[MUD-Dev] Alignment

Paul Schwanz - Enterprise Services Paul.Schwanz at east.sun.com
Tue May 9 11:22:56 CEST 2000

Phil wrote:
> > I'm not sure what case you are covering by "two wrongs don't make a
> > right.", but I for one have no problem with helping an evil creature being
> > an evil deed. Why would healing a demon while it is battling a paladin be
> > a good deed?

Malcolm responded:
> >  Well, as the heart of this discusssion shows, good and bad are very
> >difficult to determine. Sure, your demon battle example is a bad thing,
> >however, giving food to someone so they don't have to steal it should
> >be a good thing, whatever their alignment. Also, IMHO and in general,
> >the actual act of deciding who is good and who is evil is an evil act,
> >for the character that is, not the game designer, and so the character
> >must in general treat everyone as though they are "good". Obviously
> >slavering demons are an exception.

Jessica Mulligan: 
> Actually, what this shows, and what others have previously alluded to, is
> that good and evil are *relative.*  To the "good" observer, being kind to a
> demon may be bad; to the "evil" observer, it may be a good thing.  The logic
> and results need to be relative to the observer.

[snip of great acting stuff]

> If you translate that general concept to MMRPGs and start laying the
> standard rites and roles the players take on, it can give you an excellent
> starting point for giving them tools to start interpreting those acts in the
> context of the game, relative to themselves and the other players.  If the
> act of feeding a demon is relative to the participants and observers, then a
> "good" player feeding an evil, but hurt, demon may be doing a good deed in
> his/her mind and expect to be rewarded in some way for it (Demon becomes
> less evil?  Player gets good karma for a kind act?  Both?  Neither?), even
> if nearby companions view it as an "evil" act and begin treating him/her
> differently.

I think that the rite/role info is great for helping _role-play_, but I see this 
as different from alignment.  It is important for each player to know what their 
character thinks and feels about good and evil.  In fact, it is hard to imagine 
how anyone can have a good sense of who their character really is without 
considering what their character feels is the "right" choice and "wrong" choice 
in different ethical situations.  It is this very consistency and depth of 
character that I think would be promoted by the values based role-playing system 
that I originally posted.  But I think that this is very different from 
alignment.  Alignment with what/whom?  Wheras rite/role/role-play is concerned 
with how a player/actor views his own character, the concept of alignment is one 
in which the character is aligning himself with something _outside_ of himself.  
So while character is defined by the actor, good and evil is not.  It could be 
defined by society's general mores, etc., but I think the most straightforward 
way to handle alignment is through the use of gods or anti-gods.  If you are 
aligned with a particular god, then you will value what that god values.  Your 
alignment could serve two purposes.  1) You will have oppurtunity to gain the 
god's favor (endowment of different types of magic).  2) Your alignment with a 
god will help others (who know what that god values) ascertain your own values 
and motivations.


		"All things are permissible,
			but not all things are expedient."

MUD-Dev mailing list
MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

More information about the mud-dev-archive mailing list