Recent comments in /f/Games

Reply to comment by SomeIconoclast in by !deleted18811

SomeIconoclast wrote

Good to know. In that case, have another:
Lawful and Chaotic are in themselves confusing, moreso than Good and Evil because what D&D considers Lawful or Chaotic traits don't completely contradict the opposing alignment: they aren't too clear cut and exceptions to both can be contradictory; it's both. For example, Lawful can mean obedience to a master, country, set of laws, or personal code or the advancement of order (which can range from minor things like having everything meticulously planned out to an outright worship of the concept) regardless of Good, Evil, or Neutral; but it doesn't necessarily mean that they'll ALWAYS obey these things or that they've blindly devoted themselves into ONLY serving the interests of those ideas. A Good character that absolutely refuses to lie or steal whenever possible can be called Lawful, even if they outright disobey the law of the land whenever possible. Chaotic, on the other hand, can mean whimsical, Anarchic, and/or hedonistic behaviors and/or motivations or the belief in the advancement of chaos. A Chaotic character can be a meticulous planner and a Lawful character can be a savvy improvisor and they'd still count as their respective alignments so long as they show otherwise Chaotic or Lawful traits. And that's somewhat of a problem when trying to parse the Chaotic/Lawful alignment of a character, their are traits within both ends of the spectrum that can overlap within the same character and still make sense. Sure, you could call the Good honor-bound warrior Neutral Good because their opinion on the local town's drug laws is negative and they disobey said law with impunity, but that makes all of the non-neutral alignment far less flexible to play as and ultimately makes any characters within them flat and uninteresting; stripped of any nuance.
I believe the common association between Lawful and power is, while fair, mistaken. Chaotic Evil and Neutral Evil can also be dangerous should they acquire power; it isn't the fact that they are evil that makes them dangerous, it's that their evil alignment promotes self-interest above all else and that everyone else is just a means to that end. I believe that you find powerful Lawful Evil terrifying because of the fact that their power ultimately affects the lives of many other people and that those people are essentially powerless to stop it. This should speak to you as an Anarchist or leftist (sorry, I'm not entirely sure what tendency you identify as), because it draws parallels to how power works in real life.
The point I was trying to make with Chaotic Evil was that the alignment was that the "kill everything in sight" take on it is overused and leaves the alignment unexplored for more interesting takes on it. Much like the Chaotic/Lawful axis, the Good/Evil axis has traits associated with each side that seem to contradict the other, but actually don't. For example, when one thinks of camaraderie or loyalty among Evil characters, Chaotic Evil is the last alignment that anyone would think of. But there is no actual internal conflict with the Chaotic Evil character that travels with a Neutral Good party and remains loyal and even friendly with them. Chaotic doesn't even require a lack of loyalty and being Evil doesn't mean you have to kill people you like. With this in mind, a Chaotic Evil protagonist simply needs to be too Evil to be Chaotic Neutral and too Chaotic to be Neutral Evil. Some examples: a ruthless pirate with no regard for honor or law, an indiscriminate conman with no code of honor and would cheat anyone regardless of wealth, a cold-blooded outlaw that kills whoever gets in his way, the selfish thrill seeker who knowingly leaves a path of destruction in their wake and is indifferent as to who cleans up after them. The Chaotic Evil is essentially an egoist minus any qualities that would otherwise make them palatable to be around. Think of like this: a Chaotic Evil character merely requires a few Neutral Evil and Chaotic Neutral traits to qualify.
As for the assumption of good being good? I feel like it's more like I have an understanding of what others consider good even I don't really believe in the concept itself; the alignment system of D&D sort of overlaps with my understanding of conventional morality, but I ultimately find it even more paradoxical: it's rigid, yet oddly malleable. One could interpret a (well rounded) character to be various alignments because of how subjective Good/Evil are and how oddly defined Chaotic/Lawful to be. Oddly enough, I've never played D&D despite how obsessed I was over the alignment system, so I can't give a criticism about it beyond that.


Reply to by !deleted18811

SomeIconoclast wrote (edited )


I'd say that Lawful Good can exist, given how Lawful in the context of D&D can mean also mean following a code of honor, be it their own or that of a group that they align themselves with, not just some rigid adherence to a society's law in general. With that in mind, it is certainly possible to conceive of a character that follows "the golden rule" or any other code of conduct that requires that one "does good" and forbids "evil acts"; that character can be called "lawful good". Lawful Evil can be terrifying, but so can any other alignment; the problem is that Lawful Evil is usually thought to be the most competent alignment; with many examples of Lawful Evil characters and organizations in power. Remove these characters from social power and dissolve the organizations and you can have a villain that can range from comedic and harmless to serious and a credible threat. Chaotic Evil is often perceived as the "Kill literally everyone around you for fun" alignment which, while valid in being disorderly and evil, isn't the only way to see the alignment. I disagree with the notion that Neutral Evil warrants no concern; I see it as the deadliest alignment, this is the person who works within the system and exploits whatever code of honor that the lawful character adheres to, but dumps it as soon as it ceases to be useful; think of the Lawful Evil as the fundamentalist that legitimately believes in whatever dogma they belong to and the Neutral Evil as the individual with power over a Lawful Evil Organization; your standard evil CEO with illegal dealings, the soldier or cop who becomes an arm of the state, not to promote order or out of some sense of duty, but to kill people (racism being a motivator here is optional but not necessary) without having to deal with prison time. Of course, notions of "Good" "Evil", "Law", and "Chaos" are far too relative and lack an objective basis in reality; so this whole idea of trying to fit anything with nuance or reality into these categories is kind of pointless and damn near impossible.


verdant wrote

I clicked through to the zine maker, and my slow connection really made the experience. The page started out a little ugly but not outlandish, and slowly transformed into the web 1.0 monstrosity that it was intended. Something about the slow degeneration of the page left me in stitches.