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D&D 5E RIP alignment

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JEB

Adventurer
Alignment was already missing from the "pet" monster statblocks in Tasha's, and also missing from some NPC statblocks in the latest issue of Dragon+. And now, in Candlekeep Mysteries:


That's also two reasons now to expect that a 5.5/6E is in the early stages:

1) The current PHB races contradict the new race design philosophy established in the recent UA, since they have fixed ASIs and cultural traits.
2) The current PHB enshrines alignment as a default characteristic (and explicitly states that it's an inborn trait for some creatures).

I'm sure this makes some folks very happy, but it does seem like a shame to drop that easy shorthand for monster behavior entirely, when they could have simply dropped the part some found problematic (alignment as inborn trait) and kept it as something descriptive. Oh well.

I wouldn't be surprised to see alignment appear as an optional rule in the 5.5/6E DMG, though.
 

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Warpiglet-7

Adventurer
I will take good care of my current 5e books. I like the more traditional game and it’s trappings. I liked 1e, dabbled with 3 and now play 5. Seems I always skip the even numbers.

May happen again. Too early for 6e for me if that is what is brewing. If it’s 5.5, I can skip it too just like I did 3.5.

if we get rid of alignment, classes and several other traditions, my concern is that it won’t “feel like” D&D to some. And it may not be a big deal if they are solely focused on younger players.
 



Alignment has always been a very good clue on how to play monsters and even NPCs. Alignment has never been a hard code (save for some classes and outsiders) but many never understood that so they used alignments as a hard codified rule which brought hate and misunderstanding on this part of D&D.

Without alignments, D&D loses a bit of its identity.
 

Downplaying alignment in most situations is fine. I mainly enforce it when it comes to characters whose powers are Divinely powered. I prefer the one-step rule from 3E and Pathfinder for them. A Divine-powered character has to be within one step of their Deity's alignment in order to continue to get their powers/spells. But for any other character/NPC/monster who does not have to answer to a higher power, alignment is much more of a guideline than a rule.

As for the example shown above, the actual text description of that NPC/monster is not shown, so I would expect that would still have info on how it would behave, versus the stat block just listing or not listing an alignment.
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
It might be worth writing an adventure module (an AP is too big and expensive and time-consuming for this experiment) where there is no Alignment, no clear villains (but plenty of NPCs doing bad things to other NPCs), lots of shades of grey. Moral quandries abound. The PCs are encouraged to indecisively delay taking action to confront wrongdoers.

See how it sells and how the D&D-playing community reacts to the challenges presented.
 

Warpiglet-7

Adventurer
My point is not the the game will break down without alignment; I note for many it is part of the feel of D&D.

most fantasy games don’t worry about it and people are able to play them.

my point is that it is part of D&D’s identity and feel. Ymmv especially if you already jettisoned it.
 

Raith5

Adventurer
I am not sure of the narrative that alignment is crucial to D&D. I have not seen alignments used in a strong way since 1e or 2e. So I dont mind seeing the idea of alignment disappearing (even further) for PCs. I prefer allegiances to be in commitments to in game organizations and things rather than the abstract notion of alignment.

However, I do think monster entries are a bit different. I think there may be some value in a brief entry that spells out their tendencies.
 

grimslade

Adventurer
I kind of like the vestigial nature of alignment in 5E. It became a descriptor, shorthand for general behavior, not a straight jacket. It wasn't elemental for monsters or NPCs unless they were from the outer planes. 9 slots were never a tight description anyways. I don't miss Detect Alignment or Protection from Alignment spells. That was too restrictive but general descriptions were a boon to a stat block.
 

MGibster

Legend
Alignment has been vestigial for decades. Shrug.
You're right. I like alignment. Not because I believe it's an accurate way to model morality but because I think it's interesting to make good/evil/whatever palpable forces in a fantasy game. But when you say it's been vestigial for a while you ain't just whistlin' Dixie. And while I've been missing alignment for a long while now, I accept its passing without bitterness.
 

MGibster

Legend
But seriously, if we're going to be rid of alignment and ASI then please, at the very least, publish a 5.5 version of D&D. I really, really hate for my core books to have rules that are no longer supported in new material.
 


JEB

Adventurer
Folks, it was dropped from monster stat blocks.

sheesh.
And NPC stat blocks. It'll also be absent from future character race writeups, per the UA. I don't think that leaves any other place for alignment to appear in official D&D content going forward, though feel free to correct me if you can think of one.

I think it's pretty reasonable to conclude that they're phasing it out.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
And NPC stat blocks. It'll also be absent from future character race writeups, per the UA. I don't think that leaves any other place for alignment to appear in official D&D content going forward, though feel free to correct me if you can think of one.

I think it's pretty reasonable to conclude that they're phasing it out.
I imagine even in 6e it will still be a thing. It’ll just be one more detail you can write on your character sheet if you feel like it, just like hair color, eye color, etc.
 

Dausuul

Legend
I don't think it's going away entirely. 5E has committed firmly to the Great Wheel, more's the pity, and alignment is pretty integral to the Wheel.

I think it will remain as a trait of individuals and an organizing principle for the Outer Planes.
 

JEB

Adventurer
I imagine even in 6e it will still be a thing. It’ll just be one more detail you can write on your character sheet if you feel like it, just like hair color, eye color, etc.
Possibly. But if they think it's too troublesome to have alignment on monsters, and in PC race writeups, and even for unique NPCs, I imagine they'd prefer to just leave it out entirely.
 


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