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D&D 5E The alignments defined

What fantasy inspiration are you drawing from here? LotR?

The only Lord to order genocide was Denethir and he was batshit crazy, and his orders were clearly depicted as evil. Gandalf wasnt down with 'murder the evildoers'; he expressly advised Frodo against it (with Gollum) which is what led to Good winning over Evil.

If Frodo had have murdered Gollum 'because he's evil', Sauron would have won.

Who else do we see order genocide? Sauroman? The Orcs? Sauron? The evil guys. Not the good guys.
 

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What other fantasy genre is 'murder, genocide, slavery' etc depicted as good?

Historical or otherwise?

I mean, there may be a lot if it around, but that doesn't make it good. It just means there is more of it.
 

dave2008

Legend
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.
I generally agree, except I don't think committing an evil act makes one evil. How one responds to committing an evil act, and if they understand it is evil, is an important and part of the equation.
 

I generally agree, except I don't think committing an evil act makes one evil. How one responds to committing an evil act, and if they understand it is evil, is important and part of the equation.
Exactly where I am getting at. We know. They did not always knew.
 

I generally agree, except I don't think committing an evil act makes one evil. How one responds to committing an evil act, and if they understand it is evil, is an important and part of the equation.

I think they're both important, as is the degree of the evil and the context behind it.

I could see a rare few Good person forced into the ridiculous 'kill a baby to save the world' scenario actually killing the baby (for example). That's clearly an evil act (but not one that makes the Good person, no longer good), if their actions before and after were consistently good, they agonized over the act, and it haunted them forever.

Even then I doubt a truly Good person could do it.

I could also see an otherwise Good person, doing a henious act out of rage, or hatred in the heat of the moment (and totally out of character) that might not make them an (overall) Evil person, particularly if they showed insight into their behaviour, repentance, and a commitment to change and be good.

It was jarring when Luke Skywalker pulled out his lightsaber to murder young Ben Solo in his sleep, even though he didnt go through with it. If he had have actually been shown as doing it? I would have left the cinema over a betrayal of his character and his established morality in the three movies to date (he's basically NG).
 

dave2008

Legend
Exactly where I am getting at. We know. They did not always knew.
However, we seem to disagree in that I think that act is still evil, If a person continues to commit such acts, even if they don't understand they are evil, that person will likely be evil. Not knowing your evil, doesn't make you good.

To be clear I think a person can commit good and evil acts, it is the balance of them that determines whether or not the person is evil, good, or something in between.
 


To be clear I think a person can commit good and evil acts, it is the balance of them that determines whether or not the person is evil, good, or something in between.

I disagree. A serial killer, perpetrator of genocide, slave trader or mass rapist is evil, no matter how many good deeds or good traits they otherwise display.
 

Stop putting words in my mouth. I'm talking about genocide.
The eradication of villages and people in them was not seen as evil but as necessary. Richard Lionheart did it in the crusade. He ordered the eradication of half a town and said that if only one crusader died again in that town, then the rest of the population would be killed. The muslim did the same during their conquest of india. China during the war of the 13 kingdoms saw the same things and there are probably more examples of these atrocities done in the name of good than I can find and mention here.

The eradication of heaten was seen as a good thing because it eliminated potential threats. It was saving lives. In their POV they were doing the right thing.

I will say again that I do not advocate such heinous acts.
 


dave2008

Legend
I disagree. A serial killer, perpetrator of genocide, slave trader or mass rapist is evil, no matter how many good deeds or good traits they otherwise display.
Sure, there are degrees of evil acts (and good). Such acts would tilt a person very heavily, possibly irredeemably heavily, to the evil side. On the other hand, a lie may be an evil act, but lying doesn't make you evil.

I can also see some gray in at least 3 of your big 4, so I could see them being balanced by extreme acts of good; however, extremely unlikely.
 


Raduin711

Adventurer
I don't think taking a "medieval POV" is useful in alignment discussions.

We don't live in a medieval period, and trying to add a "medieval filter" to how we interpret the alignment system only makes using alignment even more difficult than it already is. We don't live in the medieval era. We aren't students of medieval ethics. We are here to play a role-playing game for crying out loud.

Adjusting the "goodness" any shade of torture, genocide, slavery, etc. in the alignment system is just going to end up with confusion at best as we argue over an alien form of morality that nobody holds. It creates struggles at the gaming table.

GM: Ok, for this campaign, I would like to stick to Good and Neutral aligned characters.
Players: Ok.
later...
Player1: The Orc isn't telling us where the princess is!
Player2: I start cutting off fingers!
Player1: I feel uncomfortable...
DM: What's your alignment?
Player2: Chaotic Good... But this is medieval!
DM: (facepalms)
 

Only the Sith deal in absolutes.

That is always amusing because it is an absolute ("only the Sith") but yes, I mean, we all get what Obi-Wan meant, and I agree. The degree of absolutes here is just unreasonable and "always"/"never" basically are BEGGING to start a massive argument at the table.
 

Sure, there are degrees of evil acts. Such acts would tilt a person very heavily, possibly irredeemably heavy, to the evil side. On the other hand, a lie may be an evil act, but lying doesn't make you evil.

Lying is not evil. Harming, oppressing and killing others is evil. Lying doesnt fit into those categories unless its used to harm or oppress others.

Deception can in fact be Good (in that a lie can protect someone from harm).

I can also see some gray in at least 3 of your big 4, so I could see them being balanced by extreme acts of good; however, extremely unlikely.

It doent work that way. A morally good person doesnt engage in 'the odd murder' here or there, or just the one off light bit of genocide.

If they're doing those things, they are (by extension) no longer a morally good person, and likely never in fact was a morally good person, seeing as they did things a morally good person would never do.
 

Only the Sith deal in absolutes.

Biggest Derp moment of that film.

Not as bad as the film before where Padme (immediately after new Tinder date shes only literally just started hooking up with admits to murdering a bunch of women and kids 'like animals') accepts it as being perfectly OK in a total betrayal of her character.

More Derp in EP 3 when she refuses to beleive Anakin would kill the younglings (yeah; its not like he hasnt done that before, is it Padme?).
 

Coroc

Hero
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.
....

Nah I meant something different, although your example is a difficult one.

See it like with the suspected witch, who obviously - to a nowadays person - is innocent, because there is no thing like magic (scientifically). Therefore she cannot be a witch, even if she thinks she is one. The only possibility for her is, to lie (knowingly or unknowingly) to end the torture.
Obviously the torture did not extract the truth in that case, despite the torturer believing it did (back then it was assumed that there absolutely is witchcraft).

You have to bring different cases to discuss the possible truth-extracting properties of torture.
It is a estimation of values for someone under torture:
E.g. someone is subject to some civilized western justice system, no one is going to torture him (at least physically). He is a tough criminal who can sit out a few days in prison, where he is treated correctly and gets food etc. and has access to a lawyer.
Now he is interrogated (only verbally by the inspector) for a crime which he did in fact commit, but he knows, that if he keeps silent, the police does not have enough evidence for a conviction.
Of course he does keep his mouth shut in this case.
Take a different system e.g. a system where he might be subject to light torture e.g. the police gives him a beating during interrogation and the food in prison is bad and if he would get convicted the prison could not only cost him his lifetime but also his health. Here things are on the edge: is the torture hard enough so he confesses?
Take a fiction system, a bit different, take the (relatively) good prison conditions of the first case, but make the torture more severe eventually leaving permanent damage or even mutilation. In this case the criminal would confess, so torture in a way absolutely did its job.

You can construct all sorts of cases like this, and it comes down to a calculation of values for the torture victim, what is to gain vs. what is to lose, are there loved ones in danger by talking/not talking, is a merciful quick death to be expected instead of endless pain etc. etc.
The interrogator has to interpret whether the information he gets out of his subject holds truth or not.
But I bet, depending on the severity of a torture, there is a point where almost every individual breaks.
 


Nah I meant something different, although your example is a difficult one.

See it like with the suspected witch, who obviously - to a nowadays person - is innocent, because there is no thing like magic (scientifically). Therefore she cannot be a witch, even if she thinks she is one. The only possibility for her is, to lie (knowingly or unknowingly) to end the torture.

There you go.

That's why torture sucks. You only ever get lies to make the pain stop by people that cant answer how you want them to.

A person being tortured will tell you what you want to hear. Not the truth (the person being tortured might not even know the truth), but will just tell you what you want to hear.
 

Coroc

Hero
Oki now to expand on my 1st post in this thread in reply to OP:

Alignment missconceptions RL modern vs. RL historic vs. RPG

The interpretation of universal natural laws (RL), if you can call them that way, like e.g. not harming unarmed or children:

This deviates in part from astonishing facts: It is more economic to accept surrender in most cases, even for the evil guy. Why? If you will surely kill him, or chances are high you do so, he will fight to the death eventually with all means against all odds, increasing chances for the victor to get injured or killed in a last effort of the villain or even a suicide act.
 

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