Talk:Tome of Fiends (3.5e Sourcebook)/Morality and Fiends

From D&D Wiki

Jump to: navigation, search

In my opinion Law is order chaos is disorder. A lawful charcter wants that decitions are precribed by laws. A chaotic charcter wants that everbody makes his own decitions.

What you get from law is security and organisation. What you get from chaos is flexibility and freedom. Neither is intrinsicly good or bad...

If you think that this way chaos is incompent No it does not has to be

The believe that economy should be controlled by laws Is lawful And the free marked is chaotic.. And still in many situation the free marked is more efficient...

But Someone may want that somethings are forbitten and controlled by laws And otherthing not. So one may want chaos in some parts ob society and order in other.

So my definition work quite well as a general guidline. In detail it does NOT work.

So in general it makes sense for an barbarian to be chaotic. Because he grow up with only very few laws. And will not want obey all the strange rules they have in civilisation without being given an good reason...

But If he decided that a single law makes sense or it is just less trouble to follow it... This do not make him lawful... And even if he changes his opinion and think that laws are a great idea and you should have much more of them that may make him lawful but it should not cost him his abilities...

So aligment restrictions as strict rules make sense for clerics or other people where the powerbase of your class is a beeing with own will and may be unhappy with your change of mind.

In other cases I would suggest everybody to be chaotic enough to take them as suggestions and ignore them if they do not make sense.

If your PC implies membership in an organisation that is very evil, then one would assume you should be evil yourself to get it. But if you want to infiltrate the organisation to destroy it. You may end up with beeing the only living beeing with levels in this PC and still good.

I feel like this section's treatment of Law versus Chaos overlooks a few options- important ones.

'Rigidity versus spontaneity' is rejected as 'crap' because of a philosophically shaky argument about how the nature of cause and effect means that in any one situation, you will do only one thing. But that is, itself, very flawed. Yes, in any one situation, you do one thing, but which thing? People's answers to that question is often a product of how they view the importance of things like plans, regulations, prior agreements, and discipline.


Consider a range of cases where Alice and Bob have agreed on a plan, but the situation has changed, and someone has a choice of whether to stick to the plan or to do something different that seems more beneficial- but there isn't time to consult the others. Lawful Alice will default to sticking to the plan in most situations, except when it's obviously a *very* bad idea to do so, because Alice believes that it's best to stick to a good plan and trust things to work out in the long run. You could get Alice to deviate from a plan if you held a gun to her head, but she's biased in favor of sticking to the plan unless it becomes painfully clear the plan has already broken down.

Meanwhile, chaotic Bob will usually deviate from the plan as he sees best. Not because he hates plans or doesn't believe in keeping his promises, not because he's crazy or bad at organization. But because he believes that there's nothing sacred about a plan, and that you usually shouldn't let your old thinking override your new thinking when there's a reason to change your mind.

If they have an argument afterwards about what happened, Alice will say "proper planning prevents piss poor performance" and Bob will say "no plan survives contact with the enemy." Both of those observations are *true,* but which one we view as more salient and relevant to the way we make decisions says something about where we fall on the Law/Chaos axis.


Consider a group of beaten-down travelers trying to gain entrance to a walled city in a rainstorm in the middle of the night. Trouble is, their paperwork isn't in order.

If Chaotic Camille and Lawful Dave fall at the same point on the Good/Evil axis, Camille is more likely to say "meh, I'm not going to make you wait here until morning for my commander to sort this out, go on in. Because Camille views the situational need of the travelers as overriding the value of adherence to procedure. Lawful Dave will be more likely to make them stay out in the rain until morning when his commanding officer can make the decision, because that's what the regulations say, and the needs of the moment only override the need to have clear procedures in major emergencies- which this is not.

This is why you usually don't want super-Chaotic people guarding your city gate, because they will tend to let people break the rules "for a good reason" too often. But on the other hand, it's why you don't want your bureaucracy staffed by too many super-Lawful people, or they may be so reluctant to use discretionary power to make commonsense exceptions that it actively makes them worse at governing.


The way this interacts with character class alignment requirements is through the lens of discipline and emotional regulation. Lawful characters tend to believe in the importance of discipline- of rigorously carrying out planned actions and adhering to the regularized, formalized details of formal codes. Chaotic characters will tend to view discipline as inherently less important than exercising your own judgment. Lawful characters will say that you get better results from suppressing and channelizing your passions to follow a plan; Chaotic characters will reply that passions are what motivate us to get things done and that dissociating ourselves from them is unhealthy and enervating.

Think "staid, sobersided government bureaucrats versus flower-wearing, anarchist hippies." Or "Roman legions versus Gallic tribes." Or "meticulous accountants versus free-wheeling, party-loving actors."

Barbarians have a class feature where they fly into a rage. While raging, they can't use most intellectually demanding skills, they can't make Concentration checks, they can't remember trigger words for magic items. The temporary hit point mechanic is designed to suggest that they can ignore a life-threatening injury, not slowing down or seeking medical attention, until the adrenaline wears off and suddenly they're realizing "oh crap I should be dead" and fall over and die. Are they lobotomized or something? Are they robots or zombies? No- they don't take an Intelligence penalty. They're just *really angry.* So angry they can't remember things, so angry they can't calm down and fiddle with details.

Barbarians, in short, have a *thing* about being in touch with their passions. The one thing that separates a barbarian from a fighter isn't their ethnic background- fighters can come from low-tech wilderness cultures too- it's that they specifically focus on brute power and emotional fury as the things that carry them through combat safely, whereas the fighter puts more of their trust in skill, training, and discipline. If a barbarian embraces a Lawful alignment, they're implicitly deciding that order, discipline, and calm adherence to plans is more important than spontaneity, force of will, and adherence to their passions... And then they stop being able to work themselves up into a rage so powerful that it overwhelms their mind.

Because when you're Lawful, you can't just routinely hand over the keys to your brain fully to the id and shut down the superego.


Rogues don't have to be non-Lawful because they break laws- there's nothing in the 3.5 rules that says rogues have to steal, cheat, or break rules. Rogues have to be non-Lawful because their entire skill set is built around improvisation and independent action. On avoiding bad consequences through immediate, on-the-spot choices rather than just trusting a plan to let you power through and tank the consequences.

Rogues are the ones who not only seize opportunities to strike an opponent's unprotected back (almost anyone can do that), they actively scheme to set such opportunities up. They momentarily abandon their comrades and just disappear in order to find a better firing position for their next ambush attack. They're so attuned to their own in-the-moment impulses that it gives them a preternatural ability to perceive traps and evade attacks.

Rogues don't fight in a shield wall, voluntarily taking blows to make sure their neighbor has a consistent, steady defense. Rogues don't need that extra split-second to figure what to do when the runes on the door start glowing ominously. Rogues don't telegraph their punches- not in combat and usually not in any other part of life. Rogues don't follow the enemy's plan, and they seldom follow their friends' plan if a better opportunity presents itself.

And like barbarians, rogues have to live in a mindset that is incompatible with being Lawful.


It is correctly pointed out that you don't have to be Chaotic to be a concert pianist. On the other hand, and this is important, not all expert musicians are necessarily members of the Bard class. It's totally possible for a great musician to have an NPC class and lots of ranks in Perform.

Bards aren't just "good performers." They are experts at instilling and manipulating emotions, to the point of being able to achieve spell-like effects by sheer quality of performance. They are, as generally imagined in the character archetype, *wandering* performers, comparatively rootless individuals. The argument for non-Lawful bards isn't "you need to be chaotic to be good at music," it's "you need to be chaotic to be so profoundly in touch with passions and sentiments that you can achieve literally-a-wizard effects by playing on people's emotions with your performances." A Lawful concert pianist could be so great at making Perform checks that they can make angels weep with the beauty of their performance... but they don't confer mechanical stat bonuses because while they're very, very good at executing technical pieces, they just don't have that 'jazz' that lets them go beyond the realm of art into the realm of the supernatural.

Home of user-generated,
homebrew pages!