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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilDMMk3 View Post
    In before the flame war and lock...

    Anyway, Alignment works perfectly fine at the job it was invented for. Alignment allows you to have a world that functions under a clear, melodramatic, fantasy morality. Alignment works best in games of heroes and villains, of loyal knights and duplicitous thieves. It allows you to mark certain people are righteous without spending hours debating their motives, if allows you to commit what might be argued as warcrimes without it because you know that all members of the horde attacking you have malicious intent, it lets certain magic exist without being part of the PC's domain because it is just too evil to use.

    Alignment serves to facilitate the tone of the typical DnD game. It is a tool, like magic item tables and challenge ratings, it creates a certain tone and feel. If you want to play a game with dark and frustrated morality? Play a game built to facilitate that or be prepared to do surgery on those parts of DnD that exist to let the players be morally righteous and noble heroes fighting dark and perfidious evil.
    To me, this just runs the risk of "We're The Good Guys, so anything we do by definition is Good -- see, it even says so on our character sheets." That is, the aforementioned "team jersey morality".
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    I am 100% against Team Jersey Morality
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by redwizard007 View Post
    I... agree With Gallowglass?

    That hurt.
    A shot of penicillin will clear that right up.
    "The monk hits you a shattering blow in the kidneys, luckily this fixes a long standing alignment issue with your spine, gain +10 Move"

    "The evil wizard fireballs you, since the weather has been nasty you are now pleasantly warm, gain immunity from fear effects and cold and necrotic damage "

    "The drow cleric smashes you in the skull with an adamantine mace, this jogs your memory, regain all your used spell slots for the day"

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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    To me, this just runs the risk of "We're The Good Guys, so anything we do by definition is Good -- see, it even says so on our character sheets." That is, the aforementioned "team jersey morality".
    Oh sure, like I said its a tool and tools can be used well or poorly.

    Lets look at the grandfather of DnD, The Lord of the Rings. This is a setting with the sort of high fantasy morality I was talking about, and it has entire races of creatures that are explicitly all evil. Tolkien even said later that his biggest stumbling block with Orcs was trying to find a way their entire species could be evil without them being born evil, which he didn't feel was possible. We also have Sam muse on the reasons why an Easterling would be the way he was, but there is no doubt anywhere that that way is "evil." Its a world with titanic forces of malevolence, the Balrog and Sauron are Evil with a capitol MUHAHAHAHAHA!

    This doesn't make Boromir's fall any less tragic or his actions any less immoral. It doesn't make Treebeard's world view any less alien or Galadriel's temptation any less traumatic. It doesn't make the fundamental clash of Gimli and Legolas' world views any less difficult, or their eventual friendship any less valuable. It doesn't make Wormtonge's cowardice or Sam's earnestness any less poignant. It just paints these things in bright colours to heighten the contrast.

    If you want shades of gray, and I know a lot of people do, then no I would say you should ditch alignment, or else make 90% of the members of sapient races TN.
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    IMO, Shades of Grey (which is very much Eberron's thing) work better, not with 90% of people being TN, but with a near-even spread, like Eberron has.

    Result - Evil is not a minuscule minority that Good and Neutral can safely persecute - but a functioning part of society.
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    One thing that has always bothered me with the generally old-school position that "Orcs, goblins, etc., are always evil because that's what they're listed as in the Monster Manual" (not one I have seen here, but one I have seen) is that they never seem to apply the same logic to dwarves, elves, halflings, etc.
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    IMO, Shades of Grey (which is very much Eberron's thing) work better, not with 90% of people being TN, but with a near-even spread, like Eberron has.

    Result - Evil is not a minuscule minority that Good and Neutral can safely persecute - but a functioning part of society.
    I can see that. I was thinking more along the line of "If it isn't undeniably, undeniably GOOD with a capitol G double O D and a celestial chorus then it doesn't get the label." Charlie Bucket is good, The Trunchbul is Evil, everyone else has to work out where in the mass of neutral they stand.

    Shades of grey can be mistaken for black or white unless you include a reference material to remind everyone why they aren't.
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilDMMk3 View Post
    Charlie Bucket is good, The Trunchbul is Evil, everyone else has to work out where in the mass of neutral they stand.
    In your proposed model, Charlie wouldn't be Good, he'd be Neutral. And The Trunchbull would be only borderline evil unless Miss Honey's theory that she's a murderer, is correct.

    This is why I prefer the broader model - it allows Wormwood to be CE for all his cons, his bullying of Matilda, his selling of dangerously flawed cars, etc.
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    One thing that has always bothered me with the generally old-school position that "Orcs, goblins, etc., are always evil because that's what they're listed as in the Monster Manual" (not one I have seen here, but one I have seen) is that they never seem to apply the same logic to dwarves, elves, halflings, etc.
    I don't feel that old school (either 'as we played, back in the day' or the modern invention that is the old school renaissance) really have a consistent position on if orcs, goblins, etc. are always evil (nor, if they are always evil, why). Obviously, each individual rulebook had specific language, and good ol' Gary had lots to say on the subject (including a justification on killing orc babies that doesn't hold up to the slightest scrutiny), but I feel that that was given about as much weight as the Weapon vs. Armor Class table or the admonition against high level gaming because the gawds in Deities Demigods and Heroes were merely XYZ power level. The general zeitgeist was more 'these are listed as evil in the MM, and it's up to you to decide why (or if).' And frankly, it often was a hodgepodge.

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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    In your proposed model, Charlie wouldn't be Good, he'd be Neutral. And The Trunchbull would be only borderline evil unless Miss Honey's theory that she's a murderer, is correct.

    This is why I prefer the broader model - it allows Wormwood to be CE for all his cons, his bullying of Matilda, his selling of dangerously flawed cars, etc.
    I'm not going to detail this thread with a Charlie Bucket alignment argument, (although if going into teaching seemingly so you can torture children is only borderline I think the line got moved further than I imagined) as it meant it as an illustration. As I said, my recommendation for shades of grey is to rip out alignment. If you goal is to have a "are we the real mosnters" moment, you don't want someone to whip out a scroll and then say "Nope." Likewise if you are about to have a battle which may result in genocide being able to go "we know for a fact its this or let them do it to us" lets you have your Epic Fantasy Battle Scene without having to RP PTSD afterwards.

    Tools for jobs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    One thing that has always bothered me with the generally old-school position that "Orcs, goblins, etc., are always evil because that's what they're listed as in the Monster Manual" (not one I have seen here, but one I have seen) is that they never seem to apply the same logic to dwarves, elves, halflings, etc.
    Really strange thing I never get to bring up. The MM for 3.5 has three alignment levels, Always (which means exceptions are notable freaks of nature) Usually (which means exceptions are rare but are known to exist) and Often (which means this is the most likely alignment but others are not rare enough to be noteworthy).

    Or something like that.

    Anyway, not only are Orcs not Always CE (Always only applies to TN or stuff like Dragons or extra-planar creatures) Orcs are the the only creature in that entire book to use Often. Or at least I never found another one. And I looked. Years ago, I admit, but I looked.
    Last edited by Evil DM Mark3; 2019-09-10 at 11:44 AM.
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Dwarves are Often Lawful Good, and Duergar Often Lawful Evil:

    http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/dwarf.htm
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Dwarves are Often Lawful Good, and Duergar Often Lawful Evil:

    http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/dwarf.htm
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    Still it is weird that there are so few.
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilDMMk3 View Post
    That's what I get for opening my, er, fingers.

    Still it is weird that there are so few.
    Perhaps disagreement on the dev team on what the distinction between 'often' and 'usually' really was.

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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    Perhaps disagreement on the dev team on what the distinction between 'often' and 'usually' really was.
    "Often" means 40% to 50% inclusive. "Usually" means more than 50%. How much more, varies considerably. According to MM, Kobolds and Beholders are both Usually LE, but exceptions are much more common for Kobolds than for Beholders.
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie the Duck View Post
    I don't feel that old school (either 'as we played, back in the day' or the modern invention that is the old school renaissance) really have a consistent position on if orcs, goblins, etc. are always evil (nor, if they are always evil, why). Obviously, each individual rulebook had specific language, and good ol' Gary had lots to say on the subject (including a justification on killing orc babies that doesn't hold up to the slightest scrutiny), but I feel that that was given about as much weight as the Weapon vs. Armor Class table or the admonition against high level gaming because the gawds in Deities Demigods and Heroes were merely XYZ power level. The general zeitgeist was more 'these are listed as evil in the MM, and it's up to you to decide why (or if).' And frankly, it often was a hodgepodge.
    It's a fairly common position in some places I've hung out on line; not blaming anyone here.

    I'd be interesting in seeing the justification for killing orc babies you're talking about.
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  16. - Top - End - #46
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Gygax on "non-combatants in a humanoid group"

    https://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/v...11762&start=75


    The non-combatants in a humanoid group might be judged as worthy of death by a LG opponent force and executed or taken as prisoners to be converted to the correct way of thinking and behaving. A NG opponent would likely admonish them to change their ways before freeing them. A CG force might enslave them so as to correct their ways or else do as the NG party did. CN and LN opponents would likely slaughter the lot. Evil opponents would enlist, enslave, or execute them according to the nature of the Evil victors and that of the survivors. Enlistment would be for those of like alignment, slaughter for those opposite the victors' predisposition to order or disorder. Enslavement is an option for any sort of Evil desiring workers.


    Along with:

    Paladins are not stupid, and in general there is no rule of Lawful Good against killing enemies. The old addage about nits making lice applies.

    and

    A paladin is qualified to be judge and jury--assuming he is acting according to the oath he took to gain his status.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2019-09-10 at 01:21 PM.
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Gygax on "non-combatants in a humanoid group"

    https://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/v...11762&start=75


    The non-combatants in a humanoid group might be judged as worthy of death by a LG opponent force and executed or taken as prisoners to be converted to the correct way of thinking and behaving. A NG opponent would likely admonish them to change their ways before freeing them. A CG force might enslave them so as to correct their ways or else do as the NG party did. CN and LN opponents would likely slaughter the lot. Evil opponents would enlist, enslave, or execute them according to the nature of the Evil victors and that of the survivors. Enlistment would be for those of like alignment, slaughter for those opposite the victors' predisposition to order or disorder. Enslavement is an option for any sort of Evil desiring workers.


    Along with:

    Paladins are not stupid, and in general there is no rule of Lawful Good against killing enemies. The old addage about nits making lice applies.

    and

    A paladin is qualified to be judge and jury--assuming he is acting according to the oath he took to gain his status.

    And yet I get serious grief and told I'm "mistaking preference for fact" when I call Alignment monstrous and immoral...

    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    And yet I get serious grief and told I'm "mistaking preference for fact" when I call Alignment monstrous and immoral...

    That was alignment back in Gygax's day. A BoED character would lose their Exalted Feats for killing "orc noncombatants" - or orc combatants that had surrendered and been taken prisoner for judgement - even if attacking the village itself had been justified by their raids - raids that needed to be stopped.

    The act might even be classed as Murder and result in Corruption points (FC2) and a high risk of going to Baator (rising to certainty after the second untoned for Murder)

    BoED takes the approach that adventurers should not be acting as judge and jury over defeated, surrendered foes.

    And that attacking an orc village that is not raiding its neighbours, is not acceptable.


    Which is why I find your dislike of it so surprising, since it is such a vast improvement on what came before.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2019-09-10 at 01:55 PM.
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    That was alignment back in Gygax's day. A BoED character would lose their Exalted Feats for killing "orc noncombatants" - or orc combatants that had surrendered and been taken prisoner for judgement - even if attacking the village itself had been justified by their raids - raids that needed to be stopped.

    The act might even be classed as Murder and result in Corruption points (FC2) and a high risk of going to Baator (rising to certainty after the second untoned for Murder)

    BoED takes the approach that adventurers should not be acting as judge and jury over defeated, surrendered foes.

    And that attacking an orc village that is not raiding its neighbours, is not acceptable.


    Which is why I find your dislike of it so surprising, since it is such a vast improvement on what came before.
    It's so far in the other direction it has a different problem -- instead of permitting horrible acts "because good guys" (team jersey morality) and saying things like "lawful good can send prisoners to reeducation camps" and "kill orc children before they're orc adults"... it forbids things regardless of circumstances, going with a checklist deontology that cannot account for least bad option situations, or the non-omniscience and non-omnipotence of that character.

    E: I'm letting myself get sucked into this discussion topic again. I have my reasons for being severely put off by every version of Alignment I've read, leave it at that.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2019-09-10 at 02:26 PM.
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  20. - Top - End - #50
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Personally, I think the "golden mean" between Gygaxian morality and BoED morality, is a lot closer to the BoED end, than the Gygaxian end.

    (I also think 4e's "leave mechanical penalties out of it" approach was a good start).
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2019-09-10 at 02:29 PM.
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    "Often" means 40% to 50% inclusive. "Usually" means more than 50%. How much more, varies considerably. According to MM, Kobolds and Beholders are both Usually LE, but exceptions are much more common for Kobolds than for Beholders.
    I know what it's stated to mean, that doesn't mean that that everyone on the design team was going to use it that way, nor agreed that monster X should be often or usually, nor frankly necessarily remembered that they both existed (it reminds me of Int, Cha, and Str saves in 5e that way).

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    And yet I get serious grief and told I'm "mistaking preference for fact" when I call Alignment monstrous and immoral...
    Well, firstly, everyone here discussing that quote was calling it out as bad. Secondly, it falls under the "That stinks and they should change it.""They did." stuff we've been through. Painting every iteration of alignment with this brush (which, what, 2-3 of us present were even aware of the existence of) is fairly over-broad. Thirdly, which is more likely, that entire groups of unrelated individuals are just being completely unreasonable to you, or that there is something about the way you go about things that engenders confrontation? But mostly, fourthly, Gygax was undeniably ham-handed in discussing (ham-tongued?) a lot more than just alignment. If the lens that we judge D&D (even just TSR-era D&D) is through the lens of what Gary had to say about things, well boy does that change things. It kind of becomes Lucas and Star Wars, except with Gygax, even he didn't agree with himself on what the game was or how it should be played (which is to say he changed his mind on things, including some very fundamental things). That kind of gets us to navel-gazing questions like what the 'real D&D' was --what was written in the books, what was written in the books plus supplemental material like op ed. columns in Dragon, how Gary and his band played it, how others played it (which Mark Hall and my differing experience highlights was not homogenous), etc. etc. etc.

    Suffice to say, if you want to have a negative impression of D&D alignment, there is more than enough material there to support that conclusion. I'm honestly more inclined to agree with your impression on BoED-era 3e alignment, as it was clear that they took it fairly seriously. In the TSR era, I at least think there's reason to believe that it was mostly just a hand-wavy way to explain why the dungeon denizens were acceptable targets and the reason that it holds up like wet tissue is that it wasn't considered that important.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    BoED takes the approach that adventurers should not be acting as judge and jury over defeated, surrendered foes.

    And that attacking an orc village that is not raiding its neighbours, is not acceptable.

    Which is why I find your dislike of it so surprising, since it is such a vast improvement on what came before.
    I'm not Max, and he can explain his reasoning. For me, as I was alluding to, BoED takes the whole thing more seriously. People use the term 'video-gamey' as an insult for TTRPGs and it's not clear to me why. However, much of the game, bitd (at least for some) was- 'scenario: here is a dungeon, it is full of treasure and monsters. They're the 'bad guys' (why? well, uh, trust us, they've done bad stuff and will do the same to you if they catch you). You're goal is to get the treasure from them and get it back to town. Why? Because it's fun!' Does it not hold up to rigorous scrutiny? Of course not! It wasn't meant to*! Unless you wanted it to, and you were trusted to make that work for you if you did.
    *And yes, the didactic tone of the AD&D DMG that people rarely read through cover-to-cover (and used without alteration even less) is in opposition to this point, but even its' author went back and forth on whether to treat is as sacrosanct

    Personally, I think the "golden mean" between Gygaxian morality and BoED morality, is a lot closer to the BoED end, than the Gygaxian end.

    (I also think 4e's "leave mechanical penalties out of it" approach was a good start).
    I'll vote 5e's (descriptive, not proscriptive) take as the best I've seen of the D&D takes. Not super familiar with 4e's alignment discussion, but it sounds similar.
    Last edited by Willie the Duck; 2019-09-10 at 02:57 PM.

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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    (I also think 4e's "leave mechanical penalties out of it" approach was a good start).
    And 5e was nice for continuing that trend. Really, the deeper issue is how often 3.x D&D is treated as the universal default for all RPGs.

    Otherwise, all I can do is repeat something I said upthread. On the one hand, you're never going to fully excise alignment. It's handy for a lot of simple heroism stories that people like to tell, and more importantly it's been around forever and is part of D&D brand identity by now. (For very liberal uses of the word "forever", granted.) On the other hand, it falls apart if you think about it too hard and gets in the way of many other stories. As such, it should be easy to excise for people who don't want it.

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    d6 Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Looking at your first post I gave you a real in game situation.

    Your a DM did you find the dwarf that climbed the tree to be what alignment?

    The monk that asked for a pledge what alignment.

    The dwarf that murdered the wizard.

    The others that cast spells on themselves or did nothing.

    The wizard that wanted to stop the minor theft?

    These are all actions that were taken as a DM your job if you do not like the alignment system is to judge the actions on the soul of the PC otherwise your right it is meaningless.

    You have 10 actions that contribute to an overall what are you in the universe.
    Last edited by denthor; 2019-09-10 at 03:23 PM.
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    And yet I get serious grief and told I'm "mistaking preference for fact" when I call Alignment monstrous and immoral...

    That iteration of alignment was particularly awful. My introduction to alignment in D&D was in that edition with the sidebar that explicitly said that CN acts randomly because LOLZ! and the TN would totally switch sides in the middle of a fight because reasons.

    Hmm, come to think of it 3rd ed was also awful, but in a different way.

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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    I donít like alignment. As a DM, I donít require it, but I donít stop players from including it if they want to.

    As a player, I will include something if the DM insists, but I judge fellow players on their acts, not their alignment, and even evil acts lead me to try to redeem the character, not skewer them.

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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    I like the Alignment System just fine and have used it for decades.

    On the Cosmic there are Forces, Beings snd Creatures that are pure Alignments that are all against each other...if not in out right war with each other.

    Down to Earth...each living being choices the alignment they want to be by thier actions.

  27. - Top - End - #57
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Goblin

    Join Date
    Mar 2019

    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Devils - Creatures from another thread of reality. Their very matter is alien to ours and being in our thread of reality for long is painful and can be deadly. They have been at war with the celestial realities for aeons. Sometimes hot wars, sometimes cold wars. They seek to add other realities to their own in order to strengthen their reality for the ongoing/coming conflict. They tend to work through local agents. Those exposed to the infernal reality are typically changed by it.

    Angels - Creatures from another thread of reality. Their very matter is alien to ours and being in our thread of reality for long is painful and can be deadly. They have been at war with the infernal realities for aeons. Sometimes hot wars, sometimes cold wars. They seek to add other realities to their own in order to strengthen their reality for the ongoing/coming conflict. Some of them are motivated to protect other realities from the predation of infernal and/or abyssal realities. This protection can sometimes be given whether or not it is desired.

    Demons - Creatures from another thread of reality. Their very matter is alien to ours and being in our thread of reality for long is painful and can be deadly. Cosmologists differ as to whether these were once devils or angels (and since devils were once angels it doesn't particularly matter). They exist in frozen loops of time where all energy has been consumed and nothing new ever happens, for an infinite time that they can't ignore. They are insane and desperate for new experiences, new time, new energy. When they encounter a new reality they corrupt local agents and attempt to break through and consume everything, destroying the entire thread with their ravenous consumption.

    Aliens - Creatures from another thread of reality. Their very matter is alien to ours and being in our thread of reality for long is painful and can be deadly. These beings are so alien to our existence that their actions are incomprehensible.

    The energy of these creatures is detectable and is something that magically studying a person/creature will reveal.

    For those untouched by these other realities I tend to take the words used in the alignment system and replace them with words that describe concepts I associate with those words. If someone does a magical investigation of a creature or person I can look at the alignment notes I have on them, scribble some of the associated words on a piece of paper, and hand that to the player to give them an impression.

    And that's how I deal with the alignment system.

  28. - Top - End - #58
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Frozen City
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    "Often" alignments are the good guys. You can trust them as long as you don't disrespect their culture.

    "Usually" alignments are foreigners. Don't trust them, stay away from them.

    "Always" alignments are aliens. Kill on sight or run away as fast as you can.
    "Movement speed is the most important statistic in this game."

    "Give them no mercy for they give no mercy to us."

    "I see one of those I kill it!"

  29. - Top - End - #59
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Use it for it's mechanical effects - Can the Paladin Smite me?, Will Unholy blight hurt? http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0011.html or you need to house rule how such powers work or that they don't.
    Use it as shorthand for which "side" a person is on if that's the way your players, your characters or the campaign work.

    But always remember, alignment is not personality. Whether you make the personality fit the alignment (so you can play a paladin for example) or the alignment fit the personality (every character where alignment is not a defining feature).
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


  30. - Top - End - #60
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Bamako

    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    I don't like alignment systems, especially ones with "Good" and "Evil", as they often complicate a more nuanced approach to adventures where it might not always be clear who's in the right and who's in the wrong. Zealots and Well-Intentioned Extremists are much harder to justify in such frameworks.
    The Law-Chaos axis could be interesting but it's not very well executed in D&D, where they try to associate too many things with each of the two opposites that are not necessarily related.

    An alignment system that would be more like for instance the colour wheel of Magic, the Gathering could be more interesting, with each colour representing one or more values a person of that alignment would value the most. Eg. liberty, justice, tradition, progress, knowledge.

    A Paladin type of character class doesn't necessary need an alignment system. An oath and a set of do's and don't's, that can even vary from one order to another, can work just as well (and maybe even better) without an alignment system. It would also be a much better explanation of why a character like Miko didn't fall any earlier.

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