in the Blood War ? So yes, it's consistent.

And overall, I don't see how fiends are the ones weighing your soul when spells like "Detect Evil" can detect its weight in realtime while you are still alive. And in the Great Wheel, the fiends are on various alignment planes - the measure of your actions must be taken to send it to the proper plane, before any fiends see it.

The universe is weighing your soul, it's just that devils are nitpickers and like to keep records. :p

Except, of course, the DM themselves, being human and using human morals as their baseline, are probably not being particularly objective (or, perhaps more importantly, consistent)...

As a player, you are trusting your DM to be objective in all things, right ? Why is this one different ?
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Is this even a necessary component of necromancy in 5e? Do we imagine that a soul is at all involved in a zombie?
It was not the case in all editions of D&D (in particular in 3e there was a clear distinction between skeleton/zombies which were just animated corpses and the rest of the undead), but 5e has clearly made necromancy evil.
 


John R Davis

Adventurer
Can you expand on why you feel D&D needs a big E Evil?

D&D's foundation is based on war games (no big E Evil) and exploring dungeons for treasure (no big E Evil).

At what point do you feel like Big E Evil became necessary for D&D?
Wargames? And there was no big evil?!?!??
Great/Powerful heroes need a Great/Powerful nemesis who is their opposite.

Loads shades gray games; let DND remain full on good 'guy' versus evil 'guy'.

And the Big E was in DND from the first ever module
 
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Lyxen

Great Old One
I once played a necromancer who saw all dead people as worshippers of his goddess. Raising them as skeletons and zombies was just calling the faithful to service.

It's fine, but I would not think that even he would call that act "good", he would probably consider it "appropriate" or "necessary", but in 5e it is clearly evil (probably because of the negative energies involved.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
It's fine, but I would not think that even he would call that act "good", he would probably consider it "appropriate" or "necessary", but in 5e it is clearly evil (probably because of the negative energies involved.
Oh, he definitely thought it was good! What a waste, for worshippers of his goddess to be moldering in the ground!
 

Bird Of Play

Explorer
If they're objective, then you can quantify it. How much evil is shoplifting bread? How about shoplifting a diamond? Tripping a little old lady? Bilking her out of her life savings? I need to know so that I can measure it against the good of rescuing a puppy from a river and returning a stolen painting in order to determine the alignment of my PC.


You've just described the legal system of any country.

Hence, it's easy to quantify evil and good. Of course, variations apply: if the bread was the only food of a starving man, it's not the same as one piece of bread in a baker's shop. Those variations are not in the legal system.... but they are in a character's alignment.
 

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