What alignments mean

robopirateninja

Staff Emeritus
You don't have to be at exactly 0 alignment to be neutral, but if you find your alignment becoming too good, do some evil stuff the next time the opportunity arises.

Imagine it this way: THESE NUMBERS ARE COMPLETELY FAKE

Picture two number lines, one for each alignment. You start at 0 alignment points for good/evil and 0 for law/chaos. You are Neutral/Neutral. Good and Law are positive integers, Chaos and Evil negative.

You perform a good act, and gain 5 good points. You are now at G/E 5 and L/C 0. The threshold for a "Good" status is higher than five, so you are still Neutral/Neutral

Now, you perform an extremely good action, that is also lawful. You gain 30 Good points and 5 Law points and are now Good/Neutral.

Next, you defy authority to save some orphans or something, netting you 10 more Good points and 10 Chaotic points. You're now rolling with 45 good points, but the chaotic points move you from +5 to -5. 5 points isn't enough for an alignment shift out of neutral, so you are now Very Good/Neutral.
 

higgins1234

Dalayan Beginner
The descriptions of good/evil & law/chaos were really helpful, except for the side notes for the philosophy nerd. I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I am such a nerd... and the bit about Kant just makes no sense at all. He's the guy that insists on doing your duty regardless of your desires, to always act on a law of practical reason. He insists that you can never disobey a government authority, even if said authority is about to kill your best friend. It seems like Sartre/Nietzsche would come closer to the paradigm of chaos. None of this really matters for the game or for what counts as chaos in SoD, but I think it would be better to just scrap the for-philosophy-nerds side note in the descriptions.
 
The descriptions of good/evil & law/chaos were really helpful, except for the side notes for the philosophy nerd. I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I am such a nerd... and the bit about Kant just makes no sense at all. He's the guy that insists on doing your duty regardless of your desires, to always act on a law of practical reason. He insists that you can never disobey a government authority, even if said authority is about to kill your best friend. It seems like Sartre/Nietzsche would come closer to the paradigm of chaos. None of this really matters for the game or for what counts as chaos in SoD, but I think it would be better to just scrap the for-philosophy-nerds side note in the descriptions.
I also think we could do without these things. I also think it's silly to go into pedantic philosophy things on a video game forum.

But.

I never put much effort into studying Kant and I don't think it's possible to summarize any of his positions on anything whatsoever in a single paragraph because he built all his philosophical systems entirely out of unintuitive nuances and delighted in restating all his points in multiple slightly-but-importantly different ways. But in defense of the stuff that Thinkmeats wrote 5 years ago: I believe we can make sense of it with a cursory glance at a few formulations of Kant's universal maxims thingy (I can't remember if there was an accepted name for this and wiki isn't helping). Namely the ones that go something like this (I freely admit these interpretations will be challengable):

1. Before you take any action, you should ask yourself whether you would will that action to become a universal law. E.g., before deciding to lie, you should ask yourself whether it would be acceptable/rational/logically consistent if everyone in the world were also to lie under similar circumstances. If so, go ahead; if not, it's not morally defensible.

2. Everyone should be treated as an end unto themselves, and not merely as a means. E.g., you shouldn't take any action that would restrict the autonomy of any other person to act in accordance with point 1. Or to put it the other way, you shouldn't make an exception of yourself (see point 1); every decision to act should be made while considering and respecting all others as equal deciders (see point 1 again).

3. The totality of permissible actions among the totality of rational beings really should form a complete set of universal laws like the hypothetical one in point 1. E.g., see point 1 and 2. Also, no one should be above this universal set of autonomously and rationally decided laws (see point 2).

Some "chaotic" acts would certainly seem to be at odds with these; lying is the go-to example of something that shouldn't be universalized (though only in the ridiculously extreme version, i.e. everyone lying 100% of the time; an outright ban on lying in every conceivable situation is a lot harder to swing, and a big part of why point 3 totally doesn't work). Stealing is another one, though it comes with the same caveat (might be justifiable in some particular situations).

But I think that would be missing the big picture. That it's all about "universal law" and rule-governed behavior might be misleading; the important part is that it's a universal law where everyone has equal say and equal status before that law. "Lawful," by contrast, is all about hierarchies and obedience; a law, to those under a lawful alignment, would only ever be handed down from on high, and who are we to question the wisdom of gods/kings/whoever?

Quick illustration: under a lawful alignment view, a king can do whatever he wants to you, because he's a king, and you're just a lowly non-king. Under a more point 1-ish approach, the king shouldn't be allowed to just do whatever he wants; if he had a few people assassinated while he was consolidating power, he should admit that everyone who is as power hungry should have a fair shot at assassinating him and whoever else is in their way without unfair impediments like legions of soldiers and spies and punishments. Letting himself and his aristocrat buddies violate his own decrees is right out. Let's not even get started on how the whole "line of succession" and dynasty thing totally fails point 2 -- not even the king got to decide who his parents happened to be.


Annnyway, I think that's how it was meant, more or less. I do remember Kant being big on duty, but maybe more with a mind toward nudging humanity as a whole toward that impractically idealistic system of democratically-defined morality hinted at in point 3. It only works if those who govern are just as duty-bound as everyone else.
 
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Slaariel

*The Only Real Life Girl Dev*
In the first draft it said "For lazy people who read a philosophy book once and don't care to challenge any of this info" but it was scrapped for readability.
 
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