In the hoary depths of the internet, guarded by a terrible login dragon and the unclimbable face of the Dungeonaday.com paywall [UPDATE: The site is dead, Jim.] there lies a buried treasure. I’m not talking about the metric crap-ton of campaign information, although that’s pretty awesome in itself. Rather, I’m talking about the boatload of old Monte Cook blog posts from the days when Mr. 3.0 himself was building the site. There’s one in particular that always stuck with me, and it’s informed a lot of my opinions about the question of character alignment. The context of the post is whether or not it’s evil to kill an evil prisoner. Here’s the relevant bit:

“When designing 3E, we tried to solve some of the problems by making it clear that good and evil were tangible things. Rather than downplaying alignment, we played it up so that you could kill the orc with impunity and a clear conscience. Evil is evil and should be destroyed.”

Isn’t that refreshing? Isn’t it nice and clear-cut? I know that one opinion from one designer won’t put an end to the alignment debate, and so does Mr. Cook. He goes on to say that such a view is probably a bit simplistic even in the context of gaming, and that the best solution is to simply figure out the sensitivity of your group’s evil-o-meter before you sit down to play. However, it struck me as a nice touchstone for figuring out what does and does not “count,” especially for the poor moralizing paladins of the world.

Unfortunately, it won’t help you solve other gray area issues like grave robbing vs. archaeology. You’ll just have to debate that one at the table. If anyone ever captures Fighter though, they can rest assured that stabbing him repeatedly is not an evil act.