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.

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
Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
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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

I chose they should be abandon. What I really think is that they should be abandon until they get significant improvements. Other games do it better.
Oh, yay, redundant threads. I'd think just putting one poll in 4e General would be better than two different polls.

And I reiterate: I think this is going to wind up devolving into yet another pointless alignment debate. I give it a week at most.
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It would be nice to see a thread not go up in flames, as unlikely as that is.

Personally, I voted that the system would need work to be useful. Particularly a line stating that the alignments are a guide, and not to be enforced mechanically or by dm fiat.

I like the usage of alignment as a shorthand of what general behaviors a character may follow, while accepting that people will vary in behavior both short- and long-term.
it's as simple as people voting and not commenting.  Just vote and hold your peace.  Already though you can tell the general inclination.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

I like the usage of alignment as a shorthand of what general behaviors a character may follow, while accepting that people will vary in behavior both short- and long-term.

But if you accept that, then how can use use them as a shorthand? The player may not act at all how you expect. That's fine if you're not depending on certain behaviors, but aggravating for DMs who assume that the PCs will go along with the plot as presented, because to do otherwise would be against their alignment.

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

The Alignment System "works" as defining the very basic morality of people in a game like D&D. Alignmnt Based mechanics, however, are full of crap and should be abolished or tailored in a way that allows one group to keep them and one group to dismiss them. Personally, as a fan of the Paladin, I always felt shafted when we fought enemies where a good majority of my powers were nigh useless because......alignment. The big Iron Golem that's defending the entry way into the Lich's castle, rabid animals roaming the woods, and other primitive or unthinking creatures that are just as deadly as "evil" people but are not effected by character's abilities.

As a player, I don't want to be "shut-off" as a contributing player to the story just because some mechanic says "no, you can't use that now".  
 
It was just said that we did NOT want this to devolve into another thread like before.  Please respect that.  Vote and hold your peace.  If you can't and feel you must comment, don't comment about other people's views.  This is not what this thread is for.  Contact the person by PM or go post in one of the hundreds of threads about alignment.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

in my game we abandoned the alignment but i think it should still be in for those who do want it
It was just said that we did NOT want this to devolve into another thread like before.  Please respect that.



You must be new here.
It was just said that we did NOT want this to devolve into another thread like before.  Please respect that.



You must be new here.



eh
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

I don't mean this to start an argument, but I have a question about the poll.

How would one vote to say "4e's method of alignment having no mechanical effect but still a core part of the game's fluff" go?

I'd like to participate but I feel the options are cutting out a lot of the issue as presented.
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How would one vote to say "4e's method of alignment having no mechanical effect but still a core part of the game's fluff" go?



Sounds like "Alignment systems would need significant improvement to work" if you feel that 4e's system works by making those improvements.

The main arguments against alignment seem to be "My DM doesn't let me roleplay the way I want to" (which can be addressed by avoiding railroading DMs) and "It's to 'subjective' for mechanical effects" (which you would improve, by taking out the mechanical effects, to make it work better).

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
Best defense that I've read in favor of having alignment systems as an option
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

How would one vote to say "4e's method of alignment having no mechanical effect but still a core part of the game's fluff" go?



Sounds like "Alignment systems would need significant improvement to work" if you feel that 4e's system works by making those improvements.

The main arguments against alignment seem to be "My DM doesn't let me roleplay the way I want to" (which can be addressed by avoiding railroading DMs) and "It's to 'subjective' for mechanical effects" (which you would improve, by taking out the mechanical effects, to make it work better).



Well, the problem is that if the 4e system is veiwed as current then it isn't "the systems need a lot of work", it is "this system needs a little work."

I mean, what are we talking about as the base for the alignment here?  ADND alignment? 2e? 3.5e? 4e?


Edit: To be more clear there are 2 concepts here.
1) Overall alignment.  Battle between good and evil in the game etc.  So, the story of the game.
2) Alignment mechanics that make the rules of the game function differently. So, the basic functions of the game.

Which version of alignment are we talking about here?
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here


The main arguments against alignment seem to be "My DM doesn't let me roleplay the way I want to" (which can be addressed by avoiding railroading DMs) and "It's to 'subjective' for mechanical effects" (which you would improve, by taking out the mechanical effects, to make it work better).



So you'd be left with a descriptor. Descriptors always influence your actions and push you towards stereotyping creatures and making them dull, no matter how often you cry to high heaven that you're too "good" for that to happen.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
I have had virtually no problems with Alignment since starting to play D&D in about 1976.  Not until I got into online forums did I find others had significant issues.  Alignment has worked well enough for me and mine since 1E although the silly stuff with xp loss, etc. was dropped almost immediately.  It is not, however, well-written and never has been.  Its purpose for even being in the game still goes undefined.  Its means of perpetuating that purpose thus is abused, not understood.  It is thus deemed pointless and disruptive by many and there's nothing to be gained by arguing that with people who feel that way.

Even if _I_ think it works because over 30 years of playing under it I haven't generally had issues with it doesn't mean that I can or should ignore the fact that others do.  Alignment really is a mess in its interpretation and imposition.  The fact is some games just do not need it or want it and for that reason alone it should at the very least be altered so that it can be safely ignored, outright, in every aspect, by those who wish to do so, and in every version of the game.

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

My 1E Project: http://home.earthlink.net/~duanevp/dnd/Building%20D&D/buildingdnd.htm

"Who says I can't?" "The man in the funny hat..."

I have had virtually no problems with Alignment since starting to play D&D in about 1976.  Not until I got into online forums did I find others had significant issues.  Alignment has worked well enough for me and mine since 1E although the silly stuff with xp loss, etc. was dropped almost immediately.  It is not, however, well-written and never has been.  Its purpose for even being in the game still goes undefined.  Its means of perpetuating that purpose thus is abused, not understood.  It is thus deemed pointless and disruptive by many and there's nothing to be gained by arguing that with people who feel that way.

Even if _I_ think it works because over 30 years of playing under it I haven't generally had issues with it doesn't mean that I can or should ignore the fact that others do.  Alignment really is a mess in its interpretation and imposition.  The fact is some games just do not need it or want it and for that reason alone it should at the very least be altered so that it can be safely ignored, outright, in every aspect, by those who wish to do so, and in every version of the game.



Amen.
Alignment has worked well enough for me and mine since 1E although the silly stuff with xp loss, etc. was dropped almost immediately.



So alignments work if you drop any mechanics that acompany them, well said. 
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
I believe his point is that they're at best innocuous.
Alignment has worked well enough for me and mine since 1E although the silly stuff with xp loss, etc. was dropped almost immediately.



So alignments work if you drop any mechanics that acompany them, well said. 


Problem # 2 with alignments is that any attempt at open and honest evaluation and discussion is sabotaged by relentless pedantry.

To make it CLEARER - they worked even with the stupid parts because they were easily avoided.  They worked BETTER without them.  I never said drop any accompanying mechanics.  I was suggesting that accompanying mechanics be ABLE to be dropped by those who are, at this point, blindly fanatical in their opposition to alignment.

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

My 1E Project: http://home.earthlink.net/~duanevp/dnd/Building%20D&D/buildingdnd.htm

"Who says I can't?" "The man in the funny hat..."

Alignment has worked well enough for me and mine since 1E although the silly stuff with xp loss, etc. was dropped almost immediately.



So alignments work if you drop any mechanics that acompany them, well said. 


Problem # 2 with alignments is that any attempt at open and honest evaluation and discussion is sabotaged by relentless pedantry.



Man_in_the_Funny_Hat rolled a 20! Critical hit!

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

Alignment has worked well enough for me and mine since 1E although the silly stuff with xp loss, etc. was dropped almost immediately.



So alignments work if you drop any mechanics that acompany them, well said. 


Problem # 2 with alignments is that any attempt at open and honest evaluation and discussion is sabotaged by relentless pedantry.

To make it CLEARER - they worked even with the stupid parts because they were easily avoided.  They worked BETTER without them.  I never said drop any accompanying mechanics.  I was suggesting that accompanying mechanics be ABLE to be dropped by those who are, at this point, blindly fanatical in their opposition to alignment.



Fanaticism in this discussion is claiming they have any meaning or relevance.
I think the "problem" is clear based on the poll results - there are two camps that are VERY polarized: "the system is fine" and "it should be abandoned."  Apparently there is no room for compromise.  Which is the reason for the overwhelming majority of the heated debates on the subject.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
Nonsense, there's a clear spot for compromise: An alignment system with zero rules impact. That picks up everyone in the "abolish" category, most of the "fix" category, and at the least everyone in the "keep" category who was thinking of 4e, as well as generally reasonable individuals like Funny Hat. Support there's not just a plurality, it's the majority view.
Nonsense, there's a clear spot for compromise: An alignment system with zero rules impact. That picks up everyone in the "abolish" category, most of the "fix" category, and at the least everyone in the "keep" category who was thinking of 4e, as well as generally reasonable individuals like Funny Hat. Support there's not just a plurality, it's the majority view.



This.  I dont care about alignments if they have no impact on my class.
Nonsense, there's a clear spot for compromise: An alignment system with zero rules impact. That picks up everyone in the "abolish" category, most of the "fix" category, and at the least everyone in the "keep" category who was thinking of 4e, as well as generally reasonable individuals like Funny Hat. Support there's not just a plurality, it's the majority view.

This.  I dont care about alignments if they have no impact on my class.

Yes, this is why I almost picked the middle option. If no one can tell me how to play my character, I don't care what alignment they say I have to be. In my own mind, I play my character as if alignment is completely independent of actions anyway.

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

If no one can tell me how to play my character, I don't care what alignment they say I have to be. In my own mind, I play my character as if alignment is completely independent of actions anyway.



Especially since you can just write down 'Tuna Sandwich' for your alignment and it's just as relevant.
I think the "problem" is clear based on the poll results - there are two camps that are VERY polarized: "the system is fine" and "it should be abandoned."  Apparently there is no room for compromise.  Which is the reason for the overwhelming majority of the heated debates on the subject.



The poll is incomplete. I think alignment could and should be explained better and in depth. I also happen to think that even if it were it wouldn't matter because, as shown in other threads, anti-alignment people are not willing to read things about alignment to understand it better to avoid problems. It is a brick wall they are determined to put their head through.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.

 

Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?

 

100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

That would merely make the problem worse. Alignment is the conceit of knowledge, pretending it has meaning harms the players far more than the mechanical impacts do.
I think the "problem" is clear based on the poll results - there are two camps that are VERY polarized: "the system is fine" and "it should be abandoned."  Apparently there is no room for compromise.  Which is the reason for the overwhelming majority of the heated debates on the subject.



The poll is incomplete. I think alignment could and should be explained better and in depth. I also happen to think that even if it were it wouldn't matter because, as shown in other threads, anti-alignment people are not willing to read things about alignment to understand it better to avoid problems. It is a brick wall they are determined to put their head through.





Evidence please.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
I also happen to think that even if it were it wouldn't matter because, as shown in other threads, anti-alignment people are not willing to read things about alignment to understand it better to avoid problems. It is a brick wall they are determined to put their head through.



Hi, Mr. Kettle.  I'm Ms. Pot.  Pleased to meet you.
I also happen to think that even if it were it wouldn't matter because, as shown in other threads, anti-alignment people are not willing to read things about alignment to understand it better to avoid problems. It is a brick wall they are determined to put their head through.



Hi, Mr. Kettle.  I'm Ms. Pot.  Pleased to meet you.




I tihnk I'm in love. (And great profile pic!).
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
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Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
Nonsense, there's a clear spot for compromise: An alignment system with zero rules impact. That picks up everyone in the "abolish" category, most of the "fix" category, and at the least everyone in the "keep" category who was thinking of 4e, as well as generally reasonable individuals like Funny Hat. Support there's not just a plurality, it's the majority view.


The majority of people who frequented this thread, anyway.  And even if that was the majority of forum dwellers, the forum does not represent an accurate cross-section of D&D players.  So, while this poll is interesting, no real data regarding majority of any view can be gleaned.
I also happen to think that even if it were it wouldn't matter because, as shown in other threads, anti-alignment people are not willing to read things about alignment to understand it better to avoid problems. It is a brick wall they are determined to put their head through.



Hi, Mr. Kettle.  I'm Ms. Pot.  Pleased to meet you.



This is why I said what I said.  Both sides are firmly entrenched in their beliefs.  No amount of debate will change minds.

Nonsense, there's a clear spot for compromise: An alignment system with zero rules impact. That picks up everyone in the "abolish" category, most of the "fix" category, and at the least everyone in the "keep" category who was thinking of 4e, as well as generally reasonable individuals like Funny Hat. Support there's not just a plurality, it's the majority view.



This.  I dont care about alignments if they have no impact on my class.



But that is not a compromise, that is all but abandoning the system

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
I dont care about alignments if they have no impact on my class.

But that is not a compromise, that is all but abandoning the system

Anyone else can still be any alignment they want, and use it however they want for themselves. All that's would go away is any possibility of a  person (player or DM) using alignment to control the character or class of another person (player or DM), which is ok because I'm told that only bad DMs do that. Everyone's a winner. That's a compromise.

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

I have had no serious issues with the Alignment system, but that is not to say the system doesn't have problems.


Previous Editions Alignments:   Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral, Lawful Evil, Neutral  Good, Neutral, Neutral Evil, Chaotic Good, Chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Evil


4th Edition Alignments:  Lawful Good, Good, Unaligned, Evil , Chaotic Evil


These alignments are defined by the game system.  The issue with alignments comes from the following two things:



  • The interpretation of the alignments by players and DMs.

  • The interpretation of the purpose of the alignment mechanics by the players and the DMs.


If a player has a Lawful Good Paladin Character and plays as he or she sees fit.  The other players and DM has no problem with the players interpretation of the alignment.  The mechanics are not brought into play and therefore, there is no issue.


If a player has a Lawful Good Paladin Character and plays as he or she see fit. The other player and/or the DM have problems with the players interpretation of the alignment.  The mechanics are brought into play and therefore, there is an issue.


In 3.0 and 3.5 I found that alignment as a mechanic to restrict multiclassing.



  • As an example in 3rd Edition you couldn't be a Paladin/Barbarian due to alignment issues. 


In 4th Edition they have made that mechanic not an alignment mechanic but simply a design one. 



  • For example in  4th Edition you can multiclass or hybrid if you wish but you aren't going to get all the goodies you are looking for.


In fact in 4e restrictions arise with Divine characters due to Domain and Pantheons in conjunction with powers, mechanics, and feats.



  • For example a player who wants to play a Blackguard and wants to max out the usefulness of Adent Strike  with feats needs the following Domains: Darkness, Destruction and Strife

  • In order to have access to those some of those Domains you need to pray to one of the following dieties Cyric, Ghaundaur, Gruumush,  Lolth, Shar, Sseth, Talona,  and Zehir.

  • If the DM is running a campaign where the object is to destroy evil in the world, there is going to be an issue, since those deities are usually the source of such problems.


Now a DM could simply allow the player to take the Domain they want, but the Domain is also defined with a purpose and is linked to a particular deity.


Is a domain simply a mechanic? or Does it have a close relationship to a deity and that deities alignment.


Once again you are back to the similar issues of interpretation of a mechanic or possibly alignment depending on your views of what a Domain is.


So there are still restrictions yes?  Just in different ways?


Some describe previous alignment mechanics as a way of punishing players with mechanics.


In 4e a player who wants to have specific feats due to domains has to pray to a particular deity who in turn has an alignment requirement.  What is gone is the in-game of penalizing a character for an alignment change.


So in previous editions a player who wanted to play a Paladin had be Lawful Good and was restricted by his alignment and code of conduct.


In 4th Edition, a Paladin can be of any alignment.  However if they want a particular Domain powers, feats and such they have to select a particular deity which in turn dictates their alignmentBut there is no in-game mechanic  to keep the player from playing a different alignment.



  • So in previous editions if you wanted to play a particular type of class you had to pick a specific type of alignment.

  • In 4th Edition if you want to have specific divine powers and feats you have to pick a specific type of alignment.


So it's still there, it's just designed differently.


Since 4th Edition's driving force is to be useful is more important than anything else, this is not only a mechanical restriction but also a social as that fellow players want you to be useful too.


In my opinion with 4th Edition with Divine characters you are even MORE restricted than previously editions by the design of mechanics.


That is of course my interpretation and my opinion.

In my opinion with 4th Edition with Divine characters you are even MORE restricted than previously editions by the design of mechanics.

That is of course my interpretation and my opinion.

The issue is with restriction of one's roleplaying, and the perceived obligation by players and DMs to block others based on alignment considerations. In 4th Edition, there's alignment and certain restrictions and pressures, but there's no restriction on how one roleplays that alignment, and no real leverage anyone has to make anyone roleplay a specific way.

As a specific example, if I'm a paladin in 4e, I can't be told that I have to help someone, or kill someone, or not help someone, or not kill someone. I don't have to rat out the party rogue because if I don't I'll lose my powers.

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

In my opinion with 4th Edition with Divine characters you are even MORE restricted than previously editions by the design of mechanics.

That is of course my interpretation and my opinion.

The issue is with restriction of one's roleplaying, and the perceived obligation by players and DMs to block others based on alignment considerations. In 4th Edition, there's alignment and certain restrictions and pressures, but there's no restriction on how one roleplays that alignment, and no real leverage anyone has to make anyone roleplay a specific way.

As a specific example, if I'm a paladin in 4e, I can't be told that I have to help someone, or kill someone, or not help someone, or not kill someone. I don't have to rat out the party rogue because if I don't I'll lose my powers.



There is no actual in-game mechanic to do so.

Divine characters still have alignment restrictions.   If a Lawful Good Paladin decides to perform an act a DM considers Evil.  The DM can still do something about it.  It's just not as clearly defined.

DM's shouldn't have tell players how to roleplay their alignments anyway. I understand that position. 

The question I have for you is why do you think the previous alignment mechanics were designed that way in the first place?
in 4E there are paragon paths, themes, backgrounds and so on that require a specific alignment I believe.  Loss or change of alignment could prove to have lesser to serious negative impact on a PC.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

in 4E there are paragon paths, themes, backgrounds and so on that require a specific alignment I believe.  Loss or change of alignment could prove to have lesser to serious negative impact on a PC.



True but are the impacts clearly defined in the 4 Edition system?
As a specific example, if I'm a paladin in 4e, I can't be told that I have to help someone, or kill someone, or not help someone, or not kill someone. I don't have to rat out the party rogue because if I don't I'll lose my powers.

There is no actual in-game mechanic to do so.

True, but there's a host of reasons why that's not enough to keep people from believing there is. There really wasn't an alignment-changing mechanic in 3.5, outside of certain spells, but it still happened.

Besides which, some people act as though the DM will punish them for alignment violations, so they feel they have to attack the thief for acting like a thief.

Divine characters still have alignment restrictions.   If a Lawful Good Paladin desides to perform an act a DM considers Evil.  The DM can still do something about it.  It's just not as clearly defined.

Nor should it be. Why should the DM "do something about it"? What's it to the DM? If you're talking about having the world act in a way that's interesting to the players (if not the character), I'm all for it, but I suspect you mean penalizing the player in some way that the player will find so boring that they won't try the triggering action again.

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