Thought: No alignment Restrictions

This is my own personal opinion here, but I'll share it anyways.

Please, no alignment restrictions for classes.  I've never been a fan of them.  Most classes to me are more of a skill set than a specific RP concept. 

We don't need a class for paladin (LG) and then a class for the Anti-Paladin (LE), instead, why not just use the "Holy Warrior" concept?  Similar to how Clerics get different abilities based on the God/Domain they worship, the "Paladin" could as well.  No need for a strict alignment restriction on the class.

For a better (IMO) example, take the concept of an "Assassin".  Most of the time its taken to mean "Murder for Money," which is an "Evil" act.  However, does it need to be this way?  IMO the answer is again no.  An assassin is a sneaky, killer.  This could be an agent of a kingdom, a religious fanatic, etc.  To me, the skill set doesn't require the person to be evil to have that set of skills.  

I don't think we should have alignment restrictions in D&D next, mainly for reasons like the examples given above. 
I agree completely.  I don't think there should be alignment at all, myself.

I threw alignment completely out of 3e and 4e, and things went a LOT better.
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I do not envy you the wrath you will suffer by starting an alignment thread, but best of luck to you.

As for your proposals, I'm all for them. I never had any real issues with alignment getting in the way of anything, but  alot of people did/do, and the payoff for those restrictions is minimal. Might as well ditch it.

I don't particularly see any one class or another as being inherently good or evil. Is a military sniper an assassin? I'd say so. What about a SEAL team? Again, I'd say so.  Are they "evil"? Not to me, they're not. Same for witches/warlocks, etc.
Yup, the removal of alignment restrictions is something that 4E did to great success, and if I recall correctly, the developers said that alignment restrictions (and mechanics in general) were unlikely to return in any mandatory form.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Alignment restrictions are about as valid as saying the following:

Fighters are mercenaries.  They may have had military service in the past, but now they sell their swords to the highest bidder, caring nothing for causes or loyalty to anything beyond their purses.

If a Fighter ever is not paid a suitable fee for services rendered, the Fighter loses the ability to engage in all combat activities, and is shunned from the Mercenary's Guild.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Alignment restrictions are about as valid as saying the following:

Fighters are mercenaries.  They may have had military service in the past, but now they sell their swords to the highest bidder, caring nothing for causes or loyalty to anything beyond their purses.

If a Fighter ever is not paid a suitable fee for services rendered, the Fighter loses the ability to engage in all combat activities, and is shunned from the Mercenary's Guild.



Can I agree with every word you said and still disagree with your point?

Because I do.


I don't think there's anything wrong with having flavor restrictions on classes, as long as it is still possible to create a wide variety of concepts in the system itself.  That is to say, I would have no problem with there being a Fighter, Mercenary, Soldier, Brawler, Drunkard, and Samurai class, each with their own flavor restrictions.  I would have a problem if the only fighter-type class available was a specific one, let's say Mercenary.

The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
This is my own personal opinion here, but I'll share it anyways.

Please, no alignment restrictions for classes.  I've never been a fan of them.  Most classes to me are more of a skill set than a specific RP concept. 

We don't need a class for paladin (LG) and then a class for the Anti-Paladin (LE), instead, why not just use the "Holy Warrior" concept?  Similar to how Clerics get different abilities based on the God/Domain they worship, the "Paladin" could as well.  No need for a strict alignment restriction on the class.

For a better (IMO) example, take the concept of an "Assassin".  Most of the time its taken to mean "Murder for Money," which is an "Evil" act.  However, does it need to be this way?  IMO the answer is again no.  An assassin is a sneaky, killer.  This could be an agent of a kingdom, a religious fanatic, etc.  To me, the skill set doesn't require the person to be evil to have that set of skills.  

I don't think we should have alignment restrictions in D&D next, mainly for reasons like the examples given above. 



I agree with you completely. A class is a collection of abilities and skills which define your character's role in the party; for any such collection of abilities, there are far too many ways your character could have developed those abilities, far too many potential uses for those abilities, and far too many ways to flavor the abilities themselves to make it reasonable to require a character to fit a certain flavor as a character to have and use those abilities.

I agree completely.  I don't think there should be alignment at all, myself.

I threw alignment completely out of 3e and 4e, and things went a LOT better.



I also agree with you. While I think that there are certain benefits to having a written set of suggestions for what a character could be for those of us who sometimes have trouble making character concepts, I think that "a written set of suggestions" is all it should be, and nothing more. Making a set of tangibly consequential mechanics related to your character's flavor is almost never a good idea, and even worse is making said mechanics have such huge impacts over so many types of characters (as had been done in DnD).

That's not even going into the fact that certain aspects of alignment are so ill-defined. Even something so simple as Good vs. Evil gets complicated when you think about it: many would say killing is bad and giving charity is good, but what about killing or giving charity to evil people? Law vs. Chaos gets much worse: What is "Law," anyway? There are a whole bunch of highly unrelated (and sometimes mutually exclusive) concepts which could fit "Law": Civil Order, Justice, Discipline, Honor, Obedience, just to name a few, and even then, who's law do you follow (Laws of a Nation, Laws of a Guild, Natural Law, Physical Law, etc)? Assuming that "Chaos" is the polar opposite of law, you could have a character who fits in "Law" in some ways and in "Chaos" in other ways; for example, you could have a leader of a criminal organization who, by definition, would not obey the laws of the rest of society, but who would enforce a strict code of honor within his organization or require an extreme amount of discipline in the members of his organization.
I think WotC should trial two books: One book would be a Standard Players Handbook with descriptions and examples and all the normal stuff that you would expect to see in a PHB.  The second will be just the bare mechanics broken down by Race 1, 2 and 3 and Class A, B and C.

Then you can decide what fluff you want to use for yourself.


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Alignment restrictions absolutely need to go.  If a DM wants to put them in their game, they are free to do so.  The core assumption of the game should be no alignment restrictions on anything.
I too agree that alignment (and racial) restrictions should be implemented per table so that the group gets exactly what they want. By removing these elements from the published game, it makes no assumption as to how any one particular player or group is going to use the material. For example, if a Paladin is designed with features and requirments on Alignment it's harder to gauge how "unbalanced" the class might be without those restrictions and requires special attention from the player and DM to remove these aspects (which gets worse when specific spells are added in too). I feel it would be easier for the DM to say "hey Paladin, in our games your special attacks can only target X creature" instead of the game saying that and having to remove it.

Alignment restrictions are about as valid as saying the following:

Fighters are mercenaries. They may have had military service in the past, but now they sell their swords to the highest bidder, caring nothing for causes or loyalty to anything beyond their purses.

If a Fighter ever is not paid a suitable fee for services rendered, the Fighter loses the ability to engage in all combat activities, and is shunned from the Mercenary's Guild.



Can I agree with every word you said and still disagree with your point?

Because I do.


I don't think there's anything wrong with having flavor restrictions on classes, as long as it is still possible to create a wide variety of concepts in the system itself. That is to say, I would have no problem with there being a Fighter, Mercenary, Soldier, Brawler, Drunkard, and Samurai class, each with their own flavor restrictions. I would have a problem if the only fighter-type class available was a specific one, let's say Mercenary.




There's nothing wrong with that, so long as it's implemented by a group instead of the rulebooks. For one, I think an individual group would get the restrictions and implications of those restrictions better if they did it themselves. It has a far more personal feel and growth for the group than a pre-packaged set of limits imposed by some guy in an office that your likely to never play with. So if a group is cool with the DM coming up with taboos and role-play restrictions for classes to enrich the flavor of those classes within the setting, I'm all for it. But I think it would a bit over stepping of bounds to assume everyone wanted to play that way and put those into actual rules of the books.   
Alignment restrictions are about as valid as saying the following:

Fighters are mercenaries.  They may have had military service in the past, but now they sell their swords to the highest bidder, caring nothing for causes or loyalty to anything beyond their purses.

If a Fighter ever is not paid a suitable fee for services rendered, the Fighter loses the ability to engage in all combat activities, and is shunned from the Mercenary's Guild.



Can I agree with every word you said and still disagree with your point?

Because I do.


I don't think there's anything wrong with having flavor restrictions on classes, as long as it is still possible to create a wide variety of concepts in the system itself.  That is to say, I would have no problem with there being a Fighter, Mercenary, Soldier, Brawler, Drunkard, and Samurai class, each with their own flavor restrictions.  I would have a problem if the only fighter-type class available was a specific one, let's say Mercenary.




Everybody who's ever complained about 'system bloat' ... I think their head just exploded.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.

Everybody who's ever complained about 'system bloat' ... I think their head just exploded.



Yeah....I don't really.....agree with them ;)


Three hundred parts per million isn't enough!  We need more asbestos!  More asbestos!
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
I'm fine with flavor based restriction as long as whether they have them or not is entirely up to the DM and player. As long as they are out of the default class mechanics and I can freely ignore them, Im fine with them there.
A paladin is a lawful good entity. Anything else isn't a Paladin. It makes no sense for an evil person to be a paladin. The whole class is made for killing and smiting evil creatures.
A paladin is a lawful good entity. Anything else isn't a Paladin. It makes no sense for an evil person to be a paladin. The whole class is made for killing and smiting evil creatures.



And that's EXACTLY how they should be played in your games, at your table, with your friends. I don't think anyone's questioning your position to impose only Lawful Good restrictions on the class. I, however, do not require such limitations in my games and don't think they add anything to the system or campaign other than nostalgia. Further, and this goes into a more specific aspect, it' how a Paladin's combats their eneimes. I'd like to think that their mechanics can be universal in scope to allow for a wide range of options as to fine-tune it as per the player or DMs request. Making it specific and narrow just severly limits it's effectivness over the scope of an entire adventure PLUS adds further stress to those who might want to use Character Building software presented by a company.

 
A paladin is a lawful good entity.


To you.  Not to me.  Since when do you get to dictate how paladins are run at my table?  Having no alignment restrictions, the other hand, allows you the freedom to have only lawful good paladins at your table.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
A paladin is a lawful good entity. Anything else isn't a Paladin. It makes no sense for an evil person to be a paladin. The whole class is made for killing and smiting evil creatures.



In your game.  Not mine.

(See Diffan's post for the long version.)
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It makes no sense for an evil person to be a paladin.

It makes no sense to you. It makes perfect sense to me.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
Down with mandatory fluff based restrictions in general!

Make a note if you must saying "usually Class X is blank" if for some reason folks think it must be mentioned at all.

(For example usually Bladesingers are Elves or Half-Elves, but Bladesingers of other races are not unheard of.

or alignment wise:

While Many Paladins are Lawful Good, They come in many alignments, though they might call themselves other names such as Crusaders or Blackguards. 
Down with mandatory fluff based restrictions in general!

Make a note if you must saying "usually Class X is blank" if for some reason folks think it must be mentioned at all.

(For example usually Bladesingers are Elves or Half-Elves, but Bladesingers of other races are not unheard of.

or alignment wise:

While Many Paladins are Lawful Good, They come in many alignments, though they might call themselves other names such as Crusaders or Blackguards. 



Yep.  You can do the same thing for Bladesingers, too.  'Only elves or half-elves call themselves bladesingers, but anybody can use the mechanics'.
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One thing that the writers have to be aware of if they're removing alignment restrictions on classes that traditionally have strong associations with a particular alignment is that some of their abilities may seem strange in other alignments.  If, for instance, the paladin is loaded up on radiant damage and daylight effects, it's gonna look kind of weird if you use it for a chaotic evil blackguard.  This certainly isn't an insurmountable obstacle, but it's an issue.  To really support non-traditional alignments in these classes, they need to commit to providing options that make sense for them.  4E kind of had a problem here:  the majority of material for paladins (and clerics, for that matter) assumed that you were Mr. Sunshine.
I'm a little torn on this one.  On one hand, I hate alignment restrictions.  On the other, I do beliecve words have meanings, and Paladins by definition are Good aligned (Christian by the origin of the word).  I'd lean towards a different name, same mechanic solution, except I feel that would lead to unnecessary bloat.

I think I'd have to end up advocating for a rename of the class to Holy Warrior, but I know that will never happen.
One thing that the writers have to be aware of if they're removing alignment restrictions on classes that traditionally have strong associations with a particular alignment is that some of their abilities may seem strange in other alignments.  If, for instance, the paladin is loaded up on radiant damage and daylight effects, it's gonna look kind of weird if you use it for a chaotic evil blackguard.  This certainly isn't an insurmountable obstacle, but it's an issue.  To really support non-traditional alignments in these classes, they need to commit to providing options that make sense for them.  4E kind of had a problem here:  the majority of material for paladins (and clerics, for that matter) assumed that you were Mr. Sunshine.



I hear what your saying but Radiant =/= Good. Radiant is a light source and a simple way of saying "divine damage". My Paladin|Warlock of Bane used LOTS of Radiant powers to hurt and maim people in the unholy name of the Tyrant. It appeard Green, smelled like sulphur, and blasted people with white-hot pain.

Also, Daylight is a spell useful for anyone who wants to see or to banish Undead. There are times that Blackguards are assulted by undead just as easily as good people. Evil Clerics might have different ways of dealing with undead but if zombies are in the way, a Cleric of Kord or Vecna or Shar is still going to hit them with radiance because it's an effective tool.

I'm a little torn on this one. On one hand, I hate alignment restrictions. On the other, I do beliecve words have meanings, and Paladins by definition are Good aligned (Christian by the origin of the word). I'd lean towards a different name, same mechanic solution, except I feel that would lead to unnecessary bloat.

I think I'd have to end up advocating for a rename of the class to Holy Warrior, but I know that will never happen.



What I'm partial to the name Paladin and believe that it represents a holy or divine warrior dedicated to a cause, I'm not opposed wholeheartedly to changing the name to something more versatile. Personally I like Crusader as an alternative. Plus, if they go this route it fosters a deep desire and hope that the Designers might look back towards the Crusader class in the Tome of Battle for inspiration on how to do a divine warrior properly. While I love my 3E paladin the Crusader did it's job just plain better.
If, for instance, the paladin is loaded up on radiant damage and daylight effects, it's gonna look kind of weird if you use it for a chaotic evil blackguard.

Photons aren't tied to any alignment.

I'm a little torn on this one.  On one hand, I hate alignment restrictions.  On the other, I do beliecve words have meanings, and Paladins by definition are Good aligned (Christian by the origin of the word).  I'd lean towards a different name, same mechanic solution, except I feel that would lead to unnecessary bloat.


Actually, in my judgment the word's connotation is closer to "elite" than "good".  The Twelve Peers were the most badass knights in the land, but the enemies they fought were more likely to be honorable foes than vile monsters.  If the name of the class was "saint" or something, that would be a different story.

Salla and Crimson_Concerto can tell you that I can get really obstinate about the meanings of words and how they're used by the game.  But nongood paladins?  I don't have a problem with that.
If, for instance, the paladin is loaded up on radiant damage and daylight effects, it's gonna look kind of weird if you use it for a chaotic evil blackguard.

Photons aren't tied to any alignment.



Not necessarily, no.  But usually when you picture a blackguard you don't picture him as a shining golden beacon of evil.  I'm just saying that a broader alignment range requires a broader range of options to fit the image the player/DM may be going for.
I'm a little torn on this one.  On one hand, I hate alignment restrictions.  On the other, I do beliecve words have meanings, and Paladins by definition are Good aligned (Christian by the origin of the word).  I'd lean towards a different name, same mechanic solution, except I feel that would lead to unnecessary bloat.


Actually, in my judgment the word's connotation is closer to "elite" than "good".  The Twelve Peers were the most badass knights in the land, but the enemies they fought were more likely to be honorable foes than vile monsters.  If the name of the class was "saint" or something, that would be a different story.

Salla and Crimson_Concerto can tell you that I can get really obstinate about the meanings of words and how they're used by the game.  But nongood paladins?  I don't have a problem with that.

As Charlemagne's followers, numbered twelve after the Apostles, their Christian link and therefore "goodness" is hard to deny.

Personally I hope all classes have a range of options ala schemes, domains, fighting styles, and traditions.

Paladins can have say Orders, and the order of the light, order of darkness, order of slaying, order of bad-assitude, whatever. But a way to slightly modify core abilities is a must. 
A paladin is a lawful good entity. Anything else isn't a Paladin. It makes no sense for an evil person to be a paladin. The whole class is made for killing and smiting evil creatures.



And that's EXACTLY how they should be played in your games, at your table, with your friends. I don't think anyone's questioning your position to impose only Lawful Good restrictions on the class. I, however, do not require such limitations in my games and don't think they add anything to the system or campaign other than nostalgia. Further, and this goes into a more specific aspect, it' how a Paladin's combats their eneimes. I'd like to think that their mechanics can be universal in scope to allow for a wide range of options as to fine-tune it as per the player or DMs request. Making it specific and narrow just severly limits it's effectivness over the scope of an entire adventure PLUS adds further stress to those who might want to use Character Building software presented by a company.

 


I think the issue here is that it is easier for you to tell your players aliagnment doesn't matter, it is harder to tell a player that you are restricting the Paladin. 
As Charlemagne's followers, numbered twelve after the Apostles, their Christian link and therefore "goodness" is hard to deny.


Yes, they were Christians.  But not all Christians are saints.  I'm not saying these guys were villains, but I don't see them as defined by their utter moral purity in the same way that a "saint" would be, so I don't think it's awkward to detach the word from the alignment.

After all, going by your logic, all clerics should be good too.  Same Christian link.
A paladin is a lawful good entity.


To you.  Not to me.  Since when do you get to dictate how paladins are run at my table?  Having no alignment restrictions, the other hand, allows you the freedom to have only lawful good paladins at your table.


Having only lawful good Paladins allows you the freedom to have any aliagnment Paladins at your table. 
It makes no sense for an evil person to be a paladin.

It makes no sense to you. It makes perfect sense to me.


If you look back over the abilities a Paladin gets, it makes no sense to have an evil paladin who smites evil or does lay on hands.
Having only lawful good Paladins allows you the freedom to have any aliagnment Paladins at your table. 


I... don't follow.
[
I think the issue here is that it is easier for you to tell your players aliagnment doesn't matter, it is harder to tell a player that you are restricting the Paladin. 



No, the issue here is you telling us how to run our games, which is funny because apparently you're not willing to do it yourself in your own game.

If you want Paladins to be LG only in your game, grow a pair and put that down as a house rule.
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It makes no sense for an evil person to be a paladin.

It makes no sense to you. It makes perfect sense to me.


If you look back over the abilities a Paladin gets, it makes no sense to have an evil paladin who smites evil or does lay on hands.



So you unrestrict the smite so you can smite anything.
And healing has never been an 'aligned' thing, so it makes as much sense here as it does for anybody.
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If, for instance, the paladin is loaded up on radiant damage and daylight effects, it's gonna look kind of weird if you use it for a chaotic evil blackguard.

Photons aren't tied to any alignment.



They are in D&D. 
It makes no sense for an evil person to be a paladin.

It makes no sense to you. It makes perfect sense to me.


If you look back over the abilities a Paladin gets, it makes no sense to have an evil paladin who smites evil or does lay on hands.



So you unrestrict the smite so you can smite anything.
And healing has never been an 'aligned' thing, so it makes as much sense here as it does for anybody.


Since evil clerics can't spontaneously cast healing spells, it would appear healing is aligned.
As Charlemagne's followers, numbered twelve after the Apostles, their Christian link and therefore "goodness" is hard to deny.


Yes, they were Christians.  But not all Christians are saints.  I'm not saying these guys were villains, but I don't see them as defined by their utter moral purity in the same way that a "saint" would be, so I don't think it's awkward to detach the word from the alignment.

After all, going by your logic, all clerics should be good too.  Same Christian link.

The term cleric comes from pre-Christian Greek origins.
If, for instance, the paladin is loaded up on radiant damage and daylight effects, it's gonna look kind of weird if you use it for a chaotic evil blackguard.

Photons aren't tied to any alignment.



They are in D&D. 



No, they aren't.  Radiant damage is simply radiant damage.

The evil paladin's radiance is more likely to be, say, sickly green, blood red, or perhaps even that weird dark-purple ultraviolet-light color rather than brilliant white or gleaming gold.  But it's still just radiant damage.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
[
I think the issue here is that it is easier for you to tell your players aliagnment doesn't matter, it is harder to tell a player that you are restricting the Paladin. 



No, the issue here is you telling us how to run our games, which is funny because apparently you're not willing to do it yourself in your own game.

If you want Paladins to be LG only in your game, grow a pair and put that down as a house rule.


I don't like houserules. I like the ability to tell a player to pick up the Players handbook and make a character without having to tell them all the rules I'm using. Which is one of the reasons I hate modularity.
I'm a little torn on this one.  On one hand, I hate alignment restrictions.  On the other, I do beliecve words have meanings, and Paladins by definition are Good aligned (Christian by the origin of the word).  I'd lean towards a different name, same mechanic solution, except I feel that would lead to unnecessary bloat.


Actually, in my judgment the word's connotation is closer to "elite" than "good".  The Twelve Peers were the most badass knights in the land, but the enemies they fought were more likely to be honorable foes than vile monsters.  If the name of the class was "saint" or something, that would be a different story.

Salla and Crimson_Concerto can tell you that I can get really obstinate about the meanings of words and how they're used by the game.  But nongood paladins?  I don't have a problem with that.

As Charlemagne's followers, numbered twelve after the Apostles, their Christian link and therefore "goodness" is hard to deny.




Religious affiliation and moral affiliation are not the same thing in the real world however, and there are many fictional representations of evil paladins, or at least non-good ones.

Such as the Iscariot Organization from the Hellsing anime and the bad guys in Jumper. 
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