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Morithias
2011-08-04, 01:34 PM
Alignment wise you now have TWO alignments. You have a “True” alignment that is a representation of what prestige classes and so on you can take, and you have an “Acting” alignment which is determined by where you’re going to go when you die.

Example:

Neeshka wants to play the deathstalker prestige class from dragon 322 which requires a lawful evil alignment. So she writes “Mech: LE” on her sheet. This means that her character is tied to the secondary emotions: compassion, willpower, and desire, and is tied to the underworld with unholy energy (note NOT evil).

During the campaign however she plays her rogue as a technical pacifist who only paralyzes people, don’t murder insanely, and basically acts CG in acting.
“Good” is her acting alignment. The acting alignment is determined by where you’re going to go when you die, and also is what determines the use of abilities like smite evil and such.

Playing a blackguard or a paladin of tyranny and trying to keep a good acting alignment is hard. This however is encouraged. It has your players try to figure out clever ways to use their dark powers for good ends, and struggle with the curses/blessings given to them.

The primary (chaos) side of the alignment is powered by rage (adrenaline), hope (wiliness to go on), and fear (self preservation).

Under this alignment system, an intelligence score of 0,1 or 2, makes you Primary Neutral. Unless you are something like a zombie which being made from unholy energy makes you Primary Unholy.

The only way to change your "true" alignment, is with a ritual of renaming, rewriting your true name (tomb of magic).

Eldest
2011-08-04, 03:05 PM
So then I could make a Paladin that is actually LG but acts chaotic stupid and it would work?

Shpadoinkle
2011-08-04, 03:59 PM
So you want to double the number of alignment arguments that last months and never get resolved. Brilliant.

hamishspence
2011-08-04, 04:11 PM
A simpler way to play a LE character as CG-ish, might be to pick some LE things to do, only do those things to enemies, and voila! You can be as CG as you like to everybody else, and it won't affect your LE alignment.

So you could have a LE blackguard who goes around saving the needy, and fighting tyrants- but because he exacts excessively brutal and cruel "justice" on villains, he's still LE.

Everyone except villains will like him though.

Siosilvar
2011-08-04, 05:03 PM
Why not just remove alignment restrictions from classes entirely if you're going to remove the restrictiveness of them? Having both a "mechanical" and a "roleplay" alignment doesn't add anything to the game except more bookkeeping.

Morithias
2011-08-04, 05:03 PM
So then I could make a Paladin that is actually LG but acts chaotic stupid and it would work?

Yeah, you'ld probably be sent to limbo when you die, but you would still be secondary holy.

@Shpadoinkle Actually this alignment system is more to allow use of "evil only" prestige classes in normal play. This system allows you to for example, play a maiden of pain with it just being a girl who is into BDSM instead of a psychopath. There are a lot of evil-only classes that are wasted because the DM won't allow evil characters, but if you didn't have to be evil to take them....you get the picture.

@hamishspence Ok but mind explaining what happens when you do too many good deeds and suddenly don't qualify for the blackguard anymore? I've played through NWN and NWN2 probably 7 times each and I've NEVER finished the game with an evil aligned character playing with that mind set. (Mainly because let's face it the only kind of evil in those games is stupid evil).

It pretty much falls back to the question of "how can you be evil when you're nice?"

hamishspence
2011-08-04, 05:09 PM
It's mostly based on the Champions of Ruin definition of evil, that says "consistantly does evil deeds" outweighs any amount of good deeds.

Just as "Good is Not Nice" so, sometimes "Evil is Not Nasty" (except toward certain chosen victims).

Admittedly not all DMs will follow that perspective on alignment- but when the evilness is serial-killer level, the fact that the character is altruistic and Would Not Hurt The Innocent becomes unimportant.

erikun
2011-08-04, 05:11 PM
Question: What does this system hope to accomplish? Because from the looks of things, the only thing it does is make alignment irrelevant - you still have an alignment, but have no reason to roleplay it.

Morithias
2011-08-04, 05:14 PM
It's mostly based on the Champions of Ruin definition of evil, that says "consistantly does evil deeds" outweighs any amount of good deeds.

Just as "Good is Not Nice" so, sometimes "Evil is Not Nasty" (except toward certain chosen victims).

Admittedly not all DMs will follow that perspective on alignment- but when the evilness is serial-killer level, the fact that the character is altruistic and Would Not Hurt The Innocent becomes unimportant.

Ah never read that book.

Either way, this isn't meant to start any debates it's just suppose to be a new system that allows you to hand wave why the guy using his zombie hoards to rebuild the city isn't evil. He's not using EVIL energy, he's using UNHOLY energy.

It also gives a system for when you use "subjective evil" as written in BOVD without meaning you have to throw out 30% of the material in the game.


Question: What does this system hope to accomplish? Because from the looks of things, the only thing it does is make alignment irrelevant - you still have an alignment, but have no reason to roleplay it

You have no reason to roleplay your mechanical alignment anymore than you would roleplay your true name. You still have your acting alignment, meaning there is still moral debate, personal ethics, and so on. It's just now you can't go "that man is holding an unholy sword so everything he says is wrong, and we should instantly murder him" because unholy no long equals evil. It turns D&D's alignment system from one of black and white, to grey and grey because now there's no such thing as a person who is just "born" evil.

SowZ
2011-08-04, 05:15 PM
Yep. I think if you want to do this, it would be better to just do away with alignment entirely. Certain classes, (cleric/paladin/druid,) still require that you act a certain way and certain beings won't interact with you unless you act a certain way but I've seen the alignment system limit people too many times. (That is, rather then choose how someone is going to act then pick the alignment that best fits even if no alignment fits well, they make a character personality around their alignment.)

137ben
2011-08-04, 05:15 PM
Why not just remove alignment restrictions from classes entirely if you're going to remove the restrictiveness of them? Having both a "mechanical" and a "roleplay" alignment doesn't add anything to the game except more bookkeeping.

I agree. If the only point of this is to allow good players to use prestige classes originally designed to be evil-only, then either remove the alignment restriction, or make another version of the class which is good only, and re-fluff accordingly. Either way, you are still going to have to re-fluff the desired class, since a lawful good paladin taking a prestige class which marks him as an agent of the abyss is fairly nonsensical.

Morithias
2011-08-04, 05:18 PM
I agree. If the only point of this is to allow good players to use prestige classes originally designed to be evil-only, then either remove the alignment restriction, or make another version of the class which is good only, and re-fluff accordingly. Either way, you are still going to have to re-fluff the desired class, since a lawful good paladin taking a prestige class which marks him as an agent of the abyss is fairly nonsensical.

Ah but you can't do that. You only have one mechanical alignment, you can't take the paladin class that requires you to be holy, and then take an unholy class.

I probably should off hand mention, that in the setting this was based off of, it was a lot grey and grey, where even the abyss wasn't pure evil.

SowZ
2011-08-04, 05:28 PM
Ah but you can't do that. You only have one mechanical alignment, you can't take the paladin class that requires you to be holy, and then take an unholy class.

I probably should off hand mention, that in the setting this was based off of, it was a lot grey and grey, where even the abyss wasn't pure evil.

So, wait, would one alignment be what 'energies' you channeled, (gods worshipped, spells casted, etc.) and another be how you view yourself morally/your philosophy?

Morithias
2011-08-04, 05:30 PM
So, wait, would one alignment be what 'energies' you channeled, (gods worshipped, spells casted, etc.) and another be how you view yourself morally/your philosophy?

More or less. The first is what determines your powers, the second that determines your fate in the next realm.

erikun
2011-08-04, 05:32 PM
You have no reason to roleplay your mechanical alignment anymore than you would roleplay your true name. You still have your acting alignment, meaning there is still moral debate, personal ethics, and so on. It's just now you can't go "that man is holding an unholy sword so everything he says is wrong, and we should instantly murder him" because unholy no long equals evil.
I have a recommendation. Rather than having a mechanical relation of good/evil/law/chaos to weapons and spells, instead make this a holy/unholy/axiomatic/anarchic relationship.

That is, rather than the Paladin and Cleric having an aura of good, they have a holy aura. Rather than having Slaad and Succubi be chaotic creatures, they are anarchic. Holy Word is now a holy spell, rather than a good spell, and may only be cast by a holy character.

You could even make this more interesting by taking it a step deeper: characters do not automatically have a natural "alignment". Anyone picking up a Holy Sword is treated as a neutral character, regardless of their actual alignment. In order to use it as if they were (by normal rules) good-aligned, they would need to pick up the Holy subtype - either from becoming a cleric and such, by aligning themselves with an appropriate plane, or by being blessed by a deity or something to become appropriately "holy".

(You might want to change a few things so that nonaligned characters don't get such a benefit from them - the Holy weapons being one.)

Morithias
2011-08-04, 05:41 PM
I have a recommendation. Rather than having a mechanical relation of good/evil/law/chaos to weapons and spells, instead make this a holy/unholy/axiomatic/anarchic relationship.

That is, rather than the Paladin and Cleric having an aura of good, they have a holy aura. Rather than having Slaad and Succubi be chaotic creatures, they are anarchic. Holy Word is now a holy spell, rather than a good spell, and may only be cast by a holy character.

You could even make this more interesting by taking it a step deeper: characters do not automatically have a natural "alignment". Anyone picking up a Holy Sword is treated as a neutral character, regardless of their actual alignment. In order to use it as if they were (by normal rules) good-aligned, they would need to pick up the Holy subtype - either from becoming a cleric and such, by aligning themselves with an appropriate plane, or by being blessed by a deity or something to become appropriately "holy".

(You might want to change a few things so that nonaligned characters don't get such a benefit from them - the Holy weapons being one.)

That's pretty much it actually. Go through your books and replaces every instance of "good" with "holy" and "evil" with "unholy.

I don't have an 'official' neutrality, ruling. Basically all I think it does is make you immune to certain spells also removing almost all your prestige class options.

137ben
2011-08-04, 05:46 PM
Ah but you can't do that. You only have one mechanical alignment, you can't take the paladin class that requires you to be holy, and then take an unholy class.

I probably should off hand mention, that in the setting this was based off of, it was a lot grey and grey, where even the abyss wasn't pure evil.

....
Okay, then a lawful good wizard taking a prestige class which marks him as an agent of the abyss is STILL nonsensical. Either way, you are completely ignoring my point:smallsigh:

Morithias
2011-08-04, 05:51 PM
....
Okay, then a lawful good wizard taking a prestige class which marks him as an agent of the abyss is STILL nonsensical. Either way, you are completely ignoring my point:smallsigh:

Not really since under the new system the unholy outsiders are no longer EVIIIL by nature. Meaning it's entirely possible for their to be good aligned succubi, imps and even balors in existence somewhere only really violent due to well, the same reason every civil war soldier is violent. It's kill or be killed. Heck it's even stated in Fiendish Codex 2 occasionally Bel gets good-aligned mercenaries to aid in the Blood War.

SowZ
2011-08-04, 06:00 PM
I would think that unless you are a Divine caster or have had messengers of a god talk yo you or you get a Cleric to cast some divination spell, a character shouldn't know what their 'afterlife' alignment will be. Part of the mytique of death is the unknown. More importantly, how would people inherently know what their destiny is?

137ben
2011-08-04, 06:02 PM
So under your system, are there any species which are "usually chaotic evil" where "chaotic evil" refers to their true alignment, or is every single alignment entry in the monster manual referring to mech alignment?

Morithias
2011-08-04, 06:04 PM
I would think that unless you are a Divine caster or have had messengers of a god talk yo you or you get a Cleric to cast some divination spell, a character shouldn't know what their 'afterlife' alignment will be. Part of the mytique of death is the unknown. More importantly, how would people inherently know what their destiny is?

Do you know where you're going to go when you die? I'm assuming you try to be a good person overall, and that's the point. Do good with what you have.

"So under your system, are there any species which are "usually chaotic evil" where "chaotic evil" refers to their true alignment, or is every single alignment entry in the monster manual referring to mech alignment?"

Outsiders: Yes it refers to their mechanical alignments. Other monsters ignore it. Your mechanical alignment is like your gender, pretty much random. You could give birth to twins where one was unholy and the other holy. The same way you can give birth to twins where one is a girl and the other a boy.

Siosilvar
2011-08-04, 06:10 PM
Not really since under the new system the unholy outsiders are no longer EVIIIL by nature. Meaning it's entirely possible for their to be good aligned succubi, imps and even balors in existence somewhere only really violent due to well, the same reason every civil war soldier is violent. It's kill or be killed. Heck it's even stated in Fiendish Codex 2 occasionally Bel gets good-aligned mercenaries to aid in the Blood War.

Then I say again, why bother with alignment restrictions in the first place if they have little meaningful effect on the game, since you can roleplay any alignment no matter what your classes are?

I don't see the point of restricting a player from taking, say, warlock and paladin at the same time (aside from the fact that that'd be a horrible combination) if the alignment restrictions don't affect their played alignment. He's a warlock who's seen the light... or a paladin who finds that fighting fire with fire is more effective.

The above may or may not apply to bog-standard 3.5 games as well.

As an aside, I'm filing away erikun's suggestion for later use...

137ben
2011-08-04, 06:11 PM
Oh, I was under the impression that there were races of fiends that were actually evil, and not just have the mechanical evil alignment. Let me rephrase my previous point, yet again:

A lawful good wizard taking a prestige class which specializes in torturing innocent 1st level good commoners for his own amusement is STILL nonsensical.
You could just re-fluff the class's abilities and make it good-only, and completely skip your two-alignment system. Even if you attempt to use your system, you STILL have to re-fluff it, because truly lawful good being does NOT torture innocent good 1st level commoners for their personal amusement.

Morithias
2011-08-04, 06:13 PM
Oh, I was under the impression that there were races of fiends that were actually evil, and not just have the mechanical evil alignment. Let me rephrase my previous point, yet again:

A lawful good wizard taking a prestige class which specializes in torturing innocent 1st level good commoners is STILL nonsensical.
You could just re-fluff the class's abilities and make it good-only, and completely skip your two-alignment system.

No one's forcing you to use it. Geeze.

137ben
2011-08-04, 06:16 PM
If the goal of your system is to avoid having to re-fluff evil-only class features, but then you STILL have to re-fluff them (as I already said)...then why bother keeping track of a second alignment?


Or, more directly, is there any advantage to your system?

Yitzi
2011-08-04, 06:18 PM
The problem is that those alignment conditions usually exist for a good in-game reason reason. If a blackguard or cleric of an evil deity uses his powers for good ends, the powers that granted them will take them away. If a monk lacks discipline, he can't train properly as a monk. If a barbarian is too disciplined, he isn't able to work himself into a rage.

A better approach would be for the DM to allow violations of alignment restrictions, so long as the underlying reason for the restriction is not violated (so a monk who's sufficiently unrespecting of rules to not be Lawful could still gain levels in monk so long as he's sufficiently disciplined.)

Siosilvar
2011-08-04, 06:23 PM
No one's forcing you to use it. Geeze.

It's not a personal attack.

He's saying much the same thing as I am: why not just remove alignment restrictions and let them be on a case-by-case basis1, if they're not going to have any roleplay restrictions attached?

1 - yeah, I know, this isn't in my original argument. Still, it fits quite nicely.

So, here's my proposal:
Remove all alignment restrictions from classes/etc.
Roleplay as your character (including alignment, fluff attached to classes [altered or not], and other stuff).
Be prepared to justify some stuff to the DM if s/he thinks it's a stretch.

Simpler than and (I think) gets the same point across as having two alignments would - if the DM doesn't think you should be able to get by with a "holy" and an "unholy" class, then you don't. Otherwise, you're free to roleplay any class as any alignment. You don't even have to write another alignment down!

137ben
2011-08-04, 06:35 PM
So, here's my proposal:
Remove all alignment restrictions from classes/etc.
Roleplay as your character (including alignment, fluff attached to classes [altered or not], and other stuff).
Be prepared to justify some stuff to the DM if s/he thinks it's a stretch.

Simpler than and (I think) gets the same point across as having two alignments would - if the DM doesn't think you should be able to get by with a "holy" and an "unholy" class, then you don't. Otherwise, you're free to roleplay any class as any alignment. You don't even have to write another alignment down!

Meh, I still prefer picking a class for which you like the mechanical abilities but not the alignment, and refluffing it, then changing the alignment requirement to a different alignment. But I suppose your this system gets that done with less work.

Shpadoinkle
2011-08-04, 06:36 PM
@Shpadoinkle Actually this alignment system is more to allow use of "evil only" prestige classes in normal play.

... And you think this is a better idea than simply ignoring those restrictions and refluffing some abilities?

Siosilvar
2011-08-04, 06:57 PM
Meh, I still prefer picking a class for which you like the mechanical abilities but not the alignment, and refluffing it, then changing the alignment requirement to a different alignment. But I suppose your this system gets that done with less work.

So... you prefer refluffing the class and ignoring the alignment restriction to ignoring the alignment restriction, then refluffing the class?

137ben
2011-08-04, 07:28 PM
So... you prefer refluffing the class and ignoring the alignment restriction to ignoring the alignment restriction, then refluffing the class?

...*facepalm*...Yea, I suppose that didn't make much sense:smallamused: Though I guess I did just say CHANGE the alignment restriction, not necessarily remove it.

Siosilvar
2011-08-04, 07:56 PM
...*facepalm*...Yea, I suppose that didn't make much sense:smallamused: Though I guess I did just say CHANGE the alignment restriction, not necessarily remove it.

Change, ignore, what's the difference? Either way you end up with a character that took the class without meeting the original alignment restriction.

Case in point: Dragon Magazine #106 and #310 each have eight paladins of alignments that aren't Lawful Good. Their alignment restrictions may be changed, but all of them are recognizably paladins (this holds less true for the ones in #106), and any alignment can now be a paladin.

Morithias
2011-08-04, 08:58 PM
So... you prefer refluffing the class and ignoring the alignment restriction to ignoring the alignment restriction, then refluffing the class?

The way I see it, you can make one engine change that works in most if not all cases, or have to refluff every. single. class. out. there.

I have a PDF of most of the prestige classes nice and documented. I have half a mind to count all the classes that can only be evil aligned and then ask. "Do you want to rewrite 40+ classes" or just change one minor thing, that let's be honest, this rule change is VERY basic, and VERY easy to do. To the point where it's mostly just "change a word in every other spell".

Shpadoinkle
2011-08-04, 09:25 PM
The way I see it, you can make one engine change that works in most if not all cases, or have to refluff every. single. class. out. there.

Only if you're actually USING every. single. class. out. there, and if you are I think maybe you ought to step back for a minute an reexamine your life. You only have to refluff the classes that are relevant, and I could probably come up with something in a few minutes per class. Not like it's a huge time investment.

Lord_Gareth
2011-08-04, 09:32 PM
[Shameless self-plug]You may find what you're looking for if you check out the Color Wheel in my siggy.[/plug]

137ben
2011-08-04, 09:53 PM
The way I see it, you can make one engine change that works in most if not all cases, or have to refluff every. single. class. out. there.


:smallsigh:
I spent several posts earlier explaining the flaw in this very point:
Even with your one mechanical change, you STILL have to re-fluff every. single. class. out. there., or you end up with a lawful good character entering a class which tortures babies for fun.

Hiro Protagonest
2011-08-04, 09:57 PM
:smallsigh:
I spent several posts earlier explaining the flaw in this very point:
Even with your one mechanical change, you STILL have to re-fluff every. single. class. out. there., or you end up with a lawful good character entering a class which tortures babies for fun.

That sound like you're only refluffing the paladin. Why does that mean I have to refluff the barbarian, monk, assassin, etc if your group never uses them?

Yitzi
2011-08-05, 12:50 AM
Wouldn't it be easier just to say the alignment restriction doesn't apply to them, then?

Essentially, if you divorce mechanical alignment from behavior, why keep it around at all?

Amechra
2011-08-05, 02:14 AM
I have a different tact for this; based off of the earlier comment about how everyone should be treated as Neutral; this does seem like a rather good idea.

Essentially, everyone IS neutral. Only creatures with subtypes are treated as if they have an alignment (normally; see a little further down in this post), and creatures with subtypes essentially have that alignment hardwired, so for the purposes of the following new mechanic, treat that "hardwired" alignment as if it were neutral.

Why is everyone neutral? Simple: no-one is vile enough to truly merit an "evil" alignment, where even the universe demands open season on your guts. This is, of course, ignoring dark rituals and the like that grant you [Evil], in which case you ARE evil. However, that is a change in your BASE NATURE.

Instead of a solid alignment, you instead have a "Bent". You have a maximum "Bent score" equal to your ECL+3.

When you start the game, you do not select an alignment; instead, you begin with a Bent Score of 1, "affiliated" with any alignment you please. Treat your Bent "affiliation" as if it WERE the alignment, for the purpose of prerequisites.

Now, every-time you commit an act that matches your Bent Score's Affiliation, you increase your Bent Score by 1/2. Every time you commit an act that is against your Affiliation, lower your Bent Score by 1; if this would reduce your Bent Score to less than half, instead add 1/2 and change your affiliation to match that alignment.

[NOTE: Here, I'm just stating an ACT. This means, however, something strongly good, or evil, or lawful, or chaotic, not just picking up some litter (or insert alignment equivalent.) And if your bent is neutral on either axis, ANY extreme act towards an alignment on that axis is treated as if it is opposed to your alignment.]

You may roll a special Bent Score check (d20+Bent Score) vs. a DC of (11+((1/2)*ECL)); if you succeed, you may be treated as if you had the alignment subtypes appropriate to your Affiliation.

[NOTE: What the hell do I mean, "for the purposes of the following new mechanic, treat that "hardwired" alignment as if it were neutral"? I mean that, for a Succubus, for example, Evil and Chaos aren't, you know, that exceptional for them. Committing an evil act for a creature with the [Evil] subtype is, well, normal. IT IS IN THEIR NATURE. However, a Succubus could have a Lawful Good Affiliation for her Bent Score; to a human being, she would seem to act in a rather Neutral fashion, but to other S\Demons, she would be acting like some insufferable stick-in-the-mud-goodie-goodie-two-shoes]

Aaaand that was some extra confusion for today.

Phosphate
2011-08-05, 02:39 AM
With moral values, I think we have it pretty easy.
Good is selflessness, it is not blinding zombies because you feel like it.
Evil is selfishness, it is not sadism (except if your selfish needs include sadism, but someone can also be a good sadist, wanting to inflict pain but not doing it because he cares about the other).

As for lawful and chaotic, they are COMPLETELY subjective (I mean, from a perspective, those rogues wanting to overthrow the tyrant are chaotic. but from another, those rogues never cheat or betray each other, so they might as well be considered an opposed lawful minority faction). The way they are written now, they work like this:
Being lawful means compromising to local rule because...you feel like it.
Being chaotic means NOT compromising to local rule because...you feel like it.

Honestly, why does that axis even exist? Like, the only way it would make sense to me would be if Lawful was a character who always respected and didn't abandon his OWN vows, quests, principles, what have you; and Chaotic was a character who constantly goes against his own goals, or has a code of conduct so blurred out and frequently changed that he might as well not have any. And you know what's that? That's a Tyrant. LE? Not so sure about that.

hamishspence
2011-08-05, 05:05 AM
With moral values, I think we have it pretty easy.
Good is selflessness, it is not blinding zombies because you feel like it.
Evil is selfishness, it is not sadism (except if your selfish needs include sadism, but someone can also be a good sadist, wanting to inflict pain but not doing it because he cares about the other).

"Good requires selflessness" is true- up to a point.
"Evil requires selfishness" is a bit less true- there can be selfless reasons for committing Evil acts.

Imagine a Well Intentioned Extremist ruler, whose natural inclinations are toward compassion, but who has been convinced (possibly through logical argument) that the only way to protect their people is to inflict extreme cruelty on transgressors.

So- they have most criminals guilty of more serious crimes tortured, often to the point of death. Not for their own desires (they find it repulsive) but because they believe it benefits the many.

Such a character, who is consistantly behaving in an Evil fashion (by the standards of most of the splatbooks) could be Evil despite being naturally altruistic and compassionate to everyone but criminals.

Phosphate
2011-08-05, 07:25 AM
I never considered Well Intentioned Extremists that genuinely believe in what they do instead of putting a great act as being evil. As long as the majority actually AGREES with them, however - because imposing your own personal rules and principles on an unwilling majority is, again, selfishness.

SowZ
2011-08-05, 07:40 AM
I never considered Well Intentioned Extremists that genuinely believe in what they do instead of putting a great act as being evil. As long as the majority actually AGREES with them, however - because imposing your own personal rules and principles on an unwilling anyone is, again, selfishness.

This is the Chaotic Good in me feeling the need to speak out.

Phosphate
2011-08-05, 08:17 AM
This is the Chaotic Good in me feeling the need to speak out.

Society is important.The norm is important. Not everyone can afford to have it their way. Not every compromise is a tragedy.

gkathellar
2011-08-05, 08:54 AM
[Shameless self-plug]You may find what you're looking for if you check out the Color Wheel in my siggy.[/plug]

[plug+1]Lord Gareth's color wheel (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=174163) is the best thing since sliced bread, but my reinterpretation of alignments (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=178169) is the best thing since sliced ham.[/plug+1]

hamishspence
2011-08-05, 09:09 AM
I never considered Well Intentioned Extremists that genuinely believe in what they do instead of putting a great act as being evil. As long as the majority actually AGREES with them, however - because imposing your own personal rules and principles on an unwilling majority is, again, selfishness.

Thing is, in a D&D world, a majority can be Lawful Evil- and just because they agree that horrible things should be done to transgressors, doesn't make those horrible things any less evil.

If you take the view that "doing evil acts" is somewhat more important to alignment than, say, altruism, then the person embarking on a career of torture, for "good reasons" can still end up gaining an Evil alignment- without ever losing sight of their goals- the protection of others.

Phosphate
2011-08-05, 09:14 AM
Um...no. Majorities are majorities by virtue of being composed by inherently one-dimensional True Neutral NPCs who mind their own business and don't really care about the fate of the unfortunate. Which...makes perfect sense.

hamishspence
2011-08-05, 09:22 AM
The DMG, and Cityscape (and FC2) seem to suggest otherwise- while humans are "typically TN" this isn't necessarily the same in every community.

Where LG values are taught widely, the majority of people may end up LG at adulthood.

Where LE values are taught, a population might end up with the majority being LE.

"Average alignment" can move up and down the scale thanks to the activities of community leaders, over time.

Phosphate
2011-08-05, 09:44 AM
Then that becomes the new norm. Whatever a specific society does within its confines is judged by said community, not some abstract cosmological morality. Once said community starts affecting the rest of the world, however, yes, you can classify it as good or evil. But only then.

hamishspence
2011-08-05, 10:03 AM
That's not the way D&D alignment works though. Acts are defined as evil or not evil by the game designers, not the relevant D&D communities.

As BoED points out- even if slavery, discrimination, and torture are widely practiced in a setting, they remain evil.

Phosphate
2011-08-05, 11:41 AM
That's not the way D&D alignment works though.

Yup, pretty much the point.

Yitzi
2011-08-05, 12:47 PM
I never considered Well Intentioned Extremists that genuinely believe in what they do instead of putting a great act as being evil. As long as the majority actually AGREES with them, however - because imposing your own personal rules and principles on an unwilling majority is, again, selfishness.

So when the majority of orcs want to loot and plunder, and the adventurers go and stop them, that's selfishness?

Strormer
2011-08-05, 12:51 PM
I see what the OP's trying to accomplish, and its more or less what everyone's been saying. Alignment is a broken and silly system and shouldn't mechanically have an impact on the game. What should have an impact is that certain classes/organizations/themes require a code of conduct. Regardless of the alignment of an individual character, does a Paladin still have to protect the innocent, defend justice or order, and help others before himself? Yes. Thus, a Lawful Neutral or Neutral Good or even Neutral character could perform these actions. His heart might not be fully in it, especially the Neutral character, but he could still follow the rules of his organization and be rewarded with abilities.
Another example would be the warlock (normally must be either chaotic or evil) whose ancestors made pacts with devils for power, but who only wants for himself a peaceful life where he can help the people around him have decent lives. Is he less of a Warlock by having an outlook that helps those around him and doesn't flagrantly defy order?
The reason that everyone is saying why is that the system seems more complex than the situation. Personally, I just ignore the alignment requirements when it suits me. I played a Chaotic Good assassin who learned his skills from a reformed killer and put them to work as a vigilante hero in his hometown. Forcing alignment to matter more than it obviously should is like forcing all Rogues to be greedy jerks. Some are like me, charismatic stallions. :smallbiggrin:
As a side note though, I also banned Paladins from my game world in favor of Knights from PHB2. You can still have a holy knight without the issues Paladins always seem to cause.

Stubbazubba
2011-08-05, 01:16 PM
So when the majority of orcs want to loot and plunder, and the adventurers go and stop them, that's selfishness?

Self-preservation is apparently an exception.

Where selflessness/selfishness breaks down is when you are in a position to influence the good of others by sacrificing the good of not yourself, but other others.

For instance, the party is in charge of a small force of scouts, you've been tracking a formidable army of (evil) Orcs. Thanks to you, the king's army knows that the Orcs will be raiding a large village for supplies Wednesday night. The king's army can't get there until Thursday morning, but when they do, they'll be able to surround them and, though outnumbered, the fact that the village lies in a small valley will give the king a bit of an advantage. The village won't last the night; the Orcs will loot, plunder, pillage, and raze it to the ground, murdering a huge number of innocents, but thus weary themselves, making them weak enough to assure the king's victory. Your options are;


Use your small force to lure the Orcs away from the village, spoiling the ambush that would destroy the Orc army.
Try to save the village - won't work, you're outnumbered 200 to 1, and equipped for scouting, not resisting a full attack.
Sacrifice the villagers, and then avenge them with the full might of the king's archers raining death down upon them at dawn.

So, since the second option is just suicide, you're really left to decide; do you save the villagers, thus enabling the Orc army to continue its path of carnage, or do you sacrifice the villagers in order to end it?

Is one of those good and the other evil? Are both one or the other, or simply Neutral?

Strormer
2011-08-05, 03:06 PM
Another great example of such is in the video game Mass Effect.

There are a race of sentient robots who are about to be wiped out by their former masters' army. You can either allow the conflict and see every one of them massacred for their desire to be free or you can reprogram the entire race to be subservient again, thus stealing their free will.

I hated how that game made one option evil and one good. I would rather die than lose my free will and so my game avatar by extension feels the same way. Why should his actions be considered evil because he would grant another people the same as he would desire for himself?

Yitzi
2011-08-05, 03:56 PM
That's not the way D&D alignment works though. Acts are defined as evil or not evil by the game designers, not the relevant D&D communities.

Actually, they're defined as evil or not evil, for purposes of the game's mechanical results, by the DM.


As BoED points out- even if slavery, discrimination, and torture are widely practiced in a setting, they remain evil.

The BoED is quite over-the-top in some places (not necessarily here), and I'd never use its rules on these matters for any games I'd run.


Alignment is a broken and silly system and shouldn't mechanically have an impact on the game.

Except where magic is involved, or a class requires a certain mindset, it doesn't.


What should have an impact is that certain classes/organizations/themes require a code of conduct.

And following that code will generally mean you're a certain alignment.


Thus, a Lawful Neutral or Neutral Good or even Neutral character could perform these actions. His heart might not be fully in it, especially the Neutral character, but he could still follow the rules of his organization and be rewarded with abilities.

If he follows them that fully, I'd say that he is LG.


Another example would be the warlock (normally must be either chaotic or evil) whose ancestors made pacts with devils for power, but who only wants for himself a peaceful life where he can help the people around him have decent lives. Is he less of a Warlock by having an outlook that helps those around him and doesn't flagrantly defy order?

Well, that depends whether the pact was conditional, and on whether it created a taint that affects his mind and prevents such an outlook. If on both counts the answer is no, then by all means scrap that alignment restriction.


Personally, I just ignore the alignment requirements when it suits me.

I'd say the DM should ignore it whenever it doesn't make sense in this case. But know why it's there before removing it.


Self-preservation is apparently an exception.

And if he's not preserving himself (he wasn't in their path)?


Where selflessness/selfishness breaks down is when you are in a position to influence the good of others by sacrificing the good of not yourself, but other others.

No, it doesn't break down there. It just means that you can impose your values on others for selfless reasons.


For instance, the party is in charge of a small force of scouts, you've been tracking a formidable army of (evil) Orcs. Thanks to you, the king's army knows that the Orcs will be raiding a large village for supplies Wednesday night. The king's army can't get there until Thursday morning, but when they do, they'll be able to surround them and, though outnumbered, the fact that the village lies in a small valley will give the king a bit of an advantage. The village won't last the night; the Orcs will loot, plunder, pillage, and raze it to the ground, murdering a huge number of innocents, but thus weary themselves, making them weak enough to assure the king's victory. Your options are;


Use your small force to lure the Orcs away from the village, spoiling the ambush that would destroy the Orc army.
Try to save the village - won't work, you're outnumbered 200 to 1, and equipped for scouting, not resisting a full attack.
Sacrifice the villagers, and then avenge them with the full might of the king's archers raining death down upon them at dawn.

So, since the second option is just suicide, you're really left to decide; do you save the villagers, thus enabling the Orc army to continue its path of carnage, or do you sacrifice the villagers in order to end it?

Is one of those good and the other evil? Are both one or the other, or simply Neutral?

Both are good (non-good would be ignoring the orcs because you don't want to risk death or attacking them because you don't want to have to explain why you sacrificed the villagers).

gkathellar
2011-08-05, 04:15 PM
Another great example of such is in the video game Mass Effect.

There are a race of sentient robots who are about to be wiped out by their former masters' army. You can either allow the conflict and see every one of them massacred for their desire to be free or you can reprogram the entire race to be subservient again, thus stealing their free will.

I hated how that game made one option evil and one good. I would rather die than lose my free will and so my game avatar by extension feels the same way. Why should his actions be considered evil because he would grant another people the same as he would desire for himself?

I remember that, and I agree with a slight twist: both options should have been Renegade. Sometimes you don't get a third option. Sometimes all the choices are bad. (Besides, ME's dual alignment sliders allow for that sort of thing.)

That said, because of the way alignment works in D&D, such a choice must absolutely not represent alignment shift outside of the context of the character. Alignment is useful only insofar as it represents a character's internal state, because as soon as you start making it into an objectively judged constant, it breaks down with moral quandaries like the many that have been presented so far. Such an action may represent an evil deed for one character, and it may represent a good deed for another — it has to be contextual.

hamishspence
2011-08-06, 05:59 AM
Actually, they're defined as evil or not evil, for purposes of the game's mechanical results, by the DM.

But if the DM chooses to ignore what the rulebooks say- the DM is houseruling.

An obvious example is Rebuking Undead. Stated to be an Evil act in the PHB. A DM could choose to change this- but that would be a houserule.

Yitzi
2011-08-06, 09:57 PM
But if the DM chooses to ignore what the rulebooks say- the DM is houseruling.

If he chooses to ignore what the rulebooks say, he is houseruling. (Of course, so is this.)

If he chooses to ignore the entire rulebook, however (e.g. thinks BoED is just plain silly), that's just playing a game without taking that rulebook into account. Similarly if the material in question is in an "optional" section (e.g. prestige classes.)

137ben
2011-08-07, 10:25 AM
That sound like you're only refluffing the paladin. Why does that mean I have to refluff the barbarian, monk, assassin, etc if your group never uses them?

No, you have to re-fluff classes which have alignment restrictions (not JUST paladin), because a character who is truly one alignment would not want to follow a class which requires them to act contrary to their alignment (e.g. ANY LG character, not just a paladin, would not want to play a class which tortures babies).

Strormer
2011-08-07, 04:06 PM
No, you have to re-fluff classes which have alignment restrictions (not JUST paladin), because a character who is truly one alignment would not want to follow a class which requires them to act contrary to their alignment (e.g. ANY LG character, not just a paladin, would not want to play a class which tortures babies).

I don't always see why a re-fluff is necessary to remove an alignment restriction. Here's an example. I was playing a LN Cleric of WeeJas who used corporeal undead to fight evil and often took control of undead raised by another necromancer and put them to good use whuppin' him. He had lands in which he was the ruler, I was a Count in this game, and one of the laws of his land was that every citizen was required to serve ten years in the military in order to retain the rights of citizenship. The time served was after the individual's demise and it was commonplace to see family visiting their recently dead in the barracks. Now, I was non-evil and a necromancer, but I wanted to add in new traits that were unique to my character's build. He believed in law and order and above all the natural order of life, death, and rebirth. I then added levels of Bard to him with the Requiem feat so that his songs would work on his undead minions. He was an inspiring leader and retained his belief system. Why would learning the magical arts of the Bard taint his belief in order? My DM agreed and the LN Cleric/Bardromancer was born.
This is what I mean by code of conduct. The nature of the Bard may be inclined to wanderlust and resentment of "stuffed-shirts," but that doesn't by any means equate to a character outright being opposed to certain techniques based solely on that inclination.
Another example of this that takes less explaining would be the Grey Guard Paladin PrC. A Paladin that allows torture of evil beings in order to protect a greater good. Note the focus on that class is not an alignment restriction lessening, but an RP reason why his code of conduct is not as restrictive.

137ben
2011-08-07, 04:12 PM
Yes, I see, you have a fair point. When I said re-fluff "every. single. class. out. there.", I was responding to the OP, who claimed that if we simply removed alignment restrictions without using his system, you would have to re-fluff every. single. class. out. there. Obviously, this is an exaggeration, but even if it weren't, I was pointing out that using the OP's new alignment system wouldn't help at all. Of course, the fact that I quoted an hyperbole without using the quote tags created confusion, sorry.

hamishspence
2011-08-08, 02:44 AM
I then added levels of Bard to him with the Requiem feat so that his songs would work on his undead minions. He was an inspiring leader and retained his belief system. Why would learning the magical arts of the Bard taint his belief in order? My DM agreed and the LN Cleric/Bardromancer was born.
This is what I mean by code of conduct. The nature of the Bard may be inclined to wanderlust and resentment of "stuffed-shirts," but that doesn't by any means equate to a character outright being opposed to certain techniques based solely on that inclination.

WOTC appears to agree- creating a feat that allows one to continue advancing in the Bard class despite being Lawful- the Devoted Performer feat in Complete Adventurer.

Serpentine
2011-08-08, 07:55 AM
My preferred means of splitting it: "Actual" alignment, and "Ideal" alignment.
Actual alignment is the sum of their deeds and methods and lifestyle and so on.
Ideal alignment is the alignment they think they are, that they strive to be, that they most admire, that they most relate to, and/or that, situations being ideal, they would be.

Take a classic in alignment discussions: Robin Hood. He's a lord who is loyal to his king. He believes in justice and legitimate authority. However, when a usurper takes the throne and he is faced with gross injustice by illegitimate authority, he is forced into the life of a fugitive. He takes up a policy of thievery, deception, murder, and eventually open rebellion.
Thus, Robin Hood's Ideal Alignment is Lawful Good, but his Actual Alignment (at least while Richard's away) is Chaotic Good (or Chaotic Neutral in some legends, probably...).

Similarly, villains like that guy from Serenity, who strive for the "greater good" but lose sight of it in the depths to which they'll stoop in order to gain it. Actual Alignment Evil, Ideal Alignment Good.

Strormer
2011-08-10, 02:29 PM
My preferred means of splitting it: "Actual" alignment, and "Ideal" alignment.
Actual alignment is the sum of their deeds and methods and lifestyle and so on.
Ideal alignment is the alignment they think they are, that they strive to be, that they most admire, that they most relate to, and/or that, situations being ideal, they would be.

Take a classic in alignment discussions: Robin Hood. He's a lord who is loyal to his king. He believes in justice and legitimate authority. However, when a usurper takes the throne and he is faced with gross injustice by illegitimate authority, he is forced into the life of a fugitive. He takes up a policy of thievery, deception, murder, and eventually open rebellion.
Thus, Robin Hood's Ideal Alignment is Lawful Good, but his Actual Alignment (at least while Richard's away) is Chaotic Good (or Chaotic Neutral in some legends, probably...).

Similarly, villains like that guy from Serenity, who strive for the "greater good" but lose sight of it in the depths to which they'll stoop in order to gain it. Actual Alignment Evil, Ideal Alignment Good.

Yes, and to me this is the innate problem with a mechanical system designed to describe an outlook on life. The motovations, ideals, understanding, and nature of human decision-making are far to complex to sum up in simple terms. That's why I tend to eliminate alignment based prereq's and effects in favor of rp ones, but then I also favor rp heavy games.