D&D General Do you use Alignment in your D&D games?

Do you use Alignment in your D&D games?

  • No

    Votes: 22 18.5%
  • "Yes, always." - Orson Welles

    Votes: 40 33.6%
  • Not for player characters, but yes for NPCs and monsters

    Votes: 7 5.9%
  • Not for player characters or NPC, but yes for monsters

    Votes: 1 0.8%
  • Not for most creatures, but yes for certain "outsiders" (ie particular fiends, celestials, etc.)

    Votes: 17 14.3%
  • Not for 5E, but yes for some earlier editions

    Votes: 1 0.8%
  • Yes, but only as a personality guideline, not as a thing that externally exists

    Votes: 37 31.1%
  • OTHER. Your poll did not anticipate my NUANCE.

    Votes: 17 14.3%


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Oofta

Legend
You're not the only respondent to the thread who has said this.

There are people who have said 'I use alignment to..", leaving no ambiguity.
You need to fill in the blank there. I use alignment to help me decide what NPCs do is far different from "I use alignment to force people to play their PCs the way I think they should be played" are completely separate things.

I've seen the former, I haven't seen the latter in this thread or any other time it's come up. If I did I would call it bad DMing.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
You need to fill in the blank there. I use alignment to help me decide what NPCs do is far different from "I use alignment to force people to play their PCs the way I think they should be played" are completely separate things.

I wonder if that is a function of mostly having players who don't try to push things? Would you let the player with LG on their sheet who semi-regularly shop-lifted and lied and didn't run out to answer cries for help when his beer was fresh use the item designed for LG characters? (As was said above at one table, if it's 51% LG...)
 

Oofta

Legend
I wonder if that is a function of mostly having players who don't try to push things? Would you let the player with LG on their sheet who semi-regularly shop-lifted and lied and didn't run out to answer cries for help when his beer was fresh use the item designed for LG characters? (As was said above at one table, if it's 51% LG...)

I don't know what my player's PC's alignments are so it wouldn't matter. However, there may well be consequences to shoplifting and constantly lying.
 


Oofta

Legend
Is that different for you in 5e than it was in 3.5 or before?
Other than the paladin? No. Even then I wasn't very particular about it. Sometimes I know what the alignment is, sometimes I don't.

The one time it came up, the paladin made a mistake and ordered the execution of innocent people that could have been saved. It would be the same with an Oath of Devotion paladin.
 


Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
Looks like the majority prefers to use alignments. Case closed. :cool:

ENWpoll01.png


Or let's continue bickering like its 2002 again. Just a few things to keep in mind, though:
  1. If you're using words like "repressed", "freedom", or "autocracy" to strengthen your case for something as trivial as a roleplaying game, then your argument was already weak. This just makes it weaker.
  2. Characters don't choose their players. If you think they do, then you may have more serious issues to address.
  3. D&D isn't necessarily a co-op game, but it is a social one. That means people, not characters, need to find common ground and get along for the benefit of the group. You know, like most mature adults.
  4. Alignment has always, and will forever be, a part of the D&D game. But like everything else in the game, you can choose to ignore it or change it however you see fit.
  5. If you think you know somebody because they use option A or play with rule B, that says more about you than what you want to say about your ideal character for a game that you feel was created entirely for you.
And if someone takes offense to any of these, just call it a receipt. I've already taken offense from several comments in this thread. And this discussion has run its expected course.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Other than the paladin? No. Even then I wasn't very particular about it. Sometimes I know what the alignment is, sometimes I don't.

The one time it came up, the paladin made a mistake and ordered the execution of innocent people that could have been saved. It would be the same with an Oath of Devotion paladin.

It feels like it would matter for clerics (and the detection spells) and some of the spells/items that targeted alignment. Did they just not come up very often?
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Characters don't choose their players. If you think they do, then you may have more serious issues to address.

That's an interesting thought.

I wonder if there could be something like where some authors say they don't really find out what a character is going to do until it happens as they write it (like it is just coming out and not a choice).
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
That's an interesting thought.

I wonder if there could be something like where some authors say they don't really find out what a character is going to do until it happens as they write it (like it is just coming out and not a choice).
I get that. Sometimes I have only a vague idea for a character until I have time to walk in their adventuring boots. But I'm still in control of the character. I'm also part of a group of other players, not just more characters in a story. That's the difference between writing a character for a book and creating a character for a roleplaying game. Sure, there is some overlap and you can take queues from one to other. But most RPGs assume a shared narrative between you, the DM, and all the other players.
 

Looks like the majority prefers to use alignments. Case closed. :cool:
While I agree with your later points, I think the numbers tell a different story: 50.5% either don't use alignment or don't have it impact any rules (it's just a description of intent.) In other words, just over half give no mechanical weight to alignment.

That tells me people have it, but don't use it.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I get that. Sometimes I have only a vague idea for a character until I have time to walk in their adventuring boots. But I'm still in control of the character. I'm also part of a group of other players, not just more characters in a story. That's the difference between writing a character for a book and creating a character for a roleplaying game. Sure, there is some overlap and you can take queues from one to other. But most RPGs assume a shared narrative between you, the DM, and all the other players.
Now I need to avoid going back to the satanic panic literature and seeing if there were any where they claimed the characters took over the players or something similar to that...
 

Oofta

Legend
It feels like it would matter for clerics (and the detection spells) and some of the spells/items that targeted alignment. Did they just not come up very often?
I had to know the alignment of NPCs for things like detect evil (I kinda hated that power). I guess it came up now and then for specific spells, I always had to ask.

Something similar come up in 5E with paladins violating an oath, a cleric/warlock subverting the will of their deity/patron. I just don't see that as being alignment specific.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
If 51% LN and 49% CE is LN, and 49% LN and 51% CE is CE, then the system sure seems useless and inane.

Edit: Now, if they were adjacent alignments, that would feel different. 51% LN/49%LG. But even then wouldn't LN with Good tendencies be a common phrasing? And LN with G tendencies doesn't seem that different from LG with LN tendencies.
The "tendencies" thing went out with 2e. Maybe 1e.

The 3e portions you quoted where the DM can change alignment are true, but out of context. The context that the DM has to(if following RAW) adhere to are what I posted, which say that alignment isn't a straightjacket and you can act outside of your alignment. If the DM isn't following that context and hasn't clearly stated his house rule before characters are made, he's abusing his authority by ignoring the context that the player has been told by the books is RAW.

The issue is that any semi-realistic personality is going to fall in at a minimum 2, probably 3-4 different alignments on a regular basis. The biggest one is his written alignment. For example, a LG character might also have a gambling habit and love to bet on everything, even to the point of flipping a coin at a split in a corridor to see which way he goes. That consistently chaotic behavior isn't enough to change him from LG into anything else. He still keeps his word, tell the truth, help those in need, speak out against injustice, etc. And you can add other behaviors outside of LG while keeping that core as well.
 

Oofta

Legend
While I agree with your later points, I think the numbers tell a different story: 50.5% either don't use alignment or don't have it impact any rules (it's just a description of intent.) In other words, just over half give no mechanical weight to alignment.

That tells me people have it, but don't use it.
I disagree. I use alignment for NPCs and monsters on a regular basis. It doesn't need to have mechanical impact to be used or useful.
 

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
While I agree with your later points, I think the numbers tell a different story: 50.5% either don't use alignment or don't have it impact any rules (it's just a description of intent.) In other words, just over half give no mechanical weight to alignment.

That tells me people have it, but don't use it.
I guess it depends on your perspective. I don't think it needs mechanical weight to be useful. (I mentioned that pages ago but I don't expect anyone to go digging it up.) But there's been a lot of blanket statements thrown around that basically equates to "using alignments is bad". So if you use them, you use them. And the only option I see for not using them is holding steady at about 21%. ;)

@Oofta ninja'd!
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
You need to fill in the blank there. I use alignment to help me decide what NPCs do is far different from "I use alignment to force people to play their PCs the way I think they should be played" are completely separate things.

I've seen the former, I haven't seen the latter in this thread or any other time it's come up. If I did I would call it bad DMing.
Not everything needs to have a mechanical effect to have an impact in the game.

Alignments are only guidelines but they have a purpose. Without them, players are free to act whatever manner suits them best at the moment. For some players, this is not a problem as they have clear ideas about who their characters are and how they want to portray them. Others, not so much. If it's a free-for-all kind of campaign, no problem. But if its a heroic campaign where the players are expected to be heroes of some sort, then it helps to have some guardrails in place even if its just to remind players how to be good people. That's more important to me than mechanical effects. In this day and age, I think we need that now more than ever.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
The "tendencies" thing went out with 2e. Maybe 1e.

The 3e portions you quoted where the DM can change alignment are true, but out of context. The context that the DM has to(if following RAW) adhere to are what I posted, which say that alignment isn't a straightjacket and you can act outside of your alignment. If the DM isn't following that context and hasn't clearly stated his house rule before characters are made, he's abusing his authority by ignoring the context that the player has been told by the books is RAW.

The issue is that any semi-realistic personality is going to fall in at a minimum 2, probably 3-4 different alignments on a regular basis. The biggest one is his written alignment. For example, a LG character might also have a gambling habit and love to bet on everything, even to the point of flipping a coin at a split in a corridor to see which way he goes. That consistently chaotic behavior isn't enough to change him from LG into anything else. He still keeps his word, tell the truth, help those in need, speak out against injustice, etc. And you can add other behaviors outside of LG while keeping that core as well.
Right, but I would think that being 51% LN and 49% CE clearly isn't a Lawful Neutral core. (Oh crap, next village I need to follow the law instead of massacring folks randomly). Wouldn't that be N or NE?
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Right, but I would think that being 51% LN and 49% CE clearly isn't a Lawful Neutral core. (Oh crap, next village I need to follow the law instead of massacring folks randomly). Wouldn't that be N or NE?

It depends.

If you are just randomly alternating between following the law and massacring the folks, that's Chaotic Evil.

On the other hand, if you are following a predetermined set of rules regardless whether you really agree with it (I like this village, but it's the third village I've visited in a month that starts with R, so that means it's a massacre) that's Lawful Neutral.

This has been another in a series of technically accurate, yet completely useless answers to questions that have not been asked.
 

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