Month: June 2019

Friday Night D&D – When Aliens Attack

Friday Night D&D – When Aliens Attack

Wait, wait, wait, isn’t Dungeons and Dragons fantasy? Yeah, Dungeons and Dragons is epic fantasy and we’re adding aliens into the mix. And not just some weird creatures from another plane, we’re adding in spaceships and craziness like that to Dungeons and Dragons, deal with […]

D&D Alignment – Lawful Neutral

D&D Alignment – Lawful Neutral

I debated what direction I wanted to go. Did I want to go across the top and do all of the good ones, or down the side and do all the lawful ones, or be chaotic and just randomly pick the next one to do. […]

Malts and Meeples – Pandemic Legacy Season 1 – Game 11

Malts and Meeples – Pandemic Legacy Season 1 – Game 11

What’s going on in the world in this game of Pandemic Legacy? We had some surprises come when we played last time. How will that affect our game going forward?

Pandemic Legacy is a game where you are trying to cure diseases on a changing board that is unique to your game play. In the end, your game is going to look different than any other copy of the game. You can find more information about this game on Board Game Geek.

As for my beer yesterday, I drank Into It from Modist Brewing out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is a Raspberry and Lime Lager. An interesting taste up front, but it ends up just finishing like a lager, which was kind of disappointing.

Bottoms up!

Book’em Nerdo – Ascend Online #2 – Legacy of the Fallen

Book’em Nerdo – Ascend Online #2 – Legacy of the Fallen

Back into the world of Ascend Online for a little bit. Now I need to wait until the next one comes out, I should really find series that are complete to read or listen to at this point. Arcane Ascension is still going and Ascend […]

Malts and Meeples – Pandemic Legacy Season 1 – Game 10

Malts and Meeples – Pandemic Legacy Season 1 – Game 10

More Malts and Meeples after about a week off, I was able to get the game to the table last night with a little interruption in the form of a baby who decided he should do a 180 in his bed and confuse himself. But […]

D&D Alignment – Lawful Good

D&D Alignment – Lawful Good

We’re starting in the top corner of the alignment matrix. Just a quick reminder, the alignment matrix goes from Lawful to Chaotic on the horizontal axis and Good to Evil on the vertical axis. So let’s talk about what a lawful good PC is like, and why you might be out adventuring as one of them.

If you’re lawful that means that there are some set of rules that you follow and you want to follow them closely or perfectly if you can. In the case of a lawful good character, you’re going to most likely be following the rules of someone or something that is known to be good as well. This can be the laws of the land, but it’s more often the rules of a good deity, since humans, elves, dwarves, etc are all fallible creatures. That means that sometimes you might not even follow the laws of the land if you believe that they aren’t just.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

The good piece just means that you’re not going to do something that’s evil. It seems pretty simple that way. But to go along with that, it doesn’t mean that you don’t do anything. If there’s something that seems like it’s for a righteous and just cause, you’re going to do that or at least be inclined towards that quest line. Good also means that you might not want to be a party to when the other PC’s from the adventuring party are doing something questionable. We’ll touch on some of that earlier, but a lawful good character might see how something can be useful, but wouldn’t ever take part in it themselves because they won’t do something that isn’t either ideally good and lawful. An example of this might be torturing a goblin to figure out what the giant goblin horde is up to. While it might be a goo thing because it would save a lot of people and the goblin is an evil creature, and even the rules of the land might allow for torture, it’s possible and probable that a good character wouldn’t want to be party to that. But they might also understand why other player characters would be, and leave so that they can do what they need to.

Now, when playing a lawful good character there is a chance it could fall into what is called lawful stupid. This is most commonly a trait for paladin or clerics where players lean too heavily into the lawful and good tropes. It’s going to be the case where a paladin sees someone stealing something, and because stealing isn’t lawful or good, run them through with your sword. The king insults you, that isn’t good, run him through with your sword. It’s the simple reaction to everything that can be scene as not lawful, but in particular not good. If it’s not good, that means death. But that doesn’t seem all that lawful or good in and of itself. Killing someone for stealing because it’s evil is an extreme reaction, which really doesn’t keep you in the camp of good. Capturing them and taking them to the city guard, now that makes a lot more sense. Less violent example of something similar though is a lawful good character who refuses to go into an inn because they serve alcohol and drinking is a sin. Even though they just saw the bad guy run into there.

But beyond the reaction of violence for an insult, lawful stupid can also mean that a character is too trusting and naive. Just because you are good and lawful doesn’t mean that you think everyone else is going to be. This can be equally as harmful as it’ll cause strife in the party when the lawful good character just asks someone a question who is clearly hiding something but doesn’t disbelieve them. Especially if you’re dealing with the face of the party or a split party for some reason so that you’re going to be missing information that you would otherwise want to have readily available for the party.

So how do you avoid this as a characterization for your PC? I think it’s just adding in some dimension to your character. I talk in the first article of the series who your alignment isn’t how you only run your character. It’s a framework for developing a well rounded character and for not spending too long while making a decision. If you find it taking too long, just make that decision based off of the alignment for your character. I gave an example for the thieves stealing bread. But for the Kings insult maybe you don’t trust them more. For the Inn and you don’t approve of drinking, you don’t have to have your PC drink. Being suspicious of people isn’t anything that goes against lawful good either. It allows you to have a more developed character if you don’t just treat them purely as in the tropes.

But let’s talk about why a lawful good character would go adventuring.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

I actually think that this one is pretty easy to come up with reasons for going out. You can go with the story where something really bad is going to happen, that will motivate a lawful good character to go out and stop it. The adventure might also be something that a good character gives to the player characters. But if you’re playing a heroic campaign, it’s most likely that you’ll have quest givers that are good or that will want something good done. Now, it can be interesting as a DM to subvert that sometimes. Maybe you’re “good” quest giver has given out a quest that on the surface seems good, but is actually something the actually evil quest giver needs done to complete their plan. Or maybe the actual quest itself isn’t good when you get down into it. I will say, don’t do that all the time though, or your players will never trust you again, and yes, I mean players, not player characters.

So what classes work for lawful good?

The two people will think of right away are Paladin and Cleric. Both of them are tied to a deity of your choice, so it would be easy to pick lawful good ones and a lot of the deities are. But I think that there are some other interesting options, you can even play against type with something like a rogue. A rogue assassin who only kills evil people who are above the normal law, that makes a lot of sense for a lawful good character. Warlock is probably the trickiest as your patron almost has to be lawful good. Something like Hexblade might work. Final question for classes would be if a necromancer wizard would work, and I think that it could possibly. It is a little bit trickier, because you have the lawful good wanting to raise not good undead, I think most of them are evil, and that might be a conflict for you depending on how you play it. But there are necromancy options that aren’t just raising the dead which might work.

So, now that we’ve delved into this alignment. Would you want to play a character with a lawful good alignment? If you have, how have you avoided the lawful stupid trope?

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Book’em Nerdo – The Night Tiger

Book’em Nerdo – The Night Tiger

This ties into my reading challenge again where I have to read books based off of specific prompts. The Night Tiger fit a couple of them, published in 2019 and an Author from South America, Central America, or Asia. I was also curious because it […]

Board Game Battles – Welcome To vs Criss Cross vs Second Chance vs Yahtzee

Board Game Battles – Welcome To vs Criss Cross vs Second Chance vs Yahtzee

The Granddaddy of roll and write games is taking on a new class as we have a fatal four-way between these games that use a similar mechanic, but are all really different. Will the old challenger be able to hold off the young guns trying […]

Revisit, Rewatch, Review – Captain America: First Avenger

Revisit, Rewatch, Review – Captain America: First Avenger

I would expect me to put out more on this later, but Kristen and I are starting to watch through the Marvel Cinematic Universe again, and we’re doing so in chronological order, as it is in the films. So Captain America: First Avenger takes place during World War II and is the spot to start, oddly enough, followed by one of the most recent films Captain Marvel, which we’ll probably watch this weekend.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a lot of these films, and Captain America: First Avenger has been quite a while as well. So how did it stack up against what I had remembered and where it was in my MCU Movie Rankings that I did after Endgame came out. Obviously, I need to rewatch everything again to see if anything else is going to shift around, but the quick summary is that I enjoyed watching Captain America: First Avenger again. I don’t think it’s without it’s flaws and compared to the origins of Iron Man and Thor, I think that it’s weaker. There will be spoilers, but this movie has been out for a long time.

I think that this movie starts off strong. I like the story of Steve Rogers and how he becomes Captain America. The whole time he’s applying for army, you feel for him, and you get a good idea of how loyal he is and how strong his convictions are. And then getting stuck encouraging people to buy bonds feels like something that would legitimately happen. I think the only part of the story to that point that feels a bit odd is the Hydra Agent blowing up everything, mainly I feel like that part of the opening of the movie was a bit rushed. Beyond that though, up through rescuing Bucky and the others is great. Unfortunately the movie starts to fall apart for me there.

Captain America Poster
Image Source: IMDb

What really makes it feel off is the montage sequence. If you don’t remember, it’s a sequence where Captain America and the Howling Commandos, that’s what the group run by Dum Dum Dugan is called, are just running around and punching Hydra Agents again and again. For a montage sequence to work well, you need to feel like the character is progressing towards a goal or learning something, and in this case, the montage doesn’t really provide that. You’re supposed to be getting the idea that they are cornering the Red Skull, but it doesn’t feel that way. It’s just punching some anonymous bad guys and cheering because Captain America is a hero who is beating up the bad guys. This could be a bit of nod to the fact that he punched an anonymous Hitler over and over again with the War Bond shows he was putting on, but it didn’t feel that way, it just felt like rah rah hero fighting without any purpose to it.

That’s where it starts to come apart for me, and then it continues with the actual getting to the Red Skull. Again too much punching of anonymous bad guys. Then getting captured and then getting rescued. I think the issue I have is less about that, but instead because you don’t feel like by the end of the montage that the Red Skull is much of a threat at all. I mean, we all knew that Captain America was going to win anyways, but they had done a decent job building Red Skull early in the movie, but at the end, you feel almost like he’s just another anonymous bad guy for Captain America to beat up.

Now, all of this seems like a lot of a knock on the movie. And I do think it makes it one of the weaker movies, but it’s easy to pick out what you don’t like in the film. I do want to go back and talk some things that I really want to point out how good they are. Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter works so well, and you feel like she has feelings for Steve Rogers, more so after he’s Captain America and not tiny and scrawny, but she clearly respected him and liked his attitude better than any of the other large guys who they were training, and she liked the fact that his personality didn’t change. Stanley Tucci and Tommy Lee Jones were also good in their roles. I wish we could have had more time with Tucci on the screen, but when he was on the screen he was great. It makes sense why his character died and it was needed. Finally, Howard Stark, played by Dominic Cooper is really enjoyable. You feel like the confidence that he exudes and his cockiness and you can see why Tony Stark would end up the way he did based off of Howard’s portrayal.

And I realize that I forgot one, Toby Jones as Dr. Arnim Zola, I don’t think I had realized how well he played his character. I wonder if they were planning that he’d infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D. from the beginning or not, but if they did, he played that out well on screen and you can see some of his quirks that I hadn’t paid that much attention to before. In particular, I like how you can see into his mind with how he has no qualms about building weapons for people to kill people with, but he doesn’t want to see them used. His character feels like he’s, in some ways, as much in control as Red Skull is, which in some ways plays out in a future movie, but I’ll save that for that review. Toby Jones just does a great job of playing that brilliant and almost scared character.

Finally, I think that the CGI and special effects hold up well in this film. I was a little bit surprised considering how much they’ve advanced or seemed to advance in the past few years. But Captain America still looks good, and putting Chris Evans head on the scrawny body works. It didn’t feel uncanny and it didn’t look like it was poor CGI. I had thought that it might not hold up with the Red Skull or something like that, but I feel like, and this was obviously when Marvel was still ramping up, it did a good job for what had to have been a pretty small budget.

So, like I said, I don’t know that this movie is going to move up. As much as I remembered how well I liked the first half of the film, the second half falls apart some for me. And I think, like we’ll see with Thor soon, Chris Evans has to grow into the role of Captain America. I also wish, with the future films, they had done a call back to something that Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci’s character) had said, about how the super soldier serum doesn’t just make you bigger and stronger, but it makes you more of who you were before. And I think that’s something that they could have leaned into a whole lot more, especially with Captain America: Civil War. I also think that if we were to get this film now, the film would be stronger, because they know what they are doing better, but also because they wouldn’t be as worried about leaning into a 1940’s aesthetic and tropes, which I feel like they did once in a while, but generally felt a bit out of place when they did.

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D&D Alignment – What is Alignment?

D&D Alignment – What is Alignment?

I think this is the last big character creation piece that I haven’t touched on. I’ve previously done series of articles on the Classes, Backgrounds, and how to develop an interesting backstory. But I’ve only touched on the various alignments in passing. Some of that […]