Author Topic: Would this be too restrictive?  (Read 5901 times)

Particle_Man

  • Legendary
  • ****
  • Posts: 1636
  • Cut my teeth on 1st ed AD&D
    • http://particle-man6.livejournal.com/
Would this be too restrictive?
« on: February 13, 2014, 12:08:38 am »
I was thinking of starting a campaign that was some iteration of D&D/d20, but where the Player characters all had to be lawful good.  Would people play that or would they find it too restrictive?
Game MASter that is comPLETEly unfair!

Floogal

  • Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 259
Re: Would this be too restrictive?
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2014, 12:48:44 pm »
Wow, that's worse than Paladins.  Alignment shifts -- you don't just lose your class features, you lose your character flat-out!  Re-roll!

Seriously, though, you'd need to provide some context.  I'm having trouble imagining a scenario where other alignments couldn't have a reason to partake.  If it's simply that an order of only Lawful Good people are tasked with some quest, it should still be easy to contrive something that gets others (unintentionally) involved.

Or is it simply that you want to run an adventure where there's no sneaky, shady, underhanded tactics used by the players?  It's common for GM's to say "no evil", so being a bit more restrictive isn't too unreasonable.  Just don't be too surprised if players have a more loose definition of Lawful Good than you.

ClubMeSoftly

  • Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 131
  • That is a strange looking banana.
Re: Would this be too restrictive?
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2014, 01:06:44 am »
Wow, that's worse than Paladins.  Alignment shifts -- you don't just lose your class features, you lose your character flat-out!  Re-roll!

Seriously, though, you'd need to provide some context.  I'm having trouble imagining a scenario where other alignments couldn't have a reason to partake.  If it's simply that an order of only Lawful Good people are tasked with some quest, it should still be easy to contrive something that gets others (unintentionally) involved.

Or is it simply that you want to run an adventure where there's no sneaky, shady, underhanded tactics used by the players?  It's common for GM's to say "no evil", so being a bit more restrictive isn't too unreasonable.  Just don't be too surprised if players have a more loose definition of Lawful Good than you.

Yeah, a sort of "Lawful Good does not mean Lawful Nice" type of character.

Particle_Man

  • Legendary
  • ****
  • Posts: 1636
  • Cut my teeth on 1st ed AD&D
    • http://particle-man6.livejournal.com/
Re: Would this be too restrictive?
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2014, 09:35:14 am »
So long as good trumped lawful if they came into conflict. 

And I would penalize with NPChood any "torture/threat of torture for the greater good" as I would consider that "not lawful good" for the campaign I am considering running (if necessary, I will push this all the way to "PCs must be exalted").
Game MASter that is comPLETEly unfair!

Floogal

  • Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 259
Re: Would this be too restrictive?
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2014, 12:20:03 pm »
I'm still having trouble seeing a scenario where everyone MUST be lawful-good, no exceptions.  Members of a proud, stiff, holier-than-thou order of knights? - "we don't like your type of people; you can't travel with us"  And sometimes people do change; what, if someone gets disillusioned & their alignment shifts: "you're no longer fit to travel with us; leave, or we'll force you out"?

Be sure to clearly define exactly what you mean by Lawful Good; remember the debates we had regarding your angel in that recent monster-d&d campaign.  Heck, you might still get vigilantism -- read these thoughts on Lawful people following personal codes (which I agree with).

Also, while it's perfectly fine to have this restriction, I would expect lower-than-average interest.  You've cut out 3 and a half base classes (Barbarian, Bard, Druid, and probably quite a few Cleric deities), and quite a few character personalities (depending on how strict your definition of LG is); besides turning away people who don't like/are tired of those kind of characters, you'll turn away those who fear that their character will be too similar to the others, resulting in blandness/redundancy/repetitiveness.

Particle_Man

  • Legendary
  • ****
  • Posts: 1636
  • Cut my teeth on 1st ed AD&D
    • http://particle-man6.livejournal.com/
Re: Would this be too restrictive?
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2014, 07:13:02 pm »
In game, the npc who stopped being lg may or may not travel with the group, but it would still be an npc (and one that might decide to leave the group, for instance).

Yeah, I think I may be trying for something a little hard to get others' interest in, but we'll see.
Game MASter that is comPLETEly unfair!

GitS

  • Administrator
  • Legendary
  • *****
  • Posts: 676
Re: Would this be too restrictive?
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2014, 01:01:58 am »
I think what is needed. is a definition of what Lawful good is.   Not according to what the rule book says or implies,  but how do you the game master think it applies.   What is your definition of Lawful and good. 

fine no torture for information.  what about subterfuge?  etc etc.  is lawful according to the laws of the land? or does something else supersede those laws?  what is the definition of good.  Personal good? societies good?   I think just saying "i'm running a game where everyone is LG" isnt good enough with out a basis of what LG for me means.  Since you are the judge of what is LG or not.
Things die.  People burn.  This is the way of all things.   This is my way *cackle*
    "I have defied gods and demons.
    I am your shield, I am your sword.
    I know you; your past, your future.
    This is the way the world ends."

Particle_Man

  • Legendary
  • ****
  • Posts: 1636
  • Cut my teeth on 1st ed AD&D
    • http://particle-man6.livejournal.com/
Re: Would this be too restrictive?
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2014, 07:54:16 am »
I think it would be laws of a certain land that the characters will start in (which might be tied in to the religion of Bahamat), not laws of any land the characters happen to be in (so in a LE foreign gov't's domain, they don't have to suddenly work to keep people enslaved).  The laws of the land the character starts in will also be, for lack of a better word, good laws, to prevent alignment conflicts insofar as that is possible.  The good would be a concern for the people's well-being, as well as virtuous character traits.  I might use the paladin's code, book of exalted, etc., as a template for the laws of the land.

I am thinking that feinting/illusions in combat would be ok (for some; 3.5 knights still have a penalty with taking advantage of a feint) but lying out of combat would not be.

I think I am going to try for a setting where, while there will be conflicts, there will not be alignment conflicts (that is, there will be known answers to questions of alignment, that PCs and NPCs will have access to - the assumption would be that the Big Questions have been asked and answered and disseminated among the people).  Thus to use a superhero trope, it will be more Silver Age 4-colour, and, if necessary, at the expense of realism.  So the authorities of the land the characters start in will be trustworthy and good too, so there won't be the "Alas, I must lawfully follow the dictates of my evil ruler though it goes against my conscience" dilemma.

So the setting will be more black hats and white hats, less shades of grey.

That said, I might go with a different edition of D&D so "lawful good" might be replaced with "lawful" in editions with only three alignments (like original D&D, Basic D&D, etc.). 

Anyhow, questions are welcome as it helps me flesh out the ideas in my own head.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2014, 08:16:34 am by Particle_Man »
Game MASter that is comPLETEly unfair!

Floogal

  • Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 259
Re: Would this be too restrictive?
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2014, 12:34:17 pm »
Alright, so you want to run a straight-forward, no moral-dilemmas campaign.  So it's less that there's an in-game reason why the players can't be different alignments, and more that you want the players to be on the same page & have no in-fighting?  Sounds legit; make it clear at the beginning & hopefully the players will respect your wishes.

In the interest of helping you flesh out your alignment definition:
- Detect Evil/etc spells/abilities: are they sufficient evidence to condemn someone?  How are false readings (deliberate or not) handled?
- You can't lie, but can you twist the truth?  Lie by omission?  Simply not say relevant things?  "Hey Evil Guy, you're about to walk into quicksand."
- Must you announce your presence & engage the enemy on even terms in the open?  No setting up an ambush or scenario where you have the advantage?  Are all combat actions available to you -- disarm, sunder, trip?  Can you use a spell to curse or transform someone, possibly ignoring them afterward?
- If someone begs for mercy, must it be given, even if you suspect it's a trick?  Can you act on intuition & be proactive, or must you always wait for Evil to actually make a move first & be reactive only?
- How is killing handled, regarding afterlives?  Can you end someone's misery, given there's concrete evidence of a pleasant afterlife?  Is resurrection frowned upon?  Must every life be spared, or can you kill evildoers?  Sacrifice some innocents to save many?

Particle_Man

  • Legendary
  • ****
  • Posts: 1636
  • Cut my teeth on 1st ed AD&D
    • http://particle-man6.livejournal.com/
Re: Would this be too restrictive?
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2014, 10:55:57 pm »

Thanks for the questions!  Here are my preliminary thoughts:

"- Detect Evil/etc spells/abilities: are they sufficient evidence to condemn someone?"

They would be sufficient evidence to watch someone closely and to warn others that can't detect evil - politically it might cause people in authority to remove someone from a position of responsibility.  But it would be evil actions that are condemned as far as putting someone in jail or attacking them goes.

"How are false readings (deliberate or not) handled?"

If there is reason to believe that a reading is false, then evidence could be given for this.  Deliberately cloaking one's evil nature would indicate that the cloaker was up to something.  Accidentally registering as evil when on is not would require investigation as to why a false positive is being given off.

"- You can't lie, but can you twist the truth?  Lie by omission?  Simply not say relevant things?  "Hey Evil Guy, you're about to walk into quicksand." "

I think the LG guys would not engage in deceptions like that, and would be likely to say relevant things if not in combat.  If in combat, they would focus less on talking and more on fighting, so omissions would be more allowable.

"Must you announce your presence & engage the enemy on even terms in the open?  No setting up an ambush or scenario where you have the advantage?  Are all combat actions available to you -- disarm, sunder, trip?  Can you use a spell to curse or transform someone, possibly ignoring them afterward?"

In combat there is more leniency (so disarm, sunder, trip, feint, are ok).  Similarly with spell use for spellcasters.  But before combat they would have to be more honourable, so setting up ambushes would not be allowed, and announcing one's presence and engaging the enemy on even terms would be encouraged (assuming the enemy would follow suit - one doesn't have to go out in the open if one expects that the enemy would be dishonourable and simply have their soldiers fill one full of arrows). 

"If someone begs for mercy, must it be given, even if you suspect it's a trick?" 

Usually yes, although that could mean "strip them, tie and gag them, bring them back for trial".  It could even mean "turn yourself in to Lord X, and if I see you again that means you don't get a *third* chance".

"Can you act on intuition & be proactive, or must you always wait for Evil to actually make a move first & be reactive only?"

Depends what being proactive means.  You can be prepared for the others' actions, and could challenge them, or gather information on them.  You couldn't kill them just for registering as evil, they have to do something first (just as cops can't).

"Can you end someone's misery, given there's concrete evidence of a pleasant afterlife?" 

If they ask for it and are in their right minds, the misery is unbearable and a fate worse than death, and you don't have a way to relieve the misery.

"Is resurrection frowned upon?"

I'm not sure it will be possible in my campaign.  If it is, it would be allowed (but the person might refuse to return).

"Must every life be spared, or can you kill evildoers?"

If they don't ask for mercy, or screwed up their 2nd chance, then you can act more harshly, up to and including killing *doers* of evil.

"Sacrifice some innocents to save many?"

Nope.

Game MASter that is comPLETEly unfair!

Floogal

  • Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 259
Re: Would this be too restrictive?
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2014, 01:34:48 am »
"- Detect Evil/etc spells/abilities: are they sufficient evidence to condemn someone?"

They would be sufficient evidence to watch someone closely and to warn others that can't detect evil - politically it might cause people in authority to remove someone from a position of responsibility.  But it would be evil actions that are condemned as far as putting someone in jail or attacking them goes.
I find this the most debatable -- specifically that you can proclaim to everyone that "this person is evil!  watch them!"

It's really quite rude, and unfitting to tarnish someone's reputation.  For example, I think it would be reasonable to claim that Ebenezer Scrooge was Lawful Evil.  Now, it's fine for someone, after witnessing how he treats people, to tell him directly that he's a right bastard.  But to wander the streets shouting "Scrooge is Evil!" -- I would think that even his harshest critics would say that's too much.  And he runs his business legitimately, so scaring off potential unwary customers is unfair.

I mean, just having evil in your heart doesn't mean you'll actually do evil stuff.  Especially those that have acquired a plum government job, I can see them not wanting to do something stupid that could jeopardize their situation, and simply do what they need to do, then go home to grumble at the poor & sneer at their servants on their own time.  In the same way that someone good may not have the courage to go save that person in the burning building, evil people may not do evil, and so shouldn't necessarily be removed from office.

Summary, two points:
- tell your players if it's socially acceptable to tell everyone what someone's alignment pings as (or that it's blocked from magical reading)
- tell your players if being Good or Evil means that you have to actively do Good or Evil things on a regular basis, or if you may simply have Good or Evil tendencies, even if you deliberately or incidentally never act upon them

Particle_Man

  • Legendary
  • ****
  • Posts: 1636
  • Cut my teeth on 1st ed AD&D
    • http://particle-man6.livejournal.com/
Re: Would this be too restrictive?
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2014, 04:27:00 pm »
Well the game is going to be more black and white, so the evil people will have opportunities to do evil actions, so in this particular campaign, it would make sense for people to be warned if someone detected as evil.  That said, they still have to be proven/observed to do evil actions to be punished for those actions, so a sneaky evil person might say "You cannot prove I have done wrong!" (although a sneakier one will find a way to avoid detecting as evil).
Game MASter that is comPLETEly unfair!

Floogal

  • Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 259
Re: Would this be too restrictive?
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2014, 10:01:36 pm »
(although a sneakier one will find a way to avoid detecting as evil)
Tools for your bad guys to use (from quick search of srd):
- ring of mind shielding
- misdirection spell
- nondetection spell
- undetectable alignment spell

That last one would be most accessible to common folk: only requires a 2nd level Bard, 3rd level Cleric, 8th level Paladin, or 3rd level Assassin (character level 8), and it only consumes a single spell slot per person to last the whole day.  From my understanding, you would successfully fool Detect Evil/Good/Law/Chaos, leaving the scanners to assume you were True Neutral.

Another question, I guess: would it be acceptable for Paladins & other lawful good players to mask their own alignment?  Sneaky, but otherwise, when wandering Eviltropolis, you'll light up like a bulls-eye to the local Blackguard patrol.

Particle_Man

  • Legendary
  • ****
  • Posts: 1636
  • Cut my teeth on 1st ed AD&D
    • http://particle-man6.livejournal.com/
Re: Would this be too restrictive?
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2014, 10:04:42 pm »
I would allow the paladin to use the undetectable alignment spell (it is on their spell list) but I would not allow them to lie about being good or paladins.
Game MASter that is comPLETEly unfair!

Ejtaka

  • Noob
  • Posts: 6
Re: Would this be too restrictive?
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2014, 08:41:03 pm »
I see only really one problem with this campaign, and that problem is only really a problem if the GM is a dick. Alex wants a style of play: The PCs are Heroes with a capital H. Tacitly, Alex is agreeing that the universe will support the hero in their actions. The universe will not abuse the characters honesty and trust. The universe will not present the heroes with uncomfortable questions: Sacrifice the few to save the many? No. Then do you feel comfortable letting the many die to save the few? No, the universe WILL let you save them all, because you are Heroes. You will not sneak into the enemy base and assassinate the leader. You will kick down the door, plant your standard, and fight all challengers! Those who surrender will be judged according to their crimes. There are three types of people in the world: Heroes, Villains, and Innocents, and you can tell them apart clearly. If both the GM and the players know what is going on, and can agree to the style of play, it is great fun. The Heroes will always win, the princess will always be saved. It is a relaxing game, with no bigger issues.