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D&D 3E
Which alignment? 
10th-Jul-2005 10:37 pm
wicked handclasp
If any of you have a moment, I would appreciate your help. I have a character concept that I think is technically evil. I didn't initially think so, but my other half said she was when I described her to him. But I'm still unsure... Anyway, I posted about it in my RP group's journal, I would appreciate it if you would have a look and tell me what you think! Start reading from the 2nd paragraph. EDIT: I was planning on making her just a straight Rogue, even though she would be an assassin by profession. She would NOT necessarily have levels in the assassin prestige class, which requires you to be evil. Sorry, thought that might cause some confusion. //EDIT

Thanks!
Comments 
11th-Jul-2005 04:29 am (UTC)
The Book of Exalted Deeds has a PrC called the Slayer Of Domiel or something, which is basically a good assassin. She sounds like a perfect candidate for that, which would make her good. Check it out, you may be interested in it.

I tend to think of the good v evil scale as whether you do things for others or for yourself. Since she's not just killing to make a living, but to spread justice, I'd say she isn't evil.
11th-Jul-2005 04:33 am (UTC)
Slayers use stealth. They don't do it for money. This character does. She may screen her "customers" but from the description she wouldn't have gone after them without the reward.
11th-Jul-2005 04:39 am (UTC)
Eh. If I were running the game, I'd allow it as good (or maybe neutral). Especially if she isn't trying to get any kind of advantage out of being good-aligned.
11th-Jul-2005 04:32 am (UTC)
Lawful Evil.

She follows her own code (Lawful) which includes accepting money to kill (Evil). She is in effect an assassin without the prestige class. Laws of the land don't matter in the whole Lawful thing, for the most part.

She also knows that she has killed in cold blood and will kill in cold blood again. From your description she's quite alright with that.

Committing evil acts to do good does not take the evil from the acts in the slightest.
11th-Jul-2005 04:50 pm (UTC)
But even chaotic characters can follow their own code, it's just usually a code that deviates from the popular beliefs on what is wrong and right. The fact that this character has no regard for the law's ability to do its job, and that SHE decides who is evil enough to be killed, sounds like a chaotic thing to me.

I would vote for Chaotic Neutral. Murder is murder, it's questionable and generally an evil act. But her intentions are to eliminate bad people. She also accepts payments, though.
11th-Jul-2005 05:07 am (UTC)
I would have to agree with Lawful Good or Lawful Neutral. Basically, from the way I read it, your character is fundamentally Batman. Completely intolerant of evil acts, and perfectly willing to kill for the greater good. There are a few things about this character's motivation that conflict with the PHB's Lawful Evil description:

"He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order but not about freedom, dignity, and life," and "He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank."

Your character, however, is ultimately concerned with life and those moral ends, using a means of vengeance to realize them--if I have it right. Definitely lawful and non-evil.
11th-Jul-2005 05:14 am (UTC)
...ahh but would one who would kill those in the way of their goals be considered LE then??

I really don't see LE as only an oppressor as the PHB does.
11th-Jul-2005 05:20 am (UTC)
Batman however, is different from a vigilante because he doesn't murder people. Because that would still be an evil act. Two wrongs don't make a right and sadism is typically not a lawful good trait to say the least.
11th-Jul-2005 06:05 am (UTC)
I agree with you entirely. From my understanding of the character's description, however, she would not consider her actions to be murder.

I suppose it all depends from where the character's motivations stem. If her vendetta against evil is so strong that she is willing to make it her way of life, i.e. accept payment as an assassin of evil-doers, then her intentions are still good and LG (or maybe LN) would work. If, on the other hand, she has grown accustomed to her work of choice as an assassin, and her selectivity of targets has developed subsequently as a way to make the job more justifiable for her, then LE might well apply.
11th-Jul-2005 06:25 am (UTC)
Perspective can be important but it has it's limits. No matter what a person thinks, the willful taking of another life is murder. In this case especially it's not self defense, she's taking money for it and enjoying the kill itself. She may think they deserve it, but it's still murder. Not all evil is such because they seek evil. Otherwise you can always argue that Hitler was Lawful Good. After all, he (arguably) thought he was doing the right thing. Of course, no one's going to seriously take that argument either for obvious reasons.
11th-Jul-2005 06:54 am (UTC)
My argument wasn't a matter of perspective, it's a matter of character history. Did she first enjoy killing, and then decide that if she likes killing, she should be killing evil people? Or was her need to protect so incorrigible that then the act of hired assassination--though conflicting with her driving moral motive--is justified by her convictions? The character description seems to indicate the latter.

I wouldn't agree that all willful killings are murder, even some that aren't in defense. In this case, we're essentially dealing with executions. While I have no love for capital punishment, those in its practice are not automatically evil.

As a sidenote, my arguments are all being made within the context of the game. I firmly believe that the good vs. evil construct simply has no relevance to reality. What points can be made fit inside of D&D's fictional, perhaps literary sense.
11th-Jul-2005 05:28 pm (UTC)
Capital punishment however is murder, just committed by the state. It's possible for it to be just, however there are also just as many philosophical arguments that it isn't. That's not the heart of the matter though. It's hard to justify as murdering vigilante even if she's following her own goals as not being evil. Even if she started from the noblest of origins, she can still be evil. In fact that's how the best and most human of evil characters get created. After all, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Many evil characters wouldn't consider themselves evil, however in DnD it seems that you definitely can't stick to a subjective moral standard. Even Batman is seen as a villain to the majority of the police force and he goes out of his way to avoid killing anyone. In her case she's not only taking money for kills but actively enjoying it. I still stand by this kind of behavior can't possible be good and would be neutral at best. (I said in another post I thought she'd be either chaotic neutral or lawful evil actually in my opinion)

Ultimately I'd consider this to be an argument for the DM and the player though. After all, there is no set in stone moral compass for DnD either. The DM running the campaign should have a large say in how this gets interpreted, after all it's their world.
11th-Jul-2005 05:11 am (UTC)
If you were wanting to look at other class options to include with Rogue you could possibly choose Justicar (from the Complete Warrior).

I know you may cringe at the first special ability that class gains (Non-Lethal strike), but would this PC incapacitate a target to later gain information before killing them? You could also do Bloodhound (Complete Adventurer) although it seems to be more of a Ranger based PrC.

Either way this sounds like fun with the personality you already have in place for this character.
11th-Jul-2005 05:19 am (UTC)
Hmmm, I wouldn't cringe at that at all, actually... thanks from bringing that up, I'll check it out.
11th-Jul-2005 06:27 am (UTC)
I don't think she'd be evil, necessarily.

Yes, she accepts rewards for killing evil individuals indiscriminately, but how often does the Neutral Good cleric spare bandits that are only ambushing because they are poor?
11th-Jul-2005 06:02 pm (UTC)
Am I the only one that realizes that 90% of all PC's accept some sort of reward for the boundless slaughter of those deemed to be "villains" or "monsters?"

Your PC is no different from any other PC out there, other than that she actually established a business to it. You've made yourself a mercenary, which describes every gaming group I have ever played in.

Your character concept is great, but there's no reason to deem yourself "evil" just because you partake in the past-time that every adventuring hero partakes in as well.

To me, you sound like a Rogue Justicar, hellbent on taking down those that people ask you to take down, and accepting your just reward for it rather than doing it simply as a favor. However, I'm entirely certain that you would do it as a favor, or simply because it needed to be done, because that's the way the character concept comes off to me. Evil? Not a chance. Good? More than likely not.

Personally, I'd stick with either LN, N. The fact that you have your own code of conduct somewhat steers you away from CN.

I'm also assuming that you're not going to be the only one in your party. Regardless of your motivations, they don't have to do what you want them to do either. Party members will go even further to keep you from being "evil," and will likely tip the balance in favor of your being "good."

Just my two cents.
11th-Jul-2005 07:31 pm (UTC)
'Am I the only one that realizes that 90% of all PC's accept some sort of reward for the boundless slaughter of those deemed to be "villains" or "monsters?"'

No, I realized this after posting. Even Paladins will kill someone who is evil, and *might* even accept a reward for it. So now, I would agree with you that she is LN.
11th-Jul-2005 10:12 pm (UTC)
"She is an assassin, but is selective about who she kills."

Those who mete out execution are not always evil, but are rarely good.

"She hates those who inflict suffering. She has little faith in most legal systems to protect the innocent."

She is most certainly not Lawful Good nor Neutral Good, unless the game setting does not have reliable legal systems. Most people interpet Lawful characters as characters who obey the laws: this is not always the case. A Lawful character might be played as obeying a greater order, an order that is universal and dictated by deific power, but they might have no respect for laws that create chaos and discord.

"She accepts payment for her assassinations when she is hired and has been convinced that a target is sufficiently evil to be killed. When she is asked to be hired, if she does not believe a target is evil enough to be killed, she will instead act as a bounty hunter, hunt them down, and bring them to the authorities."

To seek murder as a generalised solution, even to evil, is not good: at best, she could be described as Chaotic Neutral or Neutral. More realistically speaking, according to the definitions provided in Book of Exalted Deeds, she is probably Neutral Evil or Chaotic Evil but sees herself as good and doing good deeds.

"She has also been known to take out a few targets of her own accord when she is thoroughly disgusted with them. Anyway, you get the idea. Her philosophy is basically an eye for an eye. She loves those who love, and she kills those who kill."

To love those who love is good. To kill those who kill is an equation which good people (and good adventurers) might not always come to. A good vigilante would act more like a police officer, and a kindly police officer at that: killing and fighting would only be at last resort, and they would make effort to save a person's life, even an evil person, to spare them death and suffering if at all possible.
14th-Jul-2005 03:52 pm (UTC)
I would, personally, say lawful evil.

Her intentions, while good, are justified by actions with are evil and dishonorable. However, she adheres to her own code of conduct and does not do these things solely for herself or for the pleasure of murder.

Reminds me of the blackguard I had who was sure he was still a paladin, only instead of his abilities allowing him to find enemies, they allowed him to find the few allies he would have left in the world (detect good). His enemies will not know him as such, but consider him to be an ally (aura of evil). He has the ability to use the tools of his enemies against them (command undead, poison use). His purity is so righteous that it causes those who would dare to oppose such a beacon of good to tremble in their feet (aura of despair). When a creature of good would fall from the path of grace and attempt to kill another creature of like alignment, he is capable of punishing and destroying them before they fall completely off the path and become irredeemable (smite good).

So in the same way, both think they're good people, have good intentions, and aren't out to kill everyone, but they're willing to use evil methods without remorse to get there.
9th-Jan-2006 09:49 am (UTC) - Alignment Question
Anonymous
Heh, I'm probably going to step on some toes here. But the alignment system comes in several flavors if you will, based on level of maturity, typically.

Let me make sure I've got everything strait. She believes the law does not work, that those who do evil will simply continue to do evil, with the worst of the worst getting away with it more often (due to money, power, or loop holes in the law systems). So instead she has a certain code, a certain discapline that she adheres to, even if the 'law' of the land says otherwise. She is in fact, Lawful.

Here's the most interesting part in my oppinion. She only kills those she believes to be evil, though she does get paid for it some times, you did point out that she would also take matters into her own hands in cases where someone was particularly wicked (I'm thinking a crime cartel or something, perhaps a rapist or serial killer which refuses to be caught). If she doesn't believe them truely evil, and simply has a bounty on them, then she brings them in without harm, as you previously stated. She cares for the good, and living. She can love. Which brings me to part two...

The biggest argument that she's evil is she's profiting off of killing. That she accepts money to kill others, premeditated, cold blooded, murder. Or is it? Let's think for a moment. You mention that most adventurers don't make a living off of killing people for money. I'm sorry to say, this is a lie. How many good men and women have gone forth and slain bugbears for money because they are evil and threatening people? The lawful good fighter wages war and deals death and destruction in his wake, but y'know someone's gotta put food on the table, buy supplies for the next mission, and so forth.

Even the noble paladins kill in the name of good, and last time I checked looting the ancient lich's tomb because he was 'evil' didn't sound all that noble, or good to me. That's called grave robbing, and stealing. Most paladins who don't get paid are supplied with everything they need by some higher authority, meaning they don't need money...so they'd still be out there slaying this that and the other in the name of good versus evil.

So in fact, she appears in many ways like a more guileful paladin. This is why alignment, intent, and emotion play so strong a part in a mature D&D game and alignment system. Under the right circumstances a paladin could be the worst person you've ever seen, while an assassin could be the most noble in the world.

My call, I would say she actually looks more like a unique spin on Lawful Good, than either Neutral, or Evil, and almost impossibly chaotic. Think about the gray areas. Think about the sins and evils done by good characters, or even the odd virtue of an evil-doer. Think about it, then feel it, then decide. Look at it through your eyes, through your character's eyes. Can she truely be called anything beyond Good? Maybe...but I think it fits like a magic glove.

My two coppers.
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