jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

I've been watching the "Heroes of Awesome" play D&D. In this episode, they're camping out in the forest and are being circled by wolves.

Click here if you can't see the speciesist title card.

In previous episodes, the players (a guy, a girl, and two women) completely lacked agency or the ability to advance the plot in any way, save by kissing up to or accepting missions from NPC authority figures. And rolling a d20 over and over again until their roll doesn't suck. In this episode, we're apparently finding out that wolves like to eat elven and human adventurers who are encircling a campfire.

As soon as they realized the threat they were facing, the Chaotic-Neutral-ish Rogue asked if she ought to climb a tree. Everyone was like "NO" even though this is, of course, the most sensible thing to do.

Also, just as a minor nitpick, literally everyone at the table forgot that Eladrin don't sleep, and are aware of their surroundings during "trance." Which became relevant when the people on night watch started rolling Perception.

Can the wolves possibly survive their encounter with heavily-armed adventurers?! Maybe we'll keep watching and let you all know. >_>; I have to say, though, these campaign videos are really making me appreciate Fate and Dungeon World.

EDIT

We actually DMed an encounter with wolves, once, in D&D 4e, the same system these people are using. A Revenant (sapient zombie) player character woke up from death to find one chewing on her foot.

The wolves freaked out when the "carrion" fought back. Then she and another player character (who happened to show up just then) started dealing damage to them and doing flashy spellcasting-type stuff, and they bolted back into the woods.

No one was killed on either side (although one of the people involved was already dead).

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

Dungeons and Dragons (and its successor, Pathfinder) uses a mechanic called "alignment" to describe your character's morals. It consists of a Good / Evil axis and a Lawful / Chaotic axis, with the possibility of being "Neutral" on either or both.

A lot of people have discarded the alignment system, seeing it as neither a fun game mechanic nor a useful way of understanding people. We don't really like it as it's implemented in Pathfinder, but we feel like the Planescape campaign setting for D&D really showed what kind of potential it has both for storytelling and philosophy.

Planescape portrayed the Chaotic Neutral afterlife as a "Limbo" of swirling clouds of random matter, which change so often as to be essentially formless and static. It noted that there are "anarchs" who can reshape the landscape at a whim, but did not seem to think much of them.

We think that if someone were to make a game where you play as one, though, it'd look something like Microsoft's Project Spark ...

Click here if you can't see the video.

... either that, or the Internet.

Floating islands of games, stories, and content, connected by threads of imagination and lit by sparks of wonder. That's what we feel it'd be like, to live in a realm of pure creativity and personal expression.

We were always told that we'd get to create (and populate) worlds, in the Mormon afterlife. But that was always used as an excuse, to keep us from doing so here and now. We had to "endure to the end," first, and then somehow we'd go from a Lawful lifestyle of self-negation to an eternity of fulfillment. Either that, or we would be destroyed and replaced by someone who would be fulfilled as a Mormon.

I think our family of origin still wants that for us.

I think that's what all conservative religious people mean, when they talk about "loving the sinner but hating the sin."

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

... is especially meaningful for us.

You can view it here, if you don't care about spoilers or have already read the rest of the comic from the beginning. It contains a Wham Line as part of a Wham Episode, that'll change the way you see one of the major story arcs.

If you don't want to trawl through six years' worth of comics to get the meaning behind this, though, we've written an explanation that's as non-spoiler-y as possible behind the cut.

Explanation )

Why is this meaningful?

(Content note: Homophobia and religious abuse)

The Mormon church promised us everything. Godhood, creating our own worlds, and having an "eternal family," that being how they refer to spiritual hostage taking. If you don't have a straight Mormon temple marriage with kids, and stay a temple-worthy Mormon the rest of your life, you get nothing. Just the same crap clouds-and-harps heaven the non-Mormon peons get, which they basically see as hell, because God splits you up from your loved ones forever when he sends you there.

When I realized I couldn't support the Mormon church, it wasn't because I thought it wasn't true. It was because I couldn't be part of the bullying anymore. None of the rewards meant anything if I had to hurt other people to get them. And I was, by supporting these terrible people who hurt LGBTAQ innocents. Who I knew weren't doing the work of any god that I wanted to worship.

I may be too cynical to be Good-aligned, but I am not Evil-aligned. And that doesn't mean I "have a good heart" like the innocent killer, Ender, or like how my parents of origin see themselves. It means I stop doing something when I find out that it's hurting people, and try to make up for it. Instead of denying my victims' hurt, and trying to bully them into shutting up about it.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

That's the most commonly rendered version of Google's motto, which most people invoke ironically these days as they point out the latest evil thing Google did. But you can do a lot of evil stuff without ever seeing yourself as evil. And if you're measuring how good you are by how evil someone else is, you get to be one of those people who wants a cookie for not being as terrible as someone else.

I personally feel that if you are alive, then you deserve to be alive, by default and until proven otherwise. I believe that "kindness is goodness;" that you are a good person just for being the kind of person you are, and that if anyone says otherwise or tries to prevent you from being yourself then they are being unkind to you.

I believe that some people are damaged, disabled, marginalized, or ill. I believe they deserve to exist, and to participate fully in society. I think it is the responsibility of abled people to accommodate them. I believe in solidarity with these people, and in giving up privilege or inconveniencing myself in order to keep them from having to do without things that they need or that I take for granted. I believe this is best done not through individual acts, but as a society, so that the responsibility is spread out and so that they do not need to beg.

I believe that some people are dangerous, including (but not limited to) carnivores, narcissists, and white European Americans. I don't believe that being dangerous means that a person is evil or must be destroyed. I believe there are ways to coexist, that do not have to involve harming innocents. But I believe that the burden is on the most dangerous people to find those ways, not on their victims. And I sympathize with those who resist them.

I believe that Chaotic Neutral is the best D&D alignment, because I feel it encompasses (or can encompass) all of the above. I believe you don't have to be "good" to be kind to others and empathize with them. I believe that the concept of "good" is overrated, and is often used to cover for dangerous people's actions, or to condemn those who resist them as "evil."

If "good" exists objectively, it is willing self-sacrifice on behalf of another. I don't feel that it's needed in order to be kind to others, because I feel that most people are naturally kind (or at least not dangerous) so long as their needs are met. But I do feel that kindness -- both in the sense of being yourself, and respecting the rights of others to do the same -- is a prerequisite for the kind of self-sacrifice that is helpful.

Otherwise, you end up seeing self-sacrifice as good in and of itself. You don't trust people who don't give up enough of themselves for "the greater good." And you give your all for other people, who you then expect to do the same for others, until there's no kindness left in the universe because everyone's trying so hard to be "good."

Or at least, to appear good. Which is much easier.

jewelfox: A portrait of a female anthropomorphic fox, with a pink jewelled pendant and a cute overbite. (Default)

(With apologies to Wreck-it Ralph. Linked video contains spoilers.)

I used to get Lawful Good on D&D alignment quizzes, because I only picked the "right" answers. Later, and for most of the last ten years, I answered honestly and got Neutral Good ... because I didn't want to rock the boat, but I still went out of my way to help people.

I still do, sometimes. But the most recent alignment quiz I took pegged me as Chaotic Neutral, and the more I think about it the more I think it fits.

I think the tipping point, for me, was seeing how corporations like Mozilla -- which I thought were purely benevolent -- were really more concerned with ensuring their own survival. And while a lot of Free Software volunteers do so out of the goodness of their hearts, after being thrown away by GNOME I saw how others like me were being manipulated thanks to their desires to do good.

Read more... )

tl;dr

The more I realize how little I know, and how messed-up my programming is thanks to my upbringing, the less confident I am that it's even possible to be a "good" person in the conventional sense. Not without massive conflicts of interest, and potential for abuse / exploitation.

Instead, I'm trying to be a kind person. Both in the sense that I want to treat others as people, and in the sense that [personal profile] aliaspseudonym referred to in its Xenotheism essay. Where "kindness is goodness," because the most genuinely good thing any person can do is to just be the kind of person they are.

If you don't believe that, then you can't really help anyone anyway.

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

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