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The Black Guardian

Location: Paragon City, RI
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
In Reply To
America's Captain 

Location: Bayville New Jersey
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 12,139
Subj: Re: The D&D Ethics Model - Has it gone mainstream?
Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 at 09:09:24 am EST (Viewed 354 times)
Reply Subj: The D&D Ethics Model - Has it gone mainstream?
Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 at 11:54:53 am EST (Viewed 488 times)

    And what are the ramifications of society, if any?

    Lawful - neutral - chaotic. Good - neutral - evil. This three-axis scheme has become familiar on social media, especially Facebook. See pic. Many people just accept this model as making sense. Does it?

    I was thinking about the comic book notion of Heaven and Hell being at war and being unconcerned with collateral damage. How does this make sense? Isn't Heaven Good and Hell Evil? Shouldn't Good be compassionate and kind?

As said in one response, not at the expense of being stupid. Sometimes war and mass destruction is the compassionate and kind alternative. Every alignment can justify bloodshed within itself.

And in D&D the Outer Planes War wasn't just Good v Evil, but each of the factions were fighting against the other in some way, sometimes bloody.

    But what if comic book Heaven is Lawful and comic book Hell is Chaotic and that's the only dichotomy at play? Isn't that really what the comics are portraying? Sure, Satan and Mephisto are evil, but is every demon in comic book Hell evil? Would it be that shocking to find a Chaotic Good demon? How about a Lawful Evil angel? The D&D model suits this perfectly.

In the game (2nd Edition onward; from my memory, 1st Edition was more black/white or just didn't develop these characters), there have been many examples of Angels/Demons/Celestials that were outcasts and didn't adhere to their typical alignments. In Planescape, there was an Angel/Demon pair that saw the BS of the War and worked more for Neutrality, both saving people from being collateral damage. There were Angel/Demon romantic couples. I even remember a Succubus paladin (I think in 3rd Edition). There are usually consequences to things like this.

Personally, I've always been against this sort of thing. It might make for good story for us alignment-conflicted mortals, but to me, what makes a demon a demon is that he is Chaotic Evil. Remove that and he ceases to be a demon. Either the creature just poofs and ceases to exist or reforms in the Abyss/Hell or it changes to something more suiting its alignment. For these beings, changing alignment is generally like changing your blood to something else. You can't. It also depends on the type of demon.

However, in my D&D, all of these Outer Planes beings were more conceptual, including the gods. The God of Death wasn't just a woman that got off on killing; she was Death... and just got off on killing.

    I could argue that perceiving the possibility and implications of Lawful Evil and Chaotic Good is precisely what it means to achieve the highest level of moral sophistication. Yet I wouldn't have the terminology nor even really the concepts without D&D and all that it spawned.

It's also important to note that the 9 alignments are not single points. Each cubby is a vast spectrum and they do overlap (so they're not really cubbies at all). Two LG paladins won't necessarily agree on actions. You can still retain Good status and smite as much Evil as you can.

As for the real world... I'm a moral relativist. People cannot really be easily defined and placed into the cubbies. Generally, by D&D standards, I feel most people are various shades of Neutral (non-committal) and their actions fluctuate often and sometimes wildly. The D&D system falls apart.

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