Level Up (A5E) Khalkos and the absence of alignment


I understand, from this thread, that alignment is deemed to be less important for PCs than destiny, but many destinies (or other features) still give an alignment and nowhere in any of the books, as far as I can tell, does it describe what the options are for alignment or what happens if you are not specifically granted one by a feature. It seems to just be assumed that you know the options from O5e. I'm not the biggest fan of alignment anyway, but there are still a lot of features, spells, and monster abilities that specifically deal with alignment, so it seems to still be an essential part of the game that's just... missing. Did A5e add new alignment options compared to O5e or remove existing ones? We don't know because they are not described. Let's look at the Khalkos to see why this is important:
Chaos Pheromones. The khalkos emits a cloud of pheromones in a 20-foot radius. The cloud spreads around corners. Each non-khalkos creature in the area makes a DC 14 Intelligence saving throw . Creatures with an alignment trait make this save with disadvantage . On a failure, the creature is confused for 1 minute. It repeats the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If the creature makes its saving throw or the condition ends for it, it is immune to Chaos Pheromones for the next 24 hours.
How do I know if my PC has (or does not have) an alignment trait if my destiny didn't give me one? Are all PCs who were not specifically given an alignment trait considered to be unaligned? That's kind of important to know for this. Anything that detects alignment would also benefit from clarity here.

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The descriptions are scattered, but there are three important passages:

AG 95:
Alignment Traits: Some destinies or class features grant an alignment trait: Chaotic, Evil, Good, or Lawful. Alignment represents a common moral disposition, and some items or spells may affect creatures with an alignment differently. You can never have two opposed alignment traits (Chaotic and Lawful, or Evil and Good).
MM 5:
Alignment: Few monsters have an alignment. Those that do (mostly celestials, fiends, and some undead) have their alignment listed among their traits.
MM 8-9 describes monster types and includes this passage:
Humanoids have no inherent alignment, meaning that no humanoid ancestry is naturally good or evil, lawful or chaotic.
No new alignment traits, and you only have it if it’s specifically stated that you do.


So is neutral gone? Is it replaced by "unaligned?" That is, can you be "unaligned good" or "chaotic unaligned?" These are the sorts of things that could really stand to be explicitly stated. And there really should be something in the AG about it that isn't just a sidebar for destinies.


Yes, particularly regarding unaligned. Since that is specifically called out, it would be good to know that "no inherent alignment" is the same as "unaligned." And also like... not have PC-relevant things buried in the MM...


Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Alignment in A5e is, like... COSMIC Alignment. Not personality or moral identity, exactly.

You can still play a character who acts in a lawful good manner, you just don't have the Law or Good alignment traits when it comes to spell effects and the like.

Unaligned -kind- of works in that regard, 'cause you're not aligned with the upper or lower or law or chaos planes of existence. But in traditional D&D Terms it means you "Can't be good" which A5e isn't about.

Alignment just means something different for A5e. And it should kinda be explained better, somewhere. Maybe I should write a GpG article about it or suggest a definitional sidebar for Adventurer's Guide Errata. Something like...

"Alignment Traits"
"In A5e we do not use alignment to represent a character's moral stances or ethical identity, which is often the basis of arguments at and around the gaming table. Instead, alignment represents cosmic forces and the traits that make them what they are. Your average adventurer may be a good person, or a greedy one, but they don't inherently gain the good alignment trait. That, instead, is reserved for creatures that are aligned to, or touched by, the cosmic forces of goodness itself. Angels, for example, have the Good alignment trait. This trait allows angels to be affected by spells which target good aligned creatures. Unless specified elsewhere, no creature can be aligned to diametrically opposed forces, and whichever alignment trait they recieved most recently supersedes their oppositional alignment trait."


Well, that was fun
Staff member
So is neutral gone? Is it replaced by "unaligned?" That is, can you be "unaligned good" or "chaotic unaligned?" These are the sorts of things that could really stand to be explicitly stated. And there really should be something in the AG about it that isn't just a sidebar for destinies.
No. You'd just be good or chaotic. There's no such thing in A5E as 'lawful good', but you can have lawful and good traits. 'Unaligned' is not a term, any more than 'not on fire' is.


I wonder, and I realize it's probably way too late to change this now, if they are meant to be cosmic alignments if it wouldn't be better to call them things like holy instead of good, unholy instead of evil, and order instead of lawful. Chaos seems to work regardless. I just think that would make more sense in the grand scheme of things. The explanation of them being cosmic rather than moral makes it all click for me, though.

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