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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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Yaarel

Legend
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.
I dont want alignment front and center, right there with lineage, class, and level.

However, when statting a unique individual, mentioning the alignment is helpful, especially in a section for encounter behavior or ideal and flaw.
 

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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
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?
Presumably no more than if someone using an alignment-less D&D book placed a creature that went against something in the explanatory text. A conversationalist Gibbering Mouther could be fun, but I probably wouldn't use a rampaging Gold Dragon without the reason for the rampage being the mystery.
 

Malmuria

Adventurer
4) Unless you are an artist, your costumer 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. 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.
I imagine that every major product, including changes like leaving out alignment etc, is viewed from a perspective of brand management. They seemed to have made the calculation that making alignment an optional add-in and/or not applying it in new books is a net gain for their brand and business. Perhaps they've done some amount of market research to support this calculation.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad
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.
Meaningfully large as defined by WOTC surveys for WOTC.

No implication that a poll on ENWorld is the standard. I am saying if WOTC does a survey on the topic and they see that a meaningful number of their customers, as defined by them, still like a game element then it should make the cut.

You are incorrect in your assessment of the utility of alignment to me (and it would have been more polite for you to ask rather than just tell me you assume and doubt any other assumption dismissively). It is not about perpetuating an alignment system, and I've explained extensively the greatest utility I get from it is in published adventures for individual encounters, as a DM. I don't care much about it for PCs, and I don't care much about it for humanoid creatures in a monster book, but I do really quite care about it for individual entries in an adventure that I need to access quickly as a brief baseline for that particular creature/NPC. I am OK with replacing the existing alignment system (like with something similar to Bonds/Flaws/Etc), but I am not OK with just ditching it and not replacing it with something at least of similar utility.

They should take the customer into account when they work for a large company like WOTC. If they are writing an indie game, do what they want. But I feel very confident working for WOTC there is a duty to consider the marketing and sales aspect of their products, and how that ties into customer satisfaction. That's why they have such an extensive survey and playtest system in operation for this edition.
 

Malmuria

Adventurer
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.
But 5e is already quite far away from TSR-era dnd? Hence the entire OS movement.

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?
They are making something new, which is why we have new editions and changes to the game. Whatever style of play critical role is, as well as the whole idea of streaming an rpg game, that's new. New "Appendix N"-style influences are being added, including anime and videogame rpg conventions (that were themselves inspired by dnd)

Leave the original experience to be appreciated for what it is?
TSR was going bankrupt. The game is also something that (someone) needs to sell. Though, tbh, 5e is, if anything, overly nostalgic and self-referential at this point. I assume that's the main reason they kept alignment in at all.

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?
As you know, the hobby isn't constrained by wotc or any other one company
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
But 5e is already quite far away from TSR-era dnd? Hence the entire OS movement.

When did the OS movement get it's big boosts in popularity? Was it in response to 3e? (I don't remember).

I'm wondering how things would have worked differently if WotC had jumped right from 3.5 to 5e, for example. Not OS at all, but I'm guessing PF might not have even been a thing. Would not having 4e have had a variety of people not jumping back to look at older editions?
 

Malmuria

Adventurer
When did the OS movement get it's big boosts in popularity? Was it in response to 3e? (I don't remember).

I'm wondering how things would have worked differently if WotC had jumped right from 3.5 to 5e, for example. Not OS at all, but I'm guessing PF might not have even been a thing. Would not having 4e have had a variety of people not jumping back to look at older editions?
I don't know because I'm very late to that scene but I get the sense that the character-optimization stuff from 3e did not sit well with people into what is now understood as osr-style gameplay? I think the reaction to 4e still drives wotc's creative and business decisions though, probably in a negative direction.

I've been thinking of this blog post from a few months back: Some Thoughts on The D&D and Wizards of the Coast Problem

So, at a high level of abstraction, you have a group of people who believe that D&D needs to change in some fundamental ways, running up against a different group that wants D&D to remain the same, full stop. ... I think it is wrong not to acknowledge that it is also about not wanting change in and of itself. Along those lines, I think Austin Walker and Black hit the nail on the head in the piece--much of the appeal of D&D to a significant percentage of the fanbase is that it provides morally uncomplicated bad guys to kill. Introducing less stereotypical, more morally nuanced portrayals of "monster races" materially impacts in a negative way the appeal of the game from that point of view. The proposed changes are to some degree zero-sum.

Rather than acknowledge this fundamental conflict, Wizards seems committed to continuing to try to be all things to all people. The half-assed material in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything ("just homebrew it!") is a predictable result of trying to harmonize what can't be harmonized. The moment Wizards comes out and says "this portrayal of [insert antagonist species here] is no longer canon in D&D," the backward-looking crowd will say "it's not D&D anymore." So, they won't do that, and instead try to find some formula that placates the change-oriented crowd.
 
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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:::
To kill,or not to kill the baby orc! shakespearean nightmare!
 


When did the OS movement get it's big boosts in popularity? Was it in response to 3e? (I don't remember).

I'm wondering how things would have worked differently if WotC had jumped right from 3.5 to 5e, for example. Not OS at all, but I'm guessing PF might not have even been a thing. Would not having 4e have had a variety of people not jumping back to look at older editions?
The OSR was always there but got a lot more popular around the end of 3rd edition and the beginning of 4ed.
 

transmission89

Adventurer
But 5e is already quite far away from TSR-era dnd? Hence the entire OS movement.


They are making something new, which is why we have new editions and changes to the game. Whatever style of play critical role is, as well as the whole idea of streaming an rpg game, that's new. New "Appendix N"-style influences are being added, including anime and videogame rpg conventions (that were themselves inspired by dnd)


TSR was going bankrupt. The game is also something that (someone) needs to sell. Though, tbh, 5e is, if anything, overly nostalgic and self-referential at this point. I assume that's the main reason they kept alignment in at all.


As you know, the hobby isn't constrained by wotc or any other one company
TSR going bankrupt had little to do with the edition in and of itself and more their poor management.

And indeed they are making something new. To which I feel shouldn’t have the Dungeons and Dragons name because I feel it is not Dungeons and Dragons. Which is what I was saying. It’s an entirely subjective thing and I totally understand and respect that others’ opinions are different and are equally as valid. Continuing to go in the wrong direction, In my opinion. And of course, others may differ in their opinion. I will always argue along the traditionalist lines for D&D because that is what I think is good for the game, and so will voice that when given the chance by wotc surveys. I will also argue for things that I think are intrinsically part of D&D, so that whatever the next version that bears the name can at least have some resemblance to its namesake, to me. Of course, others will differ and argue for what they want in the next edition. Such is the way of things and such has it ever been. And maybe, just maybe, 6th edition will just be a cleaned up 2nd edition, tis a fool’s dream, but I can but live in hope. I have 2nd edition and B/X to keep me going and to promote until the wider gaming community see the light 😉
 

I imagine that every major product, including changes like leaving out alignment etc, is viewed from a perspective of brand management. They seemed to have made the calculation that making alignment an optional add-in and/or not applying it in new books is a net gain for their brand and business. Perhaps they've done some amount of market research to support this calculation.
I never saw a survey on that one element and the last one they did was not even addressing this topic. So it looks a lot like the co.pany made it's own decision base on a vocal part of their audience and not based on actual preferences of their customers' base.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I imagine that every major product, including changes like leaving out alignment etc, is viewed from a perspective of brand management. They seemed to have made the calculation that making alignment an optional add-in and/or not applying it in new books is a net gain for their brand and business. Perhaps they've done some amount of market research to support this calculation.
They went from 0 to 60 with this change once voices got loud. I doubt they spent a lot of time calculating, which is par for the course for a company with a history of knee-jerk reactions. They overreacted here.
 

Scribe

Hero
I've been thinking of this blog post from a few months back: Some Thoughts on The D&D and Wizards of the Coast Problem
Interesting piece, but I think you grabbed the wrong part of it.

To me, the most important part is the call out that there is something, or a segment of D&D players who are utterly reactionary against change.

Not because they are racist, or sexist, or whatever -ist one wishes to label them with, but because they cling to D&D-isms, and refuse to have those removed.

I could dig up recent posts on this forum that the article may as well have quoted.

That's, quite interesting to me.
 

Malmuria

Adventurer
Interesting piece, but I think you grabbed the wrong part of it.

To me, the most important part is the call out that there is something, or a segment of D&D players who are utterly reactionary against change.

Not because they are racist, or sexist, or whatever -ist one wishes to label them with, but because they cling to D&D-isms, and refuse to have those removed.

I could dig up recent posts on this forum that the article may as well have quoted.

That's, quite interesting to me.
Yes, and I think the point of the blog post and the article to which it refers is that, actually, wotc and this edition specifically is much more deferential to those players than the so-called "vocal minority" because they remember what happened with 4e. It is striking to me that even when they release a backward-looking campaign setting (Ravenloft), there's still massive complaint about it not being backward-looking enough.

I do get wanting dnd to 'feel like' dnd, but what this is changes depending on what edition you started on (and is why I am early awaiting my OSE books to arrive)
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad
I never saw a survey on that one element and the last one they did was not even addressing this topic. So it looks a lot like the co.pany made it's own decision base on a vocal part of their audience and not based on actual preferences of their customers' base.
I agree, I have never seen a survey on this topic. My read of Candlekeep is it likely was in there in an older draft and then wholesale removed without considering potential problems that caused. I pointed one out earlier, where the stat block of an undead dragon makes it look aggressive and evil, while the small descriptive text says it's non-aggressive and friendly and chatty, buried in the middle of several paragraphs of text. An alignment indicator was likely helpful in that instance, and removing it was sloppy.
 

Scribe

Hero
Yes, and I think the point of the blog post and the article to which it refers is that, actually, wotc and this edition specifically is much more deferential to those players than the so-called "vocal minority" because they remember what happened with 4e. It is striking to me that even when they release a backward-looking campaign setting (Ravenloft), there's still massive complaint about it not being backward-looking enough.

I do get wanting dnd to 'feel like' dnd, but what this is changes depending on what edition you started on (and is why I am early awaiting my OSE books to arrive)
At the onset of 5th? Absolutely.

Post Tasha's? No, vocal minority.
 

Do you even pay attention to what people say? Alignment is one part of the picture. It answers questions other things do not. It gives insight into general behavior and reaction.
Except you just failed to get general behavior and reaction that matched the CE and instead asked for more information.

The entire point of the current pro-alignment argument (such as it sprung fully formed out of the muck a few years or so ago after 'TRADITION' and 'But the players will run wild' failed to strike home) is that it is a useful tool for figuring out how a monster will behave without having to 'waste time' on actually reading the description and getting real actual information about the monster.

Adding an alignment to this creature caused you to think they had a cruel, murderous society ruled by the strong with personal honor when they're solitary tortured creatures who kill not for greed, but out of twisted envy toward others they can't fathom. It didn't provide you anything useful about the monster at all, which is supposed to the point, right?

So here's the follow-up question:

What is even added to this specific creature to tag two letters to the end of it?
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Except you just failed to get general behavior and reaction that matched the CE and instead asked for more information.

The entire point of the current pro-alignment argument (such as it sprung fully formed out of the muck a few years or so ago after 'TRADITION' and 'But the players will run wild' failed to strike home) is that it is a useful tool for figuring out how a monster will behave without having to 'waste time' on actually reading the description and getting real actual information about the monster.

Adding an alignment to this creature caused you to think they had a cruel, murderous society ruled by the strong with personal honor when they're solitary tortured creatures who kill not for greed, but out of twisted envy toward others they can't fathom. It didn't provide you anything useful about the monster at all, which is supposed to the point, right?

So here's the follow-up question:

What is even added to this specific creature to tag two letters to the end of it?

Since you don't believe in alignment, does it really matter? This is your custom monster, it can be anything you want. As far as your concerned, you could give them all the attributes and moral compass of LG and then claim that my default behavior is "wrong".

It has very little to do with tradition and I'm done answering questions about pointless strawman argument.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I'm in favour of combining gnomes and halflings.
Or Gnomes and Dwarves? I've always seen those two as being far closer both genetically and culturally than either are to Hobbits.
Also remove all subraces.
Let's go a much-needed step further and knock out all PC species other than Human, Elf, Dwarf and Hobbit (and Part-Elf, and Part-Orc, and Gnome, as options). Leave what were monsters as monsters.
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.
I went the other way around and in effect took out Wizards, porting them over to 3e-like Sorcerer mechanics; mostly because I don't like futzing around with spell pre-memorization either as player or DM.

I've yet to see the point of Warlocks.
 

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