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D&D 5E The alignments defined

Sure. Lawful Neutral. Or Lawful Evil. Not Lawful Good.

Lawful evil quite probably.

By declaring genocide, murder and rape (and the people who engage in those practices) as being evil, you're not losing any nuance. It's a self evident statement. If you declare them as anything else than evil, you're forming a disconnect (or making a personal moral statement that is... concerning).

The murderers, rapists and genocidal monsters probably think they're good, and doing it for a good reason.

They just arent. For obvious reasons.
 

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Well yeah; if people ride into a village and slaughter everyone in there, they're evil.

That's why Drow and Orcs are evil. They torture, murder, rape and engage in genocide.



No, it isnt.

If I was reading a story where Ashoka Tahno or Robin hood or Jessica Jones or Han Solo or some other unconventional jaded rascal [with a heart of gold] started cutting off a prisoners fingers for information, id think 'naughty word; THAT was out of character'. It would be a huge disconnect to say the least.

Torture is not a morally good thing to do. A good person doesnt torture, and finds another way to get the information.

If you're playing a CG PC and you resort to torture, you're just being too lazy to find the information elsewhere and a naughty word roleplayer.
Or there is simply no time to get it before many dies for nothing. A LG will not do it. The NG will use muscle but will not go to extremes. The CG however will be tempted and might do it if he can't find any other way. It will not be his first choice, ever. The Evil, however, will pick this immediately.
 

Or there is simply no time to get it before many dies for nothing.

So what? You're a Good person. You're not about torture someone for information. You're not a monster.

A LG will not do it. The NG will use muscle but will not go to extremes. The CG however will be tempted and might do it if he can't find any other way. It will not be his first choice, ever. The Evil, however, will pick this immediately.

No, you're confusing the Law-Chaos spectrum with the Good-evil spectrum.

All three people above are GOOD. They dont go around harming, killing, torturing, raping and oppressing others. That's what Good means.

They also are either strongly bound to family, honor and/ or traditon and upholding a strong personal code (Lawful) OR they're unpredictable, unconventional and/or jaded and buck against tradition and order (Chaotic) or they sit in the middle somewhere (Neutral).

Being chaotic doesn't 'mean 'more likely than lawful to engage in evil'.

I do agree the Evil person will resort to torture. He doesnt just pick up a knife straight away though in many cases. Some would. Most would try intimidation or coercion, and if that didnt work torture is on the table.

It's a dirty job, but it's for the greater good (thinks the evil person).
 

By declaring genocide, murder and rape (and the people who engage in those practices) as being evil, you're not losing any nuance. It's a self evident statement. If you declare them as anything else than evil, you're forming a disconnect (or making a personal moral statement that is... concerning).

The murderers, rapists and genocidal monsters probably think they're good, and doing it for a good reason.

They just arent. For obvious reasons.
1) Remove rape from this list. It is nowhere in the list. I won't engage in this kind of talk.
2) Where did you read in the list that a good aligned (or neutral for that matter) will kill for pleasure or money? Nowhere? Then stop using these two for your case.

As for genocide.
In our real world, I fully agree with you.
In a medieval world where there are many races and gods walk the earth it is an entire other matter.
Consider this. The Orcs of the Broken Skull tribe have raided the kingdom for the 10th time. They descend from their mountain adobe. Kill hundreds of innocents, pillage, rape and zounds of atrocities. You're a Lawful Good paladin and you are ordered to lead an army to eradicate (read here genocide) the Broken Skull tribe to the last living representative.

What would the paladin do?
1) No, I won't do it?
2) As you order my lord?

He'll do number 2 for sure.
Once he's there. He eliminates the warriors but the non combatants are there.
What will he do?
1) Eradicate them?
2) Let the non combatant leave the mountains for an other zone?

He'd do number 2 again.
If he were LE, or NE he would have simply killed the whole lot. A LN might go either way, depending on the actions of the non combatants.
 

Coroc

Hero
...
The Do(s) and don’ts of alignments.
....

There have been lots of such example for alignment in the various PHB and DMG over the editions and in other sources, I even found it in manuals of D&D computer games.

Most of them and yours have one error in common:

You intermingle modern (RL) ethics with eternal (RL) natural laws, ignore circumstances, ignore knowledge, justice system and religion and ethos of a medieval or antique society, but in your case add something which we at least partially would consider racism IRL (I do not condemn these stereotypical stuff for gaming, it is just to evaluate this long list a bit better)

Examples for that and some RL comparisons:

Torture: Although there always were some perverts or sadistic folks, who would torture just out of pleasure (which in fact is a clear indicator for CE or at least NE alignment, in some rare cases of mental illness also CN) the main purpose of torture in former times was to gain information or evidence.
The misconception was, that an individual would not lie if subjected to torture. But it was common belief back then (RL) and to some extend holds truth.
Today (normal people) condemn torture, because the ethics say it is better to let 100 criminals run than to punish an innocent.
Torture also could be (part of a) punishment, but the information gathering in a world without modern criminalistics methods was its main purpose.

I will add to this post later
 

There have been lots of such example for alignment in the various PHB and DMG over the editions and in other sources, I even found it in manuals of D&D computer games.

Most of them and yours have one error in common:

You intermingle modern (RL) ethics with eternal (RL) natural laws, ignore circumstances, ignore knowledge, justice system and religion and ethos of a medieval or antique society, but in your case add something which we at least partially would consider racism IRL (I do not condemn these stereotypical stuff for gaming, it is just to evaluate this long list a bit better)

Examples for that and some RL comparisons:

Torture: Although there always were some perverts or sadistic folks, who would torture just out of pleasure (which in fact is a clear indicator for CE or at least NE alignment, in some rare cases of mental illness also CN) the main purpose of torture in former times was to gain information or evidence.
The misconception was, that an individual would not lie if subjected to torture. But it was common belief back then (RL) and to some extend holds truth.
Today (normal people) condemn torture, because the ethics say it is better to let 100 criminals run than to punish an innocent.
Torture also could be (part of a) punishment, but the information gathering in a world without modern criminalistics methods was its main purpose.

I will add to this post later
Fully agree with you. That is why I always said to not put modern morality in a medieval game. We are, again I hope, living in an enlightened society where these things are avoided at all cost. And yet, we know that there are people out there that are still using it.
 

No, you're confusing the Law-Chaos spectrum with the Good-evil spectrum.
I do not think so.

All three people above are GOOD. They dont go around harming, killing, torturing, raping and oppressing others. That's what Good means.

They also are either strongly bound to family, honor and/ or traditon and upholding a strong personal code (Lawful) OR they're unpredictable, unconventional and/or jaded and buck against tradition and order (Chaotic) or they sit in the middle somewhere (Neutral).
Fully agree.

Being chaotic doesn't 'mean 'more likely than lawful to engage in evil'.

More or less. It does however gives you a leeway that the neutral and lawful will not have. The Chaotic Good will not go heavy on torture and again I must stress that it will be as a last resort. There will be consequences if a CG engage in such an endeavor. It will never be his first pick ever.

I do agree the Evil person will resort to torture. He doesnt just pick up a knife straight away though in many cases. Some would. Most would try intimidation or coercion, and if that didnt work torture is on the table.

It's a dirty job, but it's for the greater good (thinks the evil person).
Fully agree.
 

1) Remove rape from this list. It is nowhere in the list. I won't engage in this kind of talk.

As vile as Rape is, Genocide (a word you used, in your OP, as something a Good person can engage in) is a magnitude of degrees worse.


As for genocide.
In our real world, I fully agree with you.
In a medieval world where there are many races and gods walk the earth it is an entire other matter.
Consider this. The Orcs of the Broken Skull tribe have raided the kingdom for the 10th time. They descend from their mountain adobe. Kill hundreds of innocents, pillage, rape and zounds of atrocities. You're a Lawful Good paladin and you are ordered to lead an army to eradicate (read here genocide) the Broken Skull tribe to the last living representative.

Presuming a LG Paladin of Torm?

I deny the orders as unjust and evil, and refuse to participate in them.

I instead implore my liege Lord to first allow me to seek an audience with the King of the Broken Skull tribe, under truce, to discuss terms whereby the raids stop, in exchange for vital trade exchanges between the nations. Instead of plunder, perhaps the two nations can come to some terms where they can live peacefully with each other.

(This was how the Vikings were stopped by the way (seeing as you want to continue to throw medieval terms times at me). The French and English just let them stay, granted them land to farm and so forth, or tribute under a vassalage ystem). Its where Normandy and the Danelaw came from.)

In other words, I first use all such reasonable methods to end the conflict without bloodshed.

If such a truce fails or the Orcs refuse negotiations, and the Orcs are raiding (or just about to raid), I lead an army of men to meet them in battle, using decisive force to stop them until they surrender, or are driven back.

If even more decisive measures are needed (for example, the Orcs have a habit of simply regrouping and re attacking over and over again, are known Gruumsh worshippers, hold prisoners or slaves of the people I am sworn to protect etc), I then ride into their head town or encampment, capture or kill their chieftain (if he refuses surrender), free any captured people, and establish order, placing a new leader in his place (an Orc or Half Orc of good alignment, or one that is amicable to a treaty or friendly relations with my liege Lord would suffice; failing that an Orc that thinks trade is preferable to occupation and martial law). I outlaw the worst practices of the worship of Gruumsh and other Gods of evil (practices such as Slavery, Murder and Rape) and leave a garrison of my men in the town to maintain order.

I treat all prisoners with mercy, kindness and respect. I ensure they are fed and treated as well as my own men, and give them the medical attention they need. I free them (disarmed of course) and let them return to their families as a sign of Torm and my Lords mercy.

My men are under strict orders not to plunder, mistreat prisoners, rape, or harm civilians. They are to act as a beacon of good and hope.

I also ensure my Priests (who are tending to the sick) seek to convert to my faith as many Orcs as are willing to do so of their own accord, and see the light of Torms words

He'd do number 2 again.

No, you're giving me a false binary. It's not an 'either/or'. It never is an 'either/or'. These ridiculous alignment hypotheticals are always reduced to two options (both of them evil). It's stupid and doesnt reflect the real world.
 
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The misconception was, that an individual would not lie if subjected to torture. But it was common belief back then (RL) and to some extend holds truth.

It holds a lot of truth.

Effectiveness of torture for interrogation - Wikipedia

A person under torture simply tells you what you want to hear (to make the pain stop). If you want them to tell you they're a witch, or an infidel or whatever, then they'll admit to that (regardless of if you did it or not) to make the pain stop. They will tell you what they think you want to know, in order to make you stop.

IRL, every person burnt at the stake after 'confessing' to witchcraft admitted said witchcraft under torture. Seeing as witchcraft doesnt exist, that's saying something.

If 'admitting' (making up) a story that you suckle your familiar at your nipple, and ride broomsticks at night makes the scary guy stop cutting off your fingers, then that's exactly what you'll tell them to make him stop cutting off your fingers.

And of course, then there are the fanatics prepared to die for the cause. If you're OK with torture, that is going to get pretty fucked up when that guy runs out of fingers and toes and you're still cutting him up.

Who is the evil one then?

Torture is highly ineffective, immoral, inhumane and downright evil. No good person contemplates it. Only evil people, and the occasional desperate neutral person (on the darker side of neutral) even consider it, and even then, very few actually engage in it.
 

As vile as Rape is, Genocide (a word you used, in your OP, as something a Good person can engage in) is a magnitude of degrees worse.

I deny the orders as unjust and evil, and refuse to participate in them.

Then your character loses his command, branded a traitor and stripped of everything as a person who prefer to let evil thing live on to perpetrate rape, murder and pillaging. He is not a good person for his fellow citizens.

I instead implore my liege Lord to first allow me to seek an audience with the King of the Broken Skull tribe, under truce, to discuss terms whereby the raids stop, in exchange for vital trade exchanges between the nations. Instead of plunder, perhaps the two nations can come to some terms where they can live peacefully with each other.

Your character is a fool. You can't reasons with these and you know it. Doing anything else is self delusions.

If such a truce fails or the Orcs refuse negotiations, and the Orcs are raiding (or just about to raid), I lead an army of men to meet them in battle, using decisive force to stop them until they surrender, or are driven back.

You know that this is exactly what would happened from the start. Why taking time to negociate with your liege while people are getting killed from your inaction? This is pretty much heartless for me.

If more decisive measures are needed (they have a habit of simply regrouping and re attacking over and over again), I then ride into their head town or encampment, capture or kill their chieftain (if he refuses surrender), and establish order, placing a new leader in his place (an Orc or Half Orc of good alignment, or one that is amicable to a treaty or friendly relations with my liege Lord), outlawing the worst practices of the worship of Gruumsh and other Gods of evil (practices such as Slavery, Murder and Rape) and leave a garrison of my men in the town to maintain order.
Probably will not work. Banish them away is a better option. The half-orc you put into power will get killed very fast for being a weakling working for weaklings. Gruumsh will demand as much.

I treat all prisoners with mercy, kindness and respect. I ensure they are fed and treated as well as my own men, and give them the medical attention they need. I free them (disarmed of course) and let them return to their families as a sign of Torm and my Lords mercy.
Your lord will not be happy. But will probably accept as the threat might be solved for good. A few years later as they come back... But on this one a LG would/will do that. Unless the non combatants try to fight back...



No, you're giving me a false binary. It's not an 'either/or'. It never is an 'either/or'. These ridiculous alignment hypotheticals are always reduced to two options (both of them evil). It's stupid and doesnt reflect the real world.
Not stupid but does not reflect... the modern world. It does reflect the absolute dichotomy that the medieval times were in. You are good or evil. You are on one side or the other. Our side is the good side the other is evil. It was such a way that things happened. Now not only are we having a medieval period, but we have different races and gods. The orcs were created by an evil god to serve it. They are evil to the core.

You keep applying modern mentality when I tell you not to. I told you that from a modern POV in the real world you are absolutely right. So trying to convince me that, from a fantastical medieval pov your position is sustainable, is not working and will never get through.

Now if in your world orcs can be any alignment (such as in Wildemount) then diplomacy would stand a lot of chance to work and your propositions would take precedence. That much is obvious. But in a world where orcs are evil (and so are the "evil" races) and have no choice on the matter because the gods made it so then diplomacy is not a solution.

Edit: Corrected "you're character for Your". Again, I am sorry if it could have been taken as name calling. I reiterate that I have the utmost respect for Flamestrike.
 
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dave2008

Legend
By today's standard you are absolutely right. By medieval standard you are a fool.
Don't resort to name calling, it makes you look small. Not to mention that D&D is not a medieval earth society. If your basing these alignments on that, you wrong from the get go.

We live, I hope, in an enlightened society where all these horrible thing are reprehensible. But in medieval times, it was not so. How many innocent women were killed for witch craft? How many people were enslaved because of the color of their skin or simply could not pay a debt? How many were tortured for their seditious ideas? How many atrocities were committed in various wars? And yet, many of these acts were done in the name of good.
Just because something was done "in the name of good," doesn't make the act or person "good."

Again, do not apply our modern vision of morality. It is simply too advanced and enlightened.
Don't apply a false European medieval vision of morality either.
 

Then your character loses his command, branded a traitor and stripped of everything as a person who prefer to let evil thing live on to perpetrate rape, murder and pillaging. He is not a good person for his fellow citizens.

Then I quit your game for trying to force my LG Paladin character into a dichotomy where my choice seems to be either:

a) Genocide and baby murder,
or
b) Outlawry, and being branded 'not good' for refusing to engage in baby murder and genocide.

You're character is a fool.

Your. Your character is a fool.

You know that this is exactly what would happened from the start. Why taking time to negociate with your liege while people are getting killed from your inaction? This is pretty much heartless for me.

What? If the Orcs are already attacking, then of course I would take up arms immediately to defend the people they're attacking.

Probably will not work. Banish them away is a better option. The half-orc you put into power will get killed very fast for being a weakling working for weaklings. Gruumsh will demand as much.

You keep applying modern mentality when I tell you not to. I told you that from a modern POV in the real world you are absolutely right. So trying to convince me that, from a fantastical medieval pov your position is sustainable, is not working and will never get through.

How do you think the Vikings were stopped?

Derp.

Now if in your world orcs can be any alignment (such as in Wildemount) then diplomacy would stand a lot of chance to work and your propositions would take precedence. That much is obvious. But in a world where orcs are evil (and so are the "evil" races) and have no choice on the matter because the gods made it so then diplomacy is not a solution
.

Sorry, I presumed we were talking about DnD where not all Orcs are evil, and the primary reason Orcs are evil is because they are lead by leaders who order them into battles of genocide...

Oh wait.
 

Torture is highly ineffective, immoral, inhumane and downright evil. No good person contemplates it. Only evil people, and the occasional desperate neutral person (on the darker side of neutral) even consider it, and even then, very few actually engage in it.
No one here contest that in the real world. And I do hope that none here will try to say otherwise.

On a medieval world, the belief that torture was a "good" tool to get information was taken as a fact. It was distasteful, but it was a mean to an end. Again you apply modernity to medieval. Put yourself in their shoes and all of a sudden, your beliefs will not be that certain.

Good people would not do it. Especially Lawful and Neutral ones. But the Chaotic Good, even though would not like it. Might be tempted to use a tool that is working.
 

Don't resort to name calling, it makes you look small. Not to mention that D&D is not a medieval earth society. If your basing these alignments on that, you wrong from the get go.


Just because something was done "in the name of good," doesn't make the act or person "good."

Don't apply a false European medieval vision of morality either.
I was talking about the paladin character. If it was not clear I am sorry and offer my appologies. I do not take Flamestrike for a fool. Quite the contrary and I have the utmost respect for him.
 

On a medieval world, the belief that torture was a "good" tool to get information was taken as a fact.

By evil people. Of which there were a lot more of back then.

Do you get it yet? We're (as in all of society) is more enlightened today (as you keep pointing out).

That means there are more good people today.
 

I was talking about the paladin character. If it was not clear I am sorry and offer my appologies. I do not take Flamestrike for a fool. Quite the contrary and I have the utmost respect for him.

Dont stress.

Look man, I personally wouldnt play in a game where the DM tried to pigeonhole torture and genocide as 'morally good' because 'its the middle ages and those things were morally good back then' and if you didnt engage in those practices 'you were a fool'.

Id certainly quit such a game if placed in some kind of binary dichotomy where my LG Paladin was made to either A) engage in genocide or B) be stripped of command, oulawed and reviled [unless such orders and outlawry came from an Evil Lord, in which case that could be kind of fun, if worked into the story with my character overthrowing said evil lord, and bringing peace and redemption arc].

We're just talking different languages here.

My view is genocide, rape, murder, slavery and torture are evil. They were just as evil 1000 years ago, as they will be in another 1000 years from now, and they are just as evil when I see or read about them in fiction, or see a depiction of a protagonist doing them. That protagonist (in my eyes) is now, evil.

You have a different view. We aint gonna see eye to eye here.
 

Just because something was done "in the name of good," doesn't make the act or person "good."
By our modern POV you are right.

Don't apply a false European medieval vision of morality either.
Mmm. I am not only applying European morality. Middle east, Far east, Eurasian, African, just about any medieval society can use these. Restricting ourselve only to European society would be too restrictive. We must try to be broader. After all, in the game world we do have different societies and not all of them are inspired by medieval Europe.
 

dave2008

Legend
So trying to convince me that, from a fantastical medieval pov your position is sustainable, is not working and will never get through.
Just want to point out that you don't get to decided what the fantastical medieval point of view is. This concept of morality, good, & evil may be your idea of FMPOV, but it doesn't need to be anyone else's. In reality, you don't get to determine what RL medieval morality was either - you weren't there. You are just guessing.

Finally, it is perfectly legit to say evil is evil and always evil. Just because our morality has changed, doesn't mean "evil" has changed. So, though murder, theft, rape, slavery or whatever may have been (or is) morally acceptable in some cultures or times, that doesn't make them good. It just mean people thought they were. Those acts were always evil, people just didn't understand that. I mean in a fantasy setting in which evil is a real thing, this is even more true.
 

Mmm. I am not only applying European morality. Middle east, Far east, Eurasian, African, just about any medieval society can use these. Restricting ourselve only to European society would be too restrictive. We must try to be broader. After all, in the game world we do have different societies and not all of them are inspired by medieval Europe.

Are you saying that those vast swathes of historical earth, with disparate cultures and religions, all had the same concepts of morality?

For what its worth, I dont really see DnD realms (outside of Birthright/ Cerillia) inspired by Medieval Earth. Most of them display highly advanced and modern Nation-States, advanced medicine, political and social structures, and magic replicating modern technology (flying cities, etc).

The closest approximation would be late renaissance (usually with a lot less gunpowder and no steam engines, because 'magic').

Faerun and Greyhawk are not medieval (some parts of them may have strong medieval or feudal vestiges). Krynn neither. Eberron sure as hell isnt; they have trains and robots and airships. Mystara maybe a little more so than Greyhawk. Darksun isnt even Medieval yet at all (or was, but blasted itself back to the Late Stone/ early Bronze age).
 

dave2008

Legend
By our modern POV you are right.
POV doesn't matter. In a game were evil is a living breathing thing. People don't wonder if there is a devil, they can go visit it it in the nine hells.


Mmm. I am not only applying European morality. Middle east, Far east, Eurasian, African, just about any medieval society can use these. Restricting ourselve only to European society would be too restrictive. We must try to be broader. After all, in the game world we do have different societies and not all of them are inspired by medieval Europe.
Don't get hung up on the European part, the important part was the "false" part. You are advocating a false perspective of medieval morality.

Finally, why would I restrict my players to a bizarre understanding of a false historical morality? D&D is not historical earth. There are so many important differences that it just doesn't make sense.
 

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