Wednesday, April 6, 2016

E is for Evil

I've never been happy with the idea of "good" and "evil" as cosmic, opposing forces, either in fiction or in the real world. As one might surmise from my previous post on alignment, there are a lot of nuances to both ideas. I much prefer the "Law" vs. "Chaos" dichotomy present in B/X, although I disagree with the idea that Law is usually good and Chaos is usually evil. It's strange to see a greater degree of moral ambiguity in a version of the game ostensibly targeted towards children.

If I have to use alignment for my PCs, when I run B/X I always just assume that Law is Lawful Neutral, Chaos is Chaotic Neutral, and Neutrality is True Neutral.

My distaste for the good/evil polar framework is another reason I tend to keep the deities of my campaign mostly hands-off in their actions (if they even exist there, from a metaphysical standpoint). After all, if the gods can be conclusively proven to exist, and one is good and the other is evil, who in their right mind would follow the evil one? Clerics do have miraculous powers, yes, but the wonder-workers aren't only found in the "good" camp. (This is kind of the opposite version of the argument used by militant atheists - that no person of any religion actually derives any benefit from their beliefs, so religious belief should be abolished entirely.)

Speaking of following certain gods, I dislike the idea that an Immortal has to have mortal worshipers in order to continue to exist. This would preclude the idea of a long-dead god being worshiped by a small but growing cult.

Sorry if this post is a little disjointed; hopefully tomorrow's will be a little bit better.

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