Why Did They Get Rid of the Law & Chaos Alignment?

avin

First Post
To OP, without reading the topic answers: the question is why they removed some alignments instead of all.

Removing a few, I think, was a silly move.

Thus, in my 4E games, we removed all.
 

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TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
Ya know, there is lots of evidence that people do have "conservative" or "liberal" biases..and can be grouped by something that is not that off from alignment.

So, back to the topic. From the dribs and drabs I read and heard from the designers, it was to deal with confusion, and abuse, regarding chaos. LG and CE were almost certainly kept as being too iconic for (A)D&D to take out. A 3 part alignment scheme would probably be too simple for the D&Dverse. And they wanted to move pcs to UA.

Alignment is a handy role-playing support. While I have read about all these amazing thespians on the boards...from my own experience simple, stereotypical, guideposts can be quite handy and I have certainly seen players use them effectivelly, which is not the same as slavishly.

It can also be an interesting world building tool, which is how is law and chaos were used by Moorcock and Anderson, which is were Gygax got it from. In my homebrew, chaos was disctinct from evil, so in 4E it became the philosophy of unalignment...which has worked very well.

For other game mechanics, aligment is more of a mixed bag, and this is the part of the 4E change I appreciate the most.
 

Antronach

First Post
I tell all of my players to leave the alignment section blank. My intention was to fill it in myself after a short amount of time, however i haven't really found a need too yet.

What I've been taking a long hard look at is the system that vampire uses (2nd edition, apparently there's a new one). Instead of choosing an alignment you choose a life philosophy. Let me see if i can find a link, i'll edit it in if i find it.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
The greatest thing 4E did with regards to alignment, however -- was to remove all game-related effects from it! :)

It doesn't bother me one whit that any given alignment is gone, because I can use whatever I want. Go ahead, write down "Chaotic Neutral" on your character sheet if you want! Hell, write down "Chaotic Plaid" for that matter. Is your DM going to punish you for that in some way? It's not like by-the-book he's going to strip your paladinhood for doing so, or make you glow to a "detect evil" spell...

If he or she wants to house rule it, that's cool, but that's for each group to talk about, not the province of designers to hit gamers over the head with the alignment-stick.
 

To me, Alignment is terribly important.

1) Law and Chaos are seen as major forces in many mythologies and religions.

2) Ethics, law, individuality, rebellion, conformity etc are parts of normal Human behaviour, thought, culture etc (law and chaos), never mind "good" and "evil".
I'd bet we all know real world examples of "alignment", lol.
People are usually too complex to describe easily but you can give the general bent of their behaviour.

3) Alignment should have always been seen as a "general quick guideline", the likely way a creature MAY behave. It's a wonderful tool for a DM to use two letters to give a creatures likely moral and ethical behaviour.

4) D&D is largely about the supernatural, to supernatural creatures, Law, Chaos, Good Evil could be absolutely 100% real, just as real as Gravity is.
Demons are Chaos and Evil, Devils are law and Evil. To them Law and Chaos are no jokes, they are deeply inherent to their natures.

Planescape got that right in 2nd ed, and has been SNAFU'd by 4th ed and lesser extent 3rd ed. In the Planes, BELIEF, morals, philosophy whatever, would be "bed rock".
Money and material wealth has little real menaing to many supernatural entities.

Power, the power a person has inside..the belief that can drive a single man to lead an army to found a religion or nation, a trade empire, disocver new lands, is a facet of real life...in fantasy worlds THAT would be "big thing".

"Alignment" is part of all that.

In D&D, alignment is a neat tool for a DM, same as AC, THACO or BAB...but usually it's not a "hard" mechanic, only a general bent. some critters though, alignment is their very being, see modrons and Maruts and why 4h ed MUCKED THAT UP!!!
(Love 4th ed in general, but not losing Law and Chaos and a few other things)

the Abyss...Baator...the BLood War. without alignemnt, nah they wouldn't have come about and D&D woudl be poorer for it. 4th ed needs more of that FIRE back in it's belly, it's too "whimpish", IMHO.


:)
 

Except I can equally point out that Chaotic Good really fundamentally makes no sense. Good implies imposing rules by which ethical behavior exists. Either good is paramount and beneficial rules must be followed in the interest of that goodness or its not, in which case one can't really be described as good.

Likewise, Lawful Evil fundamentally makes no sense. If evil is paramount then the only laws one will be bound to are those imposed by force or those which one can enforce on others for ones own benefit and that isn't lawful anything, its simply rule by force. And again if law is paramount, then it must operate regardless of whether or not it is beneficial to you and how is that really evil?

Fundamentally law/chaos are bound up in notions of benefit and mutualism and cannot be separated from good/evil. That was the whole philosophical flaw with the very concept that 9 point alignment was built on. Eliminating the absurdities leaves us with the 4e alignment system, which at least includes just a set of philosophical positions that are self-consistent. Nothing was mucked up, someone just actually sat down and asked some intelligent questions about the whole system and created an improved version. Just because it doesn't conform to a simplistic diagram with 2 axes does not make it inferior, quite the contrary.
 

Except I can equally point out that Chaotic Good really fundamentally makes no sense. Good implies imposing rules by which ethical behavior exists. Either good is paramount and beneficial rules must be followed in the interest of that goodness or its not, in which case one can't really be described as good.

Wow, I disagree strongly. For example, many religious people feel that a strong, powerful church is a major tool for positive change, and embrace firm rules of behavior and deep tradition as conduits for goodness. Those people would be described in D&D as "lawful good". Others feel that centralized power corrupts churches, and that tradition and dogma actually compromise goodness, so they value individual freedom instead. Those people would be "chaotic good" in the world of D&D.

Likewise, Lawful Evil fundamentally makes no sense. If evil is paramount then the only laws one will be bound to are those imposed by force or those which one can enforce on others for ones own benefit and that isn't lawful anything, its simply rule by force. And again if law is paramount, then it must operate regardless of whether or not it is beneficial to you and how is that really evil?

Again, I disagree. Two evil people might both want to rob you, but the Chaotic Evil person will simply mug you, while the Lawful Evil person will carefully position themselves into a respectable, powerful position in society which allows them to take your stuff legally. Very different.
 

Kingreaper

Adventurer
Except I can equally point out that Chaotic Good really fundamentally makes no sense. Good implies imposing rules by which ethical behavior exists. Either good is paramount and beneficial rules must be followed in the interest of that goodness or its not, in which case one can't really be described as good.
Doing things which are good, and happen to be legal, isn't against a chaotic good person's alignment.

A chaotic good person values freedom. Laws saying that you can only drink alcohol when under proper supervision would seem WRONG to a CG person.

To a LG person: Well, LG is about safety. Drinking alcohol without supervision? That's unsafe. Law against it? Cool.

Lawyers who work pro bono on cases where they feel someone's freedoms have been infringed on are likely chaotic good.

Likewise, Lawful Evil fundamentally makes no sense. If evil is paramount then the only laws one will be bound to are those imposed by force or those which one can enforce on others for ones own benefit and that isn't lawful anything, its simply rule by force.
No, it's lawful, because it's all about building a structure in which you maintain your power, and things stay constant (ie. safety, for you)

And again if law is paramount, then it must operate regardless of whether or not it is beneficial to you and how is that really evil?
Lawfulness is not innately about the law of the land.

Lawful evil can disobey the law of the land, but they do so in ways that promote order, and their own safety.
A mob boss who corrupts the police force of their city is clearly evil. But when you think about it, the mob is a very structured (lawful) organisation. And thus, the mob boss is likely Lawful Evil.


It seems like you're probably Lawful Neutral. Someone who thinks law is always the right thing, and therefore doesn't see how there can be a conflict between law and goodness.
 

Doing things which are good, and happen to be legal, isn't against a chaotic good person's alignment.

A chaotic good person values freedom. Laws saying that you can only drink alcohol when under proper supervision would seem WRONG to a CG person.

To a LG person: Well, LG is about safety. Drinking alcohol without supervision? That's unsafe. Law against it? Cool.

Lawyers who work pro bono on cases where they feel someone's freedoms have been infringed on are likely chaotic good.

And if uncontrolled drunken foolishness is destructive to society then your hypothetical chaotic good person should support that law. If they don't then they're not acting in a good way. The problem with this kind of view is that some degree of law and order is a prerequisite for the existence of society. These laws need not be written down or elaborate or involve a power structure tasked with enforcing them, but they are still RULES.


No, it's lawful, because it's all about building a structure in which you maintain your power, and things stay constant (ie. safety, for you)

Lawfulness is not innately about the law of the land.

Lawful evil can disobey the law of the land, but they do so in ways that promote order, and their own safety.
A mob boss who corrupts the police force of their city is clearly evil. But when you think about it, the mob is a very structured (lawful) organisation. And thus, the mob boss is likely Lawful Evil.


It seems like you're probably Lawful Neutral. Someone who thinks law is always the right thing, and therefore doesn't see how there can be a conflict between law and goodness.

Its not a matter of 'building a structure'. Sure evil can compel obedience to its wishes but that has nothing to do with a desire for order, it has to do with a desire to benefit oneself. This kind of 'law' is arbitrary and exists at the whim of whomever has the power to impose it. Its not 'law' in any recognizable sense, it is simply a hobnailed boot placed firmly on everyone else's neck. It lasts only so long as force can be applied and extends only as far as the reach of the enforcer.

The mob is hardly structured and lawful organization. Its members MIGHT refrain from random violence IF it seems more in their interests to do so because someone else has enough power to hurt them bad if they don't behave. Just look south of the border (if you live in the US) and explain to me how lawful organized crime is...

Alignment is FAR too simplistic to capture the actual ethical and moral stance of real people in the real world. You can label people that way, but the results of such labeling are going to be most assuredly wildly inaccurate and practically useless in determining how they will really act.
 

Kingreaper

Adventurer
And if uncontrolled drunken foolishness is destructive to society then your hypothetical chaotic good person should support that law. If they don't then they're not acting in a good way. The problem with this kind of view is that some degree of law and order is a prerequisite for the existence of society. These laws need not be written down or elaborate or involve a power structure tasked with enforcing them, but they are still RULES.

You can have rules designed to maximise freedom; therefore being a chaotic set of rules (the rules only exist to prevent worse impingements on freedom) or a CG set of rules.
See Minarchism, Libertarianism, Anarcho-capitalism, Anarcho-communism, etc.


If uncontrolled drunken foolishness is harmless to society, but might become dangerous a LG person will go "ban it, just to be safe". Which doesn't seem entirely good, does it?
No, but then they're NOT entirely Good, they're Lawful Good.
Same with CG being unwilling to ban it until it's EXTREMELY harmful (until the harm completely outweighs the loss of freedoms)



Its not a matter of 'building a structure'. Sure evil can compel obedience to its wishes but that has nothing to do with a desire for order, it has to do with a desire to benefit oneself. This kind of 'law' is arbitrary and exists at the whim of whomever has the power to impose it. Its not 'law' in any recognizable sense, it is simply a hobnailed boot placed firmly on everyone else's neck. It lasts only so long as force can be applied and extends only as far as the reach of the enforcer.
Nazi Germany. It built a structure that caused people to be willing to stick with it.

Was that not a lawful evil state?


You seem to be defining law as "rules people follow willingly" which is sheer stupidity. Your nation (the US) and my nation (the UK) both have rule of law, enforced by the "hobnailed boot" of the "enforcer" (ie. police officers)

The mob is hardly structured and lawful organization. Its members MIGHT refrain from random violence IF it seems more in their interests to do so because someone else has enough power to hurt them bad if they don't behave. Just look south of the border (if you live in the US) and explain to me how lawful organized crime is...

In order to be organised crime, it must be organised. If it is organised, it must have a set of internal rules etc.

Thus, to meet the definition of Organised Crime, it must be somewhat lawful. The individuals at the bottom end may be any alignment, but there's a certain lawfulness required to run a lawful organisation.
Alignment is FAR too simplistic to capture the actual ethical and moral stance of real people in the real world. You can label people that way, but the results of such labeling are going to be most assuredly wildly inaccurate and practically useless in determining how they will really act.
It's simplistic, but still useful. As long as you don't overload the terms. For example Good is not Nice, and Organised is not Lawful.
It's just that everyone has exceptions. And most people are neutral in the first place. Corner alignments are possibly rarer than side alignments (simply because people find it hard to balance the goals.)
 
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