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D&D 5E A different take on Alignment

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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.

Well, every description of alignment by those who defend alignment seems to indicate that they are using it in a manner analogous to PIBF. If that is not how you are using it, I’m open to hearing it.
 

TheSword

Legend
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.
Triple down.
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.
I don’t believe I said alignment polices behaviour. DMs set out in advance what behaviour is unacceptable through the shorthand of Alignment. The DM then polices that behaviour, the alignment label system can be used to provide a heads up.
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?
Because I could play a lawful neutral mercenary who isn’t good but isn’t evil either. You don’t have to be a hero to not be disruptive. In fact mercenary characters are surprisingly easy to motivate.
 

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.
Your partner calls you from work and asks what’s for dinner. You say “Italian food”. He comes home and is slightly disappointed it is gnocchi (but eats it anyway because he’s good partner).

It seems to me that both of you would have been better served if you had responded Gnocchi rather than Italian Food.

To get back to Joffrey, what’s important is that he is a boy king that has never been refused anything and who derives pleasure from hurting other people. That does a better job of differentiating him from a demon whose entire purpose is to burn down the world or a viking raider who is interested in plunder and doesn’t care who he hurts than saying that all 3 are CE.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I don’t believe I said alignment polices behaviour. DMs set out in advance what behaviour is unacceptable through the shorthand of Alignment. The DM then polices that behaviour, the alignment label system can be used to provide a heads up.
Please read what I wrote before you respond or would somehow it be "quadruple down" to point that out?
because you were saying that before that you could use alignment to police behavior.
As we see in your post, you are explicitly describing yourself (i.e., the GM) using the shorthand of alignment to police that behavior.

Because I could play a lawful neutral mercenary who isn’t good but isn’t evil either. You don’t have to be a hero to not be disruptive. In fact mercenary characters are surprisingly easy to motivate.
You don't have to be evil to be disruptive either. It is possible to be "good" aligned and still engage in disruptive play to the group. This is because I don't inherently equate "evil" the alignment with "disruptive behavior." It can be, and many GMs don't want to risk it. My point earlier regarding the hamburger at the restaurant was that the "alignment of evil" is available on the menu. This is NOT analogous to saying "disruptive behavior" is. Disruptive behavior is not something I believe should be resolved with Alignment or any in-game policing. It's a conversation that should happen between adults at the table.

Well, to be pithy, alignment reduces moral outlook to 3 boxes (Good, Neutral and Evil). A character’s moral outlook is considerably more complex than that.
I have a conspiracy theory to sell you that involves moral philosophers, ethicists, and the "academic elite" suppressing the teaching of D&D's brilliant alignment system.
 

TheSword

Legend
Please read what I wrote before you respond or would somehow it be "quadruple down" to point that out?
As we see in your post, you are explicitly describing yourself (i.e., the GM) using the shorthand of alignment to police that behavior.
No, quadrupling down would be continuing to be hostile and rude and trying to justify why you’re being rude with more rudeness.

Alignment sets the tone. As a DM I then police actions. Alignment isn’t a mechanic. It doesn’t have a score or a role. It just a descriptor.
You don't have to be evil to be disruptive either. It is possible to be "good" aligned and still engage in disruptive play to the group. This is because I don't inherently equate "evil" the alignment with "disruptive behavior." It can be, and many GMs don't want to risk it. My point earlier regarding the hamburger at the restaurant was that the "alignment of evil" is available on the menu. This is NOT analogous to saying "disruptive behavior" is. Disruptive behavior is not something I believe should be resolved with Alignment or any in-game policing. It's a conversation that should happen between adults at the table.
I agree. You can be disruptive with Good characteristics. It just happens that Evil characteristics for many GM correlate almost perfectly with disruptive behaviour.

I’ve played Way of the Wicked to conclusion. It was great. The disruption was carefully constrained by the structure of the campaign. It still ended with a PvP meltdown. Just at level 19 not at level 3... as it would have if half the players had been good. If it had been set out as an evil campaign it would be the good players that were disruptive.
 
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Aldarc

Legend
Alignment sets the tone. As a DM I then police actions. Alignment isn’t a mechanic. It doesn’t have a score or a role. It just a descriptor.
Hmmm... I would argue that alignment is not the main tone-setter for games. It's actually a pretty lousy tool for setting the tone. Genre and setting perform far better at setting the tone for games than things like alignment. Alignment is exceptionally redundant in this regard.

Furthermore, this sort of "As a DM I then police actions" (vis a vis alignment) was the sort of thing that @pemerton has already talked against before.
 

TheSword

Legend
Hmmm... I would argue that alignment is not the main tone-setter for games. It's actually a pretty lousy tool for setting the tone. Genre and setting perform far better at setting the tone for games than things like alignment. Alignment is exceptionally redundant in this regard.

Furthermore, this sort of "As a DM I then police actions" (vis a vis alignment) was the sort of thing that @pemerton has already talked against before.
Yes. I disagree with Pemerton about that.

Alignment works for me for setting tone of acceptable player behaviour. Good-only, Not-Evil, Anything Goes, Evil only. Is a good way of describing campaigns that we’ve ran.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Yes. I disagree with Pemerton about that.

Alignment works for me for setting tone of acceptable player behaviour. Good-only, Not-Evil, Anything Goes, Evil only. Is a good way of describing campaigns that we’ve ran.
The Wheaton rule works for me. Because using an in-game tool for a player problem doesn't really solve the problem. If player behavior is the problem, then addressing the problem player and their behavior is the way to handle it. The adult thing to do is to handle the situation through direct, open communication and not trying to regulate behavior with alignment. That's what works for me to set the tone of acceptable player behavior.
 

TheSword

Legend
The Wheaton rule works for me. Because using an in-game tool for a player problem doesn't really solve the problem. If player behavior is the problem, then addressing the problem player and their behavior is the way to handle it. The adult thing to do is to handle the situation through direct, open communication and not trying to regulate behavior with alignment. That's what works for me to set the tone of acceptable player behavior.
Ok. Then you don’t have an issue with Evil PCs. I can respect that. I and many others do.

I totally agree that the Wheaton rule is a good one. For any game to adopt.

My only issue is that a lot of people don’t think they’re being a douche when they do things. So saying No-evil stops a lot of this stuff before the seed is even germinated.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Yes, but this is the point of the whole "no evil" rule. Why is this common rule even necessary in the first place? Because the game says that "evil" is a possible alignment for characters, which frequently results in GMs stipulating "no evil" for PCs. Though in the absence of alignment, I would likely not frame this as "no evil," but, rather, more positively as "pro-heroic" and set up the play expectations more explicitly and concretely with players, which is again one of the many problems in this game that could be easily solved by communicating with each other like grown-ups.
D&D is not one "genre". It's a blueprint for whatever story the group wants to tell. It does heroic adventures just as easily as anti-heroes out for their own gang and everything in between.

I do also stress that I prefer heroic campaigns because some people run campaigns based solely on personal gain, acquiring wealth and power. So if the players want to take a break from being heroes and just want to loot dungeons for a campaign, that's okay. But they will never play evil murder-hobo thugs while I am the DM.

I really don't understand "easily solved by communicating with each other like grown-ups." I set expectations, we discuss it like grown ups. I'm very open on what type of game I enjoy. I have no idea why you have to make insinuations that I'm some kind of control freak or tyrant DM.

Again, it has absolutely nothing to do with alignment, you seem to be saying that I'm playing wrong because I don't use your phrasing and I couldn't disagree more.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Man, do you have to be so disingenuous every single time? Here was your original questions



What would be the generic ideal. So, I gave generic ideals. Now, you want to claim that somehow I gave specific individual dragons? How? Explain to me how these are specific and individual.

A red dragon desires to rule. It tells us in the MM that this is true, they all see themselves as royalty. So, what do they do if they don't have a kingdom? Well, they are probably trying to build one. This isn't exactly rocket science. I want A, I work to get A. This is like saying you have no idea what a character who says "I want to be the greatest knight in the land" is going to do if they aren't a knight. Well, I think it is obvious they are going to try and become a knight.

It tells us nothing other than they are evil? Well, what the heck does an evil alignment tell you except that they are evil? It is literally in the name.

And, I notice, that you are focusing exclusively on Red Dragons, but what about the ideal I gave for Green Dragons? Is that somehow specific? Why didn't you as questions of that, like what do they do if they don't have a scheme? By the way, the answer is make a scheme.
Neither ideal gave me a broad picture of what their moral compass is. I realize you will never accept that answer so don't bother asking again.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
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.
Who cares if they agree. Unless the DM house rules alignment to matter, it's irrelevant if one thinks he CE and another thinks he's NE.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
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.
Well, you could respond with what's important. Does his bologna in fact have a first name? And is it O-S-C-A-R?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Well, to be pithy, alignment reduces moral outlook to 3 boxes (Good, Neutral and Evil). A character’s moral outlook is considerably more complex than that.

So? That's why we have backgrounds, ideals, bonds, flaws to fill in the high level. For monsters we have other fluff text. This is not an either or exclusive situation.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
So? That's why we have backgrounds, ideals, bonds, flaws to fill in the high level. For monsters we have other fluff text. This is not an either or exclusive situation.
Not mention, if alignment is reducing moral outlooks to 3 boxes and that's bad, why is getting rid of alignment and reducing moral outlooks to 4 choices(trait system) so much better? If 1 more box makes that much difference, then 3 is still good, and 7 is fantastic.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I wanted to give a real world example of how I found alignment useful. A while back, I had an encounter. I wanted someone from the unseelie court to try to make a deal with the PCs. Without getting into my version of the Sidhe court much, I wanted this particular fey to be chaotic and evil.

So I did a filter in DndBeyond on CE, fey and came up with Annis Hag. Awesome. Double checked the fluff and got a better idea of what they think. I wanted an ally, but for balance I didn't want anything too powerful so another quick search and I came back with Redcap. Even better the fluff supports that they're mercenaries. Awesome.

Then I threw in a bit of a twist, an imp. An imp being a fiend is not going to be an ally of a fey - in fact mutual enemy was part of what the hag wanted to discuss. There's not much fluff on imps other than spies and messengers so I have to lean on LE more.

I didn't really have a planned outcome for the encounter, the hag in disguise of course was going to offer them a deal. The imp, disguised as a raven was locked away in a golden cage. He couldn't let the PCs know exactly what was going on but gave them a hint (LE - he took advantage of a loophole) as to what was going on.

The hag let slip (lack of discipline because CE) that she desired unwanted children (fluff) as part of the deal. Someone opened the cage, a fight broke out and in the end the PCs were left with a raven that was actually an imp. Because the PCs had freed him, the imp felt contractually indebted to them (lawful). He briefly explained that he was basically their slave and the dwarf told him he was free to go.

This was many moons ago, but the imp will make an appearance pretty soon and (again, because lawful) will pull out a contract and explain the debt that he owes to the dwarf and offer his services. He's not at all happy about it but will note that some services do come with a small additional charge - probably an innocent soul or ritual sacrifice.

So the imp is acting in a very lawful way, is not happy at all about being in the dwarf's debt, but feels honor bound because he's lawful. The additional fees for addition services are of course evil because the imp is evil.

So in this scenario I picked monsters based on alignment, added in a bit because of fluff after the fact for the hags. It also helped me run them based 80% of alignment for the hags and redcap and 99% on alignment for the imp. Without alignment I couldn't have filtered for the role, I'd have no ideas how the hag or the imp thought.

In the case of the imp in particular, I think it was @pemerton that put their ideal as harvesting souls so they could rise up in the hierarchy. Not only is that ideal not supported by the fluff text, it would have given me no clue whatsoever how to run the imp.

As the MM says: "A monster’s alignment provides a clue to its disposition and how it behaves in a roleplaying or combat situation." I think alignment does that better than any example of ideals that has been given. 🤷‍♂️
 

So? That's why we have backgrounds, ideals, bonds, flaws to fill in the high level. For monsters we have other fluff text. This is not an either or exclusive situation.
@AnotherGuy was specifically referencing Game of Thrones and applying D&D alignment to its characters. Not sure your response applies to this.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Ok. Then you don’t have an issue with Evil PCs. I can respect that. I and many others do.
I prefer treating the actual problem rather than the symptoms.

My only issue is that a lot of people don’t think they’re being a douche when they do things. So saying No-evil stops a lot of this stuff before the seed is even germinated.
I believe that having a conversation like grown-ups about play expectations and boundaries is what stops it rather than pretending that saying "no evil" does anything. The latter is basically a placebo.

I do also stress that I prefer heroic campaigns because some people run campaigns based solely on personal gain, acquiring wealth and power. So if the players want to take a break from being heroes and just want to loot dungeons for a campaign, that's okay. But they will never play evil murder-hobo thugs while I am the DM.
Again, it has absolutely nothing to do with alignment, you seem to be saying that I'm playing wrong because I don't use your phrasing and I couldn't disagree more.
And that's awesome, but that is you setting out the play expectations and tone of your campaigns, i.e., heroic, rather than alignment actually doing or solving anything in that regard. Because as you say, the problem that's being described is a fundamentally an interpersonal problem rather than alignment. My issue in this conversation pertains to using alignment as a "disciplinary rod" to be used to address player problems that are best solved with communication. This is not to say that you use alignment in this way, because I know that you prefer using alignment as monster MBTI.

I really don't understand "easily solved by communicating with each other like grown-ups." I set expectations, we discuss it like grown ups. I'm very open on what type of game I enjoy. I have no idea why you have to make insinuations that I'm some kind of control freak or tyrant DM.
How did you get those insinuations out of what I wrote? Oofta. I'm not accusing you of being a control freak or tyrant DM. Maybe you are. Maybe you aren't. I don't honestly care either way. I'm simply saying that setting expectations through discussing it like grown ups is more key to solving the problem of disruptive players than alignment, particularly in regards to the tone.
 

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