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 is jarlaxle good or evil?
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Aulduron
Learned Scribe

USA
342 Posts

Posted - 20 Dec 2008 :  06:30:10  Show Profile Send Aulduron a Private Message
On a different board, I once said,

"I think Jarlaxle always wanted to leave the city, and it's evil behind, but never had the guts. Instead, he used his house and "favor of Lolth" to create Bregan D'aerthe and prosper, out of a lack of choices. Then comes Drizzt(and possibly Lireal), the son of a friend, who defied the Matrons, their goddess, and the underdark itself, to go to the surface and prosper with powerfull, "goodly" friends of the surface races.

Instead of being jealous of Drizzt, he finds opportunity to leave in Entreri. Artemis, like Jarlaxle, is a product of his environment. When his own ambition to be "evil" betrays him to the artifact, he has a change of heart. He wants to find a similar acceptance on the surface. Either trying to give Artemis a heart is an attempt at attonement, or he just plain finds that a "less evil" Entreri gives him more opportunities to acomplish his goals.

That's just my take on him."

Bob Salvatorre told me "Pretty good take, I think."

"Those with talent become wizards, Those without talent spend their lives praying for it"

-Procopio Septus
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2008 :  18:33:21  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by ranger_of_the_unicorn_run

I would say that there is a question about his alignment if you consider the discussion in this thread. I know that he is listed as evil in the books, but there are some subtleties that can't really be communicated by assigning an alignment.


That's true for pretty much every other character, though.

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)
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Rinonalyrna Fathomlin
Great Reader

USA
7106 Posts

Posted - 22 Dec 2008 :  18:36:53  Show Profile  Visit Rinonalyrna Fathomlin's Homepage Send Rinonalyrna Fathomlin a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Mouse

Jarlaxle's one of those characters who makes the Alingment system look a little silly just by being around. He's evidently self-serving, to the point of being evil, seems to not feel really sorry for anything he ever does or anyone else for that matter (maybe a hint of remorse, but never any regrets)...He saves people, but only if they're useful...


Those are a few characteristics of the sociopath, right there.

"Instead of asking why we sleep, it might make sense to ask why we wake. Perchance we live to dream. From that perspective, the sea of troubles we navigate in the workaday world might be the price we pay for admission to another night in the world of dreams."
--Richard Greene (letter to Time)

Edited by - Rinonalyrna Fathomlin on 22 Dec 2008 18:37:50
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Calen
Acolyte

Canada
14 Posts

Posted - 04 Jan 2009 :  02:56:49  Show Profile  Visit Calen's Homepage Send Calen a Private Message
I would have to say he is neutral evil. He has no problem getting involved in things or killing people as long as the outcome favors him. If there is no gain or reason to protect his own holdings then he does not bother to direct the course of action, unless of course he can find some amsuement in it. sounds pretty neutral and sounds pretty evil.
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bolf66
Seeker

USA
17 Posts

Posted - 12 Feb 2009 :  04:54:00  Show Profile  Visit bolf66's Homepage Send bolf66 a Private Message
I'm new to this poll but too throw my but I would definatly say he is just chaotic I voted and will say again it doesn't matter because he's just awsome either way and I see in him the point of the whole realms that if u expect it to be one way your in for a nasty suprise and that's also way I totaly embrace realms 4ed no one perdicts jarlaxle or the realms and I love a story that has me on my toes and I think that what r.a. salvator , Ed and the rest are going to do

perception is the real truth
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freeman_12
Acolyte

USA
2 Posts

Posted - 30 Jan 2010 :  02:34:12  Show Profile  Visit freeman_12's Homepage Send freeman_12 a Private Message
in several cases he helps the deep gnomes even though they lack adequate payment for his services, they have nothing to offer Him that
cannot be obtained from his own race by simply selling the same information to the Drow, but he chooses to patronize a goodly race? in the attack on mithrill hall when,
to all drow accounts, they were winning the battle, he still chose to play a huge part in drizzt's escape, he is curious and playful in action, and naturally
"without temptation of profit or gain" will bend towards good, but when money is to be made or alliances to be solidified he is known to make an evil decision,
leaving him somewhere in the middle.... there is nothing evil about him.
but also nothing preternaturally good. i think there may be a word for this... it means on the fence... in the middle? OH YEAH! NEUTRAL!

BeN
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Alystra Illianniis
Great Reader

USA
3747 Posts

Posted - 30 Jan 2010 :  03:42:00  Show Profile  Click to see Alystra Illianniis's MSN Messenger address Send Alystra Illianniis a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by The Sage

quote:
Originally posted by draco

i hope im not dredging up old posts apologies if so

ive noticed alot of quoting from "official" sources and the thing with anything official its still just one or two people and just because its official doesnt mean its correct
If it's information that they've worked into canon, then it's correct and official in terms of the setting.




It may have been correct at that time, but I think that info is a bit out-dated, and his alignment has shifted since then (using the argument that recent canon supersedes older info). In the last few books, I've seen what looks like a definite trend toward CN. He helped Artemis, and in the last book (The Ghost King) he was definitely showing compassion in the situation with Cattie-Brie. Even though he knew Drizzt would not trust him, he still offered to help, when there was no real profit other than his own survival. He could have accomplished the same thing (i.e.- surviving) without going to the trouble of helping them, simply by heading for the most distant hills he could find. While he's not especially good by any means, one could argue that while he does occasionally commit "evil" acts, he does not do so needlessly, or without considering the consequences. He put his own life on the line to aid a former enemy, and although his motives were partly selfish, he was also going from a nostalgic sense of his past friendship with Zaknafein. He certainly felt a bit of guilt in that book, which says he may not be as evil as the source-books made him out to be. They are, after all, one person's interpretation of the character. Not to mention the Villain's Lorebook is nearly twenty years old! If they re-wrote it today, with the canon from the Sellswords and Transitions books, he might be down as CN.

Plus, do keep in mind that selfish does not necessarily mean evil. There are plenty of otherwise good, decent people in the real world who are fairly selfish or even a little greedy. The 3.5 PHB even uses a statement somewhere- forget what page- that Tordek, a LG dwarf, has a tendency to be greedy, and fights that inclination in his moral code. That tells us that even the most "good" characters can have moral flaws! That does not make a person evil- it is greed and selfishness without regard for the consequences to others, without remorse or concern for law or morals that makes one evil. I don't see that fitting him. It might have at one time- mostly in Homeland, Exile, and possibly the first book or two of Legacy series, but he's grown beyond that. He is still unpredictable and ambitious, sure, but I don't believe he is purely evil at this point. As to his being favored by Lolth- there has been some hint that Drizzt is, as well, and he is most definitely NOT evil!! She does love chaos for its own sake, after all!

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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Salius Kai
Learned Scribe

USA
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Posted - 31 Jan 2010 :  14:53:26  Show Profile  Visit Salius Kai's Homepage  Send Salius Kai an AOL message  Click to see Salius Kai's MSN Messenger address Send Salius Kai a Private Message
At one time I would have said he was Evil. Hands down. Possibly Chaotic Evil, even. But after the Ghost King, I think his alignment may have shifted a little towards the "good" side. Granted, evil people can still help people, I know. But the sheer amount of helping he did, and just because he wanted to (his own inner dialogue verified as much) leads me to believe he's starting to see the world through the eyes of someone like Drizzt, not just a mercenary.

"Welcome to these walls of infinite knowledge."

Salius Kai
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woodwwad
Learned Scribe

USA
267 Posts

Posted - 31 Jan 2010 :  18:53:04  Show Profile  Visit woodwwad's Homepage Send woodwwad a Private Message
I've never seen any stat write ups on him, but from reading the books. I guess he's evil. Either NE or CE.

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darkelf15962
Seeker

22 Posts

Posted - 09 Feb 2010 :  16:49:10  Show Profile  Visit darkelf15962's Homepage Send darkelf15962 a Private Message
I think Jarlaxle is good, but pragmatic. He sows "kindness" int "The Ghost King", He's like Zaknafein in a way.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30288 Posts

Posted - 10 Feb 2010 :  00:28:41  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
Being evil does not preclude doing good. Evil folks can still care for others, show kindness, risk their lives for loved ones, pet kittens, and buy Girl Scout cookies*, all without the local branch of the Evil Union coming down on them. What matters is what a person does overall -- especially towards those to whom he feels no bonds.

A great example are the Black Paladins of Zakhrin in the Rose of the Prophet trilogy, by Weis and Hickman. We see one of the Black Paladins casually murder several people -- some to make a point, others to drain their blood for sacrificial purposes. We see this same Black Paladin weep at the loss of his blood-brother, and risk his life to save a new blood-brother from his own people.

Or look at Raistlin, from the Dragginglance books. Undeniably evil, but he showed great kindness to Bupu, and risked his soul to save Crysania.

*It's a known fact that Bane(Xvim!) is a huge fan of Thin Mints. The Zhentarim are purportedly trying to figure out the recipe, to further their economic conquest of the Heartlands.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 10 Feb 2010 00:52:11
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sfdragon
Great Reader

2047 Posts

Posted - 10 Feb 2010 :  01:04:33  Show Profile Send sfdragon a Private Message
My take on JArlaxle is that he is neither good nor evil, simply Jarlaxle.

If you were to ask him this very question, He'd spin off a long and winding answer into a tale with some may twists and turns, that even he would not know himself the answer to this question.
A straight answer from Jarlaxle, it be a cold day in Baator...

why is being a wizard like being a drow? both are likely to find a dagger in the back from a rival or one looking to further his own goals, fame and power


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BEAST
Master of Realmslore

USA
1714 Posts

Posted - 10 Feb 2010 :  10:02:48  Show Profile  Visit BEAST's Homepage Send BEAST a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Alystra Illianniis

In the last few books, I've seen what looks like a definite trend toward CN. He helped Artemis, and in the last book (The Ghost King) he was definitely showing compassion in the situation with Cattie-Brie. Even though he knew Drizzt would not trust him, he still offered to help, when there was no real profit other than his own survival. He could have accomplished the same thing (i.e.- surviving) without going to the trouble of helping them, simply by heading for the most distant hills he could find. While he's not especially good by any means, one could argue that while he does occasionally commit "evil" acts, he does not do so needlessly, or without considering the consequences. He put his own life on the line to aid a former enemy, and although his motives were partly selfish, he was also going from a nostalgic sense of his past friendship with Zaknafein. He certainly felt a bit of guilt in that book, which says he may not be as evil as the source-books made him out to be. They are, after all, one person's interpretation of the character. Not to mention the Villain's Lorebook is nearly twenty years old! If they re-wrote it today, with the canon from the Sellswords and Transitions books, he might be down as CN.

I'll go you one better.

[The Ghost King spoiler]I think in TGK, Jarlaxle seems to have begun as Chaotic Good. He leaves Luskan and Bregan D'aerthe because wanderlust has once again struck, and frankly, he'd just like to get away from the hustle and bustle of normal business (Chaotically arbitrary, free-spirited). But he's respectful of his buddy Arthrogate's feelings and safety, and seems concerned to hear about Catti-brie's plight (Good). Yes, he certainly starts out aiming to somehow take advantage of her situation in order to better his own predicament, and he's perfectly willing to lie to Bruenor in order to secure the Companions' help in that regard, since he can think of no better way to deal with all of their problems; but he never wishes ill will upon any goodly character, in the entire book.

Later, Jar begins transitioning further into Neutral Good. He still hedges the truth occasionally, and he darted out of the Spirit Soaring to chat secretly with Kimmuriel once, which raised the suspicions of Bruenor and Drizzt, but he remains generally loyal to his party (Neutral respect for law & order & authority). But again, this appears to be due to him not seeing any other way out. Another key passage was his conversation with Cadderly in which he professes belief in no god, but rather follows his own heart. At any rate, over time, he seems to have consistently, genuinely, increasingly shown respect for the lives and dignity of all goodly folk that he encountered, here (Good). He even earned sufficient trust from King Bruenor and Drizzt to be allowed to move into Mithral Hall!
[/spoiler]

Does this reflect a permanent change in Jar's alignment? Too soon to tell. But in this latest book, he uniformly wished well for other goodly folks. He just continues to reserve the right to be a little loose with the means of helping them out, along the way.

"'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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swifty
Senior Scribe

United Kingdom
517 Posts

Posted - 10 Feb 2010 :  11:30:52  Show Profile  Visit swifty's Homepage Send swifty a Private Message
i cant consider jar neutral evil because isnt that the worst type.shar and cyric are both neutral evil.i thought of him more as chaotic evil or chaotic neutral.

go back to sleep america.everything is under control.heres american gladiators.watch this.shuttup. BILL HICKS.
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BEAST
Master of Realmslore

USA
1714 Posts

Posted - 11 Feb 2010 :  06:54:46  Show Profile  Visit BEAST's Homepage Send BEAST a Private Message
I think he was probably chaotic neutral back in the day. He was an opportunistic profit-seeker, through and through. But he didn't seem to wish harm upon others. If it happened, so be it, but he didn't actively seek to inflict pain and suffering upon people just because.

That has changed, over time, in that most recently he has repeatedly tried to positively help others out. That certainly sounds good to me.

"'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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Jorkens
Great Reader

Norway
2950 Posts

Posted - 13 Feb 2010 :  11:21:05  Show Profile Send Jorkens a Private Message
He was neutral evil in the 2ed. and I see no reason to change this. I cant say that I have followed the novels that much though. But gamewize that's the alignment they chose to give him.
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Alystra Illianniis
Great Reader

USA
3747 Posts

Posted - 19 Feb 2010 :  00:05:54  Show Profile  Click to see Alystra Illianniis's MSN Messenger address Send Alystra Illianniis a Private Message
Beast, you make some great points, and in fact, I'll give you props for actually showing just how much Jar has changed. One you forgot though, was his aid to Cadderly and Danica's children, via Bregan D'aerthe, when they and the other survivors were fleeing the city through the Underdark after it was overrun by undead. There was no reason for him to do this, and none of the other characters, including the survivors themselves, knew that he and his band had anything to do with their escape. He did it purely from a sense of good will, without any profit to be gained, even over the protests of Kimmuriel.

Wooly Rupert wrote:
"Being evil does not preclude doing good. Evil folks can still care for others, show kindness, risk their lives for loved ones, pet kittens, and buy Girl Scout cookies*, all without the local branch of the Evil Union coming down on them. What matters is what a person does overall -- especially towards those to whom he feels no bonds."

Wooly, as to the idea of evil people still being able to feel friendship and so forth, I do agree that that is true, however, there is one aspect we may be overlooking in that. This belief assumes a lostly LAWFUL outlook, as that is the one evil alignment most likely to have a sense of honor or a code of morals and ethics, however warped those minght be. This is where I think the D&D alignment system tends to fail. I like the Paladium alignments system, which has clearly defined ideas and examples of actions and behavior for each of the magor alignments, except for NG, NE, and "true" N, which apparently don't exist according to Paladium rules. So it's not so much a question of can an evil characher care about others, it's more to what extent and HOW he acts on those feelings, and wether he will allow those feelings to override his evil tendancies at all. As noted earlier, one can certainly be opportunistic, selfish, or a little greedy and still be a good person otherwise in spite of the flaw, or from the other end, one can be the most power-hungry, selfish, greedy b@$t@rd alive and still have a soft spot for small furry things. (Just ask Dr. Evil!!) It's all a matter of how one acts according to one's inner nature vs moral code. If the evil tendancies win out most of the time, then yes, I'd go with evil. But if the person chooses the moral high ground often enough, then I'd say he is no longer really evil- just slightly unprincipled.



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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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
30288 Posts

Posted - 19 Feb 2010 :  00:28:58  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Alystra Illianniis

Wooly, as to the idea of evil people still being able to feel friendship and so forth, I do agree that that is true, however, there is one aspect we may be overlooking in that. This belief assumes a lostly LAWFUL outlook, as that is the one evil alignment most likely to have a sense of honor or a code of morals and ethics, however warped those minght be. This is where I think the D&D alignment system tends to fail.


I can't agree that being lawful or chaotic has any bearing whatsoever on it. All that chaotic means, in D&D terms, is that the person favors individual rights over the rights of the group. And lawful means that they favor the group over the individual. So it doesn't matter which side you favor -- you can care for someone else quite strongly, regardless of how you regard others. I don't have to think the group is most important to love my wife, for example.

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Alystra Illianniis
Great Reader

USA
3747 Posts

Posted - 19 Feb 2010 :  01:33:57  Show Profile  Click to see Alystra Illianniis's MSN Messenger address Send Alystra Illianniis a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Alystra Illianniis

Wooly, as to the idea of evil people still being able to feel friendship and so forth, I do agree that that is true, however, there is one aspect we may be overlooking in that. This belief assumes a lostly LAWFUL outlook, as that is the one evil alignment most likely to have a sense of honor or a code of morals and ethics, however warped those minght be. This is where I think the D&D alignment system tends to fail.


I can't agree that being lawful or chaotic has any bearing whatsoever on it. All that chaotic means, in D&D terms, is that the person favors individual rights over the rights of the group. And lawful means that they favor the group over the individual. So it doesn't matter which side you favor -- you can care for someone else quite strongly, regardless of how you regard others. I don't have to think the group is most important to love my wife, for example.



True enough. Actually, by most game standards, lawful does not necessarily mean favoring the group over individual rights. It is simply that- a tendancy toward order and duty(law) over anarchy or dissent(chaos). A better description might be to call it principled.(the term Paladium uses- sorry, I just rolled up a PC for my hubby's Robotech campaign that he is starting, so this issue has come up recently for me!) I sometimes think the D&D alignments oversimplify the issue along those lines in particular. A lawful person might, say adhere to the general rules of society, where a chaotic person would naturally rebel against them, even if those laws don't particularly over-ride individual rights. Our own society is a good example of this in action. You have people who believe that our society upholds freedom and personal rights,(they'de be lawful) and then there are those who think the government tramples those same rights, and favor anrchy or some other government system instead(the chaotics).

That, to me, is the essential difference between the two alignments, and is why I sort of like the Paladium descriptions better. They actaully lay out some good examples of what a lawful or chaotic person might do, and even break it down into the good/evil distinctions of behavior, too. Lawful adheres to basic accepted standards and generally won't do certain things,(like torture people or harming innocents unnecessarily, whether good or evil) and chaotic does whatever it feels like or can get away with. It's when you throw in the good/evil axis that things tend to get confused. Where does one draw a line to say something is evil? does society make that judgement, or is it up to the individual to decide what is morally right or wrong? So one could say that the only difference between the lawful and the chaotic is what the society's rules are on right and wrong.

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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BEAST
Master of Realmslore

USA
1714 Posts

Posted - 19 Feb 2010 :  08:02:15  Show Profile  Visit BEAST's Homepage Send BEAST a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Being evil does not preclude doing good. Evil folks can still care for others, show kindness, risk their lives for loved ones, pet kittens, and buy Girl Scout cookies*, all without the local branch of the Evil Union coming down on them. What matters is what a person does overall -- especially towards those to whom he feels no bonds.

I missed this, earlier, but Alystra brought my attention to it.

I think that Jar showed an overall change in alignment in this book, in that he helped lots and lots of people, without us really seeing much in the way of personal bonds.

His dwarven sidekick Arthrogate: we can definitely see a link, there.

But with Drizzt, Catti-brie, Bruenor, Cadderly, Danica, their kids, and the refugees from Carradoon, Jar bent over backwards to help. If all he was doing in helping Drizzt & Co. was meant simply to get them to protect his own backside, Jar could've easily let the kids and the refugees die in the tunnels. Cad and Dani had no idea that he was sending Bregan D'aerthe to help the folks out in the tunnel, and he could've just as easily let the kids & refugees croak without the parents ever knowing, so he wasn't helping them in order to manipulate the parents into continuing to help him with the Ghost King. By all apearances, he did it because he genuinely cared about their lives and well-being.

And that sounds classically Good to me.



quote:
Originally posted by Jorkens

He was neutral evil in the 2ed. and I see no reason to change this.

But I don't recall Jarlaxle ever wishing to make people suffer for sport or out of a sense of duty to some dark lord/mistress. So I don't see how the powers-that-be figured him to be Evil.

He was a mercenary, which is just a soldier-for-hire. Individual acts of killing are not necessarily always marks of an Evil character, just as individual acts of helping others out aren't necessarily always the marks of someone Good.

Perhaps his willing service to Evil matron mothers effectively rendered him Evil by extension? But he always seemed to be in it for profit, rather than for sadism or piety. And profit would dictate that he kill off some, but not all, of the parties concerned, in order to draw out his means of income for as long as possible. (Witness the decade-long Do'Urden/Hun'ett house war.)

I don't recall him ever wishing to hurt people, so much as to help himself.

And lately, he seems to be willfully helping others, without any clear indication of it helping him. Apparently, he does it just because it makes him feel good to make others feel good.



quote:
Originally posted by Alystra Illianniis

Beast, you make some great points, and in fact, I'll give you props for actually showing just how much Jar has changed. One you forgot though, was his aid to Cadderly and Danica's children, via Bregan D'aerthe, when they and the other survivors were fleeing the city through the Underdark after it was overrun by undead. There was no reason for him to do this, and none of the other characters, including the survivors themselves, knew that he and his band had anything to do with their escape. He did it purely from a sense of good will, without any profit to be gained, even over the protests of Kimmuriel.

Fixed.

"'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">

Edited by - BEAST on 19 Feb 2010 08:44:33
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bladeinAmn
Learned Scribe

199 Posts

Posted - 19 Feb 2010 :  08:08:15  Show Profile  Visit bladeinAmn's Homepage Send bladeinAmn a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Alystra Illianniis
(snipped)
Lawful adheres to basic accepted standards and generally won't do certain things,(like torture people or harming innocents unnecessarily, whether good or evil) and chaotic does whatever it feels like or can get away with. It's when you throw in the good/evil axis that things tend to get confused. Where does one draw a line to say something is evil? does society make that judgement, or is it up to the individual to decide what is morally right or wrong? So one could say that the only difference between the lawful and the chaotic is what the society's rules are on right and wrong.


Kinda cool you posted this in a thread dedicated to the drow Jarlaxle. I juss wanted to point out that, as you said, while lawful folk in most human/demihuman societies in the Realms wouldn't tolerate torture or unneccessary harm to innocent people, those actions WOULD INDEED be tolerated in a typical drow society, where Lloth dictates the law and order of the day. It'd also be accepted in an extra-planar society like that of cities in Baator, where many of the ruling demons are of a 'lawful evil' alignment.

I just wanted to point out that I think the alignment system in AD&D is just fine, provided its taken in the proper context. If they overdid the explanations and examples, it could be considered too constricting, and thus leaving less room for proper roleplay, as every being has a different personality from the other.

Getting back to the original question, I think when we first learned of Jarlaxle, he could've been considered of a 'neutral evil' alignment, but after reading Promise of the Witch-King, I think he's 'neutral', w/the attitude that he'll do good for who he feels deserves it. I also feel he's way too smart and wise to be considered 'chaotic neutral'.

Edited by - bladeinAmn on 19 Feb 2010 08:14:08
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Alystra Illianniis
Great Reader

USA
3747 Posts

Posted - 19 Feb 2010 :  22:34:55  Show Profile  Click to see Alystra Illianniis's MSN Messenger address Send Alystra Illianniis a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by bladeinAmn

quote:
Originally posted by Alystra Illianniis
(snipped)
Lawful adheres to basic accepted standards and generally won't do certain things,(like torture people or harming innocents unnecessarily, whether good or evil) and chaotic does whatever it feels like or can get away with. It's when you throw in the good/evil axis that things tend to get confused. Where does one draw a line to say something is evil? does society make that judgement, or is it up to the individual to decide what is morally right or wrong? So one could say that the only difference between the lawful and the chaotic is what the society's rules are on right and wrong.


Kinda cool you posted this in a thread dedicated to the drow Jarlaxle. I juss wanted to point out that, as you said, while lawful folk in most human/demihuman societies in the Realms wouldn't tolerate torture or unneccessary harm to innocent people, those actions WOULD INDEED be tolerated in a typical drow society, where Lloth dictates the law and order of the day. It'd also be accepted in an extra-planar society like that of cities in Baator, where many of the ruling demons are of a 'lawful evil' alignment.

I just wanted to point out that I think the alignment system in AD&D is just fine, provided its taken in the proper context. If they overdid the explanations and examples, it could be considered too constricting, and thus leaving less room for proper roleplay, as every being has a different personality from the other.

Getting back to the original question, I think when we first learned of Jarlaxle, he could've been considered of a 'neutral evil' alignment, but after reading Promise of the Witch-King, I think he's 'neutral', w/the attitude that he'll do good for who he feels deserves it. I also feel he's way too smart and wise to be considered 'chaotic neutral'.



Hmm. Interesting thoughts there. I would point out one minor detail (not nit-picking, just noting a slight error) that in Baator, the residents are devils, not demons. Demons are native to the Abyss, and are CE. Devils are LE(generally). As to the society, I was not even referring to any particular society, but to basic alignment trends. To whit-
Lawful Good generally would not: lie, cheat or steal fom friends or enemies; torture for info or pleasure; harm an innocent; kill for pleasure or profit(probably would prefer to bring an enemy to justice rather than kill him); or betray a friend or loved one; deviate from a percieved code of honor and fairness for any reason.
Lawful Evil generally would not: lie cheat or steal from friends or allies (but might do so to an enemy); harm or kill for pleasure(but might do so for profit); torture unnecessarily(but will for info if needed); or betray a friend(but would betray an enemy; and only rarely abandon a code of honor, even when dealing with an enemy.
Chaotic Good generally would not: lie to or steal from friends or allies, but certainly might do so to enemies; might use torture as a last resort for info, but not for pleasure; harm an innocent; kill uneccessarily, but have no problem killing an enemy; betray a friend or loved one willingly; or abandon a code of honor unless absolutely necessary.
Chaotic Evil generally WOULD do: Any of the above, if they feel so inclined.
Chaotic Neutral generally might: Do any of the above for profit, though probably not for pleasure, except possibly for harming or betraying innocents or friends unless he/she can gain from it.
NE and NG are a bit more tricky. NE might go either way on any of the above morals and ethics, while NG would tend toward law in some respects, but might sometimes bend the rules.

This is not referring to any given society, but to morality in general, and it is a shortened form of the Paladium alignment system. I may have forgotten a few points of behavior, but the general idea is there. Maybe this helps?


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bladeinAmn
Learned Scribe

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Posted - 20 Feb 2010 :  05:24:34  Show Profile  Visit bladeinAmn's Homepage Send bladeinAmn a Private Message
Oh alright! I see what you meant in a better light now.
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Jorkens
Great Reader

Norway
2950 Posts

Posted - 20 Feb 2010 :  15:32:39  Show Profile Send Jorkens a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by BEAST
[


quote:
Originally posted by Jorkens

He was neutral evil in the 2ed. and I see no reason to change this.

But I don't recall Jarlaxle ever wishing to make people suffer for sport or out of a sense of duty to some dark lord/mistress. So I don't see how the powers-that-be figured him to be Evil.

He was a mercenary, which is just a soldier-for-hire. Individual acts of killing are not necessarily always marks of an Evil character, just as individual acts of helping others out aren't necessarily always the marks of someone Good.

Perhaps his willing service to Evil matron mothers effectively rendered him Evil by extension? But he always seemed to be in it for profit, rather than for sadism or piety. And profit would dictate that he kill off some, but not all, of the parties concerned, in order to draw out his means of income for as long as possible. (Witness the decade-long Do'Urden/Hun'ett house war.)

I don't recall him ever wishing to hurt people, so much as to help himself.

And lately, he seems to be willfully helping others, without any clear indication of it helping him. Apparently, he does it just because it makes him feel good to make others feel good.





He is a mercenary willing to work for anybody and do anything that he is paid for. As long as it doesn't threaten his own position of power in Mezzoberansan (wrong spelling I know, but I don't have a book handy at the moment)he will partake in massacres of other drow, raiding of other races and whatever else comes up. To me that sounds Neutral evil, an amoral mercenary looking out for him self whilst making a buck. Sadism or pious duty would have made him more of a chaotic or lawful character, here there is no greater loyalty.

Again, I have no idea what has been done to the character for the last ten-fifteen years, so this might t have changed, but that was the situation when the stats were made.
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BEAST
Master of Realmslore

USA
1714 Posts

Posted - 20 Feb 2010 :  21:45:19  Show Profile  Visit BEAST's Homepage Send BEAST a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Jorkens

He is a mercenary willing to work for anybody and do anything that he is paid for. As long as it doesn't threaten his own position of power in Mezzoberansan (wrong spelling I know, but I don't have a book handy at the moment)he will partake in massacres of other drow, raiding of other races and whatever else comes up. To me that sounds Neutral evil, an amoral mercenary looking out for him self whilst making a buck. Sadism or pious duty would have made him more of a chaotic or lawful character, here there is no greater loyalty.

The lorebooks that I have access to say that sadism or pious duty to a sadist lord/mistress are marks of an Evil character. I don't get how that's indicative of Chaotic.

Lawful, OK, yeah, I can see loyal service being that.

But for the majority of the past, Jar's loyalties have been to himself. That's why I agree with the Chaotic or Neutral labels in terms of lawfulness.

However, I don't see Jar finding pleasure in intentionally hurting others in the stories. His pleasure comes from the profit; the hurting is just a job. Since he doesn't find pleasure in the infliction of pain and suffering, I don't see him as Evil.

quote:
Again, I have no idea what has been done to the character for the last ten-fifteen years, so this might t have changed, but that was the situation when the stats were made.

I don't recall a time when Jarlaxle ever took pleasure in hurting others. Yes, the official stats labeled him as such, but those official descriptions don't seem to match the character originally described in the stories.

I guess it comes down to which Jarlaxle you want to talk about: story Jar, or game Jar.

"'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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