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D&D 5E Do you find alignment useful in any way?

Do you find alignment useful in any way?


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Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad
Sure, it's not clear cut, though at the point the notion of killing babies is seriously entertained the line has been crossed a long time ago, regardless of where exactly it was (and I don't even like babies!) And also, yeah, I doubt our views differ much in practice. And removing the alignment from humanoids would definitely be a big step in the right direction; it would solve the most obvious issues that have unfortunate real world implications, and that's most important. I still think alignment is a terrible system on its own right and should go for that reason, but that's just about game design preferences, and ultimately not a big deal.
So would you be OK if all the humanoids had their alignment changed to "unaligned" but the non-humanoid monstrous beings like, say, a gibbering mouther still had their alignment listed? Not OK as in "I like this and will use it!" but OK as in "Well I still find alignment less than useful but at least it's an acceptable compromise?"
 

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This thread is still going on...
For those who say that only alignments can be abused, I have seen ruthless killers in a lot of systems in which there are no alignments. So that line of thought is void as a defense as these potential abuses can be done with any systems.

Alignment is useless? Time and time again, it has been proven wrong. Alignment is as useful as you want it to be. It is a matter of choice. Nothing less, nothing more.

Alignments are not specific enough....
That is their purpose to be relatively vague. It allows for variations and variations are good for RP.

Alignments are problematic if all members of a race are evil. Well, the MM do specify that it need not be so in your game.

For every point against alignment there is a rebuttal, but for every point for alignments, we hear nothing or a rehearsal of previous points with a small change (when there are some...).

It all boils down to one thing. Alignments, like any other rule can be optional or changed at whims of a table. Why remove it? Because it is problematic for you? But there should be no problems because you are always free to ignore, but once removed, it is hard to go back. WotC is making a huge mistake in not giving alignments in the stat block of their newest and subsequent books. That is only my opinion. No one is obliged to share it, or to agree. But I know a lot of people that have already given alignments to the stat blocks in the VRGtR but already I have heard disagreements and some have asked what I had given them. My answer was that, as long as such and such is evil, the rest is personal preference. And even then....

See, already, with one book, I see arguments about stat block if such creature is lawful or chaotic evil... debates could rage on and on... Giving an alignment straight from the get go would have hurt no one as they have been in the game from the beginning.

The removal of alignment should have been reserved for an other edition with a poll from WotC. If the removal side wins, then so be it. Bit at least, the system would have kept its consistency.
 
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So would you be OK if all the humanoids had their alignment changed to "unaligned" but the non-humanoid monstrous beings like, say, a gibbering mouther still had their alignment listed? Not OK as in "I like this and will use it!" but OK as in "Well I still find alignment less than useful but at least it's an acceptable compromise?"
Roughly yes. Though this probably should be extended to some technically-not-humanoid creatures such as giants etc. Things that are basically people. Alignment could still have some unfortunate implications, but I feel this would fix most of that.
 

transmission89

Adventurer
Roughly yes. Though this probably should be extended to some technically-not-humanoid creatures such as giants etc. Things that are basically people. Alignment could still have some unfortunate implications, but I feel this would fix most of that.
Oooff, there’s some unfortunate connotations in that and likely to stir a whole new line of debates of what is deserving of alignment or not…
 

Feels like this is an argument for removing gnomes (which would leave plenty of space for...)
I'm in favour of combining gnomes and halflings. Also remove all subraces. The future direction seems to be to have more customisable lineages, so there's no need to waste space listing dozens of mildly differnt subtypes.

Not to mention, isn't a sorcerer really just a reflavored wizard with a couple of optional systems tacked on?
Yes, sorcerers should be removed. I already did that in my game. They really do not have enough mechanical or thematic uniqueness to warrant their inclusion, their stuff can be divided between warlocks and wizards.
 

If everything anyone ever might want to use in the game is presented, the game becomes intractable and moribund in its options. To be useful in a practical sense, a game must be edited. Choices must be made.
But if by removing one page and its two letters descriptor in the stat block you need to add hundreds of pages to explain the general behavior of each new foes you create in each books, you have removed hundred of pages of potential material that could have been useful and intriguing. Sometimes, less, is a whole lot less. Maybe not now, but in the future it will be.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Sure but if a meaningfully large portion of the customer base likes and uses that game element, I hope you agree it should probably make the editing cut?

First off, "meaningfully large" is not well-defined.

Second, I suspect there's the implication that somehow, the self-selected people here arguing for its inclusion are supposed to be evidence that criteria is clearly met. Statistically speaking, that doesn't hold up. Sorry.

Third, I doubt most of you arguing for its inclusion actually need to reference the books to know the alignment of virtually anything, and would have no difficulty assigning alignments if you didn't know them. That suggest that the argument is less about you individuals having the game information you need, and more about perpetuating alignment systems so that future gamers will use them. There's already other systems that uphold that legacy, so D&D doesn't have to be the one to do it.

Fourth, I accept that people who create stuff get to create what they want. Sure, they should take the customer base into account, but they customer base is only one of many elements in making the choice.
 


Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Hmm see from my perspective, wotc decided to not add alignment to stat blocks in candlekeep, float racial ability scores in tasha's, and include one (1) sidebar in ravenloft suggesting people be mindful of stereotypes, and we see a very vocal reaction from some of the fanbase. Some people going so far to claim that wotc no longer wants them as fans (i.e. customers), which seems crazy to me.
You're going to have vocal minorities who complain about everything. I have no issue with the floating racial ability scores included in Tasha's, even though I will never use them or have them in my game. Why? Because like alignment, it's easily ignored and I'm the kind of person who is going to try and shout someone else's fun down.

I only bought Candlekeep, because it has relatively few stat blocks for me to have to figure out. If WotC puts out a monster book without alignment, I won't buy it. As I said earlier in the thread, I use alignment a lot as a quick and easy way to run NPCs that aren't that important to the story. An encounter with two ogres is probably going to end without any talking. However, sometimes a player gets an idea and wants to talk to a monster for some reason and alignment is invaluable to me as a stepping stone for how to play that monster. I have no interest in having to memorize all the lore for a monster in order to play them for a few seconds, IF a player decides to talk to it. It's too much work, and I play this game for fun.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Third, I doubt most of you arguing for its inclusion actually need to reference the books to know the alignment of virtually anything, and would have no difficulty assigning alignments if you didn't know them.
Given that most of the 5e MM creatures have appeared in tons of other editions and we've been playing for a while, we probably could. My 11yo seems to find them useful for sorting things. As you go through the later PF Bestiaries, I'm guessing there are a bunch of folks who would start to guess badly on many (although the correlation between E and the darker end of grayscale stands out a bit with the art). And sure, if I have time to read a few paragraphs for each monster I'm sure lots of things in the stat blocks don't matter.
That suggest that the argument is less about you individuals having the game information you need, and more about perpetuating alignment systems so that future gamers will use them. There's already other systems that uphold that legacy, so D&D doesn't have to be the one to do it.
I also don't need most weapon damage stats or PC hit die types or descriptions of the six abilities or the table of what bonus goes with what attributes... can I think they might be helpful to new players and something worth having in future editions ;-)
 



Cadence

Legend
Supporter
So I guess they try to compare real weapon and DnD weapon!
Which real or DnD weapons, which real or DnD armor or not, what kind of gun powder, what kind of muzzle velocity, what about hydrostatic shock, what about other medical care, how does it compare to what kind of sword.... :::sobs in defeat:::
 

transmission89

Adventurer
Third, I doubt most of you arguing for its inclusion actually need to reference the books to know the alignment of virtually anything, and would have no difficulty assigning alignments if you didn't know them. That suggest that the argument is less about you individuals having the game information you need, and more about perpetuating alignment systems so that future gamers will use them. There's already other systems that uphold that legacy, so D&D doesn't have to be the one to do it.
I’m quite open about it that my argument is indeed to perpetuate it, because it’s D&D.

I appreciate the ship has sailed on some damned consistency between editions.

You’re absolutely right, D&D doesn’t have to include it in its next iteration. Nor does it have to include classes. Nor does it have to include all the polyhedrals, hell let’s make it a d6 system. At what point does it stop being D&D? What’s the element that would do that for you? Of course, ymmv, but for some, alignment (in its various forms) are as intrinsically part of D&D as other parts are.

In anticipating the counter argument of prior editions still existing, to some extent, this is a non argument. Yes they do, but they aren’t the current flagship introducing new people, giving the new generation that understanding of what it is. We see this with other pop culture elements, that’s not my Star Wars/trek/ final fantasy. They mean different things to different people. And we mourn, because that shared understanding, that thing we loved, isn’t quite the same. Why not make something new? Leave the original experience to be appreciated for what it is? It’s an entirely emotional argument, but dammit, surely one can be emotional about something that has meaning to them? Is that not why we all congregate here, for that love and passion of the hobby?
 

Oooff, there’s some unfortunate connotations in that and likely to stir a whole new line of debates of what is deserving of alignment or not…
Sure. But it want's my suggestion. I obviously would delete whole bloody thing. Most people probably wouldn't for example baulk at demons* being classified as 'evil' (albeit that trope is often broken too) but it gets trickier farther we get from things that are such obvious planar manifestations of ideals. Medusas Dragons, etc? Yeah, you make a valid point, it definitely would be the best to remove it completely. But removing it from humanoids would still be a big improvement, as those are most directly analogous with real world issues, albeit it is true that it is not that clear cut.

* Of course in many mythologies demons and angels are actually one and same species, and thus whole species is not actually of any one 'alignment.'
 

First off, "meaningfully large" is not well-defined.

Second, I suspect there's the implication that somehow, the self-selected people here arguing for its inclusion are supposed to be evidence that criteria is clearly met. Statistically speaking, that doesn't hold up. Sorry.

Third, I doubt most of you arguing for its inclusion actually need to reference the books to know the alignment of virtually anything, and would have no difficulty assigning alignments if you didn't know them. That suggest that the argument is less about you individuals having the game information you need, and more about perpetuating alignment systems so that future gamers will use them. There's already other systems that uphold that legacy, so D&D doesn't have to be the one to do it.

Fourth, I accept that people who create stuff get to create what they want. Sure, they should take the customer base into account, but they customer base is only one of many elements in making the choice.
1) Just like abysmally small isn't well defined either but this is enough to give a clear picture. Large is not equal or inferior. This is as a good a descriptor as any in an opinion thread. Experiences may vary. If anything, the poll is in favor of alignments.
2) As you say, suspicion from your part. As for myself, I say experience. And again, the poll seems to corroborate our position. For what a poll here can be worth.
3) Agreed. It is way clearer and easier with extremes but with NE vs LE or CE it becomes a bit more blurry. The same goes for NG vs LG and CG. At which point does something should be designed as N, L,E,C or G? This is a designer's job.
4) Unless you are an artist, your customer base for your product is the only worthwhile meter. You will not sell your product if you alienate your customer base. Before making major moves, a company should always survey their consumer base. Those that do not, often get burn for not doing it. Why do you think that Morrus is consulting people on this forum for his new book level up? Not doing this is inviting failure. Doing it, is inviting success. It may not be a guaranteed success (but I strongly suspect that it will) but I is a good step on the right direction.

Edit: consulting had become ck salting... damn autocorrector....
Edit (again): Thanks to @Lanefan , costumer was meant to be customer... obviously. Damn AUTO CORRECTOR! Two languages to take is too much for these. (and answering on a forum at work, invites for mistakes...)
 
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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
This thread is still going on...
For those who say that only alignments can be abused, I have seen ruthless killers in a lot of systems in which there are no alignments. So that line of thought is void as a defense as these potential abuses can be done with any systems.

Alignment is useless? Time and time again, it has been proven wrong. Alignment is as useful as you want it to be. It is a matter of choice. Nothing less, nothing more.

Alignments are not specific enough....
That is their purpose to relatively vague. It allows for variations and variations are good for RP.

Alignments are problematic if all members of a race are evil. Well, the MM do specify that it need not be so in your game.

For every point against alignment there is a rebuttal, but for every point for alignments, we hear nothing or a rehearsal of previous points with a small change (when there are some...).

It all boils down to one thing. Alignments, like any other rule can be optional or changed at whims of a table. Why remove it? Because it is problematic for you? But there should be no problems because you are always free to ignore, but once removed, it is hard to go back. WotC is making a huge mistake in not giving alignments in the stat block of their newest and subsequent books. That is only my opinion. No one is obliged to share it, or to agree. But I know a lot of people that have already given alignments to the stat blocks in the VRGtR but already I have heard disagreements and some have asked what I had given them. My answer was that, as long as such and such is evil, the rest is personal preference. And even then....

See, already, with one book, I see arguments about stat block if such creature is lawful or chaotic evil... debates could rage on and on... Giving an alignment straight from the get go would have hurt no one as they have been in the game from the beginning.

The removal of alignment should have been reserved for an other edition with a poll from WotC. If the removal side wins, then so be it. Bit at least, the system would have kept its consistency.
The other issue I have is removing alignment for unique individuals. Want to remove it for an entire species? Okay, I disagree, I think it should just be reinforced that it's a default tendency (which may mean only 51%). But I can at least see the argument for it.

Removing it for a person means effectively removing it from the game. Considering how easy it is to ignore and the percentage of people who find it useful at least some of the time is a slap in the face to people that find it useful.
 

As you go through the later PF Bestiaries, I'm guessing there are a bunch of folks who would start to guess badly on many (although the correlation between E and the darker end of grayscale stands out a bit with the art).
But so what? Like if someone accidentally places a good ogre or a nasty copper dragon in their game how is this any sort of a problem?

And sure, if I have time to read a few paragraphs for each monster I'm sure lots of things in the stat blocks don't matter.
And that too.
 

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