The Five Alignments

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Some people at ENWorld are store owners who have gotten a chance to look at the 4e books, and have divulged some information that people have been anxious to find out. One of these things is alignment. According to an ENWorld poster

There are 5 Alignments: Good, Lawful Good, Evil, Chaotic Evil, Unaligned. Among the gods I did not see any evil or CE listed.

You can find this and lots of other juicy information here. Discuss.
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Good, evil, and unaligned seem pretty self explanatory. Chatic evil, from what we have seen, seems to me to be people who revel in destruction for destructions sake. However I am still having a hard time figuring out what Lawful good would be though.
There are 5 Alignments: Good, Lawful Good, Evil, Chaotic Evil, Unaligned. Among the gods I did not see any evil or CE listed.

Wow, that will be terrible. I suppose it does cover the alignments that WotC actually used though. Generally in WotC writing entities that where lawful evil came across as neutral evil, while neutral evil and chaotic evil where hard to tell apart.

Nearly every class has 4 At-Wills available to chose from at 1st level, Wizard has 5. Same goes for Encounters. Fighter, Paladin and Rogue have 3 Dailys, everyone else has 4. More become available at higher levels.

That is about what I expected. Not nearly enough for real character variation, but once the power expansion books are added it should be OK.

Rituals: range from cheap to learn and cast to expensive. As an example: Raise Dead costs 650GP to learn uses a 500gp reagent, and "scales" at levels. At lowever levels, it's "free" except for the reagent cost." At medium levels it's 5,000gp. And at epic levels it's 50,000. Oh, and the raised person gets a penalty of -1 until you've passed "3" milestones.

That is interesting. Raise Dead is apparently available right from the start or very early on. I'll have to think about that in my game.

Oh, and another interesting/weird feature....there is an easy to cast ritual that clears 1 status ailment (curse, disease, etc) each time it's cast, but with a catch. You make a heal check, and your result ='s how much dmg the TARGET sick player takes while being healed. SO, a low roll can kill outright, or can do dmg. A high roll causes very little dmg.

That will be cool, though I expect in practice it would be impossible to kill a character who wasn't on the verge of death already.

Timestop is a spell in 4e. Gives you 2 extra actions, neither of which can be used for attack.

Right, not really Time Stop but close enough to fake it. A lot of the converted spells seem to be like that.

Minotaurs are a MM race, and get a fun per encounter charge attack, and +2str and +2 con.

That is what I was afraid of. Rather then figure out how to balance an actual Minotaur or just disallow it, they nerfed it down until a Minotaur is no more powerful then a human.

Warforged were in the book too, but stripped down a bit. Less immunities. And their encounter ability felt to me a bit meh...once per encounter when blodied you heal con mod + 1/2 level. Still, not a bad race...but not so zomg overpowered as they once were.

I did get a bit on the Warforged: +2 STR, +2 CON, Speed 6, Vision Normal, +2 to Endurance Skill, Can wear armor.

Looks like they did the same thing to the Warforged. No longer different enough from human to be interesting.

Jay
Not having chaotic good and lawful evil Alignments is the crappiest idea I have ever seen. Either have all of them or none.
Looks like they did the same thing to the Warforged. No longer different enough from human to be interesting.Jay

Bummer. I guess it was to be expected though. They better do some cool options for Warforged components.
Looks like they did the same thing to the Warforged. No longer different enough from human to be interesting.

The warforged could get better treatment in the PHB2 next year. I bet once they develop the racial feats to go along with the race then you may see some of the cool things they used to have. Remember the warforged being released is in the MM with a minimal PC stat block.
That is about what I expected. Not nearly enough for real character variation, but once the power expansion books are added it should be OK.

To be fair, except for the casters thats 4 more choices for any class than in previous editions.
That is what I was afraid of. Rather then figure out how to balance an actual Minotaur or just disallow it, they nerfed it down until a Minotaur is no more powerful then a human.

I'm betting that the actual statblocks for minotaurs aren't nearly as wimpy as +2 Str and Con. They probably have some badass, "real" minotaurs to fight and the wimpy PC version is for that PC who *has* to play a minotaur.

Honestly, I don't think there's really any way to make a balanced minotaur PC without using some sort of level adjustment mechanic (which I'm really thankful is gone in 4e). Some of the PHB races might be a little better at certain classes or roles than others, but overall, no one race dominates a particular class. Having a minotaur PC race with +6 Str and +2 Con ... would make them the hands-down best fighter in the game, no matter what penalties they took to Int and Cha.
I think that it is disapointing that there are no longer pure chaotic or lawful alignments. However, I don't really see it as a problem as it's easy to "houserule" in as there don't seem to be any rules for it to being with.
I liked everything I heard in that post. I'm excited about how all the bits and pieces of the rules come together. I really like the +1 to all abilities at 11th and 21st because it makes sense you improve in everything as you travel and learn for so long. Star Pact sounds cooler cooler whenever I see it.
Disgusting.

According to 4e, Hitler is less evil than your average drug dealer because he worked within the system.
Disgusting.

According to 4e, Hitler is less evil than your average drug dealer because he worked within the system.

Does it actually say that CE is more evil than Evil? I didnt realize there were quatitative differences between the alignments now or than "aligned" being "more aligned" than "unaligne".
Disgusting.

According to 4e, Hitler is less evil than your average drug dealer because he worked within the system.

Ladies and gentlemen, this thread has been Godwin'd.
Disgusting.

According to 4e, Hitler is less evil than your average drug dealer because he worked within the system.

Actually no, Hitler falls under evil, and the drug dealer is at worst evil(more likely unaligned). Chaotic evil appears(from what we have seen so far) to be wanting destruction for destruction's sake such as you would expect from the current incarnation of Demons.
Well I guess I just found the first thing I'll house rule. In my gameworld (and actual worldview ;)) there's only 5 alignments:

Chaotic Good, Good, Unaligned, Evil, Lawful Evil.
Some people at ENWorld are store owners who have gotten a chance to look at the 4e books, and have divulged some information that people have been anxious to find out. One of these things is alignment. According to an ENWorld poster



You can find this and lots of other juicy information here. Discuss.

You know, I have found one of the first things I dislike about 4E.

Ah, well. House rule, here I come.
Disgusting.

According to 4e, Hitler is less evil than your average drug dealer because he worked within the system.

Well maybe that's because not all drug dealers are evil. Especially the ones that deal in the green leafy kind. The only thing they're a threat to is a party size bag of Fun'oins.

Well that and your average drug dealer works within the system most of the time. They obey traffic laws, for example.

At most the would be considered unaligned.

....just saying.

p.s. Unless they deal meth. Those shambling mounds need to be targeted with "Edvard's Spiked Black Tentacles of Forced Penetration"
Well I guess I just found the first thing I'll house rule. In my gameworld (and actual worldview ;)) there's only 5 alignments:

Chaotic Good, Good, Unaligned, Evil, Lawful Evil.

QFT. Hail Eris. -><-
Disgusting.

According to 4e, Hitler is less evil than your average drug dealer because he worked within the system.

No, he's just as evil, but not as chaotic.

I must admit, the loss of CG and LE raised my eyebrows. Cutting down player options like that is just a strange move. My guess is they must have redefined "law" and "chaos" in some major way; I await the release of the books to see.

EDIT: Wait, isn't there a preview article on the issue coming sometime? That might actually be better; explain their reasoning, which is really what I want to see.
My interpretations ...

Evil: selfish predation to benefit oneself only at expense of others
Chaotic Evil: annihilate all that exists

Unaligned: normal humans

Good: compassionate sharing
Lawful Good: synergistic cooperation to empower eachother
Hmmm, I don't like the alignment change in concept. In actual play, however, I can only think it will give me more wiggle room in playing my character without worrying about which alignment he should be, since it'll just be a decision between unaligned and good most of the time.
Still, at this point, I'm a little confused why they wouldn't simply cast off law and chaos entirely, and describe the ways different people are good/unaligned/evil for each person (I don't have any problem with a demon and a devil both being "evil" and having a description as to how they are evil).
I'm just dissapointed in seing Chaotic Stupid and Lawful dumb on that list. Errr I mean Chaotic Evil and Lawful good. Well first house rule I'm using is to bar those alignments from players.
Ladies and gentlemen, this thread has been Godwin'd.

Meh. Godwin's Law as an excuse to bar certain arguments is pointless.

You find a more iconic representative of Lawful Evil.

No, he's just as evil, but not as chaotic.

Not that chaotic even means anything without Evil anymore.

I must admit, the loss of CG and LE raised my eyebrows. Cutting down player options like that is just a strange move. My guess is they must have redefined "law" and "chaos" in some major way; I await the release of the books to see.

I think they've thrown out Law and Chaos except as fancy words for "very." I honestly dislike it intensely. When I thought that 4e was just going to have Good, Unaligned, and Evil, I was pretty happy with this decision because the first thing I was thinking of houseruling for a game was to replace G&E with L&C. I have this campaign setting that in 3.5 terms is based on three factions centered around LE, NG, & CE, and the translation to Law, Unaligned, Chaos would've been great because I could emphasize the idea of the alienness of the unbalanced factions.

Besides, I find the LE v. CG struggle much more interesting and compelling than the LG v. CE struggle. The worst kind of Evil is organized Evil because it's so much more effective and has a far easier time providing a veneer of justification to its acts. This half-way abandonment of alignment is much worse than a complete abandonment of Law & Chaos IMO.

EDIT: Wait, isn't there a preview article on the issue coming sometime? That might actually be better; explain their reasoning, which is really what I want to see.

Yeah. I'd love to hear their justification for it.
My guess is they must have redefined "law" and "chaos" in some major way; I await the release of the books to see.

My guess is diametrically opposed, actually. I suspect LG and CE mean exactly what they always have, but the designers are going back to the 1e/2e value judgment that LG/CE are uniquely heroic/vile and hence worthy of a special calling-out. Something along these lines, maybe:

"True heroes are never chaotic -- they don't make a habit of promising things they can't/won't deliver, nor do true heroes believe that the end justifies the means. But there is a special class of hero who always keeps his word and never takes the expedient route in his pursuit of Goodness. Such men form the core of Lawful Goodness, the alignment from which most paladins are drawn."

There are a couple of arguments people might make for this approach. For one thing, everybody knows a real hero should care more about society than himself, so the CG/LE alignment squares shouldn't have anybody in them to begin with. Also, having a full-fledged second alignment dimension means good and evil characters might sometimes team up, which confuses people and detracts from the good-versus-evil setup D&D should provide. Finally, the ends-never-justify-the-means heroic archetype has been popular through the ages and hence deserves a calling-out today in the core books.

I don't think those arguments are very strong, myself, but I suspect they're behind the change.
I'm pretty sure this was a dumbing down. Most people have lots of difficulty evaluating "right" and "wrong" meaningfully in any context outside of "society says this is OK" and "society says this is not OK."

Which is to say, alignment is an area where complaints of kicking something good in the teeth just to keep it from confusing the unwashed masses are legitimate--either that or the devs have gone the authoritarian route of saying law and order are inherently good and that there are no real heroes who would say otherwise (Robin Hood totally wasn't a "real hero," hyuk hyuk) and that "real evil" is a psychopathic mess that's too busy rebelling against the system to do real damage like twisting the inherently pure and noble system itself (GODWIN GODWIN GODWIN).

Which would be pretty dumb, because anyone capable of a moment's rational thought can at least give lip service to the fact that what is right and what is legal are not always the same.

Count me in the "I will put Chaotic Good on my sheet whenever I damn well please, and if my DM gives me crap about it, they're just sucking up to The Man" camp.
Well I guess I just found the first thing I'll house rule. In my gameworld (and actual worldview ;)) there's only 5 alignments:

Chaotic Good, Good, Unaligned, Evil, Lawful Evil.

Absolutely. These are the alignments that actually exist (outside children's stories that is) ;)
Blast! And I was liking damn-near everything so far. This is something I cannot reconcile with, its not a deal-breaker, but its not something I am anywhere near happy with. If chaos and law are going to be on the table, chaotic good and lawful evil should as well...

I guess I'll be completing my homebrew system inspired by the RiFTS alignments.
It's sad to think that people that recognize the real alignment struggle is CG-G-U-E-LE are so few and far between that the masses have to be fed LG-G-U-E-CE BS instead.
It's sad to think that people that recognize the real alignment struggle is CG-G-U-E-LE are so few and far between that the masses have to be fed LG-G-U-E-CE BS instead.

Is that directed at me? I hope not, because I understand it and think I would be less bothered by it. I, however feel that a list of loose personality types would be better.
This seems simply to me. They are using alternate meanings for words. Chaotic used to indicate Freedom, but now it's used to indicate.... chaos, and irrationality. Where as Lawful is redefined to mean honorable. Good has absorbs both Chaotic and Neutral Good. Where as Neutral and Lawful Evil are both absorbed into Evil.

Anyway, as a side note, for those arguing realism, the Good vs Evil thing is not accurate either, because it would require Evil to be it's own separate force.
I must admit, the loss of CG and LE raised my eyebrows. Cutting down player options like that is just a strange move. My guess is they must have redefined "law" and "chaos" in some major way; I await the release of the books to see.

Indeed.

I think they've thrown out Law and Chaos except as fancy words for "very." I honestly dislike it intensely.

Unless (hopefully) they are finally making a clear distinction and definition based on an order/meaning vrs random/meaningless axis; which would explain the demons now being connected to primal chaos and raw destruction of the Elemental Tempest.

My guess is diametrically opposed, actually. I suspect LG and CE mean exactly what they always have, but the designers are going back to the 1e/2e value judgment that LG/CE are uniquely heroic/vile and hence worthy of a special calling-out. Something along these lines, maybe:

"True heroes are never chaotic -- they don't make a habit of promising things they can't/won't deliver, nor do true heroes believe that the end justifies the means. But there is a special class of hero who always keeps his word and never takes the expedient route in his pursuit of Goodness. Such men form the core of Lawful Goodness, the alignment from which most paladins are drawn."

Am kind of guessing that too...
Mind you, I'm not all that excited about the changes either (although I will be excited by the fact that they seem to be separating alignment out from the mechanical aspect of the game) but I do have an alternative theory to propose beyond the "dumbing down" argument (which is also highly plausible):

Maybe they removed LE on the assumption that many who work from "within the system" to do evil don't really think of themselves as evil. Bothering to "work from within the system" means you might have started off with "good" intentions but got sidetracked. The differentiation between E and CE might therefore be intended to illustrate the difference between "self-deluded" evil and plain 'ol nihilistic "full speed ahead" evil.

Dunno, still seems a bit clumsy though.
This division seems...odd.

I wait to see the preview & later the full rules.

For a fantasy setting I understand keeping alignment simple is best - I'd have probably gone for a sliding scale between Good and Evil. Not realistic - but hey, what game system can possibly account for realistic ethics. For a fantasy game Good/Evil seems about right.

Don't get the chaos/law thing.
Playing Scales of War

Rogue.jpg

Ladies and gentlemen, this thread has been Godwin'd.

Yes, but in a discussion of what is evil bringing up Hitler is acceptable.

You find a more iconic representative of Lawful Evil.

I can't think of a better modern example that everyone is familiar with.

Back to the OP, I don't think lawful and chaotic are appropriate descriptions for good and evil. It should be good, unaligned and evil.

If you want to show shades of grey then use adjectives such as slightly, really and unbelievably. You could use "WTF?" as an alignment for truly chaotic characters.
Maybe they removed LE on the assumption that many who work from "within the system" to do evil don't really think of themselves as evil. Bothering to "work from within the system" means you might have started off with "good" intentions but got sidetracked.

Not necessarily -- there are plenty of "full speed ahead" Lawful Evil creatures in D&D. Illlithids, Neogi, Hobgoblins, etc. These creatures are tyrannical without any pretension that they are doing it for "noble" reasons -- they are just very fond of Order over Mercy. It's clumsy, as you say.

I really can't think of any explanation for the decision that doesn't simply reveal a certain philosophical / political bias towards obedience to the law over respect of people's right and boundaries. It's a removal of a moral nuance that has provoked a lot of thought in teenagers first starting to game over the decades, and I think it's a shame to see it go.
If they are killing two of the pillars of the alignment system, as well as dumbing down, it would really just be more ideal to simplify it to good and evil, and leave law and chaos as ingame concerns. But then, I realise as I'm writing it, that sucks also. The new setting seems to be more geared towards order and chaos than good and evil in any event. So if they are redefining chaos from freedom to chaos and entropy, they should follow suit to redefine law from honourable and legalistic to extreme order, and then just leave the nine alignments in place. It seems to be that in moving away from the senseless and annoyingly ever-present symmetry of the Great Wheel, we now have something which is just simple and (for me) dissatisfying.
Hrmm. I have an idea here. People seem to be assuming that Lawful Good at Chaotic Evil are the extreme alignments. As if it were a spectrum, ranging LG - G - U - E - CE. But perhaps this is not the case.

Perhaps Good, and Evil, are the pure variants. The extreme edges. A person who is purely good will do what is right. In the case where what is right isn't what is legal, they will still do what is right (assuming they're good enough to actually warrant the alignment. Most folks are Neutral at best). And a person who is Evil will do what serves them best. They're not in it to cause trouble for trouble's sake, and often don't want to bring trouble on their own heads. So are more likely to work within, and exploit, a system, then rebel against it.

I think Lawful Good, and Chaotic Evil, are the oddities, in fact. The sidesteps from normal alignments. A lawful good person still tries to do what is right...But they're sometimes willing to sacrifice what is right for what is orderly. What's easy. Chaotic Evil, likewise, doesn't much care about anything but causing chaos and torment and pain. There's little care for logic or purpose, however twisted. They just like causing trouble.

Neutral Good, was a pretty unnecessary alignment. Most people do wish well on others, and are generally simple, good people. But that's Neutral. Good as an alignment is more than that. Good is a desire to do what is right because it's right, and to push for that ideal. Not just in little ways, but in big, personality defining ways. And, imo, a person that entrenched with a desire to do Good is going to do what is right, heedless of unfair laws. This making the Chaotic Good designation unnecessary. Order, if not to the degree that it limits freedom, is a good thing. Lawful good isn't Super good. It's good, limited by a deference to order. There will be many shades between those two, but there's still an acknowledgement that they feel a certain degree of loss of freedoms or liberties is acceptable for more order, something which Good does not.

Similarly, Neutral Evil and Lawful Evil are close in terms of nature. Evil people are selfish, self-serving, and dont' care about the pain or troubles of others, or that they cause to others. But evil isn't stupid. Evil doesn't want to cause trouble for itself. Working within a system, creating systematic oppression and legal loopholes ripe for exploitation is as evil as it gets. Someone who was Neutral Evil isn't going to be bringing trouble on themselves. They'll be charging unfair taxes, bleeding people dry. Executing people for unjust, but still legal, laws. If they're just a jerk, that's still in the realm of Neutral, of Unaligned. It's Chaotic people who are the exception. They're chaos, destruction, wanton bloodshed for no purpose beyond itself. I'ts not a rebelling against order. It's complete disregard for order. It's hatred and violence, untempered by personal motives.

Edit: quick summary. Basically, there's likely not enough of a real difference between Neutral good and Chaotic Good, and between Neutral Evil, and Lawful Evil, to warrant specific alignments, especially considering that being aligned is supposed to be a more significant designation in 4e. It doesn't mean there aren't good freedom fighters or oppressive empires. Just that these attitudes fall quite neatly with the standard Good, or Evil designations. Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil are the flavors of good and evil that act differently.
Zarius, wow! Very interesting interpretation. That would make the new system seem more palatable and less biased.
A lawful good person still tries to do what is right...But they're sometimes willing to sacrifice what is right for what is orderly. What's easy.

Wow! an interpretation for LG that I can agree with. Up to this point LG has always been played as LE with the delusion of being good (e.g. an inquisitor).

I've always seen law as more conformity to an extrinsic moral code, vs chaos which is the freedom to follow an intrinsic moral code.
Just to pitch out some thoughts here:

Chaotic/Neutral Good haven't been left out - they're part of Good. People with Good alignments seek to oppose evil, protect the lives and dignity of their fellow sentient beings, feel compassion and empathy, and so on and so forth. Now, previously, a Neutral Good person sought to do this, was willing to work within the system, but didn't feel beholden to this (interestingly, this was also referred to in 3.5 as "True Good." A Chaotic Good person believed exactly what the Neutral Good person did, except that they were more willing to work without the system and believed even more that one's own moral sense was more important than the laws of society. Now, both would be considered parts of the same moral spectrum of good, united by a common belief that one's own moral code trumps allegiance to authority.

Same thing happens on the Evil side of the ledgers. Both Neutral and Lawful Evil types were willing to work within the system to get what they wanted, one more so than the other. Maybe one Evil person is committed to tradition and authority, and the other twists them to their own advantage, but ultimately they're both evil.

Now, what makes Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil different is their allegiance to a different conception of Good and Evil. To a Lawful Good person, the rule of law, the belief in organic society, the idea of civilization itself, is the embodiment of Good. Without law and society, the Lawful Good person believes, life is nasty, brutish, and short, the baser instincts of man are unleashed, and evil reigns supreme. The Lawful Good person seeks to reconcile his competing commitments with a belief in the Spirit of the Law. It's a harder road to follow, because it commits the Lawful Good person to struggle through to find solutions to their moral dilemmas, whereas the plain Good person finds the straightest path and takes it.

Likewise, I would think that a Chaotic Evil person believes that ANY restriction on the self is a barrier to one's own personal advancement, even something as basic as a warrior code or a willingness to work within the system. Gratification of every dark impulse is the highest moral calling and must be followed through at all times. Any holding back, any commitment to authority (even one's own authority, as power can itself become a cage), any acknowledgment of the existence of outside restraints, is backsliding, the lingering traces of your internalization of the rules that society imposes upon you, and your own fear that society is stronger than yourself. Again, this takes a special kind of commitment to Evil - you really have to believe so strongly in yourself than you can overcome every effect of socialization.
Race for the Iron Throne - political and historical analysis of A Song of Ice and Fire.
Ladies and gentlemen, this thread has been Godwin'd.

yes. in less than a dozen posts, oddly enough.