Saturday, 19 January 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Neutral

Things in Triskele are a bit all over the place at the moment. Bri, the leader of the clerics guild has resigned, and there is a feeling that he was pushed rather than give a golden handshake. I have no idea what it was all about, and I don't really want to know, but I have been plodding along in my UK timezone, working on Parlamay as I go.
From reading Malakytes blog, it seems that Alphonsus will be taking over as leader, so I am sure he will inform us all of the situation once he's 'in post'.

I have used the three aspects idea, and made a note for new clerics about them, which is the reason for the blog. I showed this to someone tonight and we ended having a conversation about how to define 'Good' and 'Neutral'.
Here is the notes on Parlamay and her aspects, sorry if its a bit long, but it informs the debate.


Parlamay- Goddess of Nature
Favoured Weapon: Longbow
Alignment: Neutral
Portfolio: Forests, Fauna and Flora
Parlamay. The ever changing Goddess of Nature.
Like the cycle of the seasons, followers of Parlamay recognise that nature is fluid, it waxes and wanes, it is born, dies and is reborn a new.
As nature is, so is She.
Beautiful, ugly, loving, destroying, kind and harsh.
Yet without one there is no other, nature in perfect balance.
Followers of Parlamay live in harmony with the world around them, they are in tune with the land, they know its secrets and protect its children.
All those who respect nature can expect help, guidance and protection from the clerics of Parlamay, yet those who would harm the land and its creatures can expect the wrath of the Goddess through her chosen ones.
Clerics of Parlamay reflect the different aspects of the Goddess, and as a novice cleric you will be helped to find the path right for you. You will progress up the normal cleric ranks ie: Acolyte, Subdeacon,Cleric,High Cleric, but your duties will depend on the aspect you are aligned with.
Parlamay cleric aspects are Dawn, Noontide and Twilight, sisters and brothers

Dawn brothers and sisters
Dawn clerics run like the deer, see like the hawk, and fight like the mother bear. They are the active, protectors of the land. They roam the wild woods with the rangers, and dance with the elves and fairies. When battle is called, they are first to attend, running among the injured and helping where they can. They carry the bow, and will not hesitate to use it to defend the children of the Goddess. They are the keepers of Spring/Early Summer, and lead worship at these times of the year. They also help those who are pregnant or trying to conceive.
Dawn clerics wear blues and greens only

Noontide sisters and brothers
Noontide clerics care like the mother elephant, protect like the polar bear, and teach like the meercat.
They are the mothers and fathers of the order. They work with the peoples and creatures of the Goddess, listening, healing and caring for Her children.
They welcome new clerics, and are always ready to help a stranger. They tend to the land, grow the herb's, and keep the guild and temple well cared for. They take the time to discuss the Goddess with those who would listen. They do not carry weapons, and will not rush into conflict, but are able to protect themselves should the need arise. They are the keepers of Summer/Harvest and lead worship at those times of year. They help those with children or young animals, and preside over weddings.
Noontide clerics wear gold, yellow, orange or red only

Twilight brothers and sisters
Twilight clerics are wise like the raven, secretive as the shrew, and sharp as the peregrine.
They keep the secret knowledge of the Goddess.
They are advisers in times of need and able to judge a situation well. They know what happens in the realm, and may have contact with mages and rulers. They see the dark side of nature as being an important counter balance to the light, and although never evil, they will speak with those of the dark side. They do not rush to give opinions, but watch and choose their timing carefully.
They are the keepers of Late Autumn/Winter and lead worship at those times.
They may carry knives, and will use them if deemed necessary. They understand that death is a part of life, and will help those who are dying or have lost a loved one. They know the secrets of resurrection and are in charge of bringing loved ones back through the veil.
Twilight clerics wear, purple, black and silver only.

SO...In my mind I had the Dawn as neutral, Noontide as good with neutral leanings and Twilight as neutral with dark (not evil) leanings.
However my friend felt that Dawn was good, Noon was neutral and Twilight neutral/dark.

My reasoning was that the Dawn are like the rangers, protecting the creatures of the land and the land itself from harm, not aligned to political sides, but simply to the Goddess. Go getter's, action types. Therefore Neutral
Where as Noon, are non-combative, nurturing types. Healers and counsellors. Working with the people of the realm more. Pacifist activists. Therefore Good

In a roleplay environment the ideas of Good and Evil are very clear cut, whole races are automatically considered Evil (with few exceptions), or Good. A 'Goodie' would be unlikely to help an evil race, even if they were dying in front of them, where as a neutral character would.

So my friend argues (roughly, excuse me friend if i get this wrong) that the Dawn clerics are much more black and white, going with gut instinct , rushing into battle to defend, more childlike in their viewing of the world, therefore aligned more with 'Good'
Whereas the Noon clerics are more able to weigh a situation, helping whoever comes their way, even healing the evil races. They stand back passively from a fight, not involving themselves. Therefore 'Neutral'

This is something I struggled with in Everwind realm, because characteristics that I would consider in RL to be good, ie: helping all in need or not carrying a weapon, might actually be considered 'neutral', or even worse I might be seen as aiding the Dark side by healing one of their number.

I suppose this happens in Real Life sometimes also. The Quakers who refused to fight in the War, were doing what they felt was good, however many didn't see it that way. Do we sometimes have to do hard things for the greater good? or are we simply justifying evil.

Is 'Neutral' more good than 'Good'?
In roleplay, Good, Neutral, and Evil are much more sharply defined, and perhaps I have to face the fact that Wren the Noontide sister is not such a roleplay 'Goodie' after all.

All comments on the nature of Good, Neutral and Evil are welcomed


Benjamin Undercroft said...

Hi Wren. I feel a blog entry of my own coming on. This topic has really got my old noggin' working.

In many ways, I'm beginning to lean towards the opinion that we maybe spend too much time putting people into boxes (including ourselves). For example - elves must be "light", drow must be "dark". Did good old Bilbo Baggins not find himself imprisoned by wood-elves? Perhaps the tricky situation with working out cleric roles is partly to do with the fact that we are trying to suggest an alignment when individuals need to make up their own minds? It's just an idea, but perhaps your "neutral Goddess" should be completely neutral in the sense of "make your own decisions, as long as you respect nature" (to paraphrase somewhat!).

I know that role play and fantasy often pushes us into good or evil roles, but maybe a cleric could be all about an interest in something (e.g. wandering the woods, or caring), rather than an alignment (e.g. pro-drow).

I hope I've not commented with too long a thought. I probably should write something more sensible on my own blog! :-)

malakyte said...

Hehehe.. hi Wren!

Yes i wonder about that a bit myself. As a healer for a long time (years even) Malakyte has always healed those who have asked, regardless of their alignment.

I guess the question is, should being nonjudgemental considered to be good?

Anonymous said...

Hi Wren, Old Crone here. Just to be a complete pain, I think the idea that anyone can be truly 'neutral' is false.

What a person may be, by the grace of that Higher Power by which she is created, is detached from judgement, but this isn't neutral. It is a state of compasssionate and love-filled detachment - it is a state of consciousness, not a decision to do or not do certain actions.

To try to explain this, if you imagine a dream in which a great battle is taking place, with all the fear and elation and courage and excitement and everything - while you are in it, this is a reality in which Good and Bad have huge meaning. If you wake up from that dream you see it in a different light. You see that you have been a dreamer. It doesn't mean that there was anything wrong with the dream, but just that you now view it differently. Hopefully you view it and yourself with compassion and detachment.

'Good' and 'bad' belong to one world, the world bounded by self. There is another world.

Love to you. OC

malakyte said...

Just so you know i am using my blogger account for my dragon, Malakyte's blog.

Wren said...

Thanks Mal, I have altered the link to your new page.

Old Crone: With respect to your comments, they make interesting reading with regards to the RL (Real Life) and how we class ourselves. However in our Second Life roleplay world Neutral is an actual alighnment we can choose. In our virtual realm we have to choose to be Good, Neutral or Evil. The point I have been trying to explore in my blog, is how the choice I make in SL relates to how I feel in RL. I would like to think in RL I am (at least trying to be) good, however when this is translated to SL, I find that my idea of what is good, would be classed as being neutral.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for explaining! Sorry to intrude from my other realm of experience. Since I am unaware of the dynamics of SL I need help in understanding.

Thought: If God worked via computer 'lives' he /she might invent 'AL' ( another life, one on from the other 2) )as well as SL and RL. Although I know I am not on your wavelength being so very very old - I just want to say that I think there are infinite levels of reality, and what applies in one reality doesn't necessarily apply in another. So I think each dimension has its own rules.
They are distinct and separate, I think. What we play at is different from what we endure.What we endure is different from what we are called to be. The trouble comes when you start confusing virtual reality (SL) with everyday reality (RL). In my experience the 2 never meet and blend satisfactorily!!!
I am going to BUTT OUT now and leave you to enjoy your musings with others that you meet in SL as opposed to Old Crone whom you know in RL. But I still maintain that in RL there ain't no neutral, whatever there is in SL. Love to Wren ...

Arthur Ripley said...

Follow-up comment to good/bad/neutral: last night, there was an incident in Triskele where the drow captured some prisoners and a rescue mission was undertaken. I am a Free Ranger, meaning I am under no authority and follow my own rules, rather than order from "dark" or "light". It soon became a time of all-out war, and it's so very hard to remain neutral in these times - especially when Heathen Rangers are begging you to help them in battle. I offered to take part in negotiations, but it seemed that most just wanted to kill the others... I believe the prisoners were rescued in the end, although I did spot Orc Ripley acting as a body-guard for the Dark Queen.