thread: 2009-05-07 : Explaining the Right to Dream

On 2009-05-08, Adam Dray wrote:

I can see that those two answers are common and valid. I DON'T see that they are mutually incompatible.

I also think there are other answers in between and it's usually more complicated than this.

I'm sorta wondering if using a moral trait like "goodness" complicates the issue. Would we be having this same debate if we were talking about judging the character's "elfness" or "clericness"?

Worse, in a couple cases, we're talking about a label ("good") that happens to be the same as a game construct (Tobias' Alignment is "Good"). That confuses things for me. Tobias is Good because 1) I chose that option in character generation, 2) I play him according to those rules, 3) the group agrees that I play him according to those rules, 4) the group seems to agree that I play him according to the broader non-game definition of "good" anyway.

If Tobias walked past the beggars with a barrel full of food and sacrificed the food to his god, we might have a table discussion. It would probably involve all four levels of "goodness" I described above. 1) Am I changing my choice of alignment for Tobias? 2) Do I think I am playing Tobias within the rules' definition of "Good." 3) Does the group? 4) Regardless of the Alignment definition in the rules, is Tobias a "good" person?

So who gets to decide whether Tobias is a good person?

1. I do, at character creation, bindingly. Everyone else is obliged to abide by my decision.

2. Nobody does. My character does what he does, and everyone judges his goodness-or-not for themselves, non-bindingly.

3. Some combination of those. This is why I don't think they're mutually incompatible. Everyone else abides by my decision but they judge Tobias' goodness-or-not for themselves, non-bindingly.

4. More likely, everyone does (or the DM does). I may have chosen how my character acts at character creation, but now there are rules (written, unwritten, whatever) that the group enforces. Maybe they tell me to change my Alignment. Maybe they tell me I am in danger of changing my Alignment, so I change my character's behavior.

See why "goodness" as an example might be complicated? Is this where you wanted to go with this discussion?


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