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Lawful Good Character and the Neverwinter Zoo

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  • Prince_RaymondPrince_Raymond Member Posts: 337
    edited January 2019

    I just replayed this quest the other night with a lawful good cleric, and I paid more careful attention to Nyatar's opening dialogues. He says he had been trying to save the animals in the zoo via lawful means, but that all the officials with the authority to help had died of the plague. (I think someone mentioned that above.)

    You did on July 15, 2018. In regards to alignments, the one thing I've noticed that separates good-aligned characters from evil-aligned ones besides the obvious moral conflicts between "right" and "wrong", is their level of interaction and cooperation with each other. Good-aligned characters will often work together to accomplish a common goal, which is the reason they are more victorious. Evil, by its very nature, is both self-serving and self-defeating. The downfall of any evil organization is not just its conflicts with good organizations, but the conflicts within itself. The Dukes of the Nine Hells of Baator, though an established hierarchy, are constantly conspiring to overthrow one another in order to take the position of Archduke of the Nine currently held by Asmodeus. Thank you for reading, and happy gaming to all.

    Post edited by Prince_Raymond on
    BelgarathMTHDerpCityArviaDJKajuru
  • shabadooshabadoo Member Posts: 271
    fluke13 wrote: »
    More generally, there's a lot of discussion about what Lawful good really means. A lot of people say lawful good can often get into confusion, with law and good conflicting... but I disagree with that. I think all the alignments are such that any person who belongs to them, does so confidently, without confusing. To me, if there's confusion, then maybe the person is actually neutral good.

    I personally think a lawful good character would always take this approach:

    1. Is the written law involved actually legal itself...i.e. was it created fairly and systemically, or was it imposed using corruption, dictatatorship. A lawful good character wouldn't venture into foreign lands and say, "ok, slavery is legal here, so it's ok"...they would use the law in the general stance of justice, organisation, protection, control.

    2. Once 1 is established, the lawful good (LG) character would then look at the situation, applying their moral compass of good, as much as possible, without breaking the code of what is lawful.

    A few examples... I think LG would uphold a petty law like littering, because they strongly believe in the system working as a whole. The LG wouldn't help an innocent person escape jail... so long as the trial was fair and the arrest was made on all available evidence and probability, then arresting a few innocent people is a necessary part of the legal process, which involves probability.

    Therefore, if the animal cruelty was written laws passed through corruption, then like slavery, the LG would ignore the "law", using the universal principal of LAW. i.e. what really separates lawful good and chaotic good is control vs freedom.

    A LG character in a region with legalized slavery, would simply not have slaves themselves. They may or not openly show there disdain for those who do have slaves, especially if they mistreat them. Depending on circumstances( courage mostly) they may actively seek to change the law, or find ways to legally subvert it (Harry freeing Doby, eg). If the government is corrupt and abusing its authority, unfortunately the law is the law. But the fight, then must be directed at the leader(s), and from those ruled. Then the LG character may decide that the people are the rightful authority and aid them in their struggle. Yes, difficult to roleplay.

    Prince_Raymondfluke13
  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 1,159
    I just replayed this quest the other night with a lawful good cleric, and I paid more careful attention to Nyatar's opening dialogues. He says he had been trying to save the animals in the zoo via lawful means, but that all the officials with the authority to help had died of the plague. (I think someone mentioned that above.)

    I felt comfortable going to the zoo and invoking my own lawful authority as Aribeth's investigator, telling them that these animals were to be released to Nyatar's care under my own authority delegated by Aribeth. When they (foolishly) attacked me to kill without so much as a word of discussion, I was within my rights to defend myself. Then I confiscated their illegal, stolen belongings to be used in service of the plague reagents investigation.

    Meldanen is a different case. I still judged him to be not guilty by reason of dryad spell induced insanity. I woudn't rob him, and I certainly wouldn't kill him when he was standing there begging for his life. I was there only to liberate the dryad and obtain her cure reagent. I accomplished that, freed the imprisoned guard, and left Meldanen's estate without taking a single gold piece or potion, much less any of his magic items. I had killed his guards, apprentices, and dogs with great regret, and only because they attacked on sight and refused to yield. In return for my mercy, Meldanen willingly gave over his warehoused food to the people of Blacklake.

    I also don't break into estates and I don't rob nobles for the pleasure of the madame of the Moonstone Mask. I've seen Let's Plays of people playing paladins who rob the noble estates and kill everyone in them without batting an eye, and it always makes me cringe.

    I don't lower myself to arena combat for the pleasure of the lowlifes at the inn in Blacklake, or later at the Green Gryphon on the road to Luskan. Those quests will always be left undone by me.

    Okay, I'll get down off my white horse now. :)

    Hey, you have a white horse, too? 🙂
    I've read the thread, as you suggested in the other discussion, and will pay close attention to the whole scenario once I get there, and then I'll see what I do and comment on my own decision.

    BelgarathMTH
  • CerabelusCerabelus Member Posts: 336
    When NWN EE was being released I was hoping Beamdog would make new and better modules or campaigns, who knows if they ever will but this is one of the things they need to consider, we need different approaches to many scenarios based on classes, skills, feats & attributes.

    I'm not saying every situation should have lots of choices but there is room for more certainly.

    ArviaPrince_Raymond
  • CerabelusCerabelus Member Posts: 336
    Whenever replaying I ignore the estate robbing quests, that's a missed opportunity for a Paladin to investigate the estates entrances for Thief's looking to take on the quest you refused and try to prevent it and bring them to Tyr's justice.

    Prince_RaymondArviaBelgarathMTH
  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 1,159
    I'm writing my reports about my roleplayed paladin playthrough in the NWN minimal reload/respawn thread in the Off Topic forum, including the incidents mentioned above.
    I would still like to sum them up here, because it's just about the ethical decisions and therefore not really double or cross-posting, I think.

    The dialogue with Nyatar was very clear. He had tried all the official, lawful ways to bring the cruel and illegal conditions under which the animals were caught, held and killed for sport to the government's attention. But the persons in charge had died of the plague and the nobles running the zoo were taking advantage of the power vacuum. My duty as a Paladin of Tyr and my temporary assignment to city guard duty by Aribeth gave me every justification to investigate the matter. Entering legally and trying to talk to everyone there gave me no results, so I used the key. That had been stolen by an animal, okay, but I can't back off and let them continue their illegal activities just because I won't open the door.
    If they attack on sight without giving me the opportunity to explain, and fight to the death, I'm sorry, but there was no other option. I freed the animals, took what the guards dropped, but didn't loot the chests. I just checked if there was any information who was responsible for this and where to find them. There wasn't. So I left.

    With Meldanen, it was complicated.
    I didn't kill him, because he had been charmed by the dryad. But there must have been some evil things going on in the house before that. It was full of devilish creatures like imps and mephits, and his apprentices were associating with them. I took potions and healing kits from his home, because I was in a combat situation. I took what killed opponents dropped (I always do that), and I took the armor and a second magic item (I don't remember what it was) from the chest next to the apprentice who had summoned the dire boar and had been surrounded by imps, considering them his personal belongings.
    I did not take gold, gems or any other magical items, weapons or other stuff from any of the containers in his house.

    Personally, I would want those games to give me the option to arrest someone for further investigation. "Kill them or let them go" is not very satisfying. The dryad had charmed him in self-defense, but dryads are good creatures, I doubt she forced him to summon devilish creatures and work with them.

    I loved the option in the starting dungeon of Siege of Dragonspear (minor spoilers following)
    where you have to kill several of Sarevok's former followers, but there's one group that you can really talk to, they decide that loyalty to a dead man is not worth dying for, and you can actually offer them to surrender and they agree to turn themselves over to the Flaming Fist.

    That would have been nice for situations like the guards at the zoo. Defend and guard, okay, but wouldn't there be some people who wouldn't consider it worth dying for their employer, and try to run away or surrender after seeing they can't beat you?

    CerabelusBelgarathMTH
  • CerabelusCerabelus Member Posts: 336
    @Arvia

    It seems common for Neutral & Evil Mages to dabble in Elemental & Demonic summoning for guards and servants, they don't seem too concerned about keeping creatures permanently bound, I don't have a problem calling on a creature temporarily but even that can be seen as cruel.

    I remember the NWN 2 XP1 Mask of the Betrayer, the Mage companion has a created Creature with her a Homunculus named Kaji, It would be nice if my Wizards could do that...I liked him.

    Messing with Demon's & Devil's usually ends badly but given the absolute need I'll pick Devil everytime, a Devil can be bargained with (at least temporarily) but Demon's they tend to be short sighted and can't wait long before betraying you, I'm remembering Karlat from Chapter 2...what an idiot.

    Even if they put more choices in future content there will be times when a LG Pally is gonna have Thier convictions challenged and that's good because sometimes all the choices you have suck, sometimes your just too late, sometimes the Bad Guy (or Gal) wins.

    ArviaBelgarathMTH
  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 1,091

    For me, I think a LG character's approach to these quests would depend a lot on what CLASS the character was. A Lawful Good Ranger could have a far different reaction to the zoo scenario than a Lawful Good Paladin. To me, the "Lawful" part of alignment doesn't necessarily mean that the character always attempts to uphold laws (although they often do); rather, when a character is Lawful, it simply means that they prefer an "ordered" approach to life. They like making plans, sticking to it, bringing "order out of chaos", so to speak. In contrast, Chaotic characters tend to be "fly by the seat of pants" people, jumping headfirst into situations with the presumption that they'll just "figure it out as I go along". It doesn't mean that Chaotic characters don't make long-term plans or long-term goals, but it means that they're usually more than willing to abandon those plans on a whim or chase after something else that catches their attention.


    As such, LG characters don't necessarily need to support laws that they see as unjust, or that are clearly causing harm or suffering. Paladins are a bit more restricted because as part of their holy vows, they usually swear to uphold the laws of the land (and their rightful rulers), but even they would do whatever they could in their power to alleviate suffering where they see it happening. It would ultimately be up to the individual paladin to decide what they would do in the zoo and Meldanen situations, although bear in mind that, as a paladin, all of your actions are ultimately judged by your patron deity anyway. If you've made the wrong decision, you'll know in the form of becoming Fallen. ;)

    BelgarathMTHPrince_RaymondGusindaArvia
  • InsultionInsultion Member Posts: 179
    I don't know what qualifies as necro on this forum anymore, so I'll just post my piece on the matter and let that be that.

    Law vs Chaos in D&D alignment is not necessarily 'law vs anarchy', instead it's structure and regiment against freedom and spontaneity. For me, neutral good and true neutral are the hardest alignments to 'pin down'. Chaotic neutral comes real close as well. The reason monks have to be lawful isn't because they follow laws per se (that's more of a side effect), but because they spent their lives training to be one thing. Their lives up until adventure were structured, and their weeks regimented. A Shao-Lin warrior-monk spends his time training in the temple, and in order to keep his edge as a warrior-monk in the Shao-Lin he has to do it even if/when he leaves the temple. They don't really spend a lot of time frolicking, so to speak.

    However that's where the alignment system was meant to end. It's not a dictation of personality, but of core values. I have played a lawful good paladin that will request payment for jobs and can peruse violence as an answer, as well as a lawful good paladin that will always choose violence as a last resort only.

    Context is what dictates whether an action would be lawful or not, as well as good or not. As well, lawful characters aren't forbidden from taking chaotic actions if it fits some other value. Context in this quest really makes it seem like releasing the critters is good. If you wanted my OPINION on a Paladin of, say, Tyr during this quest, I'd say that justice and goodness demand the good action because inaction can be construed as evil, and a Paladin of Tyr is Good before Lawful. That's just an example, though, and my opinion on the matter.

    DerpCityMeandreArviaPrince_Raymond
  • 11302101130210 Member Posts: 362
    Actually, the more I think about it, it is a bit confusing why a lawful character would do that. I roleplay that the animals are abused, and that's at least evil because animals deserve to be treated well.

    Prince_Raymond
  • Prince_RaymondPrince_Raymond Member Posts: 337
    edited December 2019
    After very recently starting a new game in the Wailing Death campaign, I had the opportunity to read more deeply into the dialogue from Nyatar. IMHO, from a moral, ethical and legal standpoint, he is absolutely foxtrotting right. Before the plague began, he had been working with city officials to have the zoo closed due to its mistreatment of the animals contained within it. Now, those same officials are dead because of the plague. The zoo caught a lucky break, and they will most likely dispose of the animals as a means to cover their actions. Nyatar is in desperate need. He tried going through the system, and the system failed. With the Wailing Death threatening the very existence of Neverwinter's citizens to where they are on the verge of open rebellion, the law is merely steps away from becoming non-existent. The city itself is "out of balance". If I were a Paladin, I would treat this as a situation where I must not only enforce law, order and justice. I must become law, order and justice where there is none. Thank you for reading, and happy gaming to all.

    Post edited by Prince_Raymond on
    ArviaZaxares
  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 1,091
    On a related note, I'm quite disappointed that there's no way to turn in Commander Dumas at Fort Ilkard in Chapter 3 either. A recap of the situation:
    Following the events of the Fort Ilkard storyline, it becomes clear that Commander Dumas deliberately gave the Uthgardt Elk Tribe blankets that had been infected with the Wailing Death, spreading the nigh-incurable plague to them. Luskan seizes on this opportunity to promise the Elk Tribe the cure if they will ally with them against Neverwinter, although Luskan has no intention of following through on the deal. Meanwhile, the Elk Tribe lays siege to Fort Ilkard both under the orders of Luskan, and also because the chief (rightfully) suspects that Commander Dumas would have the cure for the Wailing Death on hand in case the plague spread back to his lines.

    This means that the entire siege of the fort, along with the deaths on both sides and the slaughter of the farmers and settlers, is ALL Dumas' fault. Yet there's no way to bring him to justice aside from attacking him when you return to Fort Ilkard, which normally would be a satisfactory conclusion in itself, except that doing so turns the Fort's soldiers against you and so you have to slaughter a whole bunch of innocent soldiers and camp followers. This is also unacceptable to a LG character, but if you don't do this, Dumas essentially gets off scott-free. (AND richer, because he forces you to pay him for the cure to the plague that HE started.)

    ArviaPrince_RaymondCerabelus
  • CerabelusCerabelus Member Posts: 336
    @Zaxares

    Absolutely, I think we needed an option to gather evidence against him.

    Prince_Raymond
  • neludz wrote: »
    Yes, absolutely. Killing DOZENS of people to free a few animals seems very lawful and good.
    Can do it under invis though.

    LOL!

    However, icky as it seems, killing is lawful.
    You're operating under the law as an agent of Aribeth. These are criminals (poaching is a crime, the dryad was stolen -- directly related to your remit). Also, no one in the game who instigates violence without cause against your character is seen as 'innocent' in the case of determining alignment. (That's also my home tabletop rule -- villains attacking a character are no longer protected under the law, and fighting off attackers is not evil.

    Prince_Raymond
  • PekingduckmanPekingduckman Member Posts: 145
    I have a similar issue with the bounty hunt quest in Chapter 2. Apparently you gain evil points if you let the fugitives go, even though for Wyvern the ranger he has a rather sympathetic backstory where he was forced into a life of crime after avenging the murder of his parents. If this is real life I would still let the law take its course, but with Faerun's medieval justice system I fail to see how promising to disappear into the wilds forever get you evil points.

    Conversely with Yesgar the fugitive leader, for some reason you gain evil points for killing him after hearing him out, yet do not gain evil points for letting him go, even though he is far more evil and unrepentant than the others.

    BelgarathMTH
  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 1,091
    Well, in the case of Wyvern, letting him go is evil because he went WAY too far in his pursuit of revenge. If you talk to him, he admits that he not only tracked down and murdered the baron and guards who killed his parents, but also THEIR families, including children. He has absolutely no remorse for what he did, even though he says that his vengeance is now complete and he is content to live out the rest of his life in isolation. So, letting him go would essentially mean that Wyvern escapes justice for the innocent victims he killed, even though his motives are understandable, even sympathetic.

    I do agree that getting evil points for attacking Yesgar after hearing his side of the story is unwarranted though, unless Bioware was going with a strict "attacking enemies after they have surrendered is an Evil act" interpretation. Even so, I still believe it wasn't warranted because it's not like Yesgar was unarmed; he still had his weapons and could defend himself to the death.

    Pekingduckman
  • CerabelusCerabelus Member Posts: 336
    Zaxares wrote: »
    even though he says that his vengeance is now complete and he is content to live out the rest of his life in isolation. So, letting him go would essentially mean that Wyvern escapes justice for the innocent victims he killed, even though his motives are understandable, even sympathetic.

    I agree Wyvern went WAY too far in his vengeance, last time I played I let him go and immediately regretted it as we have no way of knowing if he'll be inclined to seek out more conflict, I know his story was terrible but he made a horrific situation far worse and that perpetuates further suffering.

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