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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
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Posted - 03 May 2011 :  01:25:47  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
Here's something that seems to be overlooked in this discussion: just because someone is evil, it doesn't mean they can't care about someone, or that they can't commit good deeds from time to time. No one is evil 24/7 (or 24/10, in the Realms).

I see examples quoted here of good actions, and I see examples of evil actions. And I don't see that the former is outweighing the latter. Evil isn't always, and I think that's what we're seeing here.

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Azuth
Senior Scribe

USA
404 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2011 :  02:47:30  Show Profile  Visit Azuth's Homepage Send Azuth a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Here's something that seems to be overlooked in this discussion: just because someone is evil, it doesn't mean they can't care about someone, or that they can't commit good deeds from time to time. No one is evil 24/7 (or 24/10, in the Realms).

I see examples quoted here of good actions, and I see examples of evil actions. And I don't see that the former is outweighing the latter. Evil isn't always, and I think that's what we're seeing here.



Indeed not, but I believe it is for this reason that Gary created the "Neutral" aspect of the spectrum. The alignment is a person's motivation in life. I still think that of all the alignments, CN fits Jarlaxle the best, but I also believe his actions fit better with other alignments periodically.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
36598 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2011 :  05:39:47  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Azuth

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Here's something that seems to be overlooked in this discussion: just because someone is evil, it doesn't mean they can't care about someone, or that they can't commit good deeds from time to time. No one is evil 24/7 (or 24/10, in the Realms).

I see examples quoted here of good actions, and I see examples of evil actions. And I don't see that the former is outweighing the latter. Evil isn't always, and I think that's what we're seeing here.



Indeed not, but I believe it is for this reason that Gary created the "Neutral" aspect of the spectrum. The alignment is a person's motivation in life. I still think that of all the alignments, CN fits Jarlaxle the best, but I also believe his actions fit better with other alignments periodically.




Neutral is a good alignment... But I'm just saying: if someone's hobby is drop-kicking small furry animals all day long, but he stops to help a little old lady across the street, his helping the little old lady doesn't mean he's a good guy.

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_Jarlaxle_
Senior Scribe

Germany
577 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2011 :  09:45:05  Show Profile Send _Jarlaxle_ a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Alystra Illianniis

In RL, yes. Not always so in the Realms. And is it still the responsibility of the person who instigated the conflict when it was others who did the killing? That's a whole grey area, methinks. In the RW, the lawyers would have a field day with that. To say nothing of PROVING he caused it.


morality or alingment in this case has nothing to do with law
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BEAST
Master of Realmslore

USA
1714 Posts

Posted - 03 May 2011 :  21:24:16  Show Profile  Visit BEAST's Homepage Send BEAST a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Alystra Illianniis

In RL, yes. Not always so in the Realms. And is it still the responsibility of the person who instigated the conflict when it was others who did the killing? That's a whole grey area, methinks. In the RW, the lawyers would have a field day with that. To say nothing of PROVING he caused it.

It's his moral responsibility, whether a legal sage could prove it in a tribunal or not.

And his moral nature is part and parcel of what a discussion of what his alignment is all about.

quote:
Originally posted by _Jarlaxle_

morality or alingment in this case has nothing to do with law

Oh, but I beg to differ. Laws are intended to preserve a desired moral order within a society, and it is the moral alignment of a prominent character that we are examining here. We can split hairs over terminology, either in the Real World or our fave fantasy one, but the morality seems to remain the same.

And Jarlaxle's handing over of the reigns of Luskan to the High Captains, with their disregard for the safety of the Luskar people, would seem to make him morally responsible for the consequences of the High Captains', and therefore his own, actions. He displayed reckless disregard there, and many people suffered, though he shrugged it off and tsk-tsked it away with a wink and as gentlemanly a tone as he could manage, in the end.

Then, neither a century later, he claims to be concerned for the safety of the Luskar people when a volcano threatens.

Is his moral nature really different now? Or does he simply not see a way to profit by allying himself with this particular antagonist, thereby allowing him to feel empathy with the potential victims this time around?



quote:
Originally posted by Azuth


Jarlaxle's alignment is really "shifts as necessary to fit the plot." [...] I believe that Jarlaxle is chaotic without question. But, with respect to alignment, he's more neutral on both the Law/Chaos and the Good/Evil spectrum. He's lawful when it suits his needs, and chaotic when it seems appropriate. He does "good" acts when they benefit him, and evil actions for the same reason.


If he does something lawful or good when it suits his needs or it benefits him, that is not "Good" per the D&D alignment system, as I understand it. If he is guided by his own well-being, versus that of others, then that is not Good. It doesn't matter about the end result--it's the intent that dictates.

That is why I pointed out that Jar seemed to be truly concerned for others' well-being in TGK. It didn't make him money, and it didn't contribute to his survival from the threat of the dracolich. It seemed to simply arise from empathy with others.

Alas, that is still an all-too-rare emotion for our favorite drow merc.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I see examples quoted here of good actions, and I see examples of evil actions. And I don't see that the former is outweighing the latter. Evil isn't always, and I think that's what we're seeing here.


It's not just the result of the actions that we should be examining, but also, to the extent possible from the texts, the intent of those actions.

Seen in that light, Jar has seemed to fundamentally change in his moral nature over some of the more recent books. It seems like more has happened than for a Chaotic or Evil guy to merely help some people out for his own selfish ends.

But it hasn't stuck.

"'You don't know my history,' he said dryly."
--Drizzt Do'Urden (The Pirate King, Part 1: Chapter 2)

<"Comprehensive Chronology of R.A. Salvatore Forgotten Realms Works">
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Alystra Illianniis
Great Reader

USA
3750 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2011 :  00:19:40  Show Profile Send Alystra Illianniis a Private Message
"Alas, that is still an all-too-rare emotion for our favorite drow merc." Quote from BEAST.

And yet it's becoming more common every day. And I'd like to point out that his actions are just as important as the intent. One really can't sparate the two, anyway. Regardless of the intentions, a good deed is STILL a good deed. No one ever questions the intentions of a Boy Scout- or Superman for that matter. Does it really matter if he's just trying to get that merit badge, or feels obliged to keep up a positive image, even if he'd really rather just leave the darn cat in the tree, or doesn't feel like waiting for that little 80-year-old lady with the walker to cross the frickin street? Not really. And there's a name for what Jarlaxle has done of late- it's called the Law of Unintended Consequences. A person does thing A, hoping for outcome B, but gets C and D instead. When $*it went south in Luscan, that's sort of what happened. Same thing in Gauntlegrym nearly a century later. While a truly good and decent person might own up and try to take responsibility for thier actions, Jarlaxle does what most folks would do- shrug, say "$*it happens", and try to pick up the pieces and move on. The difference is that the second time, he actually DID try to own up. And I'd also note that the events of Ghost King were basically his fault, too- but NO ONE would have seen that coming. How was he to know that using Hephaestus' breath to destroy Crenshinibon was going to create something even worse? More to the point, something that was REALLY TICKED at him?! Yet no one calls that an evil act..... (Especially since it happened while trying to destroy an EVIL artifact.)



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AleksanderTheGreat
Seeker

90 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2011 :  00:58:45  Show Profile Send AleksanderTheGreat a Private Message
I would say neutral evil. Yep. That's Jarlaxle alright.

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Alystra Illianniis
Great Reader

USA
3750 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2011 :  01:07:44  Show Profile Send Alystra Illianniis a Private Message
I prefer the Paladium alignment axis, myself. The descripions are so much more accurate in that system.

The Goddess is alive, and magic is afoot.

"Where Science ends, Magic begins" -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

"You idiots! You've captured their STUNT doubles!" -Spaceballs

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_Jarlaxle_
Senior Scribe

Germany
577 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2011 :  08:26:30  Show Profile Send _Jarlaxle_ a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by BEAST

Oh, but I beg to differ. Laws are intended to preserve a desired moral order within a society, and it is the moral alignment of a prominent character that we are examining here. We can split hairs over terminology, either in the Real World or our fave fantasy one, but the morality seems to remain the same.


Yes but that has nothing to do with the D&D alignment system for good vs. evil. Because if the alignment system would take in account diffrent moralities for diffrent societies than the normal orc or goblin would have a good alignment too because within their society they act totally to their moral code.
Law is only considered for the lawfull vs. chaotic part but the good vs. evil part has some kind of global view with our RL good guy type in mind.

But I agree with you thats the intension which matters and with that Jarlaxle is no good or neutral person.

Edit: One more note because I think many people get this wrong. Your are not neutral when you are doing evil and good things because one can't outweight the other. If you are doing evil things regually you are evil no matter what you are doing else. If you do neither good or evil things than you are neutral and if you are doing mostly good things and no or almost no evil things you are good.
I allways get the impression that many people see neutral as "I can do what I want" but that is evil. In my opinion neutral is by far the hardest alignment to be instead of a free card.

Edited by - _Jarlaxle_ on 04 May 2011 08:33:31
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Chosen of Asmodeus
Master of Realmslore

1221 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2011 :  14:15:51  Show Profile  Visit Chosen of Asmodeus's Homepage Send Chosen of Asmodeus a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Alystra Illianniis

Where do you get that idea from? Granted, it's been a while since I read TPK, but I would not consider the loss of that many lives and that much destruction a success for ANYONE. For Jarlaxle to do any business there, there would actually have to be people to do business WITH. How could he do that with so many of them dead? Pardon my saying so, but exactly how did that HELP him? He may have ended up with the most easily manipulated group in charge, but at the expense of a large portion of his business. That doesn't strike me as a "success" at all. More like a LOOSING proposition, even without the Spellplague!

The idea that his actions dealing with a few people causing the deaths of so many others- INDIRECTLY- makes him inherently evil is just as much a fallacy as thinking that caring for a few people makes him "good". And for the record Jarlaxle did NOT intentionally kill all those people himself. They died because of a WAR. Yes, he was partly responsible for starting the conflict, but there are plenty of people who die in wars elsewhere in the Realms without the people who start them being evil. That's like saying Azoun is evil for going to war with the Zhents, or that the Simbul is evil for fighting a war with Thay. Yes, people die in wars, and yes, he helped to start one, (still not convinced he had explicit intentions of it going that far) but that in itself is not evidence of his being "evil" by any means.



He never had any intention of selling to the people of Luskan. These were dockhands and sailors that were dying; people who couldn't afford the goods he was looking to sell if they saved their whole lives. He was looking to use Luskan as a gateway to sell to the wider surface. He was marketing valuable underdark magic items; the poor of Luskan who were used as cannon fodder in a noble's quest for glory were never his target consumers.

More over, there are different levels of indirect involvement. Much to Wooly's annoyance I'm going to bring another real life example into this; Charles Manson never killed anyone in his life, and was given the death sentence(commuted to life in prison) for murder. Why? Because he manipulated others into killing for him. Jarlaxle set two people up to go to war with one another; one person with thousands of people at his command and another person with hundreds who could shoot fire balls out of their hands. The amount of lives that would have been lost was going to be huge anyway. He knew neither side would back down without a fight. The fact that it was thousands instead of hundreds doesn't exactly make the crime less heinous.

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Chosen of Asmodeus
Master of Realmslore

1221 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2011 :  14:22:00  Show Profile  Visit Chosen of Asmodeus's Homepage Send Chosen of Asmodeus a Private Message
Something about _Jarlaxle_'s opinion on alignment interests me; it implies the superiority of evil over good as one's evil actions carry more weight.

"Then I saw there was a way to Hell even from the gates of Heaven"
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_Jarlaxle_
Senior Scribe

Germany
577 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2011 :  15:23:44  Show Profile Send _Jarlaxle_ a Private Message
Yes beause the other way would be that if you do "equaly" good things as evil things you are not evil and thats just not true. You can't murder someone and than save someone elses life the next day and everything is fine.
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Chosen of Asmodeus
Master of Realmslore

1221 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2011 :  15:26:55  Show Profile  Visit Chosen of Asmodeus's Homepage Send Chosen of Asmodeus a Private Message
More than equality, though. A doctor who saves hundreds of lives doesn't get a pass on a single murder.

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Fatum Iustum Stultorum. Righteous is the destiny of fools.

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ChieftainTwilight
Learned Scribe

171 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2011 :  18:28:35  Show Profile Send ChieftainTwilight a Private Message
meh. I can't finish reading all this.

but I will leave a parting note.

Alignment consists of two things; one part Action and one part Motivation. Alignment is determined by what someone does and why they do it.

furthermore, it must be remembered that consistency is key. someone doesn't shift their alignment completely in isolated instances. that's just the display of an exception or change of pace. it is temporary, fleeting even, and does not constitute an Alignment change. if someone is Evil consistently with the exception of giving charity out of he goodness of his heart last tuesday, and reporting a burglary of a random neighbor he's never talked to before last month, it doesn't mean that he was Good on those two days, his alignment was Evil the whol etime.

by the same token, it works in reverse. if an esteemed hero has had a bad week and decided to frame an innocent random person for a heinous crime just to relieve some stress, it doesn't make him evil. in fact, he's almost definitely gonna come clean eventually, or at least try to make up for it.

now, on the other hand, if someone has been leaning towards a new alignment in a consistent manner, constantly or at least oftentimes displaying a new set of behaviors and/or perspectives, his Alignment should probably start to slowly shift towards that new Alignment. it should be a slow process, probably as much as several Months of game time from one step to the next. and by that I mean from Chaotic Evil to Chaotic Neutral. or from Chaotic Neutral to Chaotic Good. or Chaotic Good to Neutral Good.

see my point?

so whatever turn the debate has gone now, just keep that in mind.

and a heart can only break so many times
and I've been to hell and back so many times
and I've seen folks walk away so many times
but just like anyone else I gotta stand up by myself
and a heart can only break so many times
a heart can only break so many times
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Azuth
Senior Scribe

USA
404 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2011 :  19:09:09  Show Profile  Visit Azuth's Homepage Send Azuth a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
Neutral is a good alignment... But I'm just saying: if someone's hobby is drop-kicking small furry animals all day long, but he stops to help a little old lady across the street, his helping the little old lady doesn't mean he's a good guy.




True: but how do you think the little old lady would describe him if someone asked her about his "alignment?"

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Azuth
Senior Scribe

USA
404 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2011 :  19:29:45  Show Profile  Visit Azuth's Homepage Send Azuth a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by ChieftainTwilight

meh. I can't finish reading all this.

but I will leave a parting note.

Alignment consists of two things; one part Action and one part Motivation. Alignment is determined by what someone does and why they do it.

furthermore, it must be remembered that consistency is key. someone doesn't shift their alignment completely in isolated instances. that's just the display of an exception or change of pace. it is temporary, fleeting even, and does not constitute an Alignment change. if someone is Evil consistently with the exception of giving charity out of he goodness of his heart last tuesday, and reporting a burglary of a random neighbor he's never talked to before last month, it doesn't mean that he was Good on those two days, his alignment was Evil the whole time.

by the same token, it works in reverse. if an esteemed hero has had a bad week and decided to frame an innocent random person for a heinous crime just to relieve some stress, it doesn't make him evil. in fact, he's almost definitely gonna come clean eventually, or at least try to make up for it.

now, on the other hand, if someone has been leaning towards a new alignment in a consistent manner, constantly or at least oftentimes displaying a new set of behaviors and/or perspectives, his Alignment should probably start to slowly shift towards that new Alignment. it should be a slow process, probably as much as several Months of game time from one step to the next. and by that I mean from Chaotic Evil to Chaotic Neutral. or from Chaotic Neutral to Chaotic Good. or Chaotic Good to Neutral Good.

see my point?

so whatever turn the debate has gone now, just keep that in mind.



This is a good point, and it comes to the heart of the matter. Jarlaxle first and foremost cares about himself. That makes him neither good nor evil. He does not concern himself with the laws, and his ways of deciding things is not consistent. Thus, Chaotic best describes the first facet of his personality.

I have a problem with the "on his orders" part of an alignment discussion. Was the President of the U.S. "evil" for having atomic bombs dropped on Japan? (I'm not arguing either way, just to be clear) Jarlaxle knew his actions would wreak havoc. That, in and of itself, does not make him evil. Jarlaxle again does things to serve a need that he sees as just in furthering his causes, regardless of how society at large sees those actions. Thus, he best fits Neutral, as he does not advocate the cause of "good" nor "evil." How others view him is not relevant to him. This is why I reiterate my belief that he is CN in alignment.

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Chosen of Asmodeus
Master of Realmslore

1221 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2011 :  21:03:27  Show Profile  Visit Chosen of Asmodeus's Homepage Send Chosen of Asmodeus a Private Message
Motive comes into play in part of this. The bombs dropped to hasten the end of a conflict, and prevent more losses over all. Jarlaxle's indirect causing of the war in Luskan was done out of greed, pure and simple, with no regard to the wider ramifications of the act.

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AleksanderTheGreat
Seeker

90 Posts

Posted - 04 May 2011 :  21:24:13  Show Profile Send AleksanderTheGreat a Private Message
He didn't care for other peoples lifes. That's evil in my book.
Good Jarlaxle would not let anyone innocent get hurt.
Neutral Jarlaxle would avoid unnecessary colateral damage.
Evil in DnD is best descibed as someone who enjoys "hurting" (pchysically and/or psychically) others. BUT it isn't limited to that. Disregard for life of innocents is also evil, IMO.

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Firestorm
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Canada
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Posted - 04 May 2011 :  23:35:20  Show Profile Send Firestorm a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Chosen of Asmodeus

Motive comes into play in part of this. The bombs dropped to hasten the end of a conflict, and prevent more losses over all. Jarlaxle's indirect causing of the war in Luskan was done out of greed, pure and simple, with no regard to the wider ramifications of the act.



Everything I read in the book pointed to the fact that the war was coming in Luskan no matter what. Jarlaxle recognized this and positioned himself to profit from it by aiding one side.

In any case, under the lawful evil description, a character is somewhat required to have no sort of code of conduct whatsoever

Edited by - Firestorm on 04 May 2011 23:45:38
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Alystra Illianniis
Great Reader

USA
3750 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2011 :  03:42:31  Show Profile Send Alystra Illianniis a Private Message
Firestorm, I think lawful pretty much demands a code of conduct, be it good or evil. And as I've noted before, being "selfish" or "greedy" in and of itself does not make a person evil. Selfish motives are the purview of pure self-centered-ness, not a "desire to do evil". This is a HUGE distinction. A self-centered person may be the nicest person in the world, and a pillar of society, but still very selfish in their personal relationships, wanting everything to revolve around their own needs and desires. Greed is often part of this. This does NOT make that person evil-it simply means that they are not inclined to give back in terms of time, money, or emotional output in any given relationship. They are the "Give me's" of the world, who want everything THEIR way. It's the "world revolves around me" mind-set, which in itself is hardly evil.

Jarlaxle sees the world as his oyster, and wants to have things his way. Yes, he's unconcerned for what happens to others some of the time, but this is part of his selfish nature, not some inner wish to do harm or see others suffer. Yet he can also feel empathy toward others, which is something evil generally does not do. This does not mean that evil does not feel love, it just means that evil people are less likely to connect emotionally with others- it's part of their lack of moral compass. The difference in these two attitudes is that a selfish person is able to connect with others, but wants to be the more "important" one in the relationship. They can still be morally upright, but they may also try to get away with things because they believe they're "special".

As Firestorm noted, that war was coming already, he just set himself up to benefit. Pure business, and had nothing to do with who might get hurt. Let's remember that this is someone who is used to wars, and is sometimes even directly involved in the fighting for one side or another. (Usually whichever pays more, regardless of whether it's the "right" side or not.) To him, casualties are inevitable, and not something to worry about. He's a professional soldier, as well as a merchant. Mercenaries know that civilians will get caught in the middle of a war, and they consider it part of the toll of wars. Does this make soldiers evil for shrugging off the casualties of a battle? No. They simply realize that it is going to happen no matter what they do, so they don't loose sleep over it. But that doesn't make them evil for turning away.

As for the point that the commoners and dock workers of Luskan were not his customers, that was not the point of my earlier post. War has an odd habit of killing indiscriminately- both rich and poor alike. There is no real reason to think that the ordinary peasants were the only ones who died- plenty of rich people who could have hired his services or bought his band's magic items died too, which would indeed put a major bite in his business. Also, since a large number of wizards lived there, that was a potential market that was lost with the Tower's destruction. So, yes, he certainly DID loose a lot of business from all the thousands who died. That would include a large percentage of the people of Luskan who WERE his customers.


The Goddess is alive, and magic is afoot.

"Where Science ends, Magic begins" -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

"You idiots! You've captured their STUNT doubles!" -Spaceballs

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Azuth
Senior Scribe

USA
404 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2011 :  03:43:01  Show Profile  Visit Azuth's Homepage Send Azuth a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Chosen of Asmodeus

Motive comes into play in part of this. The bombs dropped to hasten the end of a conflict, and prevent more losses over all. Jarlaxle's indirect causing of the war in Luskan was done out of greed, pure and simple, with no regard to the wider ramifications of the act.



The bombs dropped to hasten the end of a conflict, and prevent more losses over all by one side of the combatants.
Jarlaxle had opportunities to profit regardless of who rules in Luskan. His long lifespan and tactics make him the ultimate bargainer. However, when I think of Evil, I think of Bane forcing the Zhentarim to march into Shadowdale, not caring if any of his warriors were hurt, or Semmemon hurling fireballs to clear a path, knowing his own warriors were going to be consumed in the flames. Jarlaxle doesn't seem to have this amount of evil in him. He doesn't strike me as cunning as, say, Manshoon. He isn't as wicked as, say, Fzoul. Fzoul embodies Lawful Evil (whereas Bane is just evil incarnate) and thus I cannot, in honesty, find Jarlaxle as evil as others. He's far from good, but he isn't nearly as insidious as other drow are, which is why he's distinct and thus why we're having this discussion.

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_Jarlaxle_
Senior Scribe

Germany
577 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2011 :  08:25:01  Show Profile Send _Jarlaxle_ a Private Message
I have to say I'm really shocked by some argumentation here
quote:
Originally posted by Azuth

Jarlaxle knew his actions would wreak havoc. That, in and of itself, does not make him evil.

Of course it does. By your logic a crime boss wouldn't be evil too because he "just brings others to do the bad stuff"

quote:
Originally posted by Alystra Illianniis

Yes, he's unconcerned for what happens to others some of the time, but this is part of his selfish nature, not some inner wish to do harm or see others suffer.

Same strange logic as above. If he doesn't care someone gets killed so he gets his way thats evil. Point, there can be no arguing about this

quote:
Originally posted by Alystra Illianniis

Yet he can also feel empathy toward others, which is something evil generally does not do. This does not mean that evil does not feel love, it just means that evil people are less likely to connect emotionally with others- it's part of their lack of moral compass.

Even if this would be true it wouldn't prove that he is not evil because he cared about some people.
So the thing you are saying is that because of he is selfish nature he can't be evil?

Edited by - _Jarlaxle_ on 05 May 2011 08:25:22
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Chosen of Asmodeus
Master of Realmslore

1221 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2011 :  12:58:37  Show Profile  Visit Chosen of Asmodeus's Homepage Send Chosen of Asmodeus a Private Message
Alystra, let me ask you something; are you arguing against Jarlaxle being evil because you honestly do not believe he's evil or are you trying to justify the things he does, directly and indirectly, to justify you liking the character?

"Then I saw there was a way to Hell even from the gates of Heaven"
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Azuth
Senior Scribe

USA
404 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2011 :  17:29:28  Show Profile  Visit Azuth's Homepage Send Azuth a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by _Jarlaxle_
<snip>
Of course it does. By your logic a crime boss wouldn't be evil too because he "just brings others to do the bad stuff"


Jarlaxle is a merchant, not a crime boss. He's entirely unpredictable. Jarlaxle is first a merchant, second a "mercenary."

quote:

<snip>
Same strange logic as above. If he doesn't care someone gets killed so he gets his way thats evil. Point, there can be no arguing about this


We do not know if he "cares" that someone gets killed or not. Deudermont probably knew that his crew might get killed every time he engaged pirates. He knew that pirates would get killed. He didn't care. Does that make him evil? There is always a counterargument.


quote:
Even if this would be true it wouldn't prove that he is not evil because he cared about some people.
So the thing you are saying is that because of he is selfish nature he can't be evil?


While I will let Lady Alystra speak for herself, her argument isn't that he cannot be evil, it is that he isn't forced to be evil. His selfish nature is a normal human(oid) response. We instinctively take care of ourselves. Putting ourselves above others is considered "selfish" by definition. It does not make us evil; it makes us selfish. They are two entirely different words with very different meanings. One does not to the other lead. I also don't see Alystra arguing that Jarlaxle is good. But speaking for myself, I like him because he is unpredictable. I loved Fzoul, because his evil was backed with an intellect. Manshoon is very interesting, especially when Ed writes him. When I think of evil, those two come to the forefront. Jarlaxle does not.
When I think of good, Cadderly comes to mind, as do some of the Seven Sisters, and Princess Alusair. Jarlaxle does not. Neither does Drizzt.
When I think of chaotic, Jarlaxle and Drizzt both come to mind, as does the Simbul.
I think Drizzt is much closer to the "Good" side of the balance than Jarlaxle is, but I think Entreri was far more toward the "Evil" side than is Jarlaxle. Again, the best option for alignment (in my opinion) for Jarlaxle is CN, with random tendencies.

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ChieftainTwilight
Learned Scribe

171 Posts

Posted - 05 May 2011 :  19:05:23  Show Profile Send ChieftainTwilight a Private Message
why is it some of you think "cares only about himself" means Neutral, or that "self-serving isn't evil"? SELFISHNESS AND LACK OF COMPASSION ARE EVIL TRAITS!

Neutral is more of a "at least it wasn't me, but I'm not gonna ignore the plight of others" kinda deal, or else such a polarized duality of both extremes "sometimes I'm a Beast and othertimes I'm Saintly" that you can't rightly place them one way or the other.

if you realy don't care about others, you are Evil, regardless of whether you actively go about harming others.

I still say Jarlaxle is CN with strong Evil tendencies.

and a heart can only break so many times
and I've been to hell and back so many times
and I've seen folks walk away so many times
but just like anyone else I gotta stand up by myself
and a heart can only break so many times
a heart can only break so many times
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Alystra Illianniis
Great Reader

USA
3750 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2011 :  03:42:08  Show Profile Send Alystra Illianniis a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Chosen of Asmodeus

Alystra, let me ask you something; are you arguing against Jarlaxle being evil because you honestly do not believe he's evil or are you trying to justify the things he does, directly and indirectly, to justify you liking the character?



I don't need to "justify" liking him. I like him BECAUSE of those reasons. And no, I honestly don't believe he is "evil" or I'd not be making the arguments against that alignment for him. However, if you wish to know, I'd like to say that Azuth seems to understand where I'm coming from with this with his insights. I've studied psychology, and moral development was part of that. Jarlaxle's actions do not point to an "evil" morality, but more to a complete lack of moral direction, hence, neutral. An IMMORAL person revels in the suffering of others, or simply feels no compassion or concern at all. I disagree that evil people ever really feel love, as real love is an utterly selfless emotion, that requires the ability to trust and connect on a basic "human" level that most "evil" people seem to lack. An AMORAL person (as he appears to be) can and does feel compassion and concern for others, at least part of the time, but is as likely to shrug it off as "unimportant" to them as to take any action to give aid. This is how he operates. Sometimes he helps, other times he simply goes about his own business and ignores the fallout. This is not how an IMMORAL (evil) person would behave. They would act to exploit the situation ruthlessly and without any concern for others at all, or else they would actively seek to CAUSE suffering for their own gain. He doesn't SEEK to cause suffering (which is where everyone keeps getting the issue confused, I believe), he simply does so indirectly by the way he does business.

This happens all the time, when nation leaders indirectly cause deaths of thousands by going to war with each other, even when the cause is just. Does this mean the people who declare or command the wars are evil? No, they usually believe they are doing what is best for that nation. Jarlaxle is no different from a leader of a country, doing what he feels is in the best interests of HIS band. Whether it is in the best interests (or causes problems or damage) of others is not really his concern. But when he wishes to reach out to someone like Drizzt (an ally, much like nations have allies) then he is certainly working in the interests of others, and is not evil by that measure. Never (or very rarely, if at all) does he ACTIVELY seek to cause suffering or harm, and never does he do it out of spite, hate, or most of the other "evil" reasons people cause death. He may not care too much that Joe the Gnome died because of his dealings in Luskan, but he certainly didn't go out LOOKING to kill him.

@ CT: You're mistaking my intent. Jarlaxle does not care "only about himself". He cares about himself FIRST. There is a distinction between the two that you may be missing. The first would certainly be "evil", the second is just basic "human" nature. And for further clarification, see below.

@ Jarlaxle: I'm not saying that he CAN'T be evil if he is selfish, only that being selfish does not automatically MAKE him evil. Being selfish is only a personality trait- it's a flaw, but not one that is necessarily evil. One could be LG and still be selfish. Much like being greedy is just a personality flaw- even the PHB mentions that even a LG character can have a greedy streak. (It specifically named the dwarf Tordek!)

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ChieftainTwilight
Learned Scribe

171 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2011 :  04:20:28  Show Profile Send ChieftainTwilight a Private Message
I cannot agree with your limiting of Evil Alignment to complete sociopaths, Alysstra. that's an extremely narrow definition of Evil.

an Evil person can feel Love. it is just an extremely closed and poorly exercised emotion, and almost never a state of being for them. just look at Elaith Craulnobber; he Loves his daughter above all else, including himself!! yet, he's still ruthless, cold-blooded, and selfish. yes, he has a shakey alignment at best (always teetering on the edge of True Neutral and Neutral Evil, with the possibility of dramatically becoming Neutral Good at the drop of a pin ever dangling above his head), but he's still pretty damn Evil.

I can bet though, given your arguments for Jarlaxle, that you'd claim Elaith isn't Evil either... but my point is that all it realy takes to be Evil is to be miserly with your compassion.

I myself would be considered VERY Evil in real life if not for the fact that I give charity, and look out for those who are important to me and those who are victimized by anyone other than me. I have strong tendencis to give in to my vices; I am addicted to random destruction and acts of violence, I have a very bad addiction to adrenaline rushes which lead me to extreme behaviors (sexual gluttony, fist fights, rape and killing). I still have alot of folks I love very much, and I would not hesitate to sacrifice myself for a least a dozen individual people (and by that I mean even if it were just one of any of them). but I still have my vices. I LIKE to kill, but I restrain myself. that is still Evil.

I would be considered Chaotic Neutral, but only because the specifically Good actions and desires are counterbalancing the Evil ones.

"Faith without Deeds/Deeds without Faith" and all that. "the worste Evil is the complacency of Good men." ya get what I'm saying?

and a heart can only break so many times
and I've been to hell and back so many times
and I've seen folks walk away so many times
but just like anyone else I gotta stand up by myself
and a heart can only break so many times
a heart can only break so many times
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Alystra Illianniis
Great Reader

USA
3750 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2011 :  05:52:08  Show Profile Send Alystra Illianniis a Private Message
I never said it was purely for sociopaths, but an "evil" outlook indicates some serious retardation in the moral development ladder. Someone stuck in or between the stages of not knowing the difference between good and bad, or doing whatever they feel they can get away with. I am basing this on the Kohlberg principles of moral development, BTW, which are pretty accurate, and would be as applicable in the Realms as they would in any other world. Morality- at least as we know it- is universal. As for Eliath, he's one who might teeter between evil, and neutral- not because of his love for his daughter, (which is based as much on his own failure with the moonblade and his hope for her as his heir as it is on actual love) but because he does have concern for his fellow elves, to some extent. He is loyal to Evermeet's royal family, and has acted to aid Arilyn and Danilo a few times. This shows that he has at least learned the "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" reasoning of stage two (see below for this). If being miserly with compassion was all it took to be evil, than most of the world would be. That's simply not the case. To be truly evil, one would have to be stuck in moral infancy, as described below.

Morally, most evil people seem stuck in the first major stage of moral development, between ages five to ten. Not that they have the intellect of that age, but the moral development of someone of that age. A five-year-old can determine when something is "bad", but will often still do it if they think they will not be punished. They view moral rules as fixed and absolute, handed down by adults or "god". Young children base their moral judgments solely on consequences. They also show no concern for the welfare of others. There is no concern over what is fair or just. (Stealing is bad, even if it's stealing food to feed starving children.) This is the first stage. This stage would cover all of the evil alignments. Most "evil" people, no matter how well-adjusted and intelligent, would fall here, because they see only that rules are there to punish. They break them when and if they think they won't suffer any punishment. They would not care if the theft was for starving kids. Hence, they are evil. NE best fits this moral stage, but the other two evil alignments would as well.

The second stage is seen in older children, (usually at or after age ten) and views morality as subjective- this is when a child understands that what one person thinks is "right", another may see as "wrong". (Such as stealing food to feed a starving family.) They can see the right to pursue individual interests over simple "law". what is right for an individual is what meets his own self-interests. They also see morality as a fair exchange or fair deal. This is where I think Jarlaxle falls. He's beyond mere consequences or laws, or authority, but not yet into the higher stages of moral reasoning that "good" aligned people would fit into. He does what is right for him, though it might not necessarily fall into what society views as right, and he returns favors. A more neutral outlook, to be sure. Possibly still with some "evil" tendencies, but it covers most of the neutral alignments well- CN, especially.

The third stage is all about motivation. As they become teens, children learn that interpersonal feelings such as love, trust, and concern for others play a part in moral judgments. They begin to think that people should live up to the expectations of family and community, and behave in "good" ways. This means having good motives. (The theft of the food was good because the intentions were to save a starving family.) This would still be a neutral alignment stage, but leaning toward good. Might best be termed as LN or possibly CG, however. Incidentally, I think Drizzt might fall here.

Stage four is about maintaining social order. This is where doing "good" to obey laws, and having concern for others outside one's personal sphere of relationships. Most of the good alignments fit here. This is also where respect for authority and doing one's duty comes in. These people understand that the motives in stealing the food are good, but they don't condone the theft, because it breaks society's rules.

And then you have the fifth stage, where people question the morality of society as a whole, and the morality of the law. This is where LG would likely fall. They recognize the need for laws, but they also don't want a totalitarian rule of authority that prevents people from doing what is morally right. It recognizes the rights to freedom, life, and to be protected from unfair laws. They would say that the lives being saved are more important than the property stolen. They would also say that it doesn't matter if it was their family or a stranger, it would still be one's duty to do so. This is definitely the spot for most paladins!

The Goddess is alive, and magic is afoot.

"Where Science ends, Magic begins" -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

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_Jarlaxle_
Senior Scribe

Germany
577 Posts

Posted - 06 May 2011 :  08:34:17  Show Profile Send _Jarlaxle_ a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Azuth


Jarlaxle is a merchant, not a crime boss. He's entirely unpredictable. Jarlaxle is first a merchant, second a "mercenary."


Don't know where you get this but how does this affect my point?
quote:
Originally posted by Azuth


We do not know if he "cares" that someone gets killed or not. Deudermont probably knew that his crew might get killed every time he engaged pirates. He knew that pirates would get killed. He didn't care. Does that make him evil? There is always a counterargument.


Sorry but are are you serious? You are comparing leading a crew which works for someone (and want to do) fighting pirates with causing a war where a lot of innocents get killed?

quote:
Originally posted by Alystra Illianniis

they usually believe they are doing what is best for that nation. Jarlaxle is no different from a leader of a country, doing what he feels is in the best interests of HIS band. Whether it is in the best interests (or causes problems or damage) of others is not really his concern.

So there are no evil people because everyone just does the things he thinks best for him or his group? Interesting...

quote:
Originally posted by Alystra Illianniis


@ Jarlaxle: I'm not saying that he CAN'T be evil if he is selfish, only that being selfish does not automatically MAKE him evil. Being selfish is only a personality trait- it's a flaw, but not one that is necessarily evil. One could be LG and still be selfish. Much like being greedy is just a personality flaw- even the PHB mentions that even a LG character can have a greedy streak. (It specifically named the dwarf Tordek!)


But you main argument so far against him beeing evil is that "he is just selffish"...
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Azuth
Senior Scribe

USA
404 Posts

Posted - 07 May 2011 :  03:42:13  Show Profile  Visit Azuth's Homepage Send Azuth a Private Message

@Jarlaxle
You spoke of a crime boss: I do not believe Jarlaxie is a crime boss. He is a merchant; the analogy of a crime boss doesn't fit with him based on my readings.

And I will easily compare Deudermont to Jarlaxle. Or for that matter, Deudermont to any ship captain. Deudermont and Sea Sprite are considered "good" because they attack other ships, sink them, and stop them from attacking others. However, because of whom they select as a target, the cause is considered "just" and therefore "for the common good." If a pirate attacks another pirate, despite the fact that he is accomplishing the same thing, that pirate will not be considered "good" because he wants whatever treasure he can find in his victim's hold.

If a pirate sinks another pirate who happens to be a slave trader, and that slave trader's holds are empty, the first pirate is not considered a champion of good, despite the evil he has prevented. Similarly, if Amn attacks Cormyr, Cormyr is seen as "good" in defending herself and King Azoun and all of his Purple Dragons and War Wizards are doing "good" because Cormyr was attacked. However, when The Simbul attacks Thay, any counterattack that Thay makes is evil because Thay is considered evil, and the Simbul's actions are "good" because she is attacking Thay.

The term "innocents" are called "civilian casualties" in war, and they are presuming "innocents" because said people are not actively engaged in the war. However, if an attack takes out a large number of assassins (who are masquerading as civilians) accidentally, and it is not known that the people killed were assassins, the attack is not suddenly recharacterized. In "the fog of war" a lot of things happen. Whether those actions are viewed as "good" or "evil" or "indifferent" is entirely dependent upon who is being asked that question.

Jarlaxle does not seek to cause wanton destruction as it's bad for business. His motives are based on profit, and if it served his needs, he would probably aid in rebuilding (subvertly, and making a profit) but that's because he is a merchant. Jarlaxle is chaotic because he has no concern about laws, be they just or unjust, when he makes decisions. They are simply not a factor to him. Be it burning down a building in Waterdeep or freeing a slave in Thay, the law has no ramification on his decision. In both situations, he doesn't burn down the building with the intent to cause pain, nor does he free the slave because of a feeling of goodness, ne does it because it serves his needs. This is why he is neutral. The Lady Alystra has posted a very detailed explanation of Kohlberg, but it's really a simple point. Jarlaxle does not act out of malice, unless it is revenge. His core reasons for doing things are not based in evil, nor good. Because of his unpredictability, he is chaotic, and neutral. He fights for neither ends of either of the alignment spectrums, and doesn't care if his actions shift toward one or the other. What he does care about is his bottom line and his own self-image.



Azuth, the First Magister
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Offense can never be given, only taken.
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