Counter Monkey – Laundry Day in the Tower of High Sorcery

The Spoony One | Dec 2 2012 | more notation(s) | 

I’m evil, and I don’t care who knows it!


* I stopped reading the series at the beginning of the Fifth Age. Apparently after the defeat of Chaos, the gods had once again decided to abandon Krynn because of mortal hubris. However, later on, Weis and Hickman pulled a fairly blatant retcon and changed it to where Takhisis has somehow stolen the entire planet and put it out of the gods’ reach. Whatever.

* Someone else has said you don’t actually choose your robe color. First off, that is not said in my sourcebook, and second, that is BULLSHIT. Someone else picks for you? That’s not exactly the same thing as being chosen for Gryffindor or Slytherin. That’s your teacher calling you an asshole.

* The god of neutrality’s symbol is a book, not a set of scales. My bad.

  • Mike Prentice


    • Sam Pagano

      Whats a ninja?

      • Anyone00


      • Jordan Leary

        Your knowledge of advanced D&D shall be great

      • Kennan William Gilleland

        I’m not entirely sure

  • unacomn

    What? No “Yeaaaaaaah!” moment at the Thunderdome joke?

  • DrMcCoy

    No (miniature) giant space hamster joke when mentioning Spelljammer?

  • Andre

    More Counter Monkey?
    Oh god, my dick.

  • Stephin Williams

    The only thing I can think of is that it’s a way for the other evil wizards to identify them. While I’m sure it runs counter to their individual designs, I see it as a way for them to work together for the greater good. Er, evil.
    I mean, picture this: you’ve taken the tests, you’ve chosen to wear the black. Now what? As you say, no one in the world trusts you – except the other black wizards. So I’m thinking their overall operation involves less outright subterfuge (as Sith impersonating Jedi) but more outright removal from society at large so that they can grow in power and work their evil deeds from afar. It probably doesn’t apply to all of them, but I’m certain that a large part of the reason a lot of the black wizards chose evil is cowardice. The black wizards gain power faster, right? Why would they do that, if not out of greed or fear? Fear of something that will come and get them, so they need to be stronger, faster.
    That’s my take on it, anyway. It’s not so much that they’re announcing to the world that they’re evil – though you’re right, they are – and more that they are choosing a side.

  • Black Faceless

    No, no I’m not evil, I just the color black. *shifty eyes*

    As far as the Sith are concerned, I’ve always seen them as lawful evil. While pretending to be a Jedi would be advantageous they are too full of pride to pose as their enemy. If any Sith did pose as a Jedi, I can only imagine that their peers would look on them with disdain, despite any success for the Sith as a whole they may accomplish.
    Now, I will admit I’m not as avid a reader as Spoony, and my 2cents on this matter are based solely on the movies and not the extended universe, but it still makes sense in the Siths’ case (or I suppose I should more specifically say the Empire) as to why they would be willing to announce themselves for what they are.

  • Skolex

    Not that I don’t love your ramblings about game rules/ridiculous clothing, but do you have any more real-world accounts of hilarity (like the toilet pizza)?

  • BlueReverend

    2 things I’d like to comment on. The god of neutrality, Giliean’s symbol is a book, not a scale, because he is also the god of knowledge.

    And regarding your point about choosing the white robes even if you are evil, the thing is you don’t get to choose what robe you are. The Council which oversees your test awards you your robe according to your actions in the test. And before you say “just act like a good guy” you don’t KNOW you’re in a test, its all psycological as well as physical.

    • Matt Miller

      well then couldn’t he pretend to be good all the time?

      • BlueReverend

        well if you always pretend to be good, one could argue you actually are good. I find it difficult to believe you can spend your whole life pretending to be a saint and actually be a “demon”

        Besides I disagree with Spoony a bit on this subject. Its not like the Black Robes go around cackling manically and constantly killing babies and robbing taverns. Its a matter of world perspective and what you would do to achieve your goals in life.
        On the other hand its not like White Robes donate all their money to charities and go around doing good in the world, they just act and live based on personal beliefes. Its not that much different from classic DnD alignments

        • Matt Miller

          well i mean he would pretend to at least be neutural till they tell him his test is over, and usually the best villains are those who pretend to be good and then betray everyone to gain his goals

          • BlueReverend

            Like I said, you don’t know its a test, for you its all very real

          • Matt Miller

            but don’t they tell you when you pass?

          • BlueReverend

            well yeah, but like was said, you don’t get to choose what robes your wear, the Conclave decide for you

        • Ioannis Maniatis

          I agree, the test is made so that the true nature of the wizard will be shown.

  • Travis Hinton

    My thoughts on why you would wear black robes is either Revenge, because there isn’t a point if they don’t know why you did it / who you are and openly declaring yourself evil is a way to get noticed. Or being a good character who doesn’t want the stigmata of being good. Case and point I believe that Dirty Harry may have taken the black robes if he were a wizard.

  • Dylan Montgomery

    The Secret College of Necromancy was a pretty good book.

  • Matt Miller

    the robes just seem like a stream-=lined version of the normal alignment system

  • Okanehira

    Another good one, all I ask (and you did after i thought you wouldn’t) is to remember a large chunk of your audience have never, and likely will never play D&D so its nice when you explain what ravenloft is or what certain things are, or “why” this happens etc..

    Those are honestly the most interesting parts after the stories themselves, but the stories are always better if we understand who/what where and why things are happening. If i re-told someone the Thieves World story without giving them the back story it wouldn’t be nearly as good.

    • Gokenshadow

      I really wish he would tell more actual stories then simply complain about the rules. The only interesting part of the video to me was Lord Soth’s escape from Ravenloft.

  • Lazar Gruev

    Is there a book about paladins? I wanna know about paladins!

    • Clifford Finch

      What’s a paladin?

      • Nemo

        I’m not entirely sure…

  • Steven Johnson

    I thought it was implied in Star Wars that it was obvious to force users what your alignment was. Like in Krondor the Eledhel, Moredhel, Glamredhel being the light, dark and mad elves respectively. Most of the light elves and dark elves are light or dark skinned but that is not always the case and the difference is immediately/instinctively known to every elf. So once you go down the path of darkness jedi masters know on an instinctive level that you have become sith. Though emperor palpatine proves that if you are powerful enough you can mask your alignment, so if you where stronger then say yoda you could mask your alignment but that seems to be the only way. Even yoda didn’t want to let Ankin to train as a jedi in the 1st place because he sensed the evil in him

  • david

    I might be way off base here but I always thought that the black Sith robes had some sort of ceremonial purpose. Jedi/Sithism is refereed to and revered as a sort of religion, or so it seems, so maybe in order to do things properly and or get the benefits you have to dress correctly

  • Silens

    Oh boy, Dragonlance…

    Okay, where to start with this? Firstly, I will state unequivocally that it’s my favourite campaign setting, and Weis and Hickman did a fantastic job with their Chronicles and Legends trilogies (seriously, everyone needs to read them, the story about Raistlin’s quest to take on Takhisis is pretty fucking awesome). And while you didn’t quite get all the details right – namely regarding the whole resolution of Raistlin’s conflict with the gods, which does hold up pretty well even today – you got the gist of it.

    Regarding the Fifth Age, from the interviews with Weis and Hickman that I’ve found it was a push by TSR (the company that owned the Dragonlance setting) to introduce the Fifth Age RPG (which pretty much universally sucked). The bigger problem is that they handed the writing duties to Jean Rabe, who started writing a series of Dragonlance-in-name-only books with a massive Mary-Sue character that caused a lot of fan outrage.

    So – and I’m not sure if Spoony knows this – in more recent years Wizards of the Coast grabbed Weis and Hickman back into the setting and told them to sort out the mess. And to some extent, they did, bringing back the entire pantheon of gods back to the Dragonlance setting and basically culling out a lot of the stupid shit that had taken root in the Fifth Age. Now, to do that, they had to make several MASSIVE ass-pulls, but they did restore the setting back to some vestige of sanity and to some of its former glory…

    And then Wizards of the Coast effectively abandoned the setting in favour of destroying large tracts of the Forgotten Realms with the Spellplague and then pushing the Eberron setting on everyone, a setting that at this time, I don’t think anyone has ever liked. Seriously, FUCK WotC.

    EDIT: oh, and one thing regarding the side books – while most of them suck, the book about Fewmaster Toede is written by Jeff Grubb and is fucking AWESOME. Shame it’s out of print.

    • Derpin

      What’s wrong with Eberron?

      • Nathan Jacob Caudill

        the fact that its a Dungeonpunk setting, and honestly no one likes Dungeonpunk cause it doesnt feel like fantasy, it feels like a very weird and unusual medieval cyberpunk.

        why play that when you can play Shadowrun or something like that? at least that feels like cyberpunk.

    • Princess Stabbity

      God, those Jean Rabe novels were awful. I couldn’t even get through them without throwing them across the room in boredom. Stupid Fifth Age. Oh dear god, the whole Spellplague thing in FR… Screw that. So much hate.

    • Jonathan Smith

      there is something i would like to add to this as well, and something that spoony said, Rasitlin sickness was from birth he was always sick what he got from the test was his hour shaped eyes that made people die in front of his eyes, i am also a big dragonlance fan

      • Tsolis

        While he was always sickly he got worse after the test. It was the this test that caused him to have coughing spasms.

      • Joe Ottoson

        He was frail before the text. He started coughing up blood due to Fisty riding around in him as a part of the bargain they struck during the test. Fisty would siphon off Raist’s life force which made his condition far worse.

  • Spectr

    Spoony be honest – Did you put the video up mow because you planned to, or because you wanted to quell the shitstorm brewing in the Comments section of the “Take a Byte”-video? :D

  • Cy Roark

    Something forgotten about the mage thing is that the wizard’s worshiped a separate set of 3 good/neutral/evil gods that were based on putting magic above the alignment. However, it was just like clerics where if you didn’t adhere to the philosophy they would flat out lose their powers. Also, good in Krynn were somewhat fascist even when they weren’t winning. They thought the vast majority of non-standard “good” races like dwarves, elves, humans were inherently evil and beyond redemption. Some devoted themselves to black robes simply as they were part of one of those races, such as a minotaur, or believed in “equal rights” to a certain extent. Although a lot of black robes are converts from red/white due to the evil gods always tempting them. Raistlin was dying and Takhisis told him, go black and I’ll save your ass. He did it at the time to save his friend, and half of the reason he wanted to challenge Takhisis was for forcing the deal on him. Although I think it’s fair to say the same argument you made could be said of any neutral/evil cleric in any setting, most gods don’t take kindly to “faking it” unless they are gods of subversion.

    *EDIT* Also, don’t forget that in D&D they completely drop relative morality. You have detect alignment spells for fuck’s sake. It’s half the reason I run Fantasy Craft as I can build relative neutrality settings.

  • Vanvidum Strype

    This reminds me of an earlier Counter Monkey in which you warned wizard-players not to dress or look like a wizard. It’s basically the same principle of not looking particularly dangerous or remarkable. In the Dragonlance setting, wearing black robes might as well be a sandwich board saying, “I command great power and will screw with you just to be evil!”

  • KOstantinos Piou ELeftheriadis

    Noah => Who would go around wearing a shirt writing I’M EVIL
    Dr Insano => I do :)
    btw…the power of NOT giving a fuck is IMMENSE…it made Vegetta a Super this Lord escaping..seems legit…

  • Vanvidum Strype

    Geez, the god of evil must be a real dick.

    • Filipe Isabelinho

      Nah, SHE’S a bitch.

    • peteman

      No, she’s a bitch.

      • Michelle

        Nope. It’s the dick part. The god of the Black Moon, Nuitari, is Takhisis’s son and he doesn’t like her. They sorta worship Takhisis anyway but they don’t like her all that much.

      • Carteeg_Struve

        Well, if we’re talking arcane magic then it’s really Nuitari we’re dealing with, who on Ansalon is primarily viewed of as male.

        • Silens

          But to be completely fair, he’s still a real dick too. Weis’ frustratingly inconsistent Amber trilogy proved that.

    • Astronerd955

      He is the great dark one, the supreme dick to end all dicks

      • Chuster M. Merino

        One dick to rape them all…

        • Ishanji

          …one dick to prolapse them. One dick to beat them all, so big it handicaps them.

    • Godmars

      Um? Evil?

  • fanatictemplar

    I haven’t read the Dragonlance novels since I was a child, but I’m pretty sure the Mage doesn’t choose what robes he gets. I seem to recall there was debate among the high-up mages about giving Raistlinn the Red or Black robes after his test, and [i]based[/i] on his test.

  • Kojika4

    Raistlin is like edward cullen ?
    In which of the dragonlance is he like that (oh wait, he never read the novels of twilight, did he?)
    Let me tell you right now (because let’s face it, you are not going to look this up) I have read the twilight quadrilogy and I have read Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, & Dragons of Spring Dawning. I loved all 7 of these books (feel free to make fun of me I am used to that).
    yea, if you treat someone edward care about badly he will act a little like Raistlin towards you.
    But under any other circumstances he will be very polite and nice towards others and he is increadibly caring and loving towards his family.
    Raistlin is not a loving caring guy EVER (in those three books at least)

    P.S. for the love of the gods spoony f*cking spoiler alert I haven’t read all those yet

    • Pat Hulse

      Sorry, I don’t tend to go off on Twilight rants (because really, every rant has been had at this point), but the quality of the books aside, I don’t know how ANYONE can consider Edward a loving caring guy. He’s afraid of what he might do to Bela, so he wants her to keep her distance. His solution? Act like he hates her and treat her like shit so that she’ll leave him alone. For her “safety”. Kind of an asshole thing to do since he could just as easily make up a lie like “I’m gay” or “I have a Canadian girlfriend”, or just… not talk to her. But whatever, fine, his plan works too I guess (even if it’s not “very polite and nice”). Except he can’t seem to fucking stick to the plan and he keeps sending mixed messages, which basically makes all of his pretend-hate abusive and manipulative, so instead of driving her away, it makes her even more interested. But whatever, he’s in “love” (for… some reason) so he can’t help it. So much in “love” that he ditches her and leaves her in an emotional wreck, causing her to attempt suicide. You know, maybe he should have decided to ditch her BEFORE getting in a relationship with her. But again, whatever. When he thinks she’s dead, he tries to go streaking in the Vatican to break vampire law and get killed. You know, because this wouldn’t adversely affect his family or anything since the Volturi would never use this as an excuse to kill the entire Cullen Coven just to take Alice. When he comes back, he breaks Bela’s car so she can’t see Jacob. Not because he doesn’t trust her, but because he doesn’t trust HIM. Sure, yeah, whatever. Then he forces her into an early marriage by dangling the carrot of sex and vampirism in front of her, has sex with her ONCE, feels bad about bruising her, and then gives her adequacy issues by refusing to do it again, and rather than just turn her into a vampire THEN (even though they didn’t know she was pregnant yet) and make it so they could have sex, even though a deserted island was probably the best place to turn somebody and they were there for like two weeks before discovering the pregnancy, he just let her suffer with feelings of inadequacy.

      Look, I’m not going to tell you you shouldn’t like Twilight. I like awful shit too. I enjoy the Star Wars prequels, the Matrix sequels… we all have guilty pleasures. And go ahead and like Edward as a character, that’s fine. But don’t pretend that he’s some great guy or a paragon of virtue. His unwillingness to commit to any difficult decision and his seeming inability to figure out how someone is feeling without reading their minds basically results in him almost getting everyone he ostensibly cares about killed. If he wanted Bela to keep her distance, he should have told his family, “Hey guys, this one human girl at school is driving me nuts and I can’t change classes and I can’t tell how she feels because for some reason I can’t read her mind. Can we move to Italy early?” and since they apparently had no problem moving to Italy in New Moon, they could just go fucking do that now. Or if Alice could tell him that he and Bela are meant to be together and that it would turn out fine, he could be like, “Oh, OK, then I’ll go court her!” or whatever and skip all the nonsense. Instead he plays mind games by projecting his own self-hatred onto her, which is pretty much textbook abuse. And he pretty much does that throughout the entire series. He hates himself so he acts like a dick to keep everyone else at a distance. You might say that he just does that because he cares, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s acting like a dick and his doing so results in some pretty awful situations.

      I get that all that “will they won’t they” stuff is part of what makes the books interesting to people, but it’s also what makes Edward a pretty reprehensible character. Sure he MEANS well, but intentions mean jack shit when it leads to the people you supposedly care about going through emotional turmoil and brushes with horrific death.

      • Kojika4

        holy crap dude, calm down.
        While I can argue with everything you just wrote (as you said, what is the point, everything that can be said have been said years ago)
        I will explain exactly what I was going for in what I wrote. (because that wasn’t it)
        I was comparing Edward and Raistlin, THAT IS IT.
        …as far as I know Raistlin never had a love intrest (point at a book if he had one, I would actually love to read that) so to compare him to Edward I took Bella out of the equation. what I got was “Edward’s behavior towards his familiy” vs “Raistlin’s behavior towards the main characters in the books I read”

        What I noticed is that Raislin was always sarcastic rude and basicly a complete ass

        and Edward’s respect toward his family and letting Alice get away with annoying things she did to him.
        seriously, if karamon was doing half the annoying stuff Alice did Raistlin would have killed him.

        • Marissa

          He wasn’t like Edward Cullen in mannerisms, he was like Edward Cullen in the ways that women fawn over him incessantly. Not in the books, but actual girls talked about how they were “so in love” with Raistlin, much as girls do with Edward
          Well, the closest Raistlin ever had to a love interest was Crysania, and I do believe it was genuine at one point, till Takhisis convinced him it would lead to his downfall against her, and she was right, but it was his love for a certain little gully dwarf that was the reason. But since Raistlin does desire power more than a relationship, he quickly dropped that on a dime, and went on to using her to get what he wanted, which is no real surprise.

          • Kojika4

            While this reply is a year late, I do thank you for that info.
            I had no idea there were that many female readers to dragonlance (let alone that Raistlin had a fan base of screaming teen girls)

        • ybrevo

          Hard to say if she was an official love interest, but closest thing to it would have been Chrysania

  • Christoffer Izzy Andersson

    Black robes make you look slimmer. What other reason do you need?!

    • Mads Bolding Fenger Poulsen

      Actually, ninjas only wore black, when depicted in old, traditional Chinese theater. In that context, people wearing black are invisible on stage, and ninjas were secret assassins, who were rarely seen – hence eventually came the misconception in modern culture.
      Ninjas would rather be wearing less distinguishable clothing than pure black, and often used farming/smithy tools to perform the killings… but they would look slimmer, though.

      • Dan Hibiki

        You mean Kabuki theater, a Japanese tradition.
        Ninjas aren’t Chinese. Influenced by, sure, but mainly it’s a japanese counter culture. A bunch of punk ass farmers and lower classes that didn’t put up with the bullshit that all the Samurai adhere to and as a result managed to carve out a rather nice living from killing Samurai and eventually just became another clan and an effective tool of assassination.

        And yes, they wore navy blue or what ever blended in well. Black actually sucks for sneaking around in.

        • valar84

          Which reminds me of one of the only good scenes of the D&D movie. After the good guys have been publicly labeled murderers and have become on the run, they decide they must be discrete and flee through the crowd. So they put on their thick cloaks, put their hoods on and go into the crowd… where everyone arounds them looks at those guys curiously draping themselves in their cloaks with the hoods on, on a bright, warm sunny day.

          At least I think I remember it happening. They don’t get caught but I thought it was a funny scene poking fun at gaming clichés. Ironically pointing out that when you want to hide in a crowd, saying “I put on my cloak and my hood” only makes you stand out more.

          I hope it was intentional.

          • Dan Hibiki

            Yup. best way to make a quick getaway is to walk calmly away.

            Much like Vimes would put it: it’s not important why he’s running away, it’s that he’s running away.

          • Tobias Greene

            It’s something that i keep noticing in star wars. If a person is wearing a hooded cape with the hood up they are always either a jedi/sith or a noble trying to be inconspicuous.

          • Dan Hibiki

            that or an exceptionally large Jawa

  • Ioannis Maniatis

    Regarding Lord Soth you forgot to mention his biggest strength. He can use Power Word Kill at will. He can kill you with a word!

    • Guus van Voorst

      I just imagined him walking down the streets whisling, shouting “die” to random strangers…XD

  • Pat Hulse

    Don’t know enough about the DragonLance stuff to understand why someone would wear the black robes, but I think the main reason someone would claim to be capital-E Evil is purely for intimidation. Same thing with the dark Jedi. Any asshole can Force Choke or Lightning a mook, but the Sith have fear and respect on their side. No one fucks with the Sith.

    As for the red robes, I think it makes sense. In a world where either side of the moral spectrum can destroy the world just as easily, it’s not unreasonable that they would act to make sure neither side got too powerful. And yes, that could be considered as “good”, but only until they act to aid the black robes. Like say a new wizard chooses the black robes and openly declares his intention to one day take down some group of white wizards, so the white wizards are like “Let’s kill him now before he becomes more powerful.” The red wizards would step in and be like, “Nope, you gotta let him go. Someone’s gotta keep you high-and-mighty motherfuckers on your toes.” I mean, in that one instance, it’s hard to argue that the red wizards are “good”. They’re interested in maintaining balance, which is not the same thing as peace. They understand that if it was all just white robes and black robes, the two groups could never coexist. One would always dominate. So to them, maintaining the balance is far more important than whatever is “good” or “evil” in a given situation.

    To put it another way, look at our political system in the U.S. We have two parties and pretty much ALL they do is fight over who is in charge and gets to make decisions and when one of them gains control, all the other party does is try to stop the majority from doing anything and then try to take back control. Even right now with the whole fiscal cliff thing. There’s a self-imposed apocalypse that was DESIGNED to force both sides to compromise, and all either side is doing is refusing to compromise because they’re hoping the other side will give in first. It’s a fucking game of chicken. Imagine if we had a third party, but unlike the Libertarians or Green Party who would probably just do the exact same thing if they ever got into power, this party was specifically devoted to keeping either major political party from pulling this obstructionist bullshit. A party with no platform other than to get shit done and force both sides to compromise. Like if the party took up enough of congress that the only way you could pass a bill was to get them to vote for it, and their only condition for voting was if a certain number of people from both parties voted for it, essentially forcing compromise on literally everything. I don’t know about you, but I’d vote for the Getting Shit Done Party.

    • Jamin Len Lester

      Thing is, the Black Robes and White Robes aren’t like that at all . . . ALL mages and wizards in DragonLance worship the concept of “Magic” in all it’s forms REGARDLESS of alignment, hence why they have Towers of High Sorcery, it separates them from the inconsequential sociopolitical shit of the world of Krynn as a whole, even the Dragon Highlords couldn’t effectively fight them =)

    • Gregory Bogosian

      The problem with that, in a real-world context, is that no genuinely good person would risk destroying the world just to eliminate their enemies. Therefore, if the White Robes really are good, then they would never destroy the Black Robes if it means destroying the world.

  • Ryan Young

    Dammit Spoony, how am I supposed to study if you’re going to be releasing new Counter Monkeys?

  • David Guth

    Well there is a reason for wearing a black robe, if you wear the robes you become stronger. And also evil people don’t always claim to have a righteous goal, that requires them to act as they do. Some evil people act out of self intrest and in order to do that you need to be strong, smart or very good at decieving, hence is the black robe for mages. Because admit it once you command the unstoppable forces of evil, you just don’t give a fuck about who knows it or not, YOU ARE A FUCKING MAGE FOR GODS SAKE! See?

  • silbmaerto

    Do any of the abilities in that ninja book stop people from calling the cops when you kidnap somebody on live tv?

  • Princess Stabbity

    DRAGONLANCE. My nostalgia is strong for that. (Fifth Age? No such thing. Lalala, I can’t hear you….) And, omg SPOILERS ahead maybe.

    Technically, the gods didn’t walk away. They claimed it was the “Age of Mortals” that mortals basically evolved past need of them. In reality, it was all “really” explained/retconned in the War of the Souls trilogy. Both Raistlin & Lord Soth (you can find out what happens to him after Ravenloth there) show up, they killed off more characters, had uninteresting protagonists, Tasslehoff had a TARDIS (not really, hush), and despite that it was Weis & Hickman writing (too little too late), it was still as atrocious and boring as the entire Fifth Age run of novels. The End.
    ..My nerd is showing again.. I should do something about that. Like remind myself I stopped reading after that War of Souls trilogy.

    I always thought the Tower of Sorcery was a ridiculous concept that felt, on a high school level, very cliquish. “You don’t play by our rules, so you can’t play the game at all. And if you aren’t up to our standards, you get pantsed forever.” As to why choose the black robes, I think certain spells were only available to certain orders, or whatnot. I could be confusing that with something else. Either way, it was still silly.

  • Michael Northington

    The openly proclaiming to be a Sith Lord is a bit more complicated than the Krynn robes thing – The Sith were a separate empire from the Galactic republic, so within the Sith Empire, Sith are feared and respected while Jedi are enemies of the state. Even in the prequel movie era, which is the worst time to declare yourself a Sith Lord, only one of the four Sith Lords declared themselves openly (Darth Maul). The rest, especially Palpatine and Dooku, used their Darth title like a code name to keep their activities from being connected to them.

  • Chris Miles

    The robe choice I think is kinda enforced by the gods themselves because besides the 3 major gods of Good/Evil/Neutral there are also 3 other Gods that the mages pray to. They are the magic gods and they are also assholes about the alignment thing and they all talk to each other.

  • Jeremy Owens

    I haven’t read them in a while, but weren’t the robe colors magically enforced? I seem to remember something about Raistlin’s robes being red at the start of the series but by the time he’d gone batshit they had TURNED black (like black streaks climbing up the red robes until they were no longer red). So I believe (though I could be wrong) that the robes magically detect your alignment and change color accordingly.

  • Airrider

    Jesus. That ninja book is like “Real Ultimate Power: The Splatbook.”

  • Richard Klosterman

    According to what I read in the book “Soul Forge” that was all about Raistlin’s beginnings, you don’t get a choice in what color robes you wear. It’s all how to do in the test. If you’re that evil asshole that Spoony talked about, always taking the most evil, easy, and sinister approach to every task, after you’re done with the test, they toss you the black robes and send you on your way. All mages everywhere are pretty much alerted to “noobs” so to speak, so really, trying to pass yourself off as different is pointless. Also, several people are right in saying that you don’t get your powers if you don’t wear your proper attire.

    Oh, also, Spoon, good news! Ninja do not all have to be evil, so if you ever run in a 2nd edition game again, feel free to roll one up! They’re really just glorified thieves, but hey, flavor is flavor!

  • Arthur O’Connor

    Black Robes get you into the evil magic classes. You don’t learn any of the cool evil magic spells wearing the white robes.

  • Michael Szpakowski

    Your comment about a villain not actually considering themself evil is generally something you only really think about when it comes to the main villain. Now if you think about it in the Dragonlance universe the main villains are not the mortals but actually the gods because Dragonlance unlike most other campaign settings the gods are directly interfering in the affairs of mortals. At least Takhisis is. Evil gods kinda get to break the rule and consider themselves evil because well they’re not human therefore not bound by our rational of thinking.

    So if you think about it, all mortals in Dragonlance are basically henchmen. Even important people like Kitiara because while their army has a commander they all really answer to Takhisis. When you think about it that way it makes more sense. Many of the wizards of the Black Robes may not consider themselves evil just like many villains henchmen may not, but for whatever reason for them it ended up being the easiest or only path to take. They wear the black robes because it is required of them by their order, because if I remember correctly Dragonlance also had 3 different aligned gods that granted mage spells as well that were linked to Krynn’s 3 moons (which ones were up also effecting your magical strength).

    I mean if you think about it, Krynn is one of the few worlds where Evil is a faction rather then just a mindset or behavior. In this world being an evil asshole is just as valid as being a good guy. I mean imagine if in real life things were like this. What if their were an organization that opposed the police/army in favor of lawlessness. There would be a lot more thieves and murderers because many would view it as easier then doing what is right.

  • Tiogshi Laj

    “Everyone is the hero of their own story”; Noah, do you listen to Writing Excuses, or did you hear that second-hand?

    Either way, it’s a podcast series I recommend to all, even if you’re not a writer.

    • Jeremy Owens

      That’s a phrase that’s been floating around for manymanymany years.

    • Drew Taylor

      hat is actually a very common saying, and I’ve heard people use it many times myself.

  • Jonathan Smith

    ok to start the mages don’t follow the main gods on krynn they follow the gods of magic with are the moons, there robs are the moon they follow you white red or black. when a mage goes threw the test and pass they are watch my a mage of all three orders they watch and decide on the order in witch you are in. a mage dont simply take off there robe and change its colour, there are small magic propertys and well change colour depending on your for the tower in Palanthas was sealed why before Rastlin went there, it would be open to the master of past preset and future,Rastlin gain this title cause well he’s two people in one, and if you read time of the twins, war of the twins and test of the twins. you would get more into what really happen as well when rastlin beat and killed the dark for the fifth age its not that bad of a read, and the gods dident simple just up and walk off the dark queen stole the world when tasseloff barefoot use a device of time travel to go to caramon’s funeral, The gods where looking for Kyrnn and dident understand why he was gone, Rastlin are there with the gods who are uneasy about him cause he is dead after the test of the twins. they look at him and litterly say hey aint you dead, he’s like listen i well leave when caramon and i go together we came into the world together and well leave together. if you do have questions about dragonlance feel free to ask away

  • doresh

    Who the hell needs a kite in a world where flying mounts as well as float and fly spells exist Oo ?

    And this proficiencies remind me of those fluff feats in 3rd edition that nobody wants XD

    • Guus van Voorst

      AD&D has WAAAAAY more fluff than 3rd edition, trust me… books and books full of fluff… ;-)

      • doresh

        That’s a bit weird if you’re like me and only know of the WotC-era of D&D, where the fluff feats because of this “Every book HAS to include at least half a dozen new classes, prestige classes, feats, spells and items!” that ultimately resulted in them literally running out of stuff to publish and having to start the whole thing over again by making a new edition.
        This happened to them TWICE now, and I fear they still haven’t learned…

  • Chris Miles

    Short answer. The 3 magic gods of Krin are also Good/Neutral/Evil and for some reason I think they enforce the magical alignment on the practitioners of magic. If you dont play by the rules you dont get any magic energy. There are ways around it but they are difficult

  • Viredae

    Actually, I think Dragon Lance uses the same reasoning as Star Wars as to why you can’t pretend to be a Jedi or a Sith, which is that a higher level Jedi/Mage can sense your alignment, the only aberration to that point is when you’re younger and you’re still susceptible to the opposite side, so it’s understandable to dismiss it at that point.

    If you’ve received training as a mage/Jedi, you’re assumed to have been set in your ways, and it’s pretty obvious whether or not you’re telling the truth about your own alignment.

  • Tycho Shiel

    Pathfinder actually has a fairly interesting Ninja class, in the Ultimate Combat manual. It’s an alternate version of a rogue, with a different set of rogue talents and a Monk Ki pool and abilities replacing the trap-working mechanics. Also, no alignment requirements. I’m this close to rolling one for one of my current games next time I die.

    • doresh

      Haven’t bought Ultimate Combat yet, but I’m not so sure on those variant classes. Isn’t that what Archetypes are for?

      • Tycho Shiel

        There are only two “alternate” classes right now, the other being the Samurai (alternate of Cavalier) . The rationale is that they are too different from the classes that they’re based upon to be considered an archetype. Haven’t read much about the Samurai (or the Cavalier, for that matter), but the Ninja has an entirely new set of rogue talents, and a lot of new abilities. It is much more different from a rogue than a Knife Master or a Spy would be.

        • doresh

          Mmh, interesting…

  • doresh

    Why are neutral wizards always red? What about grey XD ?!

    • Dan Hibiki

      then you’re just a white wizard who’s too cheap to pay for good laundry service.

      • doresh

        Do you know how hard it is to get a consistently grey tone that way XD ?!

  • Malcomb Bell

    These people saying no-one views their self as evil have not met me! I’m evil, and I can tell you exactly why I’m evil. I rarely care about morality, hate humanity as a whole, and think that any group of people is more than likely worthless and deserving of death for something their collective opinions cause.

    • Guus van Voorst

      True, but you are insane… ;-)

  • Drew Taylor

    I remember reading in the first book that mages simply couldn’t become more powerful unless they joined the tower of high sorcery. If they didn’t they where labled “hedge mages” and they weren’t hunted in any way. They where just level 0 wizards essentially, and they could only really cast cantrips.

  • L1nk1

    I’m not entirely sure.,,, I guess without black robes you will start loosing your evil powers and you start using black robes because you want to use magic for evil things.

    • doresh

      It’s because the robes add +2 to your black magic spells :D

  • Francis Christofis

    I can think of at least two reasons and they both suck:

    1. If you wanted to invoke fear into innocents and enemies…but even so if you wanted to seem threatening all you really have to do is put on some sinister looking plate Armour and take a big ass sword, even if you are a mage.

    2.if you are a good mage, you could wear the black robes to infiltrate the evil ranks and take everybody out… just like what spoony said about white robes

  • Jamin Len Lester

    OK, let’s see if my memory serves me right . . . The Staff of Magius was given to Raistlin after his test by the Conclave as a sort of “we’re sorry, our bad” kind of thing because the test given to him was so difficult due to the great potential the saw in him, and they felt responsible for his broken state after the fact; he joined the Red Robes out of pure personal interest because, according to Raistlin (and I’m paraphrasing), he could study both light and dark magic without having to devote himself to either one, basically, having his cake and eating it too, he doesn’t care at all about the alignment issues. And this is the misstep you may have taken with this, Spoony: the Dragonlance novels aren’t about Good versus Evil, they are about Law versus Chaos. There are many relationships that don’t make sense in this story when looked at from the GvE point of view: Huma (a human paladin) and Kaz (a minotaur), Sturm Brightblade (a human paladin) and Kitiara Uth Matar (human warrior and the Blue Dragon Highlord), and Raistlin with EVERYONE ELSE – it’s a story where the underlying theme of “we have all got to work together, or we are ROYALLY SCREWED” comes up a lot, the big climax of the novel series, in my opinion, is the fight with Chaos whom they don’t like because, despite having been spawned from the primordial Him by the High God as they were, they are nothing like Chaos, even the most chaotic of them being driven to create the world. Look at it form the LvC perspective, and you have the paladins (LG) versus the minotaurs (CE), the gnomes (CG) versus everyone, but mostly themselves, and the kender (CN, God do I love the kender) versus they’re own klepto nature; chaotic forces in the world are depicted more in the vein of disruptive change versus the stoic and staid lawful forces, yet ALL of them must work together to fend off Chaos. But, back to the robe color situation, since your moral alignment matters less in the grand scheme of things, and these schools are well established and their natures set by the nature of the gods they worship (Solinari, Lunitari, and Nuitari, the 3 Moons, who work together for the benefit of ALL magic regardless of alignment), being a Black Robe isn’t really a bad thing, it’s just a thing. Hope this helps, It’s been about 7 years since I read these last =)

    • Jamin Len Lester

      And when I say “whom don’t like Chaos,” I mean the other gods, just so everyone is clear.

  • Fabio Jardim

    I’ve played Dragonlance for a good bit, though the setting did lose its charm for me as well. The whole 5th Age bondoggle sure didn’t help.

    Regarding the robes, I’ve always considered it to be as much about ideology as about alignment. White robes are those who think magic should go out into the world and do a share in helping people, improving lives and whatnot, both because it is good publicity and keeps the order safe and because it helps society and makes it a better place.

    Red Robes would be pragmatists. They don’t believe in sticking their necks out too far to help others because it attractas attention, takes valuable time they could devote to learning more magic or pursuing their pet projects. But they also know better than to trust dark powers and demons as shortcuts to greatness.

    Black Robes would be those who don’t let ethics get in the way of their goals. They are not cackling madmen, but will keep all of their options open. Wearing a black robes means both “I’ll get things done no matter what” and “Don’t take me for one of those wimpy samaritans”. Theycan still be borderline decent guys, if very ambitious; Dalamar was known to keep his word and help in dealing with the bigger clusterf%&s; the fact that it was usually to his greater profit was of course just a happy coincidence..

    Keep in mind that all three orders care about magical learning first and the rest of the world second. There’s a reason they all share the towers and hold conclaves with all orders represented.

  • Eivind Brodersen

    i guess the robes is directly connected with your powers and the rate you gain power, so the evil assholes will go for the black robes just for the faster powerup system.

    mabye the robs is enchanted, and the color is just a side effect for the enchantment you want?… i dont know…

  • Jamin Len Lester

    Also, I believe that to cast the highest levels of white or black magic, you have to be in those respective orders . . . think mages from Final Fantasy 1, give Red Mages more casting power and less martial prowess, and you’re there.

  • Guzthesnake

    Now, I’ve never read the Dragonlance books, but one reason for a guy to wear the black robes without necessarily being the sort of “ideologically evil” person Spoony describes (knows he’s evil, does evil for the sake of evil, etc.) could be because he’s trying to study evil, like the philosophical concept of evil. This choice becomes especially valid if we’re talking about a world where good, evil and neutrality (like Spoony said, there’s a flimsy concept if ever there was one) are actual, legit forces with appropriate divine beings attached to them.

    So maybe you’ve got this guy who’s just fed up with everyone’s moral relativism. Maybe he’s been through the Prisoner Dilemma one time too many. So he’s like “I’m gonna find out what’s actually evil, and to do that, I’ll have to devote myself to the study of evil.” So he starts studying Evil Theory, which could basically be finding out what the evil gods are all about and stuff. So whenever his adventuring party encounters a group of Orc civilians, he knows exactly how to defuse the situation, because he’s studied this shit and he knows what’s objectively evil within the Dragonlance world.

    This could even make for a pretty decent villain origin story. Maybe Evil Theory just isn’t cutting it for this guy. He needs to make an empirical study of evil (which should be completely possible, given that there are apparently certain things which are objectively evil in this world) to figure out which course of action in any given situation would be more or less evil. Like, say, what would be more evil: Kicking a person, or kicking a puppy? So he goes out and he kicks a hundred puppies and a hundred people, and evaluates which action felt more wrong to him on a basic level.

    And all along this process he just sees himself as someone who’s basically sacrificing his own moral integrity to provide a guideline for the rest of the world. He’s just a good guy doing bad things for the ultimate greater good of the whole world.

    And just like that you’ve got a villain-type character who just doesn’t understand where everyone gets off calling him an evil wizard. He’s not an evil wizard, he’s just a wizard who studies evil!

  • Guest

    Lord Soth was in love with an Elven maiden, and he was made to think she was cheating on him, even though she was innocent, hence the banshees (undead Eleven women).

  • lightice

    Religion in fantasy worlds is pretty damn different from the real world. The gods are an active presence with clear, solid evidence for their existence that make their will clearly known to people through their priests. Under those circumstances becoming a cleric is more like a becoming, I don’t know, a member of a charity club that gives you rewards based on your donations, than a religious devout in the sense of our world. Since there are palpable supernatural rewards for becoming a priest, it’s going to be much more pragmatic matter than it is in the real world. So changing your religion at the drop of a hat when it becomes clear that your club isn’t active in this country isn’t that far fetched under the circumstances. Many people change religion out of convenience in the real world, actually more back in the day when it mattered more to follow the same religion as the political ruler of your country did, and it makes even more sense when gods are more like invisible rulers than, well, gods.

  • Jamin Len Lester

    Lord Soth was in love with an Elven maiden, and he was made to think she
    was cheating on him, so he killed her, even though she was innocent, hence the banshees
    (undead Eleven women).

  • Jason Hennessey

    I always thought that since the wizards drew their powers from the moons of Krynn, which are considered to be the physical mainfestations of the Gods of Magic, this kind of makes them like clerics in many ways. Notice how when the Gods departed from Krynn, all conventional magic also dissapeared. This points to the robes being more like an affiliation with a particular religious sect, since even the black robe wizards openly revear the god of dark magic through out the novels.

  • Matthew McHenry

    I know how to fix the whole make the person choose their robes. Instead of making them choose the color, have the wizards who present the robes detect their alignment and give them the color according to their alignment.. This makes it more of a branding and the only way to lie about it is to go somewhere no one knows you and wear white robes (or red if you want to act dickish without suspicion).

  • lightice

    Incidentally, the different robes in Dragonlance aren’t *quite* like that. When it comes to priesthood yes, priests of evil gods are seriously devoted to the ideals of evil. But with wizards it’s more complicated. Most black robes aren’t bad guys per se. There are instances where black and white robed wizards are good friends or even romantically involved with each other. It’s more a distinction between altruism and self-serving goals.

    Wizards aren’t actually forced to wear their robes, either. They can wear anything they want as long as they keep allegiance to the Order.

    It’s been close to ten years since I’ve read the Dragonlance books and I still remember most of this stuff. Wierd.

  • lightice

    The black robes incidentally aren’t generally evil in the Dragonlance setting. The distinction between them and the white robes is basically that of self-serving goals and altruism. Black robes want to have magic to help themselves while the white robes want to have magic to help others. There are instances of black and white robes being good buddies or even romantic partners, as I recall. Usually the black robes stand alongside the whites and reds when it comes time to kick the ass of the forces of evil, because the black robes are pragmatic enough to realize that they’ll be slaves at best if the forces of evil wins, and they want to be powerful for themselves.

  • Ash Glasgow

    This was awesome to listen to since I used to love the Dragonlance books.

  • Lauri Veijalainen

    What’s a ninja?

    • Nemo

      They are like paladins, aren’t they?

    • PeaTearGryfin

      They’re just a fairy tale. They don’t exist.

    • Carteeg_Struve

      It’s somebody who answers a question by replying to a post, and they get their answer in before you between the time you read the original question and clicked “post” for your answer. Since your page didn’t reload during the time you were typing your response, it looks like the “ninja” slipped in unawares and snuck his post in before you.

  • peteman

    Dooku was the face of the Separatists. He was well-liked and most people save the Jedi didn’t know he was a Sith (granted, the intelligence of the SW galaxy isn’t exactly high up there).

    As for Maul, IIRC, he was a Sith hitman. He operated in the shadows and wasn’t supposed to leave witnesses.

  • magnusk_98

    Okay, this is gonna be a longer one.

    First off, a major problem here is that Spoony is mentally still firmly in the AD&D period, before third edition came out. He does not seem to have mentally processed most things which happened afterwards very well, since in most of his CM’s, he refers back to AD&D rules ( or jumps straight ahead to fourth edition ). Hence his stance on the neutral alignment, which in AD&D was this quasi-insane “if I do good, I must do an equal amount of evil” stance. Which was changed to a much more reasonable “I don’t care much one way or the other” stance with third edition. Police officers would by the way, probably be strongly lawful first and only then fall down on other axis of the alignment chart ( good, neutral, evil ).

    Now, the thing about characters being openly evil. Being openly of evil alignment does not make much sense if taken by real-world morals, that is very much true. However, Spoony does not take into account that, contrary to our own world, fantasy worlds have real, tangible evidence of gods existing. As such, if there is a god of evil and he promises real, tangible rewards which can happen to you in your lifetime, sane people in a fantasy world might have a completely other motivations and worldviews than what we can have here. If there is, say, Bane ( Forgotten Realm god of tyranny and strife ) and you are inclined to be an oppressive tyrant, you might get actually get rewarded by living your worst impulses out to the fullest.

    Spoony is right that openly declaring yourself to be evil is a bad idea… unless you live in Zhentil Keep and worshipping Bane is the state religion, of course. But if you live in a good or neutral society, most evil guys don’t go to the marketplace and yell “Hear ye, hear ye! I declare myself to be EVIL! Muahahahahaaaa!”, but rather instead continue living their lives as before, just with another focus.

    Going to Spoonys complaint about Star Wars, most Jedi can sense the dark side in other force users. That Palpatine was able to mask himself so effectively was one of the things which allowed him to get into the position of High Chancellor in the first place. Most Sith since the implementation of the Rule of Two kept themselves in hiding.

    And lastly, Spoony is not up-to-date with the latest happenings in Dragonlance ( mind you, neither am I, but I still have a few more years of knowledge than Noah, it seems ). It wasn’t really that the gods abandoned Krynn, but instead that Takhisis stole the world away during the whole crisis with Chaos and hid it from the other gods. That’s described in the War of Souls trilogy.

    • Aron Marczylo

      I agree about the star wars stuff. No way a sith could walk up to the Jedi without them senseing the overwhelming corruption of the darkside, not to mention the sith coruption, even if you could cover it up with surgury.

      I’d personally suggest if you were ever blackrobed in Kyrnn…just cast prestigitation to transform your robes white or red.

      • Nolan Trevor Sim

        What about all the hundreds of billions of people who aren’t Jedi? Convincing them that you’re one of those good guys who’s above planetary laws might be pretty useful. And if the real Jedi show up, say that THEIR the Sith in disguise. As far as evil societies, no I don’t think a whole society where literal everyone runs around shooting puppies and kicking babies is realistic, but it’s very possible to have a society that’s founded on evil values, although there would be more sympathetic people within the society. Think of Nazi Germany or the Aztecs and their human sacrifices. That said, if we want to be realistic, those people wouldn’t be like “Mwahahaha! I’m so eeevil!” They’d probably think that either they were just looking out for number one, like everyone who wants to be successful does, or they’d think that what they were doing was actually GOOD and RIGHT, from their skewed moral perspective. In that way, Spoony is dead on.

        • Aron Marczylo

          yeah, just not on the Star Wars bit cause as I said, with Sith the more powerful and evil they are the worse the corruption. Made a Adept or a apprentice could against a normal person, however if they were say Darth Vader or Revan or some other sith lord they’d either be wearing a mask or reveal that they have really nasty corruption on their face and dark red eyes in many cases Where you could basically see the evil.

          So yeah I do agree in that way, I wasn’t arguing about how no one admits they’re evil, not even the sith do. Jedi believe that the universe needs peace, but the Sith believe that they bring change as without change, the world stagnates. In many ways I see myself more as a Sith than a Jedi. Jedi will try to take people alive, even Sith, but you’ll never see such stupid compassion from a Sith. Guy is your enemy, you kill him. Kill him and make sure he can’t return.

    • valar84

      The concept of an evil society is quite strange to me. There has been attempts to portray actual evil societies as in the leaders are evil and the people are evil and the society forces you to be evil. None of which actually sounds plausible to me.

      Good/evil is more to me a altruist-to-egotist scale. Good people will not do anything to hurt others, even if they would benefit. Neutral people care mostly about themselves and their friends and family, they will still tend to minimize harm to others but they will not put their life or livelihood in danger for the sake of others. Most people are neutral in my view. Evil people will do whatever it takes to benefit themselves, even if others pay the price, they do not put any value in other people’s lives and interests, outside maybe of a few friends. They do not recognize an intrinsic value of human(oid) life. At an extreme, they may reveal in hurting others for the pleasure it procures them, but that is an extreme case.

      I think you could not have a functioning society where everyone cared not at all for his neighbor. There is a reason why humans developed empathy (the main cause for altruism), it’s necessary for a functioning society, think just of children, who need people to take care of them for years. You can maybe reason that evil people would take care of children so that the children would take care of them in the future when they grow old, as an investment, if you will, but that presumes a reciprocal somewhat altruistic attitude from the part of the children.

      Even when the leaders are evil, I think they would encourage more neutral behavior from their people, to protect their hold on power.

      At best, a lawful evil society might exist, with evil tendencies kept in check by the respect for law. But “chaotic evil”? It would never work.

  • Wulfrik the Wanderer

    I don’t really care for Dragonlance myself. Why? One word: Kender.

    • BlueReverend

      Tas is one of the best characters!

  • Filipe Isabelinho


    I think you can take the view of Fistandatilus, he wore the black robes by the end, yet other black robed wizards actually studied with him, for a chance to become his apprentice. It’s stupid? Yeah, but you know, stupid people, unfortunately, are not that uncommon. And the reason Fistandatilus wore the black robes, was because Gillean would not help him in living longer, so he changed his robes to black to be able to ask Takhisis for help in that regard, which she did by giving him a pendant that allowed him to take the life of other people so he could live longer (he basically used one of his “students” and take over one the one who won the prize of being his “apprentice”).

    Also Raistlin made a pact with Fistandatilus, Raistlin also wore the black robes to try to attain more power, Raistlin always wanted MORE power and the black robes is how he could attain such a thing and how he schemed his way to go back in time and actually take over Fistandatilus! Because what Fistandatilus was trying to do was to go over to the future to take over Raistlin and Raistlin in the end just fucked Fistandatilus over, so he could FINALLY challenge Thakisis! He could not have done this without taking up the black robes.

    Why wear the black robes? Why not try subterfuge, that’s the problem you have with this. Well, not everyone, wants to do the double-crossing approach, some people just want straight out want the black robes because it’s tempting, it’s virtually more powerful, or so it seems, it corrupts people, in the end, it’s just tempting of evil, one would choose the black robes because of it’s temptations, it’s the whole basis of the Star Wars Dark side, it’s temptation from POWER. Unless you can see through that, unless you actually are not by nature evil, you wont want the black robes, but some people, like you mentioned, don’t think they’re evil, they don’t think the black robes are actually evil, so they take them up, because they just don’t see it.

    That’s how I see it at least.

  • Bertrand Reyna-Brainerd

    Wearing black is one of those tropes that defies explanation as anything other than a narrative device. You see it all of the time in movies, with the bad cowboy wearing a black hat in westerns, sith lords, hell Brando even showed up in black at the end of Apocalypse Now. My guess is that the use of black in Dragonlance is due to cinematic influence, and in a movie there is a short amount of time to tell the story. Screenwriters sometimes resort to beating the audience over the head with visual metaphors when they can’t adequately establish a concept through dialogue.

    Spoony is right that it does not make logical sense to out yourself as a villain from the villain’s perspective, and no amount of tap-dancing from us is going to change that. It’s just something that screenwriters use to blitz past an audience that doesn’t have the time or the wherewithal to extrapolate the consequences. The writers of Dragonlance made a mistake when trying to incorporate this trope into a novel in the way they did.

    The black/evil association is a Western/first-world idea; in some cultures white is associated with pale sickliness and so white becomes the color of death and evil.

    • Dan Hibiki

      Quite true. Cowboys have carved this narrative in to the American consciousness and Spaghetti Westerns helped to break out of it by creating the “Hero’s Armor’ like the Man With no Name’s poncho.

  • NotThatKindOfThief

    As for the Sith, I always thought from what I’ve seen in the movies, and in the game, is that the Dark Side does make you a little unhinged is crazy which is why I thought that they were openly “evil”, because they just didn’t give a fuck. Also, the Sith rule a Lawful Evil empire so declaring yourself openly dark and evil will probably help you go up in ranks a lot faster, but even they justify their ways by saying they’re simply trying to keep peace and order or whatever.

  • Spectr

    I really miss Spoony doing more Game Reviews and I LONG for another Lets Play (the last one has been…when? 2009?), but I have to admit even as a non RPG-person these Counter Monkey episodes are super funny & interesting.

  • Tristan Elliston

    Funny fact: Lord Soth was supposed to stop the 1st Cataclysm of Krynn. He has received a vision from Paladine to take to the Highpriest of Ishtar. He was riding to Ishtar from his castle, when he received a message that his beloved wife was cheating on him. He feared this and returned to his castle, murdered his wife and servants, and became this evil knight.

  • Evil Otto

    I hear ya, Spooni-Won, about the Star Wars (and Krynn) expanded universes… too many books, every minor character getting his own detailed backstory, and I would add, too much of it reads like bad fanfiction… or is that redundant?

  • Carteeg_Struve

    Technically, your actions during the test should be what determines your robe. I’ve rarely allowed players who go through the test to determine which order they join. If they want to switch robes after the fact, then they need to prove to me they’ve changed alignment.

    In all honesty, most black robes don’t want to fraternize with the public. The idea of having people see their robes, shit themselves, and run – that gives them a smile to their face especially Fistandantilus (God, the Kingpriest trilogy was awesome). Raistlin (pronounced RAYST-lin) was on the edge between red and black, and he switched to join the evil dragonarmies and infiltrate. And it worked. But in order to do it, he really did need to change his world view. Hell, he abandoned his friends to die on a ship that was sinking in a storm. It’s just that he used his evil position to backstab Takhisis as step one in trying to eventually overthrow her and take her place.

    Another issue is that all three orders of mages (white, red, and black) work together fairly well in the Tower, and mages are often hated regardless of their order. So in most places, white or black… it ain’t making a difference.

    It also helps not to view neutrality as those in the middle balancing to two extremes. Neutrality in Dragonlance is the third point of triangle, not the focal point of a see-saw. Gilean (the head neutral God) has the symbol of a book, not scales.

    Look at it this way: White is for the betterment of the world, often to the detriment of lesser goods and individual freedoms. Black is for control and domination of the world. Red is for free-will. The world is required to try to balance all three, not just two. And that makes things a bit more interesting because the whites, although simplistically called “good”…. really aren’t. Hell, I would argue that many of the “good” characters (like Par-Salian) were VERY VERY evil by real world standards.

    Dragonlance got a lot of stuff cleaned up in regards to its continuity when MWP released its 3.5 materials (often referred to by the fan-base as the “Golden Age of Dragonlance”), and many of the issues have been ironed out or at least improved from the old AD&D over-simplicity in the setting. It also takes the good material from 5th Age and brings the stuff lost from the 4th Age and brings it all together.

    And good God… it was glorious.

    Hell, I became enough of a fan I assisted in creating a fan-made setting on one of Krynn’s other continents (Adlatum), and it was some of the most fun I’ve had with D&D. It’s a shame WotC let their license to MWP run out, because it killed one of the best line of RPG products I’ve seen (even more than Planescape, even more than Pathfinder).

    Long live the Lance.

  • ummon

    I distinctly remember Raistlin changing colors during his life as a wizard, he started as white then changed first to red and later to black. His robes actually changed color as he decided he needed more power. So I don’t think the wizards have that much choice which color they wear because as they do evil it changes for them.

    As for knowing when you’re evil, people can be aware that what they are doing is evil. Maybe they just want power for their own selfish goals and don’t care what they have to do. And especially in D&D with the lawful vs. chaotic conflict there can be lawful evil guys. They decide that it is more important to uphold the order than being a good person. And wizards with that attitude would be completely trustworthy as long as you are in line with their vision of order.

  • Malidictus

    Asking why anyone would wear a black robe is kind of like asking why Fallout lets you get a slaver tattoo across your neck that everyone will see wherever you go. Even if we ignore “the god of evil won’t give you power otherwise,” you can see it as a statement: “You do NOT want to mess with me!” I don’t know how the book defines it, but you can still fudge these wizards as being people who aren’t ashamed of being evil.

    There’s also a major flaw in your “nobody considers himself evil” argument, o Spoony One, in that while that’s true on ideological matters, it’s not always true on matters of practicality. Yes, Hans Gruber just wants money, but we can’t deny that he knows taking it is “wrong.” Of course he does, but the man doesn’t care. He wants the money and if he has to shoot Mr. Takagi in the head for no real reason in the process of doing it, then he’ll do that. Sure the man isn’t doing it BECAUSE it’s evil, but he’s doing it WHILE KNOWING it’s evil.

    To me, Black Robe mages are assholes who were going to go around burning villages and killing other mages anyway, and the black robes just give them an excuse to do it. Not only that, but it’s a status symbol that this is someone that you don’t talk back to, or he will murder your ass. It’s what someone who has no ethics, morality or ideology would do, because that’s someone only driven by greed. And greedy people are never ashamed of showing it, if they have the power to take what they want.

  • Randall Bohannan

    I’m not a big expert on dragon lance, but my first thought would be–chicks dig guys in black! :P Of course, as a D&D player, if you dress like Gandalf, your asking for every missle weapon and spare attack to come your way. IE–don’t wear a target around your neck. As far as the sith goes–If there was a tactical advantage to dressing and acting like a goodie 2shoes jedi-sure; whatever works after all. But in the end, when your just doing business as usual or don’t want to pussyfoot around with ambushes, go with the Black. Its your calling card to the sheep–“Don’t mess with the Sith/Empire or we will friggin bury you in tiny pieces”. The Sith rule through fear and intimidation and they want to convey that in no uncertain terms.

  • Tor Nordmark

    So… He gave such a little fuck that the realm sundered and the gods got pissed?
    When people said “I didnt give a single fuck”
    This guy, he just gave such a little fuck that it’s impossible to give less fuck than that.

  • cappadocian

    * Someone else has said you don’t actually choose your robe color. First off, that is not said in my sourcebook, and second, that is BULLSHIT. Someone else picks for you? That’s not exactly the same thing as being chosen for Gryffindor or Slytherin. That’s your teacher calling you an asshole.-spoony.

    Dude sometime you have to accept when you’re wrong, instead of screaming loudly over someone. The sourcebooks aren’t as important, or, in fact, as detailed by the novels. Thats kinda like arguing with Tolkien about his universe. Weiss and Hickman wrote it. That makes it canon. Does matter what you think, how unfair it might be, etc etc etc. I jsut checked the novel.

    • Airos

      The sourcebooks are as important, if not more so when talking in the context of a game. In Dungeons and Dragons the rules trump the novels, since by its very nature D&D is a game and games require rules.

      Given the fact that not every D&D player has read every novel, if a detail is omitted from the rules it’s probably not a crime for those players to dismiss it as creative flourish, or fluff/flavor text.

  • Ult

    It’s been a while since I’ve read anything strictly related to Dragonlance, but the way I (poorly) rationalize it is this: the magi who wear the black robes use magic to get more powerful, magi who wear the red robes use magic to make sure neither good nor evil triumphs (because then all sorts of bad shit happens, as Spoony mentioned), and the wizards who wear the white robes focus on using magic to heal and be generally benevolent in their daily lives. It doesn’t really take care of the problem Spoony addresses in the slightest, but on the surface it at least hides the sign of evil that black robes wear to a small extent.

  • Shad Croly

    Well, Darth Maul looked supremely evil because that’s basically what his race looks like: spikes out of the head and face tattoos.

    But the point of wearing black robes? They’re alignmentally locked. This is, of course, not the case with any robes that aren’t magically enchanted, and I don’t know if this is the case for EVERY itteraction of the item, but in Pathfinder, the Robes of the Archmagi come in three varieties that only work if you’re wearing the robe that matches your alignment: White for good, grey for neutral, and black for evil. Now, the power of the robes still works regardless of your alignment and the robes you wear, but if you’re not wearing the proper colored robe, you’re shafted with 2-3 negative levels, which can seriously detriment any spellcasting you do.

  • Rothide

    Why would you wear black? So that you are trusted by the villain in white. I’m serious, what better way to get into his good graces than show that you are a worshiper of his dark god, when in actually, you worship the good gods, and you are planning to stop him. He wouldn’t think to capture a guy in black.

    Think of it like when Han Solo and Luke put on the storm trooper disguises, no one really questioned them until they needed to sound official.

  • William Olsson

    Go back to reviewing video games and films you greedy, lazy fuck.

  • sbkMulletMan

    This is actually amazing timing for me, because I resumed reading the first Dragonlance trilogy (on the 3rd book), and just this morning, I got to the part where they’re discussing the history of the cursed Tower of High Sorcery in Palanthas.

    I’m really loving these books, but I figured very early on that it was mostly just fun escapism and silly “junk food literature”. Raistlin is the only thing that really gives these books legitimacy and I have a feeling I won’t (or rather shouldn’t) read passed the Twins Trilogy. And as much as I love Raistlin, I have to admit that the whole wizard alignment thing is just absurd, and it’s a pleasant surprise to see a Counter Monkey dedicated to it all right here. Even when reading the books, you see things like “Red Robes of Neutrality” or “God of Neutrality”, and there is NO way to make that sound cool or practical. But hey, it’s a book series written in the 80’s, of course it’s going to sound goofy at times.

    As for the robes, and the whole “advertising you’re evil” thing, the only time that works is when you’re so powerful and have so much authority, that you just plain don’t give a damn who knows you’re evil because you feel there isn’t a damn thing they can do about it. That’s when you get your Shao Kahns and Darth Vaders and such. Doesn’t work well for the casual traveling wizard, though, and that’s where the outfits fall apart.

    Of course, the *real* reason of it all is that it IS entirely a fashion statement by the creators of the story. The villain has to look cool, and 90% of the time it comes off as an unsubtle cliche. The other 10% of the time you have a practical villain, like in Beverly Hills cop or Demolition Man (Raymond Cocteau) where the a bad guy is dressed nicely and normally, and has actually won his place in society as a respectable citizen and has now acquired power. The suckers fell for it because the villain didn’t advertise their corruption or criminal activities or cruel intentions openly. Because he wasn’t STUPID! They know how to maintain a facade, otherwise they’re always on the run and can’t walk openly in public without trouble, like Simon Phoenix.

    But that’s not to say that a lot of those less-subtle characters aren’t cool, like Phoenix. Sometimes you can forgive the lack of practicality for the sake of entertainment and aesthetics, and I’d be a lying son of a bitch if I said Raistlin didn’t look amazing in both the red and black robes. MAN, that wizard has style! Those dorks at Hogwarts could learn from him.

  • Dustin Harms

    Everyone is the hero of their own story… but Good and Evil are objective, physical things in this world, not just behaviours or philosophies. The person who willingly takes the Black Robes isn’t a villain in his own story, he’s driven. He has goals, desires, needs. He has things he must do, deeds he must accomplish. The White Robes are too slow, and restrictive. If he take the white robe it will chafe him with the plodding pace of the advancement of his power and the limitations he must labor under in order to draw power from Good. Even the Red Robe, while less slow, binds him with that dedication to the forces of Balance, it asks of him to never truly attain his own goals in favor of keeping this tenuous peace. The Black Robe asks nothing but that you wear it, and it gives you everything you desire. It is fast, easy, and the gods of Evil ask little save that you use the power given you. He takes the Black Robe because it he is willing to do anything to achieve his goals – he will accept Evil powers and use them for his -own- goals. He thinks he will take from them without needing to give, and in the end, the Evil he channels will corrupt his intents until his goals are one with the goals.of the Evil Gods.
    You take the Black Robes because they are fast, they are easy, and you think you can cheat the system. :)

  • sbkMulletMan

    And speaking of Dragonlance, I recently had the misfortune of stumbling across clips of a 2008 animated movie of the first book…I do not know how I never heard of this thing’s existence the passed 4 years, but man, do I miss my previous ignorance. That crap was TERRIBLE!

    And my second thought upon seeing the clips (first thought was mostly just me vomiting) was “man, I’d actually kind of like to see Spoony review this for Counter Monkey and rip it apart Tandem-Style!”. Of course, that would mean he’d have to watch the abomination, if he hasn’t already, and that’s not something I’d wish on anyone, but at the same time, if there’s anyone who could make this abortion of a movie enjoyable in any way, it’s him!

    • Patrick Coyle

      If anyone finds it jarring to see the draconians rendered in budget CG while everything else is hand-animated (which makes their one ambush hilarious), just wait for the part where Tanis starts talking about his mother’s violent rape in the middle of this otherwise PG-level story.

      On the other hand, Kiefer Sutherland is Raistlin.

      But yeah, that thing needs a good thrashing. It’s almost too bad they didn’t make the full trilogy, just to give its critics more ammunition.

      • sbkMulletMan

        Oh man, I didn’t even think about the rape story! With how tame they make the action sequences, to the point where Tas is practically tickling a hobgoblin with a knife, it probably comes out of nowhere to suddenly talk about rape. Especially with the no-room-to-breathe pacing of the movie.

        “Hi, Tanis”, “Hello, old friend”, “wow, a beard, that’s new, hey, look, Raistlin has jaundice and Caramon is complaining about being hungry again”, “my elf-mother was raped by a human during a raid on her village”, “that’s nice, hey, has Flint always sounded like a demented Muppet? Oh look, hobgoblins!” “oh, we fought some on the way here. Just gently place an axe into their thick chestplate armor and they’ll fall over dead” “No, that’s still too violent, look, Raistlin will put them to sleep”, “I must rest now”, “hey, when the hell did we get on this boat?” “Oh look, ghosts!”

        Just…SHUT UP! Felix the Cat’s movie wasn’t this bad! Seriously, just by watching a few clips of the movie, this thing was just quickly droning on and on and on with no room to think or breathe that it was probably trying to change my alignment to True Neutral. Luckily, since I was already on Youtube, I managed to Counter-Song that bitch.

  • Cody Ward

    The only thing I can figure as far as the Black Robes go is the same reason Warlocks are allowed to exist in the Warcraft mythos. Overtly, the warlocks simply dabble in demonic magic, but don’t actually worship the demons or whatnot. They provide combat spells and abilities that are indespensible to bringing down the big guys like dragons or eldritch horrors that the other spellcasters couldn’t. For instance, Healthstones. Warlocks can make healing items from the souls of fallen enemies. Whoever holds the stone activates it, whereas priests and paladins would require a line of sight, knowledge of a person’s peril, and time to cast their spell when twenty other people are needing the same thing or stabbing at a giant’s toe. A necessary evil, as it were. Of course, the Warlocks are constantly scheming to stab each other in the back, furthering their own causes and wouldn’t trust each other as far as they could throw them. And while nobody really trusts their magics, they can’t get those services from anyone else.

    As for balance, I think of something like Darksiders. A strict set of rules being set out and cannot be crossed. If they are crossed, the red-robes are allowed to unleash all holy hell, but not before. Either that or a more sort of yin-yang karma bullshit or the like.

  • Devon Bays

    This definitely appears to be one of the dumber things villains could do, but I think I may be able to offer a different perspective.

    It’s true that well-written and realistic villains will believe their actions or beliefs to be justified, or at least appropriate, so it’s unlikely that they would ally themselves simply with the term “evil”, but if it’s made any broader than that, I could imagine people taking up the Black Robes not only willingly, but proudly.

    Appropriately enough, I think that’s ultimately where all of this stems from is pride (It is the deadliest sin, after all) – although very few people would realistically believe themselves to be evil, or willingly announce it to others, there are some – as much in D&D as in real life – who may hold beliefs or morals that essentially amount to evil, but can be rationally justified.

    People might not be stupid enough to wear a shirt that says “I’M THE ANTAGONIST” in blood-red “Chiller” font, but they might be proud enough to display their philosophy that those too weak to defend themselves deserve to die, or that they consider themselves elevated over the masses, and thus deserve to rule over or kill them as they see fit.

  • Dan Cochran

    durrr, what’s the name of the song again?

    • PeaTearGryfin

      Bard’s Song by Blind Guardian

  • Tsolis

    Isn’t it because there are 3 different gods gods of magic white/red/black. There only concern is magic and mostly work together. Has something to do with the 3 moons the white the red and the hidden one that black mages use.

    • Tsolis

      Yea the robes are more about the 3 gods of magic Lunitari, Nuitari, and Solinari

      • Tsolis

        Oh and Kaz the Minotaur was Humas companion and was AWESOME !!!! Got me reading Dragonlance again.

        • draxo

          Kaz was amazing. To this day I still want to play a Minotaur fighter in D&D. Pitty no DM I have ever had would let me. I guess we just read different books.

  • Spectr

    I have become interested in the Dungeons & Dragons setting. Are there any good novels set in it? I know the most classic sub-setting is “Forgotten Realms”, so anything from there maybe? And what about “Dragonlance”?

    • Jeremy Owens

      The first few (written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman) Dragonlance novels are good. Likewise, I’ve always liked the Forgotten Realms novels written by R.A. Salvatore about Drizzt.

      Perfectly prepared for any flak that may draw.

    • Hannes Radke

      There is a Series of Novels by R. A. Salvatore for the Forgotten Realms Setting. Never read one, but I assume these are O.K. at least.

    • ybrevo

      Dragonlance: Chronicles is the main trilogy (or quadrilogy if you count Summer’s Flame, and Dragonlance: Legends. Those two series are the ‘must reads’ in most people’s opinion

  • Chris McGee

    I’ve only read the first couple of trilogies in the Dragonlance saga and that was probably 25 years ago, so my memory of it is extraordinarily vague by now. All I can say is that it would have made more sense if the robes were magical in such a way that they knew the intentions and desires of the person wearing them and changed their own color based on that. Even then, however, the question arises as to why you’d still wear them; for example, you could just walk into your local tailor shop and request a white robe be made (they may even have dozens of them in different sizes already made because the request would be so popular) and just swap the intelligent robe with the plain one as you’re leaving the wizard’s tower.

  • CaptainDingaling

    I don’t know anything about Dungeons and Dragons and don’t understand what most of Spoony is talking about but for some reason it’s interesting to hear his stories about this game. He talks about it like it’s real and that whats makes it fun to watch.

  • Patrick Coyle

    I played a short Dragonlance campaign for a few weeks in high school, where our DM treated the black robes as being committed not to evil, but to a certain kind of pragmatic self-interest, along with the idea that conflict breeds growth and strength. You could largely count on them to act in whatever way would most benefit themselves, including being perfectly reasonable much of the time. They’d only stir up trouble if they had something to gain from it (and if you weren’t willing to give them what they wanted – the black robes were a good intimidation tool in this regard).

    I thought the comparison made between them and the Sith was pretty interesting, considering this is much how the Sith are portrayed in the later Knights of the Old Republic series, which seemed like they were trying to answer the same question: why would somebody join an organization that marks them as a card-carrying asshole?

    (Yes, maybe the DM was violating canon – but he was the DM, canon is whatever he says it is, and his version made much more sense to all of us.)

  • bbs2n

    Magic doesn’t come from the gods he’s talking about.
    But yeah nobody picks their robes. It goes like this.
    You take the test, and based on your actions you’re given robes.
    Your robes are the colour of where your magic comes from. Magic comes from one of the 3 moons (which are gods). If you’re a red robe, you only get your power from the red moon, the other two don’t do shit for you.
    So a black robe doesn’t mean you’re evil, nor does it mean you follow Takhisis, it simply means your spells come from Nuitari – I think that was the black moons name – and is a reflection on your lust for power and how you view the world that is part of the purpose of the test to discern

  • Jaakko Hosioja

    With the sith, at least as far as I see it, a good amount of them are newbies, driven by emotions, like Anakin at the end, doesn’t think he’s evil but is hogging all the power that he can. The genius ones, like Palpatine and his master Plagueis (who didn’t even show himself in public) kept behind the scenes, and maintained a facade of being normal. Darth Maul didn’t tattoo his face because he was sith, that was a Zabrak custom. Revan took on the mask from a dead Mandalorian back when he was still a jedi and swore he would wear it until they were defeated, and after that, he had no real reason to maintain an appearance of a jedi, as he was the head of an invasion fleet. Kreia, while talking like Satan, the lord of lies, did not announce being evil. Sion and Nihilus are kind of beyond the point of even attempting… although at their time, there were almost no jedi so what would it get them even if they could.

  • mondomolesto

    Man, that brings me back. I havent read any of the dragonlance stuff since i was a kid. I also stopped reading them, because it did get to a point where it was just getting stupid, and if it seemed stupid to a 12 year old, it’s probably about 50x times stupider than i thought it was.

    The whole good/evil/neutrality thing does seem kind of silly and juvenile, but lets face the whole fantasy thing in general is mainly aimed at angsty kids with a not so well formed notion of reality, so why would it make any sense? You know how everyone bashes Twilight, or game of throne fans these days? Well dragonlance fans were the same thing back in the day.

  • Benjamin French

    Bear with me, I know nothing about the flavor of Dragonlance so this is all from a logical perspective by what you said in video.

    Out of story context you would pick black for the power bonus.

    In context your god may require you to reflect your nature as to better worship, be recognized, the whole army of Nazis is more intimidating than an army of guys dressed as bunnies thing.

    Could also be that a player just wants to run around as a dick for laughs, setting churches on fire and punting babies off of buildings because it would be a fun challenge to do that in public and draw a crowd of do-gooders to kill in the aftermath of your comical evil.

    I can give you the reason as to why a person would chose to beyond the metaphysics of “stat bonuses”, beyond the gods needing supplication and beyond stupid but I don’t think you’ll like it.

    Let’s say we have someone with a chemical imbalance, doesn’t think straight or process properly. They chose black because they do bad things, are bad and just outright don’t understand why this is inappropriate. A biological and environmental process that creates someone who just is “evil”. This could be just how you want to roll your character.

    Another argument could be for counter-culture. Wear black, be crazy, do what you want and everyone accepts it because you’re evil. If the guy in white robes did that, we would probably hate him and attack him for doing bad things while wearing a representation of good. If the guy in black robes does it, we expected it to begin with.

    Sure, the element of surprise is gone but so is the cultural and moral pressure to do nice things, help out and be useful. Everyone expects the guy in white to run into a burning building and save orphans but no one expects the guy in black to do it. I know this sounds bad but when was the last time you saw a guy with Nazi tattoos and thought, “I bet he would risk his life to save someone he didn’t know.” If you remove expectation, you remove pressure to achieve expectation.

  • Sam Pagano

    I have no idea about the dragonlance guys (never actually played or read anything about dragonlance) but the sith thing kind of makes some sense to me atleast if they have some goal other than wiping out the Jedi like in the Old Republic era when there was actually a sith order or if they’re just trying to be a warlord and are relatively unconcerned with the whole Jedi-Sith conflict they may want to go for the intimidation of being a sith.

  • Muki

    Ah with Raven mask here the reason why he was wearing it “Revan dons the Mandalorian mask for the first time and vows to avenge the victims of Cathar.”

  • Lone Wolf

    Naming the groups good, evil and neutral is stupid. Selfishness and selflessness would have been better titles. Selfishness are selflessness are not necessarily evil and good, you can be selfless and evil and you could be selfish and good. For example communism and enlightened self interest. Communism has shown it self to be bad idea and enlightened self interest is a good idea.

  • Jonathan Hemmila

    I always pronounced it as Ray-st- lynn. They way you said it is rice-t-lynn. I guess it is up to choice, but I have heard it pronounced my way in the cartoon and in other WoTC settings. Please cut your greasy hair. You are a god of all this stuff! You shouldn’t look like a dirty homeless person.

  • Olivia Williams

    For some reason since a ill while I can’t see the new videos on my iPad that’s sad

  • Brian Webber

    I also quit the Star Wars EU around the time of New Jedi Order. IMHO, the “Golden Age” of Star Wars print stories are stories set in the time frame between when Empire Strikes Back is going on, to about 15 years after the Battle of Endor. Well, OK, some of the stories set 1000 or more years before A New Hope are kinda cool too, especially Tales of the Jedi and Knights of the Old Republic, but generally I go for the other era I mentioned, which I think is “officially” referred to as The New Republic Era.

  • Will Harper

    I played an evil character and let me tell you I never fest up to being evil. In-fact my character even think it is a concept though aesthetics rather than actions and consistency. (Good) Characters that judge my character are a threat to my characters’ dreams and goals. And they need to be put into submission, ostracized, or killed though manipulation one way or another. The funny thing is I think I did it right. If I played a cartoon villain that twirls his mustache it would get old fast and be to predictable for it to be interesting. The character was not good at fighting but rather talking and weaseling out of situations. And it seem like it was done right as everyone that played did looked back at the story as a fun experience or at least funny in a American Psycho way. Even though my character was not a serial killer rather a viscus callus bully that trying to get goals met at all cost. Actually more like Eric Cartman from South Park but not as ugly. The goal is to be a god of music and it was promised by a dragon lich of great power. So it was not even to be a god of evil yet my character would be a evil god. In some ways the character was more scary as you would not expect the this one to do such acts. And if you began to, it is a race. It is like Deathnote of one trying to get the info to prosecute my character and my character trying to manipulate the one hunting my character into a trap. I not sure my character was that interesting as a character was two dimensional and that is as good as it get with characters suffering (or relived in my character perspective) from psychopathy. Rather the environment was interesting and the other party members I think were more interesting and the game of trying to get some missions done. I guess my character would be as interesting as Cersei Lanister, or Petyr Baelish but them alone are not interesting without other character trying to work around them or threaten by them. And at the end my character did get it and I laugh about it out of game as I figured my character had it coming. I do not play much more evil characters after that but I may play some scary ones. One other character was a world of darkness character and he was a hunter that was puritanical in a scary way and was set up to be the villain. I also like to do a wide verity one time I played a wizard in his teens another time a played a polite and soft spoken doctor. I like to mix it up.

    Long story short I never play a cartoon villain but I can play a villain.

  • Seraph~♥

    I always thought of robe colors more of a type of magic/temperament kinda thing… much like final fantasy mages, now that I think about it. White robes are given to those who help others and mostly focus on healing magic. Red robes are given to those who the power of magic but are not willing to go to the extents the black mages tend to. Takhisis is basically only tolerated by black mages because their inclinations tend to mix them up with her worshipers and it smooths out the knicks there would otherwise be.

    5th age was pretty shit I must say, but a lot of novel before Chronicles were great. The Lost Chronicles are a must read. Other great series include Anvil of Time, Ergoth and Kingpriest.

  • Hannes Radke

    I really like the new Title music from counter monkey. Does anybody know the artist? have to get it!

  • Isaac Severi

    As I recall the gods left not because they were fed up but because they had to to keep Chaos from destroying the world despite doing so would hurt him.

  • Jumpooleez

    Could you imagine Jesus getting teleported to Krynn? That would be fucking hilarious.

    • Adam Ahmed

      Okay, that would be fucking hilarious.

      So would he lose power, or bring the earth god named god over since he is god due to the trinity.

  • Xerkules

    I really like these Counter Monkey vids, but you could cut them down a bit. An hour of unstructured rambling is just a bit much. One good story or a semi-restrained, decently-paced ramble would be great.

  • Martin Haugland Sundby

    here is your choise wear black robe and you wil go lonesom way that wil make you strong.
    wear the red robe and you wil go a lonsome path with little resistanse witch wil make it easy fore you to concentrate on your task, to keep blance in this world

  • crazy_canuk

    For the Sith the answer is simple. They aren’t devoted to evil as much as they are devoted to power ruling over the powerless. Their entire world view is that they must always be seen as the baddest motherfucker in the pit so no one will mess with them.

    I do see the argument for them hiding their intentions when the Jedi are currently in control, but at some point it’s in their best interest to wave the banner of power and declare ‘We’re here conquer you. Obey and become as strong as we, or perish by our blade.’ If they show off the advantages of the dark side, show how much power you too could wield, they will get more converts to their philosophy.

    Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
    Through passion, I gain strength.
    Through strength, I gain power.
    Through power, I gain victory.
    Through victory, my chains are broken.
    The Force shall free me.

  • Nyíri Zoltán

    Thanks humbe GM!

    Dear Sopooney!

    The awnser is very easy. The black robe is a symbol, like the brown robe of the jedi. Till that symbol only means evil witch=hounted then it’s lunacy to put up sg like that. But there is two ways:
    If you make soceity thinks that symbol not supposed to be hounted, but respected and feared. Because it’s not EVIL, or not evil alone, its means power-order. So like the sith in they ruled society can dress any ways as they wants (even it’s horryfiing or manaceing), because the people knows that robe not means that you have to hunt it, but they are the highest representetives of the established order. Darth Reaven used the mask and stuff because, he belived he has te power to force on the galaxy that symbol of entablished order. Because he and he’s allies kick the fuck out of the mandalorians. If not for them, the galaxy overtaken by the mandalaorians(or at least the known worlds). And he thought: “I will be the new order, and that order needs a symbol”. But he can do that because of the promise of infinite power, the Starforge, and the belief of he’s own power and he’s allies/servants. Butt the Emperor ony weared robes, when that is a symbol. He played the game until the last second, when all the jedi murdered, he is the high cancellor and everything…So then he had the entablished order, that’s it. Remember how they clapped to he’s ugly face and that manaceing Red (sith) robe, the cheered and everything? Because he’s win. But yeah, in any other situations, wearing black robes is tottaly unacceptable.

    Good call Spooney one ;)

  • TacDrol

    Oh magic conch shell, what do I do to get out of Ravenloft?

  • Justin Alexander

    Oh man. Dragonlance. One of the first D&D book series I actually got into was the “Dragons of…” series. I read them in high school and they were what basically made me want to play D&D, but as I got older I realized what insanity was really taking place.

    You know, at one point I recall that Raistlinn was like “I’m wizard of the red robes,” but then later MASSIVE SPOILERS WARNING he goes “lol j/k I’m wearing black robes now.” Like, can you just change that? Swap clothes? He’s black robes now, he must be evil!

    • doresh

      Our modern media would claim that it was the black robe that turned him evil, and thus all pieces of black clothing need to be burned XD

  • Turcano

    Apparently Lord Soth wasn’t the only successful escapee from Ravenloft; Vecna pulled it off too. And he didn’t really give a shit either.

  • Samuel Amaral

    Maybe it is a double deception : You know I wouldn’t wear black if I was evil, so I am wearing anyway to fool you !

  • Benkin Manfish

    hmm, all i can think of (having read a grand total of half a dragon lance book) is that the test would mark you as one or the other in some way. I’m with Spoony on openly evil thing, it almost always doesn’t make sense. The only time it does is when it is as a contrast to good, say if good is a bunch of ultra conservative nut jobs, or the character is Richard from LFG.

    Incidentally if anyone is interested in in a series of books that does the Light, Neutral and Dark thing right, or just like Russians i’d recommend The World of the Watches series by Sergei Lukyanenko. Although to be fair the ‘black robes’ in that have more to do with how self interested they are then how objectively evil

  • Luke_Duke

    Spoony, if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend the novel “Star
    Wars: Darth Plagieus.” The Sith do pretty much just what you suggest
    they should do in that one.

  • Necro

    I once questioned American’s fascination of Ninjas because it was never that popular in Japan. Then I saw how they depict Ninjas in movies and games, I think I know why. They are basically an acrobatic badass who wield Katana in their mind, but they are all wrong. Their major tactics were disguising themselves and deceiving guards to infiltrate a place and assassinate someone. They wore black suit only during night. They use ninja-toh not Katana.

    The closest thing to Ninja is probably the agent 47 from Hitman games.

    • doresh

      A real ninja can only be recognized as such when it is already too late.

      Ninjato are commonly attributed to ninja, but there’s no evidence such weapons were ever used by them (especially not as climbing tools considering Japanese steel is not very durable).
      Seeing how ninja were usually disguised as peasants or wandering monks, my bets are on either the kama or its more advanced cousin, the kusarigama. It’s easier to hide and less suspicious when spotted (a peasant walking around with a sword was anything but normal).

      The real funny part is that the modern image of ninja have been shaped by their appearance in traditional theaters – were they just wore normal stage-hand gear so the audience will ignore them until their time comes.

    • Erich Williams

      The Ninja-to did not exist. Why? You couldn’t forge a straight katana. If you ever see how it’s done, you’d know why. All katanas start out straight, but they curve during the process because of the type of metals. The Ninja-to is a new invention designed to work with cosplays and be “tactical.” Most, if not all, are made not by forging but by grinding a random un-tempered sheet of metal into the right shape. They’re all stupidly fragile and bendable. A ninja would carry a wakizashi or a dagger, or anything that fits the disguise.

      You also underestimate the power of popular culture. In the East, you think they believe cowboys do anything but drink and get in gunfights? Their main role as ranch workers goes right out the window in the popular mind. Then we have knights as common soldiers in metal instead of landed noble cavaliers, etc.

    • Vismutti

      Not popular in Japan? Are you sure? They seem popular enough to me in manga and anime. More popular than in the west, I’d almost say… Sure the portrayal is a bit different but not really that much. And the western image of ninjas is heavily based on the portrayals in Japanese fiction.

      • Necro

        I am talking from the time period when the Japanese culture was imported in the US, which is way back before Naruto got popular.

        • Vismutti

          I’m not talking just about Naruto. Ninja (or shinobi, whatever) where popular in Japan way before America even heard about them. According to Wikipedia (yeah yeah, bad source, blah blah blah) : “Ninja-based films and books became a major Japanese pop-culture craze during the 1950s and early 1960s, since then expanding into numerous comic books and video games.” (if you can read Japanese, you can check out the Japanese version of that page which seems to list exclusively works with ninja protagonists rather than anything with ninjas)

          Even if you don’t accept Wikipedia as a source, you can just check out all the products of the era. Here’s a list of (non-anime) ninja films and tv series you can look up:
          And an IMDB list: (though this list is kind of bad since I know for sure that some of those aren’t ninja films)
          Note the dates! The older ones are almost exclusively Japanese. Even more so if you look at the silent films.

          For some old ninja anime and manga check, for example, The Legend of Kamui (manga 1964 – 1971 and anime 1969) or Kaze no Ishimaru (manga 1960) and the anime version of the former Shōnen Ninja Kaze no Fujimaru (1964 – 1965)

          A very popular early pop culture ninja you should definitely look up is Sarutobi Sasuke, who has appeared in pretty much everything you can imagine a character appearing in.
          So… I’d say ninjas are very popular in Japan and have been for over a hundred years.

          • Necro

            Ok, fair enough. I was born in 1990 so I had no idea about those old films. Even so, no people or nerds talk specifically about ninja in a way Americans do. The same thing can be said about samurai. I guess it has to do with the fact that they are both from radically different culture. In Japan for example people in that country can get obsessive about English culture because they are often times depicted in movies as gentleman who drink tea at afternoon.

  • Кайл Дорнез

    Yeah, I remember Lord Soth. Motherfucker had Word of Power: Kill at-will… IMSM, second part of his torment was the Tower itself – since he walked all its floors almost endlessly, he remembered its layout down to the last brick, and the tower in his Domain, while otherwise identical, always had some extremely minor differences, like the hall was two feet shorter, or mirror was hanging on a wrong wall, so he was constantly reminded that this isn’t his home.

  • Nicholas Stillman

    Here’s how it *could* work:

    -You are part of an evil society with a dress code. The robes grant you privileges, and other black robes can’t hurt you or else the establishment kills them.

    -It’s the price one must pay for being allowed to use magic. The gods want you to have some weakness or a sense of fair play.

    -The gods like chess, and the robes help show where all their pawns are at a glance.

    I haven’t read the novels, obviously. But you can stretch your imagination a bit and find a few answers.

  • Jannick Hegelund Hverkeltoft

    I once rolled an Orc Ninja in 3.5. Why? Simply because it was stupid. Oh, and he had an extreme case of split personality, so everyday i’d roll to se what personality and alignment i would use for the day. However, i got sick of the fact that he was so gimmicky, so he got killed off.

    • doresh

      Just pick chaotic neutral. That one goes with everything XD

    • Dan Hibiki

      couldn’t you just pick a personality you liked?

      • Jannick Hegelund Hverkeltoft

        i might have, but i just ended up thinking that the entire character was a gag, made up because it was stupid and i was dissapointed by the ninja class.

  • Damion Jackson

    Here’s my theory and its similar to one of the ones below: To become a Wizard of the Towers of High Sorcery you essentially must become a priest of magick. Each of the Orders are devoted to their respective moon god, the white, the red and the black. If you read the gods section of Dragonlance you discover that each of the moons is actually a god, and the Wizards kinda worship them, through their magic. So here it is, you must wear the robe of your order for the same reason a cleric must carry the holy symbol of his god. Without the symbol of you magic, the black robe for example, you magic simply doesn’t work properly. Its not that your magic shuts down completely, just as a cleric without his holy symbol doesn’t lose all of his powers (just most of ‘em), its just more difficult Also i think the lack of devotion you show by choosing not to wear your colors offends the deity just as being the wrong alignment would offend the deity. In fact i think my theory is further supported by the addition of Sorcerers in the later setting, the 3.0/3.5 class that is not the generalized term for spell casters. Their justification for Sorcerers was that they channel the primal magic of the world, the same stuff the Chaos god invested in the world before the Moon gods were born. SO if you’re wondering ‘well if the wizards are all priests and they lose their powers if they don’t wear the robes what about the rogue wizards or the really low level guys?’ I say the Sorcerers are how, the rogues and lowbies unwittingly tap into this primal magic and thus avoid the need to wear the robes. But you must if you wish to wear the title of ‘Wizard of High Sorcery’!
    Here’s a way around it though, forgive if i get this wrong. I think all you actually have to do is wear their color. You can slip by it by wearing a cloak. A black cloak is not that damning, at least until its embroided with magic symbols…

  • Dan Hibiki

    5 silver discount to all blackrobes at Ye’ Olde Mermaid’s Caffy Shappy and Whacky Tabbacky.

  • doresh

    Now that I think about it, this robe thing reminds me of The Dark Eye’s setting of Aventuria (or Arkania if you’ve played the old DOS trilogy), but it makes more sense there because the dress code is not enforced by any gods, but by the wizards themselves.

    In this setting, all wizards (with very rare exceptions depending on their academy) are required to wear obvious wizard gear, since the normal population is kinda paranoid when it comes to the supernatural, and there was this one time where wizards created their own kingdoms and started a very messy civil war (so the kings and the inquisition kinda want to be able to easily recognize those dudes).

    The wizards are also color-coded (though just in name only. They can still dress in whatever color they want as long as they dress up wizard-like) according to their way of life: white (very lawful – and the only wizards safe from the inquisitionary church of the Sun god), gray (tolerant dudes who are BFFs with witches, druids and elves) and black (who are only interested in power and tend to practice necromancy and demonology).

    Due do above paranoia, the more civilized kingdoms only really allow white wizards. Grey wizards are usually found in the northern kingdoms (where the most elves live), and the black wizards usually reside in the south (where nobody gives a shit about who you are or what you do in your basement as long as you have money and influence) – though black wizards are not necessarily evil for evil’s sake. Some of them just want freedom in their researches, and those hardcore demon worshippers usually leave this whole guild system altogether.

    Of course, a wizard can just simply try to pass off as a normal citizen or wizard from another color, but heaven forbid if someone finds out. There are whole sub-orginations of elite wizards hunting those who betray the law!

    • Rakkrakk


      Sorry, but you had it coming.

  • Alex Bermann

    A character of mine would have taken the black robe:

    He followed a philosophy very similar to Nietzsches. The basic point is that “good” and “evil” are flawed concepts to begin with because they rely to a norm which someone thought of. So in his world view, the whole concept of good is just an invention of Paladin to make people what he wants. Takhisis represents a position which defies that authority and gives her followers the capabilities to do that as well.
    The thing about the social stigma is problematic, but you can be open about being classicaly evil (only concerned with own benefit) and make a point that you help others by helping youself. For example, you hunt bandits because you can legally train your skills in real life conditions and legally raid people and even get a bounty as a bonus. You wouldn’t betray the city you life in because yu have your business connections and property in that town. There would still be the problem that noone would trust you for an office, but this is where blackmail and stuff gets in.

    Another question is: why take the black robe from the beginning? The more power and influence you have, the easier it is pulling such stunts of…

  • Jeffery B Eppes

    I seem to recall that your robe color will actually change according to your moral bent suggesting that its not even the teachers doing it. I remember when Raistlin turned once and for all, his robes went from Red to Black on their own. But its been a while since I read the books.

  • Ludicrum

    The gods did not get tired of Krynn and leave.


    In the aftermath of the Chaos War, Takhisis, the goddess of evil, STEALS the world and hides it away. While the other gods are searching for the world, Takhisis establishes herself as an entity known as the One True God, and uses her chosen one, a young girl named Mina, as her Christ figure. Performing miracles, vanquishing foes in her name, and converting the masses.

    When the gods finally locate the world, with the help of Raistlin, they are PISSED. Takhisis had gone too far. Takhisis becomes jealous of Mina, because even though Mina refused to be worshiped and told everyone to worship the One God, everyone worshiped Mina. It was Mina’s name everyone praised, not Takhisis’s. So the goddess of evil turns against Mina.

    Paladine confronts Takhisis, and she is stripped of her godhood. In order to maintain the balance, Paladine voluntarily gives up his own godhood as well. Takhisis is then killed by the elven king, Silvanoshei.

    • banedon

      Exactly. And as for the mages: they must wear their true robe of colour otherwise a bunch of wizards from the orders come and get you. And as for choosing a robe colour… that is part of the test – how you act during the test helps determine, in a large way, which colour robe/which order you belong to. You don’t just get a multiple choice questionnaire at the end.

  • Antti Iisakki Bräysy

    As far as I know, when Sith Lords use force, jedis can sense them. In this case no matter what outfit you use, they still going to know you’re a bad guy.

  • draxo

    I always hated the level limit in dragonlance. It makes no F-ING sense whatsoever. We play Dragonlance because we want to play Dragonlance. We don’t play Dragonlance to ‘have to play in another game setting halfway through’. Also, levels are a metagame concept. Way to validate a metagame concept in the rules. Anyway.. my #1 houserule when I ran dragonlance was ‘that doesn’t exist, f-that.’ Not that any of my players ever reached that high.. but it was the #1 houserule thing I changed.

  • Mateusz K.

    Oh boy…. first on neutrality. It’s not about keeping the balance. It’s all about abstaining from

    choosing a side… you are neither good or evil, but you are also not an asshole… you know there is no

    such thing as pure good orpue evil, and there is always some shade of grey… and not choosing to side

    with one power is usually the smarter choice… because you never know who might be on the other side and

    you do not know all the wisdom behind the other sides actions.
    This is really touched upon in the Witcher saga by Andrzej Sapkowski. The Witcher is neutral. He is also

    dedicated to eradicating pure evil from the world and protecting the good side… conflict? Not at all…

    you see… monsters are evil, they prey on the vulnerable – a monster will kill anyone… wheter it’s a

    child, a soldier or a shady crook – they all deserve not to die horribly being ripped appart by some

    monster – and Witcher will protect anyone whether it’s women and children or a King know for being an

    asshole to his subjects… he does not judge people on their character and choose… you are good and I

    will save you from the monster – and you are evil and I will not – he is neutral: you pay me, I will work

    from you.
    The books all evolve around a full out war and his struggle not to take part in it – he does not have

    stakes in this war, he only want’s for his loved ones to be safe and does not care who will be the

    victor… and also, one side is the attacker and the other side is struggling to survive… but… it’s

    not all this black and white… both sides have their own reasons for this war, and there are many more

    sides of the conflict than just black army and white army – what about other races, and normal people on

    both sides? Are they evil or good? They are both, and the basic of neutrality is not aiding either side,

    and just sticking to what you do best – killing monsters… and mind you that not all monsters are pure

    evil… sometimes the monsters need as much protection as the women and children… and mindless killing

    is not an option. To stay neutral is to stay on your own path, decide for your own what is good and what

    is evil and being able not to be overly good or evil because you cannot be sure that you are doing the

    good work… and also… you can still be as good or as evil as you want/ You can save a woman from being

    rape and not loose your neutrality status, and you can bargain with people in mortal danger – you can

    help them, but they have to pay the price… which sounds evil, but really isn’t.

    The same goes for the red robes in dragonlance… they choose to focus on studying magic and they do not

    care for using the magic for the good of the people – that’s what clerics are for, and also they do not

    care about power… magic has a lot fo offer.

    Here is another example: how about the recent books by Trudi Canavan – ther is an order of magic whit

    three colors of robes: green, purple and red. Green robes focus on healing magic, the red robes focus on

    war magic, and purple are mostly scientists – they deal with every possible application of magic, from

    developing new kinds of glue to meteorology and weather control. There is no good or evil side… they

    just dedicate themselves to different aspects of magic. Every one of them knows how to heal people, fight

    and is a scholar, but the specialization is differen… if you want to be good at healing, you have to

    dedicate yourself to studying this type of magic. If you want to be the good protector – you have to

    study the war magic, tacticts and know how to kill people with magic – but you are not evil… this is

    your path you chose. Other mages are more like scholars… they study magic and are the most diverse

    bunch – some of them are powerfull mages, some are great sages and some are just teachers and simple

    people, like libriarians, historians and scientists – they focus on all the other aspects of magic, not

    just war or healing. This purple robe is the closest kind to red robes
    Also, in these books… the war magic is usually the most evil and corrupting… but it is actually the

    healing magic which is the most deadly… because even the powerfull mage can be killed with the use of

    healing magic and cannot do anything about it…

    So, back to dragonlance – I always thought the robes were much more connected to the 3 moons of Krynn..

    .because they get their powers from the moons and the robes represent the different colours of the

    moons… white, red and black – because the black moon is almost invisible to others besides the black

    robe mages…
    Of course there is some evil aspect to the magic, but it is connected stritcly to the field of magic and

    philosophy behind it. Again I see it as a choice which is suitable for every mage. Some see it that magic should be used for the good of mankind… wether it’s by curing the sick or using magic to build bridges etc. those people choose the white robes and are proud of it. Others believe that magic is vast and unknown and unpredictable – they choose to dedicate their lives to study magic itself, from the history to the future of magic in this world. Those people do not care about curing warts and do not care for power… they just want to study it. The red robed mages have more spells and choose to stay away from people all the way… focusing on pure magic. And as always, there are people who view magic as a tool for gaining power… men mostly, they are predisposed for lust for power and they will whatever they need to achieve it. Their moon gives them the most power so they choose the black robes. They are also proud of them. They are not just mere servants to the people and they are nat just scholars and teachers. They have much more burden on their shoulders in the responsibility to ensure that magic is under control – their control.

    What I find interesting (and I might be wrong on this, I never read any gaming books on dragonlacne – all what I know comes from books and conversations with other people) is that they are not enemies – all the mages are not rivals, nor mortal enemies and do not fight each other – on the council, there are white, red and black mages working together. They may disagree or search to gain more power over other factions. But it’s not like the black mages are rogues or rebels or outlaws. No, they are legal, practicioners and are accepted… hell… the tower of black mages is inside of one of the biggest cities. Also, the “dark arts” which in systems like Warhammer and Forgotten Reals are always outlawed. Necromancy, demonology – means those people are criminals and should be hunted down and put to death… painfully if at all possible. In Krynn.. black mages are operating in full view and no one tries to knock the doors down and hang’em high… so… why hide it? They are after power, and healing pimples and breaking rocks with spells does not give power – only the darkest and most dangerous arts bring power to the hungry… so they are choosing black robes and do not have to hide in the severws or some dark temples or castles in the middle of the nowhere… they have a great big tower right next to the main marketplace and the palace… why bother with hiding?

    So in short. Neutral mages are not dividers – they are on the side of each conflict, taking no actions. Every color of the robe is a philosophy as much as a free choice and does not yield so much negative consequences as in the other realms.

  • MaraBackman

    The only time I think it’s properly justified for wizards (or Sith, for that matter) to wear black and have spooky ornamentation if they are trying to be intimidating on purpose, to exert control over others to further their goals or because they’re already in power.

  • Colin Mengel

    There are some cases in stories where somebody does think of themselves as evil, but they consider their situation to be tragic. Like they think of themselves as exacting justice from the world with the knowledge that their acts are evil. Or they are both evil for some reason and hate themselves for it, perhaps their self-hate or acts of evil themselves are a form of self punishment. Or they have goals in the world which make them out to be evil(if only in their own mind) but they have a greater need which causes them to need to do that, like revenge. But only insane people, or kids, or people playing chaotic stupid are just like, “I’m evil because evil is awesome.”(that is, actual evil, not funny evil)

  • Jeff Hastings

    The colour of the robes in Dragonlance aren’t a choice of the wearer. I’m going purely by a bit at the end of the third Chronicles book (spring dawning?) When Raistlin went to take over the tower at the end of that book, his robes changed to black on their own.
    Were I to guess, in those books, the robes simply reflect your personality and the mage has no control over them.

  • Joshua William Hastings

    I’d say there’s a variety of possibilities.

    Perhaps it’s a matter of pride. Maybe you see your actions as good, but then you are labelled as evil by the cloak system and you just think “Well, fine. If I am to be known as evil for my deeds, I shall wear these robes with pride. if I am to be considered evil in your eyes, then I am evil, for I shall not deviate from the path that I have taken in life.”

    Or, in the case of self-aware evil, perhaps it’s a part of the theatrics of it all, no?

    Though, I do agree, Evil doesn’t consider itself evil, but this is DnD where the alignment system has to be as physical as possible. If alignment was based on perceptions, Paladins and other alignment restricted classes wouldn’t work.

    Though, even considering this, a character’s solid alignment can’t truly be the defining feature in their role in the story, as you explained through one campaign where a Paladin was the bad guy due to his extremist views.

  • Joey Dauzart

    My sister says and I quote ” You wouldn’t play a character in a black robe, but if it wasn’t an option, you wouldn’t think not to.”

  • Ludicrum

    From what I understand, the robes are primarily based on the god of magic a mage chooses to worship.

    There are three gods of magic: Solinari, Lunitari, and Nuitari. Each of these gods represents one of the three moons of Krynn (the white moon, the red moon, and the dark moon respectively). Each god founded their own school of magic, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Nuitari’s black magic, for example, grants its practitioner incredible power, but it can also corrupt the person.

    So the choice isn’t so much about declaring one’s self as good, neutral, or evil, but is rather about what type of magic they want to specialize in. Mages in Krynn are also affected by the phases of the moon that represents the god of magic they serve. A white robe, for example, will become more powerful when the moon Solinari is dominant.

    There is also an event called the Night of the Eye, when all three moons align in Krynn’s sky. When together they appear as a giant eyeball, Solinari is the white sphere, Lunitari is the red iris, and Nuitari is the black pupil. It is also the only time when normal people can actually see Nuitari; normally the black moon is visible only to black robed mages. During the Night of the Eye, magic from all three schools is at its absolute peek.

    Granted I haven’t read the Dragonlance books in years, but I seem to recall that, even in the books, people primarily based their decision on the school of magic each robe specializes in. No one ever said “I’m a black robe because I’m evil,” but rather “I chose Nuitari because he could give me the power I needed.”

  • BringTheFate

    Gilean’s symbol is a book, but his constellation is a scale. Both fit.

  • Ludicrum

    Lord Soth’s deal was that he could have prevented the cataclysm, but he didn’t, which was the entire reason he was cursed into becoming a Death Knight.

    Basically, the man thought with his penis. He became smitten by an elf maid, so he had his wife murdered so he could marry the elf, who then bore Soth’s child. He was found out and disgraced, stripped of his knighthood, and arrested. He escaped and holed up in his keep, which was besieged by the Knights of Solamnia.

    He was told about the coming cataclysm by the gods and tasked with stopping the Kingpriest of Ishtar before he invoked the divine wrath that would devastate Krynn. While Soth rode out to save the world, he was tricked into believing that his wife was cheating on him. So he turned around and rode back in a jealous rage, leaving the world to its fate. While his wife was dying, she pleaded with Soth to at least save their child. Soth didn’t listen and let them both die.

    The wailing spirits reciting his failures was also his torment while he was on Krynn. It’s notable that there was only ONE occasion when the spirits did not wail. When Kitiara Uth Matar fought her way into his keep, facing impossible odds to reach Soth, she collapsed from exhaustion. Soth fell instantly in love with her, and for the first time ever, the spirits fell silent. Soth forbade them to utter a sound so that they would not disturb her rest.

    • Terra Silverspar

      I addition, for the Ravenloft portion, The Dark Powers actually twisted Soth’s Krynn curse to always be just a bit wrong. Soth was a master of knowledge about his armies and Dragaard Keep and such, but his armies were always off, and Nedragaard Keep always had incorrect number of stones, steps or what have you. It looked like the same place, but it wasn’t, basically, as Soth had plenty of time to memorize how many steps existed in his own castle.

      The whole stopped giving a shit thing, that’s not what actually happened in the novel. I never played the adventure, but James Lowder, who wrote both Knight of the Black Rose and Spectre of the Black Rose Ravenloft novels, ultimately stated that the reason Soth escaped from Ravenloft was because he forgot the reason for his crimes. So he couldn’t remember why he was being tormented. Ultimately, he was still kicked out, but still the result was him actually forgetting which in turn led to him not giving a shit.

      Honestly, I was never a fan of this, and I think this was again, more arm twisting from certain people to get Soth out of Ravenloft. I never understood the desire to get him out, but they did that to a lot of the Dark Lords that came from other settings, in fact. I think there was some big hubaballoo over various setting rights so with Ravenloft they wanted to distance themselves, but then again the fact that after Soth gets out, they pretty much kill him, so there you go.

      The novel the ending was some bizarre mind trip though, it’s been ages since I’ve read it and it has since disappeared, so I can’t really say how it happened anymore, other than it was him reaffirming his memories, which si weird because Lowder said he got out because he forgot, but at the end of the novel he remembered everything and his crimes. But the ending pretty much went along the lines of how the inhabitants of Krynn had terrible dreams that night as Lord Soth had returned, or something along those lines.

      But yea, any major character that was trapped in Ravenloft was essentially booted out in some fashion. Vecna was a prisoner in Ravenloft, and they not only bullshited him out, but the way it was written he pretty much ignored the Dark Powers and the rules completely. It was basically as if Vecna took a brief stop in Forgotten Realms then went back to Greyhawk. It was a really shitty adventure. There are several domains with characters from specific settings, like Darkov in Falkovnia. He actually comes from Taladas on Krynn and was some barabaric asshole, so he hasn’t really been messed with.

      As far as the event is concerned Spoony, you are thinking of the Grand Conjunction. There were actually two events that Azalin tried to force, both times he nearly succeeded. The first time was the Grand Conjuction that he fucked up by forcing it to happen out of order, and the second time was the Soul Harvest, I think the name was, where he basically tried to harvest a ton of souls to turn himself into a demi-lich. That’s how Necropolis was born for a while, and that point was when Ravenloft fell off WotC’s radar and 3rd edition hit with White Wolf picking it up and completely fucking up the campaign setting. Thankfully WotC has retconned out anything dealing with the White Wolf tenure of Ravenloft.

  • Kibble

    This is stretching the Good Vs Evil thing a bit, but the way I would describe it is likening it to “Heat vs Cold”. Those are two directly opposite forces always clashing with each other, but it’s because of the balance between those two that life exists at all. If one force wins out over the other, then life just stops. Obscure yes, but it seems like an appropriate comparison.

  • John Ferrara

    First, Here is a random piece of trivia not only wrote Dragonlance, but also wrote the original Castle Ravenloft. Second, Does it really matter what the robes mean because I far as know from my limited knowledge of Dragonlance is that mages aren’t exactly trusted all that much (Probably from the reputation of the Black Ropes) so really it does not really matter because they the world dose not like you to begin with. So yeah this probably doesn’t help much,but I figure I’d put my two cents in this talk.

    • Rakkrakk

      I wouldn’t trust black ropes either, black robes however are easy to keep clean.

  • Godmars

    Hans Gruber, when faced to face with some guy who just happened to be there messing up his plans, instantly pretended to be some guy who just happened to have been there staying out of the way.

    It didn’t work of course, besides when noticing the guy had no shoes he put broken glass all around him. Never stopped looking for someone among his hostages – who he planned to kill from the beginning – to use as leverage.

    Yeah. That’s one evil fuck who’d take a white robe. With out hesitation.

  • SoldierHawk

    I just have to leave a comment to say that the music, and Spoony’s cheerful, “hail and well met! I am your humble storyteller Spoony!” are my favorite intro to any webseries, ever. It makes me ridiculously happy every time I hear it.

  • jesternario

    I love how he goes from how awesome the Ninja Handbook is, to how the robe thing sucks, and then turns that into how Ravenloft kicks @$$

  • Alexander Wood

    I guess you’d wear black robes because you want people to know that you’re badass? Because you’re afraid of being discovered via morality detecting magic? I donno. I feel like anyone who would be crazy enough to wear black openly would be crazy enough to not wear robes at all. Would the Joker wear black robes? No way! He’d go renegade just for the hell of it!

  • TacoPie

    In the KotOR canon Revan’s reasoning for going Sith was to put the Republic on alert and get them militarized because he had discovered that the “true Sith” were hiding on the edge of the galaxy and planning to invade some day. He was trying to unite the galaxy by basically becoming this big symbol of evil for them to fight. And then Malak kinda fucked it up.

  • Stephen Martin

    Why would any asshole wear white? Look at our current level of technological advancement and think about how hard it is to keep anything white clean or keep it from fading. This is medieval fantasy. One DAY on the road and your white robe is gonna be turning tan and grey. So why wear black? So you don’t look like a god-damned hobo after a week.

    • Mary Sulkowski

      Obviously, the White Mages are granted secret knowledge of a spell that leaves robes sparkling clean.

  • Mitchell Bandes

    I think this system would make a lot more sense if, instead of a trio of gods representing Good, Balance, and Evil, they instead represented Order, Liberty, and Anarchy. As such, anyone wearing white, red, or black robes could be good or evil. In the public eye, white robes are generally considered good, upholders of justice; black robes, meanwhile, are generally considered evil, since they strive to bring civilization closer to the “state of nature”. Of course, it’s not so cut-and-dry; some black robes are well-intentioned terrorists, while some white robes are oppressive Knights Templar.

    Order would represent the attempt to strive toward perfect control, attempting to do away with any freedoms that encroach upon people’s safety, and bringing civilization to a true communist state, where all thinking beings are considered equal. However, they tend to see the world in black and white, and are often
    overly judgemental of others in their attempts to categorize everything
    in terms of good and evil. Good white robes are altruistic, offering help to the downtrodden for no compensation, preaching the values of being a lawful person, and attempting to convince neutral or evil people to assimilate themselves into civilization. Bad white robes are far more forceful in their methods, killing criminals left and right, and instilling obedience of the law through fear of punishment.

    Anarchy is the desire to tear up the social contract, to abandon civilization and reclaim all the freedoms that were sacrificed to get to this point. Black robes have no regard for the law, and will do as they please. Good and evil are entirely imaginary concepts to them; they see people as simply being motivated by different, yet equally valid, factors. Good black robes are vigilantes, saving “heroes” and “villains” alike, regardless of how the local authorities believe they should be treated. Bad black robes are generally madmen, slaughtering everyone, causing mayhem, and just generally not giving a shit.

    Liberty represents the middle ground. They believe that there must be a balance between law and chaos, and consider equal applications of the two to be the most desirable outcome. They adhere to the law only as far as they consider it fair, and fight against establishments that they believe do more harm than good. Good red robes are strict Utilitarians, doing whatever actions will result in the greatest overall happiness for everyone involved. Bad red robes operate under a similar principle, but are rather myopic, considering their own happiness to be a far greater factor than the happiness of those around them.

  • Joseph Sanchez

    Why would you ever want to wear Black Robes, and how does Robe selection work? This requires a too long; didn’t read explanation:

    The problem with the Dragonlance setting is the massive amount of inconsistencies in every aspect of the world that have built up over the years as a result of shifting authors and the primary authors taking a decade-long hiatus before returning to the world with no clear memory of it.

    In 2nd edition Dragonlance and in the primary novels, the magic of wizards is arcane in nature, meaning anybody could learn it. That was why there were wizards running around Ansalon after the Cataclysm even though clerics had ceased to exist. Somewhere along the way though (i’m going to say it started with the novel Soulforge) it became a lot more clerical in that the Gods of the moons were directly granting the magic and the talent to use it. The Conclave started to get a lot more preachy around this time as well…

    Raistlin himself went from being a man who earned his powers through hard work and dedication in the primary novels, to a guy who had absolutely no magical talent and was granted his gift directly by the Gods of Magic in the Soulforge, to some smuck who never would have amounted to anything as a wizard if he had not been partially-possessed by Fistandantilus in Dragons of The Hourglass Mage. By the same token, the Conclave itself went from an over-arching institution dedicated to the preservation and responsible use of magic to a quasi-religious order that could not function without the Gods of magic changing their diapers.

    That is why so many people are giving passionate yet totally different explanations of the setting. It is completely dependent on which books you read.

    Primary novels (2nd ed): You chose the color of your Robe, but if you cease to behave according to your alignment you lose the “enhancement” of your moon and become a regular (renegade) wizard until you are accepted by another Order and connect to its moon. You take a level penalty but no longer suffer any restrictions on what spells you can cast…making you much more powerful but also hunted by the Conclave.

    Later pre-5th age novels (3rd ed): You wear the color robes of your sponsor/teacher until you take the Test. Your conduct during the test then determines the color of your robe and which order you join. You can cast any first or second level spells without alignment restriction, but third and up is limited to the schools “approved” by your order. The novels almost never remember this rule though it appears in the game manuals and in the goldbox games. This means that in some stories, Raistlin is wearing Red Robes prior to his Test, and in others, he is wearing White.

    5th age novels (3-3.5 ed): The Gods of magic go away and take arcane magic with them. The Conclave falls apart. Later, the Conclave returns after the retcon and it is never explained how anything works. The Test itself is reduced largely to a formality with no serious impact what so ever as the wizards are desperate to rebuild their ranks. The idea that wizards can only use certain schools is abandoned in favor of certain Orders getting specialization bonuses with certain schools.

    Prequel Novels (3.5 ed): You just go your local clothier and have your robes dyed a new color. Seriously. Raistlin does it at the start of the book Hourglass Mage. There is a brief mention about how he was a bad boy for not getting permission to do this ahead of time, but he suffers no notable penalty or sanction.

    So why would you wear black robes? Sometimes the God who grants you your abilities requires it. Sometimes the Conclave will kill you if you don’t. Sometimes it has to do with who you are hanging with…such as in Hourglass Mage. Sometimes you can wear the wrong color robe and fake people out and sometimes thats not cool. Basically, it all depends on the author. And that, fundamentally, is why the setting sucks now.

    • Vismutti

      Wow… I never realized what a mess that setting was. I never got into Dragonlance myself so I had no idea.

    • Rakkrakk

      And that is exactly why I keep trak of how my personal fantasy setting works, which races are immortal(And therefore not for PCs if I ever get to design a GURPS RPG around it), what species and construct types are empowered by which magical force or idol(There are technically no “gods”) and how a being’s alignment plays into its magical capacity along with genetic modifications.
      (For example, there are only three sentient races absolutely incapable of using magic, however there are over 12 noteworthy ones and hundreds beyond the borders of the land the story I currently am writing, all capable of learning to use magic in varying degrees.)

      Tables and diagrams help a lot, and it seems that the Dragonlance authors should have used some.

  • Eric Kent

    It has been a while since I read these. Sorcery did not come from the three main gods. It came from the 3 Gods of sorcery that were represented by the three moons. Also the robes did not indicate alignment, It had more to do with what kind of sorcery you specialized in. Black Robes did Necromancy, It is true however that alignment typically dictated specialty. The weird thing that I observed during Dragonlance was that Evil was accepted in a lot of ways, at least from the perspective of Mages. Whenever there was an issue that affected all sorcery, the council of all three colors would meet. I think it was explained in the books that the Black Robes served the black moon god primarily, and Takhisis secondly. Mages basically were represented as having the priority of magic over spreading an ideology. I think it was the requirement of each god of magic that you had to wear the robes of the color of the sorcery god you served. There were some plot holes to this, Magius did not wear the traditional robes, and Raislin wore black robes after he sold out to Takhisis, and when he went to kill her. What fantasy series would be complete with out a few plot holes.

  • Maysin

    If memory serves me correctly, magic in Krynn–and those that wield it–are frowned upon if not outright feared by the majority of the races. Even if you wore white robes, most would probably want nothing to do with you.

    If that is true, then:

    1.) Wearing the specific colors based on alignment (White, Red, Black) is simply a matter of aesthetic (matching the color to the corresponding moons. Yes, there’s a black moon). It’s part of a tradition of the order to preserve the magic of Krynn and… well, to maintain order so another Cataclysm does not occur once again. It’s not so much a self-declaration of I AM EVIL/GOOD/NEUTRAL but more of what and how you would use the magic. Not all Black Robes were ‘evil’ and conversely not all White Robes had the best intentions of every race in mind. I believe it is also a form of distinction, much like a lord or king would wear a crown on his head to denote royalty, or perhaps as a form of pride such as a soldier in the army would wear a Medal of Honor on his chest.

    2.) Look at it in terms of the original Final Fantasy. White Mages cast mostly healing and beneficial spells that are considered ‘good’. Black Mages cast ‘evil’ spells that inflict harm or summon demons and undead. Red Mages dabble a little bit in both to remain ‘balanced’. Thus, your alignment is based entirely upon what spells you want to learn and ultimately cast. You can change your robe color when your desires shift to cast certain spells that would be considered dark and evil or light and good. The counter-argument to this would be “But the intent behind the spell is more important!” to which I respond “You can’t use a healing spell to murder someone unless he/she is undead, but murder applies to the living and something undead is already considered unholy and evil thus you simply cannot kill a living person with healing no matter how much anger or rage you put into it. Conversely, the powers of MLP and their ‘magical friendship’ cannot infuse any sort of positive into a murder-death-kill spell such as a level 20 maximized empowered Fireball spell or Power Word: Death spell.”

    3.) It comes down to a White or Red robe saying “What? No! I’m not evil. That douche is!” and point to a Black robe. Basically it becomes a high-school drama fest where Whites and Blacks don’t associate with each other and Reds are the assholes that try to promote ‘peace’ and ‘unity’ but ultimately just fuck things up more by trying to force their apathy and views onto the other robes and, in the end, just throw their hands up and say ‘fuck it, deal with it yourselves’. I believe the song “Gotta Keep ‘Em Separated” hits the nail on the head for this.

    • BlueReverend

      Actually not every mage that wants to can just switch alignments.
      I remember it has been said in some of the novels that Par-Sililan (head of the Conclave and white robes) was one of the only mages powereful enough to understand spells of the different robes and actually switch robes

      Meaning that kinda like what you said, there were some spells only a certain alignment could cast, but not every mage can just switch back and forth.

  • antiquarius

    Spoony is working his ass off!!!!!!!…………well on Twitter at least.

    Noah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    Oh my god… Is… Is Miz supposed to be a babyface here? Oh no. OH NO. #WWERaw


    25mNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    @Linkara19 You are such a nerd.

    Gespräch zeigen

    29mLydia Beam ‏@cynical_whovian

    @TheSpoonyOne It almost makes it worse. They know they suck. They’re PROUD.

    Retweetet von Noah AntwilerÖffnen

    32mNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    Y’know, Cena admitting he only has five moves doesn’t make it any better that he only has five moves. #WWERaw


    39mNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    Beef Mode? #WWERaw


    52mNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    That Sin Cara / Del Rio match was awesome. #WWERaw


    1hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    Miles was there! I have proof! Yes, I have read a book. Try not to faint.


    1hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    No shit, I actually won Damien Sandow’s challenge. I recognized the Keats quote! #YES


    1hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    What’s a pipe bong? #WWERaw


    2hReid ‏@ReidAllen77

    @PushinUpRoses @thespoonyone Ah-ha, you’re just a little chicken Roses. Cheep cheep-cheep-cheep! CheeeeeEEEEEeeeee…

    Retweetet von Noah Antwiler Gespräch zeigen

    2hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    @PushinUpRoses XCOM. So I can destroy you at it.

    Gespräch zeigen

    2hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    And here I thought Capcom was the only company with blatant, open contempt for its own consumers.


    2hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    Oh, yeah, Konami will send XBox owners a free game if you have a receipt. LIKE I KEPT MY FUCKING RECEIPT.


    2hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    @wilw You want I should rough it up a little, boss?

    Gespräch zeigen

    2hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    Can you believe that? “Our game sucks so bad on XBox we can’t even patch it.”


    2hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    Silent Hill HD Collection patched on PS3, Xbox update cancelled [update] …. // How did they get away with this?


    3hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    @AprilVonLon Stop saying sexy things. It confuses my underpants.

    Gespräch zeigen

    3hReid ‏@ReidAllen77


    Retweetet von Noah Antwiler Gespräch zeigen

    3hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne



    3hReid ‏@ReidAllen77


    Retweetet von Noah Antwiler Gespräch zeigen

    3hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne



    3hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne



    4hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    Emperor: Lord Vader…who did this? What happened? Vader: WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHAT HAPPENED WHAT ARE YOU BLIIIIIND? JEEEEZIS


    4hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne


    Video anzeigen

    14hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    Can you seriously imagine that whiny, petulant Anakin bitch from the prequels saying any of Vader’s dialogue? Without rolling your eyes?


    14hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    And jeez, Vader hasn’t even stopped sizzling and you’re already wrapping him in leather? Dude still smells like burnt ham. Try bacta first!


    14hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    How exactly did getting his face puffed and melted give the Emperor a funky echo/bass effect added to his voice? #GOOOOOOOOD


    16hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    Fuck your Christmas movies, too. Only Christmas carols I wanna hear are the ones sung by Hans Gruber. #YippieKiYayMotherfucker#FuckXmas


    17hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    I DON’T HAVE HAPPY CLOTHES EITHER, ASSHOLE. Deck your own fucking halls. I’m not cleaning it up. #FuckXmas


    17hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    What makes you think I even have gay apparel? I LOOK like a dude who’s got gay apparel? I have to buy some for your fucking party now?


    17hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    What do you mean “don my gay apparel?” The fuck’s that supposed to mean? Fuck your apparel too, man. #FuckXmas


    17hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    @loweringthebar Well I’m SORRY, but it’s my constitutional right to go outside wearing nothing but underpants made of toast. Take the case?

    Gespräch zeigen

    17hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    Oreo just shredded a box of tissues. NO! BAD PUPPEH.


    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    That floppy-eared fucker still Tiger Suplexed my silly ass through the tea party table. That rabbit’s DYNAMITE.


    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    I still out-dueled a Lv. 20 Rabbit Monk. #BestSwordsmanInTheWorld


    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    RT @Karxrida @TheSpoonyOne Like how you thought the doormouse was the 20th level monk. :-) // Well. Yes. I was close.


    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    I think the stories play a lot better with an audience, and so people can fact-check me on my bullshit.


    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    I’ll have to save that one for convention appearances. It’s a good one. =D I’m thinking I want to do them live for audiences from now on.


    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    (Did I do a Counter Monkey on my bounty hunter character in Star Wars?)


    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    (By the way, in Star Wars they’ve figured out cybernetics, but not c-sections? Fuck you.)


    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    I’d be blood-doping constantly, jacking up my midichlorian count so high I’d be pissing lightning.


    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    You really think I’m going to risk getting in a laser sword fight when I could just crush your fucking trachea?


    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    It also seems like a whole lot of unnecessary effort to kill someone when you could just blow a few blood vessels in their brain.


    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    And then Lucas seemed to latch onto the idea that suddenly everyone evil just cuts loose with the lightning because it looks awesome.


    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    The Emperor didn’t dump feats into it to do more damage. He did it purely to inflict pain, because he’s a douchebag.


    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    It’s just something the Emperor did to Luke to torture him, to punish him for rejecting the Dark Side. He could have just broken his neck.


    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    Force Lightning also seemed like one of those things that got blown out of proportion. It’s not an offensive power. Not really.


    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    @HopeWithinChaos Marauder Shields made the ultimate sacrifice attempting to save us. #RememberMarauderShields

    Gespräch zeigen

    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    You don’t need to be full-on Sith to choke a bitch. And I really don’t want to end up with a puffy Palpatine face.


    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    You’ve seen what happens when you max out Dark Side points. Ain’t no amount of lotion gonna fix that.


    22hNoah Antwiler ‏@TheSpoonyOne

    It just doesn’t seem like there’s much of an upside to being a Sith. Everyone hates you, your own boss wants you dead, and the skin problems


  • Joe Ottoson

    Healing potions don’t exist on Krynn. (Only healing comes from the gods.) Guess the gods figured the way around Spoony’s scenario.

  • Herman Cillo

    That’s a pretty cool story about Lord Soth. And yeah, Dragonlance suffers from Slytherin House Syndrome on a much larger scale.
    The thing with the robes really is stupid.

  • Alexander Galtsev

    You do not choose the color of your robes – you are given a color based on how have you shown yourself during the test.
    Also, magic doesn’t come from the main gods (Paladine, etc.) it comes from the moon gods: Solinari, Lunitari, Nuitari.

  • sifer2

    Well in real life you wouldn’t run around with sign on your back saying
    your Evil since in our world we lock up or execute those people. But in
    that world it sounds like their is a whole order of Mages, and a God who
    will back you up if you declare your allegiance. So it makes more
    sense. It’s silly, and alien to our world but makes sense in their world with its crazy set up.

    The Sith also went underground in Star Wars too. It wasn’t
    until Sidious had all but exterminated the Jedi order, and set up
    himself up as the supreme ruler of the Empire that he felt comfortable
    just wearing the Black Robes, and proudly declaring his Sith status.
    Because at that point what was anyone going to do? He was proud of what
    he was, an loved being able to show it once he could. Though it’s like
    Spoony said. The Sith don’t think they are evil.

    • Dan Hibiki

      So the real world version would be traveling around the world wearing either an American or Canadian pin.

  • Adam Ahmed

    Hey spoony, not only does the “Good becomes an inquisition thing” gets too confusing, but up until the latest novel by Margret Wies, a new god was added, and it’s even more confusing about her nature. It’s like she’s super neutral, but by any modern point of view, she is ‘good’.

  • Adam Ahmed

    Duuude, lord soth loved an ELVEN woman. Not a human one.

    Or are you talking about kind of his infatuation with kitaira? That wasn’t really love, that was fucking creepy.

  • Mokuren

    I’ve learned most of the Dragon books back in the day, and even then I found Dragonlance to be a pretty silly setting.

    But I was a young teen back then. Now I just straight out hate that damn stupid setting, it’s made of pure evil and stupid. Dragonlance should be burned at the stake just for having introduced Kender in fantasy literature, which are unfunny even as a joke race, and the worst part is how seriously they are portrayed as the “good guys” of the setting, the epitome of “innocence”.

    Get that, everyone? Being a kleptomaniac dipshit that flails around and screams racism and oppression the moment you ask him to give back something he obviously stole in front of you makes you the objective good guy of the setting, and claiming they’re thieves and liars and they just stole your wallet when they did in front of a bunch of witnesses for the umpteenth time in a row makes you an objectively big bad bully evil tyrant. This is openly stated in the 3e Dragonlance sourcebook.

    But even taking Kender aside, Dragonlance is still a generic fantasy heartbreaker at best, the colour-coded alignment wizards are just the tip of the stupid iceberg. It’s a completely overrated setting.

  • Cy Roark

    @ TheSpoonyOne’s edit

    I haven’t read the sourcebook itself, but I explicitly remember Raistlin being a very special case, because they gave him the choice between Red and Black. That was extremely rare as they presented it in the original novels. If I remember correctly, the original novels were released before the sourcebook, and were directly written by Weis and Hickman, so I think they would be the winner as far as the canon source.

  • Samuel Hallaway

    I was hosting a 3.5 game that got derailed due to college, but one of my players was a cleric of domains that worshiped neutrality. Basically he boiled down everything to black and white. Killing anyone was evil, even goblins, and helping people was good. So over the coarse of the adventure he had to done one good thing for every evil thing, and it was easy for his to rational his actions into those terms.

  • Sajeh

    WIth a black robe, you can be a double agent(?)

  • Gordon Jones

    So Soth was basically subscribing to my school of thought. (Though I’m sure I didn’t actually invent it) By accepting the cost of failure and dealing with it he was free to move on to further successes.

  • Dja_Akh

    Don’t know if anyone already mentioned it (short look at it suggested, none wrote it), but did you not already said, that black robes level faster than red robes and red robes level faster than white robes? I mean… having a higher level as a wizard is a huuuge advantage. Even though everyone knows, you are the villain.

  • carnehan

    [neutrality] In the original Witcher short stories (the ones the game is based on) Geralt was supposed to be “neutral” – not to take sides in any racial or political conflict. But the concept didn’t work, he just came across as a whiny emo kinda thing… The whole narration was seemingly falling apart due to that.

    I like the statement that everyone is the hero in their own story. Seems you nailed it.

  • Lynn Hansen

    The only reason someone would wear black robes is if they’re a power gamer who doesn’t give roleplaying considerations a second thought. A snapshot of their reasoning would likely be something along the lines of: “OMG faster leveling FTW!”

  • Kim Ylvinger

    About converting:
    I believe it would be a case of simple pragmatism whenever Polytheist systems are involved. I remember reading about Viking mercenaries working in Ottoman Turkey as bodyguards, but nobody wanted to hire pagans. So, they simply converted and worshipped “the god Allah” during their stay. If I remember it correctly, the reasoning behind their ease with converting to worship a different god was that “this is the domain of the god Allah and we need to worship him for safe passage”, and the practice wasn’t limited to mercenaries either. Merchants and sailors did the same. It was seen as good practice and even POLITE towards the god who was the boss of that area in the world.

    Monotheists can never do this. Their god is central to the entire universe, so if He disappears or is even replaced with another god, it would completely shatter his view of the world. A polytheist might be more inclined to take a more pragmatic approach because they are open to the idea of there being several gods with different levels and areas of influence.

    And Evil:
    Maybe the guys that wears the robe of evil consider themselves as misunderstood Ayn Rand types, and they don’t care enough to change their image because the other folk can call it whatever they want, for the “Evil” guys don’t care what it is called?

    Great and entertaining video as always, just felt like sharing my 2 cents =)

  • James C.

    My guess is the wizard robe color there may act like the clerics symbol else where. All of my wizards regardless of alignment tend to wear black with red trimming or black with blue trimming. I’ve wanted to try the disguise yourself to look like another class but haven’t got a chance to try it. Though strangely enough in Kotor 1 and 2 I usually duel wielded one blue and one red lightsaber regardless of dark side light side with a tendency to spec the red saber with an aggressive build and the blue with a defensive build. I did the duel wield thing even when I was a sith lord spending most of his time spamming force storm or death field until the bad guys stopped moving.

  • Linnea Nymberg

    To me what would make the most sense would be that you don’t choose your robe’s color. You put on one that is a neutral color say undyed wool and it turns one of the three colors in response to you. I am not entirely sure how it would choose one of the three colors in reality but for game play’s sake I would give you the color of your alignment. If it’s not in the book like that I would retcon it as a DM.

  • Kim Ylvinger

    About converting:
    I believe it would be a case of simple pragmatism
    whenever Polytheist systems are involved. I remember reading about
    Viking mercenaries working in Ottoman Turkey as bodyguards, but nobody
    wanted to hire pagans. So, they simply converted and worshipped “the god
    Allah” during their stay. If I remember it correctly, the reasoning
    behind their ease with converting to worship a different god was that
    “this is the domain of the god Allah and we need to worship him for safe
    passage”, and the practice wasn’t limited to mercenaries either.
    Merchants and sailors did the same. It was seen as good practice and
    even POLITE towards the god who was the boss of that area in the world.

    can never do this. Their god is central to the entire universe, so if
    He disappears or is even replaced with another god, it would completely
    shatter his view of the world. A polytheist might be more inclined to
    take a more pragmatic approach because they are open to the idea of
    there being several gods with different levels and areas of influence.

    And Evil:
    the guys that wears the robe of evil consider themselves as
    misunderstood Ayn Rand types, and they don’t care enough to change their
    image because the other folk can call it whatever they want, for the
    “Evil” guys don’t care what it is called?

    Great and entertaining video as always, just felt like sharing my 2 cents =)

    • doresh

      Even more interesting are encounters between two polytheistic cultures. Since most polytheistic gods have domains based on nature (thunder god, fire god, water god, argricultural god…), it’s easy to imagine scholars from one culture using their own gods to explain the foreign pantheon (“god X seems to be just another name for our god Y, whereas god Z seems to be a combination of our gods A and B”).

      Paizo’s Golarion setting does something similar by having many race-specific gods just be a different aspect of a major god.

      • Vismutti

        Didn’t the Romans pretty much do just that with both Greek and Celtic gods? And before that, Greeks did it with the Egyptian ones. So yeah, I think you’re right.

        • doresh

          Makes sense to make Mars more civilized, seeing how Ares was more rash and violent – especially Minerva didn’t really have much to do with strategy and warfare, unlike Athena.
          Very interesting differences considering most people assume they are all the exact same gods under different names.

          I think the best example of something like this inside a single pantheon is ancient Egypt. Their culture lasted so long that several gods would gain or lose importance over time – not to mention that contact with foreign countries might’ve resulted in foreign gods getting integrated into the pantheon.

          • Vismutti

            True! Egyptians even had kind of two big areal pantheons (during the Old Kingdom, I think?): the Ennead centered around Heliopolis and the Ogdoad around Hermopolis. And apparently the animal-headed gods precede these two groups (although some of them, like Ra, Horus and Set were still included in the Ennead but in different positions).

            There is Anubis who probably began as a god of death but was taken over by the human-formed Osiris who himself was probably originally a god of agriculture but became a god of the dead. And Anubis was demoted into a god of mummification.
            Then there is the whole Ra-Amun-Atum-Horus variation which even created such composite gods as Amun-Ra, Atum-Ra and Ra-Horakhty (which were also only a couple of examples of a million other composite gods. Egyptians loved composite gods).

            And Set is a really interesting one too! He started out as a protector of the Sun, became a god of the desert and finally a god of foreigners. And his popularity dropped notably overtime… to the point that he became an evil god when he used to be a great force of good. I remember reading that it was partly because of some foreign invaders (the Hyksos?) adopted him because he seemed like the closest counterpart to their own chief god (again a good example of the polytheistic mindset!), causing a counter-reaction in the Egyptian population who weren’t too fond of the invaders.
            Oh hell, I could talk about this all day. Might as well just go read the whole history of Egyptian religion. It’s such an interesting subject. All the effects of politics and social climate and all that… One temple or city gains power and so their god(s) become(s) more popular, the Pharaoh might have a favourite deity, foreign influences and climate conditions have a big effect and so on and so on…
            It’s such a pity that most people mostly think of Ancient Egypt as one homogenous period when it was over three millenia’s worth of history.

          • doresh

            Most people really should now better. I mean, the two biggest religions at the moment aren’t even 2 thousand years old XD

    • Vismutti

      The polytheism argument is very good. It’s a very interesting point too, I always like to learn more about polytheistic world views since you don’t see them around as much as you used to but they explain a lot about the human mind.

  • Aaron Trussler

    Well I can’t speak for the universe of dragon lance or whatever, but in the star wars universe the way of the Sith and the Dark Side is pain, strife, and struggle. You wear the black robes and title of Darth as a challenge to would be usurpers. To wear the title of Darth is to invite betrayal and constant threat of death into your life which in turn hones your abilities. Or you die, in which case you weren’t worthy of the title of Darth and your killer claims it for themself. So I suppose you live and wear the black robes to prove your worthy of wearing the black robes.

  • Pearse Hillock

    Oh yea it’s here the Spoony One sucks blog. It’s that time of the month again so check it out.

    • CaptainDingaling

      THat was interesting but I like this when brad actually comments about his blog. It’s pretty funny. But I guess some people have too much time on their hands.

    • doresh

      “What I mean is that Spoony One hasn’t been doing regular video’s which aren’t counter monkey as nobody cares about them.”

      I love it when people turn their own opinions into facts.
      (And apparently I’m called “Nobody” XD )

    • Carlos Cartagena Muñoz

      this is a seriously “im butthurt” blog but ill agree on something, springboard is inferior.

  • Zach Willett

    If my memory is right, it’s not something that anyone actually chooses. The Robes that you wear are supposed to be made specifically to help you with your magic, and they actually change colors themselves, based on your beliefs and morality. If you’re wearing the right kind of robes for magic casting, it doesn’t matter WHAT color you put on in the morning, if you’re a black robe…you’ll be IN a black robe by the time you walk out of your house.

    EDIT: In fact, thinking back, that thought is reflected in Raistlin’s own change. When he goes into the trial that makes the change, he goes in with red robes. He doesn’t change his robes AT ANY POINT during the trial, and the book specifically says that when he comes out of this event that all of his companions comment about how his formerly red robes are now black, and what all that’s supposed to mean if he expects to keep roaming around with a bunch of dedicated good guys.

  • Foster Davies-Smith

    I always figured that the robes were sort of enchanted so that they change colour depending on what you’re like.

  • Dune Blythe

    Raistlin put on the black robes to convince Takhisis he was on her side and so he could more easily study Fistandantlius (the dark wizard possessing him). Then he betrayed her, preventing her from leaving the abyss.

  • Dane Corle

    In regards to the whole Jedi thing, I’m pretty sure that Jedi are supposed to be able to sense the Dark Side. But this again points to one of many reasons as to why the prequels are so awful and infuriating, since it raises the question as to how no one knew Palpatine was a Sith.

    I *think* what Lucas was going for was that Palpatine’s dark presence was so wide and overpowering that the Jedi couldn’t pinpoint it to a single location, but if that was the case then it was communicated terribly.

    Basically when Star Wars is written *well* then Jedi know Sith on the spot by their dark side presence alone… although when Revan infiltrated the Sith Academy on Korriban none of the masters or students were able to sense his potentially light-sided presence and… arrrrgh… -_-

  • CosmicKirby

    Hey, to be fair, in SWTOR being a Sith isn’t necessarily an automatically bad thing. Playing a Light Side sith is more about being and incredibly passionate and focused being. You could play a Light-sided Sith and actually have reasons to do good thing.
    Granted, the best you could ever be is a Darwinist of sorts, survival of the fittest but you don’t need to actively harm others to be the most fit. Chaotic Neutral at best, but still not evil.

  • jake hatthway

    Well, The fastest way to power is through the order of the black robe. Since your magical, If you get strong enough you can just go in to hiding and return pretending to be someone else. Faast power and a new identity. Besides, if you have an order of neutrality, as well as gds trying to maintain balance its kind of guaranteed that your not gonna conquer Krynn, especially when the gods boot your ass off the planet past 18. In that case you may as well have the robes as an intimidation factor

    As an aside. If you can beat the gods around a level close to 18, I can just Imagine people from planescape that are really high level just kicking down the door to krynn and becoming the new gods

  • af7802

    Spoony bastardized the story of Raistlin (as he acknowledged). Raistlin most certainly chose the Black Robes (and to be evil) consciously, because Takhisis was the only god who would give him the key to unlock the spellbooks of Fistandantilus (the wizard-lich who had merged with him during his test). Raistlin understood that to become a god, he would have to do evil things (such as murdering the gnome who invented the time traveling device).

    Merging with Fisty gave Raistlin certain powers while ruining his health, but it didn’t change his personality.

  • Toaster Tom

    I realize that you get ad revenue for the Counter Monkey vlogs, but have you considered releasing mp3’s of episodes? Put them on iTunes or what have you.

  • William

    You’re right, Spoony. Catholics don’t have superpowers. However, certain holy men and women attained such a degree of faith and purity that they were marked in their lives with special gifts. They had stigmata, healed the sick, spoke to animals, could appear in more than one location at the same time. Their bodies did not decay after death. They are the saints. There are over 10,000 recorded saints, but the true number is known only to God. That’s why we have All Saints Day, to commemorate all the unknown saints who walk among us, spreading joy and peace wherever they go, offering prayer and sacrifice constantly to the Most High.

    • William

      Also, how the hell do you devote yourself to Neutrality? That always bugged me about Dragonlance, though admittedly I only got into DnD this past year or so. “I devote myself to Neutrality.” “Great! Are you gonna help us fight the evil guys?” “Eh. Maybe.” “Do you want Chinese or Italian for dinner tonight?” “Eh. Whatever.”

      • MrSaturn

        “What makes a man turn neutral? Lust for gold? Power? Or were you just born with a heart full of neutrality?”

      • Donoven Simpson-Elie

        Red robes arn’t neutral. They use magic from both the white school and black school, excelling in unaligned magic. As for a cleric of Gilean however would be dedicated to neutrality, generally these are sages and chroniclers. They would do this for a number of reasons. As a cleric they may have the ability to read the great book of gilean, if only for a moment, in which everything which has ever happened is written…. Everyone does things for a reason, and that reason would be much easier to find in a world where a god could simply materialize in front of you and ask you how your day has been. Gotta say, that’s what it would take to make me a believer.

        • William

          I remember that now. Been a while since I’ve read Dragonlance. Still, if they’re all about balance and wisdom why don’t they just call themselves Balance and Wisdom? Just a creative choice, I guess.

  • Kerrus

    My understanding, at least from the novels (I never played much of the campaign setting) was that the robe colours actually referred specifically to the type of magic caster you were, and were generally alignment non-specific. Black robes were all evocation mages, necromancers, and very direct action. White robes did healing and enchantment and that sort of thing. Red robes were like red mages- they did a mix of both, and occupied some sort of middle ground.

    Thus there was the expectation that if you needed a wizard to blow the shit out of someone, you’d find a black robe. If you needed healing, you’d find a white robe.

    Of course the guys who choose necromancy as their spell specialty or love blowing the crap out of people with fancy magic do tend towards the more immediate self interested end of the spectrum, and I definitely remember there being some degree of mistrust towards black robes. But I also remember several novels pointing out that having a white robe wasn’t a universal signal that you were a good guy.

    • Donoven Simpson-Elie

      White robe mages didn’t do much healing, that would be white robes clerics. But you’re right. They would choose their robes based on a few things, not just weather they likes murdering puppies or not (CUZ IM EVIL DONCHA KNOW!?). How fast you wanted to gain power, what sort of things you want to do with your power and so on. Also where you are from has a huge role on that, you don’t see many Silvanesti elves wearing the black robes as they are exiled on pain of death and branded dark elves, and the sivanesti elves so they generally have the patience to grow in power slowly as a white robe.

  • Yuri Wainwright

    Spoony, please do a review of the Wheel of Time!

  • johnrico

    Vecna also escaped Ravenloft, though I don’t remember how.

  • cyxceven

    I wear black robes because I’m a white mage. They’ll never see it coming.

  • Fiddlewheel

    to do the “robe System” properly should be a robe for what type of spellschool you follow, instead of your alignment.
    But that’s just me…

    • Donoven Simpson-Elie

      In Krynn the spellschools consist of Red, White, and Black.The alignment factor really only comes into play because black robes as a school deal with things the dainty white robes would puke after reading.

      • Fiddlewheel

        But to me it would seem better to have them choose a robe for their spellschool, as in necromancy, abjuration etc and not good, neutral and evil. but if the concept is the way you say it, then I get where the setting is coming from, to an extent. its about what you would be comfortable with doing in magical experimentation, but still, you could do that much better with a circle of the 8 schools instead. of course necromancers would be highly distrusted, but then again there is a good reason to do so, without them necessarily be villains and have Abjurers be preferred, without having them be good guys.

  • Bryan John Sauriol

    GLadiator, Barbarian, Sha’ir, Ninja and Samurai all had independant books.

  • Lhynn

    Arcane magic does not come from the gods in Krynn, it comes from taking the vital energy of the thing that surrounds you to fuel your arcane powers. Thats the whole point, do you consume nature to fuel your powers getting a big benefit or just use your own.
    The whole point of being a wizard is not having to depend on the whims and limitations that a god has.

  • Bryan John Sauriol

    My old Dragonlance DM tweaked the setting a bit to make the robes and philosophies make more sense. For one, the robes changed colour to match the actions of the wearer, rather htan having wizards choose the colour they would wear. For another, Red was made more about moderation and arbitration while black was more about ambition and self-serving.

  • CaptainDingaling

    When’s da next CM episode commin out?

  • Eric Hardy

    I actually set up a campaign around a similar setup where the heroes are the Avatars of Neutrality. Using the lore from Ultima IV I set it up so that each party represents a core virtue from The Shadow Lord Axiom and the Axiom of Infinity: Truth, Love, Courage, Falsehood, Cowardice, and Hatred. Heroes must work together in different combinations to solve puzzles, defeat monsters, and unlock magic doors. Ultimately their goal is to achieve interpersonal balance as well as undo any who would upset the delicate balance of nature.

    I know it’s different in the dragon lance series, but not all neutrality or balance-striving campaigns need to be boring, you just need to set it up right.

  • Thomas Atchley

    I like how you say “nobody will say they are evil just because unless they are insane” …and you have a little cut out of KEFKA behind you. And okay yes technically he is insane and his brain was rotted by Magitech or some shit, but he was always working for the Empire, and probably always gunning for the seat of power, so yeah…he’s straight evil and does not care, pretty much everyone in the Empire that didn’t defect to your team or get killed by Kefka also had that same thought like “Yup, I’m evil, burn the land, conquer the world, yadda yadda”.
    And Final Fantasy VI was a good story. So… yeah hard to take you at complete face value.

    Also on the Star Wars hiding the fact you’re a Sith Lord thing, well, Palpatine did! Like, we all know he was the evil Emperor and Darth Sidius, because we’re an outside observer but people inside didn’t know, cause he covered his face and like used force powers to disguise his old raspy voice and body. it wasn’t until he gained all the power, and was entirely unable to be stopped (at that time), when he held the entire galaxy in the palm of his hand and had universal dominance, it wasn’t until any of that happened that he outed himself as a Sith Lord because he’d be unopposed.

    • Jake Cohen

      By the time Kefka was doing anything horrific and blatantly evil, he was insane. His mind was twisted by their magitech. Before hand we don’t know what he was like. The Empire is on global conquest, but they don’t think of themselves as EVIL, I mean look at General Leo, and the soldiers that tried to call Kefka out on poisoning an entire castle of people.
      These people weren’t evil, they were just loyal to their Empire, and the Emperor himself was trying to become a god. This doesn’t make them cartoonishly evil though. So I would disagree with you on that. FF6 was still good though.

      He does mention that Palpatine did that. Honestly I’m not the biggest fan of Star Wars so nothing I can do other than nod and agree. ^^

  • Tenken347

    I also used to be huge into Dragonlance, so let me see if I can remember all this.

    On alignments:
    In Dragonlance, mages do not worship any gods. Not the gods of Good and Evil, not even the gods of magic. Mages worship the concept of magic itself, and their sole goal as an organization is the development of magic on Krynn. To that end, the orders are developed. Black robes are devoted to the idea that magic is for amassing individual power. They don’t see themselves as evil, but they are ambitious and don’t see a point to magic if it doesn’t help their ambitions, and they’ll do anything in their power to amass more power. White robes, as you might imagine, believe that the role of magic is to help society and benefit others. They work for the common good. Red mages, however, aren’t idealogues. They’re pragmatists who see magic as a tool. They’re not selfless enough to devote themselves to others like the white robes, but they’re not so selfish that they’ll cross the lines that a black robe will. The thing is, it’s very hard for a red robe to maintain that middle ground, and they often become black robes when their hunger for power grows to large to control. They sometimes also become white robes if they find a cause they believe in strongly enough. Incidentally, because they’re not openly devoted to a specific set of ideals, nobody really trusts red robes.

    In terms of choosing your order, as a couple other people mentioned, you don’t. The gods of magic choose for you, and mark you according to the god whose sphere of influence you fall under. This is partially what the test is for; your real character shakes out in it. You can change alignments, and as you do so, your robes change color automatically of their own accord. This happened to Raistlin when he went to the dark side. And before you ask, wizards have to wear wizard robes. It’s a law set down by the orders of high sorcery, just like not being able to carry a weapon bigger than a knife. People want to know when they’re dealing with wizards, and wizards want to avoid being killed on sight by angry mobs.

    • Dja_Akh

      But still the question remains, why no wizard ever tried to hide as someone from another order (by pulling a fake white robe over a black or using illusion spells, …).

      I don’t know that much about Krynn, but I would go with the xp-bonus. As long as you openly wear your red or black robe, you’ll get it. If you disguise yourself, you don’t (and you probably won’t get back the bonus just the moment you stop disguising).
      Don’t know, if they ever give a reason for the xp-bonus, but you could try to argue, that the gods of magic reward you for beeing devoted to your cause or that only really embracing ‘the dark side’ will grant you cookies.

      • Donoven Simpson-Elie

        It’s like telling a knight of solomnia to hide his armor and lie about being a knight…. they spend their life trying to become a knight, they risk their life for it, they pledge their life to it, (and they follow the basically holy scripts the Oath and Measure). If you try so hard to be a part of something, why would you hide that you’re a part of it. If you don’t want to be in my club, don’t join my club.
        The black robes join knowing full well the stigma against them, and they also know that if they will soon have enough power to tear through most raving crowds with a few words and maybe a copper rod and some fur. For them, that is more than worth it.

  • Aaron Beal

    Spoony, as someone who used to like Dragonlance, you should totally review the God-awful Dragons of Autumn Twilight animated movie that came out a few years back. You can have my copy. Please?

    • sbkMulletMan

      I only saw clips of that abortion of a movie, and already I desperately want Spoony to rip it apart, just so “oh god, turn it off, turn it off!” won’t be my final impression on the movie.

    • Donoven Simpson-Elie

      I WAS SO STOPKED FOR THAT MOVIE FOR SO LONG. Biggest disapointment of my teenaged life. And that is saying something.

  • Charles Orr

    Three words: spell of detect __________.Detect good gets the white robes, evil the black, and the red to the rest of the bunch.

    • Anyone00

      Isn’t there usually a first level spell that can cover up alignment to detection spells and slightly higher up spells that can give a false reading (both of which can be enchained on an object)?

      White Mage Graduate #1: How could someone so obviously evil get the white robes?
      White Mage Graduate #2: There are spell effects for that.
      WMG1: But the testers make sure to cast dispel.
      WMG2: Enchantment!
      WMG1: But they search you for such items.
      WMG2: Not invasively.

      • Donoven Simpson-Elie

        Still laughing.

  • Disthron Reverof

    About the “outside gods having no power” thing. I think the problem you are having is that you’ve grown up in a monotheist culture, where as D&D is polytheist. You are used to people saying things like “my god is real and everything else is a hoax or a figment of someones imagination”. Where as in polytheism you may claim that your god is more powerful, or better, but you don’t deny the existence of other peoples gods.

    I can imagine the cleric would be upset, but converting in D&D wouldn’t be the same as converting in a monotheist setting. In a monotheist setting in order to go from one religion to another you’d first have to admit that you were fooled into believing in this fake god. In this situation you don’t have to say your old god as fake, you just have to come to terms with the fact that they can’t help you anymore.

    It would be more like if you swore fidelity to a king but latter became shipwrecked on an unknown continent. Now that you cut off, you can’t help your king and you king can’t help you. That doesn’t mean you can’t give your aid to other lords while you try to gather up enough coin to buy a ship and sail back home.

  • Mythranil

    Poor DragonLance. It was a fun ride while it lasted! I think the downfall began when they started introducing ‘The Next Generation’ (a concept that has really only worked once in history!). By having the children of the original heroes, the Companions, become the next wave of heroes was just way too contrived to begin with. It’s been a long time since I’ve read Dragons of Summer Flame, but I remember having the impression that Palin Majere was a hollow waste of a character who, of course, was completely useless up until thrown in the face of Chaos, the High God… And suddenly he was all-powerful.

    The Fifth Age series had potential to change the face of magic on Krynn for the better, I think. Between the hunt for relics and the evolving ability to tap into Krynn’s naturally occuring mana, it could have made for an interesting setting. Jean Rabe made short work of any interest most people had in the series, however. Her arrogance in changing the face of the planet and screwing with major characters (that no matter who holds the copyright on, they will still always be the intellectual right of Weis, Hickman, Grubb, Williams, and all the rest), combined with her effing awful writing style, spun the franchise into oblivion. I always had the overwhelming sense that she paid no homage to the existing material, other than just using it as a foundation to drop her double-wide trailer on. I managed several writing and discussion clubs for the DragonLance franchise back then, and we came up with a phrase to describe her characters. We called them God Characters, because they were all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful, and could generally never fail at any task. There is only one other popular author that I would make this same accusation of – yet I enjoy his work more – R.A. Salvatore. Be that as it may, it is barely a comparison, as Salvatore actually employs some skill with his craft, and Rabe… Not so much.

    TSR / WOTC were hit hard in the following years. Funny thing about Lord Soth – he was transported to the Ravenloft setting during the Reign of the Rabe, and at some point during an interview, Tracy Hickman was asked about Lord Soth. If memory serves, Lord Soth was a character of his, and his comment was something to the effect of, “As far as I know, Lord Soth has never left the land of Krynn,” though he was, of course, fully aware of the two-book Ravenloft series. In any case, WOTC damn near had to beg for Weis and Hickman to return and clean up the mess, as another post below mentioned. They should have just left it alone and continued working on their other franchises.

    What followed was a confusing and disappointing mess of a story arc called “The War of Souls” which followed their Joan of Arc character, Mina, around for some time. The supporting cast was as useless as Palin Majere and really didn’t add much to the story. I was glad the authors had returned, but this series was particularly disappointing for me… In their first trilogy, the Companions basically waged a war against Takhisis, the Dark Queen of the evil gods. In theie second trilogy, they focused on the twins, Raistlin and Caramon Majere, and their struggle against… Takhisis… and then in the War of Souls, their third trilogy, the mysterious ‘One God’ that was talking to Mina of Arc was… Takhisis. Really!? There were 21 freaking gods to play around with, and you go with the same one as the last two series? Come on, seriously.

    But besides all that, the War of Souls was unsatisfactory, and was clearly just a story arc to return the DragonLance saga to its foundations. Or so I thought. After taking a several-year hiatus from the series, I jumped back in and read Margaret Weis’s new Dark Disciples trilogy, which followed Mina after the War of Souls… and found it wasn’t all that bad, really. It did answer some major burning questions and felt like original, thought-out material. Definitely takes on a way different vein than previous DragonLance stories, and is worth a look.

    As for wearing the black robes? When we were introduced to DragonLance, it was a fact that, no matter what color your robes were, you were either feared or reviled. The mages had grown to mistrust all the people of Krynn because they were hunted during the last days before the great Cataclysm. The Kingpriest of Istar outlawed all magic (excluding clerical magic, of course) and the mages holed up inside the Towers of High Sorcery. There was still a residual stigma placed on them from all that mess. But, in the times before the Cataclysm and following the War of the Lance, mages were commonplace and more respected. As Spoony mentions, no matter the color of your robes, your intentions are likely for the spirit of what they think is right. The difference in colors merely represents a difference in philosophies – different viewpoints of the world and of their roles in it. Though Raistlin ended up in the black robes, it was just a means to an end for him – he would have died during the Test if he hadn’t made promises to Fistandantilus, and he and his friends would have died again in King Lorac’s forest if he hadn’t agreed to take the Black Robes and change the focus of his studies. Both Raistlin and Fistandantilus saw this as an opportunity to get ahead.

  • Ainrev White

    Black, in my opinion (further credit due to this council picking them out(and all the balance talk)) would be NECESSARY Evil. They would be those guys that interfere when heroes start getting ambitious (i.e. Take over a town, gets asked to be mayor(w/e), turns corrupt eventually) and prevent them from going onto a dark path. I would say further they know eventually they would become true evil, but in that, Whites eventually turn true good, thus balancing out. It’s all insanity, I know. (Side Note: I am deeply fascinated with Necessary evil characters. I always imagine them as morbid, sad people who do bad things but hate it until they slowly turn passive then insane)

    Red robes are those guys you see giving coin to one beggar and passing the diseased person. Those guys who suddenly join a war and start to turn the tides then disappear. In my opinion they SHOULD gain the fastest experience, seeing as how they would do tons of minor balance, whilst the Good/Evil effect in major ways.

  • aaronbourque

    Well, in the Star Wars Prequels, the Sith don’t go around parading and announcing that they’re Sith. Sidious? Hidden, the protagonists don’t even know for sure if he exists. Tyranus? aka Count Dooku, not outed until the end of Attack of the Clones. Vader? By his time, the Sith are in power and can make the rules however they want–and do, for about 20 years.

  • Jonathan Deschamps

    Well I dont think its more of a Conversion. Its more like voting to some degree. Lets say you vote Democrat in the US. Then you move to Canada, who have a different set of Political entity, who are you going to vote for? In Canada you have 4-5 Major “gods” and a set of Minor Gods somewhat different from the US “gods”. You have minor gods who do the same job like the Green Party or the socialist party, the US have only 2 major God which can make the conversion difficult. So you would have to study what god correspond to your belief the most. So if you are a Republican in the US, you may want to go with the Conservators but maybe not, since some aspects are different. But its either that or you remove yourself from the “magic/voting” process. So either you vote for a different dude, or you dont vote at all. But you lose all your powers and do not help the cause of your “god”. Helping a Democrat party would help the Democrat cause in what ever country you are, and could influence to some level the other “planes/country”. And your god would still be happy with you.

  • Nagneto Lives

    I thought the point of wearing black robes was for the fashion statement! I had this essentially a black knight neutral evil character. The only thing he cared about was attention. He didn’t believe in bad publicity, so long as people knew of his names and deeds and he considered that glory, even if what he was known for was kicking orphans in the teeth. I didn’t have him go out of his way to be cruel, but played him as this magnificent bastard who didn’t believe in the concept of evil or good, and that everyone did what was best for themselves. He decked himself out in doomy spiky black armor for the lulz and intimidation.

  • Segatron

    “As Brave Knight Segatron killed the evil warlord, he heard a mysterious ‘Ding’. Then he heard a voice saying. ‘Sorry Kid you are getting to good at being a hero, we are going to have to toss you off the planet. But don’t worry you are going to land in Sigil, it’s a great place to start a new life and you are a good kid, you’ll be really popular’

    Immediately Segatron was thrown on top of the Lady of Pain.

    ‘Wow! We are really bad at this, Maybe being replaced wasn’t such a bad idea.'”

  • CaptainDingaling

    Reading most of the comments it seems mostly liked Spoony has a completely new community of basically D&D RPG people. Is that true?

    • Jake Cohen

      Kind of, I don’t really know. Personally I think these videos are attractive to all sorts of people.

      Also people like myself who have wanted to play D&D, but aren’t able to really get a group together due to people having a lack of interest.

  • Thöm DeRosier

    Does anyone happen to know the name of the the intro song Spoony uses in these new Counter Monkey’s ?

    • carnehan

      Seems it’s Blind Guardian “The Bard’s Song” (In the Forest) covered by Van Canto. Someone posted it already, but here you go ;)

  • lemunde

    The way I understand it is, first of all, all wizards get their power from the three moons. These are more or less the gods they worship. They may worship Takhisis, Paladine, whatever but it’s more by proxy than anything else. But in order to most efficiently draw power from these moons, they have to align themselves with whichever moon they’re drawing power from.

    Many of the wizards I read about didn’t straight up go out of their way to be good, evil or neutral. The moons they served may be more representations of their own innate goodness or evil, and they may find that they most efficiently cast spells when they draw power from the moon they are most closely aligned with. Wearing robes with colors aligned to that particular moon would further grant them favor with that moon which would further enhance their spells.

    And you may ask “well why don’t wizards just keep changing robes?” Some of them do. Raistlin, as you said, started out wearing red robes, Fistandantilus started out as a white robed wizard, going straight to black and Magus was swapping robes constantly, sometimes wearing robes that were a combination of red, white and black.

  • doresh

    You’d think out of all the gods, the god of evil would be the one to understand cheaters XD

  • Murdock Holmes

    whats the name of the song in the opening theme

    • DarkSaber2k

      It’s Van Canto’s cover of “The Bards Song” origiinally written and performed by Blind Guardian.

      • Dja_Akh

        don’t want to sound like a smart-ass, but it’s actually ‘the bard’s song: in the forest’. On the album ‘somewhere far beyond’ there are two ‘bard’s songs': ‘the hobbit’ and ‘in the forest’, though the later one is much more popular and usually refered to as ‘the bard’s song’.
        Anyway, check them out both, I would suggest.

  • Elias Poulogiannis

    Dude… Blind Guardian…

  • L1nk1

    I know who I am, I am an evil man.

  • random-shane

    I loved the early Dragonlance (and still do) and Tanis was my favorite and I actually did not like Raistlin

  • Nathan Jacob Caudill

    so what happens if you wear blue, green, yellow or grey robes instead of red, white or black?

    • The guy in brown robe.

      Color of the robe had no meaning for me i treated it in terms of practical use, only a detection spell could reveal its core nature/aura or something like that. I’ll stick to my druidic experience. I had white robe once (in real ritual in the forest). After few hours including preparations, celebration around fire an feast after it it was far from white. Also when i Was searching for few ingredients for this rite in a forest it turned into green/brown colors. I use brown now, and it just great. I hate disguising as Panoramix :D

  • The guy in brown robe.

    One more thing, i used black robes as a DM on players a curse sign for being an asshole. But it was not black but it was darkness that flows from the wizard and blackens his clothes, as a sign of curse on evil heart. Of course if that curse was cast on this wizard. Otherwise he was wearing ordinary robes witch were most often gray or black. (practical side that never drew attention to him)

  • Chris Keller

    Pretty funny stuff, but maybe a little more prep beforehand? How do you feel about bookmarking the relevant passages? You’ve got good things to say, but it gets a bit lost when the mighty tomes are unleashed.

    • The guy in brown robe.

      how to explain the unexplained?? I was asked by my players the same thing Spoony was talking about (sense of robe colors in that world). In books there wasn’t that many wizards to wander around cities, they were so powerfull or petty in their towers that they never needed to cover their true alignment, but we played in much more magic world. And I used that idea that i used in my own realm. There’s nothing more in it. Most important is that it worked fine for many sessions

  • Groverfield

    I wonder how soon we’ll get a review of “Night Claws,” whether Spoony will do a VLOG immediately after watching it, or make a full film about it, or keep it as the centerpiece for Brown History Month 2013

  • Gogogrog

    Vecna escaped Ravenloft too.

  • Gokenshadow

    Spoony, could you please tell more actual stories.

    In its intro, this video proclaims itself as “A tale of great deeds and high adventure,” but the only actual tale it tells is Lord Soth’s escape from Ravenloft, and that is less than a fifth of the video’s entirety. You’re a really good story teller, and your Counter Monkey stories are some of the most fun to watch of all your videos, but you hardly tell stories anymore, which is the entire reason I started watching Counter Monkey in the first place. Please tell some stories. I long to here of actual adventure, not just the set up of adventure.

    • Guest

      I’ve been looking for that video for the last few days. Which video is it?

  • Troy Bennett

    Just to think, even LOKI had the right idea to wear a pimp suit in front of the public.



  • Herb Gunnar

    It comes from a consent I call, “Satan is the good guy” for if you think of it this way, if someone was truly evil, Satan would reward them, but he doesn’t, he punishes them for all time, if satan was evil,and truly evil, wouldn’t it be more twisted if he rewarded someone like hitler for all he did? of course it would be, We as decent people would be appalled, well this doesn’t happen because, Satan is a good guy, but not in the traditional sense, like spoony put it, though very twisted, spiteful and loves to cause pain, he Justifies these actions by doing them on otherwise people who deserve it. Well to the black robes, if someone did get to choose the black robes, because he must in order to gain magic power the fastest, he or she might do that to say, get revenge on a king before he dies through some other cause, or, to play the devil himself and take joy in killing murderers and thieves. It really comes down to being required to wear the black robes to gain the magic spells wanted and at the preferred speed of getting them. Or like you said, it’s the easiest, if a child of 2 wizards was pressured into this ordeal, when he simple wasn’t strong enough for white or red, figured black robes where a better option then no robes at all in the eyes of his parrents.

  • James C.

    It is also possible that if it is the wizards choice and people see the black robe as evil regardless of how the robes wearers see an act themselves that in addition to the fact that black mages gain power faster it is possible the people wearing the robes see wearing the robe as running around saying that they’re the worlds greatest swordsman just hoping someone will call them on it.

  • Donoven Simpson-Elie

    I read the books when I was younger and I read them a LOT. So…. well, I had a few issues with the video, minor things really…. For instance, Raistlin didn’t seek to become the god of evil, he wanted to be a god. His own, controlled by no one, able to create life (one of his life long goals). In the future where he DID become a god he had not only killed Takhisis but ALL of the gods. He however could not create life even as a god, it took all the gods to creat krynn and though he was greater than them individualy he could not match their combined power.
    Also, mages do not follow the main three gods, but their children. The black robes follow Nuitari, the god of the black moon. Furthermore these dark mages don’t consider themselves evil, save the few who are insane as you said. An example of this would be Dalamar, the dark elf (elf of the black robes) who was the aprentice of Raistlin. Dalamar knew that what Raist was doing would likely destroy the world, as did all the heads of the orders, but they all feared raistlins power. Dalamar, who admitedly simply craved more power (number one reason for being a dark robe) had seen that having Raistlin as a teacher would mean working with the most powerful being alive…. a good idea? But when raistlins need for power outgrew the bounds of even Krynn Dalamar started spying on him, telling the council the things Raist did. without even speaking, Raistlin places his hand on Dalamar’s chest, his fingers burning into holes which would never heal. Not to mention the fact that when Caramon (raistling handsom brother) told Raistlin that he would end up destroying the world he gave up his power and sealed himself in the abyys to preven Takhisis coming through, where he was killed every day and reincarnated and so on so forth. Not truly evil, nor did he claim to be.
    Also, Raistling wasnt evil, just greedy and selfish. He was very nice to gully dwarves, and anyone downtrodden as they were as he once was.
    ALSO, Raistlin’s test is an issue. Fistandantilius (spelling?), the greatest mage to have ever existed (until Raistlin) has saught to become imortal and so used his great magic to make a sort of connection with Raistling, as he foresaw his own death in the coming cataclysm (caused by the gods getting pissed at the kingpriest of Istar as he demanded from them the power of the gods, most of the other priests under him were also corrupt ((istar was like rome with the corruption and yeahness) and the true priests were taken from krynn before the mountain fell) And so the gods smote all of Istar by throwing a mountain at them. This devistating event caused all the races and all the people to lose faith in the gods, believing that they had foresaken them) And so, he formed the conection with raistlin, keeping him alive through the test but also stealing a part of his life force in order to keep his spirit alive, causing the silver hair and caughing. Raist eventually went back in time and consumed Fistandantilius, becoming the greatest mage to ever live. As in he killed the gods and the magic he used actually destoryed the world as a resudule effect.
    And wearing black robes demandes the respect and fear of those around you. It’s like taking the Darth title, a challenge to those around you to dare to attack. And you are supposed to represent the order you are a part of…..
    Red robes don’t like the confines of the white order but arnt corrupt enough to join the black robes.
    And yeah, You try driving a godkilling darkmage out of town.
    And EVERYONE loves Kitiara. Honestly, ugh.
    And so far as I know using the dark side distorts your face and whatnot. You get ugly and evil looking…..

  • Donoven Simpson-Elie


  • KOstantinos Piou ELeftheriadis

    i wonder is M.I.B are evil guyz deep inside

  • Joshua Jimenez

    I’m Swiss, it’s not weird to be neutral. Just means we don’t take unreasonable crap from anyone, especially not from germany or the us

    • doresh

      Don’t be so mean. The typical German believes Swiss is the bestest country evar and would like to live there themselves.

      (If the Germans living there appear to be weird, that’s probably why. Sorry dude XD )

    • JackRyan

      Doesnt Germany own all of Europe now anyways, and only leaves Swiss alone because thats were the money is?

      Im British by the way, and they sure do own us. Fun little game, go to a British Companys website and check the higher management. You always will find a “Mr. Fritz Steinhammer” or “Mr. Karl Deutschlander” -_-

      • doresh

        Funny how our media ignores this little fact. Guess they’re too busy portraying Britons as weird isolationists Oo

        And Europe is not owned by Germany, just by Merkel with her little “The only way out of this crisis lies in destroying the rest of your country’s economy by economising like crazy (even though I saved my own country’s car industry with a very expensive economic-growth package)!”-strategy. I didn’t even vote for her, dammit <_<

      • Joshua Jimenez

        They own all of the EU and fuck it up royaly, but luckily, we never joined the EU, because we are neutral XD

        • Petr Matafonov

          you guys are badass :-)

  • Erebus_Locke

    For all of you waiting for FF13, Spoony just Twittered he has an incredibly migrane, so it may take a while longer :(

    (Spoony should make a separate Twitter-Account for his “official” announcements, its so hard to dig them out of the smalltalk)

    • Jeremy Owens

      Ah, thanks for that. And yeah he really should, I’d probably go on Twitter more than once a year if he did that.

    • PeaTearGryfin

      He also decided to reshoot a bunch of stuff that he wasn’t happy with.

  • Derek Thomas

    My new planescape character is going to be called Spoony the wise.

    • Derek Thomas

      He’s going to be gigantically buff and have long black hair just like spoony.

  • Kara Sanelle

    The one thought I can come up with for why someone would wear the Black Robes would be:

    If the world is based on a balance of good and evil maybe evil isn’t bad. It’s more like a guild. You’re evil but no one really cares because you’re just part of the world. You do evil things but that’s to be expected. The Good will oppose you but that’s just them being good. The Neutrals keep you both in check. So basically you have no reason to hide what you are you’re allowed to just go free with it.

    That’s all I can think of. I don’t know anything about Dragonlance though so don’t know if that’s the case.

    Also not sure if I worded this right but hopefully you understand what I mean.

  • Bryan Burrows

    I think the most obvious and overlooked reason for wearing black robes or simply stating you are evil is to make a statement. They are not wearing them to inform people they are evil, but rather to say “I am the most bad ass guy in the world and a dare you to come and prove me wrong!” Being a “Sith” was an honor. Like being a Nazi (sorry, best analogy). It brought fear and respect. I am sure some

  • sprezzatura15

    The part about Catholics having magic powers was seriously lol… being a Catholic, I’m not aware of possessing any magical Catholic powers, but it might give me more incentive to make it to church on a weekly basis! :P

  • sprezzatura15

    Maybe the black robe wearers of the Tower are pretty much the emo kids of the sorcerous world? They’re horribly immature and arrogant when they pick their robe color, and they’re just all “You shouldn’t trust me, you know… I’m baaad news.”

    I still can’t imagine how any of the other sorcerers would ever take them seriously after picking a black robe, though- has anyone ever seriously been intimidated by an emo kid?

  • sprezzatura15

    Yeah, I’d guess the black robes are chose by either emo kids being all “You shouldn’t trust me… I’m bad news” and that kind of stuff, or people whose whole shtick is about intimidation, and not really about functioning or fitting in- although still, those guys have a life… they’ve got to go to the fantasy equivalent of the grocery store- how do they do it as an oft maligned Black Robe?

    And I can’t see how you’d take a Black Robe seriously really, either- has anyone every really been intimidated by an emo kid? And if it’s about intimidation- how intimidating can you be if you’re doing within the parameters of a wizard order? “Ooooh, I’m a real badass… IMMA pick the eeevil robes…” Not buying it entirely.

  • draxo

    The second edition splatbooks for each class were notoriously badly written. The Druid one in particular is insane. They literally talk about the metagame concept of LEVEL in an IN CHARACTER FASHION. Like ‘the druids contest with one another to see who gets to be the next level 12′

    • doresh

      Stuff like this doesn’t surprise me. In its last days TSR basically became batshit insane thanks to people like Lorraine Williams.

      (This also reminds me of monks, who were also limited in numbers as the levels rose. You even had to defeat a higher-level monk in a duel to level-up Oo )

      • draxo

        This rustles my jimmies.

  • Ben Smooker

    Only thing I could think of is if they did it like in the anime Slayers.

    Once you’re qualified as a full fledged scorceror or scorceress you’re given a colour, and you need to wear that colour somewhere to signify it. Lina Inverse got pink. Her costume is full of blacks, spikey pauldrons (What’s a pauldron?) and various accessories. But her shirt is pink.

    That’s how I could imagine it working. As long as your colour is signified somewhere.

  • Jeff Juozapaitis

    For some reason I feel like the Dark Powers should be the Lady of Pain. Ravenloft is her “fuck it” button when she really needs an evil Maze dropped on someone.

  • Nathan Swifte

    exact point where i stopped reading dragonlance too

  • Kendotuxedo

    So what order does Simco the Magician come from?
    He wears black, white and a red bowtie. Truly, Simco breaks ALL the rules of magic!

  • Chibz

    I can only explain one of the things you asked for an explanation for at the end, Spoony.

    Darth Maul has red skin and black cultural tattoos painted on his face. The horns are also part of his natural anatomy. The question of why he looks evil or “Like satan” would easily be construed as incredibly racist in universe.

    As for why sith lords would use red lightsabers it’s because they’re made using synthetic crystals. This is because the jedi have almost a monopoly on the lightsaber crystals.

    Another point is that most sith were never actually jedi, they were trained exclusively by a sith lord. In the books/comics I’ve read and games I’ve played ex-jedi sith lords are the exception not the rule.

  • Charles Moreau

    From what I remembered of the Black Robes is that they were more “lawful evil” than chaos evil scientists maniacly giggling over their evil plan. They were the kind of selfish assholes you won’t let alone with your grandmother, but they were organised and if they gave their word, they’d respect it.
    This came to show as Takhisis’ forces were pure chaos and represented by the snake biting its tail. They were the maniacs trying to wreck havoc through the world, but in the end, they always got betrayed by their bretheren. The Black Robes however were a cohesive whole and never really suffered defeat, also without really antagonizing anyone.

    that’s how I remember the mythos from when I read it back in high school.

  • Matthias J. Déjà

    Spoony: Even when you say “not a spoiler” before a spoiler, it’s still a spoiler.

  • Amber

    When you turn evil you undergo physical changes. Yes your eyes change color. You can even go pale. Jedi can sense the increase of dark side in you. It takes alot of training to supress that and hide it. Thus, newbie dark jedi can’t hide it.

  • William Sykes

    Yeah, a couple things… first of all, not sure why it’s so difficult to understand the neutrality that Spoony is talking about, he kind of already explained it to himself early in the video. They are balancing good against evil, to make sure neither gains a victory, for such a thing would lead the world to despair. So, they keep the world within the grey area, by any means necessary. This can be either because they know that Good and Evil can be philisophically biased towards themselves, where Good might to undesirable things from an objective viewpoint and so Neutral may not be the same as “Good.” Or, it can be to where Good is SO intolerant of evil that they will go to any lengths to try to eliminate it, so those of Neutral persuasion would want to protect relative innocents from Good’s overexhuberance.
    As far as those who serve evil wearing black robes… Well, yes it’s perfectly possible to be knowingly and purposefully evil. There are also a couple reasons you would don the black robes. Either because wearing them and proclaiming yourself for evil will grant you power, which is what is likely most important to you… or because you simply revel in chaos and destruction. If the pain and misery of others is fun to you, or you think that everyone deserves the torment you bring about, why would you have a problem with others knowing what your intentions are? The only time you WOULDN’T want to announce your allegiance is if you’re the kind of evil who’s sneaky and underhanded and just trying to usurp power. If you’re simply Corrupt, you likely wouldn’t announce it… but if you’re truly Evil, you just don’t care and might even enjoy it more knowing that others hate or fear you..

  • Smoke Fumus

    Eh, i always though neutrality is playing for yourself. Egoistical being which acts in his own interests detached from regular set of moralities, with his own set of moralities which sometimes crosses with regular set of moralities and/or detached from them completely. Think about it like this – ‘Remove root of the problem – remove the problem if it means killing anyone’, ‘My friends – yea, they have my respect because in my eyes they worth something, anyone else – whoever they are – either not touching me and not crossing my way or they are dead’, ‘Stupidity – worst sin’ (as oppose of Christianity to example which supports stupid work-power since its easier to control and easier to suck money out of it) , ‘do not like to steal – but if in need – i’ll do it’. So basically playing neutral is playing Chaotic neutral imo. Like Arthas (if you played Warcraft III)- fuck up world order to prevent Chaos gaining in, for the everything which still will left as not that much.

    • Rakkrakk

      Not necessarily. Neutrality is either caring about a balance of good and evil or just not caring about good and evil.

  • humdiblifier

    I’m kinda sad that you completely glossed over the martial arts section of the ninja handbook. That and the kits were probably the best parts! Ninjas can walk through walls or jump off a 10,000 foot cliff without taking damage! They weren’t called ninjas in the setting we ran but they had their place in the game as spies/assassins and the martial arts stuff was enough fun that it played a fairly big part in the game after I rolled that first ninja. Fuck feather fall, my mage had the ninja leap move bitch!

  • LaBarata Mk

    Oh, Spoony, Spoony, Spoony…. When will you learn?

    We LOVE it when you ramble and go off on tangents! That’s why we watch, just to watch you talk! Seriously, dude, that’s why we’re here!

  • pretzels

    D&D gods are always vain and jealous. (or all gods for that matter)

  • He that knows

    If Spoony didn’t go on tangents the Counter Monkey videos would be boring. For example, one of my favorite ones (The Marvel superhero one) became 100% more awesome with all the tangents. I had never heard of Call of Cthulhu, which is sad since I’m just the kind of person who loves that kind of violence. Course I can now sense when a tangent is coming. That bookshelf behind Spoony always seems to be a distraction. Not a bad one, mind you,

  • Chico Edge

    The color of a wizard’s robe is determined by his/her actions during the Test. It’s not that your teacher is calling you an asshole. It’s more like your actions determining your fate. Let’s say you’re in your test and a group of thieves invite you to join them and steal an artifact. If you refuse to join them and try to stop them or tip off the authorities that would be a good thing and worthy of white robes. If you join them but take the artifact and turn it over to the high wizards that is pretty much neutral. If you join them and kill them and keep the artifact for yourself that is evil and gets you the black robes.

    Wizards also place magic above all else. If a white robe and a black robe were to meet up in the tower then they will probably get into a discussion of magic and maybe even trade items. You don’t screw over your fellow wizards and if you tried your god would have it out with you so yes, a white robe wizard may well accept a healing potion from a black robe. Hell, a white robe and a black robe may even team up to save another wizard or magical artifact.

  • Henry Walsh

    Why I would wear Black Robes…

    Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to appear to be good. Sometimes you want people to know that you are going to f*** their s*** up. When you are going to intimidate someone, you don’t want to show up wearing the White Robes, but when pull on the good old Black Robes and announce to ye olde terrified villager, “I will rip out your soul and then wipe my a** with it so that you will smell like sh** for all eternity!” they know you mean business.

  • Cassidy Silver

    If I remember correctly, the Complete Ninjas Handbook had a sweet chart to determine what body part you hit when you attack. Other than that, the Ninjas were overly complicated IMO. Even in 3/3.5 Ninjas are a bit iffy.

  • angela

    I slightly understand the use of ‘classification’ systems in most games, as it does make things easier, but it tends to fall flat on people’s faces sometimes. I agree that an outright declaration of evil doesn’t make sense to me, as most who we classify as ‘evil’ believe themselves to be in the right, whilst everyone else is of the foolish variety.I guess I would have liked it better had that black robe have been labeled for something that didn’t come with a moral attachment.

  • Scarmiglione Of’Earth

    I love counter monkeys. Don’t ever let it end.

  • Arturo Medina

    well dude thing is if they are a sith they kinda sense the dark side in them when near to a jedi so they cant hide it even if they want

  • Stephen Wooldridge

    If you had any stories about anyone playing a Planar Shepherd I would be interested in hearing

  • San Shinobi

    In your typical high fantasy setting, magic(the arcane kind) is treated as the science of that setting: people study and even theorize about magic, formulas are calculated in alchemy, etc. Magic from the gods are more like miracles. In theory, you could still have magic without gods. In a way, Dragonlance’s magic rules make sense to me, and at the same time, they don’t.

  • San Shinobi

    P.S. Dragonlance sounds pretty lame as an RPG setting. Level caps should be momentous occasion. I’m not saying everyone needs their own epic quest, but at least there should be come kind of bonus for lasting that long. Foe example, in Skyrim, each skill has a special ability once you reach skill level 100. Not much, but it’s better than just getting kicked out IMO

  • Zachary Freeman

    Crap, I’m late to this party. On the Dooku thing, according to the novelization of Revenge of the Sith, and a few other places I’ve read, Dooku falsely falls. In his mind, he is the good guy and is trying to figure out who Darth Sidious is, but wants to use the Confederacy to rebuild the republic so that the Jedi actually rule. You can argue that this is just as bad, and that the road to hell is paved with good intentions and he’s fallen anyway, but at least to him he’s the real good guy.

    The kicker is that he figures it all out right as Anakin slices his head off.

  • Vandell

    Dragonlance is essentially metagaming given form.

  • shugarshocked

    All I can think of in part one is the Ninja Hanglider in DOA.

  • Jonathan Williamson

    Those interested in the “no one chooses evil” dynamic, look up the “Real Alignments” article on easydamus. I believe it’s facinating, and personally I implemented it as a D&D 3.5 house rule with mechanical benefits and detriments. It’s serving me well so far.

  • Mark Ryan

    The Tower of High Sorcery and the way they run shit kinda reminds me of the Circle of Magi from Dragon Age: Origins

  • Soul_Saint

    That ninja-book is for the “Oriental Adventures”, a book that has it’s own setting, creatures, playable races, classes, culture, etc. That is why the feats and skills may sound a bit weird. Creatures such as the Oni were added to 4e’s Monster Manual, I believe they are listed under the 2nd manual for 4e.

  • Roland M J Ziemke

    The only possible reason I can think of for someone wearing a robe that advertises their alignment is that it’s effectively the only way their powers work. In other words, if you want to cast a healing spell, one of the conditions is that your robe must be white (like wearing a silver ring on your left hand to go through a door in Sigil). Of course, all that would really mean is a little more prep time (or being royally hosed if you get caught off guard) to change into your “real” outfit from your bogus one.
    In all, I think it’s fair to just chalk it up to bad writing. I mean, Weis and Hickman basically novelized their D&D campaign, and most of the novels (including Kaz the Minotaur, the first one I ever read) kind of follow the same pattern. It felt like almost every other chapter was introducing a new character with all the in-between chapters filling in plotholes and logical loopholes like why certain characters haven’t shown up before or why someone would be taken alive as a hostage instead of just killed outright. It’s improv gone batty.
    Thanks for the synopsis about Raveloft; I had someone approach me about writing them a story in that setting, but I had only the flimsiest grasp as to its premise.

  • Stepfan Von Huntsman

    Well with Sith it depends a lot on when you are. Sith are a religious movement dedicated to lots of things(which does include a vow to end the Jedi Order). That does include some of the things he talks about. For example the red lightsaber is indeed an important religious point to the Sith.

    However, there have been occurrences (Old Galactic Republic before the True Sith Empire comes back comes to mind), where Sith did pretend to be Jedi and work within the order to end it or manipulate it to certain ends.

    I did try to scan the comments, but there’s a lot so I’m sorry if this has been brought up already.

  • David Langer

    My understanding of the Test of High Sorcery, which I’m getting from what I remember of the several books about Raistlin Majere’s past, is that a wizard taking the Test declares which Order s/he is applying to before the Test. However, the Test itself is supposed to be revelatory for the test taker and the Conclave, your actions within in it bringing insight into your character that is taken into consideration when the Heads of the Orders make a decision on your placement. Raistlin entered the Test intending to be admitted into the Order of White Robes, a natural stance given that he had a loving brother and a willingness to do good in the world. But in the Test, he ended up killing his brother when he flew into a jealous rage after learning that Caramon actually possessed potent magic and just didn’t use it ‘cuz he had his sord guhhyuk.’ Ethically speaking, this is NOT reprehensible from the perspective of the Conclave, but it revealed enough to both the Orders and to Raistlin that it was obvious he would not fit in as a White Robe. But because of his talent, Justinian admitted him as a Red Robe. Later on, as Raistlin is grappling with Fistandantilus’s soul, and making dark pacts with Nuitari, the God of Black magic, he sheds the Red Robes and dons the Black. Its actually a pragmatic decision since a Red Robe wizard would never be permitted to do the things he was planning to do, namely join the Third Dragon War on the side of Takhisis, and he would have been expelled anyway. There were already Black Robe wizards joining the war in this manner, so it was controversial but tolerated by the Conclave until the Dragonarmies started killing of Black Robes out of distrust. But I digress. His decision to become a Black Robe was not because he had internalized the notion that he was an evil asshat, but because being a Black Robe wizard is defined by its pursuit of power at any cost, not allowing common moral values to get in your way, and this set of strictures more closely fit his needs as he looked for ways to expel Fistandantilus’s soul. Now onto the fact that Black Robes exist in the first place: I can only say that Krynn is not a world of moral subjectivism, nor is it a world where the good guys always win, or have the most prosperous societies, etc. If there is a greater god in your cosmology dedicated to the furtherance and proliferation of evil, then there are going to be concrete rewards during your life if you choose to follow an evil path. You don’t have to struggle with yourself to justify your actions as good and right; you want what you want, you’ll get rid of any obstacles that keep you from your goals, and there are plenty of like-minded people who will help you out. Hell, many of the races of Krynn were created by the Evil gods and infused with their moral outlook. (the goblins, hobgoblins, Irda, ogres, minotaurs, etc. etc.) And since magic is such a feared, distrusted, and often misunderstood element, townspeople were likely to shit their pants before confronting a Black Robe or even a Red Robe. Even White Robes were not trusted by other Good-aligned organizations. And that brings me to my last point (since this has gone on far too long and I don’t wanna get into arguing Fifth Age): the Conclave of Wizards was not put into place to be a force of Good, Neutrality, and/or Evil. To them, those moral outlooks were merely the filter through which an individual’s study of magic passed. The understanding and preservation of Magic was always the Conclave’s number one priority, a fact that was understood by all initiated wizards, which is why they were able to peacefully coexist within the Tower of High Sorcery. So being a Black Robe wizard did not guarantee that you would be hunted down and killed, as to some extent you had the protection of all the Orders on your side so long as you didn’t do anything to piss off the Conclave. That’s my say. Thanks for enduring yet another tl;dr post.

  • Caleb Schmucker

    In KOTOR, that isn’t just any mask, that is th mask of Mandelore. Revan took it from Mandalore after defeating him in single combat. The reason that it was impactful that he wore it was that it both disgraced the mandalorians and strengthened the resolve of his men. Because he took that mask, the Mandalorians could no longer declare or have a leader, as it was law that whomever wore the mask was a mandalorian. In addition, the red lightsaber crystals are more powerful.

  • ky0dar

    Every time the Mad Max joke comes up – it always works. I love it.

  • Ben Szczerbicki

    She would have gotten your name right if she really loved you, Spoony.

  • Nicholas Holmes


    In regards to the robes thing, it was decreed by the three gods of magic, who were the ones who taught magic to mortals after they realized that when not kept in check, the mortals could do a great deal of damage. That’s the point of the enclave; to regulate magic. However, there are generally three approaches to magic, due to the approach by the gods of magic; Nuitari is evil, born of an evil god and goddess and therefore he has no moral qualms. Solinari is the child of Paladine and Mishakal and therefore has a great deal of things that he can or will not tolerate. Then there’s Lunitari, who being the daughter of Gilean, is morally between the two.

    Each order of the Conclave was created by the gods of magic. Therefore, those who worship Solinari as their patron and held a similar moral compass would pursue magic–but only so far. They wouldn’t say, kill someone to get an artifact or leave their friends to die or transform themselves into undead creatures to extend their life. It’s also why someone without a moral compass, while they can choose the white robes and serve under Solinari, would not be able to stay for long; they would break his laws and they would do things that the white robes would not condone and they’d either be forced to change orders or be considered a renegade.

    And this is where the other orders come in. The black robe mages believed that you should do anything to gain power, perform any sacrifice to yourself and others, to get what you want. Obviously, there were limits on this due to the nature of the order; anyone who threatened magic as a whole or threatened the image of mages as a whole was going to find themselves in trouble. But generally, killing a few elves in order to obtain a magical spellbook of dark secrets was perfectly fine.

    The red robes in contrast, weren’t as uptight about the things that the white robes, but they wouldn’t go to the lengths that a black robe mage would go to. They’d make some shady dealings, but they’d probably refrain from murder or using terrible curses unless it was an exceptional situation.

    It was less about “bwa ha ha! I’m EVIL!” and more a case of how one approached learning magic. There were those who, like Nuitari, did not think there should be any moral or social limitations on magic–aside from the obvious MAD scenario. It was simply mages who thought that no school of thought should be limited and you should be allowed to go to any lengths to get what you want for the sake of magic.

    Now, this does say a great deal about your character. Obviously if you had no social or moral qualms of getting magic, that made you somewhat untrustworthy, but it also introduced you into an order full of people who thought the same way. That didn’t mean you’d go around trying to rule the world or kill everyone in their sleep for their spellbook. It means, that you have no problems grave robbing for undead guardians and there’s someone who can help you with that. For those of the white robes, they were those who held a high, moral belief on how far you should be allowed to go and what spells or nature of magic you should use. Talking to someone about making an undead monstrosity is simply something you wouldn’t even suggest as a white robe, let alone attempt. And none of your friends in that order would ever help you. And of course, Red is those inbetween.

    But that doesn’t mean that when the bigger gods, like Takhisis and Paladine, start to clash, that everyone immediately picks sides and starts killing each other (although this did sort of happen anyway). Basically, Nuitari caused a great deal of trouble when he sided with Takhisis during the War of the Lance, because it had put a great deal of strain on the relationship between the orders and many–but not all–of the black robes had joined her side. Why? One, Nuitari had been swayed by his mother and two, Black Robes are typically greedy and desire to become more powerful by any means necessary. The atmosphere that Takhisis and her world order brings fosters that sort of ambition.

    However, Nuitari and his order left sometime after joining Takhisis. One reason being the creation of the Draconians; creating them was an act so perverse that the other two heads of the order considered breaking the Conclave. They only didn’t when they realized that the head of the Black order hadn’t approved it, but a few of her underlings had done it and were later considered renegades (sounds a bit harsh, but consider that Draconians are now one of the few races that can actually alter history via time travel).

    But this all sort of boils down to how evil is treated in Dragonlance; evil and good are just that; good and evil. Evil gods act selfishly and only care for mortals for their own twisted desires. Mortals don’t evoke Takhisis because they like her; they invoke her because she will help them. If you’re a thief, you worship Takhisis and her lot because only her lot approves of what you did. Paladine and his branch are disgusted with you and “helping” would consist of you being arrested and making up for your crime. The neutral gods on the other hand, are more devoted to things like knowledge, or creation, or nature. They don’t really factor into the concept of morality.

    It is the gods who live in a world of black and white and the mortals are those who are sort of forced to pick and choose how to act. A petty thief, even if they don’t think of themselves as in the wrong, is going to offer their prayer to Takhisis for luck and safety because Paladine won’t do a thing to help her–in fact his idea of helping her is getting her caught and being punished. For her own good. But say, if her brother is murdered, then she will pray to Paladine to bring swift justice to the murderer because that’s something Paladine will help her with.

    The reason for the balance is that both sides would become outright tyrannical. While Paladine’s sort of world would have people safe and peaceful–they would not be allowed to enjoy anything that’s considered sinful. Cheated on your wife? Your scum and you’re going to pay for it. Cut class early? Hell no. Takhisis on the other hand, would create a world where you can enjoy any sin you want–assuming you can afford it. But it doesn’t provide any safety that society needs; people are ruled through power and fear, they are abused and they in turn would abuse others.

    Interestingly enough, Paladine understands that his sort of world would make mortals miserable, hence why he’s for the balance. Takhisis however, is pretty much an evil bitch who only cares about herself and her desires and therefore is constantly trying to usurp the balance for her own ends.

  • Brian Brown

    they had to make anikan where black leather so in ep 6 when luke wear black leather you could go “aaawww he’s wearing clothes like his father did cause he loves him!!!” blah lol

  • Zipper Dragon

    My theroy for the sith argument is, YODA CAN SENCE EVIL!!! Yoda would just be like *ping* “Evil in him, I sence.” Boom! Yer dead. With the robes, my theroy is similar, the wizards can sence your alignment.

  • Zipper Dragon

    I’d be a red robe. Red robes (atleast in final fantasy 3) Can use most White, & black spells, & weapons, & armour, & staffs.

  • Zipper Dragon

    And only one question still remains…What the hell does any of this have to do with ninja!?
    L.B.: I’m not entirly sure….
    -.- Great…I’m refrencing Spoony to answer my own questions…

  • Emil Karlsson

    If it was creation and destruction instead of good and evil, then I could make an argument for wearing a black robe. You need to do things like demolishing old buildings and slaughtering livestock in order to make room for new great things to come. A world with nothing but creation would be a world which would quickly fill up, life and complexity would be replaced by simplicity and in the end there would only be matter, without any kind of vacuum or emptyness inbetween. It would be like a computer program with an eternal amount of 1’s, but no 0’s: Utterly pointless.

  • Nathan Jacob Caudill

    but i thought only Clerics get spells from their gods, Mages dont need to worship anyone to gain spells.

  • igotbanned999

    I don’t know about wizards, but wouldn’t a Jedi be able to sense if you had evil intentions? Unless you were using your own Force powers to deliberately block their scan, but that would obviously lead to the question of why you were doing that if you were supposed to be on their side.

  • Emily Valdez

    Just a small story on my part. I am in the middle of making a new character right now (not part of this universe, just the usual DnD verse) and he’s gonna be a wizard wearing black or darkish robes. He’s actually not a bad guy at all, it’s just he’s cursed so he purposely dressed himself up to be as menacing as possible so that people would stay away from him.

  • Calvin Jarchow

    I am going to make a checklist of Final Fantasy 6 characters to collect. I would love to display those. A really nice Jesse and James too

  • Felipe Sarabia

    That’s how most male Dathomirians (the race of Darth Maul) look, you racist bitch!

    • Daniel Tilson

      I thought he was a red Zabrak.

      • Felipe Sarabia

        From his Wookipedia entrance(in the Behind the Scenes section): ” However, these changed his species from Zabrak, which was created for the character, to Dathomirian, a Human-Zabrak hybrid” …I guess we were both right to some extent.
        Anyway, the point was to say that that’s how his…race/species looks like. And no, I’m not calling Spoony a racist bitch seriously, I’m aware he is not. (just claryfing, not attacking you)

        • Daniel Tilson

          Makes sense.

          I do have to say though… At least in the online game… You can’t be a red zabrak unless you’re on the empire side… Which is as close to an “I’m evil!” sign as you can get without tons of dark side points in the game.

    • Rakkrakk

      So what? He was specifically designed to look like a devil.

  • Daniel Tilson

    Stereotypical alignment can be easily explained by these quotes.

    Good: “Save the innocent and punish the wicked.”

    Neutral: “Some must die so that must can live.”

    Evil: “I just want to set the world on fire.”

  • Jacob Shaw

    I’ve recently been reading into Dragonlance (particularly in regards to the 3.5e setting) and there are just inherent problems about a setting seemingly developed around alignments. Heck, at least the rant was about the arcane mages rather than the cleric – now those guys spells are broken in Dragonlance.

  • Pipeman

    Wasn’t the very point of Darth Maul and Dooku to serve as distractions and obvious bad guys?

  • Akahru

    What if i wanted to play an Evil Emo?

  • Ro-Jo

    *I was just listening to this today and was thinking about the whole
    good/evil/neutral robe declaration thing. I haven’t read the the Dragon
    Lance books, so my way of exploring this concept is based entirely on
    the Spoony’s comments about how that universe is supposed to work and thus
    probably doesn’t accurately reflect what the authors were thinking. BTW –
    You can skip down to the last paragraph for the quick answer if you

    First, it seems like the biggest issue here is
    that the terms “good” and “evil” (in the context of the books) are
    misnomers; the authors seem to mean something very different than how we
    typically understand the concepts of good and evil in Western thought.
    Though we tend to see “good and evil” as immutable diametric systems
    (i.e. if it’s not good then it’s evil), in reality, many things tend to
    be a lot more gray then we’re willing to admit. The philosophical field
    of ethics is based upon the fact that sometimes it is hard to
    distinguish between what is good and what is evil. Let’s take for
    example something like the act of murder (loosely defined as killing or
    causing another to be killed). It is a trap to say that murder (or for
    the pacifist, simply causing harm) is never justified because then evil,
    as enacted out by individuals or societies, remains unchecked and
    unchallenged. Or, as another for-instance, suppose the murder of a
    single individual, innocent or not, was guaranteed to save the lives of a
    thousand others? (The obvious objection to these sorts of thought
    experiments is the “path of least resistance,” where someone might
    decided to let one person live to the detriment of the thousand based on
    the reasoning that they themselves, devoted to goodness, could not
    possibly be involved in murder. My counterpoint to that sentiment is
    that they, while not having committed murder of the one, have committed
    it by refusing to act on behalf of the thousand. But that is an argument that is besides the point.)

    Secondly, books, are not like reality in the sense that it doesn’t have to
    always deal with the complexities of real life for the sake of the
    narrative. Literature (and art in general) have the ability to create
    what-if scenarios in ways that can be quite simple and easily imagined
    (like, what if the sky was green) or quite profound and beyond
    comprehension (like what if we could smell color or, what if existence
    manifested itself in such a way that mathematics and other fundamental principles of the universe were sentient and was
    something that could grow and change over time and

    So then, what if – again, in the context of the
    novels – good and evil exists in such a way that, when the presence of
    one is lacking, the two become indistinguishable as if they are defined
    only by being the antithesis of each other. If this were true, the terms
    “good” and “evil” are actually nothing like what we know them to be in
    the real world, and it might be better to think of good and evil in the
    Dragon Lance universe more like the powers of “light” and “darkness.” If
    there was no light, then darkness would be a meaningless concept (as
    would the inverse). This would explain why neither side can reasonably
    overcome the other and why it is important that your robes be obvious in
    color as well; they must be distinguishable or they will become so powerful as
    to become self-destructive or worse.

    So why then wouldn’t some
    evil bastard simply choose a white robe? Maybe it is because the
    characters in the Dragon Lance universe have an understanding of their
    metaphysical world that is completely different than how ours works and
    how we understand it. In the same way that we are able to recognize the
    complexity of morality, these characters are able to recognize it’s
    simplicity. And, if one easily realizes the necessity of the struggle
    between good and evil, then they might also easily recognize the
    necessity of the struggle’s officiation; they are in need of those who
    can make sure neither side becomes too powerful – a neutral party.

    would actually serve yourself (and the world at large) much worse by
    choosing (or being placed in, as the case may be) a robe ill-suited for
    you. As Spoony points out, no one is truly evil and if they think
    they are then they are insane. It would, therefore, be a kind of
    insanity to choose a robe out of your designation in this universe
    because that would be a joker-esc “I wanna see the world burn” type of

  • VonSarno

    Spoony of course Catholics have magic powers.

    • VonSarno

      OHHHH then he nails another thunderdome joke!

    • Ro-Jo

      Actually, supposedly a lot of them do. St. Thomas Aquinas is said to have been able to levitate for example lol.

      • wizzbang

        There’s a book by Judith Tarr called “Ars Magica” from the mid-80s about one of the Popes (I think it was Sylvester II?) who was historically rumored to be a closeted sorcerer. She took those rumors and ran with them!

  • wizzbang

    What about James Winifred Darkmagic III?

  • Book of Keys

    Is the audio a little out of sync with the video? If not then I may have a problem on my end.

  • Akim Vasiliev

    So what’s up with all these older videos that were previously split in half, where the second part is now nowhere to be seen? The Lady of Pain video is like that, and so is this one… is it just my browser being broken, or your site being broken?

    • Otto Torrens


  • Redjacketman14

    Yeah that’s really weird. Is it the same with everybody? I remember it being all one video, but it appears Spoony split it up without putting the rest of the videos up.

  • Joshua Jimenez

    I love how the part that includes the whole point of this video is not accessible! It really makes me feel like it’s worth my time! I mean, who wants to hear about that thing that is mentioned in the title if they can just watch the lead-up?

  • hariman
  • Rakkrakk

    Neutral characters I’d imagine are more in pursuit of goals that aren’t in favor of good or evil, like knowledge for the sake of knowledge. It’s kind of lame until you give that kind of character a personality, which is HARD.

  • Rakkrakk

    Punctuation. You should try some.

  • DrSaering

    It’s strange, but I’ve sort of come to the idea that “Good” and “Evil” in D&D worlds are not really the same as good and evil in the way we see them, as that’s the only thing that makes sense. They’re instead cosmic concepts embodied by the Gods.

    A red robed Wizard probably does think he is the good guy. He presumably thinks that both Paladine and Takhisis need to calm down and go home, looking at things like the age of darkness from the time of Huma, and the Cataclysm, as evidence that those two Gods are bad for the world, even if they do clearly embody cosmic “Good” and “Evil”. A black robed Wizard, as I would see it, probably doesn’t care about being good or evil, and more takes the approach of “Takhisis gives me more power, and I don’t care about this whole ‘Evil’ thing”.

    While it would often be pretty stupid not to just wear whatever robes you want in this case, it could be that Takhisis is a jealous Goddess, and the black robed Wizards are afraid of pissing her off and drawing her wrath upon them (as the other Gods sure won’t protect them) by not openly declaring their allegiance to her. I don’t remember Dragonlance enough to recall if Takhisis would behave like that, but I know Tiamat sure could.

    • CyanBloodbane

      Black wizards don’t serve Takhisis. They don’t need to. They get their power from years of less than ethical study and if they buddy up to divine evil it’s just because it suits their individual goals. There are the three gods of magic that most wizards will at least respect but they are separate entities from the three main gods. To me it just seemed like the division of the robes was because the groups all wanted to preserve and study magic but couldn’t agree on what the magic should be used for. A white mage would say it “should be used to help everyone”, a red mage that would say “anything so long as no one gets hurt”, and black mage would say “anything I Want!”. but the main point is that the morality of the robes system is separate from the morality of the big gods.

  • FranklyImaPerson

    … Where is part two? It used to be here, but now it is gone D:

    • Matrim

      Was wondering that myself…

  • wizzbang

    So…wait. What happened to Part 2?

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