Alignment Troubles

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My DM has basically told me that my character needs to act more chaotic to retain my CN alignment. What can i do that's chaotic but yet neutral?  i would prefer my character not slip to chaotic evil... 
Yousef The Chosen
Human/Doppelganger Cleric Lvl 5
Deity: Taiia The Destroyer
Just roleplay your character.  Alignment is bull anyway.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Just roleplay your character.  Alignment is bull anyway.

You should express to your DM that allignments aren't a straight jacket, especially to non allignment dependant classes (such as the Paladin in 3.5) That being said if you are acting too lawful the DM could insist upon a change.

On the otherhand, if your allignment doesn't actually effect your classes dynamic, then it really doesn't matter how it's labled, Act your character how you want him to act and if the DM decides you are true NN or LN then la-de-da.
 
Ask 10 different people this question, and you'll get 12 different answers.  D&D alignments are pretty vague, and therefore alignment is very much dependent on the subjective interpretation of the reader.  And what you're experiencing is a common issue - where two or more interpretations of an alignment are competing with a player's character on the line.

If you're playing 3.5, you're best bet is to talk with your DM about what you and him think Chaotic Neutral means, or should mean, and get on the same page.  Primarily because your class abilities depend on you maintaining your alignment in the eyes of your DM, whether or not you think you're probably roleplaying Chaotic Neutral.

If you're 4e, you have nothing to worry about.  You can't lose your powers if your alignment changes, there are nearly zero mechanics that reference alignment, and none of those currently matter to you.  So you can just continue to roleplay your character as you feel is appropriate.
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Just roleplay your character.  Alignment is bull anyway.


I am in total agreement with this.


In fact, in my games, I don't even bother with alignment. I just ask players to write up a brief summary of the character's moral code. This is part of why I've begun favoring 4e: Dropping from nine alignments to five gave a lot more 'wiggle room' in them. At least, that's the change I've noticed relative to the really alignment-focused individuals I've played with.
Gunmage, a homebrew arcane striker. (Heroic Tier playtest ready.) GDocs link. (More up to date.)
Ask 10 different people this question, and you'll get 12 different answers.  D&D alignments are pretty vague, and therefore alignment is very much dependent on the subjective interpretation of the reader.  And what you're experiencing is a common issue - where two or more interpretations of an alignment are competing with a player's character on the line.

If you're playing 3.5, you're best bet is to talk with your DM about what you and him think Chaotic Neutral means, or should mean, and get on the same page.  Primarily because your class abilities depend on you maintaining your alignment in the eyes of your DM, whether or not you think you're probably roleplaying Chaotic Neutral.


Idk im pretty sure the fact that i play a madman fit the bill, and i haven't done anything evil necessarily. My character usually gambles for ridiculous things like peoples clothes and other garbage. i'm just trying to think of a way to act more chaotic.

What about converting followers, does that do me any good? 

Just roleplay your character.  Alignment is bull anyway.


This is part of why I've begun favoring 4e: Dropping from nine alignments to five gave a lot more 'wiggle room' in them. At least, that's the change I've noticed relative to the really alignment-focused individuals I've played with.




4e *painfull cringe*
If you really care about being Chaotic (and, unless its required for one of your feats or classes, you shouldn't), then you're better off asking your DM what he thinks Chaotic means. After all, it is your DM who is the final judge of it in your game, so it is his opinion on alignment that matters, and not anybody else's.

In short, ask your DM what he thinks a Chaotic character would do or act like.
Cant be that hard. From the D20 SRD...



 
Chaotic Neutral, "Free Spirit"

A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn’t strive to protect others’ freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it.


Chaotic neutral is the best alignment you can be because it represents true freedom from both society’s restrictions and a do-gooder’s zeal.

I dream of Beer Head Armies.

Autocard is our friend. [c‍]Urborg Mindsucker[/‍c] → Urborg Mindsucker

i figured as much about needing to talk to the DM. 

I DO care about being Chaotic,  i hate being lawful and i think thered be alot of party conflict of i were evil. CN is a perfect fit my my character with his penchant for mischief. i think the first day i went to a shithole tavern and challenged the bar tender to armwrestle (Big guy, no way i would win) so i used my read mind ability(doppelganger ability at 5ft distance, makes it much easier to shape change into someone) and then shape changed into him (the DM DOES allow me to gain the abilities of my acquired form if i make a successful DC on a d20) the bartender almost **** himself and just gave me the money and told me to NEVER do that in the city again (apparrently in Faerun, "changelings" aren't very well respected, especially in the Dales). 

And anyone's whose been here on these boards long enough has seen dozens of innocent alignment threads like this one explode into long, drawn out debates about morally, ethics, and everything in-between. Threads that go on for dozens or, on occasion, hundreds of pages on premises as simple as yours.



That is all.
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You're doing it wrong.

Your actions determine your alignment, not the other way around.  Just roleplay your character how you always have, and ignore the ridiculous, archaic, nonsensical, contradictory, subjective pile of garbage that is alignment.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Just roleplay your character how you always have, and ignore the ridiculous, archaic, nonsensical, contradictory, subjective pile of garbage that is alignment.


Just to head off the inevitable arguments: I recognize that some individuals or groups put weight into alignment systems, enjoying them. I can speculate as to why, but I genuinely don't know, because I do not enjoy alignment systems.

I still respect their right to enjoy them, however.

So anybody ready to throw down the gauntlet for a long and fruitless debate: Let's all agree to disagree...
Gunmage, a homebrew arcane striker. (Heroic Tier playtest ready.) GDocs link. (More up to date.)
You're doing it wrong.

Your actions determine your alignment, not the other way around.  Just roleplay your character how you always have, and ignore the ridiculous, archaic, nonsensical, contradictory, subjective pile of garbage that is alignment.


Gonna second this.

Don't ask yourself what CN means.  It means NOTHING.  As yourself what your character would do in a given situation then, if you must, work out what that means in alignment terms.  Conversely, work out what CN means to you (and your DM), work out what the things are that you like about it, and role play those.  Talk about it between you, then play the role that you feel most appropriate.

But whenever you wind up in this situation of saying 'I'm CN therefore I must' something's gone awry.

Trying to fit the breadth of human experince into 9 (already highly suspect) categories is an effort in futility.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
i figured as much about needing to talk to the DM. 

I DO care about being Chaotic




Hah. That's the funny thing. Caring about being Chaotic is doing Chaotic wrong. Chaotic character's don't care about how Chaotic they are, as worrying about your alignment is a Lawful endeavour.

I'm serious. Well, somewhat serious, at least. Do you really think Chaotic characters wake up in the morning and think "Hmm. My personality requires that I do something bizarre today."

Well, you've just imposed a law upon yourself, then! Having rules for your behaviour, even if the rules are intentionally impractical, only lessens your Chaos. You can't try to be chaotic. You just are.

So how do you, as a player, play Chaos? Easy. It is the easiest alignment ever. You just do what you want to. You don't need a reason to do things, though you can have one if it suits you, and you probably do have one when it comes down to it. You don't have to act like a madman, lots of Chaotic characters are sane, although you can be mad if you find it fun. You don't really have to do anything. Just play. That's how Chaotic works.
"Alignment Troubles" is redundant.

What if your DM changes your alignment? Unless you picked that alignment in order to interface or defend against certain spells or items, that can't itself change the way you play your character, and afterward both you and the DM are on the same page regarding the interpretation of alignment. (Not that it matters.) Just let him change it. You'll know what alignment you really are.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Here's what alignment is used for, in my experience:

DM: "That's not how your character would act. You're LG. Now get with the railroad, pal."

or

Other Player: "You're not 'roleplaying' correctly, which is to say, in a way that I don't like. Therefore, that's not what NG means at all."

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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DM "Thats it, your alignment is now TN" 


You "OK."*continues to play the character the exact same way.*


If the DM changes your alignment how much does it really change anything?

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

First, where I come from on this: I *like* alignment, and the entire 3E grid - with Neutral split three ways (internally neutral, trying to maintain a balance within oneself; externally neutral, trying to maintain a balance in the world; and 4E unaligned, not giving a hoot about whichever axis is currently under discussion).

But I like it for RP purposes only, not mechanics. In other words, (in my opinion) your character's alignment is between you and your character; the DM and the rulebooks should not be involved.

Further, there are degrees. Chaotic? Can be anywhere from "if there are two equally practical and useful things I could do, I'll go for the one that is less legal/predictable - but I won't take the second-best approach just for the sake of chaos" to "I must spread confusion and disrupt the forces of law at every opportunity". (The latter is often referred to as "chaotic stupid"; don't do that in-game.) So you decide just how chaotic you are.

And why. If you're going to RP alignment, it's helpful to understand from your character's perspective why your character has that alignment.

One of my characters rebelled from and rejected the Lawful Evil society he was raised in. It was a specific clearly evil (but totally legal) act that triggered this rejection, so he's trying to be Good (he doesn't necessarily know how). Then in the next place he went, he found that the forces of Law were protecting acts that were both illegal and evil. So he has no respect for or faith in Law, and expects it to routinely be used for evil. Still, he's not going to go out of his way to make trouble for himself by interfering with Law or doing something illegal when it doesn't advance any of his goals. The catch is that some of his goals relate to the event that caused him to leave his homeland, and if they have any connection with the party's goals it's by pure coincidence (aka the DM read the character's backstory and spotted a good plot-hook).
 
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
But I like it for RP purposes only, not mechanics. In other words, (in my opinion) your character's alignment is between you and your character; the DM and the rulebooks should not be involved.


I could get behind that sentiment. Alignment itself isn't what bothers me, but how people treat it. That, and the existance of spells such as Protection From Evil/Good/Law/Chaos just plain don't work with a subjective system like alignment.


In fact, in games I've played in where the DM forced me to take an alignment, I pretty much always opted for Unaligned. Why? Unaligned is described as choosing to be outside the normal alignment system, which is exactly the sort of stance nearly every character I make would take. "What society views as good or evil doesn't matter. The only person I have to justify my actions to is myself." Then I would look at every choice presented to the character not as choosing good or evil, law or chaos, but instead as a choice of "Would my character consider this action right or wrong?" The only standard to consider was the character's own moral code, which is something I try to have a solid grasp on.

The one time I actually played a Good character (Because I reasoned that the character, being a member of the army, would be concerned about the society's moral stance as much as her own) I got called out - in and out of character - for a few actions. The party, while tracking down a group of orcs, came upon a group of dwarves that had been massacred. The rest of the party felt that we should stop to burn and bury the dead. My character objected, insisting that they had to continue: Their goal was to stop the orcs, preferably before they had time to kill anyone else.

The other characters (and a few of the players) insisted that the Good thing to do was to give them a proper burial. My justification for my character's actions was that it was still Good... Because she was thinking in the long term. Yes, it would be good in the eyes of society to grant the dwarves a proper burial. But every wasted minute was another minute the orcs would be getting further away. The greater good would be to stop them before they caused the death of more innocents.

...Which is why I don't bother putting Good on my character sheet anymore. It's just easier to justify my actions with "My character feels this is the better course of action. Oh, look, I'm unaligned." Rather than get into a long debate over whether or not my character's actions are Good.
Gunmage, a homebrew arcane striker. (Heroic Tier playtest ready.) GDocs link. (More up to date.)
DM "Thats it, your alignment is now TN" 

You "OK."*continues to play the character the exact same way.*


If the DM changes your alignment how much does it really change anything?



Whoa, whoa, whoa. I'm with on this alignment thing right up until you said the DM changes my alignment to Tennessee. Nobody does that to me. Nobody.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

But I like it for RP purposes only, not mechanics. In other words, (in my opinion) your character's alignment is between you and your character; the DM and the rulebooks should not be involved.


I could get behind that sentiment. Alignment itself isn't what bothers me, but how people treat it. That, and the existance of spells such as Protection From Evil/Good/Law/Chaos just plain don't work with a subjective system like alignment.


In fact, in games I've played in where the DM forced me to take an alignment, I pretty much always opted for Unaligned. Why? Unaligned is described as choosing to be outside the normal alignment system, which is exactly the sort of stance nearly every character I make would take. "What society views as good or evil doesn't matter. The only person I have to justify my actions to is myself." Then I would look at every choice presented to the character not as choosing good or evil, law or chaos, but instead as a choice of "Would my character consider this action right or wrong?" The only standard to consider was the character's own moral code, which is something I try to have a solid grasp on.

The one time I actually played a Good character (Because I reasoned that the character, being a member of the army, would be concerned about the society's moral stance as much as her own) I got called out - in and out of character - for a few actions. The party, while tracking down a group of orcs, came upon a group of dwarves that had been massacred. The rest of the party felt that we should stop to burn and bury the dead. My character objected, insisting that they had to continue: Their goal was to stop the orcs, preferably before they had time to kill anyone else.

The other characters (and a few of the players) insisted that the Good thing to do was to give them a proper burial. My justification for my character's actions was that it was still Good... Because she was thinking in the long term. Yes, it would be good in the eyes of society to grant the dwarves a proper burial. But every wasted minute was another minute the orcs would be getting further away. The greater good would be to stop them before they caused the death of more innocents.

...Which is why I don't bother putting Good on my character sheet anymore. It's just easier to justify my actions with "My character feels this is the better course of action. Oh, look, I'm unaligned." Rather than get into a long debate over whether or not my character's actions are Good.



I don't even put any alignment down.  If the DM asks me what my alignment is, I say 'You tell me, 'cause I don't care'.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I don't even put any alignment down.  If the DM asks me what my alignment is, I say 'You tell me, 'cause I don't care'.


I'm compelled to fill in every section on the character sheet. In games where alignment doesn't matter, I'll use a txt or rtf file for the sheet and remove the Alignment entry entirely.

Seriously, when I'm filling in a form, I have to put something down. Usually a question mark, if I'm planning on going back and filling it out later.

No, I have no idea why.
Gunmage, a homebrew arcane striker. (Heroic Tier playtest ready.) GDocs link. (More up to date.)
Pick two words you feel best describe your character, from the whole of language, and write those in your alignment box instead ;)
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.

DM "Thats it, your alignment is now TN" 


You "OK."*continues to play the character the exact same way.*


If the DM changes your alignment how much does it really change anything?



Mechanical penalties.  Loss of XP, including levels, depending on edition.  Affected differently by different spells and magical effects.  Gain/lose the ability to use various magical items.  Prevented from gaining levels in a class, or forced to change classes, or lose class features.

There's a good reason why mechanical effects from Alignment is a bad rule and only bad systems use it, but if you're playing in a bad system then yes, it can matter.
Confused about Stealth? Think "invisibility" means "take the mini off the board to make people guess?" You need to check out The Rules Of Hidden Club.
Damage types and resistances: A working house rule.
Pick two words you feel best describe your character, from the whole of language, and write those in your alignment box instead ;)


My favorite PC, a wizard: Moderately psychotic.
Not in the traditional 'chaotic stupid' method, but in the sense of has genuine mental problems. She had an easier time related to a lich than (relatively) normal people of her own species, after all.

The last PC I played before the wizard: Frequent defenestrator.
That was (almost) the character's entire (mechanical) function: Grab things, throw them out windows.


But in actuality, I think "describe them in two words" is horribly simplifying their personalities. There were layers involved. Even if some of those layers were "Still finds the concept of cities fascinating."

Whoa, whoa, whoa. I'm with on this alignment thing right up until you said the DM changes my alignment to Tennessee. Nobody does that to me. Nobody.


Well, the alternative is naming the alignment Neutral Neutral, but then everyone would mistake it for an N2 mine, and that just leads to more problems then it's worth.

...I felt I should add that, because the reference may put some of my above comments in context.
Gunmage, a homebrew arcane striker. (Heroic Tier playtest ready.) GDocs link. (More up to date.)
But in actuality, I think "describe them in two words" is horribly simplifying their personalities. There were layers involved. Even if some of those layers were "Still finds the concept of cities fascinating."


Which just goes to illustrate the problems with alignment as a system ;)

I only suggested two words because it've a very small box.  Realistically, I tend to write and play from character descriptions, histories and motivations.  How my characters react and interact is flexible and situational.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Mechanical penalties.  Loss of XP, including levels, depending on edition.  Affected differently by different spells and magical effects.  Gain/lose the ability to use various magical items.  Prevented from gaining levels in a class, or forced to change classes, or lose class features.


There's a good reason why mechanical effects from Alignment is a bad rule and only bad systems use it, but if you're playing in a bad system then yes, it can matter.



I always forget people don't house rule this BS out. 


If none of these circumstances apply to you, let the DM change it and who cares. If they do, argue endlessly with your DM, call them names, and then storm out in a fit. 

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

Mechanical penalties.  Loss of XP, including levels, depending on edition.  Affected differently by different spells and magical effects.  Gain/lose the ability to use various magical items.  Prevented from gaining levels in a class, or forced to change classes, or lose class features.


There's a good reason why mechanical effects from Alignment is a bad rule and only bad systems use it, but if you're playing in a bad system then yes, it can matter.



I always forget people don't house rule this BS out. 



Many people do.  However, we've established in advance, here, that this DM *does* care about the alignment on your sheet, which by definition means he's got mechanics hanging off it.


If none of these circumstances apply to you, let the DM change it and who cares. If they do, argue endlessly with your DM, call them names, and then storm out in a fit. 



Or just quit and play a game that isn't terrible, BEFORE drama.
Confused about Stealth? Think "invisibility" means "take the mini off the board to make people guess?" You need to check out The Rules Of Hidden Club.
Damage types and resistances: A working house rule.
I don't even put any alignment down.  If the DM asks me what my alignment is, I say 'You tell me, 'cause I don't care'.



This is ok if your character concept isn't allignment dependent, like say 3.5's Paladin which has to be Lawful  Good, or if your character isn't Evil, then you would probably be best to jusy mark Neutral on your sheet and be done with it. Most people should probably be Neutral unless they decide to really commit one way or the other,


However I would say to those opposed to the allignment system, as well as to those who over define it, that allignment was never intended to be a straightjacket or to represent extreme behaviors and ideals. There is however a legit mechanical benifit from allignment in a game that is Hero's vs Evil at it's core. Good vs Evil is not a subjective value when there are literally Evil Monsters/Undead running about with Heros literally blessed and powered by holy dieties fighting them and the allignment axis reflect this.


The Lawful Good Paladin using Detect Evil to locate and then Smite Evil upon the Chaotic Evil undead vampire is a perfect example of why the allignment system works, the Paladin is in fact Good and the Vampire is in fact Evil.  There are beings that are good, beings that are evil and beings that are pure chaos as well as Law
I don't even put any alignment down.  If the DM asks me what my alignment is, I say 'You tell me, 'cause I don't care'.



This is ok if your character concept isn't allignment dependent, like say 3.5's Paladin which has to be Lawful  Good, or if your character isn't Evil, then you would probably be best to jusy mark Neutral on your sheet and be done with it. Most people should probably be Neutral unless they decide to really commit one way or the other,


However I would say to those opposed to the allignment system, as well as to those who over define it, that allignment was never intended to be a straightjacket or to represent extreme behaviors and ideals. There is however a legit mechanical benifit from allignment in a game that is Hero's vs Evil at it's core. Good vs Evil is not a subjective value when there are literally Evil Monsters/Undead running about with Heros literally blessed and powered by holy dieties fighting them and the allignment axis reflect this.


The Lawful Good Paladin using Detect Evil to locate and then Smite Evil upon the Chaotic Evil undead vampire is a perfect example of why the allignment system works, the Paladin is in fact Good and the Vampire is in fact Evil.  There are beings that are good, beings that are evil and beings that are pure chaos as well as Law


Would the Vampire believe it was evil and the paladin was good?  Unlikely.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
  Would the Vampire believe it was evil and the paladin was good?  Unlikely.



The vampire, as an inteligent being, would more then likely realize exactly what it is, and even if it doesn't (many evil beings being perhaps not that rational) it would be a very delusional evil creature to not recognize a Paladin as exactly what it is. In D&D this is reinforced with the mythos and magic of the world, (spells such as detect allignment, smite good/law/chaos, protection from alignment etc makes it hard to say "well from my point of view I am not evil..."

However, regardless of the perception, delusion, or any amount of rationalization, D&D's allignment system makes the issue largely black and white when it comes to these extremes. So, for example, Hitler could believe he is Good and that the Nazi's are a bunch of Lawful Good jolly blokes ridding the world of evil creatures, but the fact of the matter is he would be an Evil murderous villain, regardless of his personal perception.

What this black and white definition does is prevent "rationalized Evil" being masqueraded as Good, and prevents the contrary and impossible character concepts, such as the Chaotic Good Elf, who loves nature and all things good, and ruthlessly and cruely MURDERS ALL HUMANS! because he believes them "as being no different then rabid dogs" even if his only expereince with them has been local farmers who's only crime is to keep rabbits out of their vegitable gardens.

Yes that is why he skinned them alive, it's what any Chaotic Good Elf would do....."It puts the lotion on or it gets the Create Water spell cast again..."

That isn't to say that being Good is a straight jacket, the CG elf could be a callous jerk who despises humans and would as soon chase them off their farms then tolorate them for a second, and should they dare to murder one of his tree friends they will pay dearly. But there is a line where you start labeling the elf as the evil being it is.
So, in that world, it's utterly impossible that there could be a good vampire defending himself from an evil paladin?

I'm well aware that alignments are codified into the rules in older editions.  I'm saying that's a terrible idea, because it dramatically limits the stories that can be told in the game, without ignoring, or at the very least, heavily handwaving, alignment.

I prefer, FAR prefer, stories where the good guys and the bad guys aren't objectively good and bad, they're opposed to one another, and good and bad are subjective.  And that just doesn;t work in a codified alignment system.  Which is why such a system is terribad.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
My DM has basically told me that my character needs to act more chaotic to retain my CN alignment. What can i do that's chaotic but yet neutral?  i would prefer my character not slip to chaotic evil... 
Yousef The Chosen
Human/Doppelganger Cleric Lvl 5
Deity: Taiia The Destroyer



Here is why the allignment system works and what it is intended for. If you are a murderous/criminal/sociopath then you will be labeled as Evil. If your idea of "Chaotic Neutral" is to light random buildings, such as orphanages, on fire to cook your food, then you are really Chaotic Evil, if your idea of "Chaotic Neutral" is to flip a coind, Heads you give the person all your gold, Tails you murder them and eat their heart, then you are really Chaotic Evil.

The problem arrises when someone takes Chatic evil to mean...

Chaotic: I act like a Madman (sociopath)

Neutral: I really couldn't care less. (sociopath)

Which you get a Sociopath, aka Chaotic Evil

When Chaotic means, I drink, I gamble and I cheat on my taxes, and on weekends picket to "Save the whales" I might be an unemployed hippy, free love, free speach, shoplifting and smoke some pot.

And Neutral means: I'm not a registered voter, and sure I care, but what's a guy to do? And perhaps be the person who lives commonlaw with his girlfriend and never gets around to proposing because, "hey commitment"

Although these aren't perhaps the bestest examples, they illustrate that allignments really don't represent the extreme "Chaotic" doesn't mean deranged madman a Chaotic Neutral person might spend their money frivolously, gamble, commit a couple of petty crimes (pickpocket) and be generally unconcerned about a small towns nearby goblin problem unless he is being paid to "care"

What Chaotic Neutral is NOT, is a madman who opens the back gate to let the goblins sneak in (it's all fun) and then shrugs his shoulders at the ensuing slaughter of the innocent villagers because  "hey, I'm neutral, why would I care?" that would be Chaotic Evil.

If your worry is slipping into True Neutral or Nuetral Good, then it's just the DM correcting your allignment so you don't get hurt by a protection from Chaos effect or the like. If your worry is the DM is threatening you with CE, then it is because you need to start playing somewhat more maturely.



Here is why the allignment system works and what it is intended for. If you are a murderous/criminal/sociopath then you will be labeled as Evil. If your idea of "Chaotic Neutral" is to light random buildings, such as orphanages, on fire to cook your food, then you are really Chaotic Evil, if your idea of "Chaotic Neutral" is to flip a coind, Heads you give the person all your gold, Tails you murder them and eat their heart, then you are really Chaotic Evil.

The problem arrises when someone takes Chatic evil to mean...

Chaotic: I act like a Madman (sociopath)

Neutral: I really couldn't care less. (sociopath)

Which you get a Sociopath, aka Chaotic Evil

When Chaotic means, I drink, I gamble and I cheat on my taxes, and on weekends picket to "Save the whales" I might be an unemployed hippy, free love, free speach, shoplifting and smoke some pot.

And Neutral means: I'm not a registered voter, and sure I care, but what's a guy to do? And perhaps be the person who lives commonlaw with his girlfriend and never gets around to proposing because, "hey commitment"

Although these aren't perhaps the bestest examples, they illustrate that allignments really don't represent the extreme "Chaotic" doesn't mean deranged madman a Chaotic Neutral person might spend their money frivolously, gamble, commit a couple of petty crimes (pickpocket) and be generally unconcerned about a small towns nearby goblin problem unless he is being paid to "care"

What Chaotic Neutral is NOT, is a madman who opens the back gate to let the goblins sneak in (it's all fun) and then shrugs his shoulders at the ensuing slaughter of the innocent villagers because  "hey, I'm neutral, why would I care?" that would be Chaotic Evil.

If your worry is slipping into True Neutral or Nuetral Good, then it's just the DM correcting your allignment so you don't get hurt by a protection from Chaos effect or the like. If your worry is the DM is threatening you with CE, then it is because you need to start playing somewhat more maturely.



"I disagree with your intepretation - let's argue about it for a while. Preferrably in the middle of the game."

That's why alignment doesn't work. Dump it. 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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So, in that world, it's utterly impossible that there could be a good vampire defending himself from an evil paladin?



In 3.5, the Paladin was absolutely required to be a paragon of Lawful Good, So it would be impossible for him to be anything but Good. If he wasn't then he would loose his powers.

If the Paladin even unknowingly smote down a Good person, then he would loose his powers and have to atone.

A Vampire could possibly be Good (such as the atonement spell, depending on the rules for vampires) In which case he would likely try to communicate that with the Paladin

I'm well aware that alignments are codified into the rules in older editions.  I'm saying that's a terrible idea, because it dramatically limits the stories that can be told in the game, without ignoring, or at the very least, heavily handwaving, alignment.

I prefer, FAR prefer, stories where the good guys and the bad guys aren't objectively good and bad, they're opposed to one another, and good and bad are subjective.  And that just doesn;t work in a codified alignment system.  Which is why such a system is terribad.



It doesn't limit it at all. In this case you are refering to 2 examples of the extreme ends of the allignment, an utterly souless unholy undead vampire vs the absolute paragon of all that is Lawful Good in the mortal world. Two extremes.

While a Paladin is perhaps the Extreme of Lawful Good, there are many examples of lawful good characters who aren't so bound by it. You see a Lawful Good King might break the law and conspire "for the greater good" and he might even be abit corrupt or greedy. A lawful Good guard might accept a bribe from the thieves to "look the other way" when they smuggle goods down at the docks without paying customs because "it's not going to hurt anyone"

lawful Good for most means they "try and be good" and "believe in the law" but it by no means straight jackets them. Whereas a Paladin has additional restrictions on top of the allignment. If a Paladin even once accepted a bribe to look the otherway he would loose his powers, whereas a normal LG guard could do this for years before his allignment even changed, because in general he is lawful good.

So outside of the extremes, Devils, demons, Undead and Paladins, the rest of the world is all grey as you describe.

The Paladin rules apply to the standard  3.5 game, however a group can make house rules to give him more leeway, or in the case of playing a game in the grey area, a Paladin might not be a suitable PC. This is best handled before the game starts with the DM saying "Paladins aren't really suitable to be played in this game, so we will either house rule some changes or disalow them entirely" The allignment system isn't a straight jacket, but there are extremes as well as grey areas.
"I disagree with your intepretation - let's argue about it for a while. Preferrably in the middle of the game."

That's why alignment doesn't work. Dump it. 



No that is why a certain player (or DM) doesn't work and someone should be dumped from the game. There are thousands or stickler rules that same people could argue about in the middle of a game, from the use of an ability while prone to how certain abilities stack.


Most allignment issues can be resolved by the DM communicating with the players during character creation. "hey a CN rogue, I hope you don't think that CN means you you can get away with murder and being a jerk, right? There are serious consequences to your actions in this game and thieves tend to get their hand chopped off and murderers hung for their crimes." or "A Paladin, we should discuss what is expected by Lawful Good, not Lawful Stupid, there are grey areas in the game and some of the good guys might be what one would consider evil, so you will have to be more politic then Smite on Sight..."

And how many hours of arguing over what stacks with what?

That's why AC doesn't work. Dump it.
No that is why a certain player (or DM) doesn't work and someone should be dumped from the game. There are thousands or stickler rules that same people could argue about in the middle of a game, from the use of an ability while prone to how certain abilities stack.



And how many hours of arguing over what stacks with what? 



Many of those issues aren't open to interpretation because that are codified by the rules. Alignment isn't one of those issues - it's abstract and therefore easy to disagree about.

Most allignment issues can be resolved by the DM communicating with the players during character creation.



All alignment issues can be resolved by getting rid of alignment.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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oh iserith, if only you could see the raging debates that occur in the character optimization forum over the rules !  War of words over how the words like "or" and "if" affect powers and "proper english language structures".  You wouldn't believe it.

And yes to be more on topic I agree that alignment is only a problem for most tables.  DM's using alignment to punish players is just stupidity.  Players using alignment to justify actions are doing it wrong.  Saying "I'm evil in alignment and because of that I stab your PC in the back" is just nonsense, the player is choosing to make that kind of decision, it has nothing to do with alignment.

If you want to use alignment use it like a small insignificant spec of information that no one should ever use against you.  If you don't use alignment, well, there's no problem
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oh iserith, if only you could see the raging debates that occur in the character optimization forum over the rules !  War of words over how the words like "or" and "if" affect powers and "proper english language structures".  You wouldn't believe it.



Good lord. I'm glad I don't visit that forum then. I'd have to take a shower afterward.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

"I disagree with your intepretation - let's argue about it for a while. Preferrably in the middle of the game."

That's why alignment doesn't work. Dump it. 

 
"I disagree with your interpretation... wait, what is it again?"
"Well, I explained it 10 years ago... actually I never DID tell anyboby at the table..."

That's why alignment doesn't work.

Alignment is subject to interpretation.  If the DM did not inform the players of his initial interpretations regarding alignments then the player cannot be held accountable for using his own.  Even if the player and DM are coming from different interpretations, if the character's behavior isn't a PROBLEM then why is the DM making it an issue?  If alignment of the PC doesn't affect his character (as alignment restrictions) then, again, why is the DM making it an issue?

Old School: It ain't what you play - it's how you play it.

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