Total Pageviews

Monday, February 02, 2004

The alignments of Krynn

Hickman and Weis's "Dragonlance saga" is a fantasy setting made from and in part for role playing. They do not take lightly the proposition that roleplaying games make a difference in character formation, so it is interesting to see their take on some RPG conventions from a Christian POV.

They have an interesting way of handling character alignment, trying to preserve the D&D alignment compass. The main problem with the compass is the view of morality it presents. The way DL interprets it, nuetral is the freedom to choose whether to have a good perspective or a bad perspective -- as if goodnesss or badness didn't presuppose a freedom to choose it and that there was some value in being free for its own sake. On this view, neutrality is the prior and superior alignment . The interpretation suggests a pluralistic view of ethics -- which is not bad, except that Good is a good and so is Evil, which seems incoherent.

I have toyed with the idea of making the paradigm alignment in a "Christian" RPG neutral rather than good myself because of the inadequacy of seeing Good in just the sort of way suggested by DragonLance. There really is a fact about the plurality of legitmate lifestyles that the usual system fails to take account of. But I also want to accept that it is possible thatthere is also a fact about what the best or right thingg to do is among the competing goods in a situation. Since this is a FANTASY setting, we should be free to speculate that there is some objective heiracrhy or other principle that helps us settle questions between competing goods. Following this would then be "Good".

No comments: