Law vs Chaos

s/LaSH

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Part of the problem here is that chaos is pretty dull too, and that's mostly down to the slaadi being combat monsters.

Thing is, per the book, slaadi are CN. They don't particularly want to destroy you and everything you hold dear. Sometimes they do, but equally, half the time they don't.

What is a neutral or friendly slaad like? What do they do in their own communities? How do they trade with their neighbours?

Maybe they don't have communities, but again, they're intelligent beings with no particular evil tendency. They could find themselves embedded in other communities, bringing a little excitement to their new compatriots in a variety of ways. (Street magician? Slaad the Ripper? Wealthy philanthropist who adopts unlikely orphans? Pamphleteer who spews out a vast profusion of tracts claiming that neutrality must ensure balance between good and evil, thus ensuring centuries of confusion and people going, "Well, we in the Legion of Puppy Lovers weren't going to commit genocide, but the Balance requires it so I guess..."?)

Honestly, I've started thinking of the slaadi as being a little bit fae: whimsical creatures who live Elsewhere and enjoy causing mischief more than devastation. And as giant magical toad monsters, they don't run across much that can stop their fun. (Plus I love the idea of a slaad going around with beautiful butterfly wings on its back, to the point where I may just make this a default feature of all my slaad in the future.)

*

But, of course, the slaadi need companions in their chaotic cause. Law has modrons, inevitables, and formians, all covering slightly different concepts. Chaos should have more.

There are a few critters that could join the Chaos bandwagon. Actual fae are a pretty logical fit, and bring in the concept of the Natural World from upthread. (This touches 4e cosmology in an interesting way, because fae are kinda integral to the Feywild and therefore put Chaos in opposition to Death in the form of the Shadowfell...) You can also bring in genies; traditionally these are a mixed bag of alignments, but it gives them something to do beyond getting captured and granting wishes. Depending on your cosmology, you could even put elementals into the Chaotic camp! 4e has the Elemental Chaos, which sure is a name; and it would explain the tendency for elemental summons and elemental-powered golems to go out of control and cause, well, chaos.

But there's a big design space for more chaotic embodiments, and exploring that space will surely create mirrors in the Law camp. Or go the other way, and see what twisted reflections can reveal about Law.

So an anti-modron is some kind of living fractal. It's a buzz of spikes and fine detail. I call it a brot. True brot is structureless, a sort of carpet of gently flickering black crystal casting a rainbow aura. around it. But with a little underlying structure, you get a brot incarnate. These are usually based on something that got infected with brot, because the brot incarnate can weaponise morphic fields and destabilise its enemies in a fight. Lots of flashing colours and weird curling appendages occur. Someone it kills will probably disintegrate into a carpet of true brot, or maybe become another brot incarnate. Thing is, the brot incarnate doesn't care about creating a Greater Brot Hegemony; it's fine being a unique individual, and it doesn't get along with its own kind anyway (because chaos). So it likes to avoid getting in fights unless otherwise motivated to do so. They could be a continent-scouring aggressive hegemonising swarm, but you'll only see this happen if someone else has coerced them into doing it, probably via enchantment.

An anti-inevitable is some kind of destiny-eater. I'll leave you with the thought of a low-tier destiny-eater: a twenty-winged owl that, rather than do hp damage, temporarily destroys numbers on your dice.

An anti-formian is a self-sufficient insect. So, here's a thing about aphids: they have a whole pile of reproductive strategies, and usually employ them all at once. It's not unusual for an aphid egg to hatch in the spring, producing a female who will give birth to clones of herself, which are already pregnant with third-generation clones. And they'll change strategy late in the season, producing males and doing non-clonal reproduction, and it all gets really complicated and weird. Also, some ants will enslave/protect aphids, and formians are basically magic ant people, so you can see how they've got a natural complex relationship even before we've named our aphid-people. I favour these critters being basically real-time biotech factories: they build up their nectar glands, and then spend nectar on popping out specialised clones to augment their abilities, like damage-resistant carapaces, flying long-range kamikaze bombs, or outright clones.

There are some ideas I like in there already...
 

b9anders

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I know they took alignment out of 4e, which is funny as the cosmology is very obviously an old school Lawful/Neutral/Chaos model in all but name, with a platonic notion of ἰδέα as the Lawful ordering template of the universe and gross elemental matter being the Chaos stuff from which existence is then shaped.

I always liked the 4e conception of angels as being emanations of the astral plane itself, ie beings of pure Law, who serve as kind of soulless proxies of the gods (ie Lords of Law) who were in ways embodiments of the lawful ἰδέα represented by their deity. As pure emanations of Law, I see them as beings with no real individual agency, except what is assigned to them by the lords of law.
 

MacBalance

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know they took alignment out of 4e, which is funny as the cosmology is very obviously an old school Lawful/Neutral/Chaos model in all but name, with a platonic notion of ἰδέα as the Lawful ordering template of the universe and gross elemental matter being the Chaos stuff from which existence is then shaped.
4e still had alignment, just switching from a 3x3 matrix to a 5-step line. I think it was only occasionally rules-relevant, but about as much as it is in 5e, perhaps more.
 

DMH

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Part of the problem here is that chaos is pretty dull too, and that's mostly down to the slaadi being combat monsters.
That is why I don't use them as the primary natives of Limbo. Chaos beasts make a lot more sense as they are not only chaos in form but spread it by touch. It just needs the additional ability to infuse objects as well as creatures, leaving behind paths of high strangeness behind them. A single beast could route an army of modrons as it warps the weapons used against it. And those artistic not-quite elves in Spelljammer would love to use them to spice up their works.
 

Afterburner

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What is a neutral or friendly slaad like?
Xanxost the Slaad is the fictional author of a chapter in Faces of Evil: the Fiends and also in The Inner Planes, and he comes across as a pretty entertaining and likeable guy.

Unless you're a Baatezu.
 

OmSwaOperations

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I was thinking of this question a while back, and I ended up using Platonic Forms as an estimate of what a creature of Law might look like (I was looking for lawful good creatures, but they'd fit lawful neutral creatures just as well).

To simplify a lot, Plato believed that, for every type of thing that existed, there also existed a perfect version of that thing, which inhabited a "Realm of Forms". So in this realm there would be a perfect ruler and a perfect city; but also a perfect knife, a perfect table, etc. To my mind, these forms would be the most fundamental expression of the underlying order of the universe, as everything in the universe would be classified according to them, and could be seen as an attempt (of varying degrees of imperfection) to replicate them.

The only difficulty lies in taking that idea and turning it into a creature you can actually use in a D&D game :p
But I think it's a good starting point for what a creature of pure law might look like/be.
 

LordofArcana

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But I think it's a good starting point for what a creature of pure law might look like/be.
That sounds like gods to me. Corellon Larethian is the perfect elf. Moradin is the perfect dwarf. Tyr is perfect justice. Oghma is perfect knowledge. Similar, or at least related, concepts would group together into hierarchies. Corellon is the center of the Seldarine, but the perfect forms of various elven archetypes are his subordinates.

However, you would need to drastically reduce the lower bounds of divine power if you want players to be able to interact on an equal footing with these kinds of things.
 

junglefowl26

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4e still had alignment, just switching from a 3x3 matrix to a 5-step line. I think it was only occasionally rules-relevant, but about as much as it is in 5e, perhaps more.
More an X than a line personally - but yeah, overall right. Alignment was there it just...didn't come up much mechanically. Heck, the draconomicons even had a section dedicated to explaining how you could work with an evil dragon or fight a good one, so they didn't even necessarily designate in game roles.

And it is pretty interesting that despite the transition from 9 to 5 alignments, one could still usually see pretty clearly where the 4e gods fit on the old nine alignment grid.
 

Samiel

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Inevitables vs Slaadi
This could be an idea, the former proposing Order and trying to lead the other races, while the latter push for Chaos, sowing disorder and pushing races to war to see which one would win and prosper.

Inevitables - and Law - want the multiverse to grow through discipline.

Slaadi - and Chaos - do not promote Entropy, but a different path to supremacy, made of strife and wars.

Chaos as wild is cool, but I explored that in Iron Kingdoms, druids vs empires.
 
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