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  1. - Top - End - #121
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowere View Post
    But, I think the purpose of alignment is for those people who want to play without much involvment. Some of us like to face a campaign with serious moral questions and quandaries. Others are just in there to bash stuff, and having a spell that tells you which targets are acceptable saves a lot of hassle.
    Yeah, where alignment shines, and the entire reason it's called Alignment, is when it's a designator of sides. Good guys vs bad guys. PCs vs Monster. Us vs Them.

    Not a garuntee, just as a easy line for people that don't really care about moral qualms, but want clearly identified enemies as a general rule. Exceptions can occur, and they often mean something interesting going on with the campaign.

    Where the line is for those kinds of games will be drawn in different places. The most common ones I see or run for PCs vs non-PCs are either not-evil vs any-evil, or not-NE/CE vs Villains (super extra any-evil). Again, as a general rule.

    Edit: that's why a common replacement for Alignment is something not to do with morality at all. Factions for example.
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2018-01-13 at 05:48 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #122
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Yeah, where alignment shines, and the entire reason it's called Alignment, is when it's a designator of sides. Good guys vs bad guys. PCs vs Monster. Us vs Them.

    Not a garuntee, just as a easy line for people that don't really care about moral qualms, but want clearly identified enemies as a general rule. Exceptions can occur, and they often mean something interesting going on with the campaign.

    Where the line is for those kinds of games will be drawn in different places. The most common ones I see or run for PCs vs non-PCs are either not-evil vs any-evil, or not-NE/CE vs Villains (super extra any-evil). Again, as a general rule.

    Edit: that's why a common replacement for Alignment is something not to do with morality at all. Factions for example.
    One of my favorite lines from the Belgariad by David Eddings is when the ancient sorcerer Belgarath is talking about having simple lines of demarcation drawn. Another character asks him "Like Good and Evil?". Belgarath winces and says "I prefer 'Us and Them', it cuts through a lot of unnecessary baggage".

    I'm a fan because-even though I am a proponent of alignment-I like occasionally seeing common tropes turned on their ear. I developed a story with a legitimate Lawful Good antagonist. I like how Eberron frequently has situations where Evil-aligned NPCs are better allies to heroic PCs than some of the Good-aligned NPCs (the rulers of Karrnath and Aundair, respectively, come to mind, or even that LE Cardinal of the Silver Flame).

    This namely, because my attitude towards alignment is that it is, above all NOT an absolute barometer of action or affiliation.
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  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    One of my favorite lines from the Belgariad by David Eddings is when the ancient sorcerer Belgarath is talking about having simple lines of demarcation drawn. Another character asks him "Like Good and Evil?". Belgarath winces and says "I prefer 'Us and Them', it cuts through a lot of unnecessary baggage".
    Whenever you see me posting about Alignment Teams, I always include Us vs Them, and it's from that specific quote.

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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Whenever you see me posting about Alignment Teams, I always include Us vs Them, and it's from that specific quote.
    NICE!

    I love that series, and have probably read it 13 or more times in my lifetime. Also Elenium/Tamuli.
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    RedMage Prestige Class!

    Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night. SET a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

    Best advice I've ever heard one DM give another:
    "Remember that it is both a game and a story. If the two conflict, err on the side of cool, your players will thank you for it."

    Second Eternal Foe of the Draconic Lord, battling him across the multiverse in whatever shapes and forms he may take.

  5. - Top - End - #125
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Yeah, where alignment shines, and the entire reason it's called Alignment, is when it's a designator of sides. Good guys vs bad guys. PCs vs Monster. Us vs Them.
    What it means is that all moral an philosophical questions have been asked and answered. Hegel, Fukuyama and others coined the term of "end of history", meaning debate is over and the results stand.

  6. - Top - End - #126
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Florian View Post
    What it means is that all moral an philosophical questions have been asked and answered. Hegel, Fukuyama and others coined the term of "end of history", meaning debate is over and the results stand.
    What it means is what YOU want it to mean. Nothing more, nothing less. This is, after all, a big sandbox open world.
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  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowere View Post
    What it means is what YOU want it to mean. Nothing more, nothing less. This is, after all, a big sandbox open world.
    No, it i not. Itīs a game and one that you can play as an "sandbox" if you want to, but that's not a given.

  8. - Top - End - #128
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    If ones does not care about moral qualms or quandaries, and is just worried about sides, about Us vs Them, then using moral terms for the sides is needlessly obfuscating and confusing. Alignment, specifically the Good vs Evil sort under discussion, is in that case both unneeded and potentially counterproductive.

    If one DOES care about moral qualms and quandaries, then a grossly oversimplified "moral" system that gives platitudes in response to easy questions and nonsense answers to the hard questions, and that also has no connection to anything outside that one game system, is going to serve very poorly. Alignment, specifically the Good vs Evil sort under discussions, is in that case going to be useless.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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  9. - Top - End - #129
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Not how free will actually works.

    If a species has free will, then it has the ability to go against its nature. Like, every day I go out and don't straight-up headbutt every idiot I see, I'm exercising my free will and rebelling against every instinct in my body demanding that the weak, foolish masses be taught their rightful place in the world, namely at my heel. That's what free will looks like.

    If a species is "always Evil," and not in the "always means, like, 90%" sense, but properly always and universally Evil, then it cannot go against that nature. Its instincts are to engage in acts of Evil, whatever they may be, and it will not go against those instincts. That isn't free will.

    In aligned Outsiders or similar embodiments of alignment, that's understandable. A Slaad, or Archon, or Devil, is made up of cosmic alignment-stuff, so of course it will never rebel against those instincts. But what about mortal races? If a mortal race is described as "always Evil," that means that babies, when they are born and before they are capable of causing any harm other than stains, are Evil. This is an absurd result.

    If a creature has free will, it can choose its actions, its mindset, and its ultimate resultant alignment. To arbitrarily assign alignment based upon circumstances of birth is, at best, completely irrational. (Again, setting aside Outsiders.)
    Neuroscience has done research on free will which can be used to argue that free will is just an illusion

    It was pointed out that free will doesn't mean the same thing to everyone and how some study defines free will may be different then how how you define it

    Given how little we know about how the mind works how can anyone say if free will really exists or how it works

  10. - Top - End - #130
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    If ones does not care about moral qualms or quandaries, and is just worried about sides, about Us vs Them, then using moral terms for the sides is needlessly obfuscating and confusing. Alignment, specifically the Good vs Evil sort under discussion, is in that case both unneeded and potentially counterproductive.

    If one DOES care about moral qualms and quandaries, then a grossly oversimplified "moral" system that gives platitudes in response to easy questions and nonsense answers to the hard questions, and that also has no connection to anything outside that one game system, is going to serve very poorly. Alignment, specifically the Good vs Evil sort under discussions, is in that case going to be useless.
    You'd think so, right? But in this, it's just matching real life.
    We must be the Good guys, supporting civilization, order, and all that is right.
    They must be the bad guys, sowing chaos, destruction, and all that is wrong.

    You may look down on this, but plenty of players want exactly that. They want to know they're killing the Bad guys, be they swindling devious Devils (or lawyers), highly organized tyrants with regimented warriors (or Hobgoblins), or rampaging destructive Hordes of berserk barbarians (or Orcs). They want clean, obvious moral lines to their "Us vs Them".
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2018-01-14 at 11:15 AM. Reason: Fix quote tags

  11. - Top - End - #131
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    If your story involves clear-cut moral lines in which the good and bad side is obvious, then the alignment system is entirely redundant. We don't need a big, red "EVIL" label to know Voldemort and his pals are the worst in Harry Potter, do we? Of course... people who oppose him aren't exactly squeaky clean, either. But they're still fundamentally good.

    Therefore, if you use alignment to tell the stories it's supposedly made to tell, you don't actually need it. People have told stories with clear, simple morality for as long as they've told stories at all, without it. But as soon as you introduce any serious moral ambiguity, alignment does nothing but get in the way.
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  12. - Top - End - #132
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    You don't need Alignment to tell stories, if it's about sides.

    You use it to glance at a monster stat block, and know which side it's usually on.

    If you're using it for very broad typical behaviors (5e), you use it to glance at a monster stat block, and know something about how it typically behaves.

    Edit: "you" in this case means "the DM". Since you were talking about telling stories.
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2018-01-14 at 12:58 PM.

  13. - Top - End - #133
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    I don't think it's necessarily unrealistic for an inyelligent species to be predisposed to evil, but there are factors that place limits on how strong that predisposition can plausibly be before the species wipes itself out. In particular mortality, chaotic alignment, civilization, and intraspecific fighting place limits on how much evil is plausible. A species that spends most of it's time killing each other isn't going to be able to develop much of a civilization unless they're lawful enough that that killing takes the form of relatively organized warfare rather than random murders. And mortal beings like humanoids and monstrous humanoids more or less necessarily need some of the population to be focused on providing food, shelter, etc rather than warfare

  14. - Top - End - #134
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by jk7275 View Post
    Neuroscience has done research on free will which can be used to argue that free will is just an illusion

    It was pointed out that free will doesn't mean the same thing to everyone and how some study defines free will may be different then how how you define it.
    Precisely. That study is bunk because the concept of "free will" is too vague and nebulous to ever be seriously studied. You can't prove or disprove weasel words (and especially not philosophical/religious weasel words) because that would require them to have a defined and coherent meaning.

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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    If ones does not care about moral qualms or quandaries, and is just worried about sides, about Us vs Them, then using moral terms for the sides is needlessly obfuscating and confusing. Alignment, specifically the Good vs Evil sort under discussion, is in that case both unneeded and potentially counterproductive...

    While I suppose it waa inevitably when Greyhawk added Paladins that were "continual seeking for good" but I think that adding "Good" and "Evil" to "Alignment" was a mistake, and it was better the way the predecessor of D&D, Chainmail had it as:

    "GENERAL LINE-UP:
    It is impossible to draw a distanct line between "good" and "evil" fantastic
    figures. Three categories are listed below as a general guide for the wargamer
    designing orders of battle involving fantastic creatures:

    LAW
    Hobbits
    Dwarves
    Gnomes
    Heroes
    Super Heroes
    Wizards*
    Ents
    Magic Weapons

    NEUTRAL
    Sprites
    Pixies
    Elves
    Fairies
    Lycanthropes *
    Giants*
    Rocs
    (Elementals)
    Chimerea


    CHAOS
    Goblins
    Kobolds
    Orcs
    Anti-heroes
    Wizards *
    Wraiths
    Wights
    Lycanthropes*
    Ogres
    True Trolls
    Balrogs
    Giants *
    Dragons
    Basilisks

    * Indicates the figure appears in two lists.
    Underlined Neutral figures have a slight pre-disposition for LAW. Neutral
    figures can be diced for to determine on which side they will fight, with ties
    meaning they remain neutral."




    Clear that it's sides in a wargame, not an ethics debate.
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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by D+1 View Post
    It does have a very useful purpose. Not everybody needs it for that purpose, but in my personal experience it's the players who want to completely eliminate it who are most likely to have their PC's act like complete random, disruptive-to-the-game, nutburgers. More than anything else, that is what alignment is intended to keep under control.
    Quote Originally Posted by Enixon View Post
    Oh thank god I'm not the only one

    I swear, in my experience, every time someone says we should get rid of alignment it's something along the lines of "What do you MEAN my Lawful Good fighter is now Evil?! Just because I burnt down the orphanage, sold half the kids into slavery and slowly tortured to death the other?! Alignment is STUPID!"

    I know it's an unfair bias but after all this I just can not take alignment complaints seriously, it always seems to be people wanting their characters to be horrible people who do horrible things for horrible reasons, but balk at the idea that they aren't a shining paragon of virtue as they dump enough Black Lotus Extract to put the Tarrasque into a coma into the villiage well because a crotchety farmer was rude to them.

    You do realize that there is only one game system that uses alignment? Most other games do not track player character morality in any way or shape. But of course other games are just bloodbaths where player characters behave like maniacs on a murderrampage because there is no alignment to keep them in check. It's like when I removed the Elements of Harmony from the My little ponny: Tails of Equestria game I was running for my kids. My adorable, well behaved children turned into bloody savages that destroyed all cute and furry little animals in their path. The shock and horror on my face when my 7 year old daughter was like "Hey, let's kill the **** out of Thumper and skin him...or better yet let's skin him first and kill him after" when they had an encounter with a little rabbit.

    If I play a game of D&D and decide to do something evil when playing a Good character then that is not going to stop me if I'm making a decicion based on the character I'm playing. If the DM would try to enforce my alignment then I'd leave the game. Simply because the DM control's everything but my character and if he wants to control my character as well then there is little or no reason for me to play.
    Optimizing vs Roleplay
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    Roleplaying vs Fun
    If roleplaying is no fun then stop doing it. Unless of course you are roleplaying at gunpoint then you should roleplay like your life depended on it.

  17. - Top - End - #137
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    You do realize that there is only one game system that uses alignment?
    Palladium also has Alignments. Each one also comes with a bullet point list of things a character of that alignment probably would or wouldn't do. For that system, it falls into one of the more well done parts of the rules system.

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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Palladium also has Alignments. Each one also comes with a bullet point list of things a character of that alignment probably would or wouldn't do. For that system, it falls into one of the more well done parts of the rules system.
    I stand corrected, the only Palladium book I had was on Arms & Armor. This was pre internet and it had lots of pictures of different weapons and armor which was the reason I bought it
    Optimizing vs Roleplay
    If the worlds greatest optimizer makes a character and hands it to the worlds greatest roleplayer who roleplays the character. What will happen? Will the Universe implode?

    Roleplaying vs Fun
    If roleplaying is no fun then stop doing it. Unless of course you are roleplaying at gunpoint then you should roleplay like your life depended on it.

  19. - Top - End - #139
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    If ones does not care about moral qualms or quandaries, and is just worried about sides, about Us vs Them, then using moral terms for the sides is needlessly obfuscating and confusing. Alignment, specifically the Good vs Evil sort under discussion, is in that case both unneeded and potentially counterproductive.
    Agreed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    If one DOES care about moral qualms and quandaries, then a grossly oversimplified "moral" system that gives platitudes in response to easy questions and nonsense answers to the hard questions, and that also has no connection to anything outside that one game system, is going to serve very poorly. Alignment, specifically the Good vs Evil sort under discussions, is in that case going to be useless.
    That's a ridiculous claim. You're inputting your own bias here with language like "platitudes" and "nonsense answers", dismissing the basics of the system without serious examination, and then your conclusion, "alignment will still be useless", is thus entirely tautological, because the "uselessness" of alignment is predicated only on your hand-waived dismissal of the merit of the system.

    The only "oversimplification" in the alignment system is as it applies to a given alignment of a specific creature. And even that doesn't preclude more nuanced personality or moral/ethical mores or quandaries. it means only that each individual is ultimately judged by an ENTIRELY objective and dispassionate judge that does not waiver (the cosmic forces of Good/Evil/Law/Chaos). In the default D&D world, even the gods are beholden to these forces, and since the forces are completely objective and dispassionate, they are not swayed by any kind of excuses or moral vacillating. A given character may have justification for the horrible things he does. He may, in fact, be doing it for the greater good of a community or a population. His people may love him and think him a hero. But his actions will always be judged by an objective measure.

    It is important to understand this: Alignment is [u]not[/I] an absolute barometer of action or affiliation.

    Just because someone's alignment is "evil" doesn't mean that he's "Them", and just because someone's alignment is "neutral" or "good" doesn't mean he's "Us". And despite all your snide dismissal of alignment as only serving to be exactly that, the RAW disagree with you, and you are wrong.

    I'm not trying to say "you have to like alignment" or "you have to use alignment". I don't care about changing people's opinions. But when you make fallacious claims about what is and is not fact, I must object.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    If your story involves clear-cut moral lines in which the good and bad side is obvious, then the alignment system is entirely redundant. We don't need a big, red "EVIL" label to know Voldemort and his pals are the worst in Harry Potter, do we? Of course... people who oppose him aren't exactly squeaky clean, either. But they're still fundamentally good.

    Therefore, if you use alignment to tell the stories it's supposedly made to tell, you don't actually need it. People have told stories with clear, simple morality for as long as they've told stories at all, without it. But as soon as you introduce any serious moral ambiguity, alignment does nothing but get in the way.
    See what I said to Max_Killjoy, above. Moral ambiguity can absolutely exist in a game that uses alignment. Just because an absolute moral standard exists on a cosmic/universal level, doesn't mean that all living creatures in that reality are aware of said absolute lines, or that they only adhere rigidly to the textbook examples of the alignment that they are judged to be. Nothing about alignment precludes serious moral ambiguity in a game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    I don't think it's necessarily unrealistic for an inyelligent species to be predisposed to evil, but there are factors that place limits on how strong that predisposition can plausibly be before the species wipes itself out. In particular mortality, chaotic alignment, civilization, and intraspecific fighting place limits on how much evil is plausible. A species that spends most of it's time killing each other isn't going to be able to develop much of a civilization unless they're lawful enough that that killing takes the form of relatively organized warfare rather than random murders. And mortal beings like humanoids and monstrous humanoids more or less necessarily need some of the population to be focused on providing food, shelter, etc rather than warfare
    That kind of view only stands up if you believe Evil beings are incapable of cooperation, connection to others, and so on. "Evil" in alignment does not mean "textbook sociopath", neither does "chaotic". Orcs, for example, don't "spends most of their time killing each other". Fights for leadership may get lethal, but orcs also fall in line behind a chieftain who leads them into glorious battle.

    Even evil characters have families, or loved ones, and can care about them. Even "inherently evil" races need food. Of course, an orc whose been relegated to farming duty might do so while grumbling "I'd rather be pillaging", but they can still do it.

    I recommend the 5e Volo's Guide, if you haven't read it yet. Great examination of some evil humanoids' cultures.
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    RedMage Prestige Class!

    Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night. SET a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

    Best advice I've ever heard one DM give another:
    "Remember that it is both a game and a story. If the two conflict, err on the side of cool, your players will thank you for it."

    Second Eternal Foe of the Draconic Lord, battling him across the multiverse in whatever shapes and forms he may take.

  20. - Top - End - #140
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    That kind of view only stands up if you believe Evil beings are incapable of cooperation, connection to others, and so on. "Evil" in alignment does not mean "textbook sociopath", neither does "chaotic". Orcs, for example, don't "spends most of their time killing each other". Fights for leadership may get lethal, but orcs also fall in line behind a chieftain who leads them into glorious battle.

    Even evil characters have families, or loved ones, and can care about them. Even "inherently evil" races need food. Of course, an orc whose been relegated to farming duty might do so while grumbling "I'd rather be pillaging", but they can still do it.
    I'm saying the same thing you are. Orcs and Goblins and stuff can't realistically be more evil on average than street gangs or mobsters or pirates

    Only the fiends - who have no need to eat or drink and who come into being already knowing at least the basics of what they need to know - can afford to be all evil all the time. And even then it's questionable whether this can be achieved on a longterm basis (in the words of GWAR "They say that war is all we know; if only that were true. No matter how I work my schedule there are always other things that I do")

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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    I'm saying the same thing you are. Orcs and Goblins and stuff can't realistically be more evil on average than street gangs or mobsters or pirates

    Only the fiends - who have no need to eat or drink and who come into being already knowing at least the basics of what they need to know - can afford to be all evil all the time. And even then it's questionable whether this can be achieved on a longterm basis (in the words of GWAR "They say that war is all we know; if only that were true. No matter how I work my schedule there are always other things that I do")
    I'm not saying that, though. I'm saying the truth is between those examples you were setting. Orcs and Goblins ARE more evil on average than street gangs, mobsters, or pirates. BUt just because they are that evil does not mean that they're "chaotic stupid" and killing each other all the time. Even beings that are inherently that evil can still cooperate, and perform basic sustenance tasks like growing food, building homes, and so on,
    Where do you fit in? (link fixed)

    RedMage Prestige Class!

    Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night. SET a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

    Best advice I've ever heard one DM give another:
    "Remember that it is both a game and a story. If the two conflict, err on the side of cool, your players will thank you for it."

    Second Eternal Foe of the Draconic Lord, battling him across the multiverse in whatever shapes and forms he may take.

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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    That kind of view only stands up if you believe Evil beings are incapable of cooperation, connection to others, and so on. "Evil" in alignment does not mean "textbook sociopath", neither does "chaotic". Orcs, for example, don't "spends most of their time killing each other". Fights for leadership may get lethal, but orcs also fall in line behind a chieftain who leads them into glorious battle.

    Even evil characters have families, or loved ones, and can care about them. Even "inherently evil" races need food. Of course, an orc whose been relegated to farming duty might do so while grumbling "I'd rather be pillaging", but they can still do it.

    I recommend the 5e Volo's Guide, if you haven't read it yet. Great examination of some evil humanoids' cultures.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Whenever you see me posting about Alignment Teams, I always include Us vs Them, and it's from that specific quote.
    Using morality as team designation was an utterly stupid move.

    It might make some sense for the good guys to band together to make the world a better place. It really doesn't make any sense for the evil guys to make the world a worse place. Sure, evil people can work together/have friends and so on. But would some evil guy choose some sociopath over someone helpfull as friend ? Do any evil guys want to be on the receiving end of the evil other people might inflict ? No.
    If evil people could choose a team, they would nearly always choose the team of the good guys which would be the team that protects their interest and freedom.
    Last edited by Satinavian; 2018-01-15 at 04:48 AM.

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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Using morality as team designation was an utterly stupid move.

    It might make some sense for the good guys to band together to make the world a better place. It really doesn't make any sense for the evil guys to make the world a worse place. Sure, evil people can work together/have friends and so on. But would some evil guy choose some sociopath over someone helpfull as friend ? Do any evil guys want to be on the receiving end of the evil other people might inflict ? No.
    If evil people could choose a team, they would nearly always choose the team of the good guys which would be the team that protects their interest and freedom.
    Nah, that's the kind of strange thought construct that always seems to be based on simulation (and also leads to the annoying discussions the like of "is doing x or y evil?).

    I brought up "end of history" a bit upthread to try to explain that the alignment system is a meta game construct that tries to help inform how to play D&D the game. Saying something like "only Good characters" or "No Chaotic characters" is a concrete information about style, content and expected roles to be played. In a sense it also includes avoiding morality-based discussions by declaring them unwanted, which is part of the "team designation", ie declaring "reality has spoken, slaughtering orcs for loot is kosher".

    So, basically, itīs what we know would term "social contract" with a direct mechanical side attached.

    Contrast it with more concrete morality system, like Pendragon or L5R.

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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Using morality as team designation was an utterly stupid move.

    It might make some sense for the good guys to band together to make the world a better place. It really doesn't make any sense for the evil guys to make the world a worse place. Sure, evil people can work together/have friends and so on. But would some evil guy choose some sociopath over someone helpfull as friend ? Do any evil guys want to be on the receiving end of the evil other people might inflict ? No.
    If evil people could choose a team, they would nearly always choose the team of the good guys which would be the team that protects their interest and freedom.
    You seem a bit confused. The quote of mine that you posted was directly pointed at the guy who seemed to imply that "inherently evil" races are going to be predisposed towards eventual self-destruction, and my post was pointing out that such is not the case.

    Tanarii's point was not that "morality is used as a team designation", but rather that he prefers "team designation" instead of any kind of moral postulating. He's advocating in favor of something I posit a lot, but goes about it in a different way that I do. I always emphasize that alignment is NOT an absolute barometer of action or affiliation. Tanarii is saying that SINCE it isn't useful as such a barometer, that it's better to do away with it, and only deal with "us vs them", which gets you down to brass tacks faster. I like the nuances of Good and Evil and such, ESPECIALLY when the normal tropes of "Good=Us and Evil=Them" are subverted.
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    From a gamemastering perspective, I think that Alignment is actually not that helpful, because it is too much of a shorthand. For an RPG, as in any other medium, the concept of "show, don't tell" is quite important. So, if you want to present someone or something as a worthy opponent - or at least least as someone your players can love to hate - it is usually not sufficient to declare that he is evil because he is evil or something similarly tautological. You need to present your players with something more graspable than that something concrete - and if you include something like that the description of the alignment becomes so overshadowed that it is bascially superfluous.

    From a player's perspective, I think that the assumption that your character might be a hero of sorts is usually the best one to take. After all, the concept of an RPG already implies that the PCs are the protagonists of their own and somewhat significant story and those stories usually become more enthralling if the protagonists are at least somewhat sympathetic. So, there is nothing wrong with a reluctant, ill-favoured or foul-mouthed hero, but outward cowards or villains are no fun to play. It is also, and that is even more important, it is not much fun to play with such a character. That is important for a social activity like an RPG you never play alone and you are at least partially responsible for the enjoyment of your fellow players, as they are for yours. And, generally speaking, nobody likes to play with an ********.
    So, from the perspective of a player character design, I also see not much reason for the inclusion of alignment.
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    That's a ridiculous claim. You're inputting your own bias here with language like "platitudes" and "nonsense answers", dismissing the basics of the system without serious examination, and then your conclusion, "alignment will still be useless", is thus entirely tautological, because the "uselessness" of alignment is predicated only on your hand-waived dismissal of the merit of the system.

    The only "oversimplification" in the alignment system is as it applies to a given alignment of a specific creature. And even that doesn't preclude more nuanced personality or moral/ethical mores or quandaries. it means only that each individual is ultimately judged by an ENTIRELY objective and dispassionate judge that does not waiver (the cosmic forces of Good/Evil/Law/Chaos). In the default D&D world, even the gods are beholden to these forces, and since the forces are completely objective and dispassionate, they are not swayed by any kind of excuses or moral vacillating. A given character may have justification for the horrible things he does. He may, in fact, be doing it for the greater good of a community or a population. His people may love him and think him a hero. But his actions will always be judged by an objective measure.

    It is important to understand this: Alignment is [u]not[/I] an absolute barometer of action or affiliation.

    Just because someone's alignment is "evil" doesn't mean that he's "Them", and just because someone's alignment is "neutral" or "good" doesn't mean he's "Us". And despite all your snide dismissal of alignment as only serving to be exactly that, the RAW disagree with you, and you are wrong.

    I'm not trying to say "you have to like alignment" or "you have to use alignment". I don't care about changing people's opinions. But when you make fallacious claims about what is and is not fact, I must object.
    Reread some of those posts. It's not both "us vs them" and "useless moral system" at the same time -- it's that it's a terrible Us vs Them OR a terrible Moral System. That there is also a conflation of the two that reflects a rather toxic real-world "us good vs them evil" mentality that's all too common is just icing on the cake.

    "Us vs Them" is exactly how many players treat Alignment -- as permission to freely kill and steal from anything in the wrong / enemy jersey.

    On the other hand...

    The "objective morality" that both the detractors and defenders of Alignment alike describe... is sick, an absurdist horror show where supposed morality is defined simplistically by the actions one takes; where standing by and doing nothing is often more "morally safe" than taking action; where someone can be forced into "doing evil" in taking the least-bad option, when contrivance or circumstance arrange for nothing but bad choices. And it does in fact preclude any sort of moral quandaries or nuance, by establishing a checklist of "evil actions" and setting in stone that committing any of those actions is "evil", no matter what the circumstances are, no matter what the intent or motivation was, no matter what.

    Unless of course you're killing anything wearing the Team Evil jersey, evidently? What does the Alignment system say about raiding a village of orcs and killing all the adults, or all of them to the last? After all, it's an objective system with ultimate unquestionable answers, it should have an answer for this one, right?
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2018-01-15 at 07:51 AM.
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    What does the Alignment system say about raiding a village of orcs and killing all the adults, or all of them to the last? After all, it's an objective system with ultimate unquestionable answers, it should have an answer for this one, right?


    BoED stresses that just because a village of orcs is evil, does not mean it's "OK" to attack it - not if the orcs have been "doing no harm" - and that doing so may be Evil.

    Using the "to be evil you have to be harming others in some way" interpretation, it may be more "doing no external harm" - an introverted evil culture rather than an aggressive expanding one.

    It also stresses that killing noncombatants in battle - like children and, in patriarchal cultures like orcs, women, is also evil.

    So - you've got a couple of answers from one alignment splatbook, that emphasise the need for justification beyond "these people have, on average, an Evil alignment" - and the concept of "evil but noncombatant".



    That's one of the reasons I'm fairly forgiving of the flaws in the book- because it doesn't take a "If your target is evil, almost anything you do to them is OK" attitude.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2018-01-15 at 07:58 AM.
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Using morality as team designation was an utterly stupid move.
    Well, there goes half of fantasy or sci-if writing, dismissed for using a trope that "utterly stupid".

    Seriously, this was, and still is, a major trope. Team Evil vs Team Good. And in some of the books the designers of the game were heavily into, plus many others, the alternative take of Team Law vs Team Chaos.

    It's neither something new nor utterly stupid that they'd use it for the brand new chain mail Wargame, in which knowing which side you're going to play makes building armies have some 'sense' to them. Just as in the Star Wars Armada war game you're going to make an army out Rebels or Empire. So .. Law vs Chaos.

    This carried over to single character control, and good vs evil needed to be introduced because of course it did. Many, many, MANY stories are always about Team Good vs Team Evil, heroes vs villains. Unless they subvert that trope. So it's hardly surprising that they'd suck that into the game along with all the other stuff the DMs and Players who were inventing the game pulled in from stories.

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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post

    Well, there goes half of fantasy or sci-if writing, dismissed for using a trope that "utterly stupid".


    Seriously, this was, and still is, a major trope. Team Evil vs Team Good. And in some of the books the designers of the game were heavily into, plus many others, the alternative take of Team Law vs Team Chaos.

    It's neither something new nor utterly stupid that they'd use it for the brand new chain mail Wargame, in which knowing which side you're going to play makes building armies have some 'sense' to them. Just as in the Star Wars Armada war game you're going to make an army out Rebels or Empire. So .. Law vs Chaos.

    This carried over to single character control, and good vs evil needed to be introduced because of course it did. Many, many, MANY stories are always about Team Good vs Team Evil, heroes vs villains. Unless they subvert that trope. So it's hardly surprising that they'd suck that into the game along with all the other stuff the DMs and Players who were inventing the game pulled in from stories.
    You say it sarcastically, I say it seriously.

    "Team Good" vs "Team Evil" is the worst sort of cartoonish simplification... a manifestation of base tribalism, leading to cul-de-sacs such as "well we're the good guys so anything we do is good, they're the bad guys so anything they do is bad". Or the "light side vs dark side" crap, where evidently there's a physical manifestation of "going evil" and a person flips from good-but-conflicted to outright child-slaughtering caricature because their eyes changed color.
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    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    If your argument is Star Wars is a bad because Light Side vs Dark Side, it automatically fails.

    This is one element that works well both in stories, and in setting up conflicts for players in roleplaying games. People eat it up. You may not enjoy it, personally. But large numbers of people do, and it makes sense to them as Trope.

    So no, it's not stupid. Unless you think people in general are stupid? And if you do ... I'm sorry.

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