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Topic Summary

Posted by: Murdane
« on: January 09, 2005, 06:30:11 PM »

There are a lot of good points being made here, and Nightmare, I agree with much of what you are saying. I just don't agree with the idea that drow are somehow more deserving of mercy than the other underdark races, nor do I think that killing them and/or "wiping out" a whole city of them is somehow a greater evil than wiping out the beholder and/or mind flayer lairs.

About Soloufein--he is LN (not CG as he is made to be in the Soloufein mod), and when you talk to him he gives off the impression that he "does what he must", though not always without protest. Therefore, I would agree that if he was ordered to kill the PC for some reason, he would do it without much (if any) hesistation.
Posted by: NiGHTMARE
« on: January 09, 2005, 05:51:38 PM »

To me, the fact that they'll kill their own kind just for being good or weak already makes them egregiously evil though. Even if they are "less" evil than the beholders and mind flayers (and the MM says no such thing), the difference can't be all that great.


I'm not saying drow are any more or any less evil than beholders or mind flayers.  I'm simply saying the chances of encountering a non-evil drow are many times higher than meeting a non-evil beholder of mind flayer.  This is not because there's less chance of a non-evil beholder or mind flayer existing in the first place, but because non-evil drow would find it a lot easier to cover up their non-evil status.
Posted by: Ghreyfain
« on: January 09, 2005, 05:25:12 PM »

Not to mention the fact that the PC is highly unlikely to know any of this, anyways.  He might know that the majority of beholders and illithid are evil, sure, which is why I don't think it should be a virtue hit to take up the Matron's quest.  The PC might intend to scour the underdark until he finds an elder orb that he can prove is evil.  It just so happens that when he pokes his head into the beholder lair and finds an elder orb, it won't talk to him, and promptly starts blasting him.  I think that absolves him of any wrongdoing, or whatever the phrase is.

Think about what'd happen if he met Solaufein before being turned into a drow.  Solaufein might very well try to bargain with him first, but an evil or unthinking PC might attack without hesitation, simply because he's a drow.  Or, maybe Solaufein is ordered to kill the PC on a routine patrol.  The PC didn't know he was in drow territory, and Solaufein would be inclined not to kill him, but I think he still would.  Is the PC evil for fighting a good member of an evil race in self-defense?

That could very well be what would happen with a hypothetical good beholder.

PC agrees to Ardulace's task.  Secretly decides to only slay an evil elder orb.
PC, disguised as drow, enters beholder lair to interrogate any elder orbs he finds.
LG beholder sees drow enter his house, and attacks.
PC says "wait!" but realises that against such a powerful foe any hesitation could mean his death, so fights back.
LG beholder bites it.
PC might regret having to slay a LG beholder, but as it is he has no clue that it was LG, and most likely assumes it was evil, then chops off its eyeball.

Virtuous?  Maybe not, but the intent was there.  Unvirtuous?  I don't think so.  Misunderstandings are tragic, yeah, but not evil.
Posted by: Murdane
« on: January 09, 2005, 04:58:46 PM »

But as I mentioned before, drow are a lot more tolerant of differences of opinion and personality (just so long as inferiors obey their superiors), and it would be a much easier task for a drow to fake being evil than it would be for a beholder or a mind flayer.

To me, the fact that they'll kill their own kind just for being good or weak already makes them egregiously evil though.  Even if they are "less" evil than the beholders and mind flayers (and the MM says no such thing), the difference can't be all that great.

Posted by: NiGHTMARE
« on: January 09, 2005, 04:54:52 PM »

But as I mentioned before, drow are a lot more tolerant of differences of opinion and personality (just so long as inferiors obey their superiors), and it would be a much easier task for a drow to fake being evil than it would be for a beholder or a mind flayer.

BTW a mind flayer who only ate the brains of non-sentient creatures would be extremely easy to spot: just look for the village idiot :P
Posted by: Murdane
« on: January 09, 2005, 04:35:56 PM »

But as I mentioned before, the drow will kill any good drow in a city as well (and certainly drow suspected of worshipping Eilistraee), and I don't see how that is any less evil than killing others of their kind simply for being different.  So in terms of "evillness", I don't see a huge difference between the races, unless drow are more deserving of mercy simply because they are humanoids and less "alien" than beholders or mind flayers.
Posted by: NiGHTMARE
« on: January 09, 2005, 05:50:21 AM »

Both Beholders and Mind Flayers would notice and take exception if one of their kin broke from the norm.

As I've already mentioned, Beholders would kill another Beholder simply because it had different skin colour, let alone different behavioural patterns. What are the chances of any creature not only learning to pretend to be normal fast enough (i.e. within an extremely short time of being born), and be such an exceptionally skilled actor to emulate the actions of its kin whilst remaining non-evil during every waking hour? A couple of billion-to-one, I'd say :D. As I said, a Beholder growing up outside of a hive stands a much better chance of being non-evil, but that's irrelevant because we're talking about a hive ;).

In order to be non-evil, a Mind Flayer would have to refuse to eat the brains of sentient beings, not use dominated slaves, not obey (or at least find a more peaceful workaround) any evil commands the master brain and senior Illithids gave it, etc. Other Mind Flayers in the same city would consider this an outrage, and at best exile the "non-sentientarian". At worst they would kill it. So again you could encounter non-evil Mind Flayers outside a city, but again that doesn't matter to use because we're discussing Mind Flayers in a city.
Posted by: Murdane
« on: January 08, 2005, 10:36:48 PM »

I've checked the Monster Manual, and neither Beholders nor Ilithids are always LE, they are usually LE. Which means, as far as I see it, that they aren't born with a specific alignment. Killing them isn't the same as killing a demon, because they aren't necessarily made from evil the way fiends are.

As for drow, what you said about Drizzt only reinforces my point that what we consider "monsters" is largely a matter of perception. The MM has no good things whatsoever to say about beholders or mind flayers, but the same exact thing applies to drow. There is no addendum in the drow entry that says, "Even though the drow are a hideously evil race that strikes fear into any being that has ever heard about them, *don't* be surprised if you come upon Chaotic Good rebel drow during your journey. Many drow are turning away from the evil ways of their race, so if you see them, don't strike before having spoken to them first."

Good drow are marginal outcasts at best, and non-existant at worst, depending on the setting of the campaign.

Posted by: NiGHTMARE
« on: January 04, 2005, 04:02:19 PM »

In D&D, if a person or creature is evil, that means he has either already committed evil acts in the past, or would willingly do so in the future (either for pleasure or personal gain).  Or most likely both.
Posted by: belboz
« on: January 04, 2005, 03:40:40 PM »

All good points, and I'm not denying them, but again it comes down to the question of whether or not is a good act to make a pre-emptive strike against someone simply because they are evil. Even evil people (and creatures) can have neutral tendencies (like Viconia, who says at one point that she wanted to live in peace), and upon thumbing through a lot of sourcebooks, there are a fair number of evil NPCs who probably will do bad things but otherwise seem to live fairly normal lives...there are evil people who are also mothers, fathers, storekeepers, council members, etc. I'm not saying that mind flayers and beholders are going to be this way, but I tend to argue things on principle. If I read a story about an ostensibly good person who assassinated another person because he or she cast a spell and found that person's heart was "evil", I'd probably feel more disappointed than happy.

A fair point. I wonder how much of this is just that there is, by real-world, modern standards, a serious problem with the D&D alignment system (or indeed, *any* genuine alignment system, like most, though not all, RPGs have). It might be argued that if you're really troubled by assuming guilt based on a "detect evil" spell, you want a game where evil doesn't have the sort of reality that can be detected with a simple spell--except in extreme cases. Ars Magica, for example, has spells to detect demons*, and spells to tell when someone is lying, and would probably be open to spells to detect hostile intent towards any specific individual, but has no alignment system in the conventional sense. But D&D isn't Ars Magica, and it's hard to have a system like D&D's alignment system without committing yourself to a fair bit of black and white.

*I agree with the poster who said it was fine to kill demons on sight. In most systems, they're the very *essence* of all that is evil. I enjoyed Fall-From-Grace as a character, but she really doesn't make a lot of sense. A LN demon would be like a steel bar with no iron in it; if it's LN (or indeed ever has a compassionate thought) it's ipso facto not a demon, because a lack of compassion is just part of demon-ness.
Posted by: Andyr
« on: January 04, 2005, 10:45:22 AM »

Spectator Beholders are always LN, yeh.

Note in D&D alignment terms always doesn't mean the same as in English; it just means really most of the time. Usually, for example, is meant to mean around 60% or something. I don't quite recall, don't have the MM to hand.
Posted by: Lord Kain
« on: January 04, 2005, 12:05:39 AM »

Drow haven't been known as "monsters" sense the first printing of Drizzit.

I bring up demons because no one is really going to argure its not ok to kill a demon on principle.
Beholders and Mind Flayers seek to inslave lesser races. Now I remember Mind Flayers and Beholders being listed as always evil. Especially in 2nd edition.

I don't think Virtue is not about applying real world ethics to D&D.
As far as I understand virtue was created to be a better option over reputation. D&D has its own set of ethics. Caught between medieval and modern. Virtue was not created to cause paladins to become fallen from clearing out a lair filled with lawful evil beholders or lawful mind flayers.

Execpt for the spectral beholder. Every beholder you encounter has an evil alignment. Also every single Mind Flayer in the game also has an evil alignment.

If your alignment is evil you have done horrible things or you are planing to do horrible things.

D&D is 90% black and white and only 10% gray. I'd like to keep it that way.
Posted by: Murdane
« on: January 03, 2005, 09:31:35 PM »

beholders are listed as always evil can't remember if it was NE, CE, or LE

Not according to the MM, if I recall correctly. Beholders and Mind Flayers are usually evil, just like drow. And Lord Kain, I never said it was wrong to kill a demon--you are the one who brought up demons to begin with, not I.

Drow used to be known as "monsters" until recent years--I've been over this before. Orcs and other goblinoids are also known as "monsters" even though they also aren't born evil, and their ways aren't even all that "alien" to the ways of the core races (they are humanoids, not abberations).

I'm not trying to pick apart anything, but I always argue things on principle. If it's OK to kill anything that's considered a "monster", one should think carefully about what is called a "monster" and why. And remember--virtue isn't about what is OK in D&D, it's about what we would consider to be good or evil. Stories about slaying "monsters" and stealing their treasure are common, but does that make such behavior right?
Posted by: Lord Kain
« on: January 03, 2005, 08:12:29 PM »

beholders are listed as always evil can't remember if it was NE, CE, or LE

There are many kinds of beholders of the kinds in this game only the Spectral beholders aren't inherently evil.


Are you going to tell me its not alright to kill every demon you see. Demons are born of evil. They are made from evil infact. In the world of D&D wiping out a beholder nest or a hive of mind flayers is good thing. Lets remember that the beholders, mind flayers, and other monsters are monsters. Lets keep D&D a black and white world and not make it grey like the real one.

I do not want to play D&D and debate the moral question of wiping out a group of creatures that see humans as either food, or slaves.

That sums up beholders and Mind flayers. They see the humanoids of the world as food or slaves. detect alignment can be fooled. So you shouldn't go killing, humans and demi-humans based of that. Also humans and demi-humans have a great capacity for change. You can convert an evil drow to good. Or teach an Orc to be nice.

You can't teach a beholder or a mind flayer to be kind compasionent only magic and rare chosmic events cause these creatures to become good.

Also are we going to start picking apart the lord of the rings for all the orcs they killed?

Anyway our world is a shade of gray. the D&D world is not. Somethings are just born evil in D&D. What makes some adventures grand is when you find that one in a million being who is not like his brothers.


Is killing a demon a good act? I'd say yes. Would you really argue with me on if its wrong to kill a demon.
Posted by: Murdane
« on: January 03, 2005, 07:40:08 PM »

I only assume creatures are born a specific alignment if they are mentioned as being "Always LE" (or NE, or CE, or so forth). I recall that beholders are described as "Usually LE". And even if the beings in question are evil...

1) It is still disputable as to whether or not killing an evil creature is in itself a good act, even if the evil creature in question really was born evil.

and

2) Even if a being isn't born evil, but are evil because of their society, the end result is still the same...

The are some good drow out there, but they are exceptions, not the rule. They are not at all common (even most surface drow are NE according to the FRCS).