Forums Archive Roleplaying Chatter General RPG Stuff Balazaar’s Actions in WLD 13

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  • #552140
    Cob37
    • Posts : 555
    • Gelatinous Cube

    ====SPOILER: If you have not heard WLD 13, please do not read any further, this topic talks about what happened during the game========

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    This old DM heard Balazaar cast a spell that killed Boyikt.

    Did the player of Balazaar justify his actions through roleplaying? Did he justify his actions using out of character knowledge? I don’t know. But I do know I heard some of the energy of the game leave the room. It caused a change in the ambient gaming atmosphere.

    My first thoughts were how often Paul had mentioned Boyikt was an xp leech.

    My second thoughts were shifting a characters alignment for one action. I believe an alignment shift, unless magically altered, should not happen because of a single act. It should be gradual. In my opinion, once is an accident, twice is a trend, and thrice is a pattern.

    I don’t think Balazaar should have his alignment change over one action.

    I do believe some penalty is in order, however. The penalties, the alignment change, all of the mechanical stuff is better left to the DM who is running the game and really I’m not trying to change Hal’s mind or say what he did was wrong.

    All of this is just my opinion, nothing more.

    I suppose it would be more of a concern if these characters were going to be kept around in an ongoing game, going on to further adventures and having a life outside the WLD.

    What I’m wondering is how the other characters will see Balazaar now. Will they be suspicious? Will they act like “Oh well, Boyikt was just an evil kobold, who cares?”

    I guess they will react as the players want them to react. I would see this as a real opportunity to have some in character discussions and possible shouting matches, but I realize the WLD might not be so much about role playing as it is about testing the playability of the WLD.

    I’m going to listen whatever happens and if nothing else the death of Boyikt is a memorable event, and in the end that’s all you can ask from a game.

    #562674
    Hal
    Admin
    • Posts : 7755
    • Treant
    Cob37 wrote:

    My second thoughts were shifting a characters alignment for one action. I believe an alignment shift, unless magically altered, should not happen because of a single act. It should be gradual. In my opinion, once is an accident, twice is a trend, and thrice is a pattern.

    I don’t think Balazaar should have his alignment change over one action.

    I do believe some penalty is in order, however. The penalties, the alignment change, all of the mechanical stuff is better left to the DM who is running the game and really I’m not trying to change Hal’s mind or say what he did was wrong.

    With regards to the alignment change it was not an on the spur thing. Balazaar started the game as a Chaotic Good character and to be quite frank he has never really struck me as Good 😛 The talk of leaving Boyikt to die when he was unconscious and the other rather unsavoury comments are clearly not those of the Good character. Whereas, Gerout, although very outspoken about violence and often throwing in one-hand-comments may come over as not Good, I always have the impression that he will do the right thing. I do not keep physical track of how a characters alignment is played but I do have a mental scale.

    In my opinion Balazaar has been played much more towards Neutral than Good throughout the game and his actions here were the perfect catalyst to cause the shift. Although it would be ideal to accurately track character alignment we all know this is not possible. I think that a tendancy to act towards an alignment other than you start with, followed by a catalyst event to trigger the change is a reasonable substitution. It was never intended that the alignment change be a punishment of any kind. Balazaar’s new alignment better suits the way he is being played and the direction I believe he is heading.

    Morally, there should certainly be some kind of repercusion, but and alignment shift is not it. I would never consider forcing Paul to play to an alignment that was imposed. If he now chooses to devote his life to good causes he will eventually shift back. At this point I would consider that Feylin; with her newly discovered religion, care for her pets and genuine greif at the loss of a henchman; was played much more in the vein of Good and she may expect and alignment change for the positive in the near future.

    Not wanting to give things away, I do have a plan for Balazaar in the next session that may, or may not, be considered a penalty. It is certainly an opportunity and it is inline with the setting and the adventure.

    I would like to think that the level of roleplaying and character develpment contributed by the players to the World’s Largest Dungeon is definately of a higher calibre than most d20 D&D games. It has certainly developed over the sessions and I am very impressed with the level of character interaction and the party dynamic. I personally am looking forward to how the players now deal with Balazaar and how he deals with the rest of the party.

    Next recording is soon, so we shall see 😛

    Hal :hal:

    #562675
    PaulofCthulhu
    • Posts : 1340
    • Owlbear

    Alignments in D&D – always a funny thing.

    Boyikt the Evil Kobold Wizard was, well, Evil – that’s the alignment of Kobolds I guess, not nice fluffy bunnies – but Evil.

    If you go back through the audio you will find many references to the situation of not letting Boyikt reach 5th level (metagaming yes, but it was discussed) – as 5th level allows much stronger spells that can seriously hurt or destroy a party – how are we know that the Evil Boyikt was not intending to slaughter us in our sleep when he gained 5th (or later) level – and then do a deal or coerce the Lizard folk to escape? Is he going to be kind and not remember that we already killed him once?

    Hmmmm, let me think – oh yes, he’s EVIL – that means not good, not neutral – but kill puppies for Satan kind of thing.

    How long do you think your typical dwarf is going to stand being continually taunted by an Evil Kobold Wizard? Remember this has been going on for many weeks of player time.

    Oh and surely if it was ‘murder’, Balazaar wouldn’t have caused the spell to go off where it did, also catching himself (he could have fired it at another position just catching the Kobold alone). Instead the Dwarf ended up at -8 HP at the end of the battle.

    If alignments mean something and as a result the DM has ruled that what happened causes an alignment change from Good to Neutral, then the alignment Evil also means something.

    Of the years I have played D&D I have seen Good characters punished for committing ‘Evil’ deeds, but (personally) I have never seen an Evil character punished for doing a ‘Good’ deed (after all, they’re “…only doing a supposedly ‘good’ act to further the ‘evil’ masterplan.”, but strangely I’ve rarely seen it accepted the other way round 😈 ).

    Given the nature of the game – with a certain emphasis on the acquisition of wealth and personal development, perhaps an argument could be made that neutral or evil characters fair better in such environments.

    Hal wrote:
    Morally, there should certainly be some kind of repercusion…

    Why, what did I do that can be… proved? 😈

    Hal wrote:
    I do have a plan for Balazaar in the next session that may, or may not, be considered a penalty.

    Bring it on! Hoo Yeah!

    #562676
    Hal
    Admin
    • Posts : 7755
    • Treant

    I was going to say in my rant that Boyikt himself was not too far from a shift to Neutrality. It may have happened when he went up to 5th Level 😉

    On the plan for you front 🙂 There is always someone watching 😛

    Hal :hal:

    #562677
    PaulofCthulhu
    • Posts : 1340
    • Owlbear

    Well, he wasn’t Neutral at the time. 😀

    Somehow I think a shift to Neutrality wouldn’t have stopped him continually dissing the Dwarf, and no Dwarf will stand for that.

    Quote:
    There is always someone watching

    Someone who cares about such things, can do something about it, and yet refuses to help us get out of this infernal dungeon? Hmmmm.

    PaulofCthulhu wrote:
    Bring it on! Hoo Yeah!

    I wonder if I’ve been reading Knights of the Dinner Table for too many years? 😯

    #562678
    Lindsay
    • Posts : 2669
    • Succubus

    Oi, you 2, its a game!

    😀

    #562679
    Cob37
    • Posts : 555
    • Gelatinous Cube
    Lindsay wrote:
    Oi, you 2, its a game!

    😀

    It’s all cool Lindsay, I’m not seeing this as anything more than a civil discussion amongst us old time gamers. As I said before, I’m not one to tell anyone how to role play or what is right, that’s up the gamers and if they are having fun then what else matters? All I have are opinions, which is the same as what everyone else has.

    I have a differing opinion on using out of character knowledge than Paul. I believe no character should ever discuss levels, they should never know what level any other character is, much less use that information to guide their roleplaying decisions.

    Saying Boyikt was about to reach fifth level and gain new spells means Balazaar had some kind of supernatural ability to measure levels. How did Balazaar know? How do you describe levels, in character?

    #562680
    tomlib
    • Posts : 154
    • Orc

    I actually think that both Paul and Hal are correct in their interpretations in this situation.

    Balazaar didn’t like Boyikt from the beginning and when the opportunity came to dispose of the Kobold while still aiding the party he took it. Balazaar is Chaotic Good, not Lawful Good and that is an important distinction.

    However, Boyikt did help the party on any number of occasions even if his quick wit annoyed the Dwarf now and again. He was clearly not particularly evil.

    The idea of metagaming brings up an interesting point as well. Out of game knowledge should not be used for game decisions but there is certainly no way to avoid it completely.

    Personally I think alignments are passe and I don’t use them. The characters are what the players interpret them to be regardless of nine rather silly designations. Largely everyone is doing what they think is best for themselves and their friends (a lot like real life).

    For example, a Paladin of Mixcoatle in my game might well battle a Paladin of Ra. Both are technically Lawful Good to their own cause and Lawful Evil to their enemies. Smite Evil would work for both against this particular enemy.

    I think Balazaar is true to himself and that it what is most important. It is up to the other players how they treat him and NPC’s (the GM) should base their judgment and deeds upon his actions.

    My two cents.

    Tom

    P.S. It makes for great gaming in any case! Keep it up.

    #562681
    Demonix
    • Posts : 218
    • Orc

    This reminds me………

    One of my friends used to play a Necromancer – he only went on adventures to find new magic items for his shop and of course to find more money to fuel his interest in magic. He started off as a good guy but over the years turned into a nasty, and very powerful magic user HERO.

    He killed many good NPCs and a few players as well… but he also protected whole villages and towns from attack, ended up in huge battles and killed many evil monsters, saving hundreds of lives.

    I think what we need to remember is that role playing allows us to do things that we’d never get to do in real life – my friend who played the Necromancer wanted to play the character like a Powerful Hero but he knew that power comes with corruption and so played it like that.

    I found this was not a bad thing for the game – it made the game a lot more interesting. I even cursed his character and made him loose limbs (he researched ways of getting new ones and whole adventures were based on him looking for magical limbs!).

    The players who were killed by him hardly ever turned up to play, so my friend seemed not to want to spoil the fun of the players who turned up ever week. His character gave a flavor to the gaming which the regular players liked. 😀

    #562682
    Cob37
    • Posts : 555
    • Gelatinous Cube
    tomlib wrote:
    Personally I think alignments are passe and I don’t use them. The characters are what the players interpret them to be regardless of nine rather silly designations. Largely everyone is doing what they think is best for themselves and their friends (a lot like real life).

    Unfortunately, alignments are part of D&D, at least if you go buy what it means to be from an outer plane. The outer planar powers are “real” and they act like the plane they dwell upon. This is what makes alignments particularly important.

    Paladins who do not act in the lawful good trajectory are stripped of their outer planar bestowed powers.

    To say alignments are passe and yet include any character that receives divine favor in your game is a contradiction.

    Now I must ask this question to Hal and Paul. The subject of alignments, the path of this thread, is it a subject you would rather not discuss? I can find a lot of other places to debate such things and I realize this might not be the best place, especially if somone starts flaming someone else’s opinion.

    No flames have been posted here so I felt it was ok to continue, but you guys let me know if there is anything you’d rather leave to a more serious gaming board. I’m not here to cause a consternation.

    #562683
    Cob37
    • Posts : 555
    • Gelatinous Cube
    PaulofCthulhu wrote:
    If alignments mean something and as a result the DM has ruled that what happened causes an alignment change from Good to Neutral, then the alignment Evil also means something.

    Of the years I have played D&D I have seen Good characters punished for committing ‘Evil’ deeds, but (personally) I have never seen an Evil character punished for doing a ‘Good’ deed (after all, they’re “…only doing a supposedly ‘good’ act to further the ‘evil’ masterplan.”, but strangely I’ve rarely seen it accepted the other way round 😈 ).

    First of all, alignments are created from the character doing the action, not the receiver of the action.

    You must then call the ‘receiving’ an act if received with free will and of one’s own volition.

    This is why good people killing evil because they are evil is not a good act. It is still wrong.

    Second, if a DM allows a pattern of unchecked goodness to be done by an evil aligned character, that’s on the DM, not the player.

    Most likely the reason you’ve never seen an evil character punished for being played like a good character is one of two possibilities:

    The evil character was lying, or the the evil character was not played long enough to establish a pattern.

    #562684
    N-kun
    • Posts : 291
    • Thri-kreen

    I have a question… which is more important, being a character or being an alignment?? whilst an alignment can make up part of a character, like a paladins adherance to a code, surely tehy can be more than said alignment. Otherwise you end up two dimensional characters who arnt like real people,

    #562685
    Cob37
    • Posts : 555
    • Gelatinous Cube
    N-kun wrote:
    I have a question… which is more important, being a character or being an alignment?? whilst an alignment can make up part of a character, like a paladins adherance to a code, surely tehy can be more than said alignment. Otherwise you end up two dimensional characters who arnt like real people,

    In my opinion, being a character is more important. In D&D, alignment is a suggestion in roleplaying, not a hammer.

    The discussion I am having is not about forcing people to roleplay a certain way, it is about realizing what an alignment means and understanding why they are important.

    If alignments aren’t important then there should be no supernatural powers derived from adhering to any alignment. Take paladins, rangers, etc completely out of D&D.

    #562686
    WhiteKnight
    • Posts : 878
    • Gelatinous Cube

    It has long been my feeling that the majority of D&D characters reside in the LN – N – CN axis as regards alignment.

    Few do enough good, for goods sake to be truly considered good. Few do anything irredeemably evil enough to warrant an evil alignment. Most characters seem to adventure for personal glory or for profit.

    Hence the real difference between most player characters is how far they’re prepared to go to complete their quest?

    If they work within the rules of society they tend to the lawful, if not then they beging to tend toward the chaotic, with zealots and anarchists at either end of the spectrum.

    Paladins by their nature must not only follow the rules of society, yet strive to uphold them for the greater good, and not be swayed by the pettiness that can creep into those who enforce the law without regard to right and wrong.

    Not having listened assiduously to every recording to guage Balazars general tendencies, and more recently his feelings to Boyikt, I can’t comment on why Paul elected to kill him. However murder of another, who was not in commission of anything like an evil act, when it doesn’t even aid them in their quest, does strike me as a particularly callous and to be brutally honest evil act. If he had been a Chaotic-Good priest calling down a flamestrike, I would have immediately censured him with removal of divine gifts etc. There would have been a requirement for a penance and a quest to redeem himself or suffer an alignment shift and being cast from his faith. However, as Balazar is a wizard, this can not happen. The gods do not seem to take any direct hand in the lives of mortals not sworn to their clerecy.

    Hence the cleric has the option of being redeemed through penance as a sort of save vs. alignment shift, but the rest of us poor mortals shift alignment as a result of evil acts without any real sort of warning.

    I guess in summary I feel moving Balazar toward Neutral is the right move. Maybe he will see the change in his outlook on life, and strive to be more than that. Perhaps he will find it enlightening and liberating being freed from the shackles of goodness. Who can say, I guess we will have to see what the later sessions bring. . .

    #562687
    N-kun
    • Posts : 291
    • Thri-kreen

    ok so balazar was good and then he did a not so good thing, and now hes neutral, does that mean any past good deads he has done are now erased from the leger of the people who are watching him? And should he do a good act should he not change back again? my point is that alignments can and should change with the characters actions, characters should dont do things because they are CG but they should be CG because of the things they do.

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