I strongly dislike it, and would not do this. Moral consequences don't require "your character is fundamentally different, doesn't matter what you think." Becoming known for betraying allies (even if they are allies of convenience), having deities who turn you away because you did evil things, etc.--that kind of thing has been more than enough for my game.What do folks who use alignment think about the DM stepping in like this? I tend to think it was justified, given that they were playing a campaign with alignments more strictly built into the setting.
Of course they are. The patronage thing is only relevant in the form of really awful mechanics like "ah, you didn't pray to the four directions this morning, now your character sucks forever." It's stupidly, egregiously, punitively harsh for no reason other than to be egregious and punitive.Modern players tend to believe more that they are fully in charge of their characters. See any discussion about warlocks and their patrons.
Everything else can--and should--be handled with, y'know, actually managable processes and actions, not sudden, instant, from-on-high (or, I guess, from-on-low, given most warlock patrons) declarations of irrevocable change.
Sure he did. He was telling her, "You thought you were playing Good, but you were actually playing Netural. Better luck next time, enjoy your permanent disbarment from tons of stuff until you cross the magical, invisible line that fixes things again!"Matt never said she was playing her character wrong or demanded she play her character differently. Alignment is descriptive, not prescriptive.
The problem with these sorts of declarations isn't that alignment can change (because any functional system thereof should permit that.) It's that it is sudden, coming from a near-total lack of communication, and instantly enforced. Had this been a clear and explicit pattern, with clear warnings beforehand, then sure, have at it. But most alignment-loving DMs I've seen never do that. They spring it on an unsuspecting player who's simply done a few things they thought were fine but the DM did not, and the latter never spoke of it until it crossed an invisible, unstated line.
This, incidentally, is a big part of why I'm so thoroughly skeptical of things like "invisible rulebooks" and "the rules are just suggestions" and the like. Because way, way, WAY too many DMs simply refuse to communicate for whatever reason.
I just say "no evil." Easy enough, and "evil" as a term has existed for a long, long time before any of this "alignment" business.I still find alignment a useful lingua franca in the sense that when I say "no chaotic evil or neutral evil" characters, it sets a pretty clear table rule.
It absolutely is not. There are PLENTY of ways to drive actually substantial discussion, rather than the trivial nonsense "discussion" that alignment almost always fosters when it gets discussed at all. Gods and devils, contracts, keeping one's word, curses/geasa, reputation, all sorts of things.But that is also an argument FOR alignment.
Okay. It's worked extremely poorly for a ton of people for more than 35 years.There are other mechanical ways to accomplish the same thing, but alignment has worked fine for me for over 35 years.
Which, again, aren't actually present (though I know you've already recognized this.)Mechanics.
Actual mechanical repercussions for the PC's actions.
This is just a fancy way of saying "you've been playing wrong, time to suffer for it!" You literally admit this in your final sentence: there is an "external/universal perception" and it is the correct one essentially all of the time. That's literally telling people there is a right way to play!Not at all. They're playing the character perfectly well. However, due to patterns of in-game character behaviour established during that play, the external/universal perception of that character no longer agrees with the character's (assumed) perception of itself as reflected by what's written on the sheet. In these cases, the universal perception almost* always trumps the internal pereception.
Sure I can, because my reason isn't "I am restricting this alignment." As I have made clear many, many, many times in the past, my reason for saying, "Please don't play evil PCs" is I can't run a good game for evil characters. It has nothing to do with playing Moral Policeman and everything to do with, "I want to offer you the best experience I can, and I can't offer a good experience for evil characters. That's a me problem, but I can't change it."Yet it seems there's some (many? I am not one of them) here who are ready and willing to have that conversation any time a player has a character turn Evil: "No Evil PCs here - you're playing it wrong."
Can't have it both ways.