Alignment

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Surprised this one hasn't been posted. I have seen many people post saying that they want to do away with the alignment system. I wouldn't care if they kept it or revamped it with something new. Personally I would like to see some type of honor system that reflects the old alignment system but easier to adjust.
I wouldn't mind seeing the idea of "allegiances" brought over from d20 Modern, for a more nuanced take on characters' moralities and motivations.
I've never had problems with alignments and never understood how come so many do...
It's simple and almost realistic as reality itself, what can i hope better?
I wouldn't mind seeing the idea of "allegiances" brought over from d20 Modern, for a more nuanced take on characters' moralities and motivations.

I second that.
I've read they won't take out alignment for all. Well, PLEASE make it to be a SUGGESTION PATH to players, not a obligation code. Many DMs make the aligment thing so tied that people who change theirs get XP penalty - or even worse, simply do not let the change!
It's stupidity (or maybe unperscrutable Will, but often it's only stupidity) of those DM, because it's fairly said that alignment are not ties, nor locks, nor anything similar...
They ARE a suggestion for the character to behave and no more than the label of what a PC is in that moment of his Life... people change, no one keeps the same alignment for 50 years... it's already natural to change over a month (but not to change EVERY month :P )...
One must create the PC's psychology and THEN label it with appropriate alignment, not choose an alignment and then make sure that he doesn't cross its borders...

Then, there are the "small deviations", like a LG which is getting provoked like no one before, and he ends up exploding in rage... when he calms down, he regains his reason and may even regret what he has done... that little deviation doesn't mean he's become CE (unless he kills intentionally even someone that was not involved), he is still LG, he just got angered like never before, but just once...
It's stupidity (or maybe unperscrutable Will, but often it's only stupidity) of those DM, because it's fairly said that alignment are not ties, nor locks, nor anything similar...
They ARE a suggestion for the character to behave and no more than the label of what a PC is in that moment of his Life... people change, no one keeps the same alignment for 50 years... it's already natural to change over a month (but not to change EVERY month :P )...
One must create the PC's psychology and THEN label it with appropriate alignment, not choose an alignment and then make sure that he doesn't cross its borders...

Then, there are the "small deviations", like a LG which is getting provoked like no one before, and he ends up exploding in rage... when he calms down, he regains his reason and may even regret what he has done... that little deviation doesn't mean he's become CE (unless he kills intentionally even someone that was not involved), he is still LG, he just got angered like never before, but just once...

I share your view on this Sol.People should come up with a character concept (including personality traits & demeanor) before choosing a alignment.But I wouldn't mind them scrapping the current system & using one similar to Palladium's or replace it with a demeanor/trait system.

Currently I'm playing a unprincipled Nomadic Elf in the Rolemaster game & a anarchistic human Assassin in the Palladium FRPG (Which I reget..the choice in OCC mainly ,alignment secondly).
Lucifer the Puritan
I've never had problems with alignments and never understood how come so many do...
It's simple and almost realistic as reality itself, what can i hope better?

IMAGE(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v236/DragonManRen/Utility/alignment.jpg)

No. Alignment is not realistic. It's absurd and oversimplified.

We should choose what a character's ideals and loyalties are based on a far more individualized system.
I too think the alignment system is oversimplified. It makes it hard to play an evil PC and not have him kill for fun. Most people expect it of you. "You are the evil PC, so why havent you gone on a murderous rampage yet?" "Cause I am not THAT evil!" It should be by degrees. Not every CE person you meet is going to be anywhere near as bad as a demon. Just like that LG Paladin over there may not be as virtous and just as an Astral Deva.
I too think the alignment system is oversimplified. It makes it hard to play an evil PC and not have him kill for fun. Most people expect it of you. "You are the evil PC, so why havent you gone on a murderous rampage yet?" "Cause I am not THAT evil!" It should be by degrees. Not every CE person you meet is going to be anywhere near as bad as a demon. Just like that LG Paladin over there may not be as virtous and just as an Astral Deva.

Sort of like the BoED thing. "I'm LG, but not that LG. Yikes."

EDIT: Though, they should've gone the other direction. Added degrees that weren't even further toward the extreme.
Sort of like the BoED thing. "I'm LG, but not that LG. Yikes."

EDIT: Though, they should've gone the other direction. Added degrees that weren't even further toward the extreme.

I love Allegiances, actually.

Especially as a lot of the "evil" classified monsters in D&D monsters aren't all that evil. They're looking out for themselves, which is not evil, they just don't take into account other people.

There is a red dragon in Faerun that sells its services as a smelter, actually

Evil in D&D alignment often translates to selfish
I'd like alignment to be an optional part of the game. As things are now, it's difficult to house rule alignment away without having to make a number of other changes (smite evil, protection from good/evil, etc. and so on).

Alignment seems like a rules element attempting to govern flavor, and I'm not crazy about that.

Although, if they brought back alignment languages, I might be able to get behind the change.
Even thou alignment doesn't prevent roleplaying or make it harder, I still don't see the use of alignment. Not having alignment doesn't makes it harder to roleplay. The only use I see for alignment in my games is when using spells and stuff with alignment description. This kind of mechanics makes the world seem very black and white to me.

Since there is a lot of players and DMs who have problem with alignment, then why don't remove it? Having a Paladin with a Code but without an alignment description seems fine to me and wouldn't really make any difference.
While I like the concept of honor, allegiance, and alignment all I think instead of calling a personal path honor; it should be called devotion.

Allegiance as per d20 might not serve much of a game purpose unless it can be detected and influenced by magic and unless it has several game effects not limited to but including magical item and class limitations. Also, there should be a list of allegiances as concrete and seemingly immaleable as alignments with new allegiances as per campaign setting. After all, not everyone wants a stoner game of D&D where everyone scribbles down senseless allegiances. Should allegiances be numberless and shallow, without more depth than "my hat" or "hedgehogs that burp loudly" then the game will be stuck in the same hole as d20. Allegiances might handle similarly to the old Chainmail game where soldiers might attack "traditional enemies" outside the player's control but also permit a list of skill bonuses or even situational bonuses depending on the character's devotion.

Alignment should remain as influential in the game as it has been and more so. My reason for saying this is because alignment is incredibly useful in several game approaches, not only due to codifying character class related conduct but also because it provides an additional incentive and inspiration to players. It is a fun part of the game for many people -- to leave D&D bereft of alignment is to gut the game from one of its trademark essentials while lobotomizing it of the deep considerations that *could* go into alignment and the game elements that can come of this.

I do not think I would purchase fourth edition D&D unless alignment were a part of it and the expense of publishing these books would likely be wasted if (a) the young do not play D&D 4th edition because they already play WoW and the internet component isn't sufficient to compete, (b) the majority of the older crowd isn't willing to buy new books especially if it's not intellectually stimulating and there *are* other RPG on the market, (c) controversy arises due to vast changes from the traditional game that are not improvements.

I wonder if Wizards understands how strong the challenge is even from independent roleplaying game publishers? If it costs Hasbro too much, they'll fire the present employee and hire new people. It's been done before, it might be done again.

I think someone in the Wizards hierarchy is independently wealthy and just wants to see in print that a paladin can summon a servitor demon without losing class benefits. If so, I hope the rest of the staff doesn't mind unemployment.
My opinion is pretty much the reverse of septembervirgin's. Alignment, as it is, is a stifling straightjacket. No lawful barbarians? Well, there goes more or less every tribal concept, as adherence to cultural laws and taboos is a central portion of that. Monks most be lawful? There goes most of the actual stories about monks as inspiration - so many of them I've always read about, translated from Chinese, are about monks going out and doing whatever they saw fit, most of it very hard to fit into any definition of 'lawful.'

Alignment is a great way for DMs to punish players who imagine their character's behavior in ways that don't fit into nine rigid archetypes by enforcing involuntary changes.

A far better way to govern paladins and clerics is with a code of conduct relevant to their specific religion.
First of all, you gotta remember that alignment is just like any other roleplaying contrivance: it's part of the game and as part of the game it has rules and effects game situation. GURPS has mental disads and quirks, Champions has mental disads, Palladium has alignment (and it's not going to suddenly become the one game with alignment), etc.

Monks most be lawful? There goes most of the actual stories about monks as inspiration - so many of them I've always read about, translated from Chinese, are about monks going out and doing whatever they saw fit, most of it very hard to fit into any definition of 'lawful.'

Isn't it true that what a lawfully aligned person would see fit to do would normally differ from what a chaotically aligned person would see fit to do?

Alignment needn't be a straightjacket, as has been noted in an old Dragon magazine article. What is noteworthy about a paladin is that a paladin will see kindly and merciful order must be achieved and prefer kindly and ordered methods to other methods.

Lawful characters simply prefer ordered situations and ordered behavior in themselves and others.

Alignment is a great way for DMs to punish players who imagine their character's behavior in ways that don't fit into nine rigid archetypes by enforcing involuntary changes.

This has been refuted time and time again, sometimes through invoking the name of Freud (you know, retention of certain maturation stages can result in avoidance of rules and law), sometimes through simple expanation that a DM who punishes players with physical torture probably should be avoided. Otherwise, it's called "part of the game".

A far better way to govern paladins and clerics is with a code of conduct relevant to their specific religion.

How about the guy who says that his paladin should torture and assassinate as a code of conduct? Come on, guy, think a little about the reason alignment is there in the first place. It's simple, it's easy to use, and it helps calm people down because "it's the rules".

Think about this one: a paladin who summons devils in order to achieve selfish goals that fit perfectly into a code of conduct. Hey, the religion has paladins, the religion isn't good or evil because there's NO ALIGNMENT, and if devils can be used to achieve personal ends that don't threaten the religion's goals -- why not?

The reason why not is to remove alignment and its influence turns epic fantasy on its head. It's more likely the majority of players will want paladins as "Lawful Good" than paladins as "Any Alignment" -- and the lesser group is usually the group who don't need nor want game rules anyway. So, paladins should retain Lawful Good alignment in the rules, alignment should still be pertinent to gameplay, and the smaller group that WANTS alignment to be out could always ignore alignment rules. It's been done before. It's been done in Rune Quest. Hero Quest also does not use alignment rules. Is D&D Rune Quest? Is D&D Hero Quest? Is D&D any other fantasy game besides D&D? No, no, and no. A thousand times no.

D&D has character classes, D&D has playable non-human species of humanoids, D&D has alignment, armour class, hitpoints, and saving throws.

It's called an American Passtime, a hobby developed in Wisconsin, a new game in the world made by good old American know-how by good US citizens, Gygax and Arneson. Arduin-Grimoire and Empire of the Petal Throne should be given honorable mention though!

One might as well try to remove the smile from the Mona Lisa, eh?
First of all, you gotta remember that alignment is just like any other roleplaying contrivance: it's part of the game and as part of the game it has rules and effects game situation. GURPS has mental disads and quirks, Champions has mental disads, Palladium has alignment (and it's not going to suddenly become the one game with alignment), etc.

And it's a bad roleplaying contrivance, being oversimplified.

Isn't it true that what a lawfully aligned person would see fit to do would normally differ from what a chaotically aligned person would see fit to do?

Alignment needn't be a straightjacket, as has been noted in an old Dragon magazine article. What is noteworthy about a paladin is that a paladin will see kindly and merciful order must be achieved and prefer kindly and ordered methods to other methods.

Lawful characters simply prefer ordered situations and ordered behavior in themselves and others.

And requiring that of certain classes and forbidding it from other classes is bunk. Also, causing disorder, as adventuring behavior often does, will cause a DM to punish said paladin for simply going about his regular business, and be well within the rules in the DMG.

This has been refuted time and time again, sometimes through invoking the name of Freud (you know, retention of certain maturation stages can result in avoidance of rules and law), sometimes through simple expanation that a DM who punishes players with physical torture probably should be avoided. Otherwise, it's called "part of the game".

A part of the game that is "absurdly oversimplified and should be removed." Also, Freud began the science of psychiatry, and a very small percentage of psychiatrists still believe in his doctrines and methods.

How about the guy who says that his paladin should torture and assassinate as a code of conduct? Come on, guy, think a little about the reason alignment is there in the first place. It's simple, it's easy to use, and it helps calm people down because "it's the rules".

DM says "Heironeous says 'no.' The rules say that I should suspend your powers for behaving in a way counter to your god's doctrines, and that's pretty definitely what you're trying to do with this 'code of conduct.' Try again." Problem solved.

Think about this one: a paladin who summons devils in order to achieve selfish goals that fit perfectly into a code of conduct. Hey, the religion has paladins, the religion isn't good or evil because there's NO ALIGNMENT, and if devils can be used to achieve personal ends that don't threaten the religion's goals -- why not?

Because that violates the code of conduct that the DM and player have agreed upon.

The reason why not is to remove alignment and its influence turns epic fantasy on its head. It's more likely the majority of players will want paladins as "Lawful Good" than paladins as "Any Alignment" -- and the lesser group is usually the group who don't need nor want game rules anyway. So, paladins should retain Lawful Good alignment in the rules, alignment should still be pertinent to gameplay, and the smaller group that WANTS alignment to be out could always ignore alignment rules. It's been done before. It's been done in Rune Quest. Hero Quest also does not use alignment rules. Is D&D Rune Quest? Is D&D Hero Quest? Is D&D any other fantasy game besides D&D? No, no, and no. A thousand times no.

By the way, paladins of Asmodeus have been confirmed for 4E. Looks like paladins being required to be LG is gone. I'm guessing there are other, more roleplaying oriented methods of keeping the paladins and their patrons on the same page.

D&D has character classes, D&D has playable non-human species of humanoids, D&D has alignment, armour class, hitpoints, and saving throws.

It's called an American Passtime, a hobby developed in Wisconsin, a new game in the world made by good old American know-how by good US citizens, Gygax and Arneson. Arduin-Grimoire and Empire of the Petal Throne should be given honorable mention though!

One might as well try to remove the smile from the Mona Lisa, eh?

It also had THAC0. I don't miss that. Do you?
I wouldn't mind seeing the idea of "allegiances" brought over from d20 Modern, for a more nuanced take on characters' moralities and motivations.

I could go for that. It would allow for the usual alignment, while also allowing other options.

No. Alignment is not realistic. It's absurd and oversimplified.

We should choose what a character's ideals and loyalties are based on a far more individualized system.

The whole point is that it's simplified. Alignment is not supposed to be a personality assessment of your character. It's a rough way of categorizing what values are considered important in the default setting. The labels "conservative" and "liberal" are also oversimplified. But in the right contexts, they can be useful for making comparisons.

My opinion is pretty much the reverse of septembervirgin's. Alignment, as it is, is a stifling straightjacket. No lawful barbarians? Well, there goes more or less every tribal concept, as adherence to cultural laws and taboos is a central portion of that. Monks most be lawful? There goes most of the actual stories about monks as inspiration - so many of them I've always read about, translated from Chinese, are about monks going out and doing whatever they saw fit, most of it very hard to fit into any definition of 'lawful.'

Well, the problem is isn't so much with alignment, as with alignment restrictions for classes. Furthermore, I think the reason you find alignment so stifling is because you take it too literally.
The whole point is that it's simplified. Alignment is not supposed to be a personality assessment of your character. It's a rough way of categorizing what values are considered important in the default setting. The labels "conservative" and "liberal" are also oversimplified. But in the right contexts, they can be useful for making comparisons.

Fair enough. But that point, too, can be useful in making my argument stronger. Suppose, for a moment, we replace alignment in DnD with "conservative" and "liberal," and turn me into a DnD character. My views are strongly conservative on most issues. However, I feel strongly about individual rights. Suppose the DM puts me in a situation where an individual's rights are being ignored entirely. Naturally, due to my personal perspective on this issue, I attempt to defend him. How long and how vigorously can I struggle for this cause currently associated in America with the "liberal" side without the DM pointing out that I've been championing liberal ideals, while my character sheet says I'm conservative, and should really change my sheet to reflect my behavior?

Well, the problem is isn't so much with alignment, as with alignment restrictions for classes. Furthermore, I think the reason you find alignment so stifling is because you take it too literally.

If you're not supposed to do what the words in the book say, what good are those words doing? My characters usually get warnings from my DMs that I'm pushing the boundaries of my alignment, and am about to take a shift. I can, when asked, explain how my character still fits overall into his alleged alignment, but I'm always asked, because DnD assumes that you're going to be acting within the guidelines of your chosen alignment, and I find those two-dimensional and constraining.
I like alignment system rules but I hate the maniqueist background about the cosmic equilibrium between good and evil. What is the next; a quote of reserve discrimination for infernal outsiders in each institution? I don´t believe in the survival of great civlitations if their citizens are evil or/and caothic.

A empire or society without moral values (family, honesty and all that) are cursed to decadence and fall in the next great crisis.

And in my own setting Chaotic Good doesn´t meaning anarchy. Everybody need a rules or laws (the rpg for example). What happens if there is a great catastrophe like a earthquake and the help can not be coordinated?. How can you build a great castle but nothing obeying the rules about work security or earthquake resistace?

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

I really don't see what alignment is supposed to add to the game.

The problem, I think, doesn't so much lie within the system itself as within the way people tend to interpret it. Far too many DMs and players think of it as much more than just guidelines, leading to some of the most annoying and bloody OOC conflicts imaginable. I say; make the freakin' alignment rules optional or, at the very least, render their overall importance marginal. I've pretty much removed them from my games entirely - the setting I use is so full of greyness and dualism that your average Miko Miyazaki's head would be likely to spontaneously explode, anyways.

The whole argument that we'll have Paladins of Illmater summoning demons without it seems utterly ridiculous to me. Sure, the character's free to give that a shot - just make sure to cackle maniacally when he falls from grace, is hunted by his brethren and probably backstabbed by his demon friends as a result.

Lastly; it has always annoyed me how alignment manages to creep into other rules. Things like Detect Alignment, Smite Alignment and Protection From Alignment have always smelled of WotC-approved metagaming to me.
-snip-
Lastly; it has always annoyed me how alignment manages to creep into other rules. Things like Detect Alignment, Smite Alignment and Protection From Alignment have always smelled of WotC-approved metagaming to me.

I too have found it annoying. BUt I could understand if it was limited to outsiders and some undead. Maybe aberations.
I see that just too many will never understand alignment, to begin with why it is called alignment, probably by fault of too many idiot DMs, as much as people look down on D&D because of stupid power players...
I give up...
It's partly fault of the 3rd Ed. PHBs. When you look into the 2nd Ed. PHB, you'll find alignment throughly and easily understabable explained.
Lands of the Barbarian Kings Campaign Setting - http://barbaripedia.eu
It's partly fault of the 3rd Ed. PHBs. When you look into the 2nd Ed. PHB, you'll find alignment throughly and easily understabable explained.

I remember that text. We would read it and laugh...

Good times.
Lastly; it has always annoyed me how alignment manages to creep into other rules. Things like Detect Alignment, Smite Alignment and Protection From Alignment have always smelled of WotC-approved metagaming to me.

Actualy, Smite Evil has been around since the Paladin first joined D&D. Det. Evil and Prot from Evil , Since at least AD&D.

Which had nothing to do with WotC btw.
Suppose, for a moment, we replace alignment in DnD with "conservative" and "liberal," and turn me into a DnD character. My views are strongly conservative on most issues. However, I feel strongly about individual rights. Suppose the DM puts me in a situation where an individual's rights are being ignored entirely. Naturally, due to my personal perspective on this issue, I attempt to defend him. How long and how vigorously can I struggle for this cause currently associated in America with the "liberal" side without the DM pointing out that I've been championing liberal ideals, while my character sheet says I'm conservative, and should really change my sheet to reflect my behavior?

Fortunately, you don't have to be always radical in your "alignment" so you can behave as a liberal* would do, sometimes; in this case, your dm could be wrong.
*IIRC Schwarzy is called the "green governor", and he's a conservative, despite ecology seems to be a liberal idea.

Here is the alignment definition:
Alignment is a tool for developing your character’s identity. It is not a straitjacket for restricting your character. Each alignment represents a broad range of personality types or personal philosophies, so two characters of the same alignment can still be quite different from each other. In addition, few people are completely consistent.

And let me add that two character with different alignment can have some behaviours in common, especially if they're both G/E aligned (like helping others if they're both good)

The fact that some DM havent' understood it yet, is a further issue.

About class restriction: you can be a "barbarian" , a nomad in savage forests, or a barbarian, a character with some levels of a certain class; both them can have the same background, the former can be even lawful.
Then, both can respect the same taboos because, as we know, a chaotic character will not try to rebel to any law in any possible situation, especially if they're from the society he was born in.
Alignment doesn't have to be a straight-jacket, but it usually works out to be one anyways. If you figure out your characters personality first, it's not impossible to pick an alignment that's the best fit, though the Law-Chaos scale is usually harder to narrow down than the Good-Evil one. Of course, you still have to deal with DMs that are going to say "you can't do that, it's against your alignment" even if it's part of the personality you worked out beforehand.

However, most of the time when people create characters they pick alignment first, whether to fit the requirements for a class, or to fit in with the rest of the party (cause that evil character you wanted to play is sure to last in a party with 3 lawful good characters ) and then try to make a personality based off alignment. That doesn't work. Picking a few chaotic character traits and a few good character traits for your chaotic good rogue is only going to result in a two-dimensional character.

If you build your character's personality in reverse like that, alignment is a straight-jacket, and as long as it's still the most practical way to play the class you want and fit in with the rest of the group, it's always going to be a major problem.
Alignment most often ends up being little more than a justification for killing things without thinking. X is evil, so it's fair game. Y is good or neutral, so it's off the hit list.

Meaningful alignment doesn't choose targets for you. I've got nothing against the monster mash, but as it stands alignment doesn't contribute to the RP aspect of this RPG at all in any of the products I've seen. D&D would be a much richer setting of it moved away from being an MMO with dice, IMHO.
Fair enough. But that point, too, can be useful in making my argument stronger. Suppose, for a moment, we replace alignment in DnD with "conservative" and "liberal," and turn me into a DnD character. My views are strongly conservative on most issues. However, I feel strongly about individual rights. Suppose the DM puts me in a situation where an individual's rights are being ignored entirely. Naturally, due to my personal perspective on this issue, I attempt to defend him. How long and how vigorously can I struggle for this cause currently associated in America with the "liberal" side without the DM pointing out that I've been championing liberal ideals, while my character sheet says I'm conservative, and should really change my sheet to reflect my behavior?

Good example. Here's my take.

If you were a member of some conservative party, at what point would they say (as a party, not as some more extreme members might say) that you are no longer welcome as a member? This consideration could be used as a rule of thumb, there are no precise rules about this, so it would be done on a case by case basis. As for alignment, no one is perfectly consistent, and I'm sure (most) good gods wouldn't reject a soul into the afterlife for only a few evil acts in an otherwise good life. Nor would evil gods reject a soul who occassionally helped old ladies cross the street. What matters is whether you promote the overall agenda, whether of good or evil, conservatism or liberalism.

So, again, I don't think that there are (or should be) sharp lines demarcating one alignment from the next.

If you're not supposed to do what the words in the book say, what good are those words doing? My characters usually get warnings from my DMs that I'm pushing the boundaries of my alignment, and am about to take a shift. I can, when asked, explain how my character still fits overall into his alleged alignment, but I'm always asked, because DnD assumes that you're going to be acting within the guidelines of your chosen alignment, and I find those two-dimensional and constraining.

I guess I didn't say exactly what I meant. I'll give more detail then.

If you want a lawful barbarian tribe, don't use the barbarian class (which is horribly misnamed). Use fighters, warriors, rangers, or even the barbarian variant in Unearthed Aracana where he loses rage and gains ranger abilities (it doesn't say anything about alignment, but once rage is gone it's easy to remove the alignment restriction). On the other hand, members of the barbarian class can still be neutral, so they don't have to actively reject tradition. Perhaps the fact that they're a little more wild is due to a more primal connection with their ancestor spirits, or some such thing.

If you want a monk to rebel, maybe they do it because they feel that following tradition would undermine their personal path to enlightenment.

I say; make the freakin' alignment rules optional or, at the very least, render their overall importance marginal.

While I like using alignment in some campaigns, I also like running campaigns that don't use it. So I'd support the making them optional. Or at least easily removeable (unlike in 3.x).

Actualy, Smite Evil has been around since the Paladin first joined D&D. Det. Evil and Prot from Evil , Since at least AD&D.

Which had nothing to do with WotC btw.

But in 2e, detect evil didn't necessarily reveal alignment. You only registered as evil if you were strongly aligned, or intending to perform evil. Likewise for detect good. WotC made alignment much more objective.
Fortunately, you don't have to be always radical in your "alignment" so you can behave as a liberal* would do, sometimes; in this case, your dm could be wrong.
*IIRC Schwarzy is called the "green governor", and he's a conservative, despite ecology seems to be a liberal idea.

The DM in my example would be following the rules of Alignment Shift in the DMG. I'm not denying that people are like that in the real world, obviously - I'm arguing that the rules for alignment, as presented, do not reflect this diversity. If a character repeatedly acts in ways not appropriate for his listed alignment, then the DM is encouraged to intervene.

And let me add that two character with different alignment can have some behaviours in common, especially if they're both G/E aligned (like helping others if they're both good)

The fact that some DM havent' understood it yet, is a further issue.

Let me provide an example. I was playing a cleric recently. A LN, Inquisitor-style cleric. Several games into the campaign, the DM informed me that I was playing my cleric as more Good than anything else. And he's right, I was. My character was a nice, sweet, helpful guy. It just so happened that we hadn't come across anything to interact with my character's "punish, torture, kill!" side yet. By the rules in the DMG, he was absolutely correct to remind me that I could shift.

About class restriction: you can be a "barbarian" , a nomad in savage forests, or a barbarian, a character with some levels of a certain class; both them can have the same background, the former can be even lawful.
Then, both can respect the same taboos because, as we know, a chaotic character will not try to rebel to any law in any possible situation, especially if they're from the society he was born in.

Err, the former can't be Lawful. Says so in the rules. Of course, by the description of the alignments, Lawful describes every tribal concept I've ever seen, even those from which barbarians supposedly hail, but the rules say they can't be Lawful-aligned.

And what about monks who don't give a wet slap about the rules? Plenty of them in the stories, too.
Alignment has always added to my D&D game experience. But then I've always approached it the way Eberron does, as a tool rather than a stricture. If we're talking about how MMOs handle it, then the biggest MMO, WoW, uses the allegiance system, and I hate it. It's entirely based on race, which is pretty much exactly what people here are complaining about with the alignment system.

All of these ideas are tools to help you design and stick to your character. All of them can be abused, and all of them can be helpful. But the alignment system is the quintessential D&D role playing tool, and goes back as far as I can remember in the game. I am very, very against removing the alignment system .
Good example. Here's my take.

If you were a member of some conservative party, at what point would they say (as a party, not as some more extreme members might say) that you are no longer welcome as a member? This consideration could be used as a rule of thumb, there are no precise rules about this, so it would be done on a case by case basis. As for alignment, no one is perfectly consistent, and I'm sure (most) good gods wouldn't reject a soul into the afterlife for only a few evil acts in an otherwise good life. Nor would evil gods reject a soul who occassionally helped old ladies cross the street. What matters is whether you promote the overall agenda, whether of good or evil, conservatism or liberalism.

So, again, I don't think that there are (or should be) sharp lines demarcating one alignment from the next.

Only, as we're being reminded, alignment in 3.X isn't membership in a club. It's a force of nature, dictated by the influence of the planes, etc. I don't have to convince a bunch of people that I still support their overall agenda - I have to maintain my relationship with the cosmology. "Very real force," and all that. I'm not performing, I'm not being sneaky - I'm actually feeling very strongly for my cause that goes outside my 'alignment,' and acting on that, repeatedly and with conviction. If alignment operates the way it's detailed, that would precipitate a shift. For acting on one facet of my beliefs.


I guess I didn't say exactly what I meant. I'll give more detail then.

If you want a lawful barbarian tribe, don't use the barbarian class (which is horribly misnamed). Use fighters, warriors, rangers, or even the barbarian variant in Unearthed Aracana where he loses rage and gains ranger abilities (it doesn't say anything about alignment, but once rage is gone it's easy to remove the alignment restriction). On the other hand, members of the barbarian class can still be neutral, so they don't have to actively reject tradition. Perhaps the fact that they're a little more wild is due to a more primal connection with their ancestor spirits, or some such thing.

If you want a monk to rebel, maybe they do it because they feel that following tradition would undermine their personal path to enlightenment.

The distinguishing feature of the Barbarian class is the Rage ability. This should not be excluded from those who are Lawful. Most berserkers I've seen in non-DnD-derived fiction were fanatics about their culture's traditions. As far as the monk is concerned, I have two volumes with me right now containing ancient Chinese stories, and most of them involve monks going out into the world and doing whatever they thought they needed to, law and tradition be damned.
I think the problem is the subjetive interpretation of good-evil and law-chaos by each DM and player. For example the privateer was a warship authorized by a country's government to attack foreign shipping or coast village. Lawul or chaotic? Or certain religious currernt what acept the taquiya (authorized lie to a infidel)?.

Other examples, the movie of transformers: the captain William Lennox and his squadron are being chased by the evil Scorponork, and they run until a city to get a phone and asking help from the Pentagon. American soldiers figths with the scorpion-like decepticons in that city from Quatar (with civilians in the zone). Autobots fights against decepticons in urban zone, with a lot of....collateral damages.

Somepeople can thinking the Captain William Lennox have to be judzged by the responsibility of the damages to civilian in the Quatar city. Are the autobots war criminals because inocent people were damaged in the final battle with the decepticons?

What if in the comic of marvel zombis Nick fury would used a massive destruction weapon in New York, with thousands of victims but saving the rest of world?

Or the 1998 movie the siege, with Denzel Washington, and Bruce Willis. A terrorist group have kidnap a bus. An a moment the caracther of Annette Bening says Denzel Washington has to giving the order to shooting the terrorist (but lossing some hostages) or everybody would die. Denzel Washington wants try the negotiation but.... Boum!!!!

In Universe X, the marvel comic saga, Captain America and Marvel goes to Sentinel city to seing king toad, who is humilliating powerless Magneto. Capt. Am. doesn´t like this but he doesn´t stop it because he have to asking him help to their mission.

The question: Is moral choosing the smallest bad?

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

Only, as we're being reminded, alignment in 3.X isn't membership in a club. It's a force of nature, dictated by the influence of the planes, etc. I don't have to convince a bunch of people that I still support their overall agenda - I have to maintain my relationship with the cosmology. "Very real force," and all that. I'm not performing, I'm not being sneaky - I'm actually feeling very strongly for my cause that goes outside my 'alignment,' and acting on that, repeatedly and with conviction. If alignment operates the way it's detailed, that would precipitate a shift. For acting on one facet of my beliefs.

I didn't mean to imply that having an alignment is party membership (although I think that was the original intention with the three alignments in OD&D); I was drawing an analogy. Kinda like Darwin did with natural selection, even though no one was selecting anything.

The consideration of when you might have your party membership revoked is my suggestion of how to consider whether your alignment has changed. If it were a party, when might membership be revoked? Again, just a suggestion based on how I think of it.

The distinguishing feature of the Barbarian class is the Rage ability. This should not be excluded from those who are Lawful. Most berserkers I've seen in non-DnD-derived fiction were fanatics about their culture's traditions. As far as the monk is concerned, I have two volumes with me right now containing ancient Chinese stories, and most of them involve monks going out into the world and doing whatever they thought they needed to, law and tradition be damned.

Okay, good points.
Alignment, allegiances, devotions, tendencies, traits, psychological limitations, it doesn't matter what you call them if a player is only interested in role-saying instead of role-playing.
All too often they are taken solely for some perceived benefit they provide, whether it be class access (paladin, monk, bard, druid, cleric), or justification ("I'm chaotic and/or evil. I can do whatever I want!")
Folks are arguing about it, so I suggest removing it or making it optional. This means creating more interesting spells.

I don't like rules that players will argue about it. And alignment isn't significant enough to warrant an argument.

smoker
I think alignment is best handled as its own track(s) with zones.

Events and Changes:
- Good Actions move you towards the Good side.
- Evil Actions move you towards the Evil side.

Actions in the opposite zone are three times as potent in how they affect your position on the track. (For instance, murdering someone when you are in the good zone moves you 3 towards the evil end.)

Actions in the neutral zone are twice as potent.

The differences in the zones also helps to eliminate "storing" up good actions. I.e. if the zones were 7 evil, 5 neutral, and 7 good, someone could only "store" up good to outweigh 2 evil acts without going neutral. But to go from Good 1 to Good 9 would require 8 Good acts.

Then you could have things like being a Paladin requires you to maintain a Lawful and Good alignment, but to use certain class features would require a minimum Good and/or Lawful score, or your score might affect how potent your class features are (like Smite Evil could cap at bonus damage equal to 3 times your Good score, so a level 20 Paladin that had Good 3, might only get +9 damage when smiting, or Inspire Courage could only function if your Lawful Score were at or above 4).

If there were more class features, feats, spells, talents, and magic items where alignment REALLY mattered, I would like some sort of Alignment Track (two, one for G-E and another for L-C). If the only reason for alignments is to force Paladins to be one way, or to mess with Monks, Barbarians, Clerics, Druids, and Bards... just throw it out.
I think alignment is best handled as its own track(s) with zones.

Events and Changes:
- Good Actions move you towards the Good side.
- Evil Actions move you towards the Evil side.

Actions in the opposite zone are three times as potent in how they affect your position on the track. (For instance, murdering someone when you are in the good zone moves you 3 towards the evil end.)

Actions in the neutral zone are twice as potent.

The differences in the zones also helps to eliminate "storing" up good actions. I.e. if the zones were 7 evil, 5 neutral, and 7 good, someone could only "store" up good to outweigh 2 evil acts without going neutral. But to go from Good 1 to Good 9 would require 8 Good acts.

Then you could have things like being a Paladin requires you to maintain a Lawful and Good alignment, but to use certain class features would require a minimum Good and/or Lawful score, or your score might affect how potent your class features are (like Smite Evil could cap at bonus damage equal to 3 times your Good score, so a level 20 Paladin that had Good 3, might only get +9 damage when smiting, or Inspire Courage could only function if your Lawful Score were at or above 4).

If there were more class features, feats, spells, talents, and magic items where alignment REALLY mattered, I would like some sort of Alignment Track (two, one for G-E and another for L-C). If the only reason for alignments is to force Paladins to be one way, or to mess with Monks, Barbarians, Clerics, Druids, and Bards... just throw it out.

This was all ready done in Dragonlance 1e hardcover. The problem is that the rule is completely subjective.

The rule is a tool for the DM to screw you over. And then, arguments start up because you get into the whole philosophical debate about good and evil. What's the point?

The game almost entirely a tactical miniatures wargame. Who wants to get into an ethical debate while killing monsters?

smoker
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I think alignment is best handled as its own track(s) with zones.

Events and Changes:
- Good Actions move you towards the Good side.
- Evil Actions move you towards the Evil side.

Actions in the opposite zone are three times as potent in how they affect your position on the track. (For instance, murdering someone when you are in the good zone moves you 3 towards the evil end.)

Actions in the neutral zone are twice as potent.

The differences in the zones also helps to eliminate "storing" up good actions. I.e. if the zones were 7 evil, 5 neutral, and 7 good, someone could only "store" up good to outweigh 2 evil acts without going neutral. But to go from Good 1 to Good 9 would require 8 Good acts.

Then you could have things like being a Paladin requires you to maintain a Lawful and Good alignment, but to use certain class features would require a minimum Good and/or Lawful score, or your score might affect how potent your class features are (like Smite Evil could cap at bonus damage equal to 3 times your Good score, so a level 20 Paladin that had Good 3, might only get +9 damage when smiting, or Inspire Courage could only function if your Lawful Score were at or above 4).

If there were more class features, feats, spells, talents, and magic items where alignment REALLY mattered, I would like some sort of Alignment Track (two, one for G-E and another for L-C). If the only reason for alignments is to force Paladins to be one way, or to mess with Monks, Barbarians, Clerics, Druids, and Bards... just throw it out.

I agree that alignment restrictions on classes are annoying and contrived. However, a score-based alignment is not the answer. (Just what we need. More book-keeping.)

I think the effort in the PHB to show how alignment is not a straight-jacket with "a good person tends to..." (implying that a good person will not necessarily...) was a bad idea. Class-based alignment restrictions, and later splat-books that confused the issues did not help, either.

I think the next iteration of alignment should step away from the concept of good being what a colloquially good person would do. It needs to be rigidly defined so that it is simply a description of intent. If evil means that you will take risks to kill innocent creatures (and evil tendencies means you will only kill innocent creatures if you profit from it), a player will not be surprised if his alignment suddenly changes to evil. The DM can ask, "did you intend to kill that person, even though you thought he was innocent?" If the answer is yes (unless the killing was to protect another innocent person), you are some shade of evil. No slowly falling into evil.

And on this falling slowly into evil thing... It doesn't make sense. If you intend to kill an innocent person for fun, you are not slowly becoming evil. You are evil. The shift happened as soon as your mind switched from "I wonder what would happen if..." to "I would derive pleasure from..."

So, I hope alignment sticks around, but I also hope that it is more rigidly defined. More rigid definitions will not make it more like a straight-jacket for roleplay. It will make it more like a description of a cosmically significant aspect of your personality.
The game almost entirely a tactical miniatures wargame. Who wants to get into an ethical debate while killing monsters?

smoker

I think this is a significant point. That is why alignments should allow for wargame-like deviants within the good alignment. If the good alignment only refers to your treatment (protection) of innocent creatures, then each good character may treat evil/guilty creatures differently. One may be a detect-smite monkey, while another a prisoner rehabilitator. Treatment of evil creatures/prisoners is one of the more common points of disagreement regarding alignment on these boards. It would be nice to have a RAW that makes this a non-issue.