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    Post Substituting the alignment system

    There's rather hot discussion about alignments few threads below. People bash/defend this system but noone proposed any alternatives.
    I enjoy alignments but they are in fact very simple concept. I'm not going to debate whether it's good or not - there are other threads for that.
    But let's say we are ditching the alignments. How would you substitute this system? Or would you at all?

    I've been thinking about something like Fame, Infamy and Allegiance. Let's say we saved the village from total destruction. Most would consider this a deed of good and characters would become famous because of that. They would gain Fame.

    Infamy on the other hand is something that most people would consider evil or immoral. Killing everyone in the village would give you Infamy.

    There's also an Allegiance. Normally, we don't use alignment system, right? Well, not at all. People can still be considered good or evil but it won't affect stuff like classes, spells etc. So a guild full of noble paladins would be considered good. And with enough Fame you could swear allegiance to them. You could have limited number of Allegiances.

    I think this is more flexible than 9 alignment system, as this let's you play more complex characters.

    There are of course "grey" areas, deeds considered good for one group but not for the other so this needs tweaking but what do you think?

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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    I mean, the solution to "alignment systems are bad" is just to ditch alignment systems altogether. Play the character as you see fit and don't worry about allegiance to cosmic principles.

    (Also, your Fame/Infamy system seems... not overly helpful, I'm sorry to say. Like, it's a bog-standard Good/Evil split. Allegiance is a bit more interesting as it links the player to the world a bit more, but I don't think it needs to be tied to morality at all)
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2018-01-15 at 04:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I mean, the solution to "alignment systems are bad" is just to ditch alignment systems altogether. Play the character as you see fit and don't worry about allegiance to cosmic principles.
    Seconded. Not to say your ideas are bad-they're cool. But you don't NEED anything replacing alignment.
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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I mean, the solution to "alignment systems are bad" is just to ditch alignment systems altogether. Play the character as you see fit and don't worry about allegiance to cosmic principles.

    (Also, your Fame/Infamy system seems... not overly helpful, I'm sorry to say. Like, it's a bog-standard Good/Evil split)
    Out of curiosity, in games where you do this, do you drop Protection/Detect Good/Evil/Lawful/Chaotic sorts of spells and abilities? Do you replace them?

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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    Quote Originally Posted by Jama7301 View Post
    Out of curiosity, in games where you do this, do you drop Protection/Detect Good/Evil/Lawful/Chaotic sorts of spells and abilities? Do you replace them?
    Dropping them, or limiting their effect to inhuman creatures, is easy enough and does no harm to the game. Assuming you're playing a system which has such things, which basically means "anything other than 3e/Pathfinder."

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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I mean, the solution to "alignment systems are bad" is just to ditch alignment systems altogether. Play the character as you see fit and don't worry about allegiance to cosmic principles.
    That was going to be pretty much my response.

    The only time something somewhat like "alignment as both moral gauge and allegiance" might work is if the setting and campaign are specifically, overtly, and directly about an open and physically manifested conflict between cosmic principles (and this is not, despite what some will claim, true of any D&D setting I've ever come across -- it's a whole different ballgame reserved as far as I've seen for certain niche games).


    Quote Originally Posted by Jama7301 View Post
    Out of curiosity, in games where you do this, do you drop Protection/Detect Good/Evil/Lawful/Chaotic sorts of spells and abilities? Do you replace them?
    In a way, you don't.

    In a way, what takes their place might be something specific to the setting, for example Detect Spirits, Protection from Spirits, etc, or breaking down to general categories of spirits, whatever fits and works.
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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    There's a myriad of systems for determining a character's allegiance, philosophy, goals, motivation and drive. There's also systems which don't codify those mechanically. Either way, there's no real reason to bring morality into it.
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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    Quote Originally Posted by michael199310 View Post
    There's rather hot discussion about alignments few threads below. People bash/defend this system but noone proposed any alternatives.
    I enjoy alignments but they are in fact very simple concept. I'm not going to debate whether it's good or not - there are other threads for that.
    But let's say we are ditching the alignments. How would you substitute this system? Or would you at all?
    I wouldnt replace it at all. I'd just remove it (and have done, for years). Then you can have all the shades of grey you like.
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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    Quote Originally Posted by Jama7301 View Post
    Out of curiosity, in games where you do this, do you drop Protection/Detect Good/Evil/Lawful/Chaotic sorts of spells and abilities? Do you replace them?
    Are you familiar with 5e? This sort of ability no longer works on mundane characters of a specific alignment. Instead, it affects creatures of specific type - fey, undead, demons, elementals etc. Once again, all creatures of a specific type, their alignment has nothing to do with it (though of course, basically all mindless undead will be Evil, etc).

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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I mean, the solution to "alignment systems are bad" is just to ditch alignment systems altogether. Play the character as you see fit and don't worry about allegiance to cosmic principles.
    Agreeing here (like many others). The problem with alignment essentially boils down to that 90% of the time it limits you without actually giving you anything. The 10% of the time it is useful essentially boils down to spells that protect you from sources of alignment, that can often become weird.

    I personally like how Lamentations of the Flame Princess handles it. Alignment is who is pulling you strings, and therefore which cosmic team you're on. But a Lawful Fighter isn't a creature of Law and a Chaotic Fighter isn't a creature of Chaos, and so they aren't affected by Protection from Good/Evil spells. Spellcasters are, because their power comes directly from supernatural sources.

    But otherwise? Alignment is useful only as a note for who is affected by what spells. All humans(/PC races) are Neutral (or optionally the alignment of whoever gives them power), all demons are Evil, all angels are Good, all fey are Chaotic, and so on. But as soon as it starts describing personality traits you have to deal with the fact that people are inconsistent.

    Of you want a similar system, 5e's Ideals and Flaws are much better. They're more flexible, in that your character could follow any ideal and have any shortcoming, and with the specific setup 5e uses you're encouraged to use them rather than discouraged from following them.
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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    I think in order to replace the alignment systems, you need to define what the alignment system does for the game. Primarily, I use a basic description to define the game to prevent a lawful good old-school paladin showing up to play at the same game as a baby-eating necromancer. In this case, something to define archetypes and tone is more appropriate.

    For other games, these are real cosmic principles, but for those games, I suggest the table and the game define what good/evil and chaos/law are for them, which will probably nip a lot of problems in the bud. And if they can't agree, maybe that's not the right campaign to play.
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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    The substitute is each player using their own moral compass like they do naturally IRL. Games are improved by excluding alignments, karma meters, or anything of the sort. Roleplayers are more than capable of making moral judgements without assistance from the game manual. You benefit from all the nuance your imagination permits, and full freedom to disagree with your fellow gamer, but none of the hassle or restrictions which typify alignment systems.

    To make it easier mechanically, remove or ignore game effects which are dependent on alignment. If something only works for the pure of heart (or a true free spirit or whatever), then the GM can make a subjective call on which characters qualify. A GM can even talk with his players about whether they think their characters would meet such requirements based on subjective judgements.

    Since this looks like a dnd 5e question, I'll say that alignment largely lacks game effects, so its removal requires only a handful of tweaks, mostly to items which are unlikely to be used.
    Last edited by Slipperychicken; 2018-01-16 at 01:10 AM.

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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    You can easily replace Alignment with nothing and lose nothing.

    Alternatively, take a look at Cubicle 7's Adventuresin Middle Earth for an alternative way to handle evil as a corruptive force that could turn your character into a more and more selfish, miserable and even desperate creature, putting a strong emphasis on moral support and avoiding corruption if possible.

    Admittedly, I haven't played the 5e version of that game yet (and I am quite ambivalent about the original The One Ring) but that seems to be a better way to handle the struggle between good and evil: By making it personal and internalizing it, it becomes a lot more meaningful.
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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    It already exists. In the 4e PHB. Look at the gods. Each has three commandments. Clear, concise, while none is necessarily good or evil.

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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    If you want, you can give your character a value list rather than an alignment - what does your character value? For example, rather than chaotic good, you can have a character who values freedom and defending the innocent, which gives an example of what you want your character's alignment to mean about their personality. Similarly, if your character is lawful evil, they might have "Respect the pirate's code" and "Finders keepers" among their values. And it can be genuinely helpful to write out what your character values before the game, but writing "Chaotic good" on your character sheet isn't so helpful when there's such argument about what that means.

    EDIT: One of the very few ideas I liked about FATAL was that IIRC it tried to establish one axis for moral values and another for your actual adherence to your own values (which was written off as a copy of the D&D alignment system by those justifiably unwilling to spend longer than they had to reading FATAL). For example, someone who tries to do good but can't resist temptation is, IIRC, Moral Unethical, but someone who doesn't care about doing good in general but helps out their friends when they need it and rarely gives into temptation is Immoral Ethical, which isn't the same as chaotic god and lawful evil even if it seems similar. Having a measure of moral fortitude might be a genuinely interesting mechanic.
    Last edited by Jormengand; 2018-01-16 at 08:13 AM.

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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    The problem an alignment system wants to solve is simplifying the characterization of NPCs, and in particular factions of NPCs by providing a baseline you can use to determine actions. At no point is it necessary for PCs to touch that system, but it has the potential to be useful for DMs.

    The flaw in D&D's alignment system is that it uses words that are loaded, but still ambiguous. Everyone has some idea of what "Good" is, which means that people will be upset of your idea of "Good" contradicts theirs. But people do not agree about what it means to be "Good", so conflict is inevitable.

    Describing the problem in these terms should suggest two directions one could move to solve it. You could use words that weren't loaded, or words that weren't ambiguous.

    MtG is an example of the first. The alignments in magic are colors, with which people do not have preexisting moral associations. No one (aside from those who happen to have read about MtG's moral system) has an opinion about what actions are "Blue" and what actions are "Red". But MtG defines those things, so you can use them to describe NPCs and therefore create models of behavior.

    The second would involve using real-world philosophical systems as the backing for NPC's ideologies. This has the disadvantage of having baggage (meaning that if you define your angels as Utilitarians, they have to behave that way), but the baggage is largely shared. People may disagree about whether being a deontologist is good or bad, but they don't disagree about what deontology means.

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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    Here's one way which is really easy to start and can be expanded into a highly complex and campaign-specific system, or which you can leave simple:


    First: make Alignment supernatural

    Alignment: a measure of supernatural affiliation. By default all humanoids are Neutral on this scale. Only magic can change that default.

    The Alignment aura of a Paladin or Cleric is an example of magic changing the default. Since Divine spellcasters are prevented from taking magical actions that would go against their Alignment aura, they tend to become more extreme in their Alignment over time.

    Mortal arcane spellcasters can remain Neutral by either abstaining from aligned spells, or by trying to cast all types of aligned spells in balance.

    Outsiders are often aligned, per their subtype(s). Undead are always aligned (as Evil).

    Detect Evil and Smite Evil and such will work only on aligned creatures.

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    It removes some common "Gotcha!" flaws from the game.

    A wicked and unscrupulous but mundane moral -- for example, a Rogue who assassinates people for money, or a greedy merchant who cheats, lies, and steals -- would not detect as Evil, because they are non-magical and they don't pay allegiance to any supernatural Evil.

    But the jovial innkeeper who on the full moon sacrifices a guest to Dispater? Yeah that guy will totally detect as Evil, and when you Smite him you'll be Smiting an unequivocally valid target.


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    So, what should detect as Evil?
    - Evil Outsiders
    - Undead
    - Spellcasters who cast [Evil] spells, or who worship something Evil
    - People who take [Vile] feats

    Depending on your campaign's antagonist list & monster palette, that's either plenty, or it's not enough.

    What are the other candidates for Evil-ness?

    - Evil Dragons - justification is that they're spellcasters, so they start to cast a lot of [Good] or [Evil] spells at a certain point. Perhaps wyrmlings are all Neutral.

    - Evil Magical Beasts - justification might be that they're the creation of an evil Outsider, so they're tainted with evil essence somehow, or that they draw on Evil supernatural power to fuel their magical abilities.

    - Evil Aberrations - justification might be that unnatural is a type of evil, or that Aberrations come from an evil plane like the Far Realms or Xoriat. Alternately, it might be that Aberrations are just strange life forms, and they're not Evil until they start using evil magic.

    - Evil Elementals - sure, why not? Efreeti might be a major antagonist, running an interplanar slave operation.

    - All Fey - maybe you're running a Man-Against-Nature type of game.

    Pick some (or none) of those, or invent a separate category.



    Second: make Conduct sufficiently specific

    Allegiance: this is whom you venerate, worship, honor, or obey. Perhaps it's a person, perhaps it's a system of values, perhaps it's a nation, perhaps it's a city, perhaps it's a god, perhaps it's an abstract concept.

    If your Allegiance is to an entity that grants you power, that entity is your Patron.

    Conduct: this is the sum of your actions, time-weighted such that recent actions count more. Your Conduct usually doesn't affect your Alignment, unless it's a magical action, but your Patron may care about your Conduct -- and if your Patron dislikes your Conduct enough, you'll lose that Patron's granted powers by performing prohibited actions. Aligned magical actions can violate Conduct, but non-magical (and non-aligned) actions can also violate Conduct. In either case, you'll need an Atonement.

    Conduct requirements for a Patron can be arbitrary or highly coherent, and they might involve Alignment actions or they might not. This is where your campaign setting can add a lot of flavor -- hopefully without adding too much complexity.

    I recommend poaching some ideas for Conduct requirements from the 4e PHB, as mentioned by 1of3.

    I also recommend starting small at low-level, and getting a feel for how each Patron's required Conduct impacts the game, then tightening up the Conduct at higher levels. What is permitted for an initiate might not be tolerated from a High Priestess.


    Bringing it All Together

    - Alignment is objective in most D&D universes, and that's necessary since it can be detected as an objective quality by specific spells and effects.

    - The fact that Alignment is objective is usually problematic because usually Alignment is tied to mundane behavior. By severing that relation, objective Alignment becomes less problematic. You can have nuanced mundane anti-heroes and "realistic" gritty characters who aren't objectively as Smite-worthy as a Demon or Vampire.

    - Gods who demand specific obedience from worshipers can exist without that obedience being reduced to Alignment-related actions.

    - You don't need to do all the hard, complex work up front. You can start by severing Alignment, and then add Patron-specific requirements as those Patrons are used in your game.

    - Start small and general; build up specifics & tighten Conduct requirements as the PCs gain power.

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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    Quote Originally Posted by michael199310 View Post
    There's rather hot discussion about alignments few threads below. People bash/defend this system but noone proposed any alternatives.
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    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.

    I'd have thought requiring characters to be described in terms of personality would be a more useful tool (and more descriptive). So, Ordered/Neutral/Chaotic and Altruistic/Neutral/Selfish. You could even keep the various Detect (and even Protection, probably) spells by claiming that personality types attract or generate certain energy types (Positive energy for, say, Altruistic individuals).
    ...Okay, I pretty much immediately went on to say that I'd rather just ditch alignment altogether, and since I don't play D&D, I basically have done so with enthusiasm.

    But if you want to substitute something for alignment... the first thing you need to do is work out what it is about alignment that you want. And what it is that you don't want so you can figure out a replacement that actually does what you want. We can throw alternatives at you until the cows come home, but unless you can give us things you want from an alignment system and things you don't want from one we'll just be throwing words at the wall and seeing what sticks, you know?
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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    Quote Originally Posted by Aneurin View Post
    But if you want to substitute something for alignment... the first thing you need to do is work out what it is about alignment that you want. And what it is that you don't want so you can figure out a replacement that actually does what you want. We can throw alternatives at you until the cows come home, but unless you can give us things you want from an alignment system and things you don't want from one we'll just be throwing words at the wall and seeing what sticks, you know?
    What, you mean think about this rationally, assess the problem and work out the solution from there? That's crazy talk.

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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    I know I have an unpopular opinion, in that I actually like the 9-alignment system, but part of the reason it's so unpopular is because it keeps getting misinterpreted- what I imagine my fellow proponents of the system want from it is a way to quickly list our values on paper, like people keep talking about. People talk about it as being restrictive, whereas I feel alignment should be a guide to making your character consistent, not an external force preventing you from roleplaying- spells that affect alignment speak to a basic fantasy concept that we're looking for as well; having some form of magic that's specifically on our side. It's just like the entire existence of the Paladin class, we like the idea of a person whose ideals give them power, especially good ones. I'm more ambivalent about effects tied to Law v Chaos alignments, but even those are tied to value systems that people get very passionate about.
    As long as you can find an interpretation of the system that's consistent, which a number of people have done, it really shouldn't be a burden on your game.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    EDIT: One of the very few ideas I liked about FATAL was that IIRC it tried to establish one axis for moral values and another for your actual adherence to your own values (which was written off as a copy of the D&D alignment system by those justifiably unwilling to spend longer than they had to reading FATAL). For example, someone who tries to do good but can't resist temptation is, IIRC, Moral Unethical, but someone who doesn't care about doing good in general but helps out their friends when they need it and rarely gives into temptation is Immoral Ethical, which isn't the same as chaotic god and lawful evil even if it seems similar. Having a measure of moral fortitude might be a genuinely interesting mechanic.
    Yeah, FATAL is utterly reprehensible but there was also a small, small handful of decent ideas. I made some progress starting up a series some (wow, 10) years ago called The **** Mines where I take a look at some of the absolute worst things ever created and try to find something... anything redeeming about them. FATAL was the item which inspired that. If I recall correctly that was one of like 3 redeeming things I found in the book.
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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    If you get into Fame/Infamy and Allegiance, maybe take a look at Fallout series, where you have a Reputation score with each Faction.

    But in general, I've never had a problem with the alignment system. I can usually persuaded a DM to relax alignment restrictions on PrCs.
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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    Quote Originally Posted by Tinkerer View Post
    Yeah, FATAL is utterly reprehensible but there was also a small, small handful of decent ideas. I made some progress starting up a series some (wow, 10) years ago called The **** Mines where I take a look at some of the absolute worst things ever created and try to find something... anything redeeming about them. FATAL was the item which inspired that. If I recall correctly that was one of like 3 redeeming things I found in the book.
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    Intriguingly, also, RaHoWa, which is the other poster-kid for horrible racist RPGs, is fairly easy to fix into a rules-light high-lethality game about gang warfare. It basically had no problems other than "Melee combat doesn't quite work", "The way that rolling and difficulty work is weird" and, uh, well, "You play as the Klan".

    I'm jokingly working on a game called LETHAL ("Less Evil Tabletop Heroism and Love") which is like a FATAL fix, but since FATAL is literally 25 or so times as long as RaHoWa, it's going to be more difficult. Still, I've found more things than I thought I would that I liked about it, from the fairly detailed (if sometimes horrible) characterisations of the different races and parts of the setting, to the before-their-time note in the section on gender saying, paraphrased, "We're aware that sex and gender are not the same and that trans people exist. We're using gender to refer to sex because we talk about the other kind of sex, ie sexual intercourse, a lot and it would get confusing, sorry."

    I literally stopped reading and showed it to my boyfriend because I was just that impressed that that passage of text existed. This was written back in 2004, before trans people had begun to show up on most people's radar yet (giving them the confusing idea that we suddenly started existing in the 21st century). That level of actual awareness at that point in time was remarkable. To have the temerity to put it in your magnum opus was incredible. To the most horrible man in the world, my hat is off.

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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    I remove alignment entirely as a game mechanic. It might remain in use as an optional way to describe character motivation, but has no mechanical effect.

    I do however have divine allegiance as a game mechanic. Most characters and creatures will not have one. The more religious (especially clerics) may have an allegiance either to a formal pantheon or to a specific deity. The various alignment-related spells then become detect friend/foe (etc) rather than detect good/evil. Friend /foe is then defined relative to each specific deity's ideas. Which means that for an elf cleric, a dwarf may well detect as foe, not because he is hostile, but because he is a dwarf. For certain gods of healing, venomous snakes may detect as foes because they are venomous, even though they are basically of animal intelligence and so outside normal moral motivations. It's more nuanced, and requires that characters actually understand their deity to benefit from their spells fully.

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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    My group has been playing 3.5/Pathfinder with drastically reduced, if not quite entirely eliminated, alignment for years.

    The nine alignments are still a thing, but they don't apply to ordinary characters or creatures. They're only relevant to beings that are strongly aligned as part of their fundamental nature... basically, outsiders with alignment descriptors and deities that have an alignment domain, and high-level clerics of such deities (who will radiate their deity's alignment, regardless of their personal conduct).

    Detect [alignment] and similar spells remain, but their utility is significantly reduced, because they'll only detect strongly-aligned things as described above, not ordinary creatures' personal conduct. (I consider this a feature. And it's actually a throwback to how they worked in AD&D.) I haven't really decided what to do with spells like holy word, but it hasn't come up.

    The protection from... and magic circle against... spells just get genericized to protection and magic circle. Their alignment-dependent effects are minor and quickly get overlapped by non-alignment-dependent effects from other sources - usually permanent magic items - anyway.

    Paladins' Smite Evil similarly gets genericized to just Smite, and it's up to the paladin to use it in a manner that meets their deity's approval. Paladins don't have to be Lawful Good, but they have to have a deity, and they have to act as a paragon of whatever their deity considers to be virtue. I'll generally swap out the detect evil SLA for something thematically appropriate. For example, I had an order of paladins of the Sun who got light as an at-will SLA instead.

    Clerics likewise have to act in accordance with their deity's precepts, or risk losing their divinely-granted powers. This may not have anything to do with traditional alignment categories... a deity of knowledge, for example, might not care if you're a benevolent healer or a serial orphan murderer, but might revoke your powers for burning books.


    And we play a lot of other games that aren't D&D, and none of them have anything even remotely resembling an alignment system. Alignment isn't anything like a vital part of an RPG. In fact, I'd say that alignment is actually hostile to role-playing.
    Play your character, not your alignment.

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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    Just showing you example of what exists outside of DnD, in Legend of the Wulin, which is a wuxia game, there are no good/law allignment, but there are virtues, which are separated into chivalrous and selfish. Example of chivalrous virtues are things like benevolence, honor, loyalty, and selfish virtues are things like ferocity, individualism, obsession, etc.

    They're not good or evil, a villain or a hero can be chivalrous. For example, you can have a honorable villain or loyal villain as much as a honorable or loyal hero, as much as you can have an individualist and obsessed hero as much as an individualist and obsessed villain. And how it works in the game is, you give scores on how much your character scores on each virtues on character creation, and in session, whenever someone in the table agree that you showcase a behaviour related to a virtue (any virtue, not necessarily one that your character have high scores), they throw you a token, which you can use for extra experience point or resource and such. But you get more token the higher your virtue scores are.This is supposed to make you want to showcase a virtue that your character scores high as much as possible, so you get the most out of it.

    For example, when you have a benevolent character with 4 benevolence score, when given choice, you'd rather let the villain go and make them promise not to rob anymore, because that showcase benevolence (why else would you make a benevolent character if you don't want him to showcase benevolence?), and you get 4 tokens out of it. If you decide to execute them, not only that it's out of character for your score, you only get 1 token out of it since your ruthlessness score is only one. Why would you make a benevolent character if you just want to execute people anyway? BUT you still can do it. Maybe they killed your favourite dog or whatever, and it's an out of character act in universe, people are surprised on that in game. You just get one token out of it though.
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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    This is what I feel like Unearthed Arcana was printed for.

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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    Yeah, LotW is an amazing game, especially because characters are much less identical than they appear (sure, everybody will be Rank 4 when the game begins and so have a Lake of 7, but they'll have different skill totals, be different Archetypes, and have developed their Kung Fu and Secret Arts differently). The Virtues are also really good, although I'll note that while in theory it all evens out in practice you might find some Virtues are more frequently coming up and rewarding those who invested in them, depending on how good at RP your players are.

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    It actually compares really well to modern D&D, and is a much better game than 5e despite having less rules.

    It really cares about two things, combat and the use of Secret Arts, both of which have the end result of creating or manipulating Chi Conditions. Sure, there's a skill system, but it's really vestigial beyond the bits required for the Secret Arts, as you're supposed to get back to the kung fu action. Everybody is balanced, because everybody has Kung Fu and everybody has access to at least one Secret Art, and then it's up to the player if they want to focus or diversify.

    But due to those systems the character focused on influencing emotions can still do stuff in combat, either participating in Kung Fu or talking his opponents out of the fight, while outside of combat the warrior can put themselves and others through training regimes to encourage certain traits. Warriors get the short end of the stick again, because their Secret Art is the hardest to actively use, but as it has so little to spend Destiny on they're encouraged to pick up another, if they don't want to just throw all their Destiny into more Kung Fu.

    Oh, and Loresheets are wonderful. A way to spend XP on story developments and tie in mechanical advantages with organisations and philosophies that doesn't make me want to scream, even though spending XP on story will make you weaker compared to spending it on Kung Fu and Secret Arts, there's a lot of story options which unlock mechanical effects as well and the suggestion of making more at player requests. 'Hey, I want an estranged master with a different philosophy to me, can I take it as a 3 Destiny Loresheet?'

    In fact, I love the philosophy loresheets, both the five Chinese philosophies and the deviant ones, despite them being a bit like alignment, because taking them is optional and they explicitly lay out codes.

    If I ever get to run it I'll probably have Virtues grant Joss and no Destiny, because I don't want people who just aren't as good at roleplaying to wind up with strictly worse characters.


    The short answer is that people who tend to play D&D will either love or hate alignment, those who tend not to in my experience either consider it unnecessary or just don't care.

    Personally I prefer systems such as 'list three personality traits, once per session per trait you get a Reroll Point when it comes up' or something similar, or a Fate style system where everybody is defined by descriptive phrases. No broad categories, just three simple traits to influence roleplaying. It also stops the 'but no evil characters' argument, I've played evil characters who got along well in parties of good guys because the system didn't try to slot us into categories and that's just how the RP fell.
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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    I actually think that a lot of suggestions made in this thread are AWESOME!, but I'm feeling silly, so:
    It's quite clear to me that the "9 point Alignment system" needs to be replaced with something more binary



    For example the stunning lack of Goblin hawtness invokes the well known philosophical principle of "Unde coboli qui deformem pro malo", and hot or not has a long and storied history of as the traditional way of how to tell if Evil, as I explained in the Is it evil to ambush some orcs? thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    Orcs?

    Of course it isn't evil!

    Especially if they're banging on those headache inducing wardrums!

    You'd be spreading civilization!

    Unless.....if some of the Orcs are totally hot.

    If they're some hot Orcs then what's evil is not going "native", joining the Orc tribe and learning their ways which are more in tune with nature and emotions and stuff, including extending bathing under waterfalls.

    Then you fight the non-Orcs who are clearly the evil ones.

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    But it has been suggested that this is not an "objective" way to determine morality:

    Quote Originally Posted by martianmister View Post
    No, but Hottyness is. For example, I think Malack was hot as hell, but that doesn't mean he's hot for everyone else. Being hot is a subjective criterion, it can't be used as an objective way to determine a creature's morality and alignment.

    To which I say NAY!!!

    As the hawt (smokin' or otherwise) clearly never commit such deeply vile acts as sarcasm and choosing milk rather than dark chocolate.

    There's NO FLAWS WITH THIS SYSTEM!!!

    Nope, ABSOLUTELY FLAWLESS OBJECTIVE REASONING WITH NO PROBLEMS!!!

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    Default Re: Substituting the alignment system

    Quote Originally Posted by michael199310 View Post
    There's rather hot discussion about alignments few threads below. People bash/defend this system but noone proposed any alternatives.
    Alternatives are abundant - game after game after game has been made with them, including alternative present in D&D 5e. On top of that just removing the system entirely and not replacing it leaves an entirely functional system.

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