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

Do you use Alignment in your D&D games?

  • No

    Votes: 23 19.0%
  • "Yes, always." - Orson Welles

    Votes: 41 33.9%
  • Not for player characters, but yes for NPCs and monsters

    Votes: 7 5.8%
  • 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 14.0%
  • 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 30.6%
  • OTHER. Your poll did not anticipate my NUANCE.

    Votes: 17 14.0%

I have a hypothesis that people who like alignment play mostly just D&D and those who do not like it play other games too. Because if you're used to handling personalities and motivations in a freeform way, the alignment system trying to 'help' you with that seems about as helpful than phrenology.
 

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Lyxen

Great Old One
I have a hypothesis that people who like alignment play mostly just D&D and those who do not like it play other games too. Because if you're used to handling personalities and motivations in a freeform way, the alignment system trying to 'help' you with that seems about as helpful than phrenology.

And you would be totally wrong, and honestly the phrenology reference is quite insulting, I am used to better from you.

Although we play fewer other games than D&D these days since we have less time, we have played scores of other systems, including for long multi-year campaigns, in particular Runequest, Call of Cthulhu and Amber Diceless Roleplaying, not to mention shorter ones of more systems that I can count.

However, what we like in D&D is the strong heroic and epic feel of cosmic conflict, between good and evil, law and chaos, and for that D&D is not only perfectly designed as an heroic game, but the alignment notions creating the great wheel and the planescape environment is perfect for us.

At the current times, our characters are trying to save Khorvaire from a Cyre menace (we think, not completely sure, and that one is not alignment based at all), but trying to foster a new Oath of Peace between the New Gods and the Old Titans, or fighting as mercenaries in the Blood War on Avernus to try to save Elturel. That's the kid of game that we like, and alignment is a great tool for this.

It does not mean that our characters are two dimensional at all, just that we have reference points on a compass, nothing more.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
If the description tells me a monster eats babies and doesn’t tell me it’s evil, I’m making a moral judgment if I decide that means it’s evil. I would prefer the book leave me (and everyone else) free to make that judgment rather than making it for me.

The following goes a completely different way than I thought it would, and I think turns out to mostly be a question for those disagreeing with @Charlaquin .

1-Hyenas, Lions, and Dingos eat babies.

2-The things from Aliens and Zombies eat babies.

3-Some goblins eat them

4-Some cultists of demon Lords eat them.

5-Some humans probably raise them or kidnap them to sell to others who will eat them.

Is the first group classically animal or neutral and not evil? Should the second be different from the first in alignment? Is group five worse than group four worse than three? Does it matter if things kill for fun and not sustenance? What if they're like cats or dolphins or chimpanzees doing the killing for "fun"?

How does classifying motivation vs. classifying actions fit in?
 

The following goes a completely different way than I thought it would, and I think turns out to mostly be a question for those disagreeing with @Charlaquin .

1-Hyenas, Lions, and Dingos eat babies.

2-The things from Aliens and Zombies eat babies.

3-Some goblins eat them

4-Some cultists of demon Lords eat them.

5-Some humans probably raise them or kidnap them to sell to others who will eat them.

Is the first group classically animal or neutral and not evil? Should the second be different from the first in alignment? Is group five worse than group four worse than three? Does it matter if things kill for fun and not sustenance? What if they're like cats or dolphins or chimpanzees doing the killing for "fun"?

How does classifying motivation vs. classifying actions fit in?
And why would any of this matter? The PCs would hopefully try to discourage baby eating in all of these situations.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
Good thing this is a 5E specific sub forum then. Why are you so concerned about something that was published two decades ago?

This is actually in the general D&D forum as I did intend to include folks who played/are playing earlier editions.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
That doesn’t answer my question though. I mean, sure, you can focus on law vs. chaos over good vs. evil, but the fundamental question of what the alignment “Chaotic (whatever)” tells you that a description of what they do that makes them Chaotic wouldn’t? If you have the description, why do you need the label too?

Ease of sorting?

Why do book stores try to break fiction books into mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, young adult when folks could just use the back cover blurb? Especially when many books cross over?

The online sellers on the other hand can use multiple tags. With more things being online now in games, fan we got to, say, 20 or 30 descriptors and give each creature up to a half dozen? If we did, would one describing how likely they were to keep their word or one about how likely they would be to offer legitimate hospitality be useful? (Rereading Cugel's story, and that might be the most important information one can get in some cases.)
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
And why would any of this matter? The PCs would hopefully try to discourage baby eating in all of these situations.

One claim was that alignment is useful for getting a broad feeling for actions/motivations.

Another is that alignment can be useful for seeing who would ally with each other.

It feels like it either fails with some of those examples and/or that I need to think more about how aberations and undead fit into things.
 
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Lyxen

Great Old One
It feels like it either fails with some of those examples and/or that I need to think more about aberations and undead fit into things.

The problem, as usual, is people trying to counter-argue with exceptions. Exceptions, by definition, are exceptional and occur infrequently. In most case, the system works reasonably well, and that's all what is asked here as in any approximation of a real or fantasy world.

Obviously, intention matters, it's there in all descriptions of the alignments even more than the actions themselves. Of course, killing for sport or fun is evil, just as killing to defend oneself because there is no alternative is not. And that's why it's pointless to argue about animals. Previous editions classified them as some type of neutral, but 5e I think got it right: "Most creatures that lack the capacity for rational thought do not have alignments — they are unaligned. Such a creature is incapable of making a moral or ethical choice and acts according to its bestial nature. Sharks are savage predators, for example, but they are not evil; they have no alignment."

That's why, in your table, there is a clear difference between the first two lines (animals, aliens) and the last three. As for undead, I will admit that for the unintelligent ones, the cursor has swung back and forth, just pick the one that you prefer in your setting depending in what you want necromancy to be, and it will be very simple.
 
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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
There was an announcement a while back that older versions had been moved to the separate sub forum "D&D Older Editions".

EDIT: @Vaalingrade
I thought that was for discussions that don't want 5e? So you can pick general, just old, or just 5e. Or so I have that wrong?

 

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