Author Topic: Lawfulness index?  (Read 6765 times)

Offline rreinier

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Lawfulness index?
« on: July 11, 2004, 01:39:58 PM »
Would it be a good idea to do something similar to Virtue, but for the Lawful/Chaotic side of alignment? There are various cases in the game where there is a real distinction between being lawful and being good, so I'm wondering if it'd be worthwhile to go through the trouble of making this...

It would probably mean that Paladins would fall after committing an unlawful deed, and that lawful NPCs would leave a chaotic party, and vice versa...

Offline jester

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2004, 06:36:43 PM »
Sounds like a lot of work, but intriguing nonetheless.
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Offline Mongoose87

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2004, 08:04:07 PM »
The problem is that lawfulness/chaoticness is muc more open to interpretation than good/evil

Offline SimDing0

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2004, 09:07:14 AM »
And also I'd need to play through the entire game noting down situations, rather than just doing a dialog/script search for "ReputationInc".

Offline rreinier

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2004, 09:35:30 AM »
If that's the only problem, I'd be willing to do it for you...

Offline SimDing0

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2004, 09:44:47 AM »
The other problem is that the amount of code Virtue adds to the game is slowly becoming absolutely ridiculous. However, I guess I could always make it an optional component for people with really hardcore computers. :)

And before you spend too much time going through the game, perhaps we should look at a few obscure situations to see just how open to interpretation it is?

Offline BobTokyo

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2004, 10:09:20 AM »
Nalia has been kidnapped by an unscrupulous man acting within the law. It is Good to oppose him by breaking into his home and searching his possessions. Is it Lawful?

Keldorn is required by law and custom to kill his wife's lover and snd her to prison. It is Good to council mercy. Is it Lawful?

 

Offline rreinier

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2004, 02:57:19 PM »
Nalia's abduction wasn't exactly "within the law", was it?

I'm hazy on the second case, it's been long since I had Keldorn in my party... What was the exact plot again?

Offline SimDing0

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2004, 02:59:07 PM »
Lawful presumably means obeying the law, so sending her to prison and so on would be lawful evil, no?

Offline Mongoose87

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2004, 03:27:42 PM »
But using legitimate proof to show Isea is a criminal is lawful.  How you get it on the other had... not necessarily.

Offline BobTokyo

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2004, 04:43:15 PM »
Nalia's abdution was Lawful; it was legal under the laws of Amn. It was also evil, bein performed on trumped up charges brought by a criminal. Fighting it was Good, and presenting evidence to prove Isea was a criminal was Lawful, but I'd say that breaking into his house to get that evidence was Unlawful.

Offline Cybersquirt

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2004, 04:46:45 PM »
(but.. isn't the house unlocked, by an in-game NPC, for us to perform our investigation?)
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Offline BobTokyo

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2004, 04:51:59 PM »
(but.. isn't the house unlocked, by an in-game NPC, for us to perform our investigation?)

That just means that an accomplice helps us to break the law. CHARNAME still has no legal right to be there, or to search the house.

We're good, but unlawful. ;)

Offline NiGHTMARE

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2004, 06:19:10 PM »
I feel oblidged to point out that "Lawful" in D&D doesn't mean "always obeys the law", it means "ordered", "self disciplined", "unchaotic", etc.
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Offline BobTokyo

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2004, 06:34:27 PM »
I feel oblidged to point out that "Lawful" in D&D doesn't mean "always obeys the law", it means "ordered", "self disciplined", "unchaotic", etc.

True, but it also includes a respect for the Law as written, and for unwritten rules of honor as well (which can become the twisted, hypocritical honor of a Lawful Evil knight).

Offline Caswallon

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2004, 07:33:23 PM »
I'm not sure whether it is possible to implement (should be, I guess), but maybe it would be more worthwhile then to switch to PS:T style alignment consistently. That is, don't rate actions dependent on alignment, but change alignment dependent on actions.

As for the proposed scenario: What do you do when good and lawful (or evil and chaotic, or whatever) clash? To have Keldorn's wife thrown into prison, or to let Nalia rot there, *might* be lawful, but it certainly isn't good. What is my paladin supposed to do to keep his status?
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Offline BobTokyo

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2004, 07:44:00 PM »
I'm not sure whether it is possible to implement (should be, I guess), but maybe it would be more worthwhile then to switch to PS:T style alignment consistently. That is, don't rate actions dependent on alignment, but change alignment dependent on actions.

As for the proposed scenario: What do you do when good and lawful (or evil and chaotic, or whatever) clash? To have Keldorn's wife thrown into prison, or to let Nalia rot there, *might* be lawful, but it certainly isn't good. What is my paladin supposed to do to keep his status?

And that's the problem isn't it? :) Is Law or Good more important to your Paladin?

In practical terms, almost certainly Good, as otherwise you'd need to add code to permit Lawful Neutral paladins in game. ;)

Offline Caswallon

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2004, 07:45:46 PM »
Should we then permit Neutral Good paladins in the game? ;)

I'm probably joining in here because I sense difficulties in playing the game. If we fill the gaps of the current Virtue mod by judging every action of the game, a paladin will become close to unplayable if he still falls at Virtue -1 OR Lawfulness -1 (as proposed in the first post). BG2 is no PnP; its story and interaction opportunities don't offer the same freedom as PnP roleplaying between players and DM, and you have to take the limitations of choice into account.
Some of them is the impossibility to redeem once sins, regain favour with your godhead/the order, explain your actions to your superiors, await and accept their judgement, etc.
This is a computer game with a predefined story and predetermined reactions; without greatly expanding interaction, the judgement of actions won't be fair.
That includes the evil ways on the other edge of the spectrum - the lack of opportunities for evil players has often been lamented, and though they don't suffer the same technical penalties like paladins, they often don't have much choice than being good or leaving the quest be.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2004, 07:58:36 PM by Caswallon »
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Offline Imrahil

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2004, 09:07:43 PM »
Nalia's abdution was Lawful; it was legal under the laws of Amn. It was also evil, bein performed on trumped up charges brought by a criminal. Fighting it was Good, and presenting evidence to prove Isea was a criminal was Lawful, but I'd say that breaking into his house to get that evidence was Unlawful.

But by similar reasoning, a Paladin should leave Imoen in Spellhold. She broke the Law of Athkatla. Similarly, there's no reason to pursue Irenicus, since the Law has already taken care of him (as far as CHARNAME ever knows) & vengeance isn't Just. Hence, no story.

I don't see being Lawful as following *all* Laws. If the Laws of Athkatla have led to injustice (Imoen, Nalia, what they suggest for Keldorn), they must be ignored in favor of the Paladin's own moral code. That's the one he must follow at all costs, not the Law of the Land (if killing an innocent once a day was a Law in Athkatla, would you propose a Lawful Good or even Lawful Neutral player should obey it?).

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Offline BobTokyo

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2004, 09:57:55 PM »
Nalia's abdution was Lawful; it was legal under the laws of Amn. It was also evil, bein performed on trumped up charges brought by a criminal. Fighting it was Good, and presenting evidence to prove Isea was a criminal was Lawful, but I'd say that breaking into his house to get that evidence was Unlawful.

But by similar reasoning, a Paladin should leave Imoen in Spellhold. She broke the Law of Athkatla. Similarly, there's no reason to pursue Irenicus, since the Law has already taken care of him (as far as CHARNAME ever knows) & vengeance isn't Just. Hence, no story.

I don't see being Lawful as following *all* Laws. If the Laws of Athkatla have led to injustice (Imoen, Nalia, what they suggest for Keldorn), they must be ignored in favor of the Paladin's own moral code. That's the one he must follow at all costs, not the Law of the Land (if killing an innocent once a day was a Law in Athkatla, would you propose a Lawful Good or even Lawful Neutral player should obey it?).

- Imrahil

That is the Law versus Good conflict Imrahil. In fiction, one classic answer is to have the conflicted character choose "good", but that is an un-lawful choice. Another classic answer is to have the conflicted character throw down his badge / resign his commission / fulfill his oath of service and then become a Ronin . . .

As was pointed out earlier, the limits of the CRPG environment make these choices much harder to implement. That doesn't make them invalid.

Offline NiGHTMARE

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2004, 03:34:46 AM »
One of the common misconceptions of paladins is that they must obey every law in existence. In actual fact, they must only obey those laws they/their order/their deity percieves as being good laws. For example:

- In a country where slavery is legal, a paladin is perfectly entitled to be part of a group dedicated to freeing slaves.

- If a person is imprisoned because of an unjust law (e.g. they refuse to get married to someone their parents betrothed them too when they were still a small child), a paladin is free to rescue that person.

- In a city where anyone found on the street after midnight is killed on sight by the city guards, a paladin is within his rights to defend a person under attack.


Of course in all the above scenarios, the paladin is encouraged to go through legal channels first, but obviously that won't always work.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2004, 03:38:02 AM by NiGHTMARE »
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Offline BobTokyo

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2004, 04:58:31 AM »
One of the common misconceptions of paladins is that they must obey every law in existence. In actual fact, they must only obey those laws they/their order/their deity percieves as being good laws. For example:

- In a country where slavery is legal, a paladin is perfectly entitled to be part of a group dedicated to freeing slaves.

- If a person is imprisoned because of an unjust law (e.g. they refuse to get married to someone their parents betrothed them too when they were still a small child), a paladin is free to rescue that person.

- In a city where anyone found on the street after midnight is killed on sight by the city guards, a paladin is within his rights to defend a person under attack.


Of course in all the above scenarios, the paladin is encouraged to go through legal channels first, but obviously that won't always work.

I am aware of this. Still, our hypothetical Paladin sneaking into a noble's home to find and take evidence is violating laws against illegal entry and theft that he probably does agree with, even if he is doing so for the greater good. The game designers may have left no other options except abandoning Nalia to her fate, but it still seems to be a very un-Paladinesque act. The Lawful course would be to go to the council and demand justice (done), then to the Order and ask for aid, and to challenge Roenall to a duel if that failed.

I'm not suggesting a re-write of the entire sequence, just pointing out that it is an un-Lawful action.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2004, 06:20:04 AM by BobTokyo »

Offline Imrahil

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2004, 08:41:01 AM »
That is the Law versus Good conflict Imrahil.

I agree that it's a law (intentional lower case) vs. Good conflict, but disagree that it's the Lawful vs. Good conflict. When I think of a Paladin's Code of Conduct, I envision tenets like "Help the helpless", "Give to the poor", "Fight those who would do Evil", etc. (although with more flowery language). I don't see "Never steal" as one of those tenets, so I don't actually see a conflict arising.

Quote
In fiction, one classic answer is to have the conflicted character choose "good", but that is an un-lawful choice. Another classic answer is to have the conflicted character throw down his badge / resign his commission / fulfill his oath of service and then become a Ronin . . .

I could see this as a possibility for the Paladin only if he'd sworn an oath to serve the Roenalls. As long as he's still following the tenets of his Order, though, there's no Lawful conflict in disregarding the laws of Athkatla (or Trademeet or Ust Natha) in order to accomplish the greater good.

- Imrahil

Offline BobTokyo

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2004, 11:57:50 AM »
That is the Law versus Good conflict Imrahil.

I agree that it's a law (intentional lower case) vs. Good conflict, but disagree that it's the Lawful vs. Good conflict. When I think of a Paladin's Code of Conduct, I envision tenets like "Help the helpless", "Give to the poor", "Fight those who would do Evil", etc. (although with more flowery language). I don't see "Never steal" as one of those tenets, so I don't actually see a conflict arising.

It would depend on the order, but "Thou Shalt Not Steal" would make sense as part of the code of honor for a classic Christian knight, along with "Slaves, obey thy masters" (Ephesians 6:6, Colossians 3:22) and many other very restrictive tennents. However, it is also true that FR paladins are not Christian knights, and would have their own rules to follow.

Offline Andyr

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Re: Lawfulness index?
« Reply #24 on: July 13, 2004, 03:05:17 PM »
I think this thread shows already it'd probably be more trouble than it's worth to do. ;)
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