Yeah, I recall making some notes at the time...To give some context to what Lanefan joked about in msg #133 about the party selling prisoners into slavery (which to us modern day folk does sound evil), the culture of our characters and the country they were adventuring in his campaign was based loosely on ancient Greece, so slavery was a common part of society (but also a fading tradition). My character's previous profession was slaver, and she grew up in a culturally conservative, old-fashioned farming area, so this was just what she was used, while ensuring that the enslaved got good placements with humane masters (remember, in Ancient Greece, even many craftspeople, tradespeople, and tutors were slaves).
Alignment-wise, my character (a Nature Cleric (homebrew class, based on the original AD&D "Druid") who worshipped the goddess Demeter) was likely close to pure Neutral, which is how I tried to play her, but of course my DM, @Lanefan, would make the decision on that.
More accurately, disliked characters (as in, disliked by the rest of the party) often had the adventuring lifespan of a fruitfly, regardless of their alignment: they didn't always end up dead, some just got punted from the party.Evil characters didn't last long in that party -- usually had less than a lifespan of a fruitfly.
If I were playing any edition of D&D from 3.x backward Id use the 9 point system. Moving forward and playing anything 5E and beyond, I'd say just get rid of alignment altogether as it has very little if any mechanical relevance on the game anymore. One thing 4E did that I liked was introduced unalignedSo, how about alignment?
While I advocate for the existence of alignment (2) isn’t anything I really want, I’d like to play a assassin or paladin or whoever of any alignment, but i also want alignment to provide additional meaningful influences in it’s build off of (1) and that means mechanical features that interact with alignment, not in the ‘you changed alignment so take xyz penalty’ way but more of a ‘you and everyone else gets features’ way, gain damage resist against a certain type of damage per alignment, there’s an exclusive familiar for each alignment and a short expanded spell list, everybody get an alignment ability they can use: lawful characters can magically enforce some rule or law, chaotic characters can spontaneously incite a riot, good characters can protect themselves + allies from assorted danger and so on, certain factions or entities will be more or less interested in dealing with characters of certain alignments.Outside such things as aligned magic items and evil temples, alignment has come up two different ways in the campaigns I've played in:
(1) How characters are actually played in-game, i.e. part of the expression of their personalities. Are they malicious, self-centred, psychopathic, and vindictive in their behaviour -- or are they kind, helpful, generous, and charitable? Do they obey all laws -- or are they free spirits?
(2) Where the player chooses to play a class (e.g. Assassin) where that class must be "Evil" no matter how "goodly" that character is actually played in-game because the 1e Players Handbook says that "Assassins are evil" (p. 28). The class is defined as "evil" and thus the character is, even if they don't murder innocent peasants or poison the town's water supply. This automatic categorization might restrict the options for how a player develops the personality of their character; i.e. for anyone who has read C.J. Cherryh's "Foreigner" series and wants to play a D&D assassin based on the character Jago for example (whom one could argue is a goodly assassin), it might not be possible. Or, they might go ahead and try to play what could be, for all intents and purposes a "Good" assassin personality-wise, but get classified as being "Evil" anyway.
This point "2" sounds to me like a good reason to ditch class-based alignment restrictions, if they limit opportunities for "playing personalities."
EDIT for Mods
I have to concede that Alignment has been made to not matter mechanically in 5e. It serves mostly as a role play aid. And I agree that simply adding alignment to stats to help with role playing monsters, NPCs, and PCs is weak sauce. In my current campaign, alignment has mechanical effects. But it isn't RAW, I did a lot of homebrew to make it matter mechanically and thematically in a way the my group enjoys. So, I have to concede that if alignment was removed from D&D 5e it would mainly be missed by those who have been playing long enough to be nostalgic about it. Which is why I think putting alignment in the DMG is a good compromise. But if they do that I would hope there are also various optional rules--mechanics--for how to add alignment in the game. To take it out of the game entirely would disappoint me, because I see it as part of the heritage of the game.I'm not sure, however, if I would classify alignment as a mechanic. Hit points are a mechanic. Attack rolls (d20 + Ability Modifier + Proficiency + etc) are a mechanic. Saving throws are a mechanic. It's not clear to me that alignment is a mechanic. Your character feels woozy in a plane of an opposing alignment* isn't a mechanic. Paladins do not "detect alignment," whether chaos or evil; instead, they detect celestials, undead, and fiends. So the actual mechanic of Divine Sense and even the spell Detect Evil and Good pertains to creature type rather than actual alignment. Alignment's rules interactions are pretty much limited to some magic items.
* Note: no mechanical impact here either!
That said, I do like the idea of Alignment as cosmological factions that PCs willingly align themselves to and that having mechanical heft. Elsewhere I proposed something similar to Theros's piety system, but for Alignment factions. Though there, I would probably have it so that players could only align themselves to one basic alignment (Good, Evil, Law, Chaos, Neutral) rather than the full gamut of nine alignments.
There is so much left out the modularity was supposed to cover...I have to concede that Alignment has been made to not matter mechanically in 5e. It serves mostly as a role play aid. And I agree that simply adding alignment to stats to help with role playing monsters, NPCs, and PCs is weak sauce. In my current campaign, alignment has mechanical effects. But it isn't RAW, I did a lot of homebrew to make it matter mechanically and thematically in a way the my group enjoys. So, I have to concede that if alignment was removed from D&D 5e it would mainly be missed by those who have been playing long enough to be nostalgic about it. Which is why I think putting alignment in the DMG is a good compromise. But if they do that I would hope there are also various optional rules--mechanics--for how to add alignment in the game. To take it out of the game entirely would disappoint me, because I see it as part of the heritage of the game.
I think it is a bit much to equate mechanics that give consequences for a PCs behavior as the DM judging the players and restricting their imagination.Yes, it is fun for some people to add morally judging their friends in order to mechanically restrict how they can play a game of imagination. Swell. I don't think it's the game's responsibility or advantage to help that.
Plus, the worst of that crap has been gone for nigh on fifteen years. Even if we wanted to encourage that kind of thing, it's long gone and at this point, we're just keeping this weird vestige latched on to the game for no reason other than for people who like it to know the words are still there and occasionally yell at their friends for writing the 'wrong' ones on their character sheet.
Pro-Alignment Folk 1: "But are you Chaotic Good, Neutral Good, or Lawful Good?"
Pro-Alignment Folk 2: "No, you're not Good! As GM, I'm telling you that a 'good' person would never get rid of alignment. Your alignment automatically shifts straight to 'evil.'"
And where do you draw the line? Faction rules? The DM having any NPC reacting negatively to the PC's actions?
I think I'm in alignment (see what I did there!) with @Lanefan.It's the DM's world, and the characters are inhabitants of said world, and thus are a part of it. If the world (i.e. the DM) sees a character as alignment XY then that's what it is for game purposes, regardless of what the character or its player might think or want.
Put another way, if you want to be perceived as being of a given alignment then bloody well play to it, even if only vaguely and only most of the time. And there's many ways to play to each alignment, and if what you end up with is near a border then it'll reflect that way e.g. for a character who shows as somewhere on the border between CG and CN (which is probably the long-term average among al characters) I'll quietly write either Cg or Cn as its alignment; if it's played closer to pure N then it might show as cg in small letters, or whatever.
Put yet another way, if the player's play of the character says one thing and the written alignment on the sheet says another, one of those things has to change or else we're immediately into bad-faith play territory. (if you disagree with this we've nothing further to discuss; I've no time for bad-faith play or defense of such)
A DM who says "You're playing it wrong" is taking the stance that the play of the character has to change to get these two things back in synch; a DM who (like me) says "What's written on the sheet has to change" is in fact saying the player's been playing it right but has simply written the wrong letters on the character sheet.
The problem is in who gets to decide what 'good' is.Alignment is the character's actions and behavior. The character may see himself as good, but that does not mean he is good.....
There's a rather vast difference between morally judging our friends and morally judging their game characters.The problem is in who gets to decide what 'good' is.
That's where we get into morally judging our friends for no worthwhile benefit.
It is the DM's world. The DM acts as the divine being and director for the world.The problem is in who gets to decide what 'good' is.
That's where we get into morally judging our friends for no worthwhile benefit.
When the player is playing their character in a way they they player sees as good and the DM gets on their case? No there's not.There's a rather vast difference between morally judging our friends and morally judging their game characters.
Nope. If they want it to just be their world, they can write a book, not invite a bunch of weirdos to play with their toys.It is the DM's world.