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Old 05-02-2003, 11:50 AM   #1
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Like a lot of people who've posted mentioning this, I don't go with the typical D&D alignment system, because it implies that you're ALWAYS good or ALWAYS evil. Almost any action can have extenuating circumstances or unusual motives that make it something other than what it appears to be on the surface.

Scenario A: Frank likes to run around stealing people's crops from their fields, which people tend to get annoyed at him for. However, Frank's parents were a drunk and a prostitute, and he ran away from home at an early age to avoid putting up with them, and ended up scrounging half-rotten food outside several seedy taverns. From that standpoint, his actions don't seem too terribly evil.

Scenario B: Joe frequently sits around teaching and healing whoever happens to wander by, and everyone thinks he's an angel because of his willingness to help the weak. However, he's really searching for potential disciples of the demon he serves.

It's things like this that make me love the alignment system of the mud I play, which has nothing to do with good and evil.

(Don't blame me for saying nothing worth saying, I'm sure someone else can make a lot more sense than I have. )
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Old 05-02-2003, 10:20 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by
Almost any action can have extenuating circumstances or unusual motives that make it something other than what it appears to be on the surface.
So what I'm gathering is, you enjoy a system that is basically more than black and white?  This isn't so much of an issue that has to be coded though.  Lets be honest, for the most part alignment is simply a RP tool.  It makes a difference in some coded features of most games, but in others it means nothing.

Regardless, as I was going to say. Basically, what you're talking could be done with only the effort on the part of the player.  I detest simplistic "I'm a killer because I'm evil" and "I hug everyone because I'm good" interpretations of alignment.  Its something I tend to crusade against with most of my characters.  The lying, backstabbing do anything for a buck or some power politician.  Or the radical person who's idea of good is the eradication of every last bit of their enemies and seeking to erase their culture.  

Its stuff like this that makes a character come alive.  And it doesn't even have to be supported by a game to happen.  Its just hte fun of making something complex to flesh it out.
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Old 05-02-2003, 11:31 PM   #3
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Misread above post, ignore this.


*curiosity killed the cat 'yknow...*
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Old 05-03-2003, 11:41 PM   #4
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Good & Evil can sometimes be described in terms of actions that will benefit a large number of people VS actions that will only benefit oneself OR actions that will hurt a large number of people while causing you no harm VS actions that will cause you harm while saving many others from harm.

I had a character that would help & rescue strangers from harms way. Usually the strangers that he would help had very little money or weapons. Often my character would lend money and or weapons to those who had none.

On the surface this would seem to be a good act, but basically he was a farmer. He was planting seeds, so that one day when the person was richer, more able to fight, he could harvest the seeds he had sown. He would attack the person sometime down the road, kill the person, take what belongings he could and enjoy the process as a whole.
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Old 05-05-2003, 08:16 AM   #5
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Alignment is indeed an rp tool, more than anything.
Originally Posted by
...actions that will hurt a large number of people while causing you no harm VS actions that will cause you harm while saving many others from harm.
Is a player who manipulates his co-players toward a common goal (which migh hurt the others, but not the player) good or evil ? Many say it depends on the goal, but in reality everyone thinks of his own goals as 'good'. In D&D the alignments set some standards for behaviour. This means a good character cannot stand by and watch an evil character perform, for instance, torture - even if the results gained benefit the good character as well.

This kind of rp 'enforcing' (quotes due to using the word in a different meaning that on a lot of other posts in these fora) is hard to put into code, due to the different situations that can arise. This is one of the instances where a live DM is better than code control.

In most h'n's mud outthere, the alignment stat is a trivial thing to change - simply go to a specific area and kill all that moves. In general, though, the player seldom uses the statistic to much, except perhaps set a general morale for the character.

Enough ranting.
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Old 05-05-2003, 05:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by
In D&D the alignments set some standards for behaviour.
Ahh, this is really interesting to me. There's a big difference in the two games I'm on, in that one of them has a huge number of societies that all have their own ethos, and another is a single homogenous society predominated over by a church with specific ideas of wrong and right.

D&D rules are made to apply to a specific set of worlds, and a specific set of societies within that. Part of those societies is this specific set of morals, that this and this are good and right, and this and this are evil. That's part of the world and as such I'm certainly not going to dispute it.

I need to develop my own motivations for a character as to why they act as they do, of course: whether Dain goes around killing peasants because he enjoys it or because he's trying to rack up points with the God of Evil so that he can gain power and therefore cast a spell over the guy sleeping with his girlfriend, he has his reasons and believes he's justified. He compares himself to his society's ideas of good, and reconciles his position with that somehow, or doesn't and wanders around as a tortured soul.

So I don't find that the idea of good and evil, and a character's position amidst all that, is not a useful one. It's just more complex to me than saying this character is good, or evil. It's saying, how do they behave, does it fit into their society's ethos, how do _they think_they fit into their society's ethos, and why do they do what they do?

And I've noticed that it's not only D&D-type settings where this idea comes in handy. In my multi-world themed place, the 'general society' places a great value on tolerance. Someone who is tolerant of other races and the occasional mistakes they might make, therefore, is generally 'good'. So I can take that and apply it to my characters -- are they good in this way, how does that make them think or feel about themselves? Because we all to some extent judge ourselves by the society around us.
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Old 05-06-2003, 12:34 AM   #7
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I know some of those here don't like referring to good and evil, talking about how non-absolute they are.

First of all, my perception of the good-evil axis is fluid, with no real beginning or end. This means that such concepts as 'pure evil' aren't really practical, given that there is at least some good to them... even if in the end you could argue it only helps themselves, there is still some good quality to them.

Ok, I think a lot of us think of morality as well, and how it factors in. The way I see that isn't too hard: Everyone has morals, even if they're messed up ones. Perhaps even an honor among theives type of thing. There might be that supposed angel looking for people to serve a demon, but he's going about it in what looks good, so what does it matter if he is evil as long as no one else is hurt?

But for the sake of arguement and since it seems to be the focus of the thread, I'll look at how I personally see AD&D, because the system has its merits, regardless of what some people say. (Yes, a shift for me, admittedly.)

As much as sometimes I in particular like to think good and evil are pointless, I can't really believe that all that much. The problem being that some people do things that are good for humanity/civlization/whatever, and other seek their own influence, while others just go around aimlessly.

It is easy to create a 'good' or 'evil' character, in a way. But to create a character that hs parts of that good and evil apply is different.

In AD&D, there are 2 factors to conider, and it could be applicable to non-alignment type systems as well.
The two, to my notice are:
Action-What's actually done.
Intent-Why the action was done.
This is how the AD&D system has much use, to my notice, and it hints at a rather good instrument, even if it seems rather crude.
Actions inherantly are what are done, helping someone, killing someone, doing nothing, getting a drink, injecting yourself with drugs, all matters of the act, regardless of intent are included. When considering the action, forget everything about why, just include the 'what.'
Intent... this is a little harder. But what was trying to be done, why would it be done? Don't worry about what happened here, just think of what was the goal of the act.
Combine them, and a rough alignment of the entire act can be found.
Act in this case being the combination of the action and the intent.
The true alignment is just a 'rough average' in my perception. Nice to make one, but really shouldn't apply to all situations.
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Old 05-06-2003, 01:27 PM   #8
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While I have enjoyed D&D on ocassion I have always felt that the alignment system is restricting. But it fits the way the game is "played". Seasons of Almadyn actually uses a sliding alignment system (seen on other muds as well). I felt that a person will never always be either GOOD or EVIL but struggle with these feelings, much like one does in real life. So, quests, killing, pk'ing, etc all modifies your alignment ever so slightly depending on certain factors.

Put yourself is the shoes of one who has just killed a lawful good priest. Would ou feel less good/more evil or is that how everyone else would feel?
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Old 05-07-2003, 09:44 AM   #9
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Just as a clarification since a couple people seem curious:

DM has 6 base alignments including stuff like destruction, passion, and renewal, and it's possible to believe in 2 similar alignments at once, and to believe in any alignment to different degrees. Almost every action moves your alignment towards the alignment of whatever you're doing, and if you try to do things in an incompatible alignment, they're harder. So healers try to stay in renewal so their healing spells will work, and fighters rarely get out of the destructive alignments. Of course the change of your alignment has nothing to do with what you RP, so you can be this big bad noble who constantly sends out assassins to kill your enemies and still be in renewal all the time because you heal so much.
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Old 01-10-2004, 04:55 PM   #10
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Good and Evil are concepts created by the masses. They go much deeper than this however. In virtually all civilizations Good equals Charity while Evil equals self-serving.

When crafting a Pantheon (If you have one) pay attention to your concepts and you'll find this to be the case 99% of the time. The reason for this is because it's viewed "good" by society to give to those who are less fortunate than yourself.

In a Mud with effects that are based on the alignment of a character you have to have coded ways of alignments to be determined. This falls heavily on the players to take into consideration. A character can have an alignment of "good" yet be self-serving. They have to stop and ask themselves if this is appropriate. Many will try to find moral loopholes. These kinds of things really are inappropriate though.

Is murder an act of good or evil in your MUD? Does it even matter? What exactly is the purpose of your alignment code wise?

But we're talking about the roleplay. Thus, alignment (which has to be coded) falls upon the players and a very detailed explanation by the staff of what it means. Making sure they understand the morals of the gameworld.
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