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I do think some sort of alignment needs top be enforced. Or it ends up turning into a free for all at the table. I have played in games where Paladins are properly roleplayed. In some where thy are either lawful stupid or dirty harry with a shield and sword. I was at odds with one gaming group one time because they torched a hobgoblin nursery without any hesistation. I refused to do so. Being told "well they would probably grow up to be the enemy " was simply imo not playing in character or very heroic. Nor is playing a Lawful Good character who has tries to to haggle a fee to help someone.
I'm not saying alignment has to be a strait jacket in terms of roleplaying. There is a reason tit's so tied into the D&D. If one wants to play himself at the gaming table I encourage it. I also enforce a alignment if a player decides to take a class whose abilites are tied to a alignment. I have a barbarian cohort who at the start of the fight was trying was on top of a stone hut trying to break his way in to get at a enemy inside. I realized that was not proper barbarian behavior. Stopped. Ran to the edge of the hut jumped off and macked a Vrock off the side of the head. I took a AOO yet it just seemed more in character.
I'm starting to notice a trend in the D&D gaming community. First low attributes are not meant to be penalties as they can be role played away. Alignment nah I don't feel like playing one it gets in the way of roleplaying. There are plenty of other fantasy rpg out on the market if one does not want to play within the restrictions of D&D. Such as Fate. I think many gamers here would like it's narrative and freeform nature.
I see now that we are miles apart on play style. I wouldnt want alignment either if It was as hard coded as you seem to imply here.