Monday, November 3, 2014

Looking Nice

"Law" gets a bad rap in D&D, but it's one of the most important concepts in civilization. In fact, it is the very essence of civilization. Law is what separates a society of basic human rights from a "might makes right" society. Sure, evil can still exist in a lawful society, but here's the difference: in a Lawful society, evil forecloses a house after a single missed payment and forces a family out on the street, or raises their payments to levels that keeps them in poverty yet will still never allow the debt to be paid off. Without law, evil simply enters the home and slaughters the family, or else simply forces them into slavery at the point of a sword. Of course, if slavery is legal then that's a whole different set of problems, but regardless there are rules in a lawful society, and if you know the rules you can work with them.

Still, Lawful Neutral has a reputation for being cold, logical, or otherwise stuck up. Actually, the stuck-up part is a common thread among all Lawful stereotypes. Stripped of the idealism of Lawful Good or the cool, malevolent machinations of Lawful Evil, though, Lawful Neutral seems to be left with all the rigidity but none of the flavor of its Lawful brethren.

With my deities, though, I tried to give them their own flavor.

The Goddess of Judgment is known as Kincheloe. Once the Goddess of Justice, finding solutions to problems according to what is best for everyone, she now decides fates based on the laws and customs of the society the problem takes place in, according to the letter of the law. After all, what is right is what we agree is right, and what we agree is right is what we turn into law. What constitutes "good" and "evil" is different from one culture to the next, and from one generation to the next. So, if things must change, they must change through the proper channels until, some day, we find the right set of laws that can govern civilization in perpetuity. The meaning of life is to reach that point of perfect law by examining it, challenging the parts that are weak, and upholding the parts that are strong.

Kicheloe is the greatest of the Neutral deities, invoked by all cultures to settles disputes and pass sentences. While Waymon counsels royalty, Kincheloe gives structure to society away from palaces, in the places where monarchies can't directly settle disputes. For though kings are powerful, their influence means nothing without the courts and magistrates that interpret and carry out their will.

Her following is an army of judges, magistrates, and litigators as well as all who make it their business to record, amend, and interpret the law. It's not a glamorous following, but it is a sincere and powerful one.

Her only direct effect on my campaigns so far has been to infuse the companion character Arthur with the strength to help the party defeat the Goddess of Love in my first campaign. As a result, much like Waymon, her influence waned after that battle, and she was naught but a saint in the time of my second campaign.

The other Lawful Neutral deity is Kahn, the God of Favor. Originally the God of Loyalty, Kahn took a particular liking to the sturdy, hard-working, and loyal dwarven race. As a result, to many people Kahn is simply the god of the dwarves. He is also well regarded by craftsmen of all races, and Kahn's favor for smiths and dwarves have kept them fairly strong throughout the ages.

In my second campaign, Kahn is one of the three remaining deities, known only as the Forger. Said to reside in the sun, having created the world from nothing, the Forger was a strong, fatherly presence during that age.

That said, he has never had a direct effect on one of my campaigns yet. Except, I suppose, that one time a dwarven cleric of Khan helped resurrect a dead character after the party defended a dwarven city from a red dragon in my first campaign. You might call the resurrection a miracle, but the true miracle was that the party only lost one person in the fight.

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