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  #1  
Old Jul 31st, 2020, 08:51 PM
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Alignment in D&D

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Old Aug 1st, 2020, 12:17 PM
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Personally I see alignment more as a character's motivation to act the way they do as opposed to how they see themselves.

In the tiefling example, I wouldn't necessarily consider the killing of one person as response to bigotry evil (though it's fine that the character considers it as such) unless they actually enjoyed the act of killing. I would also consider it more of an evil act if the killing was also motivated by personal gain somehow. From what I can tell, I would classify that event as more chaotic than anything.

In the half-orc example I would consider his stance more neutral with the information provided. It would be more evil if he thought using violence against others was okay for self-satisfaction or personal gain. This stance could be also considered good if he thought it was okay if it was in defense of the helpless. It's harder to tell because I don't know the level of bigotry in the game. It's different to kill a person for shouting a slur versus killing to free slaves or stop someone from being unjustly beaten.
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Old Aug 1st, 2020, 01:49 PM
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I view alignment as the results of the character's actions and decisions.

This is often influenced by their views of themselves, and how they think/process information, but ultimately... A person that kills innocent creatures for personal gain, fun, or indifference is evil... I don't care what they tell themselves, or how they mentally justify it. People are good at cognitive dissonance, so I don't trust that someone couldn't justify complete evil by looping themselves around in their minds, and ignoring important facts.

Actions and behaviors make your alignment, not what you think.
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Old Aug 1st, 2020, 11:02 PM
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And thus, the philosophical questions of good and evil, morality, and what is right, is good and evil absolute or situational, etc.. I will try to stay away from real world examples here... that's fraught with peril in a conversation on a gaming board.

Certainly, one version of good is exactly what you say, Tadhg... not murdering. There can be people who never murder, and still be evil, but certainly it's a start towards good, to not murder. Perhaps we should start by making sure we are using the same definition of murder, to keep us on track. Is is murder to kill someone in defense of another? Is it murder to kill an enemy soldier, trying to invade your castle? Your kingdom?

Is it murder for a knight to slay a dragon? If the dragon is a rather mindless, hungry beast that has been terrorizing sheep, and maybe eating an occasional princess, is it okay and good? What if the dragon can speak, and use magic spells... that's a bit more sentient... Is it okay to kill one then? What about goblins or orcs? Or mad wizards?








sillyI am trying to play an oracle in a game now, who is rather opposed to killing... that hasn't stopped the party from killing the goblins we have come across, but my character has not participated, and has spoken out against it. And I know, it's going to be a long road to go in this game, to try to be against killing everything... because we have a ton of things trying to kill us (ninja and demons, dragons and rulers of foreign kingdoms). I know I can't stop the murder of all those bad guys (that's why they are in the adventure), but I can make people think a little about it, I hope.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2020, 09:30 AM
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I set my character alignments based on how much the character is willing to initiate force on the uninvolved to accomplish a task. Killing an entire village in their sleep to fuel a spell to stop Asmodeus: Evil. Killing the captured devils who were rampaging across the land for said spell: less evil. Asking for volunteers: still potentially a good person stuck in an awful situation.

As for your two characters, I would certainly allow the first in non-evil (although I admit to being a fan of earned redemption stories). The second would very heavily depend on the level of restraint used. If he flies off the handle when someone makes a tooth joke, then he'd be banned. However, if he won't kill unless he sees something like people beating a half-orc in the street and leaving them for dead, he'd be allowed.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2020, 11:18 PM
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I have a love/hate relationship with alignment. I enjoy the simplicity of summing up a character's general tendencies with two letters or words, but I hate the crutch it becomes to some. For me, alignment is a shorthand expression that helps facilitate interaction with game mechanics. A character needs so much more, and that two-word description needs to fit.

As a GM/DM, I ask for an alignment as part of the application process, but I always ask for a phrase afterwards to lay out the core of what makes the character fit that alignment. A distilled ethos tells me more than the alignment grid ever could.

To be fair, I'm not the type to restrict certain alignments from my games under most circumstances. I'm much more concerned with party functionality. If that Neutral Evil or Chaotic Evil character will contribute to the goals of the campaign without causing undue distraction, great. There are plenty of disruptive Lawful Good characters out there. Show me why your character fits, regardless of alignment.

As to the about alignment matters in D&D 5e, I'm not entirely sure. There are spells and abilities that depend on alignment, but you may or may not encounter them in any given campaign.

Generally, killing isn't an inherently evil act. A character's personal views on themselves don't reflect on the in-game alignment they exhibit. There are great Lawful Neutral and Lawful Good villains in media, and some wonderful Evil antiheroes. Neither of those characters seem to be Evil without further information. The first one sounds Chaotic Neutral/Chaotic Good at first, with a shift towards Lawful in her atonement. Rigorous disciplinary codes tend to be examples of Law, though there are exceptions. The second example seems True Neutral or possible Chaotic Neutral. If they intend harm without cause, sure, they could be Evil.

If I were to restrict alignments for a game I was running, I'd ask you for more information about the second one. I would have no qualms with the first. A single Evil act does not an Evil character make. Generally only something like a Paladin would care enough about the morality of an act to have it immediate incur mechanical impact.

Happy gaming!
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Old Aug 19th, 2020, 09:00 PM
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Over the decades, alignment and I have had our ups and downs.

When I first got into D&D in the 70s, I was still a school boy in elementary school. Alignment, basically just helped me decide if I was going to be a good guy or a bad guy. I was a war gamer coming into D&D when it was new, so role-playing wasn't that big of a deal for my 8 year old self.

As I got older, more experienced in gaming, developed some dramatic acting improv skills (role-playing) alignment kinda factored into how I made up my acting lines on the fly.

By high school, as a DM I adopted some home brew alignment rules. All new characters start at level 1 and an alignment of neutral. If you want to be lawful don't break any laws. If you want to be good, go out and do good deeds. If you what to be evil, go out and do bad deeds. If you want to be chaotic, take on a carefree, consequences be damned approach to life and let the chips fall where they may. Each session's game play would move character alignment one notch in whatever direction they were trying to be.

The problem with this approach was that few had to dedication to stick it out to be lawful good so they could become paladins. Nobody was really "evil" enough to become EVIL. Most ended up being rather chaotic neutral.

These days, alignment doesn't really come up as a game mechanic. The other players judge your character to be good or evil based on how they act.
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Old Aug 20th, 2020, 06:26 PM
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I find the 4 corner alignment model of DnD to be similar to the DISC personality types, the Myers/Briggs Personality testing, etc...

It's a great tool to have in your toolbox, but it's not really something that you can use with absolute confidence. It's situational, it's flexible, and it may or may not always hold up under stresses, etc..

I try to "teach" such things as "person tends to exhibit" or "these people tend to show", because even the most lawful good person has places where they believe in self over society... even the most introverted person has times when they will shine in a spotlight.

And, there's a lot of variance in how people perceive the "situation" that they are in, and the way they internally define things, as to how they react/process.

All in all, it's all just labels, and you can't label a human (or a player character striving to emulate a human) perfectly.

(I really want to argue that Tadhg is not really Chaotic Neutral, but... I won't change his mind, and he won't change mine, so what's the point?).
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Old Aug 21st, 2020, 07:24 AM
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1. High regard for life (more good vs evil than chaos vs order) and freedom (debatable, but probably more chaotic than order)
2. Keep word of honor (lawful good)
3. Lie & cheat if necesary (especially to Anarchists or evil persons) (the necessary part implies more order than chaos...)
4. Will not kill an unarmed foe (but will take advantage of one) (lawful, not chaotic)
5. Help those in need (good and lawful, not chaotic)
6. Not use torture unless absolutely necessary (good and lawful, not chaotic)
7. Work with a group, especially if profitable (order/lawful)
8. Never harm an innocent (good, lawful)
9. Never kill for pleasure (good vs evil)
10. Dislikes authority (chaotic)
11. Never betray a friend (lawful)

It's my theory that as humans, we are more lawful good than we like to think we are... We want to be Pirates, Lone Wolf, outsiders seeking to make the world fit our view... but in reality, we want law and order, we want society, we dislike "every man for himself" and "by any means necessary". We don't like different rules for different people, we don't like "might makes right", we prefer sharing, fairness, and tend to believe that society is probably better if we all behaved like we should, and played fair.
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Old Aug 21st, 2020, 06:56 PM
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I am more than fine with good governments. I like rules, and knowing that the water I drink isn't laced with arsenic, that the food I buy is somewhat safe to eat, and that natural resources are shared for the common good, and not necessarily take by those with bigger weapons/gangs/armies. I like National Parks, I like knowing that surgeons and hospitals are held accountable to some minimum standards of care, I like interstate highways, and knowing that (in general), there's a level of justice.

I don't like bad government(s), and I certainly accept that there are many aspects of life today that are governed badly, and unfairly, but had I the power to make the world in the image I wanted to, I would choose more "justice for all, regardless of status", than "every man for himself". I would rather push my government to have higher safety and welfare standards, than fewer. I want more consumer protection, and less Wall Street "Privatize profits, and socialize losses". I like a military to defend my country, I like social services, like the idea of police and building inspectors, along with the EPA and FDA, to keep my neighbor's yard from being a toxic waste dump, and my family's medications from being sugar. I don't mind a speed limit on the road, and no passing zones, and traffic controls, because I've nearly been killed by those who chafe against them.

The old Wild Wild West may sound exciting and romantic, but I am not a fast enough gunman to have survived back then, being Chaotic. I would not do well, thinking that my homestead could be taken over by the next roving group of bandits, just because they were stronger or faster, or larger or more numerous than I was. Or that my wagon and all possessions could be taken, just because I stopped to water my horses in the wrong place. I would have probably stayed safe and stayed where the rules were more established, and I didn't risk being stabbed over a good poker hand.

I am lawful good... nowhere near a paladin (heaven's, no) but if I were honest with myself, I am in that quadrant. No doubt I have some chaotic tendencies, and I chafe at "too many stupid rules".

Still, given a choice between Rules, and No rules, I would choose rules. If the choice was fairness and justice, or might makes right, I would want fairness and more justice. I would aim for "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one". I want greater good, and I am okay with structure and rules, and societal norms being upheld to get it. I'd rather be selfless than selfish.

But, that's me... I'm lawful good. And I come here to play (usually) PC's very different than I am... rule breakers and ne-er do wells, strong warriors with a heart of gold, magic slingers with a cruel streak, etc.. No one really wants to come to DnD and play an accountant, right?
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Old Aug 21st, 2020, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Admin Dirk View Post
No one really wants to come to DnD and play an accountant, right?
Uh...

>.>

I might be looking to do exactly that...
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Old Aug 21st, 2020, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziether View Post
Uh...

>.>

I might be looking to do exactly that...
Ooh, I got a game for you then!


(although, honestly, playing 3.5/PF, being an accountant was helpful. And I hear that doing Shadowrun, it can pay off too).
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Old Aug 21st, 2020, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TADHG View Post
People are self serving, and groups of people even more so..
You and I are in some agreement on this.
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Old Aug 21st, 2020, 10:23 PM
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TL;DR
Alignments are a very weird construct, and I never really understood it. However, I think choosing no alignment is better for the roleplaying aspect for D&D, for it allows better flexibility and growth when roleplaying your character. Alignments are also an odd construct, but I think there's a difference between our "public" alignment vs. our "private" alignment.

I never really understood alignments. I only ever used them as a basis for a character's morals: similar to what Morbius does.

I've recently begun to unalign my characters as I feel what I jot down in the description of my personality, flaws, bonds, ideals, etc., better explains my character than a two measly words that can have almost any meaning depending on context. It allows for more flexibility when writing or improvising for a character because then it allows you to:
  1. Make your own path/moral code.
  2. Not be constricted to just those two words and then determine your character's background/personality based on that.
Some could argue it's like being neutral, but I disagree. Reason being, if a character is Neutral then the GM and the party already know how you'll be when it comes to a roleplaying segment of the game. If you're unaligned, no one knows what kind of person you are. The only things they know about you is the information you give them in your notes/description of you character, if any.

Ultimately, I prefer this because it just allows for my roleplaying to be based on a broader spectrum, and being unaligned provides me with more moments that let me grow into the character.



As for my personal alignment, I think I'm somewhere from LG to N. Even then, this depends on the context. From a societal standard, I'm lawful good because I follow the law and order of my country and I only wish to do good.

When I'm in a more private setting, such as when around family/friends, I tend to rebel against their "laws" a bit more, but not so much that it makes me chaotic. I do what I deem is the best option for myself in those moments because, in the end, I know that it won't have severe consequences on my relationships with those people unless I do something assenine.

I think, us, as human beings we can be very evil. Take Hitler and murderers for example. However, I'm pretty sure most of society would only do "evil" things if they deemed it necessary, (necessary evils). Then again, would that even be considered evil if it is necessary?

Slavery having to stay in order for the Declaration of Independence to be signed is a GREAT example of a necessary evil like this. Without it, we wouldn't have a country because South Carolina never would have signed. Another to be considered a necessary evil could be the death penalty, but that could also be seen as lawful justice.
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Last edited by ClamLord; Aug 22nd, 2020 at 04:44 PM.
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Old Sep 6th, 2020, 12:21 PM
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So theres my question, if you would be like a Crusader/Inquisitor etc you name it, you of youreself think you are a LG Person and you belive in one of the good gods. Like necromancy is youre bane you see youreself in the misson in the Name of youre good god to destroy anything thats in touch with necromancy even if ist just a Little kid that doesnt know it better and trys to reanimate his dead dad (but has no clue, his friends told him on how it could work but its just gibberish). And that Person would kill that kid for even trying ("hes lost" sort of motivated). Doesnt torture or something like that just a clean fast kill. Would he be still LG and could or couldnt he even recive the might of his good god?

hope ist understandeble
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