June 9, 2011

Background on Hildigrim's Mindset

The GM for the Wednesday night online game that I play Hildi in wanted a bit more background regarding how Hildi saw the world.  This is my response:

Hildi isn’t quite sure how the world should work. Until recently his entire life has been wrapped up in a 20 square mile area of the gentle hills of the Karmela Mounds. There he lived in a quite agrarian setting with a racially diverse group of people that were generally warm and friendly. Growing up Hildi was exposed to some Humans and Elves, but he is the most comfortable with the shorter races. At this point that means Halflings and Gnomes as he has never met a Dwarf before.
Hildi is a little naive about the world around him, assuming that the rest of the world isn’t too far off from what he had so far experienced. As he traveled through the Kalokopeli Forest, he found the Elves and Halflings there weren’t too dissimilar from the people he grew up with.

How the world should work? That is a lot for a young man to consider. As far as Hildi knows, the world works as it should. Society is made up of individuals and is so much more than the sum of its parts. Individuals often have to conform to societal norms, but an individual is very important and change the world…under the right circumstances. Still very much in his youth, Hildi feels that he has some important part to play in life, but he knows that he is inexperienced and very unsure as to the scope of his importance. It could be he was meant to move a mountain, or simply carry a bucket of dirt. Taktan will make sure he is in the right place at the right time. For now he just needs to be where he is….not where he is going.
Hildi has been traveling pretty much by foot ever since his Confirmation. Sometimes he has travelling companions, sometimes he is all alone. He quickly learned that if he wants to be alone it is best to travel cross-country and if he desires companionship it is best to stick to the trade routes between villages. Hildi hasn’t had any serious problems on the road, finding that people are generally very accepting of a good cleric and willing to trade food and shelter for his services. Sometimes he even gets some hard coin from merchants for travelling with them or simply providing a blessing.
Unlike many adventurers, Hildi isn’t travelling from his “ancestral” home in order to accomplish a task. He doesn’t have a goal or agenda to guide him on his journey. Hildigrim is travelling simply for the sake of travelling. For Wanderers like him, the journey is more important than the destination.

On Alignment:In so many ways alignment is very confusing, yet so very simple. The dualistic nature of this concept is really because it is a meta-game abstract used to justify in-game actions...and those actions get a bit twisted by the manipulation of the PC's player who doesn't always consider the PC's alignment when playing.

Hildi's Alignment/World View on Law/Chaos:The difference between Lawful and Chaotic is the demands that society places upon the individual. "Society" is very scalable so it has to be looked at on many levels. At the national level, Lawful governments impose their rule upon the populace and Chaotic nations do not. To a certain extent it is not possible to have a Chaotic nation as it would just be a large collections of individuals unbound to one another. Should the need arise however, even huge mobs of people can get united for a single cause. Only during that time united could the Chaotic nation possible exist. Neutral countries aren't so much stuck between the imposition of structure and the wild abandon of chaos as they are more a weaker form of a lawful nation where most of the power is held at a lower echelon. A group of city-states banded together as a larger nation for "administrative" purposes would be neutral.

As a community gets larger it is much more likely to become Lawful as it is harder to maintain the structure needed to keep the community viable. Most nations are Lawful as well as a good deal of the larger cities....although some large cities could be rather chaotic, especially if they were built up relatively quickly and organically.

The core of all societies, the family unit, is generally Neutral. Older family members tend to be more Lawful and the younger tend to be more Chaotic. This is to be expected since older family members (patriarchs) generally have to impose the structure on the family and the younger tend to be a bit on the wilder/selfish side. Together they do balance out to Neutral. In cultures where the young tend to be not so wild/inquisitive/chaotic, families are more Lawful.

Hildi's Alignment/World View on Good/Evil: The difference between Good and Evil relates to how much an individual is willing to supplant one's needs for the needs of others. Evil beings not only do not have a desire to sacrifice anything for others, the thought of doing so doesn't occur naturally. Evil beings have no qualms about doing "good" and assisting others, even to their own immediate detriment, but only when doing so is due to an expectation of personal gain that outweighs the costs involved.

Take the example of a free lunch. A Good person may offer a free lunch to a another just because they see that the other is hungry and they have the means to do so, even if it means they have to skip a meal. A Neutral person may offer the other person a free lunch because they have extra, the want to bank some good karma, or for some whim of fate. An evil person wouldn't even consider giving away a free lunch as an altruistic event. If they thought they could gain something of value from doing so....well I guess it really wouldn't be a free lunch then....there has to be a cost/gain.

Hildi believes Individuals come into this world True Neutral, but that doesn't last long. Most children tend towards Chaotic Good and grow into their true selves, which would tend to be Lawful Good/Neutral or Neutral Good. Evil is not inherent in any sentient being, but created. A good home in a strong/vibrant/healthy community is the #1 factor in combating the forces that create Evil beings. Those that try to lead the Good life are morally committed to combating evil the best they can.

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