D&D General The Problem with Evil or what if we don't use alignments?


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Shair-afiyun

Villager
So basically you want to be called a Paladin but not actually act like one. Sounds like murderhobo logic honestly.
Not necessarily. Its the freedom of choice and morality. That for paladin as example, it is up to the player to stay within the graces of their deity. Not because their alignment said they outright should.

And that paladins already have something better than alignment: A code of conduct. By staying within that code, prescribed to you by your deity and faith, you keep your deity happy with your work.

That is what lawful good should be. But too many players miss the memo and instead create what is known as lawful stupid.
 

d24454_modern

Explorer
Not necessarily. Its the freedom of choice and morality. That for paladin as example, it is up to the player to stay within the graces of their deity. Not because their alignment said they outright should.

And that paladins already have something better than alignment: A code of conduct. By staying within that code, prescribed to you by your deity and faith, you keep your deity happy with your work.

That is what lawful good should be. But too many players miss the memo and instead create what is known as lawful stupid.
That's explicitly the opposite of what morality is. You can't hurt innocent people and still be called a good person.

Besides, Paladins and Clerics don't even need to have a deity.

Edit: Fixed it.
 
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Shair-afiyun

Villager
That's explicitly the opposite of what morality is. You can't hurt innocent people and still be called a good person.

Besides, Paladins and Clerics don't even need to be religious.
In 5e paladins don't have to but are free to, but clerics actually have to pick a deity to follow and worship.
Clerics and deities are fairly inseparable as they are basically in layman's terms divine warlocks.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
I've found that people don't actually like to be punished for their actions. They play a Paladin cause it can heal. They don't actually care about helping people.
1) You play a paladin to smite, not to heal. You play clerics to heal.

2) Paladins haven't had to be good for like 20 years. The less awful Paladin variants appeared in Dragon in the early 2000's.

3) Not 'punished for their actions', 'punished for not having the same moral or ethical outlook as the DM'. Everyone cites murder as evil, but D&D has historically also called lying, stealing and poison use evil and heavily implied that BDSM and being fat are signs of evil. And people will say this is from prior editions, but those same people also want alignment expanded upon and we have to face the not possibility but probability of this weird morality getting written back in if we do. Because YOU (the rhetorical 'you'), the divine prophet of knowing how alignment works will not be the one who writes it, but likely an actual flawed human.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
That's explicitly the opposite of what morality is. You can't hurt innocent people and still be called a good person.

Besides, Paladins and Clerics don't even need to have a deity.

Edit: Fixed it.

So, just curious. The phrasing in question was "Even the paladin could do Amoral stuff if it meant surviving in a harsh landscape"

How do you go from that to hurting innocent people? Amoral doesn't even have to mean that he did anything evil, just that he wasn't being a paragon of everything that is good and holy. Not sharing your waterskin with a fellow traveler in the desert isn't causing harm per se, and the paladin could even believe that it is the correct choice, if they are worried they will not survive to reach their destination and prevent greater harm from befalling the world.

Yes, in morality tales about the best and most holy people, they of course did the morally upstanding thing even if it could doom the world. But that doesn't have to be the paladin in the game you are playing.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
3) Not 'punished for their actions', 'punished for not having the same moral or ethical outlook as the DM'. Everyone cites murder as evil, but D&D has historically also called lying, stealing and poison use evil and heavily implied that BDSM and being fat are signs of evil. And people will say this is from prior editions, but those same people also want alignment expanded upon and we have to face the not possibility but probability of this weird morality getting written back in if we do. Because YOU (the rhetorical 'you'), the divine prophet of knowing how alignment works will not be the one who writes it, but likely an actual flawed human.

THIS^^^

This right here.

I always love how it goes from "I don't think I want my paladin constrained by lawful good" (which as noted isn't the case anymore) to being told "Well, if you are okay with child murder and wanton slaughter". But there are other things that have been traditionally labeled as "evil"

What if I want to play an Avenger who uses poison on his blade, because it is the most effective way to ensure the destruction of evil? Using poison is "evil" but... really there isn't a good reason for it. Sneaking up on a target is also considered "evil" in some circles. The paladin for a long time was constrained so much that it gave rise to the "Lawful Stupid" meme, because some DMs actually did say that you couldn't sneak up on an enemy, or attack someone who surrenders.
 

I always love how it goes from "I don't think I want my paladin constrained by lawful good" (which as noted isn't the case anymore) to being told "Well, if you are okay with child murder and wanton slaughter".
Yeah, that doesn't make any sense. Gygax specifically told us that child murder is lawful good!
 

d24454_modern

Explorer
So, just curious. The phrasing in question was "Even the paladin could do Amoral stuff if it meant surviving in a harsh landscape"

How do you go from that to hurting innocent people? Amoral doesn't even have to mean that he did anything evil, just that he wasn't being a paragon of everything that is good and holy. Not sharing your waterskin with a fellow traveler in the desert isn't causing harm per se, and the paladin could even believe that it is the correct choice, if they are worried they will not survive to reach their destination and prevent greater harm from befalling the world.

Yes, in morality tales about the best and most holy people, they of course did the morally upstanding thing even if it could doom the world. But that doesn't have to be the paladin in the game you are playing.
Doesn't that assume that they had water to begin with? It's funny how the concept of morality only matter when you're with other people.

Whether or not the Paladin's action is bad or not depends on whether or not he's just making excuses for his actions.

Beside, one bad act doesn't automatically make someone evil. I just hate the idea that it's better ask for forgiveness than ask for permission.
 

d24454_modern

Explorer
THIS^^^

This right here.

I always love how it goes from "I don't think I want my paladin constrained by lawful good" (which as noted isn't the case anymore) to being told "Well, if you are okay with child murder and wanton slaughter". But there are other things that have been traditionally labeled as "evil"

What if I want to play an Avenger who uses poison on his blade, because it is the most effective way to ensure the destruction of evil? Using poison is "evil" but... really there isn't a good reason for it. Sneaking up on a target is also considered "evil" in some circles. The paladin for a long time was constrained so much that it gave rise to the "Lawful Stupid" meme, because some DMs actually did say that you couldn't sneak up on an enemy, or attack someone who surrenders.
You can argue about whether or not killing someone is bad but it's generally accepted that torture is unambiguously bad. That's one of the reasons why poison is frowned upon. It might be "cleaner" then chopping off their head, but it's just as torturous.

If you do it when your target isn't aware, then it robs them of the chance to surrender or argue their case.

While I do agree that calling poison itself "evil" is ridiculous, I feel like people don't really think about why it has that connotation to begin with.
 


Chaosmancer

Legend
Doesn't that assume that they had water to begin with? It's funny how the concept of morality only matter when you're with other people.

Whether or not the Paladin's action is bad or not depends on whether or not he's just making excuses for his actions.

Beside, one bad act doesn't automatically make someone evil. I just hate the idea that it's better ask for forgiveness than ask for permission.

And what about asking for neither?

And yes, morality by neccessity involves other people. There is pretty much nothing that a Paladin could do while alone in a desert that could qualify on a moral spectrum without involving another person. And, additionally, what is the difference between "excuses" and "reasons"? Just what the DM judges in the moment?

This ties directly into the point. Why are setting things up for DMs to become judges of morality? Sure, somethings are blatantly obvious, but morality is a quagmire on the best of days, and it seems poorly thought out to try and have someone judge the morality of their friends in a game, especially when you start involving those grey areas and matters of opinion.


You can argue about whether or not killing someone is bad but it's generally accepted that torture is unambiguously bad. That's one of the reasons why poison is frowned upon. It might be "cleaner" then chopping off their head, but it's just as torturous.

If you do it when your target isn't aware, then it robs them of the chance to surrender or argue their case.

While I do agree that calling poison itself "evil" is ridiculous, I feel like people don't really think about why it has that connotation to begin with.

And some poisons are completely peaceful ways to die, especially compared to the terror of a man in armor running you through with a length of sharpened steel, perforating your organs and feeling your life blood drain to the ground.

Additionally... some people might not deserve the chance to argue their case or surrender. A king with the power to kill everyone in a room, who has tortured and murdered thousands of people to fuel a demonic portal in hopes of ruling the world doesn't seem like the type of person to confront head on and demand their surrender. They aren't going to say or do anything to change the point that they need to be stopped.

I also fully agree with @Vaalingrade . The reason poison is considered evil and a "cowards weapon" is because it was the most effective tool of the weak against the strong. Yes, killing someone is wrong, but we give special connotations to those who do so in ways that are subtle or harder to "defend against" without considering that a knight in full armor running down commoners in normal clothes is just as untouchable and unstoppable as the courtier with the poisoned wine. The difference is, who has the money and the power.
 

d24454_modern

Explorer
And what about asking for neither?

And yes, morality by neccessity involves other people. There is pretty much nothing that a Paladin could do while alone in a desert that could qualify on a moral spectrum without involving another person. And, additionally, what is the difference between "excuses" and "reasons"? Just what the DM judges in the moment?

This ties directly into the point. Why are setting things up for DMs to become judges of morality? Sure, somethings are blatantly obvious, but morality is a quagmire on the best of days, and it seems poorly thought out to try and have someone judge the morality of their friends in a game, especially when you start involving those grey areas and matters of opinion.




And some poisons are completely peaceful ways to die, especially compared to the terror of a man in armor running you through with a length of sharpened steel, perforating your organs and feeling your life blood drain to the ground.

Additionally... some people might not deserve the chance to argue their case or surrender. A king with the power to kill everyone in a room, who has tortured and murdered thousands of people to fuel a demonic portal in hopes of ruling the world doesn't seem like the type of person to confront head on and demand their surrender. They aren't going to say or do anything to change the point that they need to be stopped.

I also fully agree with @Vaalingrade . The reason poison is considered evil and a "cowards weapon" is because it was the most effective tool of the weak against the strong. Yes, killing someone is wrong, but we give special connotations to those who do so in ways that are subtle or harder to "defend against" without considering that a knight in full armor running down commoners in normal clothes is just as untouchable and unstoppable as the courtier with the poisoned wine. The difference is, who has the money and the power.
So it's not so that you can keep your hands clean and no one would even know that you got away with murder. Ok, let's go with that.
 


Zubatcarteira

Now you're infected by the Musical Doodle
I'd much rather be poisoned than attacked with a sword. A simple Lesser Restoration deals with most poisons, but getting that Regenerate for your limbs chopped off is always a pain. ;)
 

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