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 Post subject: Alignment
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 6:05 am 
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So I know we are not supposed to think in terms of good and evil when we are looking at Law and Chaos. And looking at the law side of it I can see that easily from looking at the list of Cleric Gods. Klazath is a god you could probably consider a more evil war god, while Gorhan deals more in chivalry an valor. But looking at the Chaos except for maybe the Hidden Lord you have mostly evil seeming gods, especially as many are notes as demons. How do you keep players form simply looking at it as good and evil with the examples in gods that we are given?

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 6:14 am 
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One of the PCs in my campaign has a goblin servant that she found in her stocking after defeating the Cinder Claws. He is red with cloven hooves, and is normally taciturn, but truly loves rain....he could stand under it for hours, and has a happy rain dance. The goblin is Lawful, but is not good.

On the other hand, many of the PCs are Chaotic but not evil.

Remember that "demon" need not mean "evil" either, in an Appendix N context. I highly recommend finding a copy of The Fallible Fiend for inspiration.

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 10:20 am 
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Thanks for the response Raven. I will put that one on my order list. I am slowing gathering a collection of Appendix N literature that I didn't have before and mining them for ideas.

So what are other's definitions for law and chaos? I have always looked at it, on an individual character basis, as those who are regimented and those who are not. My two most played characters were lawful characters. They awoke on schedule and performed there daily rituals. They often worked with their groups on tactics so we knew how we reacted in most situations. My mage always fires left. The other mage always fires right kind of thing.

As to Chaos I always looked at those as characters who did not follow a schedule. They would as soon fire left as right and never payed attention to the order of the day but to their whims at the moment.

Does that seem fairly close to a working definition with an Appendix N mindset? Where should I tweak it?

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 11:37 am 
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Well, after reading short descriptions in DCC rulebook I understand alignments as follow:
Lawful characters are not necessarily highly organized in their daily customs, but of course they may be. They always seem to be bound by some rules or beliefs that are more important to them than their own personal goals and whims. They feel the need to stick to some abstract code, believing in some principles like always keeping their word, listening to their superiors (even if it means harm to others), supporting the weak, fighting for some cause. Lawful characters are not inherently "good", just for them breaking those rules causes emotional suffering. Of course some are more lawful and will always prioritize their personal code, and some are less lawful, willing to break it if really needed. Lawful means being consistent in some areas, being ruled by some constant, predictable force, which determines your attitude, and doing 'right' things even if they interfere with your present goals and desires. Kind of having some 'most important things in my life' list, that you will always stick to, even if it may harm you. Examples of lawful characters: honourable samurai willing to commit seppuku; devil from hell keeping a promise despite being able to devour your soul to get more power; ruthless noble, ruling by the force of a cruel law, yet unwilling to take advatage of someone not breaking it.

Chaotic means no principles bounding your behaviour. You act as you feel in any given moment, doing what you want, or what you think is best to get what you want. Chaotic characters may feel naturally more "evil", as they much more often tend to be willing to do anything to achieve their goals, while the lawful character usually won't break their own, internalized rules. Yet, willingness to harm others is not dependent upon being chaotic or lawful, and "good" chaotic characters will naturally avoid goals that involve harming others, and usually won't feel like doing bad things. More chaotic characters often feel restrained by laws, authority and duties, feeling suppressed and enslaved. Extremely chaotic characters may even be willing to "embrace" chaos, acting to undermine constant rules, principles and order, causing riots, revolutions, or summoning horrors alien to the humanity, just to observe and enjoy entropy caused by them. Examples of chaotic characters: good-natured dwarf, who lets down his family by neglecting his grave duties because of getting drunk and in effect causing their deaths, which haunts his conscience for his entire life; bloodthirsty demon not adhering to the pact and tearing your body apart; orc, who listens to his boss only because of fear, willing to chop his head off on any sign of weakness. They won't think what is proper and what is not, just embrace the moment.

In general, I would sum up being chaotic as 'doing just what you feel', and lawful as 'doing what you feel should be done'. Lawful souls are bound to think, that there are more important forces or ideas than them, while for chaotic the single, most important being in the universe is their own self. If you are directed, binded, consistent in some matters and have some clear beliefs which can sometimes become double-edged sword - you are lawful. If you are shifting, undirected, volatile, free, independent and often unreliable - you are chaotic.


Last edited by Zenitii on Tue May 27, 2014 1:45 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 12:23 pm 
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Here is part of conversation we had on alignment a while back on the DCC Gplus group. It's a little jumbled and comes in in the middle of a conversation but I think it sums up my thoughts on Alignment at the moment. Prior to this point in the conversation I'm pretty sure everyone agreed that evil doesn't equal chaos and law doesn't equal good. In summary, I have been trying to define alignment broadly. Hopefully you can get something out of this: (I put the part that isn't my voice into italics)


Read "revenge of the rose" by Moorcock 

I think it is a better fit for DCC than  Poul Anderson's three hearts three lions, where law is simply pro-human and chaos anti-human. If the greater powers aren't human themselves you are lead to defining what  human is broadly, which can lead to other problems. 

lawful isn't good chaos isn't evil

the sides are on a cosmic level so mortal understandings of alignment are only a caricature of what the greater powers actually know about the struggle. Die roles reflecting disapproval reinforce the idea that even those mortals most committed to sides in the struggle (clerics) don't really know what's going on all the time.

sounds like you are confusing personality for alignment with rewarding chaos. I wouldn't award chaotic players for vile deeds. That kind of stuff is far too easy to do in RPGs and may or may not add to the game.

 
I'd also add the reason I say to read that particular Elric story is that he goes into the idea that both Law and Chaos in the extreme can lead to evil or injustice.



I agree with Harley in that if the best mortal understanding of alignment  (amongst sages, wizards priest and the like) is a caricature of that of the greater powers, then the typical chaotic reaver or lawful tyrant would have something akin to a stick figure.

 Day to day,  pretty much any kind of interaction between like or opposed alignments is permissible under the cosmic struggle. Thats why the greater powers created the world the lower mortals live in as it is. Nothing as piety as killing or debauchery is in itself worthy of the attention of gods. Although a mortal thinks he has chosen a side he's probably not considered an asset or even much noticed by the greater actors until he's  gotten some power. and made a real difference.  Becoming an adventurer is just the beginning of this.

 
Sure it can.  Do it how you want.  The thief skills don't bother me. 

Given the fact that characters have free will and that players aren't privy to every nuance of a cosmic struggle, I suppose the easiest thing to do is play that caricature of alignment. I've done that as a player. Maybe alignment effects skills because it is an expression that mortals can understand? But since there are only two poles ,there has got to be a lot included on the spectrum in the way of behavior in my opinion. So even among caricatures there is variety. Some people take actions considering alignment,  some don't, some consider it part of the time.

 Alignment is one of the most interesting  parts of the game to me.  I like a game where thinking on the cosmic struggle is always a work in progress and never fully understood.  So if you want to disagree with me, that is great. I just like to play in a richly rendered world in which there are questions that  can remain open and explored, and the ultimate goal is a fun and interesting game for those involved.



Jon Wilson11:23 AM+1
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1
Please don't get me wrong -- I love all the Higher Machinations Beyond Mortal Ken. (and Certainly Beyond Mortal Barbie, at that.) I was just trying to clarify that line of thinking in relation to the original question (including "why are goblins lawful?" -- which seems very 'at the table' to me). In relation to that question, the philosophical stuff seemed to say "don't worry about it, we can't understand it". As players, I think we need to have at least a little understanding of it...

So, yes, Higher Mech is very different than the earthly muck and mire of mortals. I'm versed in two Lawful nations warring, two Chaos cults at tooth-and-claw, and can even allow for Law and Chaos to mix all friendly-like (or else most adventuring parties would self-destruct).

So with Alignment in the book presented as "behavior" at lowest levels, and Comic Allegiance at the furthest extreme, goblins are lawful because they will obey commands of their leaders and have a hierarchy among themselves. Or something like that. Meanwhile, in the Cosmic Hokey-Pokey, they are "builder-uppers" not "tearer-downers" -- though that doesn't mean they won't tear down your village to build uptheir new temple to Kvizblixtlc-Ta.
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Doug Kovacs12:15 PM+1
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I think we are in agreement. If there is some ambiguity in the text, on the high level or low, it is almost certainly  intentional. Joseph wrote it with  influences from appendix N fresh in his head, but also, like the rest of the system intends it to be open enough for whatever interpretations we can bring to the table. Chaos can even be evil and law be good. I think that might be okay for children, but personally think it lame. Without even looking at the book  I'm sure there are other monsters that might have been given different alignments.

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 12:43 pm 
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After reading this discussion involving higher cosmic powers I got an idea - maybe it would be possible to sum it by saying that the law (order) is clearly directed, and chaos is shifting. What I mean is, that chaos, symbolized by this multi-directional sign full of arrows pointing different directions means that nothing is constant, everything shifts in time. On a cosmic level it means change, entropy, no stronger forces driving it towards some direction. It grows by struggle of ideas and goals, constant fighting, survival of the strongest in given moment, then their death when flow of energy changes its way. Law (order) means constant direction (whichever direction it is), some stronger force determining its course, unites similar elements and grows by incorporating them. So, by the very nature chaos is destructive, as it always changes, builds then ruins what it builded, while law is elevating, always keeping one direction and rising higher and higher upon its foundations. I think it may be illustrated by one arrow pointing upwards. So chaos is like naturally hostile to the humanity, because at the end, it destroys it's own creations and elements. The characters may be aligned to the law if they have some strong, dominating and clear principles, heading them in constant direction. The ones living only by their current feelings, which change in time, will be chaotic. While there are different directions, lawful forces may struggle with each other, when they are opposite, though they never struggle within. Chaos changes direction, may work supporting one force for a moment, then shifts, abandoning it or trying to destroy some time later. It also devours it's children, who cannot adapt properly to it's transition - thus chaos struggles not only against the law (order), but also within itself.


Last edited by Zenitii on Tue May 27, 2014 1:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 1:14 pm 
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Thanks for the info. That helps a lot.

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 1:47 pm 
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Heck, read the Amber novels (again) if you like. Amber represents law at the Courts of Chaos represent Chaos, but there is nothing particularly good or evil about either side.

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 2:09 am 
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Raven_Crowking wrote:
Heck, read the Amber novels (again) if you like. Amber represents law at the Courts of Chaos represent Chaos, but there is nothing particularly good or evil about either side.
An excellent point, plus the Amber novels are among my all-time favorites!

As you noted, in the Amberverse there are two sides called Amber (law or pattern) and Chaos and often it's hard to tell them apart.

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 6:19 am 
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Well I have a copy of Fiend shipping out. Gotta love some ebay. I actually missed the Amber series as well so I will have to check that out. The replies here have really helped to sort this out me and will go a long way in helping me sort it out for my players.

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 8:26 am 
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I must've said something right -- Doug quoted me.

...Is it okay if, reading it again, I laughed at my own Barbie joke?

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Playing RPGs since '77 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters.

Link: Here Be DCC Monsters

PbP Purple Planeteers!

Havarth • Cleric/Zikcub • Animal trainr • L
S11 A11 S9 P15 I9 L7 • AC10, HP12, R0 F1 W2
Glaive+0 1-10
Club+0 1-4
X' chain, sack
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Lucius • Cleric/Verlore • Slave • N
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Crit table +1
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Toby • Squire
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Scale armor, sack, helm, L’ rope, torch • Com, Chaos, Hobgob

Kelven • Smuggler
S14 A8 S11 P12 I7 L10 • AC9+, hp2(4), In-1, R-1 F0 W0
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Staff+1 or Sling -1 2-5
Scale armr, waterprf sack, L’ rope, torch, 39cp

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2014 11:06 am 
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Some interesting take on Lawful-Chaotic alignment on a more cosmic scale:
http://jrients.blogspot.com/2008/07/jef ... nment.html

I believe it has more old-school approach, meaning that Chaos wants to destroy the Universe, and Law subordinate it under it's agenda (gods and devils are lawful because they want to rule the universe under their own terms and vision).

But with this approach, would you still call the most elves chaotic or neutral, as stated in the DCC rulebook?


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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:07 pm 
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In our campaign I tell the players that law = pro-civilization, chaos = anti-civilization. This has worked out pretty well. The lawful gods and powers are bringers of culture, art, science, and the defenders of kings. The chaotic gods represent animal powers and primal urges. The neutral gods are forces of nature who are completely ambivalent about whatever it is that Man is doing.


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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:59 pm 
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As much as I find these discussions fascinating, and I too enjoy a game were the nature of the Universe gets explored, but on a practical level I think alignments get in the way. Philosophers have been wrestling with these questions ever since we were able to ask them and we're no closer to finding an answer now than when we started. If anything they fall in the category of introspective questions that tells us more about ourselves than the nature of the Universe.

Since they're not likely to go away any time soon I try to be practical about the struggle between law and chaos at the gaming table. I figure that these terms are merely labels for a character's relationship to society and the world. If the character lives in accordance with the strictures and rules of their society, they are lawful. Where the lawful customs and practices of two societies or groups come into opposition there will most likely be conflict between them until one subjugates the other or they are both destroyed.

If the character mostly lives by the rules and edicts of their society, but sometimes violates them, they cannot be lawful. However, their ability to conform for brief periods of time means that they cannot be chaotic, therefore they become neutral. Those character's which refuse to abide by any rules or codes of their society are considered chaotic and are often shunned or imprisoned for their inability or unwillingness to conform.

On a cosmic scale I figure it all boils down to: is the character willing to accept their fate or will they fight to change it to their very last breath. However, this does bring up some odd questions: if a lawful character burns luck to change their fate, can they still call themselves lawful? Or must they be changed to neutral, with any consequences that might go along with such an action? Or do we just accept it as a semi-limited form of permissible meta-gaming? One of my favorite questions in this area is: how do chaotic creatures form hierarchical cults/religions? How do they they suborn their nature to function as a cohesive cult or within the necessary dogmas that make up a religion? While the player is often uninterested in such matters, it is a good idea for a DM/Judge/Storyteller to spend time answering them and formulating things the way they want. It inevitably enriches the milieu and helps to quickly answer players questions.

At the gaming table I'm fine with mixing and matching motivations and alignments to generate a good story and (as someone else pointed out) to maintain party cohesion; but that's for mortals born on the Prime Material Plane. They we're given the power to chose for themselves. With respect to extraplanar critters, they don't get to make choices about alignment. Angels and devils are lawful, but their other motivations like good or evil will vary with time based upon the the society and/or world structure that created them. As such they can be bound into service, as can beings summoned from neutral planes. Demons are a different kettle of mischief altogether. In my game worlds there aren't benevolent demons due to the fact that being inherently chaotic, they suffer tremendous pain and anguish when summoned to a place bounded by law and order like the Prime Material Plane. As such they are always nasty, spiteful, murderous, and destructive and they will do anything to return to the strangeness whence they came. They cannot be bound into service, they must be summoned into a cage of some kind that will hold them prisoner until the summoner has extracted the information/service they desire of the demon... and then trusting it to have given the summoner that for which they asked.


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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:21 am 
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Tortog wrote:
... if a lawful character burns luck to change their fate, can they still call themselves lawful? ... Or do we just accept it as a semi-limited form of permissible meta-gaming?...

I like a whole lot of what you're saying, but I'm going to nit-pick here: players burn luck -- characters find things have swung in their favor somehow. No character can see their own character sheet. They don't start their day thinking "I have 12 Luck right now". They just (sometimes) find that precarious situations turn out alright. :wink:

...I could go on and say that characters don't make Saves either, but maybe I'll save that for another time. 8)

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Playing RPGs since '77 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters.

Link: Here Be DCC Monsters

PbP Purple Planeteers!

Havarth • Cleric/Zikcub • Animal trainr • L
S11 A11 S9 P15 I9 L7 • AC10, HP12, R0 F1 W2
Glaive+0 1-10
Club+0 1-4
X' chain, sack
Bless, Dtct Ev, Prot fm Evil, Word oCmmnd

Lucius • Cleric/Verlore • Slave • N
S13 A11 S8 P15 I11 L11 • AC10+, HP6, R0 F0 W2
Sword+1 _
Club+1 2-5
Hide armor, flint/steel, green stone, oil 1
Crit table +1
Dark, Holy Sanct, Resist Cold/Heat, Word o Cmmnd

Toby • Squire
S13 A10 S14 P15 I16 L9 • AC10+, hp3, R0 F1 W1
Lg swrd+1 2-9
Scale armor, sack, helm, L’ rope, torch • Com, Chaos, Hobgob

Kelven • Smuggler
S14 A8 S11 P12 I7 L10 • AC9+, hp2(4), In-1, R-1 F0 W0
Sword+1 _
Staff+1 or Sling -1 2-5
Scale armr, waterprf sack, L’ rope, torch, 39cp

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:43 am 
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Thought this might add interest in the topic.

http://www.kickassistan.net/2014/06/thi ... nment.html

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:41 am 
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At Jon> Feel free to indulge your inner simian and pick as many nits as you like, they’re nutritious and tasty. 8)

I admit that some of why I like that question is because I think it’s funny, but …

{Joins in the feast of nits}

It really boils down to a question of play style and I’m a method actor… I don’t play a character … I become the character, as best as is feasible within the bounds of reason, good taste, and social acceptability. The first thing that goes through my mind when a character needs to make a decision is: “what would the character do?” I try to look at all decisions about the character trough the eyes and understanding of the character and for me that include luck burn. Though it's worth mentioning that not once in 30+ years have I ever rolled up an evil character for myself, lots of neutrals, and an occasional L-G paladin thrown in just for laughs.

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:01 pm 
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So this makes me curious -- what does one do when burning Luck?

As I understand it, the Method involves drawing from your own life experience, drawing from within instead of from without (props, stage gestures, etc.). I can certainly think of times where I thought to myself, "I've really got to make this effort count" but I can't off the bat figure out how I'd actually "burn my Luck" to insure success.

I was once driving a car that wound up on just two wheels at 60-ish MPH. I'll say that again: I was once driving a car that wound up on just two wheels at 60-ish MPH. I addressed the situation as best I could... (which is perhaps the single-greatest understatement I've ever posted on the interwebs, and there have been at least a couple). I succeeded in getting the car back on four wheels without hurting myself nor anyone else (and the car was fine, too). If that were a game situation, I could certainly see a player burning a ton of Luck to make that whole event turn out well. But as a real-life situation, I certainly didn't actively do anything that I can relate to burning Luck to affect the outcome.


I, too, when possible try to play the game from the character's perspective. But the mechanics of the game are beyond their perspective. Aren't they?

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Gnome Boy • DCC playtester @ DDC 35 Feb '11. • Beta DL 2111, 7AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since '77 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters.

Link: Here Be DCC Monsters

PbP Purple Planeteers!

Havarth • Cleric/Zikcub • Animal trainr • L
S11 A11 S9 P15 I9 L7 • AC10, HP12, R0 F1 W2
Glaive+0 1-10
Club+0 1-4
X' chain, sack
Bless, Dtct Ev, Prot fm Evil, Word oCmmnd

Lucius • Cleric/Verlore • Slave • N
S13 A11 S8 P15 I11 L11 • AC10+, HP6, R0 F0 W2
Sword+1 _
Club+1 2-5
Hide armor, flint/steel, green stone, oil 1
Crit table +1
Dark, Holy Sanct, Resist Cold/Heat, Word o Cmmnd

Toby • Squire
S13 A10 S14 P15 I16 L9 • AC10+, hp3, R0 F1 W1
Lg swrd+1 2-9
Scale armor, sack, helm, L’ rope, torch • Com, Chaos, Hobgob

Kelven • Smuggler
S14 A8 S11 P12 I7 L10 • AC9+, hp2(4), In-1, R-1 F0 W0
Sword+1 _
Staff+1 or Sling -1 2-5
Scale armr, waterprf sack, L’ rope, torch, 39cp

RIP
Stinky Pete, Ostler — Spine snapped by tackling Kith


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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:38 pm 
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Gnomeboy:

I really like that question but don't have an answer.

I've been thinking one of the holy grails of high end DCC is adding some logical and flavorful explanation of halflings loaning luck akin to players describing spell burn or mighty deeds. Pretty much dovetails with stuff with luck in general. Good descriptions of mighty deeds and spell burn seem rare enough as it is so addressing luck seems really hard, but potentially super rewarding.

One idea: When you describe the use of luck it locks in place one puzzle piece of a characters unknown background….maybe …sort of like karma?

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 5:03 pm 
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GnomeBoy wrote:
... But the mechanics of the game are beyond their perspective. Aren't they?


Well for starters I should say sorry to Stretch... I wasn't trying to derail the thread. :)

I'm not sure how other people handle this, but I don't think the character is or needs to be conscious of the mechanics of the game to take advantage of a process like luck burn. There are plenty of real world examples of this; quantum physics is a good one. Most physicists would be hard pressed to to describe what the quantum level of reality actually is, but we take advantage of the effects all the time in our bodies and in manufacturing, even plants can use quantum level effects.

So for my characters luck burn always takes the form of those tiny little prayers that everyone (even atheists) mutter from time to time. You know the one I'm talking about... it goes something like this: "OH PLEASE! OH PLEASE! OH PLEASE! OH PLEASE, DEAR GOD GET ME OUT OF THIS AND I PROMISE I'LL STAY OUT OF TROUBLE FROM NOW ON!" In the example you gave, I can quite easily imagine something like this going through your mind, even if it was only as a subconscious level. :mrgreen:

AS for halflings sharing luck... I don't let them into my games, so I don't have to explain how they are able to share luck. :wink:

Getting back to the OP question: I don't try to steer players away from thinking in terms of good vs. evil. In my time behind the DM's screen I've noticed that most people have trouble defining law and chaos in practical terms, especially when a seemingly lawful decision for their character leads to consequences that can be considered evil. However, everyone seems to have a grasp of good and evil and I'd rather use what players know and are comfortable with rather than forcing them into an ethical frame-work that they don't (or don't want to) understand. What's more is that I've found that most people's definitions of good and evil are fairly similar and revolve around the axis of selfish/selflessness, making it that much easier and faster to bring players into the adventure.


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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:42 pm 
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oncelor wrote:
In our campaign I tell the players that law = pro-civilization, chaos = anti-civilization. This has worked out pretty well. The lawful gods and powers are bringers of culture, art, science, and the defenders of kings. The chaotic gods represent animal powers and primal urges. The neutral gods are forces of nature who are completely ambivalent about whatever it is that Man is doing.


Well after some time spent thinking I got to a conclusion, that this indeed may be the best approach. Civilization is by it's nature a fruit of law, it imposes rules upon rules on societies. People are not allowed to act according to their will, but to some written, accepted principles. Chaos acts according only to it's own whims. Thus being pro civilization, kingdoms of men, laws, order and structures means you are lawful. Being lawful is believing that civilization is necessary to the best growth of the society, and being willing to fight/force it into existence. For example kings are lawful, and devils are lawful, both of them believe that the society needs a proper structure and rules, no matter how fair or cruel ones. Chaos is no rules, no civilization, it's the primal state of mankind, where each one fights for his own. It means that the strongest do what they want, their whims become reality, which results ultimately in... chaos. Wild barbarians are chaotic, and demons are chaotic - you can force a demon to submission only by a supreme power and potent magic, never by a mere pact. This view can also explain some elves being chaotic: they are close to the fey creatures, who are either neutral or capricious, unpredictable, uncaring, whimsical, detached and more likely than not mad. I think this attitude is the closest one to the Appendix N, as most of REH's books about Conan concerned this issue - a clash between civilization and barbarism. It is also pretty close to the great "Ragnarok" fight which I linked to earlier - forces of Chaos want to annihilate everything in an orgy of destruction guided only by their mad lusts, and the gods want to protect the earth and lead their societies through the social engineering to the ideal, unchanging and eternal paradises created in their divine minds. Neutrals are just people or beings without clear opinions and beliefs about it, unwilling to fight for civilization, or believers in the perfect order as a constant clash of opposed elements - our present world.


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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:29 pm 
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Quote:


Well after some time spent thinking I got to a conclusion, that this indeed may be the best approach. Civilization is by it's nature a fruit of law, it imposes rules upon rules on societies. People are not allowed to act according to their will, but to some written, accepted principles. Chaos acts according only to it's own w…..


I think the reason why we argue so much about alignment is because it cleaves so closely to what our real world views and assumptions are. We know we don't agree on that stuff , so its not surprising we don't always agree on alignment.

It's not my intention to argue that you can't use this idea for your campaign, I just think that it is over simplistic for me by virtue of the fact that I personally don't actually know what is good or bad for civilization. Much art comes out of chaos, and war can come out of law for starters. I feel like i can go on from there but won't. Without an omnipotent POV I can't really say much about what is good for humanity or civilization other than through my own experience . I don't want to impose that, in the form of punishment or reward on another player as a DM. History doesn't really have a control involved so we can never really know whether something like the creation of the atomic bomb was good or bad for civilization. But lets reign that direction of thought back in a little.

I can imagine running a world were I make your ( or the Poul Anderson's) narrow idea of law empirically true .I think it would only be fair to the players to make that explicit to the players from the very beginning of the game if it was going to effect mechanical awards. I also think it would limit the range of player types an experienced player could explore... but that might be okay for you. It would be very easy as a player for me to have a single character that had this world view in either an intellectual or non-intellectual way. Its sort of like having a character that believes in good and evil.

So, my point is, as a DM, I'm currently trying to imagine a cosmos in which the battle between Law and Chaos is a truth that includes all points of view that I can imagine or will be offered by the players. In this way , no arguments need to be had with my players as to what playing one's alignment means. For instance If it means something similar to a personality trait to a particular player I will judge its value to the game in and of itself and make rewards accordingly. I wouldn't punish a player for thinking chaos equates to a robin hood mentality either. I'd just consider whether such vile deeds , or robin hoodishness were adding anything to the game. A lot of time I think the judgement would be neutral or a wash, thus providing no barrier to anyone's fun. Law as pro civilization can exist in any number of characters minds in this kind of game but doesn't exist as an empirical truth.

Similarly I prefer not to be punished for my world view while playing in another DM's game. I'm not saying that this is currently going on with me at all . I'm currently really enjoying exploring the thoughts and actions of a chaotic character that isn't out to destroy civilization. I don't think she even really knows what her ultimate goals are, but I see that as fun and interesting. Not knowing is fun. I have other characters who could care less about the bigger picture of things so its not even always an issue.

All that said, As a DM I prefer not narrowly defining what Law and Chao mean because I think it ultimately makes for games that include the most possible texture in the long run.

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:07 pm 
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I don't think my real world notions have much to do with it: I just don't find it very interesting to develop complex thoughts about alignment in fantasy games. The simple standard works well to explain alignment to my players and to keep the game rolling. My players don't seem saddened and this certainly hasn't cramped the development of their characters -- the lawful thief and the lawful paladin have very different world-views. It sounds as though alignment is a much bigger deal in your campaigns than in my campaigns: my players would rather explore dungeons than explore what chaos means to them.

I guess I'm OK with making up a fantasy rule about what lawful means despite the fact that I am neither omniscient nor omnipotent. I don't see why I would need to be all-powerful in order to make up rules for a fantasy game. There's a chaotic thief in my campaign who isn't actively trying to destroy civilization formally, but he's seems to be happy to lie and steal for the purpose of enriching himself. It's my judgment that these sorts of behaviors tend to destroy civilization materially so I tell my players that they are chaotic actions. This chaotic thief probably plays his alignment more neutral than chaotic, but the player wants to be chaotic so I don't make a big deal about his relative lack of chaos. I do sometimes reward characters with a luck point for following their alignment if they have to make some sacrifice or put themselves in danger to do so.

It's cool that you guys think it's fun to explore alignment like that. Despite my absolutist alignment explanation, we don't get into arguments about alignment and I've never punished anybody for acting against his alignment (except for the sin rules from the book.) As a Judge I spend most of my prep-time thinking about things like what sort of grotesque hat the ogre is wearing, what sort of funny riddle the giant snake might ask, or what sort of foul ingredients the party will have to find in order to dispel the fairy-queen's curse. I spend almost no time pondering the nature of law and chaos because frankly that's just kind of boring to me. The only time I get into arguments with my players seems to be when they try to have complicated tactical conversations in the middle of combat.

This isn't to say that I don't find real moral and ethical thought to be uninteresting, I'm a wee bit of an amateur philosopher I suppose, but thinking about alignment in a fantasy game really just doesn't seem to be the same thing as that. The "Nicomachean Ethics" is interesting to me in a way that thinking about fantasy alignment is just not.


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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:44 am 
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oncelor wrote:
I don't think my real world notions have much to do with it: I just don't find it very interesting to develop complex thoughts about alignment in fantasy games. The simple standard works well to explain alignment to my players and to keep the game rolling. My players don't seem saddened and this certainly hasn't cramped the development of their characters -- the lawful thief and the lawful paladin have very different world-views. It sounds as though alignment is a much bigger deal in your campaigns than in my campaigns: my players would rather explore dungeons than explore what chaos means to them.

I guess I'm OK with making up a fantasy rule about what lawful means despite the fact that I am neither omniscient nor omnipotent. I don't see why I would need to be all-powerful in order to make up rules for a fantasy game. There's a chaotic thief in my campaign who isn't actively trying to destroy civilization formally, but he's seems to be happy to lie and steal for the purpose of enriching himself. It's my judgment that these sorts of behaviors tend to destroy civilization materially so I tell my players that they are chaotic actions. This chaotic thief probably plays his alignment more neutral than chaotic, but the player wants to be chaotic so I don't make a big deal about his relative lack of chaos. I do sometimes reward characters with a luck point for following their alignment if they have to make some sacrifice or put themselves in danger to do so.

It's cool that you guys think it's fun to explore alignment like that. Despite my absolutist alignment explanation, we don't get into arguments about alignment and I've never punished anybody for acting against his alignment (except for the sin rules from the book.) As a Judge I spend most of my prep-time thinking about things like what sort of grotesque hat the ogre is wearing, what sort of funny riddle the giant snake might ask, or what sort of foul ingredients the party will have to find in order to dispel the fairy-queen's curse. I spend almost no time pondering the nature of law and chaos because frankly that's just kind of boring to me. The only time I get into arguments with my players seems to be when they try to have complicated tactical conversations in the middle of combat.

This isn't to say that I don't find real moral and ethical thought to be uninteresting, I'm a wee bit of an amateur philosopher I suppose, but thinking about alignment in a fantasy game really just doesn't seem to be the same thing as that. The "Nicomachean Ethics" is interesting to me in a way that thinking about fantasy alignment is just not.


That's cool. I don't think its even the players in my game or fellow players in the game I play so much as it is me. I do however would like to play in games with deeper concepts right along with all the things you mentioned. The deep includes the shallow in my mind. The smart includes the dumb. Few things are mutually exclusive. ….and I'm kind of calling my self dumb there too if that makes the idea more palatable.

Drawing and painting all day long means I have a pretty firm grasp on thinking about funny hats, colors; sensory first hand experiences and I suppose I'm just expanding the details in my mind into things i can't see . Philosophically I guess thats expanding into the rational. I'm no expert on the terminology but I am expert on my own thoughts. I see games the way I do art, which is to say there is room for everything when something is well executed. However,I'm the first to admit not all my art or DCC games are perfectly executed. Its something to set my sites on though even if its a holy grail or grass is green situation.

As for alignment specifically, I've played many ways previously sometimes dumping alignment altogether. The above ideas are only those in a string of exploration of what alignment means, which I imagine will continue to evolve. All this is very interesting to me. Like art, music and literature, DCC (D&D) doesn't seem to have an end to the corners that can be explored.

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment
PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:29 am 
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Well it is indeed a tough discussion. I tend to think about it because I often play with people new to RPGs and they usually ask - what does lawful and chaotic mean? It may be left open to interpretation or little unclear with more advanced players, but with newcomers not that much. Therefore I need a simple and consistent answer. I think I'll stick to this pro-civilization thing, or maybe, to be more precise, pro-organisation. For sure it can't be that law is 'good' and chaos is 'evil'. The 'organization' axis seems just about right in it's simplicity. Beings who prefer highly organized societies are lawful (for example dwarves, as stated in corebook), ones who prefer disorganized are chaotic (barbarians, orcs, elves). Civilization isn't always good, because often it can give birth to rotten fruits and cruel, despotic laws. Organized societies can sometimes also induce chaos, especially when their goals are contrary (religious wars, fighting for resources etc.), but still they fight for their 'lawful' goals. Not to mention, that nothing on the material plane is perfectly lawful or perfectly chaotic. I think this will be my explanation to players - if you believe that societies should be organized in certain ways, and that people should act according to some principles (like obedience to the authorities or ancestors, reigns of the law, listening to the wise ones, acting in accordance with some religious code, profession rules etc. etc.), and that it's necessary for the growth and power/well-being, then you are lawful. If you prefer ultimate freedom and lack of rules - chaotic. This can even be seen in the thief class, lawful thieves tend to associate in guilds, while chaotic are freelancers. But it's just my take on the topic necessary to introduce new players to the hobby.

Besides, Doug, just admitt that you are chaotic evil and, thus, you're trying to water down the definition of lawful alignment to the doom of the whole mankind.


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