How to Play the Alignments

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Just thought I'd start a thread asking people how they think each alignment should be played.  In particular, what are the differences between the good alignments and how can DM's handle players with evil alignments or neutral who want to do evil?
Good: would risk himself for almost anybody, might not even hurt others in self-defense
Neutral: normal, average; not going to hurt others except to protect friends or family, but neither would they risk themselves except for friends or family
Evil: either doesn't care who he hurts or looks for reasons to hurt people, wouldn't risk himself except for friends or family (if that)

Lawful: either holds himself to great personal honor/discipline and/or expects society in general to become as orderly and regimented as possible
Neutral: normal, average; if they think they can get away with breaking small rules here and there, they don't see the problem, the authorities aren't perfect
Chaotic: does whatever he wants (which is based on whether he's good or evil) and feels that he can get away with. Possibly wants everybody to try to be free in the same way, or possibly thinks that as long as "enough" people keep the "system" running (by obedience or by authority), he doesn't need to be one of them.

Note: these are deliberately very general, as these are guidelines, not straightjackets. Thousands of different character personalities can be described by the same two letters, simply because those two letters are not intended to be the only description.

LG: could expect that anybody put their lives on the line to protect the innocent from madmen, or he could do it specifically so that they don't have to.

LN: could be looking for excuses to feel "better" than other people, or could genuinely believe that the continuation of society is more important than any of the people in it (until it becomes corrupted by tyrants that put everybody in danger).

Have you ever read Order of the Stick?

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

Lawful Good: "Justice" They hold social conviction and "human" rights in high regard. A lawful good individual would lament at being unable to bring a criminal to formal justice under the law, but neither would they hold an ideal in a higher regard than the life of an innocent. Lawful good holds such things such as lying, cheating, stealing, and violence as deplorable activities in all situations even when otherwise justifiable. Pragmatism is not lost on Lawful Good, but most have standards that they will not violate even on pain of death.

Basically, you love everyone like they were your friend; and you want do what you're told even if your don't have to.


Neutral Good: "Benevolence" Kindness and empathy are what make people Neutral Good, even if they don't express it. Concepts like "the law" or "honor" are based on aiding people, without that aid they have no worth. Neutral good strives to do it's best for people in the face of hardships from any corner. They respect authority where the feel it posses worth but may resist laws or regimes they feel are unfair or evil. Just as much of a problem though are orderless lives who drive themselves to ruin in thoughtless revolts against common sense and well intentioned boundaries.

Basically, you love everyone like they were your friend and judge your actions on their merits.


Chaotic Good: "Freedom" Concepts like "justice" and "order" are smoke and mirrors people use to hide themselves from suffering and oppression. Chaotic Good is about making sure that people have the individuality and morals to make the right choices regardless of what others might say. As they say "Power corrupts" and when that happens you'll be prepared.

Basically, you love everyone like they were your friend and hate being told what to do.


Lawful Neutral: "Honor" Formality is a way of life. You will likely have some allegiance or standard you hold above others and will act at it's direction whenever you can. You may or may not have the opportunity to be exceptionally moral or immoral but you chose not to be. Morality doesn't call you to action as much as your commitments to others and to yourself.

Basically, you love your freinds and family and do what you're told.


Neutral: "Duty" The average human is neutral. They love their friends, their family, their country. They lack the convictions to commit to ideologies outside of day to day life, but can still hold opinions on matters favoring one alignment over another. They may steal but will feel bad about it; they may give a donation to a good cause, but they'll never seek out that cause themselves. These are rioters, lynch mobs, and conscript troops but also family men, mothers, and good freinds.

Basically, you love your freinds and family and judge your actions on their merits.


Chaotic Neutral: "Distrust" The codes of conduct that society forces upon you is stifling. People telling you what to do is a terrible injustice, and while you may follow their orders it's only under protest. You're a free spirit and while others may offer you advice, only you can choose your course of action. While more likely to lie, cheat, or steal you're not cruel or any more heartless than the average person.

Basically, you love your freinds and family and hate being told what to do.


Lawful Evil: "Domination" Things like "morality" get in the way of your duties and pursuits. Everyone has their place in the world and is bound to it. Born a slave? Tough nuts. This rigidity gives you the ability to exploit your position for your own wants and needs or for those whom you deem important enough to you for such things. This selfishness doesn't mean you'd toss your convictions to the wind however, you'll achieve your goals with honor however twisted.

Basically, while you love your freinds and family everyone else can hang for what you care, and everyone should do what their told.


Neutral Evil: "Selfishness" You do what you want and too bad for anyone who get's in your way. You're pragmatic and are willing to use whatever means you need to get your desired result. You don't feel constrained by any codes you may follow, but that doesn't mean you might now follow some code or organization when convenient.

Basically, while you love your freinds and family everyone else can hang for what you care, and judge your actions on their to you merits.


Chaotic Evil: "Anarchy" If anyone tells you what to do, they should watch out. You're out for #1 and you're going to tear down as much of the world as you need to get what you want.

Basically, while you love your freinds and family everyone else can hang for what you care, and hate being told what to do.


Now then, after getting into all of that I'd like you to ignore it all. Don't RP the character to an alignment, RP the character as you need/want and let the alignment that best applies be used to categorize them. Good people can be a**holes with no ability to deal with others and evil people can charismatic and human but with terrible intentions. Not only does this let you build a character to RP more than just for stats, it also releases you from most alignment "debates" you and your DM might have.

Example: Hitler would be considered Evil by most D&D approximations. However he was also a human, he was the best man at weddings, he had a pet dog, he was deeply sentimental about Germany and volunteered to serve in WWI. Were you to start by saying "Well he's evil," people assume he's a cardboard cut out of everything they dislike. If you were to say "He's a deep patriot, a visionary man, a good man to his friends, married, kept a succession of dogs as pets, and he had 5.5 Million Jews killed for being racial inferior," then people can draw their on conclusions.

Now, sometimes that cardboard cut out portraying the alignment is all you need. Faceless NPCs are a good example of characters that don't need to have much more character development than "They attack,". However, sometimes you need to have a more in depth character, either a PC or Villain and it's for those things you should build the character you want and let alignment fall where it may.
The AD&D PHB had a couple of examples on how the different alignments would behave. One was an encounter, and the other was dividing the loot after the encounter.
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
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56788208 wrote:
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?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls

1 - You don't. Its a mechanic thats best forgotten. 


Many groups don't, and I understand if you aren't in a situation to outvote your entire group and are forced to pick one and use it. (I usually pick one and ignore, but sometimes I'm forced to actually use it).


LG - You care about doing the right thing and respect authority. If authority gives you an evil task, you fight it long and hard trying to convince authority to change its mind. If you can't, you might attempt to establish a new authority. 


NG - You care about doing the right thing. If authority is doing the right thing you go along with it, but you find nothing particulalry objectionable about ignoring it when they tell you to do bad. You do what you think is right, and others would generally agree with your definition of right.


CG - You care about doing the right thing, and authority generally is only good for slowing that down. You don't care about the proper channels, and generally will do what you think is right. If authority happens to agree with you, great. 


LN - You care about doing things the right way. You don't really care if its good or bad, but generally just want to have a method to do what you want. You can thrive in a beaurocracy. You rarely go outside the system.


N - You do what you want, but are pretty open to doing what others want too if they can show you a better (for you personally) way. You are number 1, and you can use a system if needed, but have no qualms going outside it.


CN - You rarely work inside the system. You do what you want when you want with little regard for others. Luckily for others, what you want isn't usually bad for them. You aren't keen on hearing other people's methods, and will generally find a way to make yours happen, even if it has to be done in secret.


LE - You do what you want, and try to justify it with the letter of the rules. If you can't justify it? Well you will just hide it and no one can find it. Unfortunatly for others, what you want is generally bad. You often operate in public, and mask yourself as a great person of good.


NE - You do what you want, and don't bother justifying it with anyone. You tend to lurk in the shadows, and behind the scenes. 


CE - You do what you want, when you want and how you want. Not only do you not justify it, you dare others to stop you. You relish the idea that others are unhappy with the choices you make. 


As for how to handle evil players in a good party? You should mandate all players have interlocking backstores where they get along and have positive connections to one another. If some happen to be evil, who cares. Evil doesn't steal from his long time friends for kicks. 

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

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

"Your advice is the worst"

People keep on acting like evil is "kicking puppies and drowning kittens." It's absurd. Do you think most  evil people think they're evil?

Evil is actively putting yourself above others at the expense of others. Neutral is simply "look out for number one." Good is putting others above oneself. That's pretty much it.

Of course, I've recently discovered a solution to the alignment problems in relation to the idea of objective morality: The 27-point alignment system. 
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth


Evil is actively putting yourself above others at the expense of others. Neutral is simply "look out for number one." Good is putting others above oneself. That's pretty much it.

 




Lines up to political ideologies in quite an interesting way, dosen't it?
"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)
Lines up to political ideologies in quite an interesting way, dosen't it?

I wasn't going to say anything...
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Lines up to political ideologies in quite an interesting way, dosen't it?

I wasn't going to say anything...

I think RH's posts speak for themselves.
"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?
Show
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)
People keep on acting like evil is "kicking puppies and drowning kittens." It's absurd. Do you think most  evil people think they're evil?

Evil is actively putting yourself above others at the expense of others. Neutral is simply "look out for number one." Good is putting others above oneself. That's pretty much it.
 


While I often disagree with how EruditeApe says things (which colors how I view what he is saying) I do agree with this.

Now many people waiver into both "good" and "evil" leaving them neutral but an "evil" outlook doesn't have to be so oppresive.  With mature roleplaying it IS entirely possible to play a LE or even NE character within a group and not have everything go to hell with infighting and backstabbing provided the overall arrangement is beneficail to all.  I mean a LE character may want what's best for him but he will certainly work within whatever system his is given.  I leave CE out of the "playable" alignments simply because the selfishness of evil and unwillingness to work with structure of chaos really make it hard to justify staying with any group.

When it comes to playing alignements I believe CN is one of the hardest to do right.  Too often I've seen it done as CE but by saying you're CN you try to avoid the "evil" label.  Chaotic characters may not have much need for society but they don't need to go out of their way to help or hurt people.
 
I don't like NE, to be honest, but I view LE as more than playable. I honestly dislike chaotic alignments in general. To be honest, the entire concept is bordering on nonsensical, but that's a discussion for another thread.

Look, an LE character is more than capable of being a "good guy" while still living up to the LE. Let's just say there's a fascist, ultranationalistic empire. Now let's say the emperor, who is LE, does everything in his power to eliminate poverty and disease in his country, a very good act, but it doesn't change the fact that he's a fascist warmonger. In fact, them being lawful may even wind up with them acting more "good" than the TN guy while still being Evil in the grand scheme of things.  
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
Just thought I'd start a thread asking people how they think each alignment should be played.


I don't think there is a "should". The problem is, it's too subjective.

Example:
My character is an Anarchist. Their alignment? Lawful Neutral.

What!? But anarchy is surely quintessentially Chaotic? Not so, I say. They don't go around firebombing things, they're an anarchist in the political sense. They believe there should be no government, no one oppressing anyone else... or perhaps that only the strong survive, and that if you get oppressed it's your own fault. It's just nature's way, the law of the jungle... the law of the jungle? Yes, this is a belief my character holds to so strongly, they're downright Lawful about it. They follow a very strict moral code, disdaining traiditional law and order, and favouring taking by force of arms. At the same time, however, they might be incredibly honourable, keeping their word, etc... but even breaking it could be done so reliably it's almost Lawful - they could just be following Game Theory through and through. Being Machiavellian could be seen as being Lawful, since your actions are following a strict set of rules and guidelines.

So yeah, I'm waffling, but the Law/Chaos axis is far muddier than the Good/Evil one, and that's bad enough (what about people who think they're being good but aren't, or "end justifies the means", etc?).

I think, at best, alignment is meant to be an approximation, a guideline. 
Don't.

There is no such thing as 'playing an alignment', only playing your character.  Your actions determine your alignment, not the other way around.  One should never think 'Well, I'm (alignment), therefore I must/must not (action)'.

Just play your dude, and let alignment take care of itself ... or perhaps better yet, remove it.
There is no such thing as 'playing an alignment', only playing your character.  Your actions determine your alignment, not the other way around.  One should never think 'Well, I'm (alignment), therefore I must/must not (action)'.

Just play your dude, and let alignment take care of itself

Exactly. The number of people who have made the system work for them shows that "don't even try" shouldn't be an instruction (although the possibility can certainly be considered), and this is certainly the best answer to the "alignment is a straightjacket" mentality. Thank you sir.

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

Well, it certainly gets ditched easily, but there are also still things that officially require you to be of a particular alignment, making it important if the group is sticking to the standard.  If you can't really tell for your character, and it doesn't matter mechanically, you just write down "Neutral" and go from there.

As for the definitions, Evil is about causing harm to others, Good is about helping others, Law is about following a pattern, and Chaos is about changing.  For example, a Chaotic Evil character harms others significantly more than they help them, and changes their methods significantly more than they follow a set pattern.

All the rest of it really grows from that, though the Chaos side of the Law/Chaos axis is traditionally hard to define (I'd say it mostly depends on whether or not the character cleaves to a pattern or intrinsically rejects regularly doing things in a set manner).

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Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
NE can play just fine.  They're out for themselves, sure, but the thing is a lot of goals are easier to accomplish when you have help.  As long as the goals of the NE character align with the direction the party is taking then there's plenty of reason for the NE character to play nice. 
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

Being "out for yourself" is neutral, brah. "Looking out for yourself at the significant expense of others" is evil. 
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
I meant the NE version of it.  Like, it's out for yourself - others be damned, sure.  But you can align a lot of what you're after with the goals of a group, too.  I mean, I've played NE a lot.  Never had problems.
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

Ah, I see.

I personally find LE easier to play, but, then again, I normally play neutral leaning LN or LG, so I guess that's probably my bias towards law.
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
I usually just play NG & then do what I want.
"Today's headlines and history's judgment are rarely the same. If you are too attentive to the former, you will most certainly not do the hard work of securing the latter." -Condoleezza Rice "My fellow Americans... I've just signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. Bombing begins in five minutes." - Ronald Reagan This user has been banned from you by the letters "O-R-C" and the numbers "2, 3, 4, and 6"
User Quotes
56788208 wrote:
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?
Resident Pithed-Off Dragon Poon Slayer of the House of Trolls
Ah, I see.

I personally find LE easier to play, but, then again, I normally play neutral leaning LN or LG, so I guess that's probably my bias towards law.



I always had trouble with LE (and LG, truth be told).  Something about having a sort of code of conduct for yourself never really spoke to me.  I have friends that play it awesomely, though.
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

I don't think it's necessary to scrap it, just make it clear it's a guideline at best. I mean, is this character good or neutral? Or chaotic? Not sure, but it's rarer that you're not sure whether someone should be good or evil. I typically prefer the "not XYZ" sort of restrictions for classes and things for this reason.

Some DMs say "no evil" and often "no CN" as well, because people spin CN as "evil-lite", so to speak. When I see this I invariably have an urge to play LN and derail the game far more than a CN person would (e.g. my personal beliefs are that execution is the only worthwhile punishment for anything, and I persue them Lawfully and to a fault).

Meanwhile, a scheming evil megolomaniac might get on really well with the party, even pretending to be good so long as he gains (e.g. reputation) from it. He might not seem evil at all, but if there's ever a situation where it doesn't benefit him to be altruistic, he isn't. 
Yup.  People that ban certain alignments likely do so due to rooster induced PTSD.  Somebody played CN or CE terribly and ruined a game so now nobody gets to do it.  Lame.  Cuz, like you suggest, you can totally b0rk a game with LN or even LG or CG if you wanted to.  It's not the alignment system that's the problem, it's the players roosters.

That said, unless I played a class with a restriction or I had a specific concept in mind I usually put an alignment I tend to default to on the sheet and then just played the game.  In my over 20 years of gaming I've only had an alignment change forced upon me by the DM once ... and after listening to his reasons for it, I had to agree with him and took it happily.  
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

I usually just play NG & then do what I want.



I just do what I want.  If the DM cares about my alignment, he can tell me what it is, 'cause I don't give a flying rat's butt.
Has anybody read this version from EasyDamus? Basically, they took vales that real life sociologists look at a lot: self-direction, stimulation, hedonism, achievement, power, security, conformity, tradition, benevolence, and universalism.

More detailed descriptions of each:
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Self-Direction - Independent thought and action; choosing, creating, exploring. Associated single values are: freedom, creativity, independence, choosing one's own goals, being curious, having self-respect.

Stimulation - Excitement, novelty, and challenge in life. Associated single values are: having an exciting and varied life, being daring.


Hedonism - Pleasure and sensuous gratification for oneself. Associated single values are: experiencing pleasure and enjoying life.


Achievement - Personal success through demonstrating competence according to social standards. Associated single values are: being ambitious, influential, capable, successful, intelligence, and having self-respect.


Power - Social status and prestige, control or dominance over people and resources. Associate single values are: having social power, wealth, and authority, preserving one's own public image, and having social recognition.


Security - Safety, harmony, and stability of society, of relationships, and of self. Associate single values are: ensuring national security, reciprocation of favors, ensuring family security, having a sense of belonging, preserving the social order, being healthy and clean.


Conformity - Restraint of actions, inclinations, and impulses likely to upset or harm others and violate social expectations or norms. Associated single values are: being obedient, having self-discipline, being polite, honoring parents and elders.


Tradition - Respect, commitment, and acceptance of the customs and ideas that traditional culture or religion provide the self. Associated single values are: respecting tradition, being devout, accepting one's own portion in life, being humble, and taking life in moderation.


Benevolence - Preserving and enhancing the welfare of those with whom one is in frequent personal contact (the "in-group"). Associated single values are: being helpful, responsible, forgiving, honest loyal, and having mature love for others and true friendships.


Universalism - Understanding, appreciation, tolerance, and protection for the welfare of all people and for nature. Associated single values are: advancing equality, being one with nature, having wisdom, filling the world with beauty, advancing social justice, being broad-minded, protecting the environment, and see the world at peace.


Chaos vs. Law:
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Self-Direction and Stimulation versus Conformity, Tradition, and Security - This dimension reflects a conflict between emphases on own independent thought and action and favoring change versus submissive self-restriction, preservation of traditional practices, and protection of stability

Good vs. Evil:
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Universalism and Benevolence versus Achievement and Power - This dimension reflects a conflict between acceptance of others as equals and concern for their welfare versus pursuit of one's own relative success and dominance over others.

Specific Alignments:
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Lawful Good: Primarily tradition, conformity, benevolence; promote devotion to one's in-group

Neutral Good: Primarily benevolence, universalism; concerned with enhancement of others and transcendence of selfish interests

Chaotic Good: Primarily universalism, self-direction; reliance on one's own judgment and comfort with the diversity of existence

Chaotic Neutral: Primarily self-direction, stimulation; intrinsic motivation for mastery and openness for change

Chaotic Evil: Primarily hedonism

Neutral Evil: Primarily achievement, power: emphasize social superiority and esteem

Lawful Evil: Primarily power, security: avoiding or overcoming the threat of uncertainties by controlling relationships and resources

Lawful Neutral: Primarily security, tradition, conformity; emphasize conservation of order and harmony in relations

True Neutral: Either no strong preferences, or strong preferences otherwise assumed to be opposed to each other such as
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universalism/achievement: wanting to give generously in a genuine concern for helping people, but also wanting to have both credit for doing so and the means to do so in the first place

security/stimulation: wanting to try as many new things as possible while making sure that everybody else is still comfortable


This isn't to say that a LG wouldn't base ANY of his decisions on what he personally finds pleasurable or exciting, or that a Chaotic Evil has no concept of safety or popularity. These are just descriptions of their strongest tendencies and desires, not their only ones.

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

It's very interesting in terms of general trends of behaviour, though I don't think it maps properly to the D&D system of alignment, where you have things like Good (helping) and Evil (harming) in direct opposition.

But I think the Chaos/Law part is more useful in mapping the general behaviour of an axis that is otherwise hard to define.  Law is about seeking consistency and stability, while Chaos is about seeking novelty and change.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
I found this article explains the Law vs. Chaos ideas rather well: www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/sg/200... and confirms much of what has been said here.

My Eberron Characters. Commissions by various artists on Deviant Art.

Really screws up Magic of Incarnum, though. Cry 
Thanks for all the posts.  I have read them all.  I think the neutral alignments may be the only ones easy to play.  "Pick NG and just do what you want" sounds very easy.

I'd DMed for players who wanted to be very evil, and it has often been a problem for me and the rest of my players because I am trying to tell a traditional story of good vs. evil in the setting.

I was wondering if anyone had any views on the drow especially.  They are CE, but I've heard drow society described as a perfect example of LE.  (This goes to show some of the confusion.)  Likewise, surface elves are CG, but given their great loyalty to tradition, they are great examples of LG.  Maybe law and chaos should be done away with altogether in alignment.
Drow society may seem to be LE but that is simply because the power those at the top wield is enough to cowl others into following; if the opportunity arises those at the top are taken out quickly an without mercy.
The best discription of Drow is that they are Chaotic Evil creatures living within a Lawful Evil society. They are ruthless, brutal, covetous, and seldom play by the rules unless through direct threats and/or force. That being said, their society has well segmented social classes and higher ranking members can almost always issue commands to lower ranking ones (usually through said threats or shows of force), advancement in rank is a very formal process, and they possess a very successful and well organized economy based on slave labor. At any point, a majority of Drow could decide that the set order of things was unacceptable and their Lawful Evil society would crumble as the Drow disregarded social and legal responsibilities. It's only through Loth's consistent intervention through her priesthood that such a dissolving has not yet occurred.
I had another, similar discussion about whether an evil society would actually work properly. I think it would, for various reasons, particularly LE, but still, the Drow as they are portrayed have never sat well with me. So they're an inherantly evil race? Why? So PCs have intelligent foes to fight? Drow society really does seem as though it couldn't keep going, as they all kill each other so much and stuff. I feel as though it might be a little different, and that it's more the society which is evil (nature vs nurture) than the race. Though, the idea of an evil race is a very D&D one, and not one which is necessarily ridiculous.
Fred, I suggest you read Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melniboné series. Very short books, 6 in all, I think starts with "Sailor on the Seas of Fate" or some such. Chaotic Evil race in it's decline, but it had lasted aeons. All court intrigue and that, totally hedonistic society. Nice change of "flavour" from the Tolkien "goody-goody" stuff.
Thanks for all the posts.  I have read them all.  I think the neutral alignments may be the only ones easy to play.  "Pick NG and just do what you want" sounds very easy.

I'd DMed for players who wanted to be very evil, and it has often been a problem for me and the rest of my players because I am trying to tell a traditional story of good vs. evil in the setting.

I was wondering if anyone had any views on the drow especially.  They are CE, but I've heard drow society described as a perfect example of LE.  (This goes to show some of the confusion.)  Likewise, surface elves are CG, but given their great loyalty to tradition, they are great examples of LG.  Maybe law and chaos should be done away with altogether in alignment.



If your pal wants to play evil, why not run an evil themed campaign at some point?  My group has done this quite a few times and it always worked out well.  One of my DMs had a really great idea, too: He had us run an evil campaign from 1-20 and what we were actually doing was creating the BBEGs our next group of characters would have to face once they made it to 20.  A really cool, really fun idea. 

As far as the Drow, well ... uhh ... the Drow as written are pretty terrible.  The society doesn't make a lot of sense and would likely implode rather quickly.  Odds are they're a creation of some dood with a really odd kink.  Either that or someone who really, really doesn't get women.  Aww hell, why not both?
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]

The Drow were written by Frank Miller?
Customer Disservice of the House of Trolls Resident Secretly Ron Paul God of Spite and Sloth
I've run drow twice in my experience as a DM.  The first time, it resulted in a TPK that really disappointed my players.  The second time, the party was really prepared for a drow ambush, and I made the drow retreat before the battle began, as soon as they knew they lost the advantage of surprise.  the drow will only fight when they know they'll win.  Otherwise, they are cowards.  this is at the center of their society, too.
Thanks for all the posts.  I have read them all.  I think the neutral alignments may be the only ones easy to play.  "Pick NG and just do what you want" sounds very easy.

I'd DMed for players who wanted to be very evil, and it has often been a problem for me and the rest of my players because I am trying to tell a traditional story of good vs. evil in the setting.

I was wondering if anyone had any views on the drow especially.  They are CE, but I've heard drow society described as a perfect example of LE.  (This goes to show some of the confusion.)  Likewise, surface elves are CG, but given their great loyalty to tradition, they are great examples of LG.  Maybe law and chaos should be done away with altogether in alignment.



If your pal wants to play evil, why not run an evil themed campaign at some point?  My group has done this quite a few times and it always worked out well.  One of my DMs had a really great idea, too: He had us run an evil campaign from 1-20 and what we were actually doing was creating the BBEGs our next group of characters would have to face once they made it to 20.  A really cool, really fun idea. 

As far as the Drow, well ... uhh ... the Drow as written are pretty terrible.  The society doesn't make a lot of sense and would likely implode rather quickly.  Odds are they're a creation of some dood with a really odd kink.  Either that or someone who really, really doesn't get women.  Aww hell, why not both?



I'm surprised you'd have the patience for it, because evil campaigns tend to be shallow and the subject matter can be horrendous.
As far as the Drow, well ... uhh ... the Drow as written are pretty terrible.  The society doesn't make a lot of sense and would likely implode rather quickly.  Odds are they're a creation of some dood with a really odd kink.  Either that or someone who really, really doesn't get women.  Aww hell, why not both?

I see them as the deliberate product of an attempt to make evil, twisted elves.

Their society and behaviour are messed up because they're supposed to be like that, and (often) because their personal goddess is domineering and mentally unstable in the finest traditions of some real-world individuals who have lead entire nations.  A lot of the questions about drow behaviour can be answered in-game with "Lolth."

Depending on how you look at it, that's either a cheap excuse, or the likely result of having a deity try to make a mortal society fit with all their ideals.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
That's fair enough, but it seems like Lolth would have to do a lot of work just to keep the society together - and she seems more of the "go kill folks" type than the "wait, you need to stop killing each other for a bit so that I can actually have an army!" type.
That's fair enough, but it seems like Lolth would have to do a lot of work just to keep the society together - and she seems more of the "go kill folks" type than the "wait, you need to stop killing each other for a bit so that I can actually have an army!" type.

The forces of stability come from whatever priestesses and matron mothers Lolth has decided she likes at the moment.  Since she seems to like an excuse to punish someone, that's a pretty good source of discouragement for anyone who thinks of rocking the boat.

The majority of the open violence drow might conduct is heavily suppressed by fear and paranoia (because if you step wrong, Lolth and her current clique will end you); the opportunity to take out their frustrations on non-drow probably comes as a relief for most of them.

Life under the thumb of an oppressive, vindictive goddess doesn't exactly breed peace of mind, but crossing her is out of the question.

The kraken stirs. And ten billion sushi dinners cry out for vengeance. - Good Omens

Co-Author of the Dreamfane, Euralden Eye, Gajuisan Crawler, Gruesome Lurker, Fulminating Crab, Ironglass Rose, Sheengrass Swarm, Spryjack, Usunag, and Warp Drifter, and author of the Magmal Horror from Force of Nature.

My most popular campaign item; for all your adventuring convenience.
Zauber's Mutable Rod: This rod has a number of useful functions that make it easier to live in the wilderness. It is made of polished wood, with five studlike buttons on one end. Each button produces a different effect when pressed. Unless otherwise noted, the rod’s functions have no limit on the number of times they can be employed. When button 1 is pressed, one end of the rod produces a small flame, equivalent to a candle. When button 2 is pressed, the rod unfolds into a two-person tent, complete with bedrolls and warm blankets. When button 3 is pressed, the rod becomes a one-handed hammer, suitable for pounding pitons into a wall. When button 4 is pressed, the rod becomes a sturdy iron spade. When button 5 is pressed, the rod becomes a wooden bucket able to hold 2 gallons of liquid. Once per day, it can be commanded to fill with fresh water. If the rod is seriously damaged or broken in any of its alternate forms (button 2, 3, 4, or 5), it reverts to its basic rod form and cannot be activated for 24 hours. Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Rod, minor creation; Price 375 gp; Weight 2 lb.
I'm surprised you'd have the patience for it, because evil campaigns tend to be shallow and the subject matter can be horrendous.



I hate to say 'you're doin' it wrong' but I can't think of anything else.  Our evil games had plenty of depth - though the subject matter could, at times, get a li'l out there.  But hey, it's evil.  Evil is nasty. 

Why do you think evil campaigns would tend toward shallowness?  I don't understand what could possibly be different from a standard campaign other than the 'team colors' so to speak.  Seriously, evil, by and large, is just a different way of looking at things.  The whole D&D 'Good and Evil are real things' thing can sort of throw you, though, because it's a pretty simplistic way of seeing things.  That said, if you only see things that flat sort of way I can't see any reason at all that a good campaign would have any more depth than an evil one.

I do have something that may be helpful, too: Evil does not always have to fight Good.  If you have an interest in running an evil campaign but have an issue with players killing Mother Theresa and her merry band of unicorn riding pixies, have them face off against another evil faction instead. 

I see them as the deliberate product of an attempt to make evil, twisted elves.

Their society and behaviour are messed up because they're supposed to be like that, and (often) because their personal goddess is domineering and mentally unstable in the finest traditions of some real-world individuals who have lead entire nations.  A lot of the questions about drow behaviour can be answered in-game with "Lolth."

Depending on how you look at it, that's either a cheap excuse, or the likely result of having a deity try to make a mortal society fit with all their ideals.



If that's how you see them I have to wonder if you've seen them at all.    Seriously, peep 'em.  Women are the big bad nasty in charge force, sure, but how do they rule?  In barely there leather with whips and pain.  Men?  They're just there to serve drinks and sperm.  And what's the reason things are this way?  Well, the women maintain power not because of their own abilities but because some goddess says it's supposed to be that way.  It's someone's painfully retarded idea of a fantasy unfortunately fleshed out into many thousands of pages over far too many years.  It's the closest thing to FATAL you can find in D&D. 

You know, it's times like this I wish Astrid's was still around.  If it was, I'd link you to one of the many discussions we had about the Drow and what they really are and how incredibly stupid the idea that their 'civilization' could thrive - let alone survive - is. 
Resident Prophet of the OTTer.

Section Six Soldier

Front Door of the House of Trolls

[b]If you're terribly afraid of your character dying, it may be best if you roleplayed something other than an adventurer.[/b]