The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    May 2018

    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    1) I throw away any alignment restriction. Want to make a Chaotic Good paladin? Sure, just explain me what kind of chaotic good god you want to serve, why they would want a paladin, and I'm even ok to add this god to the pantheon if it didn't already exist.

    2) I disconnect magical alignment from philosophical alignment. This include changing, if not trowing away, how the afterlife works in official settings, but I've never really liked them anyway. Mortal peoples only have neutral magical alignment unless they use magic from an aligned source (so a cleric will always be detected with the alignment of its god, regardless of his philosophical alignment). Philosophical alignment is purely descriptive, mostly undetectable (mind reading can detect it), and as worthy as other traits of personality you write on you character sheet.
    Last edited by MoiMagnus; 2019-09-11 at 06:55 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #62
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Mar 2019

    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by MoiMagnus View Post
    1) I throw away any alignment restriction. Want to make a Chaotic Good paladin? Sure, just explain me what kind of chaotic good god you want to serve, why they would want a paladin, and I'm even ok to add this god to the pantheon if it didn't already exist.

    2) I disconnect magical alignment from philosophical alignment. This include changing, if not trowing away, how the afterlife works in official settings, but I've never really liked them anyway. Mortal peoples only have neutral magical alignment unless they use magic from an aligned source (so a cleric will always be detected with the alignment of its god, regardless of his philosophical alignment). Philosophical alignment is purely descriptive, mostly undetectable (mind reading can detect it), and as worthy as other traits of personality you write on you character sheet.
    Still no like button. I could really use a like button for posts like this.

  3. - Top - End - #63
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Mar 2007

    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corneel View Post
    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.
    Would you drop a Paladin's Smiting power or change who it can target?
    I love playing in a party with a couple of power-gamers, it frees me up to be Elan!


  4. - Top - End - #64
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Duff View Post
    Would you drop a Paladin's Smiting power or change who it can target?
    Handle it like 5e does? It's called Divine Smite and deals radiant damage (which if I understand well would hurt undead a bit more than normal people).
    ETA: correction: it's the divine smite that does an extra die of damage to fiends and undead, not the fact that it is radiant
    Last edited by Corneel; 2019-09-11 at 07:32 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #65
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Devil

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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corneel View Post
    Handle it like 5e does? It's called Divine Smite and deals radiant damage (which if I understand well would hurt undead a bit more than normal people).
    ETA: correction: it's the divine smite that does an extra die of damage to fiends and undead, not the fact that it is radiant
    You see, I don't like linking Smite actions to PoV or just whoever, because it can end up in situations where Paladins call down the wrath of god on that same god's own disciples. And if you start adjudicating it on a case by case basis you can end up in situations where you get into MORE ethical and philosophical debates that slow the game down, not fewer.

    As for non-LG paladins, sure I can see it. LN and LE Paladins work with a little retooling. Not other alignments however. I don't see the logic in the forces of CG granting powers based on adhering to the tennants of an oath and code of conduct. That's, well, almost definitionally Lawful. I did once play a game where Barabarian was portrayed as the Chaotic champion, that could work.
    GNU Terry Pratchett

  6. - Top - End - #66
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Knaight's Avatar

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    Aug 2008

    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    I don't use it at all, and consider overly intertwined mechanical implementation of alignment a deal breaker. I'm fine with personality codification of some sort or other, but that particular implementation has never worked for me for a number of reasons.

    The Gygax quote upthread is a good example of it working exceptionally poorly, but then flagrantly ignoring everything Gygax suggests is the one true way to play RPGs is pretty much my core style.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

  7. - Top - End - #67
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilDMMk3 View Post
    You see, I don't like linking Smite actions to PoV or just whoever, because it can end up in situations where Paladins call down the wrath of god on that same god's own disciples. And if you start adjudicating it on a case by case basis you can end up in situations where you get into MORE ethical and philosophical debates that slow the game down, not fewer.
    Actually, it works fine if you allow this only to give them enough rope to hang themselves with.

    So, in the heat of the moment, they can use smite "illegally" against innocents or members of their own order. But then they have to deal with the fallout. Repeated offenses (or one especially aggregious one) causes them to Fall and requires atonement.

    I feel like this allows the game to not get stuck in the debate, but pressures the player to try to make good choices. If they thought it was right and they picked wrong, there's enough leniency for them to learn without instantly fizzling their Smite.

    I like to think that allowing a paladin to commit wrongdoing only to realize it later is by itself a pretty harsh reprimand. Being the good guy is pretty central to their motivation.

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilDMMk3 View Post
    As for non-LG paladins, sure I can see it. LN and LE Paladins work with a little retooling. Not other alignments however. I don't see the logic in the forces of CG granting powers based on adhering to the tennants of an oath and code of conduct. That's, well, almost definitionally Lawful. I did once play a game where Barabarian was portrayed as the Chaotic champion, that could work.
    That's a really cool idea and it reminds me of ideas I've played with to make Paladin a scaling Feat rather than a class. You take an oath based on your alignment, bonds, and ideals, and gain one of a few level scaling benefits as long as you keep your oath (but, I like moderate enforcement and leniency here; the oath shouldn't feel empty nor a gotcha trick).

    This way you get those chaotic champion barbarians who can smite or maybe a neutral fighter paladin who basically functions as a Knight
    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    Some play RPG's like chess, some like charades.

    Everyone has their own jam.

  8. - Top - End - #68
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilDMMk3 View Post
    You see, I don't like linking Smite actions to PoV or just whoever, because it can end up in situations where Paladins call down the wrath of god on that same god's own disciples. And if you start adjudicating it on a case by case basis you can end up in situations where you get into MORE ethical and philosophical debates that slow the game down, not fewer.

    As for non-LG paladins, sure I can see it. LN and LE Paladins work with a little retooling. Not other alignments however. I don't see the logic in the forces of CG granting powers based on adhering to the tennants of an oath and code of conduct. That's, well, almost definitionally Lawful. I did once play a game where Barabarian was portrayed as the Chaotic champion, that could work.
    Well a paladin should be careful how he uses the powers he's given, and if he's regularly smiting his non-heretic co-religionaries, then there might be some need for atonement coming his way. And if you feel that the patron god of paladin should simply refuse to allow the smite, ask yourself the question if at each use of a spell or power by a cleric you check whether it advances the portfolio of the god he serves to check if it works or not.

    I'd imagine the gods allow some leeway in the use of the powers they grant to their followers and servants but that abuse tallies up, and there will be first a few warnings (omens, dreams), then the revocation of some privileges (smiting power, especially if that was the power abused) before they are finally let off.

    Also, some paladins follow not a god but general principles, so in that case the idea of abuse (or misguided use) of power being prevented by divine intervention is even less applicable.
    Last edited by Corneel; 2019-09-12 at 05:31 AM.

  9. - Top - End - #69
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    May 2019
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    Tennessee

    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    “They’re not actual rules. They’re more like— guidelines.”
    — Captain Barbosa.

    (And what alignment is he, any way? Lawful Evil? If so, he’s very “convenient” about it...)

    However, when I’m running D&D at the library for teens, I’m a lot more strict about alignment, as a way to keep the inevitable edge lord and “I’m chaotic! I randomly attack the party” abuses in check. So, no, your paladin can’t torture the goblin who just surrendered, and no, your chaotic good thief can’t steal the PC wizard’s magic dagger when he’s not looking. (Well, unless it would be funny...) But that’s an issue of dealing with immature players and inexperienced role play than a true function of alignment. (Plus, as a public servant working with minors who come from different backgrounds and value systems, I have to maintain a tight watch on certain thematic elements and other concepts that may come up in play.)

    As I understand it, the point of alignment really was to capture some of the good vs. evil, civilization v. barbarism elements of the original inspirations for the game. It was also an easy short-hand for discovering who were the party’s enemies and who were not. To some extent it also skips over questions regarding the justification of violence in the game, though I don’t think that was the initial intent. And, yes, it’s an easy guide for the DM and the players to find a “ground floor” for character and creature personality and motivations. So a broad brush approach is a good idea. But really it’s not all that necessary, and honestly I view it as a “metagame” concept, not an “in world” concept. So a player may know the cleric is lawful good, but the character herself doesn’t know that as a term, or view her actions in that prism. Instead, she is altruistic and respectful of society’s moral and legal expectations (assuming a generally “good” society), if she thinks of it as those terms— more likely it’s “I try to help others whenever I can, and obey the dictates of my deity and the just laws of the rightful king.”
    Therefore, I treat “alignment languages” as merely consisting of commonly understood concepts, jargons, references that people of similar viewpoints will share, rather than an actual language. Certainly concepts that have no moral, ethical, or similar relevance wouldn’t be communicable in an “alignment language.” You might be able to discuss theology or the latest political action, but not how to make a pie, or give directions to the local tavern.
    Also, the simplest solution for everything else is to rid the game of know alignment spells, etc.., and narrow it down to detect evil/good as giving a sensation of general “bent” or current intent in a character (but white-hot certainty in significant creatures like celestials, dragons, etc..).
    “New rule! DON’T PICK UP THE EVIL NECROSTICK!”— One of my teen players.
    So of course, one of the others immediately did.

  10. - Top - End - #70
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Apr 2015
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    Mid-Rohan
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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Library DM View Post
    Barbosa.

    (And what alignment is he, any way? Lawful Evil? If so, he’s very “convenient” about it...)
    I think the main cast was an exploration of different kinds of Chaotic alignments (important to remember Chaotic characters can have personal codes of ethics/conduct and even limited systems of authority, it just tends to be flexible and volatile, which is exactly what we see in the movies). I would peg Barbosa CN, though he borderlines with the Evil axis based on how he seems to enjoy small acts of cruelty. He's not even that strong Chaotic and is close to True Neutral on both sides.
    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    Some play RPG's like chess, some like charades.

    Everyone has their own jam.

  11. - Top - End - #71
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: How do you work with alignment system?

    I'm very "old school" in my approach to DMing (just look at my posts here as proof). I follow a system similar to Professor Dungeon Master's of the Dungeon Craft YouTube channel (SHAMELESS PLUG HERE!).

    My system keeps alignment "obscured" [hidden?] from the players. They all start out basically NEUTRAL and can tend towards GOOD or EVIL by the deeds they perform during the play session. Good deeds build PIETY or basically "positive Karma." Bad deeds build CORRUPTION (yes I "borrowed" this from Dungeon Craft) or "bad Karma." The players never know how many points they have accumulated but they will know which way they are "trending towards" when that Protection From Evil or Protection From Good spell affects THEM TOO! I have a 25 point track. 5 points are NEUTRAL, 10 points are GOOD and 10 points are EVIL. The players start smack in the middle of NEUTRAL. Once a player moves from NEUTRAL, the system begins to affect ALL social interactions with NPCs (and even monsters) either positively or negatively based on which way the character is "leaning" philosophically.

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