Are plug and play alignment systems possible?

This question popped into my head when I was reading the Torment Kickstarter page. The alignment system they propose ties into the metaphysics of the world, but is more about motivation than morality.

This is an interesting idea, and it calls to mind past moral metaphysics briefly mentioned in other products -> Some variation of karma or bushido, codes put forth by various gods, Planescape factions, etc.

How hard would it be to create morality systems people can opt into? I figure you need a few spells, some notes about damage reduction and bonuses, and probably an alternative paladin class or classes.

I'd love to see the classic alignment wheel as an option in the core 5e books, with future possibilities in the DDI or Unearthed Arcana books.

Of course I've also said in the past that if the game really is modular they should come out with an Unearthed Arcana ASAP....
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Unearthed Arcana should be released at launch if the game's going to be as modular as they say. Unless the DMG has a lot of desired modules built in.
i will use alignment even if its not coded into the rules so i dont need a book for that, but it would be nice to see it in print again.
I think it'd be good to keep it as optional as possible. I really like the idea of morality/ethics of some sort tied to the metaphysics of the world, as for me that's what really makes a D&D world really feel fantastical.

But it has to be optional otherwise it drags down other people's games - I can respect alignment mechanics aren't for everyone.

Also, as much as I like the alignment wheel I want to see variations -> What if you just have only part of the traditional axis, or make it so it's tied to duty & honor or loyalty to one's tribe or plane?

I think there's a lot you can do with alignment as a concept, doesn't have to be good/evil/law/chaos.
I'd love to see a low inclusion (or complete exclusion) of Alignment-based mechanics from D&D:Next. If they happen to be in the game, I'd hope they provide basic benefits and then bigger ones when the opposing alignment comes into play/effect. For example, the v3.5 Paladin's Smite Evil feature was only good 1/day (@ 1st level) for a pitiful attack and damage bonus AND it could only be used against specific targets. That's, frankly, not good enough. Pathfinder at least took it a step further and made the benefits last a whole encounter (or until the target died) but still, sometimes targets might go down in 2 swings and that still leaves you with a daily effect that's too soft or weak in actual play.

I'd propose the idea of spells and effects having a base element of effect. A Protection from Evil spell might give the recipent a static +1 bonus to defenses or perhaps reduce 2 damage from attacks. But when the opponent is Evil the full potential of the spell activates providing a +3 bonus to defenses or reduces 5 daamge from attacks. That way in situations where there are no evil opponents your options are sitting there collecting dust. Same goes for the Paladin's Smite feature. He should be able to smite anyone who's standing in his way but if that opponent is of an opposed alignment then the effect should be more severe or last longer or whatever.

As for the plug-in-play element, that's sort what I'm getting at. When things are plugged in then it's better if the base system has no reservations on how alignment plays in the system. An Alignment system that plugs in would have options/suggestions that make your base features better when coupled with alignment rather than replacing those with no alignment. Like eariler, say the Base Paladin has the feature called Smite and it has an effect against anyone the Paladin attacks. The Alignment plug-in-play would then add further to that saying "Ok, well smite works just fine as it but when it's used against someone of the Evil Descriptor then *BAM* it does something special." What I dont' want to see is "Ok, your paladin's smite was generic and could hit anyone but with the Alignment plug-in-play it now can only effect Evil monsters and if you use it on a non-evil target (even without knowledge of the target's alignment), it fails."  Those sort of mechanics need to say far far away from D&D:Next.
I'd love to see a low inclusion (or complete exclusion) of Alignment-based mechanics from D&D:Next. If they happen to be in the game, I'd hope they provide basic benefits and then bigger ones when the opposing alignment comes into play/effect. For example, the v3.5 Paladin's Smite Evil feature was only good 1/day (@ 1st level) for a pitiful attack and damage bonus AND it could only be used against specific targets. That's, frankly, not good enough. Pathfinder at least took it a step further and made the benefits last a whole encounter (or until the target died) but still, sometimes targets might go down in 2 swings and that still leaves you with a daily effect that's too soft or weak in actual play.

I'd propose the idea of spells and effects having a base element of effect. A Protection from Evil spell might give the recipent a static +1 bonus to defenses or perhaps reduce 2 damage from attacks. But when the opponent is Evil the full potential of the spell activates providing a +3 bonus to defenses or reduces 5 daamge from attacks. That way in situations where there are no evil opponents your options are sitting there collecting dust. Same goes for the Paladin's Smite feature. He should be able to smite anyone who's standing in his way but if that opponent is of an opposed alignment then the effect should be more severe or last longer or whatever.

As for the plug-in-play element, that's sort what I'm getting at. When things are plugged in then it's better if the base system has no reservations on how alignment plays in the system. An Alignment system that plugs in would have options/suggestions that make your base features better when coupled with alignment rather than replacing those with no alignment. Like eariler, say the Base Paladin has the feature called Smite and it has an effect against anyone the Paladin attacks. The Alignment plug-in-play would then add further to that saying "Ok, well smite works just fine as it but when it's used against someone of the Evil Descriptor then *BAM* it does something special." What I dont' want to see is "Ok, your paladin's smite was generic and could hit anyone but with the Alignment plug-in-play it now can only effect Evil monsters and if you use it on a non-evil target (even without knowledge of the target's alignment), it fails."  Those sort of mechanics need to say far far away from D&D:Next.




what sense is smite when it can affect anyone, you could hit a baby with smite then. smite was ment to punish evil as a pally was a hand of good. you can alter that for pallys of other gods but it dosent wash for me and stuff like that i would toss you.
Is there no alignment in 5e as yet?

Interesting!


I can't see any reason why they wouldn't work.  Leaving the base game alignment-free, then letting individual tables install whatever systems they like (or none at all) would seem to be a requirement for 5e's modular system.
With an alignment system as an option the paladin that smites a baby will fall out of favor of the god depending on the beliefs being upheld. The same would apply for the knight that does the same thing, or a druid the forsakes their grove and burns it to the ground. It would be great to have a system that applies again various beliefs or moral compases. What a game can do without alignment is address damage types like radiant versus necrotic, light versus dark, etc. because those are neutral in reference to each other.
I'd love to see a low inclusion (or complete exclusion) of Alignment-based mechanics from D&D:Next. If they happen to be in the game, I'd hope they provide basic benefits and then bigger ones when the opposing alignment comes into play/effect. For example, the v3.5 Paladin's Smite Evil feature was only good 1/day (@ 1st level) for a pitiful attack and damage bonus AND it could only be used against specific targets. That's, frankly, not good enough. Pathfinder at least took it a step further and made the benefits last a whole encounter (or until the target died) but still, sometimes targets might go down in 2 swings and that still leaves you with a daily effect that's too soft or weak in actual play.

I'd propose the idea of spells and effects having a base element of effect. A Protection from Evil spell might give the recipent a static +1 bonus to defenses or perhaps reduce 2 damage from attacks. But when the opponent is Evil the full potential of the spell activates providing a +3 bonus to defenses or reduces 5 daamge from attacks. That way in situations where there are no evil opponents your options are sitting there collecting dust. Same goes for the Paladin's Smite feature. He should be able to smite anyone who's standing in his way but if that opponent is of an opposed alignment then the effect should be more severe or last longer or whatever.

As for the plug-in-play element, that's sort what I'm getting at. When things are plugged in then it's better if the base system has no reservations on how alignment plays in the system. An Alignment system that plugs in would have options/suggestions that make your base features better when coupled with alignment rather than replacing those with no alignment. Like eariler, say the Base Paladin has the feature called Smite and it has an effect against anyone the Paladin attacks. The Alignment plug-in-play would then add further to that saying "Ok, well smite works just fine as it but when it's used against someone of the Evil Descriptor then *BAM* it does something special." What I dont' want to see is "Ok, your paladin's smite was generic and could hit anyone but with the Alignment plug-in-play it now can only effect Evil monsters and if you use it on a non-evil target (even without knowledge of the target's alignment), it fails."  Those sort of mechanics need to say far far away from D&D:Next.




what sense is smite when it can affect anyone, you could hit a baby with smite then. smite was ment to punish evil as a pally was a hand of good. you can alter that for pallys of other gods but it dosent wash for me and stuff like that i would toss you.



Your game, your option.
Our game, our option.
Food for thought:  The original alignment system of D&D had little or nothing to do with personal ethics or morality.

It was - quite literally - which side you were aigned with.


Did you fight on the side of law and civilization or did you fight for anarchy and chaos?


It didn't worry about what you did to further the aims of 'your side' - all it concerned itself with was your ultimate goal.


Carl        
I have been ignoring alignment for 30 years. I have always felt that the dispostion of PCs should be demonstrated through play rather than what is written on the PC's character sheet. For another thing, spells like Detect evil for me undermines some forms of detective style gaming so I certainly dont want to see this hard baked in certain spells.

However, that said, I would certainly like to see a module where there are mechnical expressions for strongly held alignments. So that smiting and protection spells could have additonal effects for those especially virtuous.

I'd love to see a low inclusion (or complete exclusion) of Alignment-based mechanics from D&D:Next. If they happen to be in the game, I'd hope they provide basic benefits and then bigger ones when the opposing alignment comes into play/effect. For example, the v3.5 Paladin's Smite Evil feature was only good 1/day (@ 1st level) for a pitiful attack and damage bonus AND it could only be used against specific targets. That's, frankly, not good enough. Pathfinder at least took it a step further and made the benefits last a whole encounter (or until the target died) but still, sometimes targets might go down in 2 swings and that still leaves you with a daily effect that's too soft or weak in actual play.

I'd propose the idea of spells and effects having a base element of effect. A Protection from Evil spell might give the recipent a static +1 bonus to defenses or perhaps reduce 2 damage from attacks. But when the opponent is Evil the full potential of the spell activates providing a +3 bonus to defenses or reduces 5 daamge from attacks. That way in situations where there are no evil opponents your options are sitting there collecting dust. Same goes for the Paladin's Smite feature. He should be able to smite anyone who's standing in his way but if that opponent is of an opposed alignment then the effect should be more severe or last longer or whatever.

As for the plug-in-play element, that's sort what I'm getting at. When things are plugged in then it's better if the base system has no reservations on how alignment plays in the system. An Alignment system that plugs in would have options/suggestions that make your base features better when coupled with alignment rather than replacing those with no alignment. Like eariler, say the Base Paladin has the feature called Smite and it has an effect against anyone the Paladin attacks. The Alignment plug-in-play would then add further to that saying "Ok, well smite works just fine as it but when it's used against someone of the Evil Descriptor then *BAM* it does something special." What I dont' want to see is "Ok, your paladin's smite was generic and could hit anyone but with the Alignment plug-in-play it now can only effect Evil monsters and if you use it on a non-evil target (even without knowledge of the target's alignment), it fails."  Those sort of mechanics need to say far far away from D&D:Next.




what sense is smite when it can affect anyone, you could hit a baby with smite then. smite was ment to punish evil as a pally was a hand of good. you can alter that for pallys of other gods but it dosent wash for me and stuff like that i would toss you.



Your game, your option.
Our game, our option.



but that dosent explain the thinking behind the choice to make the rules like that. if a smite can hit anyone regardless of alignment and that power comes from a higher power i would think they would as gods not be so all targeting as an evil god with an evil pally using his smite shouldnt damage evil beings. so i guess its the logic that boggles me not the fact you play the way you do.

I agree with you JustMike in terms of how I'd do it but I think Diffan is on the right track for the default game -> It probably is easier to make smite work against anyone as the default so alignment has no mechanical effect.

Then you can make non-evil beings immune if you choose, or ramp up the power against evil creatures.

Same for the protection spells.

So in the core the paladin is a warrior upholding a code. What that code is can vary from game to game.

That's actually the best way to implement every class. Start off with minimal assumptions then provide fluff options.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />but that dosent explain the thinking behind the choice to make the rules like that. if a smite can hit anyone regardless of alignment and that power comes from a higher power i would think they would as gods not be so all targeting as an evil god with an evil pally using his smite shouldnt damage evil beings. so i guess its the logic that boggles me not the fact you play the way you do.




How shall I put it?  Things you treat as axiomatic are, in fact, only your own personal point of view.  Paladins do not get their power from gods in every game.  Furthermore, one could be using the paladin mechanics to represent a completely different character concept.

You also assume good and evil are monolithic entities; all evil beings serve the same master, and so do all good, and somehow they can identify one another on sight.  Evil beings infight all the time; as such, it is perfectly reasonable that an evil being could smite another.  By the same token, good beings can also be at cross purposes.  Not all games are black and white, good vs evil, He-Man vs Skeletor.  All good beings are not inherently allies to other good beings, nor are all evil beings inherently allies.

You have every right to run your game how you want, as do the rest of us.  The game needs to be inclusive, not exclusive.  If everybody at the table is on-board with it, there is NO wrong way to play D&D.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />but that dosent explain the thinking behind the choice to make the rules like that. if a smite can hit anyone regardless of alignment and that power comes from a higher power i would think they would as gods not be so all targeting as an evil god with an evil pally using his smite shouldnt damage evil beings. so i guess its the logic that boggles me not the fact you play the way you do.




How shall I put it?  Things you treat as axiomatic are, in fact, only your own personal point of view.  Paladins do not get their power from gods in every game.  Furthermore, one could be using the paladin mechanics to represent a completely different character concept.

You also assume good and evil are monolithic entities; all evil beings serve the same master, and so do all good, and somehow they can identify one another on sight.  Evil beings infight all the time; as such, it is perfectly reasonable that an evil being could smite another.  By the same token, good beings can also be at cross purposes.  Not all games are black and white, good vs evil, He-Man vs Skeletor.  All good beings are not inherently allies to other good beings, nor are all evil beings inherently allies.

You have every right to run your game how you want, as do the rest of us.  The game needs to be inclusive, not exclusive.  If everybody at the table is on-board with it, there is NO wrong way to play D&D.




i have no problem with the way you play at all, i just wanted to understand the logic behind it and all that is said is that its my opinion but its not its the rules and how they dont make sense thats my problem smite could say enemies of the beliefs of the pally can be affected by smite and that is alignment neutral but its not its all attacks have smite when smite is active.
Please punctuate and capitalize.  It's very hard to make sense of your posts when they consist of a five-line run-on sentence.

In any event, the rules should be flexible enough to let each table decide how said smiting works, based on player preference and the way that particular game universe operates.
Please punctuate and capitalize.  It's very hard to make sense of your posts when they consist of a five-line run-on sentence.




see again im sorry i dont use proper english to type every time. however on the other hand it allows you to be passive agressive against me so i guess thats ok
Please punctuate and capitalize.  It's very hard to make sense of your posts when they consist of a five-line run-on sentence.




see again im sorry i dont use proper english to type every time. however on the other hand it allows you to be passive agressive against me so i guess thats ok



I'm not being passive-aggressive.  I'm asking you to communicate more clearly, so we can both understand each other better.  Clarity is important for debate.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />but that dosent explain the thinking behind the choice to make the rules like that. if a smite can hit anyone regardless of alignment and that power comes from a higher power i would think they would as gods not be so all targeting as an evil god with an evil pally using his smite shouldnt damage evil beings. so i guess its the logic that boggles me not the fact you play the way you do.




How shall I put it?  Things you treat as axiomatic are, in fact, only your own personal point of view.  Paladins do not get their power from gods in every game.  Furthermore, one could be using the paladin mechanics to represent a completely different character concept.

You also assume good and evil are monolithic entities; all evil beings serve the same master, and so do all good, and somehow they can identify one another on sight.  Evil beings infight all the time; as such, it is perfectly reasonable that an evil being could smite another.  By the same token, good beings can also be at cross purposes.  Not all games are black and white, good vs evil, He-Man vs Skeletor.  All good beings are not inherently allies to other good beings, nor are all evil beings inherently allies.

You have every right to run your game how you want, as do the rest of us.  The game needs to be inclusive, not exclusive.  If everybody at the table is on-board with it, there is NO wrong way to play D&D.




let's be best friends.

the simplest solution is to just have Smite work against enemies of the paladin. this would allow it to work the same as it always has while also being narratively flexible. 
Would 'smite enemies' actually be any different from 'smite anything'?  It seems likely that anything you're intending to attack, particularly if you're juicing up the attack, is your enemy.



what sense is smite when it can affect anyone, you could hit a baby with smite then. smite was ment to punish evil as a pally was a hand of good. you can alter that for pallys of other gods but it dosent wash for me and stuff like that i would toss you.



Yea, I'd toss anyone who would attempt to do such a deed, I don't care what alignment you are (unless it's a totally evil game and we're doing some sort of horror style campaign). But to be honest, that scenario never even occured to me *shurggs*. I guess I"m not a deranged individual though. I was thinking more along the lines of Constructs, Oozes, and Dire Animals that many evil mages might keep around for protection. It's really annoying for a paladin (in pursuit of justice and good) that can't rely on his most basic and principled powers to fight monsters protecting an evil d-bag because they're not specifically evil (but nor can they be reasoned with).

Additionally, the mechanics need to speak to a more inclusive rule-set (which is what I was assuming the designers are going for) so that I can have my paladins smite the Dire Bear and you can have your Paladins not smite things that aren't intristically evil. Additionally it helps for those who run campaigns with no alignment as well as Paladins of different alignments or Paladins that don't have deities in their setting.

But you do bring up a weird point: You say the Paladin's Smite shouldn't work on non-evil beings, that it's ok that they "fizzle" as it were. But what about say, a LG Cleric of Heironeous/Tyr/Helm/Paladine that uses Inflict Light Wounds on said baby? I mean, there are no alignment requirements and there are no restrictions so the act could be done. How, exactly, is that any better?  
This question popped into my head when I was reading the Torment Kickstarter page. The alignment system they propose ties into the metaphysics of the world, but is more about motivation than morality.



I am sure that we have all heard the saying 'the road to Hell is paved with good intentions'


But in any case - thank you for the heads up about the Torment Kickstarter!

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If by "alignment" we mean the nine-boxes alignment system and 4e's stripped-down-doesn't-matter version, I've been ignoring/replacing alignment for as long as I've been playing. In 3.5, it's almost easier to ignore alignment than it is to work with it, since the minor adjustments (mostly common sense) that need to be made to deal with changing to a different mechanistic or semi-mechanistic alignment system are pretty minor compared to the nine-boxes system's inherant awfulness. Like, I know that a lot of people find alignment/rules entanglement kind of annoying, but for any rule concerning alignment in 3.5, it takes like two seconds to figure out how to (your choice of) ignore it completely or adapt it to a less artificial alignment system. Monks must be lawful? Choose one: "Nope" or, if you want to preserve the (weakly communicated) intent, "Monks should act in a disciplined fashion".

I can't imagine that Next will be set up in such a way that it'll be any harder to fiddle with/replace/ignore alignment.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.


I am sure that we have all heard the saying 'the road to Hell is paved with good intentions'

But in any case - thank you for the heads up about the Torment Kickstarter!



No problem. :-)

(Also note I gave a very superficial description of what they were proposing on their Kickstarter page, it just got me thinking. Their system - with morality tied to fields akin to gravity would likely be more complex than the basic system.)




what sense is smite when it can affect anyone, you could hit a baby with smite then. smite was ment to punish evil as a pally was a hand of good. you can alter that for pallys of other gods but it dosent wash for me and stuff like that i would toss you.



Yea, I'd toss anyone who would attempt to do such a deed, I don't care what alignment you are (unless it's a totally evil game and we're doing some sort of horror style campaign). But to be honest, that scenario never even occured to me *shurggs*. I guess I"m not a deranged individual though. I was thinking more along the lines of Constructs, Oozes, and Dire Animals that many evil mages might keep around for protection. It's really annoying for a paladin (in pursuit of justice and good) that can't rely on his most basic and principled powers to fight monsters protecting an evil d-bag because they're not specifically evil (but nor can they be reasoned with).

Additionally, the mechanics need to speak to a more inclusive rule-set (which is what I was assuming the designers are going for) so that I can have my paladins smite the Dire Bear and you can have your Paladins not smite things that aren't intristically evil. Additionally it helps for those who run campaigns with no alignment as well as Paladins of different alignments or Paladins that don't have deities in their setting.

But you do bring up a weird point: You say the Paladin's Smite shouldn't work on non-evil beings, that it's ok that they "fizzle" as it were. But what about say, a LG Cleric of Heironeous/Tyr/Helm/Paladine that uses Inflict Light Wounds on said baby? I mean, there are no alignment requirements and there are no restrictions so the act could be done. How, exactly, is that any better?  




to answer the last part is an easy one as you cannot recieve cause light wounds from a good aligned god anyway so problem solved



what sense is smite when it can affect anyone, you could hit a baby with smite then. smite was ment to punish evil as a pally was a hand of good. you can alter that for pallys of other gods but it dosent wash for me and stuff like that i would toss you.



Yea, I'd toss anyone who would attempt to do such a deed, I don't care what alignment you are (unless it's a totally evil game and we're doing some sort of horror style campaign). But to be honest, that scenario never even occured to me *shurggs*. I guess I"m not a deranged individual though. I was thinking more along the lines of Constructs, Oozes, and Dire Animals that many evil mages might keep around for protection. It's really annoying for a paladin (in pursuit of justice and good) that can't rely on his most basic and principled powers to fight monsters protecting an evil d-bag because they're not specifically evil (but nor can they be reasoned with).

Additionally, the mechanics need to speak to a more inclusive rule-set (which is what I was assuming the designers are going for) so that I can have my paladins smite the Dire Bear and you can have your Paladins not smite things that aren't intristically evil. Additionally it helps for those who run campaigns with no alignment as well as Paladins of different alignments or Paladins that don't have deities in their setting.

But you do bring up a weird point: You say the Paladin's Smite shouldn't work on non-evil beings, that it's ok that they "fizzle" as it were. But what about say, a LG Cleric of Heironeous/Tyr/Helm/Paladine that uses Inflict Light Wounds on said baby? I mean, there are no alignment requirements and there are no restrictions so the act could be done. How, exactly, is that any better?  




to answer the last part is an easy one as you cannot recieve cause light wounds from a good aligned god anyway so problem solved




Says who?


Carl  



what sense is smite when it can affect anyone, you could hit a baby with smite then. smite was ment to punish evil as a pally was a hand of good. you can alter that for pallys of other gods but it dosent wash for me and stuff like that i would toss you.



Yea, I'd toss anyone who would attempt to do such a deed, I don't care what alignment you are (unless it's a totally evil game and we're doing some sort of horror style campaign). But to be honest, that scenario never even occured to me *shurggs*. I guess I"m not a deranged individual though. I was thinking more along the lines of Constructs, Oozes, and Dire Animals that many evil mages might keep around for protection. It's really annoying for a paladin (in pursuit of justice and good) that can't rely on his most basic and principled powers to fight monsters protecting an evil d-bag because they're not specifically evil (but nor can they be reasoned with).

Additionally, the mechanics need to speak to a more inclusive rule-set (which is what I was assuming the designers are going for) so that I can have my paladins smite the Dire Bear and you can have your Paladins not smite things that aren't intristically evil. Additionally it helps for those who run campaigns with no alignment as well as Paladins of different alignments or Paladins that don't have deities in their setting.

But you do bring up a weird point: You say the Paladin's Smite shouldn't work on non-evil beings, that it's ok that they "fizzle" as it were. But what about say, a LG Cleric of Heironeous/Tyr/Helm/Paladine that uses Inflict Light Wounds on said baby? I mean, there are no alignment requirements and there are no restrictions so the act could be done. How, exactly, is that any better?  




to answer the last part is an easy one as you cannot recieve cause light wounds from a good aligned god anyway so problem solved




Says who?


Carl  



says the game rules reversible spells that create effects that are against the ethos of a god should not be granted as the god is the one giving them and to do the opposite is to make the god have no controll over what he is giving to clerics, as there are other damaging holy spells that can be used

Actually a paladin being granted smite anything makes sense, as there is a implicit trust between the diety and the follower. But like any religion, there are tests of faith. And those that forsake their diety must be punished accordingly, which can be handled by story. That should be the baseline, and then add in a alignment systems the fleshes it out further for penalties based on faith, law, strict alignment groups, or anything else.
to answer the last part is an easy one as you cannot recieve cause light wounds from a good aligned god anyway so problem solved

You're missing the point. Pretend it's some damaging spell that a good-aligned cleric can recieve in whatever arrangement you think of as the rules.

Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
"Additionally it helps for those who run campaigns with no alignment as well as Paladins of different alignments or Paladins that don't have deities in their setting."

Yeah, this part of what I was thinking of. Paladins shouldn't have to be lawful good. Their powers should be associated with following a code, which trends toward lawful but there a CG Paladin of Freedom in the 3.X UA.

You can have a paladin who is loyal to a sorcerer king in Dark Sun, or one that serves as a hunter for the Raven Queen.



what sense is smite when it can affect anyone, you could hit a baby with smite then. smite was ment to punish evil as a pally was a hand of good. you can alter that for pallys of other gods but it dosent wash for me and stuff like that i would toss you.



Yea, I'd toss anyone who would attempt to do such a deed, I don't care what alignment you are (unless it's a totally evil game and we're doing some sort of horror style campaign). But to be honest, that scenario never even occured to me *shurggs*. I guess I"m not a deranged individual though. I was thinking more along the lines of Constructs, Oozes, and Dire Animals that many evil mages might keep around for protection. It's really annoying for a paladin (in pursuit of justice and good) that can't rely on his most basic and principled powers to fight monsters protecting an evil d-bag because they're not specifically evil (but nor can they be reasoned with).

Additionally, the mechanics need to speak to a more inclusive rule-set (which is what I was assuming the designers are going for) so that I can have my paladins smite the Dire Bear and you can have your Paladins not smite things that aren't intristically evil. Additionally it helps for those who run campaigns with no alignment as well as Paladins of different alignments or Paladins that don't have deities in their setting.

But you do bring up a weird point: You say the Paladin's Smite shouldn't work on non-evil beings, that it's ok that they "fizzle" as it were. But what about say, a LG Cleric of Heironeous/Tyr/Helm/Paladine that uses Inflict Light Wounds on said baby? I mean, there are no alignment requirements and there are no restrictions so the act could be done. How, exactly, is that any better?  




to answer the last part is an easy one as you cannot recieve cause light wounds from a good aligned god anyway so problem solved




Says who?


Carl  



says the game rules reversible spells that create effects that are against the ethos of a god should not be granted as the god is the one giving them and to do the opposite is to make the god have no controll over what he is giving to clerics, as there are other damaging holy spells that can be used




Just reread the rules to make sure you were wrong. You're wrong. There are no such restrictions in 5e.

"Additionally it helps for those who run campaigns with no alignment as well as Paladins of different alignments or Paladins that don't have deities in their setting."

Yeah, this part of what I was thinking of. Paladins shouldn't have to be lawful good. Their powers should be associated with following a code, which trends toward lawful but there a CG Paladin of Freedom in the 3.X UA.

You can have a paladin who is loyal to a sorcerer king in Dark Sun, or one that serves as a hunter for the Raven Queen.



Ok, I'm just nitpicking here but a paladin in Dark Sun is a major no-no.
"Additionally it helps for those who run campaigns with no alignment as well as Paladins of different alignments or Paladins that don't have deities in their setting."

Yeah, this part of what I was thinking of. Paladins shouldn't have to be lawful good. Their powers should be associated with following a code, which trends toward lawful but there a CG Paladin of Freedom in the 3.X UA.

You can have a paladin who is loyal to a sorcerer king in Dark Sun, or one that serves as a hunter for the Raven Queen.



Ok, I'm just nitpicking here but a paladin in Dark Sun is a major no-no.



Really? Under the 4e rules or just the 2e restrictions?


But you do bring up a weird point: You say the Paladin's Smite shouldn't work on non-evil beings, that it's ok that they "fizzle" as it were. But what about say, a LG Cleric of Heironeous/Tyr/Helm/Paladine that uses Inflict Light Wounds on said baby? I mean, there are no alignment requirements and there are no restrictions so the act could be done. How, exactly, is that any better?  

 


to answer the last part is an easy one as you cannot recieve cause light wounds from a good aligned god anyway so problem solved



O..K.... 

In 3E the cleric of a LG God could prepare Inflict Light Wounds (it didn't have the Evil descriptor).

In 4E the cleric of a LG God could take the Inflict Light Wounds prayer (1st level Daily spell)

In 5E the cleric of a LG God could take the Inflict Light Wounds spell (1st level necromancy spell, no evil descriptor).

But ok, we'll using something more shiney and bright and flowery: Lance of Faith. How can a Cleric cast Lance of Faith at a baby and not have it "fizzle"? 



what sense is smite when it can affect anyone, you could hit a baby with smite then. smite was ment to punish evil as a pally was a hand of good. you can alter that for pallys of other gods but it dosent wash for me and stuff like that i would toss you.



Yea, I'd toss anyone who would attempt to do such a deed, I don't care what alignment you are (unless it's a totally evil game and we're doing some sort of horror style campaign). But to be honest, that scenario never even occured to me *shurggs*. I guess I"m not a deranged individual though. I was thinking more along the lines of Constructs, Oozes, and Dire Animals that many evil mages might keep around for protection. It's really annoying for a paladin (in pursuit of justice and good) that can't rely on his most basic and principled powers to fight monsters protecting an evil d-bag because they're not specifically evil (but nor can they be reasoned with).

Additionally, the mechanics need to speak to a more inclusive rule-set (which is what I was assuming the designers are going for) so that I can have my paladins smite the Dire Bear and you can have your Paladins not smite things that aren't intristically evil. Additionally it helps for those who run campaigns with no alignment as well as Paladins of different alignments or Paladins that don't have deities in their setting.

But you do bring up a weird point: You say the Paladin's Smite shouldn't work on non-evil beings, that it's ok that they "fizzle" as it were. But what about say, a LG Cleric of Heironeous/Tyr/Helm/Paladine that uses Inflict Light Wounds on said baby? I mean, there are no alignment requirements and there are no restrictions so the act could be done. How, exactly, is that any better?  




to answer the last part is an easy one as you cannot recieve cause light wounds from a good aligned god anyway so problem solved



Yes, you can.  Cure and Inflict/Cause Wounds had no alignment tags, and as such were available to any cleric.  Besides, it makes no sense for a good cleric to not have access to Cause Wounds; it's just damage.  If their god (or other power source) would deny them a Cause Wounds spell, they wouldn't let them deal damage with any other spell, or a weapon for that matter.  There's no significant difference between Cause Light Wounds and Bash With Mace.
"Additionally it helps for those who run campaigns with no alignment as well as Paladins of different alignments or Paladins that don't have deities in their setting."

Yeah, this part of what I was thinking of. Paladins shouldn't have to be lawful good. Their powers should be associated with following a code, which trends toward lawful but there a CG Paladin of Freedom in the 3.X UA.

You can have a paladin who is loyal to a sorcerer king in Dark Sun, or one that serves as a hunter for the Raven Queen.



Ok, I'm just nitpicking here but a paladin in Dark Sun is a major no-no.



Really? Under the 4e rules or just the 2e restrictions?



Under the setting.   No divine classes.

Not legal in either version as I recall. 


Or - given the way they dislike actually imposing restrictions on players in modern games - probably 'do not exist as NPCs and recommended to DMs that they not be allowed - in the 4E version.
 

Edit:

From the 4E Dark Sun Campaign Sourcebook:  "There are no clerics, no paladins, and no prophets or religious orders.

And as expected, there is a sidebar giving ideas on how to justify a divine character in a world with no divine magic or gods for those whose wish to play characters with no real place in the game setting.   
 

Carl
"Additionally it helps for those who run campaigns with no alignment as well as Paladins of different alignments or Paladins that don't have deities in their setting."

Yeah, this part of what I was thinking of. Paladins shouldn't have to be lawful good. Their powers should be associated with following a code, which trends toward lawful but there a CG Paladin of Freedom in the 3.X UA.

You can have a paladin who is loyal to a sorcerer king in Dark Sun, or one that serves as a hunter for the Raven Queen.



Ok, I'm just nitpicking here but a paladin in Dark Sun is a major no-no.



Really? Under the 4e rules or just the 2e restrictions?



Under the setting.   No divine classes.

Not legal in either version as I recall. 


Or - given the way they dislike actually imposing restrictions on players in modern games - probably 'do not exist as NPCs and recommended to DMs that they not be allowed - in the 4E version.
 

Edit:

From the 4E Dark Sun Campaign Sourcebook:  "There are no clerics, no paladins, and no prophets or religious orders.

And as expected, there is a sidebar giving ideas on how to justify a divine character in a world with no divine magic or gods for those whose wish to play characters with no real place in the game setting.   
 

Carl



They do give suggestions on how to incorporate them if the DM sees fit, though.



what sense is smite when it can affect anyone, you could hit a baby with smite then. smite was ment to punish evil as a pally was a hand of good. you can alter that for pallys of other gods but it dosent wash for me and stuff like that i would toss you.



Yea, I'd toss anyone who would attempt to do such a deed, I don't care what alignment you are (unless it's a totally evil game and we're doing some sort of horror style campaign). But to be honest, that scenario never even occured to me *shurggs*. I guess I"m not a deranged individual though. I was thinking more along the lines of Constructs, Oozes, and Dire Animals that many evil mages might keep around for protection. It's really annoying for a paladin (in pursuit of justice and good) that can't rely on his most basic and principled powers to fight monsters protecting an evil d-bag because they're not specifically evil (but nor can they be reasoned with).

Additionally, the mechanics need to speak to a more inclusive rule-set (which is what I was assuming the designers are going for) so that I can have my paladins smite the Dire Bear and you can have your Paladins not smite things that aren't intristically evil. Additionally it helps for those who run campaigns with no alignment as well as Paladins of different alignments or Paladins that don't have deities in their setting.

But you do bring up a weird point: You say the Paladin's Smite shouldn't work on non-evil beings, that it's ok that they "fizzle" as it were. But what about say, a LG Cleric of Heironeous/Tyr/Helm/Paladine that uses Inflict Light Wounds on said baby? I mean, there are no alignment requirements and there are no restrictions so the act could be done. How, exactly, is that any better?  




to answer the last part is an easy one as you cannot recieve cause light wounds from a good aligned god anyway so problem solved




Says who?


Carl  



says the game rules reversible spells that create effects that are against the ethos of a god should not be granted as the god is the one giving them and to do the opposite is to make the god have no controll over what he is giving to clerics, as there are other damaging holy spells that can be used




Just reread the rules to make sure you were wrong. You're wrong. There are no such restrictions in 5e.





The Irony is:  THey aren't in AD&D either.


At least not in 1st ed.


There is a line in the specific spell Raise Dead that "An evil cleric can freely use the reverse spell; a good cleric must exercise extreme caution in its employment, being absolutely certain that the victim of the slay living spell is evil and that his or her death is a matter of great necessity and for good..."  But even that reversed spells was available.  THe others are described as "The cleric also has a limited number of attack spells,  some of which are simply the reverse form of curative incantations"



THere is no restriction on good clerics using reversed or damaging spells in 1st Edition.  Despite many groups screwing the cleric over and imposing such rules.

This became more common in 2nd Ed because the rules stated:


Some spells are reversible (they can be cast for an effect opposite to that of the standard spell). This is noted after the spell name. Priests with reversible spells must memorize the desired version. For example, a priest who desires a cause light wounds spell must petition for this form of the cure light wounds spell when meditating and praying. Note that severe penalties can result if the spell choice is at variance with the priest's alignment (possible penalties include denial of specific spells, entire spell levels,or even all spells for a certa in period). The exact result (if any) depends on the reaction  the priest's patron deity, as determined by the DM.


Putting it in the hands of the patron diety (i.e. the DM) just encouraged abuse by the DM.    But it still is not banned.


If you go all the way back to OD&D (Men and Magic) it does say that the indicated spells "are reversed by evil Clerics".  But as an actual restriction it is gone after that.


Except for those groups who felt that clerics actually damaging someone with their spells were transgressing their gods moraltiy (while hitting someone over the head with a mace or blasting them with a flame strike was just fine).   
  
Carl    


For me my solution is a little house-rule, aligment and allegiance. The chaos-law axis would be the behavior with people of different allegiance. For example a caothic barbarian could behave like totally lawful but only with people of same allegiance (his tribe, for example). A cop who breaks the rules can be caothic aligment and Law allegiance..(for example the characters from "The shield", it looks a contradiction, doesn´t it?). A honorable but caothic paladin would be like Sir Lancelot or Tristan. A caothic but disciplined martial artist would be Sun Wukong, the monkey king

A "caothic" disciplined army would be the decepticons and Cobra (Transformers and G.I.Joe toys). 

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

I'd love to see a low inclusion (or complete exclusion) of Alignment-based mechanics from D&D:Next. If they happen to be in the game, I'd hope they provide basic benefits and then bigger ones when the opposing alignment comes into play/effect. For example, the v3.5 Paladin's Smite Evil feature was only good 1/day (@ 1st level) for a pitiful attack and damage bonus AND it could only be used against specific targets. That's, frankly, not good enough. Pathfinder at least took it a step further and made the benefits last a whole encounter (or until the target died) but still, sometimes targets might go down in 2 swings and that still leaves you with a daily effect that's too soft or weak in actual play.

I'd propose the idea of spells and effects having a base element of effect. A Protection from Evil spell might give the recipent a static +1 bonus to defenses or perhaps reduce 2 damage from attacks. But when the opponent is Evil the full potential of the spell activates providing a +3 bonus to defenses or reduces 5 daamge from attacks. That way in situations where there are no evil opponents your options are sitting there collecting dust. Same goes for the Paladin's Smite feature. He should be able to smite anyone who's standing in his way but if that opponent is of an opposed alignment then the effect should be more severe or last longer or whatever.

As for the plug-in-play element, that's sort what I'm getting at. When things are plugged in then it's better if the base system has no reservations on how alignment plays in the system. An Alignment system that plugs in would have options/suggestions that make your base features better when coupled with alignment rather than replacing those with no alignment. Like eariler, say the Base Paladin has the feature called Smite and it has an effect against anyone the Paladin attacks. The Alignment plug-in-play would then add further to that saying "Ok, well smite works just fine as it but when it's used against someone of the Evil Descriptor then *BAM* it does something special." What I dont' want to see is "Ok, your paladin's smite was generic and could hit anyone but with the Alignment plug-in-play it now can only effect Evil monsters and if you use it on a non-evil target (even without knowledge of the target's alignment), it fails."  Those sort of mechanics need to say far far away from D&D:Next.




what sense is smite when it can affect anyone, you could hit a baby with smite then. smite was ment to punish evil as a pally was a hand of good. you can alter that for pallys of other gods but it dosent wash for me and stuff like that i would toss you.



Your game, your option.
Our game, our option.



but that dosent explain the thinking behind the choice to make the rules like that. if a smite can hit anyone regardless of alignment and that power comes from a higher power i would think they would as gods not be so all targeting as an evil god with an evil pally using his smite shouldnt damage evil beings. so i guess its the logic that boggles me not the fact you play the way you do.


what about when a chaotic evil paladin attempts to smite a lawful evil paladin (or whatever)?  chaotic evil and lawful evil tend to be at odds with each other, at least compared to chaotic good vs. lawful good

"Trying to run gritty gothic horror with 4e is like trying to cut down a tree with a hammer, likewise trying to run heroic fantasy with 1e is like trying to hammer a nail with a chainsaw."

 
 

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