D&D 5E Players voting on each other's alignments?

BookTenTiger

He / Him
Here's a fun idea:

When a campaign first starts, players can choose an alignment for their character, but they keep it secret from the other players. After 3 - 5 sessions, the players vote on what they think the alignment of each character is. Then, each player would either commit to that alignment, or adjust their roleplaying to better fit their original choice.

This is based off a real experience of mine. I was playing an exiled dwarf wizard who was very much a DIY academic and didn't like the politics of established institutions of magic or knowledge. I had him as Neutral Good because I saw him as a "man of the people," helping out small towns that didn't have access to libraries or magic users. After a month or so of playing, the other players said that my wizard seemed much more Chaotic Good, in that he was actively willing to ignore or break the rules or conventions in order to benefit others. I agreed, and changed his alignment, and started playing more into his Chaotic side than I had originally intended.

Would you enjoy this in a campaign?


Alternate, crazy idea:

After a few sessions, everyone agrees on two moral traits that describe each character (Loyal Peacemaker, Devious Trickster, Vengeful Protector, etc). These then form the alignment scale of the entire campaign, so that every NPC fits somewhere on that spectrum. It would make the campaign world reflective of the morality of the characters. I have no idea how this would play out, but it sure would be interesting!
 

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Dausuul

Legend
What does "commit to that alignment" mean? In other words: If my PC is voted Chaotic Good, and then two months later people say the character's behavior now seems Neutral Good, what happens?

Personally, I quit caring about alignment long ago. I think it actively hinders roleplaying. So I don't care if people vote on my alignment... unless this process forces me to engage with the alignment system.
 

Since alignment has no connection to any abilities, skills, etc., a change in alignment has no practical implications. So, mostly we don't care about alignment.

But we already do this in a much less formal way. Players declare an ambition to play a certain alignment and get commented on by others if they do something radically different (especially towards the chaotic and evil side).

I notice that players tend to feed off each other in terms of alignment. If the majority is chaotic, then the more lawful players may either compensate and become more lawful, or join the crazies and become more chaotic. Alignment should not be static in a roleplaying game where characters develop.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
Here's a fun idea:

When a campaign first starts, players can choose an alignment for their character, but they keep it secret from the other players. After 3 - 5 sessions, the players vote on what they think the alignment of each character is. Then, each player would either commit to that alignment, or adjust their roleplaying to better fit their original choice.

This is based off a real experience of mine. I was playing an exiled dwarf wizard who was very much a DIY academic and didn't like the politics of established institutions of magic or knowledge. I had him as Neutral Good because I saw him as a "man of the people," helping out small towns that didn't have access to libraries or magic users. After a month or so of playing, the other players said that my wizard seemed much more Chaotic Good, in that he was actively willing to ignore or break the rules or conventions in order to benefit others. I agreed, and changed his alignment, and started playing more into his Chaotic side than I had originally intended.

Would you enjoy this in a campaign?


Alternate, crazy idea:

After a few sessions, everyone agrees on two moral traits that describe each character (Loyal Peacemaker, Devious Trickster, Vengeful Protector, etc). These then form the alignment scale of the entire campaign, so that every NPC fits somewhere on that spectrum. It would make the campaign world reflective of the morality of the characters. I have no idea how this would play out, but it sure would be interesting!
I really enjoy alignment in my games and this sounds fun, with one exception. I don't like the idea of being "forced" to conform to the groups expectations if they don't feel the RP is adequate. I prefer to leave that to the player and GM. Its pretty rare I find that someone seems acting out of alignment. For example, a good character who resorts to wanton murder and never cares about anybody in the fallout is not going to remain good. I do enjoy the discussions very much at the table about characters and NPCs though.
 


Gimby

Explorer
I actually had something like this in a recent campaign, but more a "vote on what you think everyone else's alignment was at the start/end of the campaign" as we hadn't made a big deal of it at character generation

Bard started at CN, ended at NG
Rogue started as CN, ended at CG
Druid started and ended as NG

The Bard and Rogue both credited the Paladin for their shifts by being a shining beacon of righteousness.

The Paladin then revealed they'd been NE all along - they were manipulating everyone in an effort to be recognised that they'd had the "redemption" from past sins that they'd "earned"
 

CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
I think it’s an interesting experiment to see how your character is seen from the outside but actually having to try adjusting your character off of that to match those observations isn’t going to achieve anything of much value, play your character as your character, but be aware of all of your character and not just your own preconceived perspective of who you think your character is
 
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When a campaign first starts, players can choose an alignment for their character, but they keep it secret from the other players. After 3 - 5 sessions, the players vote on what they think the alignment of each character is. Then, each player would either commit to that alignment, or adjust their roleplaying to better fit their original choice.
I think this is a fundamentally bad and unfun idea solely because of the last sentence.

The idea of say, keeping alignments secret and then having other players vote on what they THINK the PC's alignment is is absolutely solid and could be a whole lot of fun, especially if the vote was at the end of a campaign as @Gimby's example shows.

But where you go wrong is to do the vote pretty early (3-5 sessions? That's could be as little as like 6-10 hours, and in a party with like 4-5 party members, some PCs are barely even going to have had a chance to shine, let alone lay out their morals - especially if the campaign has been really adventure-centric or dungeon-centric, rather than featuring heavy RP), and so then want to try and force the player to stick to an alignment. You don't explain why that would ever be a legitimate goal, rather than alignment being informed by RP.

Indeed you say "adjust their roleplaying to better fit their original choice". Whilst that may be occasionally true, that's a fundamentally flawed assumption of a fairly serious kind on your part. You're assuming that because other people interpreted their alignment to be something it wasn't, their RP was bad. That's obviously not necessarily true, and my feeling is it's outright less likely to be true than other factors. Other, frankly more likely reasons for the mismatch could be:

1) The players voting either don't have a good grasp on the specific alignment being played (common with anything but NG and LN, in my experience, those seem to be the only two alignments almost everyone gets).

2) The player has an interesting "take" on their alignment, which may be completely reasonable.

3) The PC is de facto hiding their alignment in some way (as with the NE example from @Gimby).

4) The PC simply hasn't been presented with choices that allow them to highlight their alignment. This is extremely likely after 3-5 sessions. And this is on the DM, nine times in ten. If you just keep presenting the party with situations where to be Evil would be stupid or suicidal (as many DMs do), then the guy playing LE is going to look like someone playing LN or even LG very easily.

The alternate idea also seems flawed to me, because it put the cart ahead of the horse. You may start a campaign as a "Loyal Peacemaker", but will you finish the campaign that way? In my experience a lot of PCs undergo a fair amount of change and that can be vastly more compelling than "I decided on an archetype before the game started and then stuck with it ruthlessly!".
 

toucanbuzz

No rule is inviolate
If you think the idea would be fun and your fellow gamers agree, go for it. It's not unprecedented. AD&D Dragonlance had an alignment track where the DM could gradually shift a character towards the alignment they were playing versus declared.

However, it'd be a better idea to treat this like a debrief (here's what we're noticing) versus a requirement (you must change this).
 


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