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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default New alignment system

    Rather than an alignment system based on attributes like how good someone is, I suggest one based on normative ethics. That is, based on what one believes morality is. It has two dimentions, the ideals, and how well they're followed.

    First, the ideals:
    Consequentialism:
    The belief that the morality of an action is based on its result. For example, they might think killing hitler to prevent the halocaust would be good, because it would prevent the halocaust.
    Deontology:
    The belief that the morality of an action is based on your duties and people's rights. For example, they might think killing hitler to prevent the halocaust would be bad, because it's bad to kill someone who hasn't done anything wrong (yet).
    Virtue Ethics:
    The belief that morality is based on character rather than actions. For example, they might think someone who kills hitler to prevent the halocaust is good, because they're trying to do the right thing.

    How well they're followed:
    Strong:
    These characters do what they believe is right.
    Medium:
    These characters tend to do what they believe is right, but they make exceptions.
    Weak:
    These characters do what they want, but judge others based on their idea of morality. They also try to justify their actions. These characters aren't necessarily evil. Many are altruists who help other people simply because they like to.
    Amoral:
    This is an alignment on its own. An amoral character has put no thought into morality, usually because they can't. Either they have an intelligence score of 2 or less, or they have something wrong with their brain.

    Unfortunately, you may need to use more specific theories in order to get an accurate idea of what a character is. For example, Belkar appears to be a medium or strong egoist, a subtheory of consequentialism, but at first glance you'd expect him to be only weakly moral, if not amoral. I only know anything more specific about utilitarianism, so if you want a more specific alignment, you should probably look up whatever it's a subdivision of.
    This system probably wouldn't work too well with D&D, which has alignments pretty strongly built into it, but if you have a different RPG you might want to use it. You also probably could get this to work if you tried hard enough. For example, making detect evil detect anyone the god the caster worships would consider evil, and making the helm of opposite alignment change your alignment to whatever you despise the most.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Hazkali's Avatar

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    Default Re: New alignment system (PEACH)

    Oooo...it looks like someone has been doing Ethics at school.

    Personally, I think this should replace the Ethical (Law-Chaos) axis than the whole alignment system, as it's easy to see a situation where two people share a similar type of belief but believe in completely different moral absolutes/imperatives/virtues (by type). Obviously in the "Real World" you don't have knowledge of an absolute good and evil, and if that's what you're aiming for, then fine. But for D+D I think it would work best if qualified either by "Good-Neutral-Evil", or else by religion/moral code.

    For example, you could have the "Consequentialist [Bentham]"s bickering with the "Consequentialist [Mill]"s, who are both at war with the "Deontologist [Kant]"s and the "Virtue [Aristotle]"s.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: New alignment system (PEACH)

    That's why I suggested using the more specific versions sometimes. I was also considering modifiers, such as whether consequentialism is act or rule, or if it's hedonistic, eudaimonic, or something else.

    Doesn't the problem you mentioned also exist in D&D as it is? Didn't Miko and Hinjo, both lawful good, fight almost to the death? I don't see how having good/evil to will help that. In your example, who's good? Who's evil? If you DM two people of the same theory but with incompatible variants, what do you think will happen when you call one neutral?

    I was considering having the theories replacing law/chaos and the weakly/strongly replace good/evil, but there'd be no way to agree on which theory replaces what, and in D&D the evil characters usually just have twisted ideals, making them strongly something.

    By the way, I never took philosophy of any kind at school (except art in grade school). I learned the stuff I mentioned on Wikipedia, but I figured out Utilitarian long before that.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Vadin's Avatar

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    Default Re: New alignment system

    Have you read this comic?
    Marvelous avatar by the brilliant and illustrious Ceika


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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: New alignment system

    I never liked any alignment system. They are always to restricting. In the case of D&D its restrictive to the point whare the books defines your character instead of you.

    Rifts had a good idea for alignment. It wasnt a your good or evil thing but let you pick a personality type. I think it would be alot easyer of you have general guide lines of whats good or bad depending on the culture the characters come from along with how they behave.

    Although trying to figure out an alignment system can be a good way to get into a discution about morality and ethics in general.

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: New alignment system

    Since alignment information is scattered throughout the rulebooks, over three different editions, and also found in other non-D&D sources, I've compiled all of the alignment information I have in my library and put it on a website. It may be helpful. Most of the time a rulebook or a source will only give a paragraph or two describing the alignment. This is hardly enough to describe an entire metaphysical, ethical, and social philosophical viewpoint. However, when all of these individual paragraphs are put together on one page, it is easy to see what each alignment represents.

    I haven't found anything yet that delves deeper into each alignment, so I have to be content with my borrowed paragraphs and lists. I'm still adding more content and I'm working on referencing everything. Some original material that you might find interesting is a description of how each alignment could correspond to real-world philosophies. I'm not an expert on philosophy, and I may be slightly (or way) off on what I see as correspondences, but it's a start.

    http://www.easydamus.com/alignment.html

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: New alignment system

    I agree with Hawriel. No matter how you slice alignment, the key is to make it descriptive rather than proscriptive. I've played a nice system where there are very few in-world cosmic penalties for roleplaying against character, but outside the world players are rewarded with points that can be exchanged for undoing failed saving throws and things like that.

    But I applaud your efforts, as alignment in D&D is seriously bricked. Sheesh, it's harder to change or conceal your belief system than it is to change or conceal your gender -- isn't a sign that something is wrong with the model of your world?

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: New alignment system

    Very cute comic.

    The thing you'll want to keep in mind with this ethics system is that people declare surface religious/philosophical differences, which may be very different from their actual ethical systems. I mean, Christian sects may well go to war over the question of transsubstantiation. But each sect will contain the full spectrum on the question "to what extent can the ends justify the means?"

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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: New alignment system

    I would suggest including a "no morality" sort of option for animals and the like, instead of putting them in with amorality. Some characters may well be able to smite amoral people for whatever reason, but I doubt that would extend to animals and mindless oozes.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: New alignment system

    Doesn't amorality mean no morality? Are you confusing it with immorality? If not, what's the difference?

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: New alignment system

    Quote Originally Posted by DanielLC View Post
    Doesn't amorality mean no morality? Are you confusing it with immorality? If not, what's the difference?
    "Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, at least they have an ethos"

    So there's kind of a notion that an intelligent person must have a belief, even if that belief is in nothing. An unintelligent animal (not dogs) simply has nothing to believe with. Rabbits are not nihilists.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Vadin's Avatar

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    Default Re: New alignment system

    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    Rabbits are not nihilists.
    Simply because I find that absolutely hilarious, I must carry on this line of thought. While rabbits may not be nihilists, they certainly do seem to exhibit the ideal that everything is going to run out, and no system can maintain complete conservation of energy. They only feed on the most basic and plentiful of food sources practical for animals of their size (this food being grass and small vegetable matter), and they attempt to preserve this food as long as possible and derive as much use from a dwindling supply by repeatedly devouring their own nutrient-ridden feces.

    In short, where does eating your own poop fit into your proposed system of morality? Or does it all depend on why you eat the poop?
    Marvelous avatar by the brilliant and illustrious Ceika


  13. - Top - End - #13
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: New alignment system

    Quote Originally Posted by Riffington View Post
    "Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, at least they have an ethos"

    So there's kind of a notion that an intelligent person must have a belief, even if that belief is in nothing. An unintelligent animal (not dogs) simply has nothing to believe with. Rabbits are not nihilists.
    By amoral I mean no belief. Not nihilist. As I mentioned in the description, if something with an intelligence score greater than two is amoral, it's probably insane.

    Oh, and does matter why you eat the poop. If it's instinct, you're either weakly moral or amoral.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Vadin's Avatar

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    Default Re: New alignment system

    So, under this system, a paladin and a necromancer can both eat poop and think of themselves as doing 'good' acts, but each think that the other is eating poop for all the wrong reasons.

    I approve of and endorse this, for all the wrong reasons.
    Marvelous avatar by the brilliant and illustrious Ceika


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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: New alignment system

    D&D alignments from a beggarnomic point of view

    Lawful Good: Works at the local soup kitchen, walks around downtown and parks handing out pamphlets for shelters, and joins petitions and marches to help spread awareness of the plight of the suffering beggars. Generally feels good about what they've done at the end of the day

    Neutral Good: Gives 2-10 dollars to every beggar he walks by and then feels bad that he cannot give more or else compromize his chosen lifestyle. Tries to help in some community based ways. Then he thinks about the beggars before going to sleep in his soft, warm bed and cries.

    Chaotic Good: Says, "F*ck it," and gives the beggar 100 dollars that he just took out of the bank, and then gives the beggar his phone number to use in a job reference. Totally fakes a british accent and gets the beggar the job, high fives are shared over a beer later.

    Lawful Neutral: Gives the beggar a dollar but lodges a complaint with the city over the amount of beggars in the streets. Later he votes on a city project to construct new shelters but approves a bill that will ban drug using beggars from occupying them.

    True Neutral: Looks at the beggar for a moment, while pondering whether or not money given will help the socio-economic status of the city and world around him. After a minute he gives up, tosses 53 cents at the begging hat to seem at the very least half-generous, and goes to Starbucks to drink a latte.

    Chaotic Neutral: Walks by the beggar with a sandwich and says, "Mmmm! This sandwich is sooooo good!". Later buys the beggar a sandwich (but with no mayonaise or bacon in it) and asks where he can score some crack.

    Lawful Evil: Has the police pull the beggar off the street for loitering, and then forces him into a third-rate shelter so that the streets look cleaner. Derives satisfaction that he's upheld the system while ridding the streets of a menace.

    Neutral Evil: While walking by the sleeping beggar notices that he left his change hat lying out. He takes a quick look around, then shrugs and pockets the money. He buys his friends a round at the bar later, and they all laugh about it.

    Chaotic Evil: Physically assaults the beggar for asking for change and then pisses on him when he's unconcious. Gets a killer rep in prison for doing this.
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