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This is clearly a lawful evil rule

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Aug. 4th, 2008 | 10:27 pm
mood: annoyedannoyed

I may be a bit behind the times but I am shocked - shocked, I tell you - to see that D&D 4e has given up the law/chaos and good/evil axes in favour of a dumbed-down single-axis scale. This is seminal stuff. Ask any even vaguely geeky 20/30-something what alignment Cheney is and they will say "Lawful Evil", immediately. (Actually one might say that this was in doubt due to exploitation of rather than obedience to laws, but this brings up arguments regarding the nature of Lawful Evil, and does not invalidate the central point.)

Moreover, that the scale now reads
lawful good - good - unaligned - evil - chaotic evil
means it has clearly been designed for Lawful propaganda purposes. Lawful Good is now "ultra-good", is it? Chaotic Evil is worse than other evil? And anyone neither good nor evil is now indistinguishable - no Chaotic Neutrals, Lawful Neutrals?

Bastards. Big old reactionary bastards. I am mollified by the fact that most actual D&Ders seem to prefer 3e or 3.5e, and the MMO crowd that this was meant to attract clearly don't want to play D&D, they want to play MMOs which are cheaper and look nicer.
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Comments {10}

Joshua Kronengold

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from: mneme
date: Aug. 4th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
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Eh -- as a game, 4e's just plain better than 3e or 3.5e. Not a full simulation of the in-game world, the way 3 was...but a better game.

But if one reads their material, it's very clear that there's no heirarchy between lawful good and good, nor evil and chaotic evil (nor different flavors of unaligned -- which was largely distinguished from neutral by allowing "evil-curious" characters without prejudice). A lawful good character isn't more good than a good character; just more lawful. While it's a big (surface) change, the single axis is really just a simplification (which comes along with making alignment a much smaller part of the game in general).

Actually, if anything, I think the biggest reason for the simplification (aside from deciding that the 9-way map was both really annoying for the game's cosmology and One More Thing for new players to learn) was to avoid Chaotic Neutral PCs -- in practice, the existence of the alignment ended up being a license for players to behave badly (whereas, yeah, the question of whether a PC was Chaotic Good vs Neutral Good was usually a toss-up that would vary on a session-by-session basis, and usually just didn't matter). So while, in theory, I miss the 9-way map, subject of hundreds of fun thought experiments, I don't think it changes the game in any negative fashion.

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fridgemagnet

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from: fridgemagnet
date: Aug. 4th, 2008 10:25 pm (UTC)
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I don't know how well the 4e game holds together, really (I'm unlikely to ever buy the books, I don't know anyone else who has so I can read them, and if I ever get a game together it will be using GURPS) but I have to say that my main interest is that a classic geek philosophical concept has now been removed, or at least relegated to being a period piece. Am I chaotic neutral or does my selfishness make me actually neutral evil? What does "evil" mean anyway? Can law be evil - maybe, but wait, on TV law is always good? And so on. Millions of teenage boys have been sent towards philosophical enquiry on that basis.

It's a pretty nostalgic and LN concern to be fair.

Edited at 2008-08-04 10:25 pm (UTC)

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Gorilla Body Robot Brain

sorry for typing - hand injury

from: infrarad
date: Aug. 5th, 2008 04:47 am (UTC)
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aw man

i havent played rpgs in years, but i always have them in a dusty box in my head i infrequently open but refuse to throw away

recently i became fascinated by the idea of a neutral good paladin

doing the
right
thing but getting into heaps of trouble with everyone

dunno if that's possible in the rules

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Diary of an Ass Monkey

Re: sorry for typing - hand injury

from: assmonkeydiary
date: Aug. 5th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
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dunno if that's possible in the rules

Technically no. But a good DM would likely allow it with a little justification.

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Pallas

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from: pallasathene8
date: Aug. 4th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC)
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Wow. That really is sad. I always played chaotic good characters. I feel like they've written me out.

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fridgemagnet

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from: fridgemagnet
date: Aug. 4th, 2008 10:51 pm (UTC)
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D&D has now taken you off its friends list, preferring the attentions of teenage boys.

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Diary of an Ass Monkey

(no subject)

from: assmonkeydiary
date: Aug. 5th, 2008 01:50 pm (UTC)
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No more Robin Hoods...

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The Princess of Id

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from: danaseilhan
date: Aug. 5th, 2008 08:59 am (UTC)
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What, no lawful evil? What are they, on the Republican bankroll or something? Plausible deniability, that's it.

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gane5h

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from: gane5h
date: Aug. 5th, 2008 09:15 am (UTC)
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OMG the Lawfuls have redefined D&D!

I seem to recall that the devils who inhabited the Nine Hells (or whatever) were Lawful Evil, as compared with the more formlessly demonic Chaotic Evil types. It's therefore something of a wrench to see thoughtless/random evil deemed worse than the lawful variety. Spree killer versus ice-cold torturer.

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Diary of an Ass Monkey

(no subject)

from: assmonkeydiary
date: Aug. 5th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
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We're setting up a new campaign with the new rules now. The combat looks a lot more fun with most classes having tricksy little fighting moves they can pull to make things more interesting.

The alignment thing is annoying, but easily ignored.

If you're really tempted to take a look at the books, torrents of them are not at all hard to find.

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