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

Jhaelen

First Post
People are usually too complex to describe easily but you can give the general bent of their behaviour.
I definitely agree with the first part of this sentence :)
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.
I agree that alignment can be of some use for 'some' monsters (as mentioned, monsters like devils, etc. that don't have the capability to change). How about keeping it for monsters and scrapping it for (n)pcs, then?
 

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Nichwee

First Post
TBH I was glad to see Alignment take a major back seat.

It was silly, imo, assuming a person radiated a fixed alignment signature all the time, and it could show up regardless of current actions or intentions.

Plus I hated the fact that Law & Choas were considered opposed. Law is the opposite of crime, order is the opposite of Chaos. You could argue that they used Lawful as Orderly but they didn't in 3rd Ed. The Arcane Trickster had to be non-lawful as it was a arcane criminal, but I always liked playing a very ordered and merticulous rogue/wizard I had invented - but he could never take the Arcane Trickster prestige class just cos my guy was by no means Chaotic - in fact he hated the idea of chaos in anything he did (precision, planning and preperation were his most important ideals).

Law and Evil are perfectly connectable, as are Good and Chaos (Evil/Good are about intents, Law and Choas are about methodology so no reason they limit each other) but the need for them to be fixed in stone is silly.
An action can be Lawful or not, Evil or not, etc. A person is just a person. At times their intents and actions are one thing or another, but they just are.
Imo alignment could be reduced to "Nice Guy", "Average" and "Git" and be just as valid and useful. The world shouldn't need your alignment to function so why should it matter how it is labeled.

I think next edition (or as a suggested varient in 4th Ed) they should have the PCs pick from a group of descriptors instead of picking an alignment at all. Then you wouldn't get "Good" you'd get, for example, "Self sacrificing", "Nervous", "Studious" and "Methodical".
This would do a lot more to help define how someone reacts but still leave more than enough room to cover "special cases" where the nervous bookworm acts rashly couragous cos the situation requires it - then spends the next 10 mintues shaking like a leaf muttering to himself along the lines of "I can't believe I did that. I could have made things even worse. I think I need to sit down for a minute".
 

eriktheguy

First Post
I thought alignment was an interesting tool for monsters, but mostly for NPC's. This was especially true with the 'great wheel' multiverse of 3E, where places like Baator and Mechanus were very well described and very in-tune with their alignments.
I found that these places were the best analogies to use when describing alignments. Also, I generally didn't have trouble explaining the alignments to my players.

Lawful: Use rules to accomplish...
Neutral: Do whatever to accomplish...
Chaotic: Break the rules to accomplish...

Good: ...the good of all people.
Neutral: ...whatever.
Evil: ...whatever suits you best.
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
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.

This.

Alignment is silly for PCs. That does not mean that it is silly for NPCs.

4E would be better if there were 5 alignments:

Good
Evil
Unaligned
Chaotic
Lawful

and that most monsters were Evil or Chaotic and PCs were generally considered either Good or Unaligned (but who cares in the case of PCs, they are played as they will be played, alignment is silly for PCs).

The "glad they dropped alignment from mechanics" POV is understandable, but drops major fun elements out of the game system.

The problem with alignment mechanics in earlier versions was not that it existed, but that it existed in spades.

It should have been an extremely rare ability. Detect Evil as a Daily power. Each PC only gets so many Dailies per day. Sure, the Paladin could detect that the advisor to the King is evil, but nobody else can. Just claiming that the advisor is evil does no good, nor does attacking him. The Paladin has to roleplay.


And the Paladin could have an uber attack that does normal damage against non-Evil foes, but major damage against evil foes is preferable to "every monster is an enemy" in 4E.


The concept that their are almost no good dragons in D&D anymore makes the game system poorer, not richer.
 

DracoSuave

First Post
It should have been an extremely rare ability. Detect Evil as a Daily power. Each PC only gets so many Dailies per day. Sure, the Paladin could detect that the advisor to the King is evil, but nobody else can. Just claiming that the advisor is evil does no good, nor does attacking him. The Paladin has to roleplay.

The problem is, knowing the advisor is evil is absolutely pointless; evil doesn't mean 'Is your enemy' or even 'is against your interests'.

That advisor's plan might be to institute law and order so that he can be the power behind the throne, but to your good character, that power might actually be necessary for the good of the nation.



And the Paladin could have an uber attack that does normal damage against non-Evil foes, but major damage against evil foes is preferable to "every monster is an enemy" in 4E.

Paladins are based on dieties, not lawful good, but that's a cop out;

Still, there are paragon paths that concern themselves with alignment in -exactly- the manner you speak.
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
The problem is, knowing the advisor is evil is absolutely pointless; evil doesn't mean 'Is your enemy' or even 'is against your interests'.

That advisor's plan might be to institute law and order so that he can be the power behind the throne, but to your good character, that power might actually be necessary for the good of the nation.

It's not pointless and it's not a problem. It's a piece of information, just like any other piece of information (e.g. Knowledge checks).

It might be misleading. It might not. It is a way for a player to find out information and contribute.

And in the case of occasional powers that are modified based on enemy alignment, it would have a game mechanics benefit.

Paladins are based on dieties, not lawful good, but that's a cop out;

Who said anything about a Paladin having to be lawful good?

Any Paladin could have a power that affects a given alignment NPC differently than if the foe is not that alignment (if the game system allowed for that).

For example, a Paladin of the God of Nature might only be worried about Law and not Evil. He might think that civilized nations are taking over the wild lands.

Still, there are paragon paths that concern themselves with alignment in -exactly- the manner you speak.

Are there? I cannot think of one. Do you have an example?
 

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.

Aren't we already going down a slippery slope here? Rules that exist to prevent worse things than rules... lol. The very idea of an 'ism' to some extent presupposes an acknowledged body of tenets which are rules for measuring how to behave (though different from laws we are still drawing perilously close). Notice too that all the isms in that list you have are non-existent as actual philosophies governing any existing society on earth. In fact they have all proven to be rather spectacularly non-viable. I would say because they are actually internally inconsistent and thus cannot ever work in the real world or even be clearly articulated in a sensible fashion.


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)

But my point was that at some level you're bound to come to the conclusion that even the CG will make a rule to ban something harmful. So we're no longer talking about 2 distinct alignments, only a set of preferences along a scale where the truly chaotic is no longer good.

Nazi Germany. It built a structure that caused people to be willing to stick with it.

Was that not a lawful evil state?

No, there was no law at all in Nazi Germany. The NAZIs were the very antithesis of law. Not one single thing they ever did was lawful. They may have cloaked their arbitrary actions in some convenient theater that they CALLED a law, but that was purely for their own convenience because it made it easier for them to exercise power. If the NAZIs had it in for you they just came in the night and did what they felt like doing. If you got a trial it was a show trial in front of a kangaroo court with made up charges. That's not law, in fact I'd argue its VERY close to chaos.


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)

We could have a very long recapitulation of various moral and legal theories right here, but it would be highly tedious and far off topic. Suffice it to say that I do not accept your assertion that I define law as 'rules people follow willingly', but I DO define good as putting the interests of others, individually and/or collectively, ahead of self-interest. My opinions about modern nation-states would belong in some other board though, so we'll just leave that for another day.

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.

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.)

You used the term 'organized crime' not me. I'd also point out that 'organized' and 'lawful' are not necessarily synonymous. Alignment deals with moral philosophy, organization deals with the practical aspects of getting things done. The MOB can be organized, but if it was lawful then it would follow the laws. It doesn't, and I think its safe to say that historically mobsters act exactly like I've mentioned before, they follow a 'rule' of nothing but power, which is no rule at all. If one mobster wants what another one has, he kills him and takes it if he's stronger.

Notice that in ANY degree to which mobsters are even organized that organization is aimed at the good of their group (IE lets not wipe ourselves out or be so visible that the public makes the cops go after us). That good may serve evil ends but in a genuinely authentic way it illustrates the truth, that laws always come into existence for mutual benefit, a good concept, not an evil one.

Personally I'm quite happy that alignment is cut back and personally I wouldn't mind if it went entirely. I don't think monsters and NPCs should have alignments either. It just tends to lock the game participants brains in a box. What is it about the game that is better if in every game Orcs are supposed to be evil? How would removing that sort of thing from the game hurt? Everyone hailed Eberron as being so innovative because wow, humanoids aren't always evil! Yeah, its innovative, but if you ask me it just illustrates how much most D&D campaigns have been held back by the bane of alignment.
 

Skallgrim

First Post
Rather than try to apply game alignments to real world situations, I'm going to try to argue that the current game alignments are useful as a predictive description of a creature.

If a creature is:

Good, you can trust it to be basically nice, but you can't always depend on it being honest or honorable.

Lawful Good, you can expect the creature to be basically nice, AND you can usually depend on it being honest and honorable.


Unaligned , you can generally expect the creature to be "okay" (i.e., not a total douche), but you can't expect it to be honest or honorable unless there is some OTHER reason (strong law enforcement, scared of you, took a serious oath). You can usually negotiate with it (unless it has you fooled) and you can probably expect it to be trustworthy if you force it to surrender.


Evil, you can't even expect this creature to behave like anything but a total douche, but, based on the actual creature and the situation, you might at least be able to trust it. If the reason is good, it will probably keep a promise. You might be able to negotiate with it, or get it to keep terms if it surrenders, so long as you don't expect too much.

Chaotic Evil, you can totally expect this creature to be a complete douche. You can't trust it as far as you can spit it. Beat it half to death, force it to surrender, and turn your back? It will go for you. Never forgive, never forget.


I feel that those are basically useful roleplaying/gaming distinctions.
We can make friends with the Good guys, even if we have got nothing to offer, though unless they are Lawful Good, they might be putting us on a bit. Even if they are getting whipped, they will probably still help us.

We can make friends with the Unaligned guys, though we have to sweeten the pot. They will probably run if they are getting their butts whipped.

We can't really make friends with the evil guys, but if they are screwed, or if the deal is good for both of us, we can at least work with them. Keep an eye on them, though.

The chaotic evil guys give us the choice of fighting them now, or fighting them after they betray us. These guys are never going to be trusted.

I think people are trying to make alignments do too much, and carry too much philosophical baggage. Instead, I really think they are just supposed to be (and are quite useful, to me, as) a quick indicator of 'in game' decision-making.
 

KarinsDad

Adventurer
If a creature is:

Good, you can trust it to be basically nice, but you can't always depend on it being honest or honorable.

Lawful Good, you can expect the creature to be basically nice, AND you can usually depend on it being honest and honorable.


Unaligned , you can generally expect the creature to be "okay" (i.e., not a total douche), but you can't expect it to be honest or honorable unless there is some OTHER reason (strong law enforcement, scared of you, took a serious oath). You can usually negotiate with it (unless it has you fooled) and you can probably expect it to be trustworthy if you force it to surrender.


Evil, you can't even expect this creature to behave like anything but a total douche, but, based on the actual creature and the situation, you might at least be able to trust it. If the reason is good, it will probably keep a promise. You might be able to negotiate with it, or get it to keep terms if it surrenders, so long as you don't expect too much.

Chaotic Evil, you can totally expect this creature to be a complete douche. You can't trust it as far as you can spit it. Beat it half to death, force it to surrender, and turn your back? It will go for you. Never forgive, never forget.

Cool. :cool:

A new alignment system.

Honest - Nice - Okay - Total Douche - Complete Douche

:lol:

One problem though. Since the game system does not have any mechanics for alignment, there is no way for the PCs to discern alignment. Even an Insight check does not give the PCs the alignment of an NPC.

But, I really like your "Total Douche" vs. "Complete Douche" distinction. Err, what??? :confused:
 

Rather than try to apply game alignments to real world situations, I'm going to try to argue that the current game alignments are useful as a predictive description of a creature.

If a creature is:

Good, you can trust it to be basically nice, but you can't always depend on it being honest or honorable.

Lawful Good, you can expect the creature to be basically nice, AND you can usually depend on it being honest and honorable.


Unaligned , you can generally expect the creature to be "okay" (i.e., not a total douche), but you can't expect it to be honest or honorable unless there is some OTHER reason (strong law enforcement, scared of you, took a serious oath). You can usually negotiate with it (unless it has you fooled) and you can probably expect it to be trustworthy if you force it to surrender.


Evil, you can't even expect this creature to behave like anything but a total douche, but, based on the actual creature and the situation, you might at least be able to trust it. If the reason is good, it will probably keep a promise. You might be able to negotiate with it, or get it to keep terms if it surrenders, so long as you don't expect too much.

Chaotic Evil, you can totally expect this creature to be a complete douche. You can't trust it as far as you can spit it. Beat it half to death, force it to surrender, and turn your back? It will go for you. Never forgive, never forget.


I feel that those are basically useful roleplaying/gaming distinctions.
We can make friends with the Good guys, even if we have got nothing to offer, though unless they are Lawful Good, they might be putting us on a bit. Even if they are getting whipped, they will probably still help us.

We can make friends with the Unaligned guys, though we have to sweeten the pot. They will probably run if they are getting their butts whipped.

We can't really make friends with the evil guys, but if they are screwed, or if the deal is good for both of us, we can at least work with them. Keep an eye on them, though.

The chaotic evil guys give us the choice of fighting them now, or fighting them after they betray us. These guys are never going to be trusted.

I think people are trying to make alignments do too much, and carry too much philosophical baggage. Instead, I really think they are just supposed to be (and are quite useful, to me, as) a quick indicator of 'in game' decision-making.

Yeah, pretty much, which was why I never was that fond of a complicated alignment system. 5 gradations is enough to distinguish friend from foe. However a lot more is going to ride on interests in any interaction. That sort of thing goes even before alignment. A Lawful Good guy is only on your side if you are on HIS side. Sometimes Good makes better allies, or even Unaligned.

Honestly though I don't pay that much attention to 4e alignment since the basics are PCs deal with PC races on some potentially friendly basis and rarely do so with non-PC "monster" races. Goblins may not actually be that much tougher to ally with than elves though when it comes right down to it.
 

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