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D&D General Rethinking alignment yet again

From my point of view the Jedi are evil!!

For all it's faults Palladium RPG has very well described alignments

The talisman RPG, my current fave has Good, neutral and evil as all essential parts of the Alignment triangle.

Use alignment as you wish, and don't sweat and stress about it.
 

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CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
Yeah alignment isn’t something that should be able to be finagled because of in-universe perspective, that’s been my stance on it for a while now, there are things you do that will make you a Good person, and things that make you Evil, and Lawful, or Chaotic, these things are not measured or changed by any internal standards.
As simply put while still meaningful i think the four alignments can be described as such:
Good: all life is important, i may go out of my way to help others simply because i can.
Evil: i care only about my own wants, i may go out of my way to harm others simply because it would amuse me.
Lawful: i think the structure and stability rules provide is important, even if they sometimes go against what I actually want i will follow them.
Chaotic: personal freedom is the most important, to not be held back from doing what you want to by anything, even your own previous choices.

Some people are saying lawful and chaotic are group vs individual but I personally disagree with that interpretation, it’s just as possible to have a complete individual loner have a very strict set of rules for themselves or a large group of people gathered for the common cause of doing what they want.

Also
-Lawful people do not subscribe to any one single set of rules, they generally will follow the law on principle but not necessarily, two entirely lawful people may have two entirely different sets of rules that directly conflict each other but they’re still both just as lawful.
-Chaotic people are not inherently allergic to rules and can follow them perfectly if they so choose to at any given moment.
-Nor are they ‘lol so random XD’ ‘I’ll walk through the river because the bridge is too normal’, that behaviour is from players misinterpreting the principals of chaos either genuinely, or maliciously as an excuse to justify getting away with dumb crap

EDIT
G/E-Neutral: i take care of myself first so long it’s not causing undue harm to others, I might help others if the mood takes me, it doesn’t take me too far off my own path or if I benefit from doing so
L/C-Neutral: I generally follow the laws in most circumstances unless I have a reason not to but typically will not go out of my way to enforce them, I might break the laws in small ways sometimes or in extenuating circumstances
 
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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
For me, the alignment system is objective enough.

• Chaotic = individual
• Lawful = group
The big problem here is that lawful objectively =/= group. It can be group as demonstrated in LG, but it does not = group and hasn't for multiple editions now.

According to the 5e alignment system lawful can also be acting in accordance with law OR acting in accordance with tradition OR acting in accordance with a personal code.
 


This perspective from the OP is interesting. And I can understand how one might look at alignment in such a way. But, it assumes alignment and good, evil, right, wrong is subjective. And that is a difficult view to hold, even in a fantasy world. It is easy to think of things that would disgust any of us objectively. At least in my fantasy worlds, I insist that their are things that are objectively good, and objectively bad.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I'm not a huge fan of alignment, and mentioned above that it's an out-of-game concept, so it doesn't matter what beings think of themselves or others.

But I do want to walk that back slightly - back in AD&D 2nd I was playing a cleric (well a dual classed human, bard/cleric) who came to realize that no matter what deity you worshiped the spells that detected good or evil or let you know alignment always returned the same thing. It wasn't related to the tenants of the faith. It lead him to believe there was a universal sense of Good and Evil, perhaps from AO (this was in the FR), that transcended the gods.

And well, he was right. ;)
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Folks have covered the point well enough in the thread already, but I also dislike the idea of divorcing the cosmic/celestial approach.
I agree with this but the problem is that if Law and Good and Chaos and Evil are all "cosmic forces" then they really can't be personality descriptors too.

The fundamental flaw with alignment IMO is taking something that was intended to be "what side are you on" (i.e. who are you aligned with) and turning into "here's a two word description of your character's personality". The same concept can be both in certain limited cases but it constrains the world building IMO too much to require that it do that double duty.

(I thread that needle by making alignment just about "what side are you on" and leave the personality descriptors off the table. And then only use it in campaigns where the sides you're on in the cosmic battle actually makes sense and will have game ramifications and not just be a thing on the character sheet. Unsatisfying to some, but it works well IMO and my players prefer it over using alignment as a summary of their character's personality).
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Honestly, if you aren't going to connect alignment in some way to the greater cosmic forces of good and evil, law and chaos (i have talked about my "zodiac sign" take on alignment before) then I don't think it serves any useful purpose in the game at all. Just describe the culture in two sentences.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I agree with this but the problem is that if Law and Good and Chaos and Evil are all "cosmic forces" then they really can't be personality descriptors too.

The fundamental flaw with alignment IMO is taking something that was intended to be "what side are you on" (i.e. who are you aligned with) and turning into "here's a two word description of your character's personality". The same concept can be both in certain limited cases but it constrains the world building IMO too much to require that it do that double duty.

(I thread that needle by making alignment just about "what side are you on" and leave the personality descriptors off the table. And then only use it in campaigns where the sides you're on in the cosmic battle actually makes sense and will have game ramifications and not just be a thing on the character sheet. Unsatisfying to some, but it works well IMO and my players prefer it over using alignment as a summary of their character's personality).
I guess I have never looked at alignment as strictly personality. It's an outlook on society and willingness to engage certain actions to achieve goals. Personality certainly spills over into this, but alignment doesn't dictate it, IME. It's the same "straight jacket" argument that pops up that really doesn't effect alignment in anything but the paladin and older edition items.

I mean are you saying you cant be lawful and/or chaotic while being surly? That an optimist has to be good instead of evil?
 

Yaarel

🇮🇱He-Mage
The big problem here is that lawful objectively =/= group. It can be group as demonstrated in LG, but it does not = group and hasn't for multiple editions now.

According to the 5e alignment system lawful can also be acting in accordance with law OR acting in accordance with tradition OR acting in accordance with a personal code.
We discussed this in detail in an other thread.

In brief, I view the description of Lawful as if including a "personal code" to be an error.

The fact that it is "personal", by definition, makes it Chaotic.

Chaotic people can be orderly − they just dont care if the way that oneself is being orderly conforms to the way a group is being orderly.
 

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