Defiling, Preserving, and Alignment

(Brent Welborn) #21

I just thought that perhaps a defiler could be good if they didn’t know about preserving and if after every spell they cast, they spend hours working the defilied soil. Fertilizing and planting to repair the damage they did.


In all fairness I do think that argument has some merit, but I think a lot of this also depends on what people believes qualifies for being “good” aligned in Dark Sun. My general consensus has been if you’re willing to risk your well being and happiness for folks who aren’t your friends or family on a consistent basis then you are being good aligned. Neutral and even many (if not most) evil folks still value their friends and family unless they are a special breed of crazy.

In Dark Sun managing to maintain that good alignment is particularly difficult and lets not forget that very little in Athas actively rewards characters for being good aligned aside from the local populace likely being far more invested in you.

Now the way I’m seeing it, if a defiler doesn’t know about preserver magic he still knows what defiler magic does. Water and fertilizer can help mend the damage more quickly, but this is still a supernatural power they know is actively making the world a worse place for their own ends. Now if a defiler’s ends are relatively just (protect my buddies, kill the kaisharga that murdered everyone I know, etc) then the defiler is probably neutral. Just ends using unjust means imo is almost a textbook example of neutral, though it certainly can spiral down into evil, but that almost goes without saying.

Otherwise we have someone who is essentially using unjust means for an unjust end, which is pretty solidly evil. Being a DM that’s had half my campaigns revolve around evil aligned PCs I’d say this is pretty okay since there are all different kinds of evil, ranging from the selfish dick that would be neutral if it weren’t for the fact he doesn’t really ever do any good acts to offset his evil acts, to the insane sorcerer king bent on eradicating all non-humans.


i would agree with you, Rajaat99, except defiling magic kills the soil in a way that can’t be mended except by basically getting rid of it and replacing it. it doesn’t just kill the plants and microorganisms, it destroys anything produced BY life, which would include fixed nitrogen and a variety of different complex organic compounds. the defiler could not just tend to the defiled patch of land and make it live again; if that were the case, Athas wouldn’t really have the problems it does. don’t think of it like pollution; it’s more like your wounding the world and drawing on it’s life’s blood like a mosquito.

(Brent Welborn) #24

I don’t disagree with either one of you.
That is simply the only way a defiler could ever be close to being good. If every spell were a moral conundrum, and hours of work to try and repair.
I was just thinking of an NPC along those lines, who would be glad to turn to preserving, if the PCs would just not kill him outright and take the time to teach him the perserving arts.

(Joshua Slane) #25

One option we haven’t discussed is “a mindbender did it.” What if instead of justifying a good alignment on a defiler it was forced on a defiler against his will?

(Brent Welborn) #26

You mean if a defiler had his alignment forcibly changed?

(Joshua Slane) #27

Yup. Plenty of ways to tamper with a mind below the crimson sun.


One interpretation would be a defiler forced into being good aligned probably wouldn’t use defiler magic anymore. However it’d depend on if the DM considers it possible for a defiler to be good aligned. Another approach (assuming they know nothing of preserver magic) is to take a page out of 3.5’s book and have the defiler incapable of advancing in defiler levels while remaining good aligned.