Keep Alignment, but...

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We need more than nine alignments. Doubling it might be too many, but we could use some shades of gray, I think.

Maybe we could rework the system so it the good-evil law-chaos axes are longer or something...

What do you guys all think?
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Don´t worry. I´m sure we will see a Unearthed Arcana 4th Ed. with a new optional sistem of alignment. We will have optional rules of "taint/corruption", and honor, but too new "label".

- Exalted. The equivalent of holiness. Super-good.

- Culprit or guilty. Somebody who has did some horrible thing. A good character can be guilty too in the same time...( He have chosen a fatal decision, like risking collateral damages and he doesn´t feel...pride). A evil character without blood crimes (for example the villain of a children´s cartoon) can be evil and not guilty in the same time.

- Wicked. The evil character is egoistic, and can doing damage to inocent people to get a material benefit... but the wicked is dedicated to doing all the possible harm, even if it isn´t necessary for business.

- Zealous. the fanatic, the idealist with wrong ways...

- Ambiguous. A crazy or mad, a double-agent, the human who became werewolf for fullmoon, The character who change the aligment too number of times, the monster with remorses, the anti-heroe who chooses the "dark side of the force"..

"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 

That's a nice idea...
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One purpose of alignment is to simplify things, so I think it should stick to the nine we have.

However, I like the idea of optional alignment systems. Since alignment won't be having a mechanical component in 4e, this should be very easy.

Luis Carlos's suggestions could work. Perhaps the option of only using the original three alignments (Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic). An allegiance system, as in d20 Modern. Something similar to the Palladium alignment system (not a direct rip off, just the basic idea). The virtue/vice system of True20 (where you pick any virtue and vice you can think of for your character, with the understanding that you don't have to always play that way, but to get you to think about how you might describe your character). Etc.

Yeah, so a basic section on "alignment" with the usual nine as a primary example, plus one or two more examples, and a discussion on making your own, and what it might mean to not have alignment at all. I'd like that. Alignment will be there for those who like it, without upsetting those who don't like it.
I lean the allegiance system too. It´s more credible or believable the evil societies with a minimum of loyalty (their deity, their clan or family). A great evil comunity where everybody are enemy of the rest would be ...doomed to be auto-destroyed. It´s a question of number and demography. If in a good society or race the most of children get the maturity and can having bigger number of sons... and in a evil society where a great number of member die before being fathers... with time the good society will be more numerous and powerful what the weared out bad guys..

The evil people think the good are stupid doomed to be used by the "smart" but ..what does it happen when whole flock are wolfs what eat them each other instead lambs?

I think it´s better the evil races or cult who are "enough good" only with the members of same loyalty/allegiance, but evil with the rest of sentients beings.

"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 would only have 4 alignments. Good, Evil, Selfish & Chaotic (Insane).

Good- Self explanatory. Believes in helping people, a value for life and a general live & let live approach for others. Generally abiding by the spirit, not the letter of agreements and an acceptance of action = consequence.. This still allows for a huge range of role playing opportunities. Not every person will be a boyscout nor sacrifice everything he owns for the sake of others but would not go out of his way to harm someone else to solely benefit himself.

Evil - A general contempt for the lives & thoughts of those around him. The typical "it's all about me all the time" philosophy. A belief that one's own self matters more than anything and the conviction to do whatever is necessary to carry that out. The old "Might makes Right" way of thinking. If you can attach the phrase, "Wow. If I go through with this, many people will suffer but I will come out on top." and you still carry through with your plan then you are most likely Evil.

Selfish - Similar top the "It's all about me all the time philosophy, but with the qualms of having to resort to dastardly means to better one's self. Selfish people think of themselves first and are more mercenary or "neutral" in outlook without the evil impulses...yet. An example would be a sherrif ignoring bandits attacking a neighboring county because "Hey. It's not my town." The hoarding of resources without respect for the needs of others & purposefully legitimizing a bad system because it benefits you personally. If you look at a situation and say, "Wow. This would benefit many people who need it, but not me." and you refuse to make and or allow the situation to work, chances are you are selfish in nature.

Chaos(insanity)- This should be the rarest alignment and the rarest PC choice. Chaos people don't work well in a group. It does not matter if that group is a society, religion, or adventuring party. Chaos creatures wish to unravel society and destroy it for reasons that no one can comprehend. Where as a good character may destroy monsters to stop them from harming innocents. A selfish person may destroy the monsters because they threaten his personal property and an evil person may destroy the monster just to hear them scream, a chaotic person will destroy both the peasants and the monsters just because.... If people constantly say to you "What the heck did you do that for?" and you don't have an explanation, an excuse or a rationalization. Then you are chaotic. Demons should be the perfect example of this. It makes no sense in an terms that PC races can understand and trying to discuss, persuade and or intimidate these creatures is futile since their way of thinking is such an alien concept that if you started to comprehend it, everyone around you would look at you as if you had just gone mad.

Short recap
Thought process of the four alignments
Good - "Will my actions affect others? If so, how?"
Selfish - "Will my actions benefit me most? If not, how can I improve the situation so that they will?"
Evil - My actions benefit me the most and if someone else gets hurt in the process, too bad for them. I don't question why.
Chaos - No rational thought process. Many questions. Many answers. Any question can have multiple answers and all answers are both right & wrong at the same time.
Make alignment optional, easily house-ruled away.

Introduce variant alternatives to the traditional system: allegiances, general morality descriptors as given by Luis_Carlos above, or large overhanging philosophical belief systems e.g. robust Nietzsche, deistic consequentialist, etc.

Personally, I will keep alignment far, far away from all but one-dimensional enemies and NPCs. I have a very clear, very instinctive understanding of George Costanza, or Marge Simpson, or Mel Gibson's William Wallace; yet it would still take me a few moments of weighing their personality traits to fit them into any alignment system (including the one introduced by knight17 above, or any variant someone can think up). My characters and NPCs are the same way. No professional actor or screenplay writer thinks "Hmm, this character is LE!" That's what players are doing, essentially: writing and acting for their characters. They don't need alignment either.
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