Dragonlance Dragonlance "Reimagined".

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Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I think defending mass murder- and make no mistake, that's the Cataclysm in a nutshell- as "good" is always going to fail. If you find that mass murder is somewhere in the grey area, well, we disagree about the borders of that grey.
I think the issue isn't so much about real-world religion as it is about older belief systems (which informed a lot of classical literature, mythology, and yes, religions) with regard to collective punishments being handed down onto an entire group for the failure of one individual (usually a leader of some sort). You don't have to look very hard to find that particular idea in numerous tales from antiquity (and more recently, for that matter).

Now, that conflicts drastically with contemporary attitudes, which strongly emphasize personalism with regards to moral culpability. And since alignment presents itself as the objective presence of Good and Evil, it's easy to see why some people reject any presentation of "absolute Good" that fails to adhere to the present understanding of morality.

That said, I think there's room to understand and enjoy a game setting where an older, alternative definition of Goodness (even in an absolute sense) is utilized, without any presumption that this necessarily means that the people who enjoy that are legitimately rejecting contemporary values.
 

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Zardnaar

Legend
I feel like there's a vast, airy gulf between 'people don't need to be completely black and white' and 'sometimes people just commit atrocities, but that's okay; they're still good people if they can justify it'.

Depends on the situation.

Bomber crews in WW2 for example come to mind. Ideal world shouldn't happen. But it's not an ideal world.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Yeah, we're not going to get into the real world issue of the responsibilities of soldier in armies. It's a question that's being hotly debated by far more qualified individuals then we who argue about elf games.

I kind of doubt any of those soldiers had selectively limited omnipotence.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Couldn't the gods have maybe, I dunno, denied them their spells? The answer to this in 1e and 2e, at the very least, is absolutely yes. At the worst, you could argue that these guys might have retained access to lower level spells only.
This exactly. According to the DL wiki, the gods sent signs--plague of insects, rivers of blood type of signs. All of which were misinterpreted as being signs that the gods of evil wanted to stop the Kingpriest, which made him think that he was on the right track and scaring them.

But this is D&D. His gods should have simply yanked all of his spells away (barring maybe those low-level spells that stem from faith alone, although I don't know if that was a thing in 1e) and maybe sent literal visions of his gods saying NO, BAD KINGPRIEST, NO ULTIMATE POWER FOR YOU.

That, right there, would be enough to make the gods of Good remain good. If the kingpriest then went on to commit horrible acts for his cause, to work around his loss of power by learning forbidden wizard magic, raising a non-spellcasting army, and other such things, then we can maybe look at throwing a mountain (at his army, not at an empire filled with innocent people).
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
What im saying is, the way D&D alignment works, he wasnt evil. He was DOING evil, but as they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Evil in D&D is selfish and self-serving. From Lawful to Neutral to Chaotic. He wasn't self-serving. He honestly believed he was helping the world at large. You can be a good person and still do bad things especially for the wrong reasons. That's even true in real life.
I would say that in D&D, he would still be evil. In fact, with that mentality, he would work perfectly as a Ravenloft darklord. Elana Faithhold isn't much different--she performs evil acts for the greater good as well, and she's a darklord.

At the very least, if he performed that many evil acts, then no matter his intentions, he would no longer be good. At best, he'd be neutral.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I would say that in D&D, he would still be evil. In fact, with that mentality, he would work perfectly as a Ravenloft darklord. Elana Faithhold isn't much different--she performs evil acts for the greater good as well, and she's a darklord.

At the very least, if he performed that many evil acts, then no matter his intentions, he would no longer be good. At best, he'd be neutral.

The other option is he isn't personally commiting the acts and is unaware if what's going on in his name.

Pride, hubris etc.

People just assume all good aligned folk get along and the other side is evil.

What is actually evil is also very subjective. Eg killing full stop vs personal defense vs defending your country (in an invasion).

Or why villians are bwa ha ha I'm evil to make it clear who's bad. There's a lot of grey.

Cataclysm is an old trope about divine retribution. We've had about 3000 years of that at least.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I suppose it’s easier on the imagination when you’ve been raised as a part of a major religion that has a “good god” who did something similar when the whole world was considered corrupted beyond saving.

Falling into that whole “the gods know better than us mere mortals can comprehend.”
They have stats, class levels, and alignments, and they sometimes manifest. They are very comprehendable to mortals--specifically, those mortals who are running and playing the game or reading the books, who are the only ones who count in this case. If the gods are to be truly mysterious, then they need to be done Eberron-style. No alignment. Anyone can get and keep cleric abilities, regardless of their actions. They don't manifest.

And remember that this isn't a real-world religion. This is a fictional religion written by people who are trying to cram real-world religious tropes into a fictional setting that also says that a paladin who hangs around a thief could lose their paladin-hood, because the paladin was allowing non-LG actions to take place.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
The other option is he isn't personally commiting the acts and is unaware if what's going on in his name.
According to the wiki, he ordered attacks on various (good-aligned) temples, re-instituted slavery (of worshipers of neutral and evil gods), and used telepaths to read peoples' minds to make sure they weren't doing evil (and this somehow caused the deaths of "many innocent people"). I'd say he knew what was going on.

But the problem isn't whether or not the kingpriest was evil, knowingly evil, or just doing evil in the name of good. The problem is that the setting insists on a balance between Good and Evil and says that genocide is an acceptable act by deities of Goodness.

Pride, hubris etc.

People just assume all good aligned folk get along and the other side is evil.
I don't assume that. But I assume that good-aligned folk have very similar goals, even if their approaches are different, and that most of the problems between good people is in implementing those approaches.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
According to the wiki, he ordered attacks on various (good-aligned) temples, re-instituted slavery (of worshipers of neutral and evil gods), and used telepaths to read peoples' minds to make sure they weren't doing evil (and this somehow caused the deaths of "many innocent people"). I'd say he knew what was going on.

But the problem isn't whether or not the kingpriest was evil, knowingly evil, or just doing evil in the name of good. The problem is that the setting insists on a balance between Good and Evil and says that genocide is an acceptable act by deities of Goodness.


I don't assume that. But I assume that good-aligned folk have very similar goals, even if their approaches are different, and that most of the problems between good people is in implementing those approaches.

Genocide does happen in Sci Fi and fantasy normally when said race is irredeemabley evil, xenophobic or aggressive usually all three.

Hence why big bads often get imprisoned. Then escape.
 


Genocide does happen in Sci Fi and fantasy normally when said race is irredeemabley evil, xenophobic or aggressive usually all three.

Hence why big bads often get imprisoned. Then escape.
that is true but the people he was targeting where not all that thus it seems the point is not relevant here.
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
I think the issue isn't so much about real-world religion as it is about older belief systems (which informed a lot of classical literature, mythology, and yes, religions) with regard to collective punishments being handed down onto an entire group for the failure of one individual (usually a leader of some sort). You don't have to look very hard to find that particular idea in numerous tales from antiquity (and more recently, for that matter).

Now, that conflicts drastically with contemporary attitudes, which strongly emphasize personalism with regards to moral culpability. And since alignment presents itself as the objective presence of Good and Evil, it's easy to see why some people reject any presentation of "absolute Good" that fails to adhere to the present understanding of morality.

That said, I think there's room to understand and enjoy a game setting where an older, alternative definition of Goodness (even in an absolute sense) is utilized, without any presumption that this necessarily means that the people who enjoy that are legitimately rejecting contemporary values.
I've been informed recently that its impossible to publish something that doesn't conform to contemporary values, so I guess that's off the table.

Quick question, just out of curiosity: what exactly do the people here that seem to hate the thematic core of Dragonlance actually want DL to be in this "reimagined" version? What story do you want them to tell, and in what way would it still be Dragonlance, if you're rejecting the premise of the setting's fictional history and the story told in the original novels?
 

Micah Sweet

Legend
It seems like, given the origins of the philosophy espoused by Dragonlance through it's creator's beliefs, that this topic can't really be discussed without breaking forum rules.
 

Quick question, just out of curiosity: what exactly do the people here that seem to hate the thematic core of Dragonlance actually want DL to be in this "reimagined" version? What story do you want them to tell, and in what way would it still be Dragonlance, if you're rejecting the premise of the setting's fictional history and the story told in the original novels?
I don't hate the thematic core... I hate some of the specific bits though.

1. I want the balance of good and evil to be something that either A) isn't as needed or B) makes more sense with 'too much good' actually being examples of good, not people who we are told are good but doing super evil things
2. I want the alignment removed from the wizard robes and instead have them be concepts not good/evil

as for the story, I want the war of the lance. I want the gods are just coming back and the Draconian are just attacking
 

Getting back to the question of Gods, there's a difference between a Good pantheon and a Pantheon-in-being* (with the Dragonlance "good" pantheon actually being a Pantheon-in-being). And the best illustration of a pantheon-in-being is the 4e Nentir Vale deities, also used in Critical Role.

The Gods in that pantheon are definitely a pantheon-in-being and, although some of the gods are good e.g. Erathis God of Civilisation and The Raven Queen God of the Dead certainly aren't. What they are is a group of extremely powerful beings who trust enough to work together against outside threats - and it was this working together that enabled them to defeat the individually more powerful Primordials. Meanwhile the gods that can't get along with this pantheon, normally because they think they should be the ones in charge, are outside it. The ones who can't get along and think they should be in charge are (like Tahksis) normally evil - but this is not a necessity.

If a Pantheon-in-being were to have e.g. caused the cataclysm few would have a problem. And most people would, I think, agree that the Pantheon In Being was an improvement over Takhsis' would be usurpers. The problem arises when a neutral pantheon-in-being is somehow claimed to be the embodiment of Good.

* Name borrowed from a fleet-in-being
 

I've been informed recently that its impossible to publish something that doesn't conform to contemporary values, so I guess that's off the table.
It's Impossible WotC will. If you're a small press go knock yourself out.
Quick question, just out of curiosity: what exactly do the people here that seem to hate the thematic core of Dragonlance actually want DL to be in this "reimagined" version?
Asked and answered. Balance Is Good is not the thematic core of Dragonlance as presented in the books. The thematic core is presented in the modules - and it's a large Saturday Morning Cartoon setting of good vs evil where the bad guys come colour coded for your convenience.

"Balance is king" is hated in part because it opposes the thematic core of Dragonlance. And the idea that Balance Is The Ultimate Good was a steaming dump taken at the end of the three original books (which were about a fight against often colour coded villains) and has almost no bearing on most of the books.

If you were to cut Balance Is Good from the original trilogy you'd have to change what? Three paragraphs between the three novels. If you were to cut it from The Twins trilogy would you have to change anything? I didn't realise until I was multiple books in that the "Good" Gods had directly caused the Cataclysm - my understanding was that the Kingpriest had tried a spell to compel the Gods and it had blown up in his face.

So what do I want? I want Dragonlance to follow through on its thematic core rather than betray its own thematic core with things that stand in stark conflict with what it presented as its thematic core.

I just think that you are completely wrong about what that thematic core is.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I've been informed recently that its impossible to publish something that doesn't conform to contemporary values, so I guess that's off the table.
Nobody has said that.

But really, if you publish something in 2022 that conforms to the values of something written in 1985, with all the (un)intentional sexism, racism, and other bigotries of the time, and without any understanding of what tropes are no longer interesting--who do you think would buy it?

Quick question, just out of curiosity: what exactly do the people here that seem to hate the thematic core of Dragonlance actually want DL to be in this "reimagined" version? What story do you want them to tell, and in what way would it still be Dragonlance, if you're rejecting the premise of the setting's fictional history and the story told in the original novels?
And absolutely nobody has said that they hate the thematic core of Dragonlance. In fact, lots of people have said that they love the thematic core. A great war, involving dragon-riding knights, between Good and Evil. With draconian super-soldiers on one side.

What people don't want are the stupid things in the setting. Cosmically "Good" people and organizations that allow for or actively commit evil deeds. Mary Sue kletpomaniacs. Ablest caricatures. Poorly-thought out white stereotypes of Native Americans. And so forth.

The real question is, why is it so important that these things remain in the game?
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
Quick question, just out of curiosity: what exactly do the people here that seem to hate the thematic core of Dragonlance actually want DL to be in this "reimagined" version? What story do you want them to tell, and in what way would it still be Dragonlance, if you're rejecting the premise of the setting's fictional history and the story told in the original novels?
Epic fantasy dragon-riding battles.

I don't want there to be the idiotic "too much Good is just as bad as too much Evil" moral. That is stupid and demonstrably incorrect and every time they tried to prove the moral true in the setting, they just made the "too much Good" just be "too much Evil".

I don't want the setting's morals to excuse/endorse genocide. I don't want the people that commit genocide and other atrocities to be labeled as "Good".

I also don't want "Good" and "Unbelievably Stupid" to be synonymous in the setting (i.e. the origin story of Draconians).

I don't want the setting to have stand-ins for real world mental disorders (autism/down syndrome, kleptomania, ADHD, Alzheimer's/dementia) that it regularly mocks.

I want magical knights that ride on the backs of dragons to fight other dragons. That's what I want. Not questionable (at best) morals and ableist mockery.
 

DarkCrisis

Legend
Nobody has said that.

But really, if you publish something in 2022 that conforms to the values of something written in 1985, with all the (un)intentional sexism, racism, and other bigotries of the time, and without any understanding of what tropes are no longer interesting--who do you think would buy it?


And absolutely nobody has said that they hate the thematic core of Dragonlance. In fact, lots of people have said that they love the thematic core. A great war, involving dragon-riding knights, between Good and Evil. With draconian super-soldiers on one side.

What people don't want are the stupid things in the setting. Cosmically "Good" people and organizations that allow for or actively commit evil deeds. Mary Sue kletpomaniacs. Ablest caricatures. Poorly-thought out white stereotypes of Native Americans. And so forth.

The real question is, why is it so important that these things remain in the game?
If you think the thematic core of DL is the War of the Lance, then you’ve probably only ever read the first trilogy of novels.

There is a lot more to DL than just LOL Dragon War pew pew pew. Again, you could stick that in any setting, like Faerun.
 

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