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LG, NG, CG

Discussion in 'Dungeons & Dragons + Other RPGs' started by Loreseeker, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    That would make sense to me since it would be hard to understand anything as alien as a "true" deity experimenting such a crisis. Now another question for you, would it be possible for a deity to become a mortal? The point may seem rather pointless since some Forgotten Realms deities can die (Bhaal being one of them).

    Very good points. The major difference as far as I can see is that Melkor was more powerful and he could only corrupt, not create. Besides regarding the dwarves, it was Eru that gave them life even if he didn't create them. Aule was a very humble figure in comparison to Melkor and that's why we he was going to destroy his handiwork Eru gave them life.

    Anyway you're making a strong point about Melkor being evil at heart in the sense that he wanted to rule over his own dominion. Still, I don't think that at first he was motivated by evil. He was given too much power by Eru but paradoxically (or because of that) he didn't have enough power to create his own music or one that could rival Eru's. Rebellion or dissent is not necessarily evil in and by itself, it's more a question of how this ambition got hold of Melkor and made him resentful and greedy yearning to achieve what he couldn't do and which ironically Faënor was able to do, i.e. capture the beauty of Eru's creation.

    I can't agree with that as it seems that Eru acts in mysterious ways but the One is clearly the power behind the Providence that stayed Bilbo's hand so that he wouldn't slay Gollum and made Gollum the destroyer of the Ring. Who else could have brought back Gandalf from the abyss?

    I see Eru as a benevolent deity figure that gifted sentient beings with free will allowing them to make their own choices be it for good or evil. It's pretty much what Gandalf says to Frodo when he tells him the story of the Ring.
     
  2. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Blades, this is what I meant earlier when I said Melkor was "fallen". Yes, the seed was already there, but I don't equate this with being automatically irredeemably evil from the start. He was too powerful, and he had too much pride, but he could still have made different choices and rebelled in a way closer to Aule's, but he in a way chose to take the whole thing too far and that's when he "fell". As Caradhras said it's the way he rebelled that made him evil, not the fact he was ambitious at the start.

    Going off-topic, but I'm not sure I agree with this. Eru is far, FAR too detached from things to interfere in such direct ways. If anyone had to "influence" Bilbo then it would be the Valar, and even then I'm not that convinced because the Valar themselves don't want to interfere either, which is precisely the reason Gandalf (and Saruman at first) are in Middle-Earth in the first place. As for Gandalf surviving - he's a Maia, and not the weakest, so it's hardly surprising he came back form the abyss.
     
  3. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Many deities died during the Avatar crisis. But they died because they were "demoted" in power by Ao, the overgod. Basically, he turned them into their Avatar forms, with death being a permanent status if their Avatar died. (exception for Torm of course). So, yes, they can be turned into mortals, by a higher Authority.


    The fact that he could only corrupt would represent an evil nature from the start, no?


    If Eru was good, why would he create the Melkor with the ability to corrupt?

    IIRC, Tolkien does make referenence to the Void and the Outer Realms in some of the passages in the Silmarillion. Maybe there are influences that go beyond Eru? If so, then I could picture Eru as a Good deity and these forces as the corrupting seeds of Melkor and his underlings.
     
  4. Paromin Gems: 2/31
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    And yet in some major religions you always have the "Forces of Good" wiping out the "Forces of Evil" in some battle held at the end of time. Killing Demons might sound holier than killing goblins but it's all in the matter of perspective.

    Some misguided "good" character might be utterly convinced that even Demons can be saved, so he'll prevent people from killing even the most evil of beings.

    A real Paladin or Cleric, walking into that kingdom might see the difference right away or get a real strong feeling that something is wrong, but to someone who isn't so divinely inclined the charade will hold unless they look into the matter, that's if they were bothered to do so.

    Consider that the "Paladin" was raised to believe that the Kingdom and it's rules were "good" He has NO other kind of education.
     
  5. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    Gandalf the Grey is not the weakest but he is not the most powerful either. Stronger than Radagast but weaker than Saruman. Gandalf the White is way more powerful and the only reason we can account for Gandalf's return is if we accept that he was saved. He didn't make it on his own.

    Gandalf defends the idea that there is something bigger that guides them and watches over them. We can call it Providence and I may be reading too much into this but it's hard not to see this as a veiled reference to the One.

    We could argue that the corruption was the result of his inability to create. His music was imperfect and only served as a counterpoint to the harmony (thus making it more harmonious). He couldn't achieve perfection and the more he tried the more his music was imperfect and disharmonious.

    What I mean is that the evil could be seen as a consequence rather than a cause. Either you consider that he was evil and corrupted everything on purpose or you consider that he was unable to create harmony and through his attempts to do so corrupted everything and ultimately ended up corrupting his own self.

    In that case the "Paladin" wouldn't be good because in a D&D setting defined by alignments Good and Evil are absolute not relative. For instance a culture that would practice human sacrifice would be labelled as evil no matter what.

    It's all about self-righteousness. For that "Paladin" to think that those values are superior and take for granted the fact that (from that character's perspective) they are good doesn't mean that they are good. Thinking that these values are good doesn't make them so.

    It's not that uncommon for a villain to actually believe (in good faith) to be on the right side, the good side.
     
  6. Paromin Gems: 2/31
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    Actually no, D&D isn't absolute on good and evil.

    If you read the description of Lawful Good in AD&D2e, D&D 3.0, D&D 3.5 and D&D 4.0 nowhere does it mention anything about "absolute" good being a requirement to be Good. It only states an example, but doesn't say Good, Neutral, Evil alignments are in any way supposed to be taken on a divine level.
     
  7. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    I don't mean that you have to be perfectly good to be good aligned.

    What I mean is that the system doesn't allow for moral relativity which seemed to be what you stated in your example.

    Perhaps you mean the same thing but I understood that you were saying that a "Paladin" could be considered to be good according to the values that have been taught to him, values that are relative to his or her culture regardless of what is considered to be good or evil in our understanding of these notions.

    By absolute I mean something that is not relative, i.e. that exists independently.

    By absolute good or evil I don't refer to a divine level but to the concept that can be conceived independently from a frame of reference or a cultural bias.

    It's a highly artificial definition because it's still defined within what could be called a basic human bias (we're still human beings) but such a definition may be necessary whithin the constraints of the D&D alignment system. Otherwise it would be easy to rationalize any behaviour that wouldn't fit in.

    For instance if you consider taboos (murder, cannibalism, incest), they could be regarded as evil from our viewpoint while being justified in some cultures. That's what I mean by the relative vs absolute dichotomy.

    That's why I've used the example of human sacrifices. Unless your culture condone such practices it is fair to assume that it would be evil. Relatively speaking it may be deemed to be 'good' for certain cultures that embrace human sacrifices as a valid or even necessary practice -after all it was common to see the sacrifice of the Sacred King as being central to many rituals that were meant to insure that the natural cycle of renewal would take place (Frazier developed this theme in The Golden Bough). But considered from a rather 'universal' or generic standpoint such practices would be regarded as evil no matter what.

    That's what I meant by an absolute definition of evil which seems to me to be part and parcel of the definition of alignments as you can't conceptualize any stable definition of good and evil if you adopt a shifting or relative viewpoint.

    Of course that's leaving neutrality aside and straying from the topic at hand.

    The Lawful/Chaotic axis can probably be understood according to a more relative basis since the law itself is culture dependent. Still there is an absolute basis as well since you can define a lawful attitude in opposition to a chaotic one without necessarily taking into account a given culture. Criminal activities are by definition unlawful but it brings back the idea that you need to define what type of activities you're taking into account and that may vary a lot depending on various cultures. Nevertheless in the D&D alignmnent there is still a basis for such deviations from the rule. A lawful character will respect his word and obey the law or the code that he or she follows whereas a neutral character will have more leeway and a chaotic character won't be bound by these rules.
     
  8. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    I always thought Good and Evil (and Law and Chaos for that matter) were absolutes in D&D because of the way the whole cosmology is built. When you have entire planes of existence that are defined by where they stand on the Good/Evil and Lawful/Chaotic axes it becomes hard to defend Good and Evil as not being absolutes. And that's further reinforced by the border cities in the Outlands and their ability to shift into one of the other planes - there's just no way you can explain this unless you accept that Good and Evil are absolute (again in D&D. I'm not drawing any parallels with the real world). Once you look at the planes (and therefore at the greater deities) alignment is as much an absolute force as the elements themselves - inner planes for the elements and outer planes for the alignments, but in both cases what defines the plane is pretty much one of the building blocks of the entire reality.
     
  9. Paromin Gems: 2/31
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    Correct, that is what I meant by perception.

    The is a huge difference between a Priest who intentionally sacrifices people to summon a demon to wreak havoc across the land and a Priest who performs a human sacrifice using a willing human to appease a volcano from destroying their village.

    (Granted that in most cases, the second scenario has unwilling victims, but let's suppose for my example that the victim is willing)

    The rules on alignment based on the sourcebooks all concern themselves with intended nature behind a character's actions in the setting he is in. Intention is the most important factor of a character's alignment, not if he unknowingly serves a Evil God or commits an act that is viewed by the entire world to be evil as long as the person wholeheartedly believes that what he is doing is good.

    Yes they are but for the purposes of the divine part of a setting not character alignment.
     
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  10. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    That's a good example of a very difficult dilemma for a good aligned character. The only thing that would make it acceptable is the willingness on the victim's part. Still, even if that was the case I'm pretty sure any good character would have a hard time going through this.

    Rationalizing the death of one individual to save a multitude is something that a good character can't accept easily. It's made even harder because it's not about sacrificing oneself but sacrificing somebody else.

    A really good way to test the mettle of any good character.

    Intentions do matter indeed but it shouldn't be taken too far. Following that logic a Paladin would never fall unless he or she realizes beforehand that a certain course of action is evil. That leaves too much room for rationalization of one's actions IMO. It's all too easy to find good reasons for doing things that are wrong and still get away with it.

    Ignorance on a Paladin's part is no excuse for engaging in rash actions that have dire consequences.
     
  11. Paromin Gems: 2/31
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    Don't forget a Paladin not only has to deal with perception of good and evil but that of his Diety. So while a Paladin fully believes what he is doing is good, if his Diety doesn't support his actions then the Paladin still falls despite still acting out his alignment.

    The difference between a Paladin who falls this way and one who falls the normal way would be how the character acts in the aftermath. The Lawful Good Fallen Paladin can meditate on his actions, realize the error of his own beliefs. Or declare that the Diety and his followers do not have the purest of intentions. He still is "Good", he just doesn't believe that the Diety's laws and codes are the best course of action.

    While a Paladin who falls for committing an evil act that he truly believes is evil and does so for evil intentions is "Evil"
     
  12. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    One evil act does not make the person evil. It can and should make a paladin fall, but the paladin may not have an alignment change.
     
  13. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    True, unless it's a fairly big one. On the other hand, apart from that (and changing alignment, obviously) a paladin falls only for a gross violation of the code, and that would probably be something quite big - possibly enough to warrant an alignment change. For me, the paladin code is pretty much an interpretation of the LG alignment for warriors. So unless the DM is quite harsh and enjoys tormenting the pally, "do no evil" is pretty much the main trick.

    Apart from that I tend to interpret lawful and chaotic in a more political light. Chaotic alignment basically focuses on individualism and the importance of someone making a personal decision, while lawful alignment is based on respect for social conventions (laws or traditions), thus social institutions. In effect, a lawful character would place community over the individual, a chaotic one the individual over the community.
     
  14. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Lots of different points of view in this thread. So, what does everyone think the allignments would be for the Fellowship?

    Gandalf - NG
    Aragorn - LG
    Legolas - NG
    Gimli - LG
    Frodo - NG
    Samwise - LG
    Merry - CG
    Pippin - CG
    Boromir - LG
     
  15. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    I don't think it's very relevant to reduce these characters to the D&D alignment system but I'll play along. ;)

    Why NG for Legolas? Is there anything that wouldn't allow him to qualify for LG?

    Same thing for Frodo. It seems to me that he would qualify as a LG character.

    What about Merry and Pippin? They are mischievous, that's true, but Chaotic seems to be too much. I'd go for Neutral after all they both show loyalty (and a willingness to play by the rules) when they become squires of Rohan and Gondor.

    Gandalf can be a bit of a trickster at times so NG suits him rather well.
     
  16. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I would put Boromir at LN with good tendancies.

    Frodo starts as LG, but the ring shifts him to TN by the end (he even shows evil tendancies in Doom).

    I agree with Caradhras, Legolas shows lawful tendancies and may even be LG.

    I think Merry and Pippin shift on their own from CG to NG during the books.
     
  17. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    The very nature of the Sindar was to refuse the summons of Orome. It shows me some reluctance on their part of a rebellous nature. As they live in the woodlands, it adds a more open exiestence if you will. I found Neutral to be more fitting in that case.

    Merry & Pippin steal from Farmer Maggot. That is definitely in defiance of accepted socal manors. Chaotic it is!

    Frodo is too intelligent to be lawful!:D He questions things and the reasoning why things are, that shows me a little defiance as well.

    Boromir was definitely LG. It was the ring that turns him. Without the ring, he is a shining hero.
     
  18. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    I don't think Legolas was already there when the Sindar made that move. Besides I don't see why living in a city in the woods would make anyone Neutral... :confused:

    Being stupid is not a requirement for being lawful so I don't get the point about Frodo. You can be LG and still question things. Lawfulness doesn't preclude the ability of using one's brain.

    Regarding Merry and Pippin stealing from Farmer Maggot... I don't think this is in defiance of what is expected from younger hobbits (who can be pretty wild and rambunctious). For them stealing mushrooms was probably a misdemeanour like kids stealing candy. Hardly something that would justify them being labelled as thieves or criminals.

    I agree with Blades about Boromir. He is a true hero and it is his pride that makes him fall. The power of the ring was too much for him. Faramir was the better man because he is a very humble man whereas Boromir is his father's favourite son and Denethor's heir (hence the pride). Don't forget that Boromir gives his life trying to save the hobbits (that's more LG than LN IMO).

    Besides I don't think Frodo ever becomes Neutral, at the end he only becomes more experienced and his outlook changes which makes him consider things beyond his former limited perspective. He is still good at heart and the proof is that he doesn't give up on the quest even if he knows that there can be no return (in my book that is the epitome of goodness). It is only at the very end that he claims the ring and he's been carrying it for years. Had he become Neutral or Evil he would probably have killed Gollum at one point or another before reaching Mount Doom.
     
  19. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Legolas - Take a D&D perspective on Elves for a minute, where Elves are inherently CG. It is actually listed as the Racial alignment in previous Monster Manuals of the 1st and 2nd editions. Elves, by nature, aren't a "Lawful" society, but more of a "Free" society. To me, that fits the NG moniker to the T. They prefer to make the choices of their lives than follow the letter of a law. NG? or CG for Elves ingeneral, not sure, it's a tough call.

    Now, lets take Feanor and the hosts that followed him back to Middle-Earth for example. He, and by extension they threw off the yoke of the Ainur and marched back to Middle-Earth to exact revenge on Morgoth for theft and murder. they didn't follow the rules of the Ainur, they chose their own fates. That, to me, is at least a non-lawful move. Chaotic, probalby not, so Neutral seems the most likely.

    ---------- Added 0 hours, 4 minutes and 40 seconds later... ----------

    I don't think Frodo's alignment ever changes. The corrupting force of the ring is in charge at the end scene and Frodo isn't really making the decisions. As soon as he is rid of the ring, He is back to his old self, as his actions in the retaking of the Shire show. He is just more experienced with dealing with "ruffians" by that point. I wish they would of added the raising of the Shire into thte movies, I was really looking forward to seeing the Death of Sharkey and the Battle in the Shire(forgetting the real name of the battle???). Damn you Peter Jackson!!!:mad:


    Merry & Pippin just break all of the rules of Hobbitdom. The pilfer, are rowdy, like to have fun constantly, everything a rulebreaker is. That has to constitute as CG. I believe them to be good, just not in obeyance of the law. Merry disobeys Theoden and rides with Eowyn to Minas Tirith against Theoden's will and command. Pippin looks into the Palantir even tough it's obvious Gandalf didn't want him to. Their "inquisitiveness" and disobeying of orders fromo others makes them neutral at the least, but Chaotic in my mind.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  20. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    Fëanor's actions had to do with his own personal feud so I don't think it applies to Legolas who is not a Noldor but a Sindar and probably wasn't alive at that time.

    Galadriel was with Fëanor but does it make her Chaotic? I don't think so.

    Besides I don't think that the Monster Manuals apply here since D&D elves differ in many ways from Tolkien's elves.

    Going to Minas Tirith instead of staying behind to ride with his king wasn't Chaotic per se. It could be construed as an act of loyalty rather than an act of defiance. Instead of remaining safely behind Merry wanted to ride with the Rohirrim. It's more a sign of bravery and willingness to stick to his king rather than blatantly defying orders (at least it's a good reason to do so IMO).

    I wouldn't make the two younger hobbits LG but I'd certainly not define them as being CG. IMO "breaking the rules of Hobbitdom" is just what younger hobbits do. Hobbits are still considered to be adolescents until they're 33. Merry and Pippin are not worse than any other youngsters. I've checked and it turns out that Pippin is on very good terms with farmer Maggot while it is Frodo who used to steal mushrooms from the farmer. As a young hobbit it is probable that Frodo wasn't so different from the others. If a wise hobbit like Frodo could indulge in pilfering mushrooms it goes a long way to prove how unruly young hobbits can be.

    Is stealing mushrooms as a kid enough to make Frodo CG? I doubt it.

    Besides, hobbits are probably too gregarious and sociable to be deemed Chaotic. To be Chaotic you have to be a free spirit but you also have to be something of a loner or an individualist. Hobbit communities are too closely connected to allow such behaviour except from outcasts like Sméagol.

    That alone is proof enough that Peter Jackson didn't get the book. The ending in the Shire is of paramount importance because it is the real ending of the story. It shows that evil has made its way to the Shire and that the hobbits themselves must act and take matters in their own hands. It also sets the mythical evil of the Dark Lord against the more mundane evil of Sharkey and Grima and all the foolish hobbits who readily accepted to be ruled over by Sharkey's henchmen. It shifts the focus to the Shire and the destruction that has been brought on it by industrialization and senseless modernization (cutting down trees and polluting streams for no reason and destroying everything that is beautiful in the Shire). It also brings back the tale from high fantasy to the more down to earth world of the hobbits. Not including this in the movies was a huge mistake (one among many but that is really off topic).
     
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