Death to Alignment! (PFRPG) PDF

****½ (based on 2 ratings)

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Alignment System, I pronounce you guilty of being unfun! Death to Alignment! is a new supplement for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Designed for those gamers dissatisfied with the current morality system and its flaws, Death to Alignment not only has the tools every Game Master needs to remove it from their games, but a selection of cool and intriguing new option!

Included within this book are:

  • Alterations to existing classes, spells, magic items, and other alignment-focused rules
  • Variant morality systems, such as a 3-axis alignment of Good/Neutral/Evil
  • A new paladin archetype, feats, domains, and morality-free versions of popular spells!

If you always wanted to ditch the burdensome headaches alignment causes in your gaming group, then look no further! Death to Alignment! is here to answer your prayers!

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****½ (based on 2 ratings)

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

****( )

This supplement clocks in at 44 pages, 1 page front cover, ~1 page of artist contacts, 3 pages of SRD, leaving us with 39 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this supplement with 1 page of opening fiction before diving right into the nit and grit of this book's lofty goal - abolishing a system deeply ingrained in d20 and its derivatives. And, much like the author, I absolutely LOATHE the alignment-system. I consider it poison for portraying complex characters and have abolished it in my non-playtest games for more than 10 years. It took a lot of work to get there - but can this book take this effort and burden from a GM's shoulder's? Well, let's find out!

This book begins in a rather promising and didactically-relevant manner - by listing influences of alignment on rules-components by material influences: Whether it's classes, prestige classes, feats, traps or items - the pdf takes carefully stock of material covered and does so in a rather fine manner. After this handy list (which, with the new big rules-books may no longer be complete, but retains its usefulness), we dive into the respective rules-operations, beginning with options to strip classes of alignment. Interesting: The author takes the same route I did regarding clerics, rebranding them as clerics of life and death, respectively. Ranger's favored enemy outsiders obviously no longer have their subtype, slightly widening that component. Sorceror bloodlines are mentioned and particularly interesting would be the paladin - who now may detect magic, smite *any* hostiles...and replaces good/evil with heavenly/hellish - more on that later. Interesting, btw.: Bless Weapon bites the bullet to account for paladin power-increase and the Cloak/Aura spells are replaced by an alignment-neutral version.

In lieu of a Law Domain, we get the Control domain, instead of Evil Corruption, instead of Good Purity - etc. - these alternate domains are well-crafted and actually sport some interesting and thematically fitting domain powers. Since alignment is good, some rather detailed analysis is given on DR in concert with DR-bypassing. Now I mentioned heavenly et al. as new magic item properties - these are now applied by subtype. (Once again, just fyi - just how I handled that.) Sun blades now are problematic for undead and creatures with light blindness, etc. Overall, this pdf has me seriously impressed so far.

Beyond these carefully-filtered options, the pdf also sports variant alignment systems - the axis of purity vs corruption (see all anime with creepy angel-nazis ever for ideas how creepy purity can be...), a three alignment-system (good, neutral, evil) and a classic one based on Law, Neutrality and Chaos - here, somewhat erroneously called allegiance, but whatever - a total of 5 feats complement this system, which has this fuzzy tint of old-school-nostalgia.

I was somewhat surprised to see the obvious choice not in this book, the one I personally use: Allegiance to a concept of ideology: Be it faith, a form of government or a town. But oh well, I certainly won't bash the book for taking a different road when it does such a good job at it!

The book is not yet concluded, mind you: We also get some rather interesting though-experiments, the first would pertain a humble paladin and similar concepts that allow for an imho more concise depiction of paladins in a given context, including incremental punishments for code of conduct violations. Similarly, necromancy gets quite a bit of coverage, with multiple takes on why it may be stigmatized - from just having a bad rep to actually being toxic. A further experiment for human interaction that helps a GM realize the relativity of alignment nomenclature can be embarked upon as well and finally, advice on not sweating it too much and finally, the pdf contemplates what makes "evil" evil in game- and honestly...I don't concur here. RAW, it is pretty easy to make good guys do horrible things in PFRPG. In fact, from an out-game perspective, I consider most good guys EVIL. How many groups out there are like mine and enforce a "killing is not what good guys do, unless there is absolutely no other way"-policy? Yep, figured. The game's not made that way...and similarly, by applying real world ethics to game ethics, we open a fun can of worms. Just diverging in opinion here this should not be misconstrued as criticism of this book.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, certainly more refined than in the other books by Quasar Knight Enterprises I've read. Layout adheres to a1-column full-color standard, which is a bit annoying if you print this out: The pages have a yellow background that drains ink/toner like crazy. The pdf's artworks are in full-color and while rabid fans of Purple Duck Games may know them already, they *are beuatiful.* A big strike against a booklet like this, though, would be the lack of bookmarks Without them, electronic navigation is cumbersome and printing this, as mentioned, is a serious drain on the printer.

Ray Chapel's Death to Alignment is quite frankly by far the best book he's made in my opinion - it's concise, logical, well-presented and fun. But I wouldn't be me if I had no complaints, right? So there we go: One of the unfortunate realities of such a book is that it ages by definition - this is no exception. The game has moved on and this could use an expansion. For example, where would you draw the dividing line between paladin and antipaladin in such a setting? How would you depict shifts in tendencies? What about all the new classes and materials? This book, while detailed, obviously can't cover all of that...but it would be nice if it did....and that remains, content-wise, my one complaint.

Know what robs this of the seal and an even higher rating? The very printer-unfriendly presentation and the lack of bookmarks. This is a book you'll use often, one you'll consult multiple times...and consulting it, in either option, just isn't that comfortable. The topic is far from exhausted - and I honestly hope this'll get a sequel. Until then, I remain with a final verdict of 4 stars for a useful, if not perfect book.

Endzeitgeist out.


2/5 Short Term, 5/5 Long Term

*****

This supplement clocks in at 44 pages, including 37 pages of content. The interactions between alignment and the rules of Pathfinder are quite possibly the most criticized portion of the rules. Still, removing it is a nontrivial process. It’s easy enough to just say that everyone counts as True Neutral for rules purposes, and to remove the things that no longer have a function (like Detect Evil and aligned weapons). But removing elements of the core rules is tricky, because those rules are referenced in supplements. For example, many monsters get Detect Good as a spell-like ability, and alignment-based damage reduction is common. Making ad-hoc revisions to half the monsters in every monster manual ever written for the system is not something most end users want to do. Hence, this supplement aims to give a comprehensive set of adjustments to the core rules which make it easy to remove alignment-related rules from future supplements.
After a brief introduction, the first major section of this book summarizes the ways in which alignment interacts with the core game rules. It is a whopping nine page list of things that need to be addressed later in the book if the supplement is to achieve its stated mission. This section is largely stuff you already know, so it seems a bit like a waste of space. However, as a digital-only product, space is not exactly at a premium.
The next section is the heart of the book. Every game element in the core rules and some in the Advanced Player’s Guide which depends on alignment is modified. Some are simply tweaked, while others are given replacements (e.g., Magic Circle of Protection from <alignment> is replaced by a new spell called Magic Circle of Protection, so any class/monster/item which uses or gets Magic Circle of Protection from Evil by the core rules is instead modified to use Magic Circle of Protection). Base classes, prestige classes, spells, damage reduction, and items are all modified. The author also gives four new cleric domains to replace the alignment domains if you want each of the gods to keep the same number of domains. The entire process is quite succinct and easy to generalize to supplementary content not covered in this book.
Once you have separated alignment from the rules, you have three options. Firstly, you can continue to use alignment, just without it getting bogged down in the rules. Secondly, you can stop using alignment and just focus on roleplaying. Finally, you can introduce an alternate “alignment” system of in-game morality without having to worry about how it interacts with the game rules.
The final section of the book presents three alternate systems of alignment, which are all easy to implement because alignment has been removed from the game rules. None of them are particularly original, but they are there.
There are color illustrations scattered throughout this supplement.
Short Term Use: Editing and rules language are very clear. The formatting is somewhat jumbled, possibly to reduce the page count at the expense of readability (reduced page count shouldn’t be a high priority goal for a PDF-only product). There is no table of contents, nor does the PDF come with bookmarks. For a 44 page PDF, that’s a real hindrance in learning the system. Once you’ve been using these rules for a while, they fit naturally enough into the rest of the game that you likely won’t need to reference this PDF at the table very often, but when you are first learning it the lack of bookmarks can be a problem. The fact that every rule in this book is meant to apply for entire campaigns also means that it is less likely you will implement it immediately after getting the book. Thus, its Short Term Rating is a 2/5.
Long Term Use: This supplement makes short and elegant changes to the core Pathfinder rules, and does so in a way which continues to fit with almost all future and current supplements. You can expect to be using this product for as long as you are playing Pathfinder, and with very little to complain about it. Death to Alignment therefore earns a perfect 5/5 Long Term Rating.


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I wrote a review and uploaded it here and on OBS.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Apparently this product was updated recently. I was unable to download the new version.


Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop.

Liberty's Edge

So, how do you feel this ruleset works in comparison to the Removing Alignment rules from Pathfinder Unleashed?


They do similar things, but imho, none of them do it "completely" and extensively right. They both sport basic approaches and this one is a tad bit more expansive, but neither of them cover all the bases I happened upon during my own quest to eliminate alignment.

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