Alignment Poll

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I have seen 1000's of posts worth of discussion about the alignment systems and whether or nor they work, so I wanted to add a poll for the people here to see at a glance what the general consensus is: just the numbers, none of the arguments please, there are other threads for reading the specific arguments.

Founder - but not owner - of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
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If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

This is going to turn into yet another pointless alignment debate...
Gunmage, a homebrew arcane striker. (Heroic Tier playtest ready.) GDocs link. (More up to date.)
Impossible to answer because it depends on the system, Allignment is really only as good as it's mechanical value within that system. 3.5 edition's allignment system wouldn't work in 4th edition, nor could you dump 3.5's allignment without retooling the existing allignment mechanics, which would be a completely pointless endevour.


And you really can't ditch a core mechanic out of any system. So what system are you asking about? 5th? I am really more interested in how it's other systems work then somethign as trivial as allignment.  
I polled. Still wanted to add my two coppers. Just because something sounds like a good idea, doesn't make it one... even if there's concensus.
A rogue with a bowl of slop can be a controller. WIZARD PC: Can I substitute Celestial Roc Guano for my fireball spells? DM: Awesome. Yes. When in doubt, take action.... that's generally the best course. Even Sun Tsu knew that, and he didn't have internets.
I polled. Still wanted to add my two coppers. Just because something sounds like a good idea, doesn't make it one... even if there's concensus.



I would make the same statement about alignment, except it's not a good idea. You can do without it... just give it a try!
My issue with a lack of alignment is that it requires the characters actions to define their intentions.

Those actions can be interpreted in various ways and can lead to arguments and problems.

For example a character who sneaks into a cavern filled with Orcs and kills them while they sleep would be considered what by you?

Does the DM ask for the reasoning of a action?

Does someone who is better at creating a argument to valadate the action be allowed to do it? Does someone who is not get punished?

Dungeons and Dragons generally speaking are about heroic characters saving the day.

I've been playing Role-playing games for over 20 years and recently I had to end a Mutant's & Masterminds game due to arguements about what is heroic and good and what isn't.

Never had that problem with Dungeons and Dragons, alignment keeps some people in check.  But it doesn't mean everyone has this problem.

I've seen players do the crazest things due to thier interpretation of alignment.  I've seen adventurers use gease fight for them, saving opponents from other players, and characters talk their opponents before the last big encounter actually starts.

Alignments can be a role-playing tool, or it can be a punishment, it all depends on how you look at it.




My issue with a lack of alignment is that it requires the characters actions to define their intentions.

Why do we need their intentions defined? Are we to tell people "no" if we don't like their intentions?

Those actions can be interpreted in various ways and can lead to arguments and problems.

So can alignment.

For example a character who sneaks into a cavern filled with Orcs and kills them while they sleep would be considered what by you?

Overly cautious, but what I consider them to be does not matter.

Does the DM ask for the reasoning of a action?

Of course not.

Does someone who is better at creating a argument to valadate the action be allowed to do it? Does someone who is not get punished?

No. Anyone is allowed to do it, and while there may be interesting consequences from their actions, no one is ever punished. What on earth would punishment accomplish?

Dungeons and Dragons generally speaking are about heroic characters saving the day.

Or mercenary characters out for themselves. Conan, Fafhrd, and the Grey Mouser were also inspirations for the game.

I've been playing Role-playing games for over 20 years and recently I had to end a Mutant's & Masterminds game due to arguements about what is heroic and good and what isn't.

Why would anyone care enough to wreck a game over it?

Never had that problem with Dungeons and Dragons, alignment keeps some people in check.  But it doesn't mean everyone has this problem.

Enough people do.

I've seen players do the crazest things due to thier interpretation of alignment.  I've seen adventurers use gease fight for them, saving opponents from other players, and characters talk their opponents before the last big encounter actually starts.

Some people think alignment excuses jerky or silly behavior. Some people think they HAVE to be jerky or silly, or risk having their alignment changed. That's not the case, but it's easy to reach such a conclusion.

Alignments can be a role-playing tool, or it can be a punishment, it all depends on how you look at it.

It's very easily understood to be a way to control people and a reason to punish them if they buck that control. Clarify that problem away, or ditch alignment.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

 /input my problem with the other copy of this thread in here. 
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Why do we need their intentions defined? Are we to tell people "no" if we don't like their intentions?



Intentions lead to a final action.  Although there are plenty of games that don't have alignment, they do have a way for a player to show the path the character wants to take.  Exalted, L5R, Vampire the Masquerade, all have ways for a character to either build the moraility that can be determined by the GM or have a long term goal to strive for. 

So can alignment.



I agree 100% I've seen, discussed, and argued on alignment actions in game and out of game.  I like these discussions but I've found most don't so I usually respect their wishes.

 
No. Anyone is allowed to do it, and while there may be interesting consequences from their actions, no one is ever punished. What on earth would punishment accomplish?



Consequences can be seen as a form of punishment by some.
 
Or mercenary characters out for themselves. Conan, Fafhrd, and the Grey Mouser were also inspirations for the game.



True.  But characters like Conan usually do what are considered good things.  In 4e the characters are described in the PHB has Heroes.  Although characters can interpret that as they wish.

Why would anyone care enough to wreck a game over it?



In that particular games it had to do with the individual player's view of right and wrong, and the morality of their actions.

That game they were playing superheroes and they each had different opinions of what heroes should act like.  One player decided to do something that many of the other players didn't see as a heroic action.  The action had consequences in game but many of the characters became to mistrust that character.  Discussions became arguments and in the end the characters decided to dispand their group.

In that game its foundation was build on what was considered moral and heroic actions.  As the GM of that game I just tried to keep the game together but in the end it was the players who had the problems.

Enough people do.



True enough, and there are many RPGs in which alignment is not an issue.

Some people think alignment excuses jerky or silly behavior. Some people think they HAVE to be jerky or silly, or risk having their alignment changed. That's not the case, but it's easy to reach such a conclusion.



I have played in games with that problem.  Both characters of good and evil alignment are subject to this.  Its the players intrepretations of what they beleive that cause the issue.

It's very easily understood to be a way to control people and a reason to punish them if they buck that control. Clarify that problem away, or ditch alignment.



Depends on your views, alignment can be seen as a form of control or as a guideline. This depends on the DM in question.  I tend to be very loose with alignment but there are exceptions.

For example, a player who wishes to play a Paladin on a Lawful Good Diety for purposes of the powers of the diety I beleive should act acordingly.

In L5R a character with a high honor rating is "punished" by losing honor for dishonorable actions depending on his Clan.   In Vampire it was your humanity score.

In the end if you have players and a DM who don't have a problem with ignoring alignment then its fine.  But in games such as LFR is seen as a prevention of players simply performing what could be considered "villainous" actions against other players.

In the end its about the fun of EVERYONE.  The question is does alignment do more harm than good for everyone and what are the postive and negative effects of removing it?

The guy who sneaks in and kills all the Orcs in their sleep would be considered both smart and skilled. 

I've had over 2 decades of experience playing, and my groups have never had an issue over allignment, but that is probably because I don't hang around people who have trouble distinguishing between good and evil. I imagine that if I had friends who were sociopaths and were dumb enough to let them in my house instead of locking the door, I might have allignment issues.


The fact of the matter is most issues with allignment that I have ever heard of (but never seen in real life) have less to nothing to do with allignment and more to do with a problem with that person.

The CN person who goes into battle swinging a fish in a serious game while spouting that he is a teapot, turns and attacks his own group randomly, because Chaotic amIright? This has nothing to do with allignment, the problem is the player is an immature moron. Solution is not to drop allignment, it's to drop him off at the park on the way home and leave him there.

The CN player who uses that allignment as an excuse for meyhem, murder and destruction and who is actually just CE? Again the problem is not allignment, and it isn't fixed by changing his allignment or forcing his allignment, the problem is that he is an immature asshat. If you think he is going to stop being an immatue asshat because you ditched allignment then you are in for a suprise.


DM railroads your character with allignment, says You can't sneak in and kill the evil orcs in their sleep? Well that DM is running a Rail Road with iron tracks and a tight schedual. He is going to Rail Road you anyways. The Orcs will sleep in full armor with weapons ready, the first one you off will Scream and wake the rest, your sneak rolls will fial regardless of how high you roll, he will simply add another room full of armed orcs.....HE WILL RAILROAD YOU!

Because the problem isn't the alignment system, it is the Rail Roading DM, and he doesn't need allignments to railroad you. 
The guy who sneaks in and kills all the Orcs in their sleep would be considered both smart and skilled. 

I've had over 2 decades of experience playing, and my groups have never had an issue over allignment, but that is probably because I don't hang around people who have trouble distinguishing between good and evil. I imagine that if I had friends who were sociopaths and were dumb enough to let them in my house instead of locking the door, I might have allignment issues.


The fact of the matter is most issues with allignment that I have ever heard of (but never seen in real life) have less to nothing to do with allignment and more to do with a problem with that person.

The CN person who goes into battle swinging a fish in a serious game while spouting that he is a teapot, turns and attacks his own group randomly, because Chaotic amIright? This has nothing to do with allignment, the problem is the player is an immature moron. Solution is not to drop allignment, it's to drop him off at the park on the way home and leave him there.

The CN player who uses that allignment as an excuse for meyhem, murder and destruction and who is actually just CE? Again the problem is not allignment, and it isn't fixed by changing his allignment or forcing his allignment, the problem is that he is an immature asshat. If you think he is going to stop being an immatue asshat because you ditched allignment then you are in for a suprise.


DM railroads your character with allignment, says You can't sneak in and kill the evil orcs in their sleep? Well that DM is running a Rail Road with iron tracks and a tight schedual. He is going to Rail Road you anyways. The Orcs will sleep in full armor with weapons ready, the first one you off will Scream and wake the rest, your sneak rolls will fial regardless of how high you roll, he will simply add another room full of armed orcs.....HE WILL RAILROAD YOU!

Because the problem isn't the alignment system, it is the Rail Roading DM, and he doesn't need allignments to railroad you. 



No, that makes too much sense.

Founder - but not owner - of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

"It's bad DMing" is never a strong argument for why something is problematic, and especially not for alignment. For one thing, even DMs who are very good at other aspects of the game can easily and even accidentally misapply alignment, even with the best intentions. For another thing, when 4th Edition downplayed alignment significantly, nothing arose to take the place of all those arguments about alignment. Sure, we still see things about railroading in 4th Edition, but it's now clearly railroading and dealt with as such. With alignment, there's always someone who thinks that the DM's interpretation is actually in the right. Even if that person is wrong too, it muddies the issue and makes for long, drawn out arguments not about railroading (which everyone dislikes) but about alignment (which is very divisive).

It's abundantly clear that there are people who see the point of alignment as a means to control players. Okay, they're bad DMs. Fine. Whatever. Must we simply throw up our hands or can we change something about alignment or its presentation to account for that?

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Centauri, I recomend to any DM to do what I do, which is consider any PC to be Neutral unless they have selected an allignment for a specific mechanical benifit, it's more of a useful tool for interacting with NPCs and setting up encounters (protection from Evil works against the Vampire etc)
I don't have a problem with alignment per se...I often fall back on the old 2e descriptions of alignment when I try to craft a personality.  As far as a mechanical restriction, it's stupid and in my opinion has no place, because of the fact that a DM and a player can legitamately disagree...and I feel that the game is not in any way improved by it's presence.

So, I see it as a mechanic as only causing problems with no benefit.
My issue with a lack of alignment is that it requires the characters actions to define their intentions.

Those actions can be interpreted in various ways and can lead to arguments and problems.

For example a character who sneaks into a cavern filled with Orcs and kills them while they sleep would be considered what by you?




What difference does it make?  At the end of the day, it doesn't matter.  Was the mission accomplished?  If the characters are evil, does it matter?  No, it doesn't.  I can play a raving maniac at the table and as long as there is no party conflict, all is well.

Navy SEALS don't offer someone fair combat, they take them down in whichever way seems to be the safest to them.  I wouldn't call them evil.  Nor would I call an adventurer who executed a group of enemy orcs that way, evil.  It's not chivalric, but...at the end of the day killing is killing.  If you're going to do it, get it done with the least losses and smallest amount of collateral damage.


Centauri, I recomend to any DM to do what I do, which is consider any PC to be Neutral unless they have selected an allignment for a specific mechanical benifit, it's more of a useful tool for interacting with NPCs and setting up encounters (protection from Evil works against the Vampire etc)

If the rules advised this clearly and repeatedly, in the three core books, would you be satisfied?

But what do you mean by "selected an alignment for a specific mechanical benefit"? How would a player prove that the alignment had not been chosen for a mechanical benefit? If a class isn't mechanically any better than another class, then picking the alignment required by that class is a specific choice, but it can't be said to provide any "benefit" over any other choice. I say this because I get the general impression that people see the restrictions on paladins not only as a way to emulate a certain tone, but also as a balancing factor. This, to me, doesn't hold water because a) there are better classes, such as the wizard and druid, that have very few meaningful restrictions, at least not ones they can't get around, and b) it's easy to imagine a paladin in a game in which every PC is basically lawful good and the paladin's strictures are never run up against, and I would hope that the paladin wouldn't be a more advantageous class to play simply because of that.

Other than that, you seem only interested in the mechanics. My only objection is being told how to roleplay my character, so as long as I can have the alignment I want for other reasons, and can act the way I want to act, and the DM and other players keep any resulting consequences interesting, I don't have a problem.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

See? Alignment debate. Never fails to happen, but it always feels like failure when it does. I've been playing tabletop games for ten years and I have long since grown tired of alignments.

I don't ask my groups what their alignments are. I don't require them. Even if the players put down alignments, I ignore them, because I assume no one has an alignment.

Funny how an alignment debate hasn't broken out in my group since I started doing that. Though I admit it has more to do with the fact all my players want to play relatively nice, altruistic characters and would rather play the game than debate how the game should be played. It's wonderful and I love them.
Gunmage, a homebrew arcane striker. (Heroic Tier playtest ready.) GDocs link. (More up to date.)
Funny how an alignment debate hasn't broken out in my group since I started doing that. Though I admit it has more to do with the fact all my players want to play relatively nice, altruistic characters and would rather play the game than debate how the game should be played. It's wonderful and I love them.

It's not about the debate, it's about being told how we must play our characters. I don't want to argue about why I shouldn't have to roleplay a certain way, I just don't want to roleplay the way I want to. I don't imagine your players would like it if you told them they had to play their nice, altruistic characters in a particular way. Regardless of alignment rules, that's annoying.

What if they chose to play selfish, calculating characters, but still worked as a team? Would you still be able to ignore alignment.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

My issue with a lack of alignment is that it requires the characters actions to define their intentions.

Those actions can be interpreted in various ways and can lead to arguments and problems.

For example a character who sneaks into a cavern filled with Orcs and kills them while they sleep would be considered what by you?




What difference does it make?  At the end of the day, it doesn't matter.  Was the mission accomplished?  If the characters are evil, does it matter?  No, it doesn't.  I can play a raving maniac at the table and as long as there is no party conflict, all is well.

Navy SEALS don't offer someone fair combat, they take them down in whichever way seems to be the safest to them.  I wouldn't call them evil.  Nor would I call an adventurer who executed a group of enemy orcs that way, evil.  It's not chivalric, but...at the end of the day killing is killing.  If you're going to do it, get it done with the least losses and smallest amount of collateral damage.



Interesting analogy

I wouldn't call a Navy Seal evil either.  But what if you replaced the Navy Seal with a Police Officer and he performed the same action.

Does it change morality of the action?

Both Police Officers and Navy Seals protect the USA but are defined by how they can accomplish this in societys morals and laws.

I love using the adventurers vs sleeping Orc analogy for the follow reasons:



  • If you change Adventurers to someone else does it morality of the action?

  • If you change Orcs to someone else does it change the morality of the action?

  • If a change the person telling the Adventures vs Sleeping Orcs story does it change the morality of the action?



Dungeons and Dragons describes the players as Heroes.  Heroes are not defined by alignment but are defined by the actions they take and how those actions are seen by the society they live in.

Alignment is a mechanic, you said yourself you use the nine alignments when crafting a personality.

As it has been alread stated that Alignment is seen by others as a way of a DM controlling player's characters.  It can be or it can't depending on the intrepretation of alignment.

To be honest I've had more problems with what is considered evil actions by Cyberpunk games than Dungeons and Dragons games.







As it has been alread stated that Alignment is seen by others as a way of a DM controlling player's characters.  It can be or it can't depending on the intrepretation of alignment.

Right. If alignment is going to be kept, then the rules need to be clarified to drive out the interpretation that it's a way to control players' actions. It won't catch everyone, especially not older players, but it might start a change and give people a way to respond to people who try to control them through rules.

To be honest I've had more problems with what is considered evil actions by Cyberpunk games than Dungeons and Dragons games.

That's unsurprising. The most widely known inspirations for fantasy adventures feature noble characters. Cyberpunk as a genre is known for having darker, more morally ambiguous characters. I'm not sure why it would matter in a Cyberpunk game whether someone was good or evil, especially since very few characters would be wholly good. It would be an interesting challenge to play a perfectly "good" character in such a setting, but one should be aware that doing so is playing against type and likely to run into disagreement, especially if they're touting their goodness.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

What if they chose to play selfish, calculating characters, but still worked as a team? Would you still be able to ignore alignment.


Considering I build my adventures based off the actions of PCs, yes, I could still easily ignore alignment.

When it comes down to it, I've grown too jaded to give a crap. It's about alignment, it's a debate, that's more than enough reason for me to consider it pointless. Nothing anyone involved has to say will sway opinions, so bringing up the topic only serves to start another debate.

And I use the word 'debate' loosely, as I know from experience that the longer they last, the less like a 'debate' and the more like a group of children squabbling they become. "I'm right!" "No, I'm right!" "No, I'M right!" "NO, ME!" On and on and on and on... It's inevitable.
Gunmage, a homebrew arcane striker. (Heroic Tier playtest ready.) GDocs link. (More up to date.)
All these alignment threads make me feel like I'm actively getting worse at D&D.
"Alignment" should be replaced with "motivation(s)" and "personality/ demeanor".
The RPG I play does not use alignments as D&D does, but rather uses motivations and personality descriptors.
Works ten thousand times better than D&Ds tired alignment system.
*shrug*
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All these alignment threads make me feel like I'm actively getting worse at D&D.


Really? Because they make me feel like D&D is actively getting worse. Or, at the very least, stagnant.
Gunmage, a homebrew arcane striker. (Heroic Tier playtest ready.) GDocs link. (More up to date.)
Morality is relative.

Keep 5e as simple as possibly in the core so new players especially older skeptical players can pick the game up with ease.

Alignment can easily be added as a supplement  (something they are not considering enough for alot of mechanics they believe to be core).

Core mechanics are simplicity and are desired, supplement provides additional material within structural context.
If the rules advised this clearly and repeatedly, in the three core books, would you be satisfied?



The rules make it clear that allignment is not a straightjacket, the description is understandable enough to realise that allignments cover a wide range of behavior. Also in the system it is just their for mechanical functions, if they don't match their alignment it can simly be changed and that isn't relevant

But what do you mean by "selected an alignment for a specific mechanical benefit"? How would a player prove that the alignment had not been chosen for a mechanical benefit? If a class isn't mechanically any better than another class, then picking the alignment required by that class is a specific choice, but it can't be said to provide any "benefit" over any other choice. I say this because I get the general impression that people see the restrictions on paladins not only as a way to emulate a certain tone, but also as a balancing factor.



Yes, as a general tone, LG emulates the Paladin s code of conduct and paragon of the Holy knight in shining armor and virtue, there is an expectation that the Paladin not be evil, corrupt, dishonorable etc etc. That reflects his allignment.
The rules make it clear that allignment is not a straightjacket, the description is understandable enough to realise that allignments cover a wide range of behavior.

That clearly is not happening. Blame it on DM skill if you want, but when something is clearly not catching on with a large portion of the players, the rules are changed and clarified. Wizards could be balanced with fighters, the tools were there, but enough people failed to recognize or heed that advice, that the game changed to balance wizards with fighters inherently, or at least much moreso than before. How can the same be done with alignment, making it work for more people from the get go?

 Also in the system it is just their for mechanical functions, if they don't match their alignment it can simly be changed and that isn't relevant

Why does it need to be changed?

But what do you mean by "selected an alignment for a specific mechanical benefit"?

Yes, as a general tone, LG emulates the Paladin s code of conduct and paragon of the Holy knight in shining armor and virtue, there is an expectation that the Paladin not be evil, corrupt, dishonorable etc etc. That reflects his allignment.

My question stands.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

I've posted this on the What's a DM to do? version of this thread.

In order to make everyone happy I suggest this:



  • Make alignments optional.

  • Describe alignments as a guideline for roleplaying YOUR character or  YOUR NPCs only.

  • As players you decide to have them for your individual.

  • No in-game punishment for not following them.


The rules make it clear that allignment is not a straightjacket, the description is understandable enough to realise that allignments cover a wide range of behavior. Also in the system it is just their for mechanical functions, if they don't match their alignment it can simly be changed and that isn't relevant



The rules could be more clear on that regard.
Additionally years of playing older editions still sit in people minds. I can still quote rules from 2nd Edition.

Yes, as a general tone, LG emulates the Paladin s code of conduct and paragon of the Holy knight in shining armor and virtue, there is an expectation that the Paladin not be evil, corrupt, dishonorable etc etc. That reflects his allignment.



I don't think the issue is what Lawful Good Emulates, its the mechanics of forcing a player to play in that regard.
Generally speaking people don't like being told what to do.   In a social setting such as roleplaying this is even more true.

The issue is what you see as Lawful Good and what others see as Lawful Good is going to be different due to intrepretation of that alignment.  That difference can lead to argument which in turn can stop the fun of the game you are intending to play.


I'm fine with them in, just keep them out of anything mechanical. Put the mechanics in a module, leave them out of core.


I've had over 2 decades of experience playing, and my groups have never had an issue over allignment, but that is probably because I don't hang around people who have trouble distinguishing between good and evil. I imagine that if I had friends who were sociopaths and were dumb enough to let them in my house instead of locking the door, I might have allignment issues.





So well put.  If you are having alignment problems with characters doing intentionally malicious things, are these people you actually want to be around and have in your house?

and my groups have never had an issue over allignment, but that is probably because I don't hang around people who have trouble distinguishing between good and evil.




So well put.


Excellent joke old chap.
As a player, I find that alignment is the greatest restriction to the organic creation of a character as a character.  By this, I mean the creation of that character as a person, not a set of mechanics; their personality, their mannerisms, their nature, and how all of that grows and changes as they journey through the campaign's story.  Alignment is something intended to be utterly unchanging, and attempts to be rigidly defined while not really providing a strong definition (4e, despite having an almost completely vestigal alignment system, strangely does more to make alignment clear and coherent than the 9-alignment system ever was, for me).  The intent that a PC is and always will be this alignment is completely counter to the concept of organic character growth, in a way that I've never seen another RPG do.

Even various mechanics like honor in L5R, or the various moral systems of WoD (humanity, vices and virtues, wyrd, etc.) don't restrain the organic growth of the character in the way that alignment does; arguably, they promote it.  If you lose honor in L5R, you've committed certain dishonorable actions and therefore have the potential to either continue on down that path of dishonor or find a way to save face and regain it.  If you lose humanity in a Vampire game, you can see it as losing some of your restraints and going further down into the Beast, or as a brief loss in the struggle as you fight to regain that lost humanity.  It lets you look at what your character has done and decide which way you want them to grow in, how you want them to react to this situation, and how they are affected by it.

In 4e, I feel that my PC has a broad enough space to work in the alignment system that I can do a lot of organic development of that PC's character, even with Divine classes that are tied more strongly than others to the alignment system.  However, this is because there is a much broader definition of each alignment in 4e, in addition to the lack of such aggressive alignment restrictions on classes.  It never made sense that all deities couldn't have Paladins in their service in previous editions, particularly when you consider the fact that WotC even went to the trouble of creating CG/LE/CE Paladin variants in Unearthed Arcana to compensate for this lack.  In the context of what D&D had evolved into by the time of 3e, a D&D Paladin was not just some paragon of knighthood, they were the mortal soldiers of the gods...and yet, they could only belong to a small selection of deities, due to the half-step alignment rule for Paladins.

Now, I can have a Paladin devoted to any deity, and there's suddenly a wealth of roleplay potential opened up as a result.  I can also have a Lawful Good Barbarian, or a Bard, or an Unaligned Monk, and this lack of alignment constraints has made for much stronger character development not only on my part, but on the part of other members of my gaming group.  It also has opened up many avenues for my group, as it has prompted all of us to be more willing to play those character classes, as there's a much greater breadth of what we can do with them.
@Rogue_Elendae


   In Legend of the Five rings I find that depending on your Clan it can be very easily to lose honor and extremely difficult to get it back.  That game in particular I find the least liked by players who have played it for they feel that they are most restricted by their actions.


Alignment is different it can be seen a stamp on your characters forehead.  Player and character can make assumptions the moment you tell them what your alignment is.


I've been in games where DMs have stated they want a heroic game which was to mean no villainous actions of any kind were to be permitted.   Although some players don't like such restrictions I still find that better than a DM simply making statement "Your character can't do that".


Other things that reinforce alignment punishment are stories of characters who "fell from grace"


Characters like Anakin Skywalker, Arthas, and Lord Soth even though their "fall" can is what defines them, can be seen as NPCs who changed their alignment and were punished for it.


Lord Soth is probably the most damaging since Dragonlance due to its connections with the Dungeons & Dragons system and Soth could be used in the simplest of terms as a Paladin mechanically punished for modifying his alignment.


Also in the Ravenloft campaign setting, of which I really enjoy  is prime example of mechanical punishment.  In that setting DMs are in my opinion required to enforce the intent of players verus their alignment.

Interesting how different an experience one can have with the same games.  My group has frequently played Legend of the Five Rings, and we have found it to be one of the less restrictive games in terms of player actions, once people get past certain ideas of how the setting works.  Mind you, this may be because of how we view the world of Rokugan; the other GM of our group and I both happen to be somewhat strongly versed in the history of Japan, and the nature of samurai and bushido, and thus might have different interpretations of how honor in such a setting works, even within the rules.  While members some clans--Crane, Crab, Phoenix--admittedly have an easier time losing honor due to their particular social standing in the imperial court than a Unicorn or Mantis, but I find that there is a certain story appeal to the struggle they would have for redemption.

As to the idea of the "fallen from grace" character, I find that the problem with associating alignment (and alignment "punishment") with them is that the story is potentially more effective, elegant, and poignant without the idea of a mechanical device behind it.  Much the same as I find character development in general is more graceful and natural without the "stamp" of alignment for the DM and other players to look for and in previous editions potentially use as a means of exploiting your actions.  I feel that it is more interesting to address the character's "character" without such a blanket statement as "he is Lawful Good" or "she is Chaotic Evil" tainting it all, and potentially prompting immediate, visceral reactions from some people.

That said, I will admit that large parts of this view on the importance of organic character development and why I dislike the unchanging, often poorly defined restriction of alignment as opposed to the way such things are handled in other RPGs is due to my being fond of writing and acting outside of gaming.  Having broad paths open to the characters and being able to allow their personality and characterization to develop, grow, and change organically due to events they encounter in the plot is something I expect to be capable of, because that is what is expected in acting and writing.



To be honest I've had more problems with what is considered evil actions by Cyberpunk games than Dungeons and Dragons games.




LOL I agree.  Well Cyberpunk charactors generally I have to say are not Lawful good.  The setting is pretty dark.  Breaking laws and shooting guns seem to be the theme of the game and not trying to be a law abiding good citizen.

I don't know why people say moral is relative in Dnd world.  If morality is anywhere clearly defined, it's in the D&D world.  D&D clearly outlines alignment that are tied to a clear pantheon.  The pantheon lists their portfolio and their charactor, and what they expect from their followers.  It's not D&D fault that players and DM manage it so poorly, and botch it so badly.  Try this - Dm is the ultimate arbitrator of your charactor's actions pertaining to alignment.  If players stop arguing with the Dm this wouldn't be a issue.  Stop arguing with the dm... ;p



But what do you mean by "selected an alignment for a specific mechanical benefit"?



In older editions where some classes/abilities have allignment requirements, or restrictions, or access to certain domains/feats etc. Mundane requirements  for the most part unless it required one to be evil which might not be allowable in a game. The Paladin was the only class really notably effected because of his additional Code of Conduct.

in 3.5here is also the effect of allignment based spells,  which can be interesting, a couple of Magic Circles from Good/Law/Chaos spells in an encounter can have some fun results on a party. Or the good old curse that radically changes the person's allignment, there were some interesting combinations.
Or the good old curse that radically changes the person's allignment, there were some interesting combinations.


I really wouldn't want this curse in the game for two reasons.

1. It's pretty much forcing you to change how you roleplay, usually without the player's say in it. That's bad.

2. The players will ignore it and continue roleplaying however they were earlier thus bringing their alignment back where it should be. Making said curse pointless.
Or the good old curse that radically changes the person's allignment, there were some interesting combinations.


I really wouldn't want this curse in the game for two reasons.

1. It's pretty much forcing you to change how you roleplay, usually without the player's say in it. That's bad.

2. The players will ignore it and continue roleplaying however they were earlier thus bringing their alignment back where it should be. Making said curse pointless.



Well said.  The Helm Of Opposite Alignment was, far and away, the absolute dumbest idea anybody ever came up with, easily out-stupiding the Girdle of Masculinity/Femininity.
Or the good old curse that radically changes the person's allignment, there were some interesting combinations.



You should never force a player to play they way you wish.  This game is for their fun and by doing so you remove it.

My views of alignment issues standing alignment should never be used as a form of control.

The Helm Of Opposite Alignment was, far and away, the absolute dumbest idea anybody ever came up with, easily out-stupiding the Girdle of Masculinity/Femininity.



+1

I would place the Robe of Useless Items in number three on that list.

I would place the Deck of Game Ending in the top slot. It's cool; it's fun; and it destroys campaigns.
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I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
So when do you think Bachmann will be saying she met a mother the previous night that had a son who got a blood transfusion using a gay guy's blood, and now the son is retardedly gay?
When she meets CJ's mom?
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