D&D 5E What kinds of design space is there in alignments?

I have mentioned this before, but I think Alignments work exceptionally well as something analogous to zodiac signs.
A meaningless Rorschach test that doesn't provide any actual useful information? Yep, sounds about right.

You aren't evil, but you were born under the Chaotic Evil stars, which is wrapped up in your fate and how you connect to the magical world and which gods have an interest in you, and so on. If you do this, you can include alignment mechanics while not lashing players to certain play behaviors. A paladin can be born under an evil star -- maybe that is why they became a paladin in the first place -- and counts as "evil" for spell and other magical effects.
Yeah, this is actually pretty nifty.
 

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Reynard

Legend
A meaningless Rorschach test that doesn't provide any actual useful information? Yep, sounds about right.
Careful where you express that view! I have gotten myself in big trouble dismissing astrology.
Yeah, this is actually pretty nifty.
Thanks. I don't think it is necessary in 5E since alignment has no real mechanical heft to it and is sort fo vestigial, but I have found it to be a good solution if you do want to make it matter. One of these days I will write it up properly.
 

ART!

Legend
I have mentioned this before, but I think Alignments work exceptionally well as something analogous to zodiac signs. You aren't evil, but you were born under the Chaotic Evil stars, which is wrapped up in your fate and how you connect to the magical world and which gods have an interest in you, and so on. If you do this, you can include alignment mechanics while not lashing players to certain play behaviors. A paladin can be born under an evil star -- maybe that is why they became a paladin in the first place -- and counts as "evil" for spell and other magical effects.
I've don't recall ever hearing of this approach, so thanks for posting! I like this a lot and might use it myself.
 


James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
3e had alignment mechanics. They were annoying. There were spells that hated one Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos, but usually Neutrals got a free pass or a reduced effect.

Many was the time I'd suffer some calamity because I'd written "Good" on my character sheet instead of "Uncaring Neutrality". I once had another player snicker at me for making such an "unoptimal choice".

I gave him a piece of mind, of course, but it did strike me as strange that the game seemed to want to reinforce players being disaffected jerks over being heroes.

Now maybe the problem was that there were few positive benefits for choosing an extreme alignment- even a holy sword didn't mind being wielded by a Neutral character! But then, looking over the game's history, even back in AD&D, most of the things that rewarded you for being Good, had an equal benefit for being Evil.

Then again, with AD&D, I'm not entirely sure how seriously it really took alignment. You were told that you should be penalized from straying from it, and the books seemed to make it a big deal, but then you could have your alignment forcibly changed at the drop of a hat by magic!

The main reason not to be an Evil character was that Good monsters all seemed way stronger than their Evil counterparts!
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Either having a larger system or at least a way to opt out is important to me.

I'm not here to be judged morally by my friends or the game so I'd like to either say 'no, I'm not aligned', or 'I am aligned with Stronglius the Mighty and the Band of the Impacting Fist', or 'the cause of free magic to everyone' or 'healing the ill' instead of trying to muddle through what the DM or the book feels about the nebulous concept of Good especially if they're going to wax philosophical about how Good it is to be a serial killer if you choose your victims carefully or how evil being goth and getting piercings is.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Either having a larger system or at least a way to opt out is important to me.

I'm not here to be judged morally by my friends or the game so I'd like to either say 'no, I'm not aligned', or 'I am aligned with Stronglius the Mighty and the Band of the Impacting Fist', or 'the cause of free magic to everyone' or 'healing the ill' instead of trying to muddle through what the DM or the book feels about the nebulous concept of Good especially if they're going to wax philosophical about how Good it is to be a serial killer if you choose your victims carefully or how evil being goth and getting piercings is.
Or a Nipple Clamp of Exquisite Pain! So evil!
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Or a Nipple Clamp of Exquisite Pain! So evil!
And I mean, How? It says the pain is exquisite right there in the name. Not agonizing. Not debilitating. Exquisite. As in the recipient (which is you by the way) likes it.

Evil is the most dangerous alignment because it sparks joy.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Well yeah, Good people aren't supposed to be happy! They're supposed to think of others before themselves! Good-aligned people are constantly being taken advantage of by their Neutral and Evil family members, who demand they help them "because FAMILY!", while they give nothing in return!

And because you're Good, you have to forgive them every time!
 

d24454_modern

Explorer
Restrictions ARE additive. After all, that’s why people love low level adventures. They actually have to work through and navigate the terrain rather than just teleporting to the end of the dungeon.

Alignment works the same way. Whatever your alignment is decides what items you can use and how you’ll use it. If you’re evil, then the quest may be about destroying a sacred item rather than using it.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
I think alignment might work in certain settings but need to stay out of core.

I worry if a DM says such-and-such a magic item fails to work for you because your character doesnt feel Good enough according to my opinion about alignments. Or Lawful enough, or whichever.

The way to get around this game-disrupting dispute is:

Only a sentient magic item can have an alignment. It is simply an NPC. This allows the DM to roleplay a Good or Evil NPC, any way the DM wants. Meanwhile, the player can engage the NPC in whatever way the player wants. If the player and the NPC arrive at some kind of understanding, fine. The magic item will perform some effect. If they remain in disagreement, fine. Move on to the next NPC item.
 




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