Page 2 of 9 FirstFirst 123456789 LastLast
Results 31 to 60 of 261
  1. - Top - End - #31
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Man on Fire's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by FabulousFizban View Post
    alignment is, without a doubt, the dumbest mechanic in the game. it does nothing except generate arguments and make someone exclaim, "you're character wouldn't do that, it's against your alignment!"

    biitch don't tell me what my character would do - in this open ended sandbox game where the limit is supposed to be my imagination.

    alignment serves no useful purpose. i say junk the whole mechanic for the trash it is and let players determine who their character is and how and why they act on their own terms.

    who is this person that is saying, "yeah, alignment, that's why i game! d&d wouldnt be d&d without alignment." really?

    and if a character has a moment of divinely (player) driven insanity, who cares? people go crazy in real life too - sometimes without warning.

    and if becomes a game disrupting problem; if the gods (players) prove too mercurial in their temperments, then
    zeus (the dm) needs to make olympus fall in line (rocks fall).
    The aligment is a good tool to use to avoid what is a way too common problem I've seen - players forgetting their characters personalities and letting them slowly fall into playing themselves. It sets concrete but open to intepretation limits where character fails in a cosmic conflict of good, evil, order and chaos and serves as fundamentals to build your character on, nothing more.

    Also, stop being mad the DM doesn't let you play lol!random backstabber/kender and try a character with a different personality. And stop treating the game as your open sandbox, the DM probably has a plot they try to run and you keep doing everything to throw a wrench and ruin other's fun.

  2. - Top - End - #32
    Orc in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Alignment is a character trait. I'm opposed to the idea of removing alignment, but I do think it should go with the other personality traits rather than at the top of the sheet.

    If your character is infrequently acting against their alignment, that's okay, so long as there's some reason for that: alignment and another personality trait (ideal, bond, and flaw immediately coming to mind) conflict, and alignment loses.

    If your character is frequently acting against their alignment, then they have the wrong alignment.
    If I don't say that I'm shouting, please don't feel like I'm shouting at you.

  3. - Top - End - #33
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    The biggest problem with D&D alignment hasn't even been mentioned yet.

    It is inconsistent with every real-world morality, ethics, or philosophy ever created.

    There is no nine-way division of human actions as described in D&D. It's just not how people behave.

    People aren't "good" until they perform enough immoral or amoral actions to flip the switch to "neutral".

    The original D&D was unambiguously trying to simulate fantasy literature. So a morality system was put in the simulation because the challenge of good vs. evil is a crucial aspect of many fantasies. The extremes were called "Law" and "Chaos" from Moorcock and Dunsany because it sounded cool, but they were clearly intended to represent good and evil. High level clerics were Patriarchs if Lawful and Evil High Priests if Chaotic, etc.

    Eventually, enough people noticed the discrepancy that they had to fix it. They could:
    1. change the words to "Good" and "Evil",
    2. make the rules clear by explaining the gaming jargon, or
    3. try to hide the mistake by inventing an unrealistic and overly complicated game mechanic.

    For Gygax, this was always an easy choice

    Oh I found this out when I started reading about moral philosophy. I thought "why isn't the alignment system the next big thing within ethics or moral philosphy?" And I got the explanation that the alignment system was rubbish. Go to 10 different DMs and you might get 10 different definition of lawful good, no wonder we have so many fallen Paladins.

    Some people say that alignment is a good guidelines for new players to help them roleplay but the only thing I have found out is the new players I have NOT introduced to the alignment system seem to argue less among themselves, get along better, are better at teamwork and seem to come up with valid excuses when their characters do something stupid instead just saying that their character is evil or chaotic stupid.
    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.

  4. - Top - End - #34
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Tanarii's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2015

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Some people say that alignment is a good guidelines for new players to help them roleplay but the only thing I have found out is the new players I have NOT introduced to the alignment system seem to argue less among themselves, get along better, are better at teamwork and seem to come up with valid excuses when their characters do something stupid instead just saying that their character is evil or chaotic stupid.
    How do you tell them it works?

    For 5e, I tell them, roughly:
    - it is a motivation (think actors).
    - it's descibes general, but not required or consistent, behavior. Not specific actions.
    - It's used in conjunction with the other 4 motivating other motivations. They work together or can come into conflict, either is fine.
    - use your motivations when thinking about what your character wants to do, if you feel they are applicable.

    Also, rule of my house:
    - please don't play characters that consistently and regularly behave in line with any of the evil alignment's behavior descriptions, in my judgement. If you do I'll tell you to knock it off.

    That all seems to work out pretty well at getting new players into character a little bit more.

    That said, many players, both new and veteran, absolutely suck as playing characters as anything other that avatars of their own personality. Which is fine. If players want to play themself with special abilities and funny voices and a tragically dark or chosen one backhistory more power to them. Nobody ever said roleplaying required in-depth method acting, even if it's my personal preference. Or if they said it, they'd be wrong.

  5. - Top - End - #35
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    How do you tell them it works?
    Doesn't matter what I tell them they can read by themselves.

    They can see that 3 of 9 options allow them to behave like a jerk, 1 of 9 options allows them to behave like an idiot and 1 of 9 allows them to ram a stick up their ass.
    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.

  6. - Top - End - #36
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Tanarii's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2015

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Doesn't matter what I tell them they can read by themselves.

    They can see that 3 of 9 options allow them to behave like a jerk, 1 of 9 options allows them to behave like an idiot and 1 of 9 allows them to ram a stick up their ass.
    If that's the conclusion they came to, then clearly they read some old edition version of Alignment, or they can't read.

    Edit: actually, I take that back. 'Behave like a jerk' is a pretty good summary of the acceptably watered down version of "Evil" allowed for PCs by most DMs in pretty much any RPG ever. Even if they don't officially have Alignments.
    Last edited by Tanarii; 2018-01-09 at 12:57 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #37
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Marlinspike

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    Doesn't matter what I tell them they can read by themselves.

    They can see that 3 of 9 options allow them to behave like a jerk, 1 of 9 options allows them to behave like an idiot and 1 of 9 allows them to ram a stick up their ass.
    Now I'm curious as to which alignments align to those descriptions. Would LN be the stick?

  8. - Top - End - #38
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    Now I'm curious as to which alignments align to those descriptions. Would LN be the stick?
    The evil alignments are the jerk alignments.......explained with "But I'm evil" and pointing at the evil alignment on the character sheet, usully in a jerk move when betraying the party. This is Darth Ultrons jerk player in action.

    I have never seen as many stupid things done in the name of chaotic neutral

    And nobody has as big a stick up his ass as the Lawful Good character....and most of the time it tends to be the parties Paladins as well.
    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.

  9. - Top - End - #39
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Tanarii's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2015

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Yeah, that's a fair enough summary of common (IMO bad) interpretations of those Alignments.

    Now that I'm not knee jerk rejecting the people often come up with bad interpretations of alignments. They definitely do that.

  10. - Top - End - #40
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    A character's alignment should just be an indicator of said character's general approach to ethics and morality. It should always be descriptive and have absolutely zero mechanical effects or restrictions.

    The only thing I like about alignment are the creature subtypes. I like the idea of a demon being literally made of Evil.
    Homebrew Stuff:

  11. - Top - End - #41
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    The Frozen North
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Yeah, that's a fair enough summary of common (IMO bad) interpretations of those Alignments.

    Now that I'm not knee jerk rejecting the people often come up with bad interpretations of alignments. They definitely do that.
    This is with the caveat that it's a tounge in cheek interpretation but not far off when I started playing AD&D 2nd ed. almost 30 years ago. The group maturity was a good deal less and alignment conflicts did happen just as they happen today.
    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.

  12. - Top - End - #42
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2015

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Aneurin View Post
    ...That sounds remarkably petty if that's how alignment got started. Also, I don't actually understand how giving players an actual reason to kill each other ("You're playing an Evil character - my Good character must kill you and take your stuff!") stops the backstabbing happening.



    And most of all? It terrifies me when people try and claim (or, worse, justify) their blood-thirty tomb robbers' genocidal campaigns against 'evil' species as being in any way, shape or form 'good'. If you think trying to exterminate sapient beings just because a spell tells you they're evil is a 'good' act, then I'm sorry but I want nothing to do with you.
    Based on personal experience there is more backstabbing in games without alignments then if d&d as alignments gave players a reason not to backstab. Can anyone backstab the party and get away with if their alignment is good?


    Certain races such as Orcs are objective evil so how is genocide against them be viewed as wrong? Unlike our world humans in d&d are at war more or less with species that are objectively evil

  13. - Top - End - #43
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2015

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by jk7275 View Post
    Based on personal experience there is more backstabbing in games without alignments then if d&d as alignments gave players a reason not to backstab. Can anyone backstab the party and get away with if their alignment is good?
    That is just the opposite of my experience. I have seen far less backstabbing in games without alignments.
    Certain races such as Orcs are objective evil so how is genocide against them be viewed as wrong?
    Being evil is not a crime. Killing things for being evil is evil.

  14. - Top - End - #44
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    I'm on a boat!
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by FabulousFizban View Post
    alignment is, without a doubt, the dumbest mechanic in the game. it does nothing except generate arguments and make someone exclaim, "you're character wouldn't do that, it's against your alignment!"

    biitch don't tell me what my character would do - in this open ended sandbox game where the limit is supposed to be my imagination.

    alignment serves no useful purpose. i say junk the whole mechanic for the trash it is and let players determine who their character is and how and why they act on their own terms.

    who is this person that is saying, "yeah, alignment, that's why i game! d&d wouldnt be d&d without alignment." really?

    and if a character has a moment of divinely (player) driven insanity, who cares? people go crazy in real life too - sometimes without warning.

    and if becomes a game disrupting problem; if the gods (players) prove too mercurial in their temperments, then
    zeus (the dm) needs to make olympus fall in line (rocks fall).
    Alignment is none of this. You either have an incredibly faulty reading comprehension yourself, or you have played with WAY too many people that do. My money's on the latter, for the record. Someone you played with when you were getting their start in D&D told you something to the effect of "alignment tell you what your character can and can't do", or made you play D&D like that was the case, and it colored your perceptions of alignment since. And now when you read rules that say "Lawful Good means X" you read it as "Lawful Good people only do x", which is not the same thing at all, but you're already predisposed to view it the way that you were introduced to it.

    100% of all "this is why I hate alignment" stories I have ever heard on this or any other forums, are a result of people deviating from the rules. DMs who try to enforce "Your alignment is X, you can't do Y"-which is not supported by the rules. Players who say "My alignment is X, so this jerkbag action I'm taking is totally what my character would do"-are just being jerkbags. Alignment does not excuse people's actions. The problems are with those DMs and Players. Controlling jerkbag DMs are going to be controlling even if they don't use alignment as a hammer, they'll use a different hammer. Jerkbag Players are going to be jerkbags, no matter what-if anything-is written on their sheet under "alignment". You claiming that alignment is the problem is only excusing the behavior of individuals like that. If problems arise when people misuse a thing, that is not a valid indictment of the thing itself, that's basic logic.

    The thing is, NOTHING in the rules says that alignment is prescriptive of behavior. So any kind of claim that alignment "prevents you from doing x action" is provably false, and anyone who believes that to be true is defective. If alignment ACTUALLY prohibited behavior outside the confines of itself, then it would not be possible to change alignments, paladins would never fall, etc. Over the years, the rules have even been explicit about how alignment is very broad and general. If you look at 3.5e, the last system to have widespread alignment mechanics, the introduction to alignments in the PHB (Chapter 6, for the record) explicitly says that no one is perfectly consistent all the time, and some people may have character traits or flaws that seem contradictory with their alignment, but does not affect their overall alignment (they use the example of a Lawful Good person with a greedy streak that occasionally tempts them to take things). And yes, sometimes characters (just like real people) have a "crazy" moment, as you put it, and act in a manner outside their typical behavior.

    Alignment mechanics serve many useful purposes. One of which is to give mechanical voice to classic fantasy tropes in a fair, objective, and quantifiable manner. A Holy Sword that is more effective against the forces of Evil, for example. Or a Paladin (or other champion of Good) being able to detect the taint of evil. Such as, say, entering the recently-abandoned HQ of a demon cult where many evil rituals were performed. Or exactly HOW an Evil plane might negatively affect people who are, themselves, Good. Without alignment mechanics, all of this is arbitrary in the hands of a fickle DM.

    And your closing statement is absolutely awful. Alignments are not for the DM "to jerk mercurial players back into line". Alignments are simply a tool. They are an oversimplification of your character's general outlook, attitudes, and beliefs. They are NOT an absolute barometer of action or affiliation. Furthermore, they are descriptive, not [/I]prescriptive[/I]. That means that your alignment stems from your actions, and that your actions are not inhibited by your alignment. Because they are general, they do not preclude complex personalities, or "gray areas". But just because an individual has an outlook that is morally complex, does not preclude him or her being judged by an objective, dispassionate force. In the default world of D&D Good/Evil/Law/Chaos are cosmic forces, utterly objective, and even the gods are beholden to them. Your alignment-determined by your actions-may change how certain things in the game world affect you.
    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.

  15. - Top - End - #45
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Marlinspike

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Satinavian View Post
    Being evil is not a crime. Killing things for being evil is evil.
    Depends on how you define how alignment works... if you say that a creature has to commit evil acts to get an "evil" alignment, then being evil is a crime.

    On the other hand, if you have a gaming world where something gets the "evil" alignment even if it has evil thoughts, and an evil disposition, but hasn't actually done anything evil, then you are right. It would be immoral to kill the creature simply because it pinged as "evil"

  16. - Top - End - #46
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Red Fel's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    100% of all "this is why I hate alignment" stories I have ever heard on this or any other forums, are a result of people deviating from the rules.
    Disagree.

    Sure, a lot of the arguments against alignment result from misreadings or disagreements on alignment, but not all.

    Want to know why I dislike alignment? It's simple.

    No, really, that's my answer. Alignment is simple. As in, a gross oversimplification. Certain actions are arbitrarily, inherently Evil (or non-Evil); certain beings - being which we are otherwise supposed to treat as thinking creatures with something resembling free will - have an inherent racial tendency towards some alignment.

    That latter point, by the way? That actually is a a RAW example of alignment being prescriptive, not just descriptive. If you have a race of 100% Evil beings, that's basically mandating alignment and actions. Less so for a PC - they get to decide just how Evil they want to be - but a mandate nonetheless.

    Think of how many debates there are over stupid, stupid alignment things, things that could create all sorts of nuance and conflict. The classic Paladin auto-fall scenarios. The idea of killing one person to save thousands. These things could create amazing scenarios, plots, and moments of turmoil and challenge. But instead, arbitrary alignment rears its ugly head and says, "Nope, Good is Good and Evil is Evil."

    People debate this stuff, and that's fair, because it should be debatable. But in a system with arbitrary alignment, it isn't. In the "sacrifice one to save thousands" scenario, your options are either (1) kill an innocent, an Evil act; (2) take no action to save thousands, which may be Neutral, but definitely isn't Good; or (3) find that magical "third option" that lets you save the day by doing Good. I'm a big proponent of number three, but I still recognize how impossibly challenging it can be to come up with it.

    Arguments like this one aren't about people deviating from the rules. They're about the rules oversimplifying concepts that should be complex and nuanced, ideas that should make for a great narrative and character arc. Instead, you can literally equip an item that tells you, "No, this is bad, that is good, do that." (Phylactery of Faithfulness, for the record.)

    That's my issue with alignment. Sure, I'll readily advocate for LE within a pre-existing alignment system, but given the choice, I'd rather go without alignment, all together.
    My headache medicine has a little "Ex" inscribed on the pill. It's not a brand name; it's an indicator that it works inside an Anti-Magic Field.

    Blue text means sarcasm. Purple text means evil. White text is invisible.

    My signature got too big for its britches. So now it's over here!

  17. - Top - End - #47
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Spoiler: -- for space.
    Show

    Quote Originally Posted by RedMage125 View Post
    Alignment is none of this. You either have an incredibly faulty reading comprehension yourself, or you have played with WAY too many people that do. My money's on the latter, for the record. Someone you played with when you were getting their start in D&D told you something to the effect of "alignment tell you what your character can and can't do", or made you play D&D like that was the case, and it colored your perceptions of alignment since. And now when you read rules that say "Lawful Good means X" you read it as "Lawful Good people only do x", which is not the same thing at all, but you're already predisposed to view it the way that you were introduced to it.

    100% of all "this is why I hate alignment" stories I have ever heard on this or any other forums, are a result of people deviating from the rules. DMs who try to enforce "Your alignment is X, you can't do Y"-which is not supported by the rules. Players who say "My alignment is X, so this jerkbag action I'm taking is totally what my character would do"-are just being jerkbags. Alignment does not excuse people's actions. The problems are with those DMs and Players. Controlling jerkbag DMs are going to be controlling even if they don't use alignment as a hammer, they'll use a different hammer. Jerkbag Players are going to be jerkbags, no matter what-if anything-is written on their sheet under "alignment". You claiming that alignment is the problem is only excusing the behavior of individuals like that. If problems arise when people misuse a thing, that is not a valid indictment of the thing itself, that's basic logic.

    The thing is, NOTHING in the rules says that alignment is prescriptive of behavior. So any kind of claim that alignment "prevents you from doing x action" is provably false, and anyone who believes that to be true is defective. If alignment ACTUALLY prohibited behavior outside the confines of itself, then it would not be possible to change alignments, paladins would never fall, etc. Over the years, the rules have even been explicit about how alignment is very broad and general. If you look at 3.5e, the last system to have widespread alignment mechanics, the introduction to alignments in the PHB (Chapter 6, for the record) explicitly says that no one is perfectly consistent all the time, and some people may have character traits or flaws that seem contradictory with their alignment, but does not affect their overall alignment (they use the example of a Lawful Good person with a greedy streak that occasionally tempts them to take things). And yes, sometimes characters (just like real people) have a "crazy" moment, as you put it, and act in a manner outside their typical behavior.

    Alignment mechanics serve many useful purposes. One of which is to give mechanical voice to classic fantasy tropes in a fair, objective, and quantifiable manner. A Holy Sword that is more effective against the forces of Evil, for example. Or a Paladin (or other champion of Good) being able to detect the taint of evil. Such as, say, entering the recently-abandoned HQ of a demon cult where many evil rituals were performed. Or exactly HOW an Evil plane might negatively affect people who are, themselves, Good. Without alignment mechanics, all of this is arbitrary in the hands of a fickle DM.

    And your closing statement is absolutely awful. Alignments are not for the DM "to jerk mercurial players back into line". Alignments are simply a tool. They are an oversimplification of your character's general outlook, attitudes, and beliefs. They are NOT an absolute barometer of action or affiliation. Furthermore, they are descriptive, not [/I]prescriptive[/I]. That means that your alignment stems from your actions, and that your actions are not inhibited by your alignment. Because they are general, they do not preclude complex personalities, or "gray areas". But just because an individual has an outlook that is morally complex, does not preclude him or her being judged by an objective, dispassionate force. In the default world of D&D Good/Evil/Law/Chaos are cosmic forces, utterly objective, and even the gods are beholden to them. Your alignment-determined by your actions-may change how certain things in the game world affect you.


    Back when I played D&D (D&D, AD&D, and "2nd ed" days), it was my experience that a far greater percentage of the players I was exposed to viewed alignment in the way you're saying is absolutely wrong, than viewed it in the way you're saying is "RAW". Even if they were all wrong, that "prescriptive" view of alignment was very widely held.

    Part of why this view was (is?) widely held, and something that ties into something that more broadly irks me in fiction and in real life: the vile notion that "the good guys" and "the bad guys" are two actual sides or teams, that they're almost wearing "good guy" and "bad guy" jerseys, and that anything "good guys do" is good and anything "the bad guys do" is bad. I mean, really, what are the "Forces of Evil!" ???

    I have little patience, personally, for the concept of "good" and "evil" as cosmic forces, even if there are objective moral standards to go by.


    Spoiler: -- for space.
    Show

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Disagree.

    Sure, a lot of the arguments against alignment result from misreadings or disagreements on alignment, but not all.

    Want to know why I dislike alignment? It's simple.

    No, really, that's my answer. Alignment is simple. As in, a gross oversimplification. Certain actions are arbitrarily, inherently Evil (or non-Evil); certain beings - being which we are otherwise supposed to treat as thinking creatures with something resembling free will - have an inherent racial tendency towards some alignment.

    That latter point, by the way? That actually is a a RAW example of alignment being prescriptive, not just descriptive. If you have a race of 100% Evil beings, that's basically mandating alignment and actions. Less so for a PC - they get to decide just how Evil they want to be - but a mandate nonetheless.

    Think of how many debates there are over stupid, stupid alignment things, things that could create all sorts of nuance and conflict. The classic Paladin auto-fall scenarios. The idea of killing one person to save thousands. These things could create amazing scenarios, plots, and moments of turmoil and challenge. But instead, arbitrary alignment rears its ugly head and says, "Nope, Good is Good and Evil is Evil."

    People debate this stuff, and that's fair, because it should be debatable. But in a system with arbitrary alignment, it isn't. In the "sacrifice one to save thousands" scenario, your options are either (1) kill an innocent, an Evil act; (2) take no action to save thousands, which may be Neutral, but definitely isn't Good; or (3) find that magical "third option" that lets you save the day by doing Good. I'm a big proponent of number three, but I still recognize how impossibly challenging it can be to come up with it.

    Arguments like this one aren't about people deviating from the rules. They're about the rules oversimplifying concepts that should be complex and nuanced, ideas that should make for a great narrative and character arc. Instead, you can literally equip an item that tells you, "No, this is bad, that is good, do that." (Phylactery of Faithfulness, for the record.)


    That covers a lot of my other objections to Alignment.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2018-01-10 at 11:05 AM.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    Planet Mercenary RPG Discussion

  18. - Top - End - #48
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Alignment is fine, and I feel perfectly okay, thank you.

    Edit: Some peoples' interpretations of alignments are often bad and should make people feel bad, and the GM should make it clear how they are handling alignment so there is no confusion.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2018-01-10 at 11:46 AM.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

  19. - Top - End - #49
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Marlinspike

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    No, really, that's my answer. Alignment is simple. As in, a gross oversimplification. Certain actions are arbitrarily, inherently Evil (or non-Evil); certain beings - being which we are otherwise supposed to treat as thinking creatures with something resembling free will - have an inherent racial tendency towards some alignment.
    I don't see "free will" as being an issue. For a species to be "always evil", it isn't like they are being forced to be evil against their "free will", they are just inherently evil. They always freely choose to be evil, because that's their nature.

  20. - Top - End - #50
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    I don't see "free will" as being an issue. For a species to be "always evil", it isn't like they are being forced to be evil against their "free will", they are just inherently evil. They always freely choose to be evil, because that's their nature.
    If a species literally has to commit evil acts to survive, then I think it's reasonable.

    It may be possible for a member to be non-evil, but then that member would also be dead.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

  21. - Top - End - #51
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2009

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Alignment was fine until they mixed it up with morality. Yes way back when alignment was Lawful, Neutral or Chaotic, there was overlap between that and morality, but it should be telling that the spell was protection from evil, not protection from chaos. Lawful or chaotic arenít moral judgements. Good and evil are, and 99% of alignment arguments are over good vs evil, not lawful vs chaotic.

  22. - Top - End - #52
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Red Fel's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    I don't see "free will" as being an issue. For a species to be "always evil", it isn't like they are being forced to be evil against their "free will", they are just inherently evil. They always freely choose to be evil, because that's their nature.
    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.)
    My headache medicine has a little "Ex" inscribed on the pill. It's not a brand name; it's an indicator that it works inside an Anti-Magic Field.

    Blue text means sarcasm. Purple text means evil. White text is invisible.

    My signature got too big for its britches. So now it's over here!

  23. - Top - End - #53
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Marlinspike

    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.
    What you are talking about is impulse control. I don't think of that as exactly the same as free will (even though it is similar). Some people have impulse control disorders, where they "act before they think"... so the voice in the head that says "maybe you shouldn't do that", doesn't talk until after you actually did it.

    Now it is true that someone with an impulse control disorder could very easily say "I don't like this disorder, I'm going to do what I can to control it", and then they would go to therapy and take medicine etc, to find ways to mitigate the problem.

    But... if we go another route, according to most studies, a true psychopath [/I]can not[/I] feel empathy or guilt. They can't decide to exercise free will and rebel against this lack of compassion... it is something that simply does not exist in their brain. A true psychopath will never want to go to therapy to "get better". They might go to therapy to make people believe they are getting better... but it will just be an act.

    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.
    I am not arguing that an "always evil" creature couldn't try to go against its nature. I'm arguing that it would never want to, and would only do so if forced by others.

    That isn't free will.
    It absolutely is. It is the freedom to be evil because that's what the creature wants.

    I don't know you, but I'm guessing you don't headbutt people because you do want to AND don't want to at the same time... and your internal battle lets the "don't want to" argument win. Maybe your "don't want to", is simply because you are aware of the consequences and don't want to deal with it, and maybe your "don't want to" is because society has repeatedly conditioned you to think that is "wrong", and maybe your "don't want to" because part of your personality is actually a compassionate guy who is telling the headbutt guy to back off.

    Either way, you suppress your urge to headbutt, because you want to. If there is a creature that by default never wants to... then it is exercising free will by always being evil.

    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.
    Not an absurd result at all, but a horrible result to ponder because saying that a baby "will always grow up evil" very strongly goes against our values as humans. And rightfully so, we should never think that a baby is evil... because someone might apply that logic to a human, and you don't ever want to go there.


    Saying that... I'm going to do a complete 360 here... and say that having "always evil" creatures in a D&D game is a very bad idea. Not because it is impossible, but because of the implications.

    Lets say someone builds a robot that looks and acts exactly like a small child. I tell you and prove to you that it is in fact a robot, and then someone starts beating that robot with a baseball bat. Meanwhile the robot very convincingly cries and begs the person to stop.

    Even though you know it is a robot, you will instinctively feel horrified with what you are witnessing and likely do what you can to stop the process. This is because a lot of our moral responses are "gut feelings" rather than rational ones. If someone next to you was laughing and saying "ha ha, hit that robot!", you would think... "that guy makes me nervous... why doesn't this bother him. What else could he do without being bothered?"

    So, likewise, we shouldn't have people in a RPG killing babies because they are "evil"... because we shouldn't condition ourselves to think that kind of behavior is ok.

  24. - Top - End - #54
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliquid View Post
    But... if we go another route, according to most studies, a true psychopath [/I]can not[/I] feel empathy or guilt. They can't decide to exercise free will and rebel against this lack of compassion... it is something that simply does not exist in their brain. A true psychopath will never want to go to therapy to "get better". They might go to therapy to make people believe they are getting better... but it will just be an act.
    A true psychopath can perfectly, from their own free will, decide to get therapy with the actual intent to "get better" (for example, if they're curious about what that empathy thing is). Your assumption that it is impossible for them to do so tells more about your limited imagination than about psychopaths.
    Last edited by Cazero; 2018-01-10 at 02:15 PM.
    Yes, I am slightly egomaniac. Why didn't you ask?

    Free haiku !
    Alas, poor Cookie
    The world needs more platypi
    I wish you could be

  25. - Top - End - #55
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    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.)
    IMO, whether we're talking about a game or not, an individual's morality is defined by its intent and actions, not by "evil thoughts" or "cosmic forces".

    Actual free will requires that the individual be capable of independent intent and that said intent can be of a full range of beneficent and maleficent.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    Planet Mercenary RPG Discussion

  26. - Top - End - #56
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2017

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    I treat alignment as a way to interpret player behavior. The player is free to do whatever they want without restriction, but I'll use the system to qualify disqualify from classes, alignment based resistances etc.

    So the paladin wants to murder a whole town? Feel free! But based on his reason or intent for doing so he might have to find a new class.

  27. - Top - End - #57
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Cealocanth's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Colorado
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Alignment works in game worlds that have extremely rigidly defined morality where every living being goes to a certain plane of existence when they die and their personalities are determined by a single chart. In other words, alignment works well in Gygaxian D&D. There is literally no other game world or setting where I have seen alignment serve any purpose at all whatsoever.
    Currently RPG group playing: Iaphela (D&D 5e. Set in the Elder Scrolls universe)

    My campaign settings: Azura; 10,000 CE | The Frozen Seas | Bloodstones (Paleolithic Horror) | AEGIS - The School for Superhero Children |

  28. - Top - End - #58
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Marlinspike

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Cazero View Post
    A true psychopath can perfectly, from their own free will, decide to get therapy with the actual intent to "get better" (for example, if they're curious about what that empathy thing is). Your assumption that it is impossible for them to do so tells more about your limited imagination than about psychopaths.
    The vast majority of experts in the field specifically say that "a true psychopaths will not seek out therapy". This isn't my lack of imagination, this is what the experts say.

    Note that this isn't saying that they 'can not', it is saying that they 'will not'. They are perfectly capable of seeking out therapy, but they will not want to.

    No psychopath is curious bout this empathy thing. They are statistically smarter and more logical than the average person, and they know exactly what empathy is and how it works. They just don't have it, and they see people with empathy as weak and foolish for having it. They don't want to 'get better' because they believe that they already are better. Better than the rest of us. Superior because they aren't burdened by such silly things as empathy and guilt.

  29. - Top - End - #59
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Tanarii's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2015

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    That latter point, by the way? That actually is a a RAW example of alignment being prescriptive, not just descriptive.
    Descriptive is just as bad, because that's where the vast majority of arguments stem from.

    If the player gets to decide how they use their Alignment as a motivation as one part of personality traits, it's neither prescriptive (ie not required nor the only thing resulting in specific individual actions) nor descriptive (determined by behavior).

    But who decides what resulting overall behavior fits into what behavior category, especially when it's not based on individual actions, and when it's not required to be consistent? That's where all the arguments happen.

    The best way to use Alignment is absolutely: Alignment + Personality Traits --> player's motivations for PC decision making --> in-game actions.

    IMO etc etc

  30. - Top - End - #60
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Re: alignment is bad and you should feel bad

    Alignment has two different kinds of problems.

    First, there are problems of design and implementation of alignment. I don't think there's a lot of objection that alignment is badly designed. It was cobbled together ad hoc over time. Its two-axis (or in Planescape pie chart) representation of morality doesn't match with any familiar moral structures ever created by an actual human society. It interacts with gameplay is weird and erratic ways such as paladin falls, holy weapons, and other alignment delineated effects. Overall, the alignment system, as presented in most editions of D&D is bad at what it tries to do.

    Second, there are objections to inserting a system of objective morality and a stat that measures where characters currently stand within that system into a game or a fantasy world. And I think those objections are off-base.

    In D&D a character's mortal existence - in almost all cases (exceptions include liches and various other means to avoid death) - merely a test that decides where they are going to spend the overwhelming majority of their existence floating about in the outer planes. Mortal existence is the time you spend on the assembly line at the factory before you hit completion (death), go through processing (judgment of the soul) and then get shipped out to the appropriate destination (assignment to a divine realm/outer plane) where you will spend 99-99.9% of your actual existence. This sounds weird, but it's a fairly common belief structure and its extremely common in fantasy worlds. D&D - to it's great credit - has long recognized that, at the level of magic presented in the game world, people are explicitly aware of the afterlife and how it works. In part because people and beings from the outer planes keep showing up and explaining things. Societies have even changed behavior as a result of changes in the system (the Forgotten Realms novel where Kelemvor takes over as judge of the dead and briefly changes all the rules goes into this in some detail, it's ridiculous, but on point).

    A lot of players don't like having fantasy worlds explicitly structured in this way. That's understandable, since it obligates all characters in such a world to have worldviews foreign to the modern western secular mindset. But once you build the world that way - in which the most important thing that will ever happen to a person is the judgment that occurs upon death - some sort of mechanic that records moral stance is necessary.

    Is alignment, as presented in D&D, a good way to deal with all this. No, it is not. But in a universe setup the way the D&D cosmos is, you can't just ignore moral position.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •