Idea Guild > Sagely Advice

D&D Alignements and Cruel Gods

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I have read an article on GameGrene complaining about D&D alignements. And later, while thinking about other ideas I have suddenly seen a way how it COULD work...

--- Quote ---"... let's say a paladin slays the warriors of an evil tribe of goblins guarding an unholy shrine, and then discovers the goblin women and children cowering behind a tapestry. These creatures detect evil (because the Monster Manual says they do!), but are unarmed and helpless."
--- End quote ---

Let's suppose it really works that way. Even if they could not have done nothing wrong, and they are harmless little beings. How comes that they truly detect Evil, even if they aren't? The spell/ability cannot be wrong, it comes directly from that deity, and it is he/she that makes it work.

So... for some reason it is the deity that marks them Evil. Marks Evil to its servants... so they can kill it without remorse.

This is Dark Fantasy: How can gods be better than their creations? They don't have to be necessarily racists... it may just be they have this LITTLE problem with their god. Or finds some groups against his plans. So these servants of the other god, or other unlucky souls are "free game" for your own followers. Paladins from this point of view are a group of slayers of whatever their deity dislikes. And now call that holy.

So the psychopath paladin that kills everything Evil actually role-plays it right!

So "Evil" and "Good", instead of being absolute alignment-ethical positions, are subjective, alligned with the greater power. The god decides on it, punctum. There are no "Good" gods. There are only those that the society they act in finds comfortable. Everyone is Good, and fights against Evil (according to his/her own deity). Various priests will get different results when detecting Evil. Just wait until that goblin paladin comes to do justice on you...

Well, the goblin women and children who detect as evil also are clearly helpless. While moral alignment may be subjective, ethical (Law/Chaos) isn't. Originally, law can be thought to have been Good defined, but obviously it isn't any more. So the Lawful Good paladin is, in fact, required both to slay the goblin women and children (Thanks to the fact that they are evil), and to save them (thanks to the fact that he is lawful). An excellent quandary.

I do definatly agree that just because you are of an evil race, goblin and ogre, that you are automatically evil.

I think that stance makes it easier from a rule based game to make the alignment problem more cut and dry, but from a realistic case it, well, isn't.

I considered this. Alignments right now for the DM goblin = evil. You detect evil, see a goblin it is evil. Cut and dry, no worries for the DM, not moral dilemna for the PCs, just kill it.

If you were to take away that cut and dry decision that puts it all on the DM to define who and/or what is evil. No longer is every blahblah evil, they must now know what god the player worships and what creatures that this god believes are evil. The rules just got multiplied times however many gods there are in the game. Just added a huge bit of complexity to the game system.

If you go the direction of evil intentions/actions = evil, then it still puts more decision making on the DM. Are the evil, just selfish? How do I show an alignment check to this person? How do they actually compare to the person casting? If the caster is selfish then do they see themselves as partially evil. Maybe they just have evil thoughts like Minority Report but haven't acted on them yet. How far do you go with that. It will be arbitrary and change depending on the circumstances and on what the DM is thinking.

Goblin = Evil just simplifies everything. But I agree there are still problems with it. (Like I have said in other threads, Palladium at least divides the alignments in a more realistice way).

If the DM is good enough, and willing enough, then you can go the extra mile. But for a good majority that don't have good goblins, it is just the easy way out.

Can I just say that allignment, the way it is presented in DnD, is one of the reasons I hate the game.  

What is "good" and "bad" is based upon our moral system.  What would be "good" to us, might not be "good" to a 10th century samurai.

We would like to think of an absolute moral system, yet except for some very high thinkers... most moral systems fall very short.

more to come



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