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  1. #1
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    That is why you define the code of conduct in more detail. It shouldn't just be alignment based it should be more of conduct based and tied into the deity itself - that is the things the deity finds extremely important and core.
    Duane Eggert

  2. #2
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Its quite possible to achieve irreconcilable conflicts between very similar ideologies, for example two LG sects, where one holds that good produces the law, and the other holds that law produces the good. They may be terrible enemies (though their conflicts are quite chivalrous). The addition of any other serious ideological componant (Roger Elearum is the founder of our doctrine) can add new things to fight over. Its this commitment to fight over ideology that creates the paladin.

    Normal D&D assumes the alignments are all in harmony with co-aligned beings, so that a LG force of X from Y encounters a LG force of A from B and the modifiers and presumtion is that they will combine to oppose a diametrically opposed force. As I have mentioned elsewhere, D&D supposes an alignment-manifest cosmology.

    Birthright has some of that, if you structure a game around the encroaching Shadow and the second (or third) Rise of Azrai, then is likely that a LG forces of Haelyn will join forces with NG forces of Erik and LN forces of Avani to combat the new threat.

    However, its also quite possible to structure the BR game so that LG forces of Haelyn fight LG forces of Haelyn because one group holds allegience to the Book of Laws as a source of litterally understood truth, the founding principles of what is now called the Orthodox Imperial Temples, and a personal loyalty to its current regent, while the other group prefers other texts, other interpretations, calls itself Impregnable Heart of Haelyn, or Northern Imperial Temple, or what have you, and there is another cult or personality to some other ruler.

    As such, you could devise different paladins for each, clerics for each, spell lists, feat lists, skill lists, and on and on.

    Further, you could divide temples between aspects of Haelyn, so you have the Courage paladin, the Lawgiver paladin, the Regal paladin, and these have different relationships to the Storm Paladin, the Liberator paladin, and the Crusader paladin of Cuireacen, not to mention every other kind of paladin you can imagine. These may fight with one another when they aren't fighting external threats.

    "Noble and Proud champion of Justice, I fight with you this day against the Celestial Spellords and their impure souls. But do not think I have forgotten our own quarrel, Once these Owls of Lore are put down we will resume our own disputes. May you find victory in battle on this day, though I do emplore you to give mercy, for you fellows of justice can forget what Haelyn teaches of mercy. Look, they approach, onward!"

    You don't have to fetishize every subtle difference in ideology, but the fact that you can, demonstrates that you can have almost unique paladins, influenced by their single teacher, and then diverging as each paladin carves his new path.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ryancaveney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    Its quite possible to achieve irreconcilable conflicts between very similar ideologies... Its this commitment to fight over ideology that creates the paladin.
    Oh, indeed! But that doesn't answer my question about why people who are defined by their violent moral absolutism seem to be (by the rules) preferentially assigned to mixed alignments (like LG and CE) rather than pure ones (like LN and NE), which would seem more logical to me. I'm honestly confused here. Can anyone help me out?

    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    However, its also quite possible to structure the BR game so that LG forces of Haelyn fight LG forces of Haelyn
    This is the kind of game I prefer, which fits well with my feeling that the alignment system is not useful to me. However, I would still like to try to understand what it is that people who do like it are thinking.

    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    Further, you could divide temples between aspects of Haelyn, so you have the Courage paladin, the Lawgiver paladin, the Regal paladin, and these have different relationships to the Storm Paladin, the Liberator paladin, and the Crusader paladin of Cuireacen, not to mention every other kind of paladin you can imagine.
    So, just how many paladins do people think there are, in total, in Cerilia? If there are really this many different kinds, it seems to me that each one is an entirely unique individual (in the sense that, for example, there is *one guy*, perhaps with an apprentice, who is *the* paladin of IHH). I just don't think there are all that many people who are both cut out to be paladins and interested in making all the sacrifices the job entails.

    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    I fight with you this day against the Celestial Spellords and their impure souls. But do not think I have forgotten our own quarrel
    Ah, yes. "Me against my brother; my brother and me against my cousin; my cousin and me against my neighbor; my neighbor and me against the world."


    Ryan

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryancaveney View Post
    Oh, indeed! But that doesn't answer my question about why people who are defined by their violent moral absolutism seem to be (by the rules) preferentially assigned to mixed alignments (like LG and CE) rather than pure ones (like LN and NE), which would seem more logical to me. I'm honestly confused here. Can anyone help me out?
    Ryan
    Well, I would say that the extremity of alignment is independent of the actual alignment.

    If you see the alignment as a circle (rather than as the usual square), with distance from the centre representing the strength of views, you can see that a LE and CG character can actually be quite similar if they don't feel very strongly about their beliefs (i.e. are weak willed, lack introspection, are young, etc) despite being 180 degrees apart in belief terms while the circumference is full of extreme views regardless of the specific position on the circumference and two people of the same alignment could in fact be further apart in belief than two of differing alignments. I agree theoretically with some things that various monomaniacs think - but the extremes to which they take their viewpoint bothers me more than people who quietly but passionately disagree with me...

    So someone who believes strongly in law or good is no more or less likely to be extreme in their views than someone who believes strongly in both imho. Does a racist hate one race less because he also hates another? Similarly many of the extremists in public life are extreme about everything they come across be it trade practices, unconventional sexuality, 'immoral advertising', etc, etc.

    Not incidentally that I believe that a paladin should be any more or less extreme than a priest, indeed I prefer to see them as exemplars or paragons rather than as demagogues. Be a hero that others see, admire, and imitate rather than a martinet that demands unbending adherence to a code most find impossible to adhere to.

    I like the idea of mixed class fighter-priest for paladin, or fighter-druid for ranger, under 3e multiclassing removes a lot of the need for the hybrids. I'd deally want some way to swap spells for granted powers though...

  5. #5
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryancaveney View Post
    That doesn't answer my question about why people who are defined by their violent moral absolutism seem to be (by the rules) preferentially assigned to mixed alignments (like LG and CE) rather than pure ones (like LN and NE), which would seem more logical to me. I'm honestly confused here. Can anyone help me out?
    I put up a little piece on this subject on the wiki under "Honor paradox". It addresses the literary subject so common where the character is torn between two competing virtues, and draws power and limitations from each. Two codes (and Chivalry has more than several competing virtues) provides for good story potential . Since D&D borrowed (sometimes without thinking things through) from literature heavily, this trope worked its way into the game, and we seem to have it for good. I agree that one of the "pure" alignments Lawful Neutral, for example, would represent a more extreme lawful character than one who tempers his lawfulness with compasion and mercy, or comprimises it with cruelty and hatred. But without the complication of honor paradoxes, its a less interesting character unless you can introduce other values to complicate his life.

    So, just how many paladins do people think there are, in total, in Cerilia? If there are really this many different kinds, it seems to me that each one is an entirely unique individual (in the sense that, for example, there is *one guy*, perhaps with an apprentice, who is *the* paladin of IHH). I just don't think there are all that many people who are both cut out to be paladins and interested in making all the sacrifices the job entails.
    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck
    You don't have to fetishize every subtle difference in ideology, but the fact that you can, demonstrates that you can have almost unique paladins, influenced by their single teacher, and then diverging as each paladin carves his new path.
    One the one hand, you can run each paladin as a unique character, and I think for the paladin class, this is probabaly the way to go, there are few, and each should struggle to find his own path. But my main point was that not every paladin has to find a place between the two points of Lancelot and Galahad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan
    Personally, I don't use paladins in my games -- they're multiclassed fighter/clerics
    When I was playing 3.0, I started using templates to solve some of these kinds of problems. I turned Paladin into a template that allowed you to purchase paladin feats (all the paladin type special abilities with proper pre-reqs) as a fighter/cleric. I'd be happy with Paladin as a strait class or as a template, depending on what the player needed.

    On the question of how many? I'll say that the crazy paladin requirements in 2e were again based on literary tradition. The paladin had to be worthy to at least see the grail (only three of Arthur's knights could behold it) if not actually obtain the grail (only one was good enough). Since paladins are just fighter/clerics rolled up into one class, I don't see (barring a grail quest) why they should not be as common or as possible as a fighter/cleric.

  6. #6
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    If you see the alignment as a circle (rather than as the usual square), with distance from the centre representing the strength of views,
    I'm gonna tempt the math fates and give a math answer to this question and risk getting hit with a salmon by Ryan. We have two axies (or is it axeseses), good-evil and law-chaos. One can, as you propose be just as far in linear distance from the true neutral position as LG as a person who is NG, but the NG person has put all of their distance in one direction, Good. But the LG person has put some distance in becoming lawful and some distance in becoming good. So the total distance in any direction from either one of the axiescies is less than if I put all of my ideological eggs in one basket.

    Imagine that I go 2.83 units in the Neutral good direction and you go 2.83 units in the Lawful Good direction. I rank as a 2.83 Good guy, and you rank a 2.0 good guy. And the fact that your lawful is relevenat only to people who care about such things, and clearly, I don't.

    But what if being both lawful and good imposes comprimises on both your lawfulness and your goodness? I will draw the following analogy. I am Reggie and you are Archie. I date only Veronica. You alternate between Betty and Veronica. You invest 2 nights a week to Betty and 2 night to Veronica. I invest 4 nights in Veronica. You are still rated 2 and 2, and you still rate a 2.83 in Betty and Veronica, but I rate a 4 in Veronica. Because much more obviously than Lawful and Good, I can't date both Betty on Vernonica at the same time. Both because this is a family friendly site, but also because anyone familiar with Lore will tell you, you end up with stars and birds circling your head if you have a date with both Betty and Vernoica at the same time. Then you have to loan Jughead some money and go out for sandwiches at Pop's.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ryancaveney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    I'm gonna tempt the math fates and give a math answer to this question and risk getting hit with a salmon by Ryan.
    *grin* It's good to know my contributions are appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    We have two axies (or is it axeseses)
    *sigh* One axis, many axes.

    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    the NG person has put all of their distance in one direction, Good. But the LG person has put some distance in becoming lawful and some distance in becoming good. So the total distance in any direction from either one of the axiescies is less than if I put all of my ideological eggs in one basket.
    Yes, if the total distance from the center is constant. Andrew has suggested a system in which both direction and distance are variable, so that a Law 1, Good 1 person and a Chaos 1, Evil 1 person are actually closer in raw distance to each other than either is to a Law 10, Good 10 person. Certainly a possible model, but I'm not sure I think it's a very useful one, ideologically speaking.

    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    But what if being both lawful and good imposes comprimises on both your lawfulness and your goodness? I will draw the following analogy.
    Yes, this is what I had in mind. If you are both lawful and good, you have to make more complicated decisions more often than if you're just lawful or just good. While I agree that this is good roleplaying fodder, paladins as a stereotype have always struck me as the sort of people who picked that job because they *don't* have a very complicated moral compass, and like having all ethical choices be very stark and therefore quite easy to decide.

    Quote Originally Posted by kgauck View Post
    On the question of how many? I'll say that the crazy paladin requirements in 2e were again based on literary tradition... I don't see (barring a grail quest) why they should not be as common or as possible as a fighter/cleric.
    This is the view I have come to as well. Since I have also enthusiastically adopted the "no more than half total levels from spellcasting classes" rule, IMC *all* priests are fighter/clerics or aristocract/clerics or cleric/experts, etc., so there is no longer any game-mechanical distinction between priest and paladin (unless you stretch it to consider Ftr 4 / Clr 4 vs. Ftr 6 / Clr 2).


    Ryan

  8. #8
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryancaveney View Post

    Yes, if the total distance from the center is constant. Andrew has suggested a system in which both direction and distance are variable, so that a Law 1, Good 1 person and a Chaos 1, Evil 1 person are actually closer in raw distance to each other than either is to a Law 10, Good 10 person. Certainly a possible model, but I'm not sure I think it's a very useful one, ideologically speaking.

    Ryan
    I find it very useful. If the strength of your belief is just 1 or 2, you will frequently act in a manner contrary to your overall alignment - if its 10 almost never.

    So a merchant can be lawful good (3, 2) and still stiff the PC's, smuggle a few goods, etc - nothing major but enough to make life a little easier. A merchant with (10, 8) on the other hand not only wouldn't break the law like that, he probably gives to orphans and feeds starving puppies.

    People in the centre probably feel intimidated by the 'extreme, unpragmatic / unworldy' views of people on the circumference - and people on the circumference likely feel that those in the centre lack direction and moral assurity...

    Youth probably also has an impact.

    I would note that to be LG, NG, and CG can all be equally good - the L/N/C should only impact the interest in self or community - not good or evil. It is perfectly possible to be as passionate about 2 things as 1 (i.e. do you love your children? did you stop loving #1 as much b/c #2 came along?

    Quote Originally Posted by ryancaveney View Post

    Yes, this is what I had in mind. If you are both lawful and good, you have to make more complicated decisions more often than if you're just lawful or just good. While I agree that this is good roleplaying fodder, paladins as a stereotype have always struck me as the sort of people who picked that job because they *don't* have a very complicated moral compass, and like having all ethical choices be very stark and therefore quite easy to decide.

    Ryan
    Hmm, read the Deeds of Paksenarrion for a more complex paladin...

    Picking the role to me means that they have a very extreme view (i.e. close to the circumference), not that they favour lack of thought about their religion and morals. Someone with a strong moral centre is very likely to not only focus on the dichotomy between good and evil but also between self and community - to me neutrality indicates lack of resolve or opinion, neither of which is ever lacking in those fervent in their religion.

  9. #9
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    It is perfectly possible to be as passionate about 2 things as 1 (i.e. do you love your children? did you stop loving #1 as much b/c #2 came along?
    Should I pass this along to Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II? ;-)

    And why did no one prefer Geoffrey?

  10. #10
    Senior Member ryancaveney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    I would note that to be LG, NG, and CG can all be equally good - the L/N/C should only impact the interest in self or community - not good or evil.
    Except that NG people don't worry much about self or community: they worry only about good and evil. LG and CG people have to worry about both self/community and good/evil, which leaves them less time and energy to be focused on good/evil, and more opportunity to find themselves in situations where they two ideals conflict. People who are neutral on one axis have only one ideal to worry about, so they never have such conflicts, which strikes me as more akin to the way paladins are generally described.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    read the Deeds of Paksenarrion for a more complex paladin...
    Paks is the only D&D-ish paladin I've ever heard of who I didn't utterly loathe. =) She has paladin powers, but a mind-set utterly unlike anything ever presented in D&D about paladins. Lois McMaster Bujold's "Paladin of Souls" is about a god's chosen champion, but that god, his religion, and his champion are nothing remotely like the Gygaxian paladin's trappings, so I find it much more appealing.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    Picking the role to me means that they have a very extreme view (i.e. close to the circumference), not that they favour lack of thought about their religion and morals.
    In my experience, those two things seem generally to go hand-in-hand -- but the appearance of that topic means this part of the thread should now stop before the flaming begins. =)

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    Someone with a strong moral centre is very likely to not only focus on the dichotomy between good and evil but also between self and community
    I don't think that's true; I generally think it is more usual to be extremely passionate about some things and indifferent to others, rather than passionate about everything. Which means, that in your case at least, I have my answer. You think the system as-is accurately reflects what you want to model, so you'd like to keep it; I think it's inaccurate, so I want to change it. There's not a great deal left to say, AFAIAC. Anyone else care to comment? How much more common is Andrew's belief than mine?

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTall View Post
    to me neutrality indicates lack of resolve or opinion, neither of which is ever lacking in those fervent in their religion.
    What about people who actively choose to seek balance? Do you think that true neutral, as druids used to be required to be, are just people who *lack* ethical opinions?


    Ryan

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