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D&D 5E WotC On Tasha, Race, Alignment: A Several-Year Plan

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WotC spoke to the site Dicebreaker about D&D race and alignment, and their plans for the future.

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  • On of the motivations of the changes [character customization] in Tasha's Cauldron was to decouple race from class.
  • The 'tightrope' between honouring legacy and freedom of character choice has not been effectively walked.
  • Alignment is turning into a roleplaying tool, and will not be used to describe entire cultures.
  • This work will take several years to fully implement.
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

DND_Reborn

I don't debate opinions.
in most games we advance by milestone of the story.
I (and when others DM in my groups) give a lot of XP as story awards for accomplishing goals, good role-playing, etc. I would say maybe half (or less) of XP comes from actual combat and/or killing of the opponents.
 

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Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
That's according to the lore of one 5e setting, which also allows orcs to be good, and has for years. Gnolls, again, only apply to that one setting.

It matters to every other setting that has different lore than that one setting. Volo lives in the Forgotten Realms, so he's only going to report on things specific to that setting in his book.

So it's campaign setting dependent? It's okay if in my personal campaign they are effectively always evil and in someone else's campaign there is no true good or evil just moral relativity? In yet another campaign the orcs are the good guys and humans are the evil ones? With other campaigns having different nuances and flavors?

Works for me.

Not true, actually. About Orcs’ nature, he wrote that,
They would be Morgoth's greatest Sins, abuses of his highest privilege, and would be creatures begotten of Sin, and naturally bad. (I nearly wrote 'irredeemably bad'; but that would be going too far. Because by accepting or tolerating their making — necessary to their actual existence — even Orcs would become part of the World, which is God's and ultimately good.)


There are a lot of problematic elements to Tolkien’s orcs, but this is actually one case where he at least recognized that making them incapable of good was iffy.

Orcs in D&D are not Tolkien orcs. For that matter the orcs in my campaign world are not the orcs in your campaign world.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I wonder if these "issues" will be the reason 6e becomes a thing sooner than later.
Not sure they need a new edition. They could keep most of 5e the same and just release a revised version....well, I guess that is still a "new edition." So, yeah, I can see 6e keeping most of 5e's mechanics but incorporating the new race/class/alignment stuff into the core rules. Maybe fiddle a bit with initiative, bonus actions, and make cover and line of sight for spells more clear. I really don't want or need a completely new rule set, but tweaking the existing rules to make them more flexible and clear wouldn't be bad. Would also be nice to have a book that consolidates rules and options now spread across multiple books.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
They're still humanoid (the first two at least), right? They still have agency and can be any alignment. Vampires are different, as they need to drink blood. They're undead, and undead are normally evil (there are exceptions, like the Undying Court of Eberron).

The definition of humanoid in D&D is basically: "They have language and culture, few if any innate magical abilities (though most humanoids can learn spellcasting), and a bipedal form."

So bipeds that can talk. Doesn't automatically mean they have agency or can be any alignment.
 

They are already well on their way to it. ;)

Alignment serves almost no purpose in 5E. When I was making one of my character sheets, I forgot it entirely (didn't omit it by choice--I literally forgot about it!).

Race is pretty much thrown out the window at this point IMO.

Class also seems to be going down the drain with all the feats that allow PCs to steal features from other classes.

Levels are next-- I'm telling you levels are next! ;)
While alignment doesn't serve much of a purpose, I can say their ideals, flaws, etc. section does for players that use them. Getting in that mindset, remembering them and basing action off them can really steer a character in directions the player would normally never go.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Hmm. OK. I hadn’t realized that. Maybe it’s just a sign that they are getting rid of alignment descriptors all together. Demons will still be evil but it’ll be based on their fluff text, not on “alignment”.

Which, IMHO, would be a mistake. I agree with having alignment be just one descriptor, the alignment entry is the default and not universal across all campaigns. It's what we have now, even if it could be emphasized a bit more.

But a core conceit of D&D is that you one main style of play is good guys fighting evil. It will continue to be that no matter what happens in my campaigns, but I think the game loses something if we get rid of it altogether.
 

There are certainly people who would dismiss it as “Ahh, they’re just gnolls, f**k’em.” Those people are called bigots.
Here it is again. Are you proposing fantasy game world behavior shows the player's true colors? Or are you saying their PC is a bigot? I am confused, because if you are implying that the real world person is a bigot, then I guess any actor who has played an evil person is evil. Anyone who played The Barber of Seville is a womanizer and murderer. This makes no sense.
 


Dragons are straight up blue & orange morality. The difference in lifespan & power is so vast that humanoids are like ants to them. Think of Dragons like The Vorlons. They have a concept of good and evilto them, but the good & evil boundaries of a human society can't even begin to fit them... That or like in much of FR they are basically very powerful bintelligent carnivorous to omnivorous beasts.
Horde of the Dragon Queen and The Rise of Tiamat might offer a slightly different view.

There have always been good and bad dragons. They are at odds with one another, most of the time for moral reasons. Not resources. That makes, no matter how alignment is defined, one side good and one side bad to the commoner folk and adventurer alike; it all depends on how they view it. And Tiamat, if raised, might have something to say about morality as well.
 


DND_Reborn

I don't debate opinions.
While alignment doesn't serve much of a purpose, I can say their ideals, flaws, etc. section does for players that use them. Getting in that mindset, remembering them and basing action off them can really steer a character in directions the player would normally never go.
Agree completely. I posted earlier how I think personality traits are a better indication of a likely course of action than simple alignment could ever be.
 

Now that is an interesting question! Generally I subscribe to the philosophy that “if the players don’t experience it, it doesn’t exist,” so I would probably say that it has to intersect with the characters to matter.
This is interesting. Thanks for that clarification. This explains your approach to the game more than anything I've read. And definitely illuminates your DM'ing style. Thank you.
 


Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Agree completely. I posted earlier how I think personality traits are a better indication of a likely course of action than simple alignment could ever be.
Personally I like alignment as a starting point or when all I really need is a 30 second cameo version of a creature and what their motivations are. For in depth PCs or NPCs, alignment is just one optional descriptor of many.
 


DEFCON 1

Legend
I have absolutely no problem if they removed anything related to racial ability modifiers or alignment or whatever. The reason being is simple...

I've played D&D for over 30 years. I know how racial ability modifiers and alignment works. If another version of the rules comes out in the future that doesn't have them and I decide I * want * them in my game... it will take all of 10 seconds to add them back in.

If I was able to add in skills to the skill list that no longer appear in 5E but were in the game previously... I can add alignment into the game if/when it comes to it. And because I know I can do this, and WotC knows I can do this... I won't get all bent out of shape that WotC chooses to change some things for the next generation of D&D players instead of re-catering the game specifically to me.
 

I've had a LG PC run through to 20th level who never murdered anyone.

He killed hundreds of humanoids, giants, magical beasts, aberrations etc and put down an equal number of undead, demons and constructs though.

Those killings were always in self defence (or the defence of others) from a creature that was using or threatening violence.
I don't think anyone here is saying that can't be done. But your words seem to indicate that you had one character that did it. The others?

I agree with your logic. But, I think in most games, DM's do not put baby orcs running around because of the moral dilemma. Most don't have a woman nursing (although I once had an old lady with lycanthropy doing it to a wolf pup to show her caring side) because it would cause a moral problem. But the ones that do, most players I know would lock them in a room and still try to reach the root of the problem. Whether that is the creature stealing babies, eating guards, or getting ready to attack the town.
 


DND_Reborn

I don't debate opinions.
Personally I like alignment as a starting point or when all I really need is a 30 second cameo version of a creature and what their motivations are. For in depth PCs or NPCs, alignment is just one optional descriptor of many.
The problem with alignment as I see it is many people have (at least slightly) different views on the nuances of the different alignments. shrug It has been a problem identifying alignment and actions since D&D started IMO.

I know it is simple to get an idea "at a glance", though. I'm just saying if alignment is being removed, at least those traits can convey similar information.
 


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