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geeman
12-11-2003, 02:42 PM
Was Azrai lawful evil, neutral evil or chaotic evil? What do you guys think?



Kriesha and Belenik, who were his closest followers and absorbed the most

of his bloodline, are lawful evil and chaotic evil respectively. The

Gorgon is apparently #3 on the list of Azrai`s followers, and is lawful

evil. In general, however, the awnsheghlien would seem to have a pretty

even spread across the law-chaos line.



I`m curious about this because I`m playing around with some ideas on how to

reflect the corrupting affect of Azrai`s bloodline on scions as they level

up, and one of the effects is that a character can have his alignment

change. Some awnsheghlien would appear to have had alignment shifts due to

their transformation. Rhoubhe is the one that has the most obvious

descriptive text outlining the change, but there are other notably unusual

changes:



1. The alignment of Justina Heulough/Banshegh changes from chaotic good to

chaotic evil during her nocturnal forays.



2. The White Witch`s illusions might mask her alignment rather than

actually change it, but the description of that character would seem to

indicate she actually becomes lawful good while in her beauteous form.



3. The Hydra is based on an animal, but has become chaotic neutral (where

other animal based awnsheghlien like the Boar or the Wolf remain neutral.)



4. The Leviathan was either based on a monster that was neutral (evil) or

shifted to neutral with evil tendencies due to his transformation.



5. The alignment change of the Manticore, of course, was dramatic and cost

him his paladinhood.



Thoughts?



Gary

Ariadne
12-11-2003, 02:54 PM
IMO Azrai is true evil (neutral evil), because his blood created two in alignment completely different gods: Kriesha (lawful evil) and Belinik (chaotic evil). This is only possible, if the "source deity" is neutral evil...

irdeggman
12-11-2003, 04:30 PM
Off hand I'd go with Ariadne's assumption but for the Book of Regency which describes the path towards evil.

pg 26 "The blood (of Azrai) tugs at them tempting them to evil and chaotic deeds - at first subtley, then strongly."

It then goes into examples of the types of 'rewards' that the blood of Azrai may give to scions who follow the evil and/or chaotic path.

It would appear that Azrai would then have been chaotic evil based on this disposition.

Osprey
12-11-2003, 07:48 PM
Regardless of what the BoR says, I think Neutral Evil agrees with the actual pre-Desimaar story material - how would it be in-character for a CE god to sway an entire empire beneath his grasp, subtly decieve and manipulate the Vos, elves, and humanoids into his camp, and in general act in such cunning and premeditated ways? These just don't sit right with a chaotic god - I think if there is but one evil god in a world then Neutral Evil is most fitting for him. Here he has full flexibility and the ability to sway and maipulate the full range of evildoers, and even those who don't think they are evil. "True" evil is indeed fitting for Azrai.

irdeggman
12-12-2003, 10:28 AM
Originally posted by Osprey@Dec 11 2003, 02:48 PM
Regardless of what the BoR says, I think Neutral Evil agrees with the actual pre-Desimaar story material - how would it be in-character for a CE god to sway an entire empire beneath his grasp, subtly decieve and manipulate the Vos, elves, and humanoids into his camp, and in general act in such cunning and premeditated ways? These just don't sit right with a chaotic god - I think if there is but one evil god in a world then Neutral Evil is most fitting for him. Here he has full flexibility and the ability to sway and maipulate the full range of evildoers, and even those who don't think they are evil. "True" evil is indeed fitting for Azrai.
Could be, but Eloele - the goddess of thieves and night is portrayed as being exceptionally subtle in her manipulations (exactly opposite to what you are saying a chaotic deity could do). So basically I think that the designers were very liberal in their applications of alignment and behaviours.

I agree chaotic alignments don't lend themselves to good rulership and chaotic societies tend to fall apart rather quickly and remain very unstable when they are in effect. But being able to be a good and effective ruler and wanting to be one aren't necessissarly contrary statements. Azrai "wanted" to control the world, this doesn't mean he could have been effective at it.

irdeggman
12-12-2003, 10:34 AM
Originally posted by Ariadne@Dec 11 2003, 09:54 AM
IMO Azrai is true evil (neutral evil), because his blood created two in alignment completely different gods: Kriesha (lawful evil) and Belinik (chaotic evil). This is only possible, if the "source deity" is neutral evil...
This logic doesn't hold true with the 2nd ed Birthright info:

Avani (LN) - Erik (NN) yields Laerme (CG)

Haelyn (LG) - Nesirie (NG) yields Cuiricean (CG)

Sera (CN) - Ruornil (NN) yields Eloele (CN(E) {what's up with that alignment? either you are evil or you are not this wasn't Planescape with multiple phased alignments})

If one source (mostly listed as the primary one in the case of Haelyn) is lawful then how can the result be chaotic?

And in the case of Laerme neither part of her alignment matches any of her parents parts.

Ariadne
12-12-2003, 01:00 PM
Originally posted by irdeggman@Dec 12 2003, 11:34 AM
Avani (LN) - Erik (NN) yields Laerme (CG)

Haelyn (LG) - Nesirie (NG) yields Cuiricean (CG)

Sera (CN) - Ruornil (NN) yields Eloele (CN(E) {what's up with that alignment? either you are evil or you are not this wasn't Planescape with multiple phased alignments})

If one source (mostly listed as the primary one in the case of Haelyn) is lawful then how can the result be chaotic?

And in the case of Laerme neither part of her alignment matches any of her parents parts.
Yeah, but there deities have children . Those IMO can be of slightly different alignment (but most are equal at least in one axis ). It is the same like having children yourself :D. They aren't exactely of your opinion every time, are they? ;)


Haelyn + Nesirie => Cuiraécen (good is equal)

Sera + Ruornil => Eloele (If you ignore this exotic alignment description: neutral is equal)

Avani + Erik => Laerme (OK, the child learned how to behave right ;) )


BTW, I think Eloele got this confusing alignment, because her home plane is Pandemonium (2nd lair???, whatever). This is the same plane like Belinik lives on, chaotic and part of the lower planes (if I'm right). So maybe her alignment differs from neutral to evil randomly like this plane differs from true chaotic to chaotic evil...

Well, curious explanation, but a try... ;)

irdeggman
12-12-2003, 01:17 PM
Originally posted by Ariadne@Dec 12 2003, 08:00 AM
Yeah, but there deities have children . Those IMO can be of slightly different alignment (but most are equal at least in one axis ). It is the same like having children yourself :D. They aren't exactely of your opinion every time, are they? ;)


Haelyn + Nesirie => Cuiraécen (good is equal)

Sera + Ruornil => Eloele (If you ignore this exotic alignment description: neutral is equal)

Avani + Erik => Laerme (OK, the child learned how to behave right ;) )


And the difference between having children and spawning new gods is . . .

This isn't the same as having a cleric that derives powers from a deity, these are separate divine beings. The example of children having different alignments is a pretty good one IMO and applies to Belnik and Kreisha arising as deities from the death of Azrai.

geeman
12-12-2003, 02:27 PM
At 02:17 PM 12/12/2003 +0100, Irdeggman wrote:



>
Yeah, but there deities have

> children . Those IMO can be of slightly different alignment (but most

> are equal at least in one axis ). It is the same like having children

> yourself :D. They aren`t exactely of your opinion every time, are they? ;)

>

> Haelyn + Nesirie => Cuiraécen (good is equal)

>

> Sera + Ruornil => Eloele (If you ignore this exotic alignment

> description: neutral is equal)

>

> Avani + Erik => Laerme (OK, the child learned how to behave right ;) )

>

> And the difference between having children and spawning new gods is . . .

>

> This isn`t the same as having a cleric that derives powers from a deity,

> these are separate divine beings. The example of children having

> different alignments is a pretty good one IMO and applies to Belnik and

> Kreisha arising as deities from the death of Azrai.



Birthright has always been more "liberal" when it comes to alignment than

is typical in D&D settings. The priests of the various gods can have

pretty widely disparate alignments, paladins didn`t necessarily have to be

lawful good, etc. Sometimes those things seem to be editing errors, but

others were clearly intentional. It seems logical that the offspring of

the gods would also vary from the parents using such a system--even if one

didn`t assume that their divine nature already subsumes something like

alignment, that is. Being the "god of" something is probably more of an

allegiance than being aligned to the law/chaos--good/evil system. That is,

a god`s dedication to war is probably more significant than his dedication

to chaos or goodness, and issues of alignment should probably be relaxed a

bit for a being with such an emphasis.



The characters that elevated to godhood are probably immune to the

"corrupting" influence of Azrai`s bloodline, having their own issues to

deal with, and the offspring of the gods probably take on portfolios that

are more closely linked to their parents` portfolios rather than their

alignments.



Gary

geeman
12-13-2003, 06:53 PM
At 08:48 PM 12/11/2003 +0100, Osprey wrote:



>Regardless of what the BoR says, I think Neutral Evil agrees with the

>actual pre-Desimaar story material - how would it be in-character for a CE

>god to sway an entire empire beneath his grasp, subtly decieve and

>manipulate the Vos, elves, and humanoids into his camp, and in general act

>in such cunning and premeditated ways? These just don`t sit right with a

>chaotic god - I think if there is but one evil god in a world then Neutral

>Evil is most fitting for him. Here he has full flexibility and the

>ability to sway and maipulate the full range of evildoers, and even those

>who don`t think they are evil. "True" evil is indeed fitting

>for Azrai.



What about Neutral Evil (chaotic) as an alignment for Azrai?



I noted in a previous post that what I`m thinking of doing is coming up

with a little system of reflecting the corrupting influence of Azrai`s

bloodline by doing things like having scions of Azrai make a will save when

they level up in order to avoid having to either take a level as an

awnshegh or have their alignment change, possibly both. Azrai`s actual

personal alignment might in that context be secondary to a rather odd

distinction: Azrai himself might have been LE or NE, but his derivation

affects humans (and others) by making them CE. It is, after all, his

corrupting influence that I`m looking at portraying. Azrai himself might

have been of any evil alignment, but the corrupting aspect of his

derivation that gets passed on to scions is inherently wild and

unpredictable--which lends itself more to a chaotic interpretation. This

is evidenced by the wide variety of awnsheghlien that appear and that their

transformation can take on just about any form. Azrai`s derivation might

simply have that affect on those who have it, not because Azrai was himself

chaotic, but because the effect of the bloodline is inherently

unpredictable. It might be that the derivation doesn`t completely convey

Azrai`s alignment entirely--just an aspect or two of his total

portfolio--so the derivation of "Azrai" is, in effect, chaotic because it

is not exactly Azrai himself that is embodied by it, just his more chaotic

aspect.



Gary

Osprey
12-13-2003, 10:57 PM
Interesting ideas...the reasining is decent, but I must ask: are you bending ideas backward to make them agree with a single reference from the Book of Regency? I wonder how much credit should be given to that passage in the first place as opposed to reworking the idea from the ground up (as I attempted to do in my last post, albeit in a fairly distilled manner). Just curious.
-Osprey

geeman
12-14-2003, 02:51 AM
At 11:57 PM 12/13/2003 +0100, Osprey wrote:



> Interesting ideas...the reasining is decent, but I must ask: are you

> bending ideas backward to make them agree with a single reference from

> the Book of Regency? I wonder how much credit should be given to that

> passage in the first place as opposed to reworking the idea from the

> ground up (as I attempted to do in my last post, albeit in a fairly

> distilled manner). Just curious.



I don`t know.... I suppose in the end the result justifies the motive, if

you will, in that it is the final product that is important and how well it

plays, not the actual inspiration that is important. In most cases I think

inspiration from the original materials should be the primary consideration

when determining new rules dynamics, but in this case I think there`s also

a simple "cool" thematic factor that I`m going for. I just find it much

cooler that Azrai`s bloodline corrupts in the ways described--it ties into

core fantasy/literary themes like the Dark Side, WoT`s corrupting magics,

the Judeo-Christian take on Satan, etc. I`ve been reading some weird

Jungian archetypical stuff lately, so maybe that has something to do with

it.... :)



I do enjoy back engineering game mechanics and themes to come up with core

concepts, though, and I certainly am doing that to an extent here since

we`ve no rules for this kind of thing--and I think they are sorely

lacking. In the long run, I don`t think that`s really a negative thing to

do for all that it may be more effort than most people want to go to. In

this case, for instance, there are several things in the original BR

materials that indicate that Azrai`s derivation should have a corrupting

effect on those scions who have it, and if we have to work backwards a bit

in order to figure out the hows, whens and whys of that then I think that`s

just the way it needs to go.



Gary

ConjurerDragon
12-14-2003, 11:52 AM
Gary schrieb:

> At 11:57 PM 12/13/2003 +0100, Osprey wrote:

> ... when determining new rules dynamics, but in this case I think there`s also

> a simple "cool" thematic factor that I`m going for. I just find it much

> cooler that Azrai`s bloodline corrupts in the ways described--it ties into

> core fantasy/literary themes like the Dark Side, WoT`s corrupting magics,

> the Judeo-Christian take on Satan, etc. I`ve been reading some weird

> Jungian archetypical stuff lately, so maybe that has something to do with

> it.... :)



Or the classic Lord of the Rings corrupting rings, which produced the

once human Ringwraiths and subdued even Frodo.



These "power corrupts" fits perfectly to "The Spider´s Test" novel in

which Tal-Quazar becomes more and more Awnsheglien as he has to use his

new powers more and more often.



> I do enjoy back engineering game mechanics and themes to come up with core

> concepts, though, and I certainly am doing that to an extent here since

> we`ve no rules for this kind of thing--and I think they are sorely

> lacking. In the long run, I don`t think that`s really a negative thing to

> do for all that it may be more effort than most people want to go to. In

> this case, for instance, there are several things in the original BR

> materials that indicate that Azrai`s derivation should have a corrupting

> effect on those scions who have it, and if we have to work backwards a bit

> in order to figure out the hows, whens and whys of that then I think that`s

> just the way it needs to go.

> Gary

I fully agree.

bye

Michael

geeman
12-14-2003, 06:39 PM
At 12:08 PM 12/14/2003 +0100, Michael Romes wrote:



>>I just find it much cooler that Azrai`s bloodline corrupts in the ways

>>described--it ties into core fantasy/literary themes like the Dark Side,

>>WoT`s corrupting magics, the Judeo-Christian take on Satan, etc. I`ve

>>been reading some weird Jungian archetypical stuff lately, so maybe that

>>has something to do with it.... :)

>

>Or the classic Lord of the Rings corrupting rings, which produced the once

>human Ringwraiths and subdued even Frodo.



Yeah, I don`t think you can go wrong comparing BR themes to LotR

themes.... They shouldn`t necessarily be equated, but there are enough

parallels that most comparisons are apt. In this case, it is probably the

most general corrupting effect of Sauron (by way of Melkor) and his ability

to manipulate, insinuate, play people off against one another, etc. that is

the similarity to BR. Where that power is embodied by the rings of power

in LotR, through the powers of the palantir, and to a certain extent

through the abilities of those who emulate Sauron, in BR we have a much

closer connection to those things in Azrai`s derivation that can influence

lots of characters and permeate the campaign.



Gary

RaspK_FOG
12-15-2003, 10:15 AM
I just felt I had to say that the concept of alignments is rather difficult to figure out if you don't know A LOT about the character in question; the best definition I 've ever managed to reach concerning alignments in regard to law and chaos (which has always been the greater of two troubles, since most people do not make such a fuss on the good vs. evil axis - not that this is a given... Like my friend who insisted that it is illogical to say that an assassin must be evil, since that is his job - seems my friend forgot to take into account that killing not being the given issue but the means and matter of your job...), anyway, I digress, what I maen to say is that lawful characters more or less set a code of conduct for themselves (or accept one), and neutral characters have a driving ideal or two and their actions are affected by these ideals (which can always be either good, evil, or neutral), while chaotic characters rarely have any sense of idealism that they would not give up if circumstances made it a bit difficult to do otherwise.

Ariadne
12-15-2003, 01:34 PM
Originally posted by RaspK_FOG@Dec 15 2003, 11:15 AM
...(which has always been the greater of two troubles, since most people do not make such a fuss on the good vs. evil axis - not that this is a given...
Oh really? The law- chaos axis is completely equal to me. My "standard character" is chaotic good in alignment, but I get along well with LG characters (and even LN). On the other hand I have really troubles with chaotic AND lawful evil characters...

So you can't say, most people do not make such a fuss on the good - evil axis, I don't make a fuss on law vs. chaos :D ...

ConjurerDragon
12-15-2003, 07:13 PM
> RaspK_FOG schrieb:

>> This post was generated by the Birthright.net message forum.

>> You can view the entire thread at:

>> http://www.birthright.net/forums/index.php?act=ST&f=2&t=2133

>>

>> RaspK_FOG wrote:

>> I just felt I had to say that the concept of alignments is rather difficult to figure out if

> you don`t know A LOT about the character in question; the best definition I `ve ever managed to

> reach concerning alignments in regard to law and chaos (which has always been the greater of two

> troubles, since most people do not make such a fuss on the good vs. evil axis - not that this is

> a given... Like my friend who insisted that it is illogical to say that an assassin must be

> evil, since that is his job - seems my friend forgot to take into account that killing not

> being the given issue but the means and matter of your job...), anyway, I digress, what I maen

> to say is that lawful characters more or less set a code of conduct for themselves (or accept

> one), and neutral characters have a driving ideal or two and their actions are affected by

> these ideals (which can always be either good, evil, or neutral), while chaotic characters

> rarely have any sense of idealism that they would not give up if circumstances made it a bit

> difficult to do otherwise.



I would rather agree with your friend :-)

Killing need not mean that the killer is evil.

Sure, the Assasin portrayed in the DMG is LE, but with a requirement to

kill someone only to join the assasins without any reason for the kill

and no requirement who the victim is, this class is designed to be evil.



In times where "just wars" or "holy crusades" still were common, killing

itself is not evil, there are many exception in which killing is

perfectly acceptable.



Consider the job of the executioner - is he evil? Maybe, but not because

he kills people, because that is his assingned role in society to be the

hand of justice that punishes criminals. An executioner might be evil if

he intentionally *fails* to kill with only one strike of his

executioners axe (and that was the reason the Guillotine was invented -

to allow humane executions) ;-)





Looking at the historical assasin, the ismaelites in northern persia and

in Syria, located in Alamut and Masyaf, I would not say that their

assasins were evil. Rather LN - killing only specified targets, only on

command of superior, and in most cases only key figures of the political

enemy not just some innocent peasant. In times where in battles

thousands of soldiers were slaughtered is the elimination of enemy key

figures to prevent such battles a rather GOOD way to act ;-)

bye

Michael

RaspK_FOG
12-15-2003, 11:51 PM
Answering to comments made in regard to my post:

No, Ariadne, I was just talking about what I have experienced, which clearly is an imbalanced issue when it comes to disagreements, and I was talking about how much fuss people make when it comes to alignment interpretation, not the way alignment affects relationships... Sure, other people will say otherwise, but that is what I have observed.
As for the things you mentioned, ConjurerDragon, that was exactly what I meant: that the D&D assassin figure MUST be evil, for killing one just to get a job (literally), which also has nothing else to do than KILL FOR MONEY, not FIGHT FOR MONEY, is nothing but a pure evil action...
As for the historical thingy you mentioned, there is a way of thinking in which you choose the lesser of two evils... ^_^

geeman
12-16-2003, 08:47 AM
At 07:42 PM 12/15/2003 +0100, Michael Romes wrote:



>Killing need not mean that the killer is evil.

>Sure, the Assasin portrayed in the DMG is LE, but with a requirement to

>kill someone only to join the assasins without any reason for the kill

>and no requirement who the victim is, this class is designed to be evil.



In the description of the ershegh, the Nightowl, that I posted a while back

I later included a prestige class for the Sisterhood of Sleep that figured

prominently in the background for that character. That class was based

largely on the DMG`s Assassin with a few other powers cribbed here and

there. In writing up a second draft of the Sleep Sister for a larger

document I realized I didn`t have an alignment requirement for it, so I

made it look like the original alignment of Ruornil`s priesthood "any

neutral" because though the class itself is based on the Assassin, the

version of Ruornil`s following that engage in activities that provide

similar class abilities, BAB, hit dice, etc. needn`t necessarily be evil

any more than their overall faith is.



My point in bringing this up is that I think the alignment requirement

(like most of the alignment system) is essentially symbolic, and used to

convey thematic issues, particularly in regards to character class. Within

that context, those sleep sisters who engage in a lot of assassination

might be evil, but they needn`t be. It`s more of an expression of the

personality/morality/attitude of the individual character than anything

else, and in the case of a prestige class a reflection of the overall theme

of the class itself.



For Azrai himself, of course, I don`t think anyone would seriously contend

that he was not evil, but his stance in relation to law and chaos is

debatable. Personally, I think chaotic evil makes the most sense, but

where he stands on the law <---> chaos line is open for

interpretation. His ability to sway the sidhe, the Vos and various

humanoids strikes me as leaning more towards a chaotic description of the

character, especially since it would seem he would be unwilling to be

restrained by the limitations of a lawful attitude. "Strong man" politics

enforced by the will/effort of a single person has a generally more chaotic

theme, and his efforts seem more of that bent.



In the case of Azrai`s alignment and any corrupting effect of his

bloodline, however, I`m thinking chaotic evil is probably the way to

go. The evil aspect is pretty obvious, and chaos has several thematic

relationships to the concept itself--the process of corruption itself, the

seemingly random effects of the derivation, etc. It is, after all, not

really Azrai`s personal alignment that that needs to be reflected by a

system of portraying the changes to a character "infected" with his

bloodline derivation, but the effects of that infection itself, and that

can differ from his personal alignment.



Gary

RaspK_FOG
12-16-2003, 11:52 PM
An excellent post, which thoroughly explains many things. You&#39;ve also managed to round up the ideas I had in mind&#33; ;)

Osprey
12-17-2003, 12:15 AM
I&#39;m more for leaning towards the Azrai derivation corruting toward evil, but leaving the law-chaos spread up to the individual&#39;s bent. It leaves a lot more variation for character types and persona, rather than boxing them into a more generic Chaotic Evil description. As Azrai corrupted and manipulated the whole gamut of evil (LE goblins, the Adurian Empire, which I like to think was probably LE or maybe NE, the elves: CG/CN, the Vos - True Neutral?), so to would his blood bend all toward darkness, but not necessarilly chaos. I think that part is more of an arbitrary judgement. That&#39;s my 2 cents, anyways.
-Osprey

RaspK_FOG
12-17-2003, 12:56 AM
My idea is that being able to affect CG, TN, CN, LE, NE, and CE people, you should be CE, or TN.

teloft
12-17-2003, 05:34 AM
it gives you the egerness to do something difrent, and as you are tearing betvine goon and evil / Nutral evil, you will behave rather caotic, becous of this vortex within you,