D&D Alignment System and your ToEE PCs

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Old Book, Sep 21, 2005.

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  1. Old Book

    Old Book Established Member

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    Well, in the real world I don't believe in Good, Evil, Ghosts, Spirits, G_d or gods, demons, an afterlife, or the human soul. However, in fiction I like all of the above, and in human social interactions many of the above beliefs are very useful, whether they reflect a core reality or no. It's all very well if you believe on an abstract level that both you and the people you deal with daily are meat machines, but as soon as you start believing that on an emotional level and (more importantly) acting accordingly, your ability to engage in healthy and necessary social interactions falls to bits.

    As to Selfishness, I wouldn't say it's a better strategy for genetic or personal survival than altruism. Historically, our best survival strategy was the formation of pair-bonds and group alliances, both of which require social interaction and some level of personal sacrifice (the root of altruism). Parents that fail to care for their children have reduced the chances that those children will survive long enough to pass on their genes; people that fail to form friendships and alliances with others have reduced their own chances of survival, and those of their children. Even apparently reward-free altruistic acts, such as caring for the sick and elderly, can improve the survival chances of the individual and that individual's offspring through group dynamics. Eve the cave-woman cares for her sick relative, gaining nothing directly in return; however, the social allies of that sick relative may now feel some obligation towards Eve and her children, increasing the strength of Eve's ties to the group and increasing the aid that she can hope to receive in the future. Even apparently self-destructive altruistic actions may be very pro-survival from a genetic point of view. If Adam the hunter-gatherer risks his life to save a drowning child not related to him, he has inflicted an obligation upon the child's parents, strengthened his ties to his group, increased his group status, and helped to preserve variety in the group's gene pool. He may die, but the increase in the chances of genetic survival (the survival of his blood-line) may be worth the risk.

    At the same time, selfishness is also a useful and necessary survival strategy. It grants an immediate pay-off in increased resources, in exchange for the risk of social stress. Considering how dependant humans have been on their immediate families and family-groups/tribes for survival throughout our evolutionary history, this risk is something to be taken seriously. A human forced out of the group due to excessive selfish and anti-social behavior has historically been much less likely to survive or pass on his genes.

    Both altruistic and selfish survival strategies may be pursued simultaneously, and generally are.

    "The Ant and the Peacock" by Helena Cronin and "The Anatomy of Love" by Helen Fisher are both good reads on this topic, and a lot of Robert Sapolsky's stuff relates back to it (though he is more concerned with health issues).
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2005
  2. Old Book

    Old Book Established Member

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    Agreed. I'd add that such a person is less likely to survive long enough to pass on his genes, and will generally fall outside of the social structure entirely (ending up a hermit or in jail in modern times) unless he is also lucky enough to have the intelligence and acting ability to fake his way through group interactions. Intelligent people with low or no empathy can survive long enough to breed (which is why the genes are still in the pool), but the ability to form strong social bonds is a much more reliable strategy.
     
  3. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    Meant to comment on this before . . .

    Did someone say Spike 5-0 again? ;) Spoken like a person who deals with just this sort of thing in the field, which (interestingly) demonstrates the difference between the experiential and thoeoretical.

    For example, a first year sociology or psychology 101 student might say "I have faith in humanity," because he prefers to think that humanity should be so deserving, or maybe because some statistical model projected that it should be so, whereas a person who deals with day-to-day inhumanity knows better because he just got done responding to a crime scene where some mother murdered her 6 month old.
     
  4. Old Book

    Old Book Established Member

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    I've managed to get through quite a few years of dealing with humanity on a daily basis, without quite loosing faith (for a given value of "faith") yet.

    The question of whether someone perceives himself as "Good" is not the same as the question of whether he actually is "Good". It's also not the same as the question of whether or not there is a "Good" to be in the sense of a cosmic umpire keeping score.

    We all go through periods of shock and anger when contemplating human actions, including our own. We have all met, worked with or been (or will meet, work with or be) victims of abuse. My own childhood featured relatives marked by tattoos from German concentration camps. In University I worked with victims of sexual violence and students who had managed to get through high school while barely learning to read. In the time since, I have worked with children who were being abused by their parents, women trapped in the sex trades, and others. We all have horror stories. In the end, the world goes on. Most parents care for their children, most lovers care for each-other; most friends take care of friends. Poverty is real and forever, but even in China I saw hope.

    The cry that "Humanity is Evil" may tell us something about an individual's personal experience at a given point in time. It tells us very little about humanity.
     
  5. krunch

    krunch moving on in life

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    Hey fellas, let your minds chomp on and process these two things.

    1. Speaking about China, they have land of completely untapped natural resources about the square footage of the continental USA--no dirt roads, even, have yet been made; they do not even know what total minerals and other commodities are there; and in about 20 or more years, China will have the industrial capacity and infrastructure in place to out-manufacture and out-produce every country on the entire planet in terms of making anything and everything in vast quantity with the required manpower in their country. And, their government could care less about human rights; so, they will pay their chinese laborers less money than what mexico, typically, pays their uneducated mexican laborers.

    2. The moon moves further away from the planet Earth, approximately, one-quarter of one inch every year, meaning the orbit of the moon around the Earth is moving 0.25 inches away from the Earth, each year. It is expected in about 5,000 to 10,000 years that the moon will leave its orbit about the Earth and travel to deep space away from the Earth. What this translates to is the Earth, in 5,000 to 10,000 years, without the orbit of the moon will change on its axis by 90 degrees four times each year providing 4 seasons per year consisting of two summers and two winter seasons where the summers could have daily temperatures of 300 degrees and the winters could have daily temperatures of -200 degrees. People could call this the end of life on Earth and the human race, too.

    Now, it's time to order pizza for the Friday night Sci-Fi channel shows, including a new Battlestar Galactica. :)

    [EDIT]
    Cujo got that right, dadgummed straight!..

    Who could say no to these below, what everyone wants? Besides, she looks like one of those nice girls, a gorgeous chic who lives down the street, not like a dancer from a strip club. (I live in Tampa, Florida. Girls look good like that here.)
    [EDIT]
     

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  6. Drifter

    Drifter Established Member

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    A lot of pornstars have better asses than Jessica Alba, and they even put theirs to good use, unlike this pornstar-wannabe.
     
  7. Lord_Spike

    Lord_Spike Senior Member Veteran

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    I predict that the moon will escape the gravity of the Earth, but not that of the sun, and the moon will hit us destroying the earth long before the weird seasonal changes do us in...

    ...just about the same time that the chinese finally rule the world, which will be after they turn to capitolism based on our master plan to sell them McDonald's hamburgers and infiltrate their insidious commie way of life. They may have a shitload of untapped resources, but we've got 7,000 nuclear weapons...and some B-2's just went to Diego Garcia.

    Bastards.

    Gaear, Gaear, Gaear...still looking for clues? :no:
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2005
  8. Cujo

    Cujo Mad Hatter Veteran

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    Nukes? who needs nukes when you've got bird flu on your back door...
     
  9. krunch

    krunch moving on in life

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    Speaking of the frail nature of human existance and the related psychological effects on the human psyche of culture and community, the USA should slip a few super neutron bombs like "slipping a mickey" in a (21,700-lb equivalent of tnt) satellite-guided GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (named MOAB), the worlds most destructive non-nuclear bomb, best ever designed and built by man. Have it fly and be guided by satellite between 20 and 30 feet over ground to fly under radar all the way from the ocean to the place in North Korea where they are building nuclear weapons and detonate it. Opps!..they must have had an accident when testing something...no more nukes for that insane bastard who runs (ruining) their country [is killing and, literally, starving the vast majority of the population in North Korea]. They wouldn't want to go to war with the USA because the USA could turn all of North Korea in to a green glowing crater. Maybe some C60 could be added to give it a more of a light blue tint, instead of so much of a green color. Laugh. It's no wonder dog is common gourmet in North Korea; I wouldn't be surprised if cats and birds are probably also now on the gourmet meal lists, too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2005
  10. krunch

    krunch moving on in life

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    Having said all of that, the spiritual base nature of man is corrupt. That's why it's called "carnal nature". It's in the flesh. Man is wicked, even at birth, from the first cry. The propensity for a man to be wicked is proportional to his level of depravity. Wicked actions can only be curbed or regulated by moral self-discipline. The use of a lock only keeps honest people in-check; a lock will not stop a thief. The scope of a good community is to have similar or like-minded and focused people in the community. However, from the saying, as it goes - all it takes is one bad apple and the one bad apple spoils the bushel. The blind lead the blind, and they shall all fall in the ditch. Man is not perfect and will never be perfect. Man cannot save himself by his own deeds. All man can do is try the utmost to be his best, but even his best will never be enough. Yes, man is evil because the nature of man is carnal and wicked.

    That's why we have a game - ToEE, we all so much adore where there are good guys, neutral guys, and evil guys who are their beings by their aligned nature. It is important and is also a great thing that the reality of the nature of man cannot be translated to the game. For if it could be translated to the game, AD&D, D&D, and ToEE would be ruined for all of us.
     
  11. Shiningted

    Shiningted I want my goat back Global Moderator

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    Ted's 5-second moral summation

    The way I see it (from a D&D perspective)

    Good characters put others first - society perhaps, or the masses, or just give a damn about other people.

    Nuetral characters put a philosophy or ideaology first - the Law, or Druidism, or Freedom, or some other theory or system of thought.

    And Evil characters put themselves first. (There's probably a fine line between CN and Evil in many of its forms).

    And thats my 5-second summation.

    Editted in the 6th second.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2005
  12. krunch

    krunch moving on in life

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    -> ShiningTed : a great 6-second summation
     
  13. Shiningted

    Shiningted I want my goat back Global Moderator

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    Thankyou. 14 years of university was bound to teach me something. :D
     
  14. Cujo

    Cujo Mad Hatter Veteran

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    14 years?!!! you really should study.
     
  15. krunch

    krunch moving on in life

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    Pink Floyd - Eclipse

    All that you touch and all that you see
    all that you taste, all you feel
    and all that you love and all that you hate
    all you distrust, all you save
    and all that you give and all that you deal
    and all that you buy, beg, borrow or steal
    and all you create and all you destroy
    and all that you do and all that you say
    and all that you eat and everyone you meet
    and all that you slight and everyone you fight
    and all that is now and all that is gone
    and all that's to come and everything under the sun is in tune
    but the sun is eclipsed by the moon
     
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