Could we have a little less lawful, and a little more good?

Since the Chosen of Eilistraee is a religious oriented player group, naturally there is a place to have theological discussions. That is in-game religions; please leave real-world religion out of it. Debate the fine points of a certain dogma, how a church can enforce worship while staying true to its tenets or simply why one deity is better than another one is. All are free to talk about it here.

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Ra'Sona Races-The-Wind
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Could we have a little less lawful, and a little more good?

Post by Ra'Sona Races-The-Wind » Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:43 am

Was playing Temple of Elemental Evil, and met the cleric of one of the gods I love to hate, St. Cuthbert. Was sent to shake down a poor man for not paying the gold he promised the temple, even though he obviously didn't have enough money.

My reponse IRL was as the title. Yes, he promised them gold, and received services for the pledge, but he's a very poor boy and can't afford it. Yet I've been sent to make him pay up, because he doesn't have it. That seems rather off-balance to me, and it's often the way with the big C. The good seems to be forgotten among all the law.

No real question here, just an observation. What are your thoughts?
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Post by veraka » Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:08 am

Well it depends on whether the man was truly honest when he said he would contribute to the temple, or whether he was just saying it to look good. From what you've described, he seemed sincere when he said that we wanted to contribute to the temple, so the real question is, are the temple personnel trying to blindly rob a man, or do they have simply have to have the contribution then and now. In either case, both the temple and the poor fellow are at fault; the man for not knowing that he had not enough to contribute to begin with; rule number 1 when giving, lending, or otherwise, throwing out money; always make sure that you have what you claim to be able to give. As for the temple, they seem to lack the patience for the poor fellow, so that is lack insight on their part. Also, there are lawful neutrals and evils in the world. However. . . the person being a child changes things. I'd say give the poor boy a fair warning about giving next time, and pay outta my own pocket for the boy. If the temple won't listen to reason, then make your point across with a sharp steel point at their throat.
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Post by Ra'Sona Races-The-Wind » Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:22 pm

Well, St. Cuthbert is lawful good; the problem was they were basically enforcing tithes on a peasant. That seems more Hextor's domain (tyranny), which is the issue I had with the situation. The temple was the richest building in the town, he was just being arsey about the promised gold and when he'd already made me to pay him a bunch of gold just to let me talk to the acting canon of the temple so I could inform him of the canoness' murder. . .

Sword at the throat would have been a bad idea, he could very easily take on my whole party. Five level 2s, I think he's a level 7 paladin or cleric and he definitely has equipment to match that.
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Post by Argoth » Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:27 pm

Lawful is about respecting codes, right? If the St. Cuthbert code says so, than that's what should be pursued, or if that's temple regulation, that's what's being lawful is all about. Words have meaning and shouldn't be misused etc.

On the other hand you have the Lawful Evil alignment which also follows rules, but is still evil. This I see as a person that (love the D&D manual example) doesn't harm children, but is still determined to rule over the world and will kill anyone without blinking that would stand in the way without blinking. Like lord Ashram from Record of Lodoss War. He had principles, but was evil.

I'd say one has to put it into perspective. It's two contradictory ideas :Good vs. Evil and Law vs. Chaos. And they can be seen in a variety of combinations.

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Post by veraka » Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:56 pm

Then it seems to me that game has a contradiction issue; paladins by their nature are [b:372yfmq1]not[/b:372yfmq1] supposed to do that; if he is condoning those actions, then his paladin abilities should have already been removed.
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Post by Ra'Sona Races-The-Wind » Fri Mar 12, 2010 10:24 pm

Well, paladins lose their abilities if they disobey their gods' tenets. He's following them well enough, Cuthbert just cares far more about the law than the good. It's the same with the paladins of any god, it doesn't matter why they do it, as long as it's following their god's commands by doing so.

Well, some gods tend to mind if the reasoning is wrong, but that's rather shockingly rare. I don't know too well as I tend to play the chaotic-good paladins, and they're always more open to interpretation.

But back to the point; Cuthbert often seems to push drastically into the realms of lawful-smitey. His folio is lawful good but the being good is a very distant second, often forgotten in the rush to enforce justice. Hence my problem with him.

Then again, Lawful good doesn't necessarily mean lawful nice, so I guess it's a moot point. Still rather unpleasant though.
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Post by Bhaern Quel » Fri Mar 12, 2010 11:08 pm

D&D was based on the concept of - good laws. A Paladin, in the past, clearly did not have to adhere to something like slavery. They could ignore or even violate what in effect was considered an Evil Law.

The Lawful Good deity, only recognizes laws that are Just. The problem at times, becomes what laws are considered Just. I believe this is where you are running into a problem. D&D put together a collection in bots and pieces of what is a Just law and a law a Paladin could ignore. With the addition of a lawful society that permits slavery the issue became much more confused.

TSR used as a basic standard of society of the civilized lands of the world of Earth as the base reference point. Society however has changed and the guidelines are harder to change. In many ways the guidelines appear to be derived from a religion, also from a sense of what is Just.

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Post by veraka » Sat Mar 13, 2010 5:54 am

Though I would tend to agree with what Bhaern said, Paladins are also supposed to be upholders of true justice: that is, to gather all the facts, from both sides of an issue and then dispense justice as needed.
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Post by Argoth » Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:36 am

Only accordingly to their deity's code.

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Post by Bergeth'fryn » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:35 pm

St. Cuthbert is lawful neutral.
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Post by Ra'Sona Races-The-Wind » Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:56 pm

Yeah, found that out since starting the topic. Felt rather silly and was hoping no-one would mention it. >.>
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Post by Bergeth'fryn » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:42 pm

Haha! It's okay, comrade.
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Re: Could we have a little less lawful, and a little more go

Post by Pheurazath » Sat Jul 28, 2012 11:20 am

Three comments on this, one.... I'd say considering how unbalanced the game was with newly made characters versus 'basic monsters', Temple of Evil I would say was poorly designed in the first place, and likely lacked any sort of quality programming for making decisions based on morals and laws, as compared to a tabletop campaign, and exploring the definition of that straight and narrow line that every paladin strives to follow, in The Book of Exalted Deeds.

Second, history has proven it for centuries, no temple is immune to corruption, or the use declaring divine wills for whatever they wish in order to bend the masses, and even kings to their whims. In Faerun alone, I can think of the events in the very first Neverinter Nights game, during which a Helmite Temple had been corrupted by a Vrock that imposter Helmites had been serving. In one of Salvatore's novels, the Selune temple in Artemis Entreri's birthplace, had fallen into decadence and corruption of terrible degrees, thriving off the suffering of others. That is until Entreri made it clear that they would change their ways, or he'd come back and kill them. Nothing says any temple, cleric, or even paladin is impossible to corrupt.

Lastly, I have heard it said, the Spirit of The Law, is different from the Letter of The Law. What this means, is that laws are made and established in the spirit of keeping the laws, good, equal, and fair for all. They're made in a spirit of goodwill. The Letter of The Law, is however uncaring and unbiased about the morality, or immorality of what it takes to enforce it. Sometimes, what is just, and lawfull, isn't necessarily a good thing.
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Re: Could we have a little less lawful, and a little more go

Post by Rizzen » Sat Jul 28, 2012 4:53 pm

I would agree with some other posters, this seems more LE than LG. A lawful good church or character would still want him to pay the tithes but if he wasn't able to do so in gold they would probably find some reasonable way to make him work the debt off. "Come clean the library a few times" or "help illuminate these scriptures" etc.

However, if someone was habitually making a promise to pay a gold tithe, and was not able to do so, they would probably get very angry and eventually have the man arrested.

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Re: Could we have a little less lawful, and a little more go

Post by Alaric Darkrose » Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:46 am

I would like to find out the man's motivations when he made the pledge, for starters. Typically, I agree with you. I tend to play Neutral Good characters with a code of honor (a reflection of my real life personality), and when I play Lawful Good characters, one of their tenets is protecting the poor.

My old group had an inside joke when it came to followers of deities such as St. Cuthbert or Paladins in general. I'm going to apologize in advance for the profanity. It went like this: "They're not lawful good. They're lawful asshole."
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