Dragonlance Dragonlance Philosophy thread

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
I am constantly confused as to how murdering a city and plunging the world into a post-apocalyptic hellhole is such a minor thing to some people.

Is it literally one of those 'a million is a statistic' deals? Is it because it was one action to murder thousands, it only counts as one?

What do you do in game when the players burn down an orphanage because one of the kids made a face at them?
Imagine if in the novels, while the Heroes of the Lance were traveling with Fizban, he just randomly decided to murder an innocent person with his magic. Whipped up a relatively small flaming magical meteorite that completely crushed and burned the innocent person to death.

That would be horrifically evil. The readers, and the Heroes of the Lance, would rightfully assume that Fizban was an evil, murdering maniac, and probably ditch him then and there. And then the books still said that Fizban/Paladine was good, that it was necessary for him to murder that random person, and that he deserves/needs to be worshipped. And people on this website started to defend his actions because "Dragonlance just has a different take on morality than you do".

That's what Paladine did. Not just to one person, but to thousands and thousands of innocent people. He was one of the 21 people that decided to drop a mountain on tons of innocent people, who all died horrifically. That's thousands of times worse than the random act of violence that I described above, but people are still defending his actions and the morality of Dragonlance, even people that think that it is wrong.

Guys, sometimes someone's/some setting's take on morality is just objectively wrong. You don't need to figure out a comprehensive, proven definition of what good and evil are in order to say that. You can just recognize that this one thing is evil and stop feeling the need to defend it for some strange reason.
 

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Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
I agree with nearly all of that, Good and Evil is I think intrinsic to human experience, our feel for what is right. Your example of smoking companies is also good, and thinking about it I think Good and Evil is talking about intent - murder is evil, because murder is intentionally killing someone, whereas the act of killing itself may in select cases not be due to circumstances (eg self defense, defending others especially if when doing so weren't trying to kill someone, it happened as a consequence).
I just don't agree that any of this means Good and Evil are objective, that was my intent of using the Pratchett quote, even if there are some things that 100% of humanity believe are evil, but perhaps for humans there is an objective evil, as long as we allow for the possibility that aliens may have a different view, and so would be evil to us, but not to them. Not that I would advocate that we should treat them differently, if we think what they are doing is evil for us, we should react accordingly. Possibly getting a bit too philosophical here, but feels like the intent of the thread :)
So coming down to it, I think the Kingpriest was evil, and Paladine and co Neutral at best and would have preferred it if the Cataclysm was more of a mystery as to what exactly went on like someone quoted from one of the campaign settings where multiple possibilities existed - I think would have been good to include in this current book. I accept though that the authors may have had a different view on these matters, though if in real life I wouldn't let this acceptance of a different view of good / evil to prevent me stopping them from doing what i believe is evil.
In SotDQ it appears they ask the characters how the Cataclysm has impacted them, and I certainly think it would be fair for characters to believe that all the Gods were evil for what occurred and to not want anything to do with their return (and so fight Takhisis / her forces , but spurn the help of Paladine and co).
I think Good and Evil are terms objective to the human existence. The possibility of aliens or other animals that don't follow our morality doesn't contradict that. They're not human, so it would be impossible to judge them using our morality, even if it were objective to how we live.
 




gban007

Explorer
I think Good and Evil are terms objective to the human existence. The possibility of aliens or other animals that don't follow our morality doesn't contradict that. They're not human, so it would be impossible to judge them using our morality, even if it were objective to how we live.
That I can get behind / agree with, and is interesting to think that there is an objective good / evil, and that we are still learning the extent of it - some stuff we clearly define as evil today, well canvassed previously, but some items people in the past didn't consider evil, but always were evil as such - so we get closer to that final definition of what is objectively evil for humans, and this idea allows us to keep learning better around what is good and evil for us, so I can see how this marries up to scientific principles you mentioned earlier.
 

gban007

Explorer
Sounds like the gods of Krynn to me.
Problem of portrayal of the Gods, and all the other species in Dragonlance, is that they are still presented has having very human behaviours (and for the other species, thoughts for the most part - the Kender having some differences here in their fearlessness / naivety but that is called out as unusual). So if they genuinely wanted the Gods to be alien, they needed to try and portray that better, part of that I think would have entailed removing Fizban from the plot, which would be a shame as I did enjoy him, but helped also humanize Paladine.
Having read the Three Body Problem trilogy recently, I think it did a good job in portraying how the aliens there are other and not human like in thoughts / patterns / behaviour.
 

Xamnam

Loves Your Favorite Game
Problem of portrayal of the Gods, and all the other species in Dragonlance, is that they are still presented has having very human behaviours (and for the other species, thoughts for the most part - the Kender having some differences here in their fearlessness / naivety but that is called out as unusual). So if they genuinely wanted the Gods to be alien, they needed to try and portray that better, part of that I think would have entailed removing Fizban from the plot, which would be a shame as I did enjoy him, but helped also humanize Paladine.
Having read the Three Body Problem trilogy recently, I think it did a good job in portraying how the aliens there are other and not human like in thoughts / patterns / behaviour.
Oh, for sure, writing such a foreign perspective in a way that is engaging, comprehensible, and full-bodied is an incredibly tricky task to do. I'm impressed by those who can, and don't necessarily levy full criticism against things that fail to reach that mark. So, beings that are embodiments of cosmological forces get some room there for me. Plus, as I said early on in this thread, given that good and evil are things that definitionally exist as tangible in that universe, at least as compared to ours, I don't expect it to match up to the definition we would use. An infinite being is going to view it as something very different than any of us mortals. We have been and will continue to argue about morality forever, and here we can claim ownership of coming up with the concept :p
 


Scribe

Legend
No it doesn't. Just because we disagree on whether pineapple or anchovy goes on pizza doesn't mean we can't agree that urine is a bad sauce for pizza.

As much as we all love, or hate, a pineapple analogy, that one really doesnt work. Unless a whole lot of people, dont actually mind urine as a pizza sauce...
 


As much as we all love, or hate, a pineapple analogy, that one really doesnt work. Unless a whole lot of people, dont actually mind urine as a pizza sauce...
The point is that we don't have to agree what good is to agree that things are bad.

And its relevance is that I don't think that anyone is trying to claim that the Kingpriest was other than bad. The two camps appear to be:
  • The Kingpriest was evil and corrupt and, given that good and evil are metaphysical forces in older D&D clearly was Evil.
  • The head god of Good says that the Kingpriest was good. The statblock says the Kingpriest was Lawful Good. By Dragonlance standards the Kingpriest was, therefore Good. Which means that there is something deeply wrong with Good on Krynn.
The second option is the one I find to be (a) correct and (b) far more interesting for worldbuilding.
 

I am constantly confused as to how murdering a city and plunging the world into a post-apocalyptic hellhole is such a minor thing to some people.
You don't need to understand it to know that it is a fact that other people do not share your values. And therefore your values are not universal.
What do you do in game when the players burn down an orphanage because one of the kids made a face at them?
Nothing. It's up to the players to decide what their characters do. It's not the DM's job to stand in judgment over their morality.
 

The point is that we don't have to agree what good is to agree that things are bad.

And its relevance is that I don't think that anyone is trying to claim that the Kingpriest was other than bad. The two camps appear to be:
  • The Kingpriest was evil and corrupt and, given that good and evil are metaphysical forces in older D&D clearly was Evil.
  • The head god of Good says that the Kingpriest was good. The statblock says the Kingpriest was Lawful Good. By Dragonlance standards the Kingpriest was, therefore Good. Which means that there is something deeply wrong with Good on Krynn.
The second option is the one I find to be (a) correct and (b) far more interesting for worldbuilding.
and again, if something is wrong/different about the meaning of GOOD on krynn it needs to be spelled out
 

You don't need to understand it to know that it is a fact that other people do not share your values. And therefore your values are not universal.
by that logic we can't use the word good to mean anything. so we are back to team green and team yellow.
Nothing. It's up to the players to decide what their characters do. It's not the DM's job to stand in judgment over their morality.
 


Scribe

Legend
The point is that we don't have to agree what good is to agree that things are bad.

And its relevance is that I don't think that anyone is trying to claim that the Kingpriest was other than bad. The two camps appear to be:
  • The Kingpriest was evil and corrupt and, given that good and evil are metaphysical forces in older D&D clearly was Evil.
  • The head god of Good says that the Kingpriest was good. The statblock says the Kingpriest was Lawful Good. By Dragonlance standards the Kingpriest was, therefore Good. Which means that there is something deeply wrong with Good on Krynn.
The second option is the one I find to be (a) correct and (b) far more interesting for worldbuilding.

I think your analogy is making an assumption though that because people like different things, and some people dislike other things, that what we personally dislike (pineapple), are objectively bad (urine sauce). And thats...not a sentence I expected to type first thing in the morning.

Further, I dont think the stat block of the Kingpriest is the kicker on this conversation. I dont think anyone is saying the Kingpriest, in the final measure, at the final moment, was Good.

I do find that stat block to be...weird.
 

Further, I dont think the stat block of the Kingpriest is the kicker on this conversation. I dont think anyone is saying the Kingpriest, in the final measure, at the final moment, was Good.
I think that you got it right when you said that stat block is weird... but yes, reread teh thread, people think he was good and paladine was good and that the cataclysm was good.
 


I think your analogy is making an assumption though that because people like different things, and some people dislike other things, that what we personally dislike (pineapple), are objectively bad (urine sauce). And thats...not a sentence I expected to type first thing in the morning.
My point is that it's possible to both dislike things because we don't like the taste or texture (pineapple, anchovy), and for things to be objectively bad (urine sauce). And that we don't have to agree about pineapple to agree about urine sauce.
Further, I dont think the stat block of the Kingpriest is the kicker on this conversation. I dont think anyone is saying the Kingpriest, in the final measure, at the final moment, was Good.

I do find that stat block to be...weird.
Have you just not understood the conversation? No one that I am aware of in the conversation is saying that the Kingpriest is good - and that is the whole point. On the other hand it is clear and unambiguous that Paladine claimed that the Kingpriest was good. The question is why Paladine, chief god of Good claimed that the Kingpriest was good. And what implications it has for the setting that the chief God of Good claimed that the Kingpriest was Good - especially when it is confirmed by the statblock and Good has (or had) serious supernatural impacts and was measurable.
 

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