Is character alignment essential to the D&D experience?





View Poll Results: Is character alignment essential to D&D?

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  • Absolutely NOT! It represents the most juvenile and contrived moral philosophy I've ever seen.

    11 7.33%
  • No. Morality is too personal and provokes auguments that undermine the fun of the game.

    15 10.00%
  • I wish it wasn't. Other fantasy RPG's don't use it, why should D&D?

    12 8.00%
  • Does it really matter? Aren't we playing a GAME?

    18 12.00%
  • I am satisfied it is. Fantasy RPG's need it as part of the genre.

    28 18.67%
  • Yes. Dealing with moral issues maturely is part of the game.

    23 15.33%
  • Absolutely! It is superior to any real-life moral philosophy I know of.

    1 0.67%
  • 'YES' for a reasons other than those cited above. (Please discuss.)

    19 12.67%
  • 'NO', for a reasons other than those cited above. (Please discuss.)

    16 10.67%
  • Man, you really tossed the fecal matter into the ventilator, didn't you!

    7 4.67%
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  1. #1
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    Is character alignment essential to the D&D experience?

    I ask this question because the concept of alignment for characters in D&D bothers alot of the gamers I know. Additionally it seems to me to bother ppl more than anything else...

    Can you play D&D without character alignment? Or is it too intrinsic to the game's mechanics or the D&D experience for you?

    I think it's too embedded into the D&D "culture". Nonetheless, I think it can be excised from the PC rules--I'll try in my campaigns anyway. I hope the d20 market continues to "think outside the box" too...

    (I was going to post something long and involved, but I'd rather see how ppl initially respond to the question.)

    Happy Easter, Passover, Beltane, etc...
    Last edited by Winterthorn; Saturday, 30th March, 2002 at 01:26 AM.
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  • #2
    It's somewhat humorous half the votes at this point are "yes, Dealing with moral issues maturely is part of the game." That's precisely what I find lacking about the alignment system is that unfortunately a mature view of morals realizes that every action can not be easily described as good or evil, lawful or chaotic.
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  • #3
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    Ignore LostSoul
    I vote "No".

    Too many options spoil the results.
    Last edited by LostSoul; Saturday, 30th March, 2002 at 01:55 AM.

  • #4
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    Ignore Crothian
    About 4 years ago I ran a D&D game for some gamers who came from other system. We wanted a good fantasy campaign, and D&D was the only one everyone knew. The one thing no one liked was the alignment system. They felt it was too restrictive. So, I told them forget about alignments.

    Well, after six months of playing I brought up the aliingment issue. They sayed they still didn't want to use it. So, I then explained how they had been. Each of them had been playing an alingment. Not perfectly, but they did. I told them and used examples from the past six months to show them what the alignments are and how it's not restrictive.

    I think there';s nothing wrong with alingment and I've yet to hear a good argument against them. If one uses them asa staight jacket, then I can see that. But alignments aren't about taking one and playing the character that way, it's about playing the character and seeing which one fits you.

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    Originally posted by Crothian
    Well, after six months of playing I brought up the aliingment issue. They sayed they still didn't want to use it. So, I then explained how they had been. Each of them had been playing an alingment. Not perfectly, but they did. I told them and used examples from the past six months to show them what the alignments are and how it's not restrictive.
    I may be getting your point wrong, but aren't you saying that alignments work if you don't use them? That is, you let the Players role-play and let things fall where they may.

  • #6
    I don't like the concept of alignment a whole lot. The way I run things, the only truly "good" things in my world are celestials, metallic dragons and paladins (and not even all of the latter), and the only true "evil" is a chromatic dragon, a demon, devil, daemon, demodand, or any of the other "D" words.

    Everything else is fall where it may. Not to mention my players wouldn't roleplay alignment anyway.
    'Cause you can't play Hitler's harmonica.

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  • #7
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    The alignment is just a rules mechanic. A similar thing to be roleplayed as being a dwarf, or being a bard.
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  • #8
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    Ignore Crothian
    Originally posted by LostSoul


    I may be getting your point wrong, but aren't you saying that alignments work if you don't use them? That is, you let the Players role-play and let things fall where they may.
    My point was that even without alignments people are using them. So, even if you take people who hate the alignment system, you will find they are playing an alingment.

    The letting things fall where they may is a good point. For my characters, I don't define an alignement at first level. I play a few sessions to get the feel of the character. How I want to play it when I make it and how I actualy do once we get the setting down and all the other characters are sometimes two very differnet things. There is more then one way to use them.

  • #9
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    Ignore LostSoul
    Originally posted by Crothian


    My point was that even without alignments people are using them. So, even if you take people who hate the alignment system, you will find they are playing an alingment.
    I see; however, I think this is a good reason not to use to alignment system. It doesn't add anything except another level of complexity, which may or may not stifle creativity.

  • #10
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    Ignore Crothian
    Originally posted by LostSoul


    I see; however, I think this is a good reason not to use to alignment system. It doesn't add anything except another level of complexity, which may or may not stifle creativity.
    That brings up the question: What does alignment add to the game?

    Certain classes have alignment restrictions. Is this a problem? Do people really want to play a lawful barbarian? Granted, people want varies Paladins for the different alignments, but other then that I haven't seen any problems.

    Spellcasters: You have your good, evil, choatic, and lawful spells. So, getting rid of alignment will effect these. Also the detection/ protection spells. THen there's the undead thing, do you command or destroy? Can you inflict or cure?

    I think you can get rid of alingment and not have too many problems. I think you can use it and instead of having PCs choose, allow them to just play and then decide.

    Does it make things more Complex? Not in my experience. It's never booged down the game or cause problems. Does it stifle creativeity? Only if you view each alignment as strict instead of flexible.

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