Author Topic: Morality Question  (Read 10001 times)

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Kajhera

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #40 on: February 10, 2011, 07:28:55 AM »
Conversely, Dick the Champion of Kobolds, whom only murders paladins of a certain holy order dedicated to the extermination of pests in the world, and even so only when they are to kill a kobold, or in self-defense, is mechanically evil.
I'd disagree with that.  Unlike rangers, paladins are not powered by racism.
Paladins use Smite Evil.
Orcs are usually evil.
Smite Evil works on orcs, therefore Smite Evil is racist.
Paladins use Smite Evil as a power, therefore they are powered by racism.

Not the precise point, however. What I DID want to point out is that Dick the Champion of Kobolds is mechanically evil when he kills a vanilla Paladin (i.e. a Lawful Good Paladin) regardless of his reasons for doing so, even if the Paladin himself was about to commit an evil act (such as raping a kobold), because he killed a Good creature.

If the vanilla paladin is trying to rape a kobold, he's going to fall so fast his ass'll doppler-shift.

... Yea, LG paladin raping anything animate = ???. Maybe a venus flytrap, that's about it.

Gods_Trick

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #41 on: February 10, 2011, 08:30:56 AM »
Conversely, Dick the Champion of Kobolds, whom only murders paladins of a certain holy order dedicated to the extermination of pests in the world, and even so only when they are to kill a kobold, or in self-defense, is mechanically evil.
I'd disagree with that.  Unlike rangers, paladins are not powered by racism.
Paladins use Smite Evil.
Orcs are usually evil.
Smite Evil works on orcs, therefore Smite Evil is racist.
Paladins use Smite Evil as a power, therefore they are powered by racism.

Not the precise point, however. What I DID want to point out is that Dick the Champion of Kobolds is mechanically evil when he kills a vanilla Paladin (i.e. a Lawful Good Paladin) regardless of his reasons for doing so, even if the Paladin himself was about to commit an evil act (such as raping a kobold), because he killed a Good creature.

Justified ad hominem though - racism is not bad, if race is (usually) an accurate indicator of alignment. Wow, I kinda hated myself for typing that  :p Nonetheless, racism is not bad if it is accurate. Ugg, going read some philosophy to take that bad taste out now.

Whisper

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #42 on: February 10, 2011, 08:55:17 AM »
Justified ad hominem though - racism is not bad, if race is (usually) an accurate indicator of alignment. Wow, I kinda hated myself for typing that  :p Nonetheless, racism is not bad if it is accurate. Ugg, going read some philosophy to take that bad taste out now.

Only necessarily true if one accepts the alignment descriptions exactly as written. Since this is impossible (they are self-contradictory), then it starts to depend how one decides to define evil.

For me, it always struck me that the D&D moral world looks exactly the same if you turn it upside down. If one imagines a morality colouring book, it reads something like:

This is a gang of orcs invading a human village, killing anyone who stands in their way, and stealing anything that's not nailed down. This is called "raiding". Colour it EVIL.

This is a party of humans invading an orc camp,  killing anyone who stands in their way, and stealing anything that's not nailed down. This is called "adventuring". Colour it GOOD.


Sure, you can claim that the orcs are also nasty and mean and LIKE killing, whereas adventurers are "merely" killing EVIL folks to rob them... but that seems a bit circular to me.

After all, if everyone in the multiverse really had complete freedom of choice to determine their own alignment, then there would be no such thing as a "typically evil". "Anatomy == destiny" is incompatible with the notion that everyone has a choice to be good or evil.

Couple that with the way that pretty much anything that "evil" entities do which makes them "evil" is also done somewhere, by some other entity which is described in rulebook text as "good". Like, say, torture. Sure, you can say that these things are okay if they're done to someone "evil", but then the universe starts to look the same when you turn it upside down, again.


Really, the alignment system is so poorly thought out, and so casually designed, that it cannot stand up to even five minutes scrutiny by a person of even the most modest philosophical bent. It was only designed to sort players ("good") from "things that it's okay to kill, because they're eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil". In any game more nuanced than that, it just falls apart.

Gods_Trick

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #43 on: February 10, 2011, 09:10:56 AM »

  I assume we play D&D as written here on BG, and as regards to the OP. I kicked alignment to the curb a long time ago for exactly the same reason in my RL.

  Benevolent gods and cruel devils have little to do with good and evil as happens on the mortal plane. Trying to put them on the same team appeals only to bureaucrats and sadists.

Kuroimaken

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #44 on: February 10, 2011, 02:52:22 PM »
Conversely, Dick the Champion of Kobolds, whom only murders paladins of a certain holy order dedicated to the extermination of pests in the world, and even so only when they are to kill a kobold, or in self-defense, is mechanically evil.
I'd disagree with that.  Unlike rangers, paladins are not powered by racism.
Paladins use Smite Evil.
Orcs are usually evil.
Smite Evil works on orcs, therefore Smite Evil is racist.
Paladins use Smite Evil as a power, therefore they are powered by racism.

Not the precise point, however. What I DID want to point out is that Dick the Champion of Kobolds is mechanically evil when he kills a vanilla Paladin (i.e. a Lawful Good Paladin) regardless of his reasons for doing so, even if the Paladin himself was about to commit an evil act (such as raping a kobold), because he killed a Good creature.

If the vanilla paladin is trying to rape a kobold, he's going to fall so fast his ass'll doppler-shift.

... Yea, LG paladin raping anything animate = ???. Maybe a venus flytrap, that's about it.

Replace rape with kill. Same end result.
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Gods_Trick

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #45 on: February 10, 2011, 02:56:42 PM »
Conversely, Dick the Champion of Kobolds, whom only murders paladins of a certain holy order dedicated to the extermination of pests in the world, and even so only when they are to kill a kobold, or in self-defense, is mechanically evil.
I'd disagree with that.  Unlike rangers, paladins are not powered by racism.
Paladins use Smite Evil.
Orcs are usually evil.
Smite Evil works on orcs, therefore Smite Evil is racist.
Paladins use Smite Evil as a power, therefore they are powered by racism.

Not the precise point, however. What I DID want to point out is that Dick the Champion of Kobolds is mechanically evil when he kills a vanilla Paladin (i.e. a Lawful Good Paladin) regardless of his reasons for doing so, even if the Paladin himself was about to commit an evil act (such as raping a kobold), because he killed a Good creature.

If the vanilla paladin is trying to rape a kobold, he's going to fall so fast his ass'll doppler-shift.

... Yea, LG paladin raping anything animate = ???. Maybe a venus flytrap, that's about it.

Replace rape with kill. Same end result.

Rape =/= kill. its not functionally equivalent, at least to humans RL.

veekie

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #46 on: February 10, 2011, 04:04:35 PM »
Conversely, Dick the Champion of Kobolds, whom only murders paladins of a certain holy order dedicated to the extermination of pests in the world, and even so only when they are to kill a kobold, or in self-defense, is mechanically evil.
I'd disagree with that.  Unlike rangers, paladins are not powered by racism.
Paladins use Smite Evil.
Orcs are usually evil.
Smite Evil works on orcs, therefore Smite Evil is racist.
Paladins use Smite Evil as a power, therefore they are powered by racism.

Not the precise point, however. What I DID want to point out is that Dick the Champion of Kobolds is mechanically evil when he kills a vanilla Paladin (i.e. a Lawful Good Paladin) regardless of his reasons for doing so, even if the Paladin himself was about to commit an evil act (such as raping a kobold), because he killed a Good creature.

If the vanilla paladin is trying to rape a kobold, he's going to fall so fast his ass'll doppler-shift.

... Yea, LG paladin raping anything animate = ???. Maybe a venus flytrap, that's about it.

Replace rape with kill. Same end result.

Rape =/= kill. its not functionally equivalent, at least to humans RL.
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Kuroimaken

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #47 on: February 10, 2011, 04:06:54 PM »
For the purpose of the example in question, it's the same. The idea is to demonstrate that no matter what the Paladin is doing, since a single Evil act does not make a do-Gooder evil, killing a Paladin about to commit an evil act is still mechanically evil - because you killed a good creature.

Either way, Whisper pretty much summarized how objective morality is supposed to work in D&D.
Gendou Ikari is basically Gregory House in Kaminashades. This is FACT.

For proof, look here:

http://www.layoutjelly.com/image_27/gendo_ikari/

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Which Final Fantasy Character Are You?
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Get yours.[/SPOILER]

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Kajhera

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #48 on: February 10, 2011, 04:18:16 PM »
Conversely, Dick the Champion of Kobolds, whom only murders paladins of a certain holy order dedicated to the extermination of pests in the world, and even so only when they are to kill a kobold, or in self-defense, is mechanically evil.
I'd disagree with that.  Unlike rangers, paladins are not powered by racism.
Paladins use Smite Evil.
Orcs are usually evil.
Smite Evil works on orcs, therefore Smite Evil is racist.
Paladins use Smite Evil as a power, therefore they are powered by racism.

Not the precise point, however. What I DID want to point out is that Dick the Champion of Kobolds is mechanically evil when he kills a vanilla Paladin (i.e. a Lawful Good Paladin) regardless of his reasons for doing so, even if the Paladin himself was about to commit an evil act (such as raping a kobold), because he killed a Good creature.

If the vanilla paladin is trying to rape a kobold, he's going to fall so fast his ass'll doppler-shift.

... Yea, LG paladin raping anything animate = ???. Maybe a venus flytrap, that's about it.

Replace rape with kill. Same end result.

Rape =/= kill. its not functionally equivalent, at least to humans RL.
If it reproduces by being severed, then they might be!

... Okay, venus flytraps and oozes.

The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #49 on: February 10, 2011, 09:48:17 PM »
For the purpose of the example in question, it's the same. The idea is to demonstrate that no matter what the Paladin is doing, since a single Evil act does not make a do-Gooder evil, killing a Paladin about to commit an evil act is still mechanically evil - because you killed a good creature.
I disagree with you on that.

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Kuroimaken

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #50 on: February 10, 2011, 10:34:18 PM »
For the purpose of the example in question, it's the same. The idea is to demonstrate that no matter what the Paladin is doing, since a single Evil act does not make a do-Gooder evil, killing a Paladin about to commit an evil act is still mechanically evil - because you killed a good creature.
I disagree with you on that.

"It was only one genocide!"

Demon race versus humanity. War goes on for centuries, enough people die on both sides to characterize genocide. Mankind was only defending itself.

Conversely, angel race versus humanity. War goes on for centuries, enough people die on both sides to characterize genocide. Mankind was only defending itself.

D&D wouldn't harm mankind's alignment over the first one, but it sure would over the second one.
Gendou Ikari is basically Gregory House in Kaminashades. This is FACT.

For proof, look here:

http://www.layoutjelly.com/image_27/gendo_ikari/

[SPOILER]
Which Final Fantasy Character Are You?
Final Fantasy 7
My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Brother Katana of Enlightenment.
Get yours.[/SPOILER]

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Kajhera

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #51 on: February 10, 2011, 10:39:02 PM »
For the purpose of the example in question, it's the same. The idea is to demonstrate that no matter what the Paladin is doing, since a single Evil act does not make a do-Gooder evil, killing a Paladin about to commit an evil act is still mechanically evil - because you killed a good creature.
I disagree with you on that.

"It was only one genocide!"

Demon race versus humanity. War goes on for centuries, enough people die on both sides to characterize genocide. Mankind was only defending itself.

Conversely, angel race versus humanity. War goes on for centuries, enough people die on both sides to characterize genocide. Mankind was only defending itself.

D&D wouldn't harm mankind's alignment over the first one, but it sure would over the second one.

And of course: Human race vs. human race. War goes on for centuries, enough people die on both sides to characterize genocide...

We're apparently neutral.

The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #52 on: February 10, 2011, 10:39:38 PM »
If alignment worked that way.

Which it doesn't.
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Kuroimaken

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #53 on: February 10, 2011, 10:52:48 PM »
Neutral is a bit trickier to advocate.

Killing an Evil creature is pretty much always a good act (Paladins do it all the time), or at least one that doesn't shift one's alignment.

Killing a Good creature is pretty much always an evil act, as by definition, Good creatures do not harm others willingly for no reason, thus you do not actively prevent harm to others by killing Good creatures.

Because neutral creatures can go either way, you have to wait until they are going about either an evil business or a good business to decide whether killing it would be a good or evil act (a neutral warforged builds a hospital - killing him is an evil act. A neutral warforged sets a house on fire because he feels like it - killing him is a good act).
Gendou Ikari is basically Gregory House in Kaminashades. This is FACT.

For proof, look here:

http://www.layoutjelly.com/image_27/gendo_ikari/

[SPOILER]
Which Final Fantasy Character Are You?
Final Fantasy 7
My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Brother Katana of Enlightenment.
Get yours.[/SPOILER]

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Whisper

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #54 on: February 11, 2011, 12:10:32 AM »
Neutral is a bit trickier to advocate.

Killing an Evil creature is pretty much always a good act (Paladins do it all the time), or at least one that doesn't shift one's alignment.

Killing a Good creature is pretty much always an evil act, as by definition, Good creatures do not harm others willingly for no reason, thus you do not actively prevent harm to others by killing Good creatures.

Already you have contradicted yourself. If killing a creature because it's evil is good, and killing a creature without cause is evil, then killing orcs without cause is both good and evil.

Kajhera

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #55 on: February 11, 2011, 01:01:56 AM »
Neutral is a bit trickier to advocate.

Killing an Evil creature is pretty much always a good act (Paladins do it all the time), or at least one that doesn't shift one's alignment.

Killing a Good creature is pretty much always an evil act, as by definition, Good creatures do not harm others willingly for no reason, thus you do not actively prevent harm to others by killing Good creatures.

Already you have contradicted yourself. If killing a creature because it's evil is good, and killing a creature without cause is evil, then killing orcs without cause is both good and evil.

Killing orcs without cause is evil or insane. Killing orcs because they are evil - if they are in fact evil - is not so evil. That happens to be a cause right there...hence reducing the evilness. It may be a little circular but still. Killing a village full of orcish civilians is evil partly because, out of those of Usually Evil alignment, civilians are proportionately neutral a rather impressive amount of the time.

Killing orcs to save a town of celestials under siege by orcish raiders is good.

If you kill someone, and they happened to be evil but you didn't know, that's fortunate but not particularly your fault. The net goodness in the world would be better than if you lopped the head off a disguised silver dragon, but that doesn't mean you should get any credit for it.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 01:08:16 AM by Kajhera »

Kuroimaken

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #56 on: February 11, 2011, 01:17:11 AM »
Neutral is a bit trickier to advocate.

Killing an Evil creature is pretty much always a good act (Paladins do it all the time), or at least one that doesn't shift one's alignment.

Killing a Good creature is pretty much always an evil act, as by definition, Good creatures do not harm others willingly for no reason, thus you do not actively prevent harm to others by killing Good creatures.

Already you have contradicted yourself. If killing a creature because it's evil is good, and killing a creature without cause is evil, then killing orcs without cause is both good and evil.

Killing orcs without cause is evil or insane. Killing orcs because they are evil - if they are in fact evil - is not so evil. That happens to be a cause right there...hence reducing the evilness. It may be a little circular but still. Killing a village full of orcish civilians is evil partly because, out of those of Usually Evil alignment, civilians are proportionately neutral a rather impressive amount of the time.

Killing orcs to save a town of celestials under siege by orcish raiders is good.

If you kill someone, and they happened to be evil but you didn't know, that's fortunate but not particularly your fault. The net goodness in the world would be better than if you lopped the head off a disguised silver dragon, but that doesn't mean you should get any credit for it.
Kajhera beat me to the punch as far as their evil being a cause in and of itself. It's not a GREAT cause as far as good is concerned - killing Fiendish Pseudonatural Vampire Orcs is more like it - but it works.

It's simpler if you think in mathematical terms. By killing, you lose karma.

Sliding scale of good and evil:

+            0            -
Good    Neutral      Evil

Evil creatures have negative karma. Thus, it is added to yours. -(-1)=+1
Good creatures have positive karma. Thus, it is subtracted from yours. -(+1)=-1
Neutral creatures have varying karma depending on their latest actions, species and and choices. -(-/+1)=+/-1.


Now, your methods and/or the nature of your kill may influence the scale either way. Killing an orc is good, disemboweling him in front of his friends and family and telling them to fatten up because you want them to have more blood to spill is a lot less so (to the point that, indeed, you slide so far into evil that it's pretty much always an evil act - provided the orcs don't do worse. Revenge is neutral, after all).
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 01:19:53 AM by Kuroimaken »
Gendou Ikari is basically Gregory House in Kaminashades. This is FACT.

For proof, look here:

http://www.layoutjelly.com/image_27/gendo_ikari/

[SPOILER]
Which Final Fantasy Character Are You?
Final Fantasy 7
My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Brother Katana of Enlightenment.
Get yours.[/SPOILER]

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Whisper

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #57 on: February 11, 2011, 02:34:16 AM »
Already you have contradicted yourself. If killing a creature because it's evil is good, and killing a creature without cause is evil, then killing orcs without cause is both good and evil.

Killing orcs without cause is evil or insane. Killing orcs because they are evil - if they are in fact evil - is not so evil.

Then good and evil are identical.

Killing an evil creature because it is evil is good.
Killing a good creature because it is good is evil.

Killing X because it is X is Y.
Killing Y because it is Y is X.

Turn it upside down, swap the symbol meanings, and it looks the same. And objective morality vanishes in a puff of logic.

The_Mad_Linguist

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #58 on: February 11, 2011, 02:39:11 AM »
Already you have contradicted yourself. If killing a creature because it's evil is good, and killing a creature without cause is evil, then killing orcs without cause is both good and evil.

Killing orcs without cause is evil or insane. Killing orcs because they are evil - if they are in fact evil - is not so evil.

Then good and evil are identical.

Killing an evil creature because it is evil is good.
Killing a good creature because it is good is evil.

Killing X because it is X is Y.
Killing Y because it is Y is X.

Turn it upside down, swap the symbol meanings, and it looks the same. And objective morality vanishes in a puff of logic.
Killing any sentient creature for no reason is evil.  

Boom.
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Kajhera

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Re: Morality Question
« Reply #59 on: February 11, 2011, 02:41:41 AM »
Already you have contradicted yourself. If killing a creature because it's evil is good, and killing a creature without cause is evil, then killing orcs without cause is both good and evil.

Killing orcs without cause is evil or insane. Killing orcs because they are evil - if they are in fact evil - is not so evil.

Then good and evil are identical.

Killing an evil creature because it is evil is good.
Killing a good creature because it is good is evil.

Killing X because it is X is Y.
Killing Y because it is Y is X.

Turn it upside down, swap the symbol meanings, and it looks the same. And objective morality vanishes in a puff of logic.

I said not as evil. That doesn't mean good.

Killing an evil creature because it is EVIL may nudge up into good. This manner of evil really needs some examples set out to be recognized, and therefore you're probably actually killing it because it stabs people and rapes their wounds or something similarly sick.
Killing an evil creature because it is evil is neutral at best.
Killing a good creature because it is good is EVIL.
Killing a good creature because it is GOOD is strategic. For a devil.

Killing any creature for no reason is evil.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 02:45:35 AM by Kajhera »