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D&D 3E
Lawful Neutral, not Legal Neutral 
29th-Jul-2009 01:12 pm
MC Frontalot - Nerdcore Rising
In addition to the game I'm going to be running which I posted about a few days ago, I'm going to be playing in a new game soon. My plan is to play a rogue with the Ascetic Rogue feat so he can multiclass monk. I want him to have the abilities of a monk, but he's not going to be an actual monastery monk. I view him more as a rogue who prefers to fight hand to hand (and is good at it). I don't want to play lawful good, and lawful evil is not an option for this game (even if it was it's my least favorite alignment and I probably wouldn't play it). So to meet the alignment restriction and be something I want to play, he needs to be Lawful Neutral.

I don't usually play lawful characters. I also usually come up with a character concept first, then think of how to build it, this time I went the other way around. The concept I came up with is that he's a member of a mafia type criminal organization. They have a strict code of conduct, but they're engaged in illegal activities. I think that fits the spirit of the intended alignment requirements without forcing me to play a cleric of St. Cuthbert who wants to put everyone in jail for spitting in the street.

I'm planning on putting together his code of conduct and will probably base it on the mafia's ten commandments as posted on wikipedia.

So what do you all think? Think this is a fair way to play a Lawful Neutral character? Or do you think I'm trying to skirt the rules so I can play a criminal monk?
29th-Jul-2009 10:29 pm (UTC)
I'm 99% sure that the alignment/no-multiclassing rules for monks, barbarians, and paladins exist ONLY to provide balance (e.g. you can't have a monkbarian, because that would be insane). And I'm not convinced that's a GOOD way to provide balance--it seems artificial, to me.
29th-Jul-2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
I agree with you; it probably was a balancing factor originally, but I don't think it's actually a balance concern. I mean, what's so bad about a monk/barbarian? That would probably be a fairly viable and yet not overpowered character (actually sounds pretty fun to me--a monk that can actually hit and do damage!). That's even if we don't include the "you can't ever stop being a monk." Most the classes with alignment restrictions (monk, bard, paladin) are among the weakest classes in the game.

I usually avoid alignment discussions because I ignore the system so much, but I had to comment because it felt like alignment was being used as a controlling and limiting factor in character creation. But as gern has pointed out, it isn't really, so no problem :)
29th-Jul-2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
Ummmm, barbarians are barbaric, thus chaotic. Monks are aesthetic, thus lawful. It's a verisilimitude thing, not a balance thing.

Edited at 2009-07-29 10:51 pm (UTC)
29th-Jul-2009 11:44 pm (UTC)
Ascetic. Although I suppose several of the young acolytes in the Brother Cadfael series are aesthetic too. Mmm...Brother Mark...anyway.

Is it really a verisimilitude thing? I'm not convinced. If samurai have to be lawful (IIRC they do), then why not the other faux-Japan classes (wu jen, shugenja, ninja) which exist in the same society?

Perhaps it is a verisimilitude thing after all; but it's not applied at all levelly.
30th-Jul-2009 08:15 am (UTC) - GG owned a dictionary, he just didn't know how to use it
In the AD&D PHB, Monks were infamously "aesthetics". And killing people for money was the "antithesis of weal".
31st-Jul-2009 03:14 am (UTC) - Re: GG owned a dictionary, he just didn't know how to use it
Ohhh, wow.

30th-Jul-2009 12:07 am (UTC)
That's the problem. Who says barbarians have to be barbaric? Who says that monks have to ascetic? I can play a perfectly civilized warrior who launches into a series of powerful strikes before he runs out of energy. Or I can play a greedy and mobile warrior who runs around tripping and grappling people rather than engaging them outright.

Class name doesn't (and shouldn't) enforce a character type. The alignment thing doesn't add to verisimilitude, and so must add to balance (if you assume its necessary at all, which I don't).
30th-Jul-2009 12:50 am (UTC)
I have a Dwarf barbarian in my sat. 4E campaign.

He was a administrator for the first half of his life.
then at about the age of 100, a young noble came to town and started abusing the town. after much provocation, he started a fight that turned into a revolt. decimating the town population.

He turned to drinking to forget.... after about 40 years he started to succeed, forgetting the past....
then he started a life as a adventurer. Lvl 1 Barbarian.
No past and mostly just experience with bar fighting.

turned into a major part of our last campaign and added a lot of roll play options.

30th-Jul-2009 04:13 am (UTC)
A non-barbaric barbarian, and an unmonklike monk? If you don't want to play a barbarian, then don't play a barbarian. If you don't play a monk, then don't play a monk. Class name absolutely enforces a character type. Wizards and sorcerers cast arcane spells. Barbarians are barbaric, and monks are monklike. The verisilimitude of a monk acting like a monk is what makes the class work. The verisilimitude of a barbarian acting like a babarian is what makes the class work.

Edited at 2009-07-30 04:14 am (UTC)
30th-Jul-2009 04:34 am (UTC)
Absolutely not in my D&D my friend. Luckily, we don't have to play in each other's games :)
30th-Jul-2009 05:04 am (UTC)
wow. really? why? if you want to play a ruffian who grew up on the street, who never learned to read, who's naturally gifted at fighting but was never formally trained in combat or shown how to wear heavy armor, a character with a rough and ready wild fighting style, why wouldn't you use the barbarian class? if you wanted to play that but it didn't make sense for the character to have the survival skill, and i was dming, i'd let you swap out knowledge local for survival.

if you want to play a gifted engineer with a knack for figuring out strange devices and an interest in ancient lore, why wouldn't you play a rogue with lots of ranks in disable device, open locks, and decipher script?

like someone else said, "rogue" doesn't need to mean "thief".

why would you tie yourself or your game down by forcing every monk to report to a monastery or every barbarian to act just like conan or every wizard to wear a pointy hat and have a beard down to his knees, or every paladin to be blonde, blue eyed and lame? if you want to play a game like that, why wouldn't you just play video games? or 4E? (heh-heh...)

31st-Jul-2009 03:25 am (UTC)
Naw, dude, 4E has tiefling paladins!

(Incidentally, now I know how my "2nd Ed ForEvAr" friend felt when dwarves were allowed to be mages in 3E...eurgh, tiefling paladins. Eurgh, tiefling/asimar/draconic as core races.) :-D

Also, for the lady wizards out there, I believe the "Silverbeard" paladin spell is just the ticket! You can cast it from a scroll if you have ranks in Use Magic Device...or you can just use Limited Wish.
31st-Jul-2009 03:29 am (UTC)
i thought 3e was a huge improvement over 2e and was really amped up to like 4e but i was totally disappointed. i just can't see wanting to play it ever. there are aspects of it that i like, things they streamlined that i think were good ideas. but it's not the same game and they stripped away too much. imho.
30th-Jul-2009 05:11 am (UTC) - it's possible i'm just being cranky because it's late
and another thing, dammit i feel like a troll saying this... but dammit i'm gonna do it anyway.

if you like throwing the big words around, learn to spell them. it's "verisimilitude". do you even know what it means?

it means "having the quality of seeming or feeling realistic".

i don't see why the type of urban barbarian i described in my other comment seems any more or less realistic than another boring conan clone.

and hell, it's a fantasy role playing game. i defy you to explain why your arcane spellcaster who learns his spells from ancient tomes of forgotten lore is more realistic than Larry the Magic Halfling who learns his spells by solving the Daily Jumble on the comics page of the Waterdeep Free Press.

31st-Jul-2009 03:15 am (UTC)
Here kid, have a mindfuck.


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