• COMING SOON! -- Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition! Level up your 5E game! The standalone advanced 5E tabletop RPG adds depth and diversity to the game you love!
log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D General Alignment: the problem is Chaos

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I think the Batman argument is an excellent showcase of alignment being meaningless. Even people who like the system interpret the same character to be two extremely different alignments.
That's simply not possible. You have two people who find great meaning in alignment disagreeing. That's proof positive that it isn't meaningless.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Yep. In Yaarel's 3e game Max's Batladin would lose their abilities even though Max thought that they played a perfect exemplar of lawful good.
Batman isn't a Paladin. He's a Rogue or perhaps Rogue/Fighter. So no, no abilities would be lost. Heck, let's make him a Paladin anyway since he STILL wouldn't lose his abilities.

1) 3e Paladins didn't lose a single ability for straying away from LG. The only lost them for willingly committing an evil act.
2) 3e had Paladins of alignments other than LG, so Batman would simply be one of those.
 

Batman doesn't have a coherent alignment because like fifty people have written Batman (I don't know much about comics so I don't know if that number is way too high or way too low).

I also prefer to think of Law and Chaos on the cosmic scale as it relates to extraplanar entities trying influence the Balance of the multiverse, so I obviously am not a fan of determining a character's alignment by asking if he has a strict personal code.

EDIT: I also tend to assume most PCs are going to trend Neutral or Chaotic even if they profess to be Lawful. A Lawful character is going to try and go about changing things by the legal channels (unless they're out in a lawless wilderness), not out playing vigilante or otherwise taking direct action. Most of the time when I have a player say they're playing a Lawful character I find myself thinking "yeah, of course you are, sure."

There's a reason that one poll from a while back showed Chaotic Good was by far the most popular alignment. You get to do heroic stuff on impulse, laws be damned!
 
Last edited:

Batman isn't a Paladin. He's a Rogue or perhaps Rogue/Fighter. So no, no abilities would be lost. Heck, let's make him a Paladin anyway since he STILL wouldn't lose his abilities.

1) 3e Paladins didn't lose a single ability for straying away from LG. The only lost them for willingly committing an evil act.
2) 3e had Paladins of alignments other than LG, so Batman would simply be one of those.
Sure, 2e, or whatever. And of course a similar disagreement could exist over 'evil.' The point stands.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
You can't really get a clear, consistent, narratively useful description out of one sentence. That's why I've been using 3e. At least those alignments tell you something somewhat clear.
In our discussion,

You seem to feel, "Chaotic" can (among other things) mean impulsive and random, therefore by contrast a "personal code" becomes disciplined and ordered, and therefore "Lawful".

But I feel, the word "personal" in the phrase "personal code" is individualistic, thus by definition, "Chaotic".

I find the early editions of "Chaos = random and/or evil", to be nonuseful for roleplay, conflictive with other meanings, confusing or confused, and ultimately less helpful.

The earlier descriptions of alignment are unclear, and can even provoke diametrically opposed interpretations: such as, "personal code" is Chaotic or Lawful.
 
Last edited:

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Sure, 2e, or whatever. And of course a similar disagreement could exist over 'evil.' The point stands.
Sure. Your point that if we somehow magically regress to 2e and link alignment to mechanics a problem can come into existence stands. I'll concede that point. It's utterly irrelevant to this discussion, though.
 

Sure. Your point that if we somehow magically regress to 2e and link alignment to mechanics a problem can come into existence stands. I'll concede that point. It's utterly irrelevant to this discussion, though.
It was related to a poster on the previous page lamenting that in 5e alignment is no longer connected to mechanics.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
The big problem with determining Batman's alignment isn't that alignment is somehow useless.

It's that Batman is a character who has been written through the perspective of dozens of writers in different styles, time periods, and moral philosophies which each clash with each other to varying degrees.

Batman doesn't have an alignment because alignment is useless. Batman doesn't have an alignment because "Batman" is better described as an entire series of different characters written by different authors who all gave their character the same name.
 

Batman doesn't have an alignment because alignment is useless. Batman doesn't have an alignment because "Batman" is better described as an entire series of different characters written by different authors who all gave their character the same name.

There should be a term for how any discussion of alignment eventually becomes a discussion about batman.

Bring up alignment at your game table if you want to stop playing dnd and start debating your friends about the nature of chaos.
 

To clarify, I want alignment around for flavor reasons and as a tool for both player and DM inspiration. It's too subjective to be tied to discrete mechanics (people already don't agree on what Good and Evil are in real life), but I also want it around because I find the concepts it inspired very fun to think about and use.

For example, thanks to alignment we don't have the monolithic forces of evil, but Chaotic Evil demons fighting Lawful Evil devils, with the devils having effectively argued the case for their continued existence to the forces of Lawful Good by keeping the greater evil of the Abyss occupied (even when devils successfully damn mortal souls, those souls are primarily going to fight demons and keep the forces of the Abyss at bay). I even think if something happened and it looked like the Hells were about to be destroyed by demons that hosts of angels and modrons would show up to back-up Asmodeus for the sake of preserving Law at the expense of Goodness and Neutrality (which would of course appall the forces of Chaotic Good and damage Lawful Good's credibility in their sight while also causing a bunch of angels to defect to the Hells like Zariel did).
 
Last edited:

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I think the Batman argument is an excellent showcase of alignment being meaningless. Even people who like the system interpret the same character to be two extremely different alignments.
Only because we aren't running Batman as a PC. Therefore we don't really know how he thinks or justifies his actions.

EDIT: and as others have stated, it just depends on the version.
 

To clarify, I want alignment around for flavor reasons and as a tool for both player and DM inspiration. It's too subjective to be tied to discrete mechanics (people already don't agree on what Good and Evil are in real life), but I also want it around because I find the concepts it inspired very fun to think about and use.

For example, thanks to alignment we don't have the monolithic forces of evil, but Chaotic Evil demons fighting Lawful Evil devils, with the devils having effectively argued the case for their continued existence to the forces of Lawful Good by keeping the greater evil of the Abyss occupied (even when devils successfully damn mortal souls, those souls are primarily going to fight demons and keep the forces of the Abyss at bay). I even think if something happened and it looked like the Hells were about to be destroyed by demons that hosts of angels and modrons would show up to back-up Asmodeus for the sake of preserving Law at the expense of Goodness and Neutrality (which would of course appall the forces of Chaotic Good and damage Lawful Good's credibility in their sight while also causing a bunch of angels to defect for the Hells like Zariel did).
Devils and demons being different things is one of those D&D weirdnesses that just seem unnecessary and thematically confused.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Devils and demons being different things is one of those D&D weirdnesses that just seem unnecessary and thematically confused.
I wanted to say that when the being appears to offer you a fiddle made of gold if you beat them in a fiddle playing contest (wagered against your soul) that it's useful to know if it's a creature telling the truth, or something just messing around who's going to try and grab your soul anyway. But then I remembered the later could probably polymorph or the like to look like the former, and the odds of my taking detect law is probably pretty small.
 

Sithlord

Adventurer
That's simply not possible. You have two people who find great meaning in alignment disagreeing. That's proof positive that it isn't meaningless.
It’s like that for most ethical systems and religions and sects and political parties. Yet people still join them.
 

Devils and demons being different things is one of those D&D weirdnesses that just seem unnecessary and thematically confused.
Me when I first got into D&D in 3.5: "Why are demons and devils different things? What's this about a Blood War? And what the hell are Yugoloths???"
Me sometime during 4E: "Oh, demons are mostly evil super monsters generated by the Abyss while devils want your soul, mostly to use it to make more devils to fight against demons. That's why Asmodeus is tolerated by the other gods; his devils are the main ones fighting the forces of the Abyss in the Blood War so that the forces of Good don't have to spend all their time doing it and risk being corrupted like the devils were. Plus, players can more easily make deals and make temporary alliances with devils, who will use the opportunity to try and make you see things their way while also trying to gain rank in their surprisingly fair meritocracy. Okay, neat, this all makes sense."
Me in 5E: "Yugoloths are back for some reason."

I think in my first campaign I just lumped demons and devils together, whereas in my first 5E campaign I made the division between demons and devils and the Blood War extremely important at the end.
 



MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Right, and now that I think about it, the problem with the term "Chaotic" is that it comes from how a "Lawful" person might think about what individualism brings about. Were a "Chaotic" person to come up with the terms, they might choose Controlled/Free.
More like "Conformist"
 

Right, and now that I think about it, the problem with the term "Chaotic" is that it comes from how a "Lawful" person might think about what individualism brings about. Were a "Chaotic" person to come up with the terms, they might choose Controlled/Free.
I agree, but unfortunately "Collectivist Egoist" doesn't roll off the tongue or sound as cool and fantasy-appropriate as Lawful Evil.

EDIT: Although, come to think of it, I can easily imagine a devil referring to himself as a Collectivist Egoist when giving his sales pitch to a mortal. "Oh, we devils aren't evil! We're Collectivist Egoists who work under the direction of our Lord Asmodeus to enlist souls for the war effort against the Abyss, thereby freeing up the celestials to rescue kittens from trees or whatever it is they do. There are plenty of advancement opportunities available, and when you're not contributing to keeping demons from destroying the whole of the Multiverse you'll be rising in the ranks. You might could even earn your own fiefdom and underlings!"
 
Last edited:

I agree, but unfortunately "Collectivist Egoist" doesn't roll off the tongue or sound as cool and fantasy-appropriate as Lawful Evil.

EDIT: Although, come to think of it, I can easily imagine a devil referring to himself as a Collectivist Egoist when giving his sales pitch to a mortal. "Oh, we devils aren't evil! We're Collectivist Egoists who work under the direction of our Lord Asmodeus to enlist souls for the war effort against the Abyss, thereby freeing up the celestials to rescue kittens from trees or whatever it is they do. There are plenty of advancement opportunities available..."
that assumes egoist are evil, evil tends to need malice.
Me when I first got into D&D in 3.5: "Why are demons and devils different things? What's this about a Blood War? And what the hell are Yugoloths???"
Me sometime during 4E: "Oh, demons are mostly evil super monsters generated by the Abyss while devils want your soul, mostly to use it to make more devils to fight against demons. That's why Asmodeus is tolerated by the other gods; his devils are the main ones fighting the forces of the Abyss in the Blood War so that the forces of Good don't have to spend all their time doing it and risk being corrupted like the devils were. Plus, players can more easily make deals and make temporary alliances with devils, who will use the opportunity to try and make you see things their way while also trying to gain rank in their surprisingly fair meritocracy. Okay, neat, this all makes sense."
Me in 5E: "Yugoloths are back for some reason."

I think in my first campaign I just lumped demons and devils together, whereas in my first 5E campaign I made the division between demons and devils and the Blood War extremely important at the end.
I have debate crafting an epic story for the yugoloths at some point.
why do all the fiend more or less have the same aesthetic they would be much better if they all look different from the other types with like a dress code for devils and just crazy demonic monster for demons?
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top