D&D 5E Recent Errata clarifications

I actually don't have a big problem with default PC race alignments going, as long as all the cultural stuff they do have remains in place to advise and inspire players.
How do you differentiate between inspiring players and dictating to players? I'm pretty sure Gygax only intended to inspire, but he became Word of God for 40 years.

The intention is to move away from the idea that mopocks all have the same history and culture, no matter what world they come from. The mopocks of Middlehaven have a completely different history and culture to the mopocks of Parasynbar.
 

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Staffan

Legend
Alignments have always just been defaults in 5E. They just buried it in the intro to the MM that no one ever reads.
On one hand yes. On the other hand, there was a paragraph in the alignment section of the PHB that said something like (and I'm paraphrasing because it's been removed on D&D Beyond): "PC races were created by gods who liked free will, so they can have any alignment. But orcs and goblins and stuff were created by evil gods who didn't, so they are almost universally evil, and even the occasional exception has evil urges all the time, and that to some degree includes half-orcs too."

I found that quite abhorrent even back in 2014, and it has not aged well.
 

On one hand yes. On the other hand, there was a paragraph in the alignment section of the PHB that said something like (and I'm paraphrasing because it's been removed on D&D Beyond): "PC races were created by gods who liked free will, so they can have any alignment. But orcs and goblins and stuff were created by evil gods who didn't, so they are almost universally evil, and even the occasional exception has evil urges all the time, and that to some degree includes half-orcs too."

I found that quite abhorrent even back in 2014, and it has not aged well.
It was true as far back as 1st edition. But it's become pretty clear that you have to work really really hard to make it clear to your reader that a suggestion isn't a dictum.
 



Yeah, but saying "orcs are evil because Gruumsh made them that way, so it's totally OK to murderdeathkill them all" is not a good look.
Orcs can be any alignment, including evil. If a DM wants the orcs in their world to be evil because god made them that way WotC are making it clear that they are free to do so, good look or not.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I have found that rather than try and convince the people who enjoyed things the old way that they are wrong for not embracing the changes... I just smirk, shrug my shoulders, and wish them well. Because once they "stop giving their money to WotC", there will be two other new players replacing them that will.

Either that, or they'll just play their previous D&D editions and still occasionally give their money to WotC by buying older stuff off of DMs Guild. And WotC doesn't really care, they just want people to play anything-- it doesn't matter to them what people play.
 

AnotherGuy

Adventurer
On one hand yes. On the other hand, there was a paragraph in the alignment section of the PHB that said something like (and I'm paraphrasing because it's been removed on D&D Beyond): "PC races were created by gods who liked free will, so they can have any alignment. But orcs and goblins and stuff were created by evil gods who didn't, so they are almost universally evil, and even the occasional exception has evil urges all the time, and that to some degree includes half-orcs too."

I found that quite abhorrent even back in 2014, and it has not aged well.
I'm curious, how do you reconcile with yourself the Lord of the Ring mythos to enjoy the films or the upcoming series?
 


Staffan

Legend
Orcs can be any alignment, including evil. If a DM wants the orcs in their world to be evil because god made them that way WotC are making it clear that they are free to do so, good look or not.
Well, yes. But that's not what the PHB says. Or said, since that particular paragraph has been removed.

Ah, found it in the SRD of all places:
"For many thinking creatures, alignment is a moral choice. Humans, dwarves, elves, and other humanoid races can choose whether to follow the paths of good or evil, law or chaos. According to myth, the good-aligned gods who created these races gave them free will to choose their moral paths, knowing that good without free will is slavery.

The evil deities who created other races, though, made those races to serve them. Those races have strong inborn tendencies that match the nature of their gods. Most orcs share the violent, savage nature of the orc gods, and are thus inclined toward evil. Even if an orc chooses a good alignment, it struggles against its innate tendencies for its entire life. (Even half-orcs feel the lingering pull of the orc god’s influence.)"

That's what the PHB used to say, and I find it repugnant.
 

Raduin711

Adventurer
The PHB describes dwarves as being "solid and enduring like the mountains they love". They "respect the traditions of their clans ... and don't abandon those traditions lightly." Devotion to the dwarven gods is a big part of dwarven tradition. Dwarven ideals include "industrious labor, skill in battle, and devotion to the forge".

Dwarves are also "determined and loyal, true to their word, and decisive in action, sometimes to the point of stubbornness. Many dwarves have a strong sense of justice, and they are slow to forget wrongs they have suffered."

When I make characters, I like my decisions to feel like I had some input, or reasoning behind them. I want to avoid feeling like my character is copy/pasted or cookie cutter. At the same time, it's not like I rebel at any description (though sometimes that's fun too.)

So, imagining that I had never played D&D before, and reading the above descriptions of dwarves, I might go, "Hmm, stubborn, traditional... Yeah, I think I will make my dwarf like that. Alignment? Lawful? Lawful Good? Ok..." and that would feel like a creative decision. I've taken the traits that I wanted from the description, and made a decision based on it.

On the other hand, add "most dwarves are Lawful Good" and suddenly I feel... a little less creative, like this dwarf I have made is a little too cookie cutter. Like I should consider another alignment to give him a little more personality.
 

Alby87

Explorer
I can really understand WHY many of those errata were made, and I personally agree. The problem is HOW they made them: those Allignement Suggestion were usefull information for new players, and those roleplaying tips in Volo were really usefull for new DMs.
How I would have made it? (disclaimer: just a fan suggestion, I'm not a professional in this)

PHB Allignement suggestion could have been inserted in a sidebar, with a simple heading: "[race] in Faerun" and a simple row in the beginning: "In Toril, members of [race] usually follow this moral allignement beacuse of their culture. Your DM has the right to modify/adapt those guidelines in the campain setting". So you can place those information in the Forgotten Realms, say that's something usual but not mandatory, and give the DM the ultimate power. No text would be lost.

Same for Volo. Adapt every "roleplaying advice" in "A roleplaying example", making for every text (Beholder, Mindflayer, Yuan-ti) an example named individual (Xordox the Beholder) explaining his personality (and roleplaying tips), and telling at the end "If you want to create personalitites like this one, please be inspired by it or completely make a new one using these tables to get inspiration".

Those errata are the prime example of "throwing the baby with the bath water"... they were more than one page of good writing!
 

Alignment Suggestion were useful information for new players
Why? Mindflayers like to mind control sentient humanoids and eat their brains. "So, are they good guys or bad guys?"

I've played many different RPGs since the 1980s, and they all managed without alignment apart from D&D. We never had any trouble figuring out who the bad guys are (usually, they where the ones shooting at us).
 


AnotherGuy

Adventurer
Well, yes. But that's not what the PHB says. Or said, since that particular paragraph has been removed.

Ah, found it in the SRD of all places:
"For many thinking creatures, alignment is a moral choice. Humans, dwarves, elves, and other humanoid races can choose whether to follow the paths of good or evil, law or chaos. According to myth, the good-aligned gods who created these races gave them free will to choose their moral paths, knowing that good without free will is slavery.

The evil deities who created other races, though, made those races to serve them. Those races have strong inborn tendencies that match the nature of their gods. Most orcs share the violent, savage nature of the orc gods, and are thus inclined toward evil. Even if an orc chooses a good alignment, it struggles against its innate tendencies for its entire life. (Even half-orcs feel the lingering pull of the orc god’s influence.)"

That's what the PHB used to say, and I find it repugnant.
I find the text creatively inspiring - I'm imagining playing an orc who
(1) has for whatever reason decided to travel a different path to his/her brethren, having to constantly battle with his/her innate tendencies using 5e's PIBF to expand on that. And hopefully arrange through one's DM to flesh that out the journey where the character finally severs the bond to their progenitor.
(2) has embraced their violent tendencies forever seeking their creator's approval and blessings, hoping to elevate their standing, but perhaps their journey one day takes them on a path of enlightenment and the desire to follow their inborn tendencies puts them in direct conflict with another personal desire, forcing the orc to make a difficult character-defining choice.
(3) views the savage mind as the purest form of expression, unadulterated by ego and greed - in so doing the character fights to maintain that clarity against artificial desires which he/she sees in other races which he/she deems as perversions and so tries desperately to communicate/pass on his/her belief to others and free them from their poisonous shackles.

Where you see something repugnant I see opportunity.
 
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Oofta

Legend
Well, yes. But that's not what the PHB says. Or said, since that particular paragraph has been removed.

Ah, found it in the SRD of all places:
"For many thinking creatures, alignment is a moral choice. Humans, dwarves, elves, and other humanoid races can choose whether to follow the paths of good or evil, law or chaos. According to myth, the good-aligned gods who created these races gave them free will to choose their moral paths, knowing that good without free will is slavery.

The evil deities who created other races, though, made those races to serve them. Those races have strong inborn tendencies that match the nature of their gods. Most orcs share the violent, savage nature of the orc gods, and are thus inclined toward evil. Even if an orc chooses a good alignment, it struggles against its innate tendencies for its entire life. (Even half-orcs feel the lingering pull of the orc god’s influence.)"

That's what the PHB used to say, and I find it repugnant.
Fantasy is not the real world. Gods are real in D&D, many species were created for a specific purpose. Is it really any different from the sci-fi equivalent of super soldiers? Or storm troopers that have a chip in their head? I agree that PCs should be of any alignment, I've always assumed that if a group had a PC that had a default alignment that the PC had to fit in with the alignments of the other PCs at the table. That the default alignment for PCs had always been "whatever works at the table".

On the other hand, for me, feeling the pull of the dark side in my good aligned (or even neutral) PC is a fun role playing crutch. It can make for interesting story telling for me. So yes, my orc PC had an abusive, controlling authority figure in their past that haunts them, that they have to fight against constantly. Maybe they show no remorse about violence but latch on to people who are good, they look to other people as their north star for guidance because they are trying to overcome. That to me can make for an interesting story.

Or I can ignore it completely because it's just a default and doesn't have to apply to my particular PC.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I've played many different RPGs since the 1980s, and they all managed without alignment apart from D&D. We never had any trouble figuring out who the bad guys are (usually, they where the ones shooting at us).

Well, have you ever considered that maybe you were the bad guys?

Imagine you're just hanging out in your room in the dungeon, minding your own business, and a bunch of morons busts down your door because they want to take your stuff?

There's a term for that- home invasion. Let me tell you- you're the baddies.
 



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