Inborn alignment, qualities and selfdevelopment

Discussion in 'Debates & Discussions' started by Dragon, Jan 23, 2021.

  1. Dragon

    Dragon Level 19 (Enchanter) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    We know that in the land all beings are born with an alignment, some are good, some are evil, some are chaotic, some are orderly and a rare few are true neutrals.

    We know that one of the things that determine a person's alignment is their race, presumbably because there are certain elements in their natures that give them a strong tendency towards acting in a certain way. The goblin race common in the peninsula is inherently evil, thereas the sprites are inherently good. Notably when Sion and other sprites became Meidon their alignments became slightly higher, which may herald subtle changes in their outlook and decisionmaking.

    Race changes are presumbably very rare, heralding great changes in a race and its development.

    Certain actions that put an innoncent in grave danger can lead to an increase in evil alignment. Cue in Richter digging up the crystal gardens heart and getting a quest with an alignment loss penalty.
    Another way to alter your alignment is through your qualities. Randy gains +1 to evil because he is ruthless.

    Which leads me to my question: Could a character develop their inherent qualities and through longterm effort change their natural alignment or are they forever doomed to continue down their inborn track? Goblins becoming more evil, sprites becoming better, chaos seeds becoming more chaotic.
     
  2. Johan

    Johan Level 18 (Magician) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    I believe they can not change their natural alignment, without a race change. I do think they can change their alignment in either directions with qualities. So a sprite could get a ruthless quality and go toward the evil alignment, not just toward more good (or positive).

    Now I also believe that the goblins view themselves and their ways as good and those qualities and cultural divergences they hate (being a nice or good person from our perspective) is evil to them.
     
  3. Dragon

    Dragon Level 19 (Enchanter) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    I see this argument about good, evil and gray being dependant on personal perception repeated again and again. What I haven't seen anywhere is a real argument for that interpretation of the nature of good and evil. The vast majority of people have mostly overlapping morality, with a few differences as to whether they think minor crimes like tax fraud or things such as arranged marriage are acceptable.

    I can think of no historic society that thought unrestricted murder, rape, violence, theft, etc. against other citizens was good (nor do I think such a society could even function as anything more than a parasitical subculture, aka criminals).

    Of course there are situations where those things are accepted as justified. What can serve as justification for an evil act varies according to culture and tradition, but the fact that an act needs to be justified usually means its an evil one that would normally be punished or lead to social exclusion. For example, nearly everyone would agree killing is evil, but that killing in selfdefense is acceptable. The need to protect your own life or that of others justifies the evil act you committed.

    In regards to the goblins, they clearly revel in doing evil things to outsiders. If they do have a justification its likely that they are at war, but they do not need to rape and murder their slaves. I think unlike human societies, theirs is based entirely on strength and forcing those below you to do your bidding. Their society "works" because they prey on other races for much of what they need.
     
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  4. Dragon

    Dragon Level 19 (Enchanter) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    TLDR

    They know they are doing evil, they just don't care because they feel their actions are justifed.
     
  5. Johan

    Johan Level 18 (Magician) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    Putting a human mindset to anything non-human is a gamble. If in their thought process they have something like a rule of jungle (strong never wrong) society, then it could indeed be wrong to them not follow that logic and morality.
     
  6. Dragon

    Dragon Level 19 (Enchanter) Exiles Beta Reader Citizen

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    Non-human societies that are anything like ours (which goblins are) will likely have similar morals to some extent. Not because said morals are magically universal or reflect a basic truth, but because those rules allow for a stronger society. For society to function, people with critical knowledge and skill can't be killed off willy-nilly, nor can they be rendered dysfunctional by violence or rape. Theft of resources is also a no go.

    This is especially true in primitive societies where everyone is an important part of the group and resources are scare. Murder, rape, violence, and theft are threats to the group as a whole. There is also the social element to consider, its hard to imagine a social creature be they man or goblin that would be okay with those things happening to someone close to them. Take the goblin druids reaction to losing his beloved familiar (though he seems to have been an outlier in goblin society, caring for someone other than himself).

    That said, its clear that they do have a society based on "might makes right", one that allows for evil acts to be perpetrated on those weaker than them. That combined with what seems like natural sadistic traits leads to them being considered objectively evil by the land. Their actions are not justified by need, they are grounded in a desire to do those things to those who cannot resist. That is one definition of evil.
     
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