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D&D 5E A different take on Alignment

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
What is the player advocates for enforcing religious law on a community? Is that evil?
No idea from that statement.
What about restructuring the government to work in a manner tied to political ideology? Is that Evil?
Ditto.
What if they follow Plato's Philosopher King strategy to raising better rulers of the people? Is that Evil?
I'm not familiar with that, but from your two prior examples, it's probably not worth my time to look up.
After all, "No Evil" is going to apply, and going to get them booted, so what if this stuff is evil?
If you think it might be questionable and you've agreed to no evil, discuss it with the DM.
 

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Chaosmancer

Legend
Not really. Pretend that I'm a DM who would actually change your character's alignment and tell you that instead of LN, you are not LE. So what. It changes virtually nothing(a few magic items) about how you play your character or how the game treats you. People in the game world aren't going to know your alignment, since there's no way to detect it. They ARE going to react to you based on your actions, but they would do that if alignment wasn't there. Changing alignment is a big nothing burger.

That means that our different stances are also a nothing burger. They don't make a difference.

It is a major problem to have your character redefined by someone else, especially when they are judging that character you are playing as non-evil to be morally evil.
 

TheSword

Legend
I think you're reading of my post is very narrow and neither very nuanced nor generous either. It confuses pedantry for valid criticism. I'm aware that not all evil in Middle Earth originates with Sauron, but in the One Ring, you are primarily dealing with the legacy of Sauron. In Blades in the Dark, you are a gang of criminals trying to expand your gang's turf and crime operations. I don't mind evil characters there, but that's what the game's about. Not good people doing not good things in a crucible-like city that is slowly coming to a boil as a result of their activities. And in regards to Blue Rose, it's romantic fantasy. The characters are presumed to be noble, not in class, but, rather, in their general moral character. Would you like some additional opportunities to put your ignorance of these games on grand display for the rest of the thread?
Ahh, I’d forgotten what a lovely conversational style you had. It’s always a pleasure engaging with. 🙈

My point was that you had very specific character expectations when describing those parties that might vary a great deal when it comes to a lay persons expectations or a new player.

Not quite. If I go to a restaurant, and I see that hamburger is on the menu, I think we would both understand that this means that it's a perfectly valid meal that I could order and consume at the restaurant. If I want a hamburger, but it's not on the restaurant menu, I could still want to eat a hamburger and enjoy that sort of meal, but it's not likely something that I could order there. In the absence of a "no evil" GM rule, the presence of evil alignments does validate the option of playing an evil character in D&D. The rulebooks and settings often set the implicit expectations of play through its tone, genre, and setting.
A person in that restaurant wants a sandwich but sandwiches aren’t on the menu. So they order preserve with toast and a chicken salad, and throw away the preserve and stacks the toast, salad and chicken into a sandwich shape before eating it then they’ve had a chicken sandwich. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t on the menu.

It is the behaviour that causes the problem not the label given to it. I’m other words, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I've played with a lot of people in a lot of games. No what one of the most common gaming experiences we have is?

Having skimmed the rules and missed an entire section of rules that we haven't been playing by.
So are these new players deciding not to use alignment or just all incapable of reading and all missed that one section?

And FYI(but you already know this), there's a difference between missing a rule and deliberately not following one.
Only, unlike a board game where there is obvious break down of the game's function, alignment doesn't serve a purpose in the game play cycle, so what do you think happens in that case?
In that case, you're wrong. It does serve a purpose in game play. That purpose is as a tool to aid in roleplay if a player wants to use it. Not breaking the game down isn't the same as not having a purpose in game play. You're also wrong about missing rules in board games breaking down the game's function. It CAN do that, but doesn't have to. See lots of people not realizing that if a player doesn't buy a Monopoly property, it goes up for auction. The game doesn't break down over the failure to use that rule. People never notice.
 


Ah but it does, have some meaning, in that people who DO use alignment and DO see a value in its use CAN apply and HAVE applied it to fictional Non-D&D characters based on their understanding of that character, which therefore suggests that alignment DOES inform us about a character's moral compass as much as you and others protest it does not.
No it doesn’t. Joffrey’s actions in the series inform us of his moral outlook, not his alignment.

What you are doing is looking at Joffrey’s actions, then assigning him an alignment based on his actions, then invoking his alignment as an explanation for future actions.

The second step is entirely superfluous. You could even more easier conclude that Joffrey would continue to be a sadistic twit in the next episode simply because he’s been a sadistic twit in every episode.
 

Easy. Using a tub of acid to torture and hide evidence is evil. That behavior is not allowed in my game. I don't care if they're memorable and engaging, come up with a different concept or the PC becomes an NPC because I set that parameter before the session 0. If that doesn't work for you find a different game.

Has nothing to do with alignment.
Ok, alright.

I can totally understand where you’re coming from here.

How about this?

A vat...

of solvent?

Yeah?!
 

TheSword

Legend
Only you can define your character. In a game where evil isn't allowed, the DM is judging actions, not defining your character.
Precisely. The good <—-> neutral <—-> evil spectrum is just a way of giving a player an indication of how close to the line they are charting.
No it doesn’t. Joffrey’s actions in the series inform us of his moral outlook, not his alignment.

What you are doing is looking at Joffrey’s actions, then assigning him an alignment based on his actions, then invoking his alignment as an explanation for future actions.

The second step is entirely superfluous. You could even more easier conclude that Joffrey would continue to be a sadistic twit in the next episode simply because he’s been a sadistic twit in every episode.
Well that’s not quite true because one person could study the character and give an indication to a third party of how Joffrey would behave by using the CE label.

In a king we can assume that will be cruel, whimsical, violent, bullying, abussive of his power and ignoring convention and law.
 

Aldarc

Legend
My point was that you had very specific character expectations when describing those parties that might vary a great deal when it comes to a lay persons expectations or a new player.
I apologize for not grasping your point. It must have gotten lost in the rest of your post. Perhaps it would have helped if you had not started with trying to correct me about games you have little experience dealing with and had instead expressed your argument with greater clarity and forthrightness.

A person in that restaurant wants a sandwich but sandwiches aren’t on the menu. So they order preserve with toast and a chicken salad, and throw away the preserve and stacks the toast, salad and chicken into a sandwich shape before eating it then they’ve had a chicken sandwich. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t on the menu.
Do you have any substantial rebuttals to my point or is it just more edge case, cheap bologna like this?

It is the behaviour that causes the problem not the label given to it. I’m other words, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
If the behavior causes the problem, then how does alignment alleviate this? In my experience, it doesn't, and I'm not alone in that appraisal of alignment for that expressed purpose. There is a reason why Gygax dropped it entirely from his own games. It was more trouble than it was worth.
 

AnotherGuy

Explorer
I'm sorry, the claim we keep getting is that alignment is a "general tool". It is good for "general use"

How can a general use tool NOT apply to all areas of a person's life? If it only describes you in a single context... isn't that a highly specific tool?

It is a general use tool about one's moral compass.
Same reason why alignment is not paired to personality traits, flaws or bonds.
 


TheSword

Legend
I apologize for not grasping your point. It must have gotten lost in the rest of your post. Perhaps it would have helped if you had not started with trying to correct me about games you have little experience dealing with and had instead expressed your argument with greater clarity and forthrightness.


Do you have any substantial rebuttals to my point or is it just more edge case, cheap bologna like this?
Not going to respond to more rudeness and doubling down.
If the behavior causes the problem, then how does alignment alleviate this? In my experience, it doesn't, and I'm not alone in that appraisal of alignment for that expressed purpose. There is a reason why Gygax dropped it entirely from his own games. It was more trouble than it was worth.
Alignment doesn’t alleviate it. It’s a convenient shorthand that allows us to group behaviours, outlooks and approach’s in broad categories. You’re expecting far too much from Alignment if you want to mechanically prevent actions. It is a communication tool.

When I say No-Evil or Good-Only, my players understand what that means (as do most readers of these forums I suspect) and understand that there is a difference between those two categories.
 

AnotherGuy

Explorer
Close, but not quite. One of my issues is that alignment doesn’t assist in understanding an NPCs’ behaviour in the context in which it interacts with the PCs. Likewise, my point is not that alignment can tell you that a guard is lazy at work, but rather that characterizing the guard as lazy and unmotivated at work is more useful if the players interact with the guard at work.

If the characters are captured by the corrupt watchmaster, the fact that the guard guarding their cell is lazy and unmotivated is much more useful information for adjudicating their escape plans than knowing that the guard is LE.

Like I explained to @Chaosmancer upthread - you're confusing the function of personality traits, flaws and bonds with the function of Alignment. This is also why I asked you some time ago to define Alignment as you see it because it appeared you had a very different concept of what Alignment is or should be to me.

I can’t speak for the outcome in your specific game of a LG character standing back and letting another character murder a goblin. I know that in one of the games I played in, it led to a third character voluntarily leaving the game.

For sure, I expect Alignment rulings differs from table to table, as do table dynamics, player demographic, personalities and sensitivities.
 

TheSword

Legend
It is a general use tool about one's moral compass.
Same reason why alignment is not paired to personality traits, flaws or bonds.
Well just to correct, it is paired to flaws, bonds, ideals and personality traits. They have alignment tags next to them as a general indication.
 

TheSword

Legend
For sure, I expect Alignment rulings differs from table to table.
This for me is the beauty of the system. If I particularly object to slavery or cannibalism I can consider it evil and the system still works.

If you consider slavery to be acceptable in some circumstances - you have a kingdom with indentured servitude, or slavery for debt or crime then you can make it neutral if you choose.

The table decides based on what they feel is acceptable.
 



Well that’s not quite true because one person could study the character and give an indication to a third party of how Joffrey would behave by using the CE label.

In a king we can assume that will be cruel, whimsical, violent, bullying, abussive of his power and ignoring convention and law.
Assuming that both parties both agree as to what constitutes CE and that it is an accurate description of Joffrey.

Or instead, they could just describe Joffrey and not try to fit him onto the CE label.
 

TheSword

Legend
Assuming that both parties both agree as to what constitutes CE and that it is an accurate description of Joffrey.

Or instead, they could just describe Joffrey and not try to fit him onto the CE label.
They don’t need to agree on every last detail. The broad strokes will be sufficient to convey meaning. Save the text and use it to develop further.

I love Italian food so does my partner. He likes gnocchi, I don’t really. These two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Not going to respond to more rudeness and doubling down.
And I'm not going to respond to more bologna posting that veers off into bad faith, edge case absurdities rather than try to engage the clarification of my position that you asked me to provide. I'm sorry that the idea that people will often not order a meal at a restaurant if it's not on the menu is somehow a controversial opinion that you feel is worth debunking for whatever reason.

Alignment doesn’t alleviate it. It’s a convenient shorthand that allows us to group behaviours, outlooks and approach’s in broad categories. You’re expecting far too much from Alignment if you want to mechanically prevent actions. It is a communication tool.
This is now moving the goal posts, because you were saying that before that you could use alignment to police behavior. But now you are saying that it doesn't alleviate bad behavior at all. You don't understand. It's not a matter of me expecting too much from alignment. It's me questioning the expressed utility that its advocates on this thread claim it provides the game.

When I say No-Evil or Good-Only, my players understand what that means (as do most readers of these forums I suspect) and understand that there is a difference between those two categories.
Or one could simply say, "Hey, you're playing heroes." What does adding an alignment subsystem to the game actually solve or contribute that couldn't be accomplished by simply saying "no evil" or "good only" anyway?
 

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