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Old 07-31-2020, 07:51 PM
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Alignment in D&D

How exactly do you view alignment? Is it what the character actually does, or how they see themselves? How much does it matter in 5e?

For myself, I remember playing a lot of "chaotic" characters, but never CE. I would never play a "lawful good" character, because I couldn't put myself in that role.

The reason I have the question, is that I see two characters with their alignments in flux. Both are monks, different disciplines.

The first is a tiefling. Her view of herself is "evil" because she killed a man in response to bigotry. Maybe that's not "evil" to everyone, but that's how she sees it. She became a monk to atone, and to try to achieve redemption. So her alignment is in flux, moving away from evil, and towards neutral, if not good.

The other monk is a half orc. Same bigotry situation applies, but became a monk because he's willing to use force to fight against it. Hasn't killed anyone, but doesn't have a problem with it. So he's moving TOWARDS "evil".

And one of my questions is, for those of you who don't want evil characters, or characters that view themselves as evil, which of these two are acceptable in your campaign, if either?
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:17 AM
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Personally I see alignment more as a character's motivation to act the way they do as opposed to how they see themselves.

In the tiefling example, I wouldn't necessarily consider the killing of one person as response to bigotry evil (though it's fine that the character considers it as such) unless they actually enjoyed the act of killing. I would also consider it more of an evil act if the killing was also motivated by personal gain somehow. From what I can tell, I would classify that event as more chaotic than anything.

In the half-orc example I would consider his stance more neutral with the information provided. It would be more evil if he thought using violence against others was okay for self-satisfaction or personal gain. This stance could be also considered good if he thought it was okay if it was in defense of the helpless. It's harder to tell because I don't know the level of bigotry in the game. It's different to kill a person for shouting a slur versus killing to free slaves or stop someone from being unjustly beaten.
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Old 08-01-2020, 12:49 PM
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I view alignment as the results of the character's actions and decisions.

This is often influenced by their views of themselves, and how they think/process information, but ultimately... A person that kills innocent creatures for personal gain, fun, or indifference is evil... I don't care what they tell themselves, or how they mentally justify it. People are good at cognitive dissonance, so I don't trust that someone couldn't justify complete evil by looping themselves around in their minds, and ignoring important facts.

Actions and behaviors make your alignment, not what you think.
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Old 08-01-2020, 06:06 PM
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I dunno. I think killing someone that was racist towards me and called me derogatory things would be taking it too far.

I guess I've always considered murder evil. And a character cannot kill and still be good.
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:02 PM
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And thus, the philosophical questions of good and evil, morality, and what is right, is good and evil absolute or situational, etc.. I will try to stay away from real world examples here... that's fraught with peril in a conversation on a gaming board.

Certainly, one version of good is exactly what you say, Tadhg... not murdering. There can be people who never murder, and still be evil, but certainly it's a start towards good, to not murder. Perhaps we should start by making sure we are using the same definition of murder, to keep us on track. Is is murder to kill someone in defense of another? Is it murder to kill an enemy soldier, trying to invade your castle? Your kingdom?

Is it murder for a knight to slay a dragon? If the dragon is a rather mindless, hungry beast that has been terrorizing sheep, and maybe eating an occasional princess, is it okay and good? What if the dragon can speak, and use magic spells... that's a bit more sentient... Is it okay to kill one then? What about goblins or orcs? Or mad wizards?








sillyI am trying to play an oracle in a game now, who is rather opposed to killing... that hasn't stopped the party from killing the goblins we have come across, but my character has not participated, and has spoken out against it. And I know, it's going to be a long road to go in this game, to try to be against killing everything... because we have a ton of things trying to kill us (ninja and demons, dragons and rulers of foreign kingdoms). I know I can't stop the murder of all those bad guys (that's why they are in the adventure), but I can make people think a little about it, I hope.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Admin Dirk View Post
And thus, the philosophical questions of good and evil, morality, and what is right, is good and evil absolute or situational, etc.. I will try to stay away from real world examples here... that's fraught with peril in a conversation on a gaming board.

Certainly, one version of good is exactly what you say, Tadhg... not murdering. There can be people who never murder, and still be evil, but certainly it's a start towards good, to not murder. Perhaps we should start by making sure we are using the same definition of murder, to keep us on track. Is is murder to kill someone in defense of another? Is it murder to kill an enemy soldier, trying to invade your castle? Your kingdom?

Is it murder for a knight to slay a dragon? If the dragon is a rather mindless, hungry beast that has been terrorizing sheep, and maybe eating an occasional princess, is it okay and good? What if the dragon can speak, and use magic spells... that's a bit more sentient... Is it okay to kill one then? What about goblins or orcs? Or mad wizards?






sillyI am trying to play an oracle in a game now, who is rather opposed to killing... that hasn't stopped the party from killing the goblins we have come across, but my character has not participated, and has spoken out against it. And I know, it's going to be a long road to go in this game, to try to be against killing everything... because we have a ton of things trying to kill us (ninja and demons, dragons and rulers of foreign kingdoms). I know I can't stop the murder of all those bad guys (that's why they are in the adventure), but I can make people think a little about it, I hope.
Well, as I recall, in 1st edition, everything was out to kill us, unless we were in a town, where it was more or less "safe". Some of these were wild beasts who simply saw us as food. But then, I never played a "good" character. In truth, my go to alignment would be chaotic neutral, except for thieves, who would be considered to be evil, but we didn't allow chaotic evil, so I would go neutral evil there.

I think you could certainly drive off something trying to eat you without killing it. And while I personally disagree with war (I served in the branch that really hasn't been involved in land warfare as much), I see no problem with the defense, "we were just following orders," because that's what soldiers do, if they don't want to be punished and potentially killed by their own leaders.

As I said in an earlier post, the tiefling has killed, and became a monk to try to atone for the killing. Is trying to redeem herself, and become...at least neutral, if not good. So is definitely not someone I would be roleplaying as evil.
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Last edited by TADHG; Yesterday at 05:41 AM. Reason: Because I had a whole reply here and I..oh...
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Old Yesterday, 08:30 AM
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I set my character alignments based on how much the character is willing to initiate force on the uninvolved to accomplish a task. Killing an entire village in their sleep to fuel a spell to stop Asmodeus: Evil. Killing the captured devils who were rampaging across the land for said spell: less evil. Asking for volunteers: still potentially a good person stuck in an awful situation.

As for your two characters, I would certainly allow the first in non-evil (although I admit to being a fan of earned redemption stories). The second would very heavily depend on the level of restraint used. If he flies off the handle when someone makes a tooth joke, then he'd be banned. However, if he won't kill unless he sees something like people beating a half-orc in the street and leaving them for dead, he'd be allowed.
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Old Yesterday, 08:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auron3991 View Post
I set my character alignments based on how much the character is willing to initiate force on the uninvolved to accomplish a task. Killing an entire village in their sleep to fuel a spell to stop Asmodeus: Evil. Killing the captured devils who were rampaging across the land for said spell: less evil. Asking for volunteers: still potentially a good person stuck in an awful situation.

As for your two characters, I would certainly allow the first in non-evil (although I admit to being a fan of earned redemption stories). The second would very heavily depend on the level of restraint used. If he flies off the handle when someone makes a tooth joke, then he'd be banned. However, if he won't kill unless he sees something like people beating a half-orc in the street and leaving them for dead, he'd be allowed.
He'd be banned. He studied Way of the Open Hand to be a weapon.
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