How do you use alignment? Do you?


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I removed it from my campaign setting, but I use it when I theorycraft character backstories in case I use the character under a different GM. I have several reasons. I touch up against issues that are major political arguments IRL, and I don't want to start throwing up alignments to those involved in those issues. In the setting backstory, humans and various allies killed all the gods but one, and that god is a horrid creature, so alignment isn't being enforced from above and humans are free to define their own moral compass. We don't have a cosmic or absolute ruling on what good and evil are. Finally, the setting revolves around government agents who keep the biggest threats in the monster population under control and deal with rogue mages, both of which are extremely dangerous jobs. This slants the game towards Law and towards Good heavily enough that I find it better to just have people be people instead of tagging them with an alignment when the game itself is heavily biased towards certain parts of the spectrum. Law and Good are very easily conflated when looking through the eyes of those who uphold law and order, and Chaotic Good is just going to cause trouble. Maybe even more than Chaotic Neutral or True Neutral. If that much of the alignment spectrum is problematic, it's easier to get rid of it and just say "You are an elite Crown Agent. Please role play accordingly." then have an alignment system where most alignments don't fit the game well.

So, what about you guys?

The Exchange

My group has always used alignment so we've never seen a reason to play without it. We have also had the variances of campaigns from it being a huge deal (The party was a band of would-be villains being chased by paladins with Detect Evil) to not even an issue (campaign where it was more about political intrigue and court life). For the most part though we keep it purely because of the number of spells that exist that require alignment to even work. Such as the Magic Circle spells.

At this point in our career, alignment truly only represents the level of caricature... or parody we put into our characters. The lawful evil monk was only lawful because he wouldn't kill women or children, but he was evil because he'd do awful things to make sure the women couldn't bear children and would cut off the hands of children so they couldn't rise against him later. The paladin could be very "dudley do-right" in execution as well. Falling for every damsel in distress our GM put out there.

Of course, we play games with a tad of alcohol and delicious, but heart -attack inducing snacks. It's our day of the month to binge, be silly, and blow off steam. Punting kobolds past a nest of jumping spiders was one of our first in-character invented sports. At the same time, when we play a serious campaign we define what Good vs Evil and Law vs Chaos are beforehand. And in those games, becoming disillusioned, or changing viewpoints through a character's life is common. In the end it's just something we use as a tool to aid roleplaying rather than thinking of it as a detraction.

I see too many posts on these boards about how alignment only hurts the game, but I think that has alot to do with people trying to put real world topics into a fantasy escape. You really shouldn't be putting the stress of the real world into a game meant to give you release from that world. We won't even run Reign of Winter AP simply because it sort of ends in the russian trenches... no, bad fantasy adventure, bad! Stop putting your realism chocolate in my fantasy peanut butter! Even if it IS an alternate history with fantastical elements, no.

Oh, and to put this in further perspective, alot of our magic items are over-the-top relics of unusual power. Such as the Belt of Genre Change (turned a dragon hunting game into pokemon all of a sudden), The Cursed Helm of Gates (The character's Str, Con, and Dex were all reduced by 4, but their character could see the stats of everything in-game and got a +12 boost to Int. It was actually a pair of nerd glasses and a laptop taped to your forehead.)

Sovereign Court

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Alignment is a useful tool in helping to understand how another character wants to act. Not how they always do but how they'd like to or how they see themselves. Useful to add that little bit of nudge outside of your own head if you like to get a bit more into role-playing or so forth.

We've never had a Pathfinder or AD&D game without it that I can remember. It has lead to interesting situations of ethical conflict between certain groups.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Nope. Haven't used it in years, don't miss it at all. It's a useful abbreviation to give an idea about a character, nothing more.


I use it sparingly.

Alignment is a guideline of how a character may generally act, at most.

I don't do "alignment shifts" unless it's something ridiculously obvious (PC murders a bunch of people just for the fun of it). There are no repercussions besides what is incurred by the act itself (EX Guards trying to capture you when you murder people for no reason), and those specifically spelled out by some classes (Clerics, frex).

Some alignment based mechanics still exist because I'm too lazy to remove them. Alignment descriptors have no effect beyond how they interact with other effects.

Alignment based class restrictions are gone.


Alignment is a roleplaying tool to me.

It is up to the NPC or PC to use alignment as justification for their actions. Changing alignment is rare and I have only done so as a GM to a LG cleric that went around slaughtering peasants. I changed his alignment so it conformed with the new deity that would pick him up after his previous one forsaken him.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

For my games, alignment isn't even a factor unless you have a class feature depending on it. Detect evil won't even ping someone without the aura class feature unless they're 15+ hd. I'm firm in the single deeds don't shift alignment camp, and my deities send dreams and omens to their alignment dependant casters long before they get near the atonement area as warnings.

As a player, I use it to craft their outlook and is a part of determining their personality.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've toyed around with different ideas, but I think the big problem was the choice of the titles "good" and "evil" for an alignment axis. By using the word "good", the game implicitly states that "this is the moral ethos you should be aspiring to". As a result, people naturally seek to define "good" as their own idealized moral ethos rather than being able to accept a defined framework that complements the law/chaos axis.

An interesting case study is taking the law/chaos axis in isolation. A lot of people will point out aspects of both law and chaos that they believe are good or evil. This speaks more to whether the player associates with the lawful or chaotic end of the alignment spectrum, as the good/evil axis should complement rather than overlap law/chaos. When you think about it, a player (or in-game character) who epitomizes the lawful neutral alignment is going to see "lawful" and "good" as indistinguishable, because that's their moral framework! This means they will not agree with a chaotic neutral player on a definition of what is "good", while someone who is actually neutral on the law/chaos axis looks at both of them like they're missing the point.

Take away the words "good" and "evil" and the problems partially go away. Let's use the words "merciful" and "ruthless" instead. While they still have connotations, they're not nearly as stark as "good" or "evil" and it's much easier to agree on whether someone is ruthless or merciful or somewhere in between. Even if you don't change the definitions one iota from good and evil, a lot of the problems go away.

Now, this doesn't entirely solve the issue because of the way outsiders are handled. Even if you decouple the idea of a "merficul" alignment from being the "good" (ie, ideal) alignment, you still have the problem of every holy angel having this alignment. That's a pretty stark statement in itself, and means you'd need to rework the entire cosmology of outsiders (and likely need to develop several new subtypes) to truly decouple it.

TL;DR: Tell someone that they're not merciful and they'll probably agree if you have a point. Tell them that they're not good and you've got an ethics debate on your hands.


I tend to use it, and it plays a large part in the campaign. It is one of those things that you can get easily with Pathfinder and not so much in any other fantasy RPGS.

Good and Evil are palpable forces in the universe - more so than the goods, just not in form or understanding that normal man understand. In a world with alignment, unlike other - there is an absolute right and wrong, and it is knowable; this leaves out some of the grey of our world - sorta like the Dark Side and Light Side of the force. It is everywhere and affects everything.

But like Star Wars, it doesn't necessarily affect everyday people. But to those whom it is important to (anyone with "Aura of Good" or access to alignment based spells, undead creation) it is huge - so that tends to go with most adventurers. The world is a battle between good an evil, and the heroes (PCs) are on the side of good.

The way I run a Paladin's detect evil - things like Undead, extra planer; evil clerics (aura of evil) - those shine all the time as "EVIL" Just like sensing the Dark side of the force to a Jedi. Normal everyday thieves etc.. only in the action of being evil do they show up.

But then I run epic high fantasy with the campaigns being the PCs saving the world from evil. Very black and white morality.


I ignore it as much as possible as a Dungeon Master.

As a player I just choose Chaotic Neutral and try to forget about it--unless the class description forces me to do otherwise.


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I only use it for aligned Outsiders (angels, demons, etc.) and classes with auras (clerics and paladins). Otherwise it functions as normal for detect, smite, aligned spells, etc.

Regular people just get a couple of "personality traits" to use as RP guidelines. Traits such as calm, loyal, violent, etc. Pretty much anything you can think of to describe somebody.


Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
...In the setting backstory, humans and various allies killed all the gods but one, and that god is a horrid creature, so alignment isn't being enforced from above and humans are free to define their own moral compass....

Despite seeing alignment as an objective measure of morality, I've never thought of it as something being handed down from the gods. Is this a PF/Golarion thing, or a personal interpretation? Just curious, as I've seen many posters with the same interpretation.

Liberty's Edge

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Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
...In the setting backstory, humans and various allies killed all the gods but one, and that god is a horrid creature, so alignment isn't being enforced from above and humans are free to define their own moral compass....
Despite seeing alignment as an objective measure of morality, I've never thought of it as something being handed down from the gods. Is this a PF/Golarion thing, or a personal interpretation? Just curious, as I've seen many posters with the same interpretation.

It's a personal thing. Probably a take on how Judaeo-Christian morality works.

It's definitely not taken from Golarion/Pathfinder. Golarion makes it very clear that the Gods don't have authority over that sort of thing at all, being as bound by the universal moral laws as anyone else.


I feel too inclined to disagree with the definitions and applications of alignment to feel comfortable GMing it. It's just an issue of me being too obsessive for things to turn out well.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I have played a great variety of RPG games. Some have alignments, most don't. Pathfinder can be played without alignment, though it tends to cause problems with some of the magic system and classes or class features.

Smiting, aligned weapons (holy, unholy, chaotic, axiomatic), and aligned spells (protection from, etc.) are all things to either ignore or alter somehow. This can be done, yet it is a lot of work and can cause a considerable amount of time to explain to new players or groups (as are most far-reaching house rules).

For my own Pathfinder groups, holy weapons are too common a goal for PCs and would punish players too much if I removed alignments.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I use it as written, which is to say, if it isn't specifically called out in the rules, we tend not to worry about it.


In my campaigns, the more powerful you are the more outsiders want you to pick an alignment.

I have never been a fan of alignment limitations on classes and haven't enforced them in decades. If the paladin starts killing widows and orphans, that is a good excuse for the group to get xp and loot fighting angels and archons for a while.....

I do ask players who are introducing replacement characters to give their characters an alignment and use it seriously for a session or two (in the middle of a battle is not the time to go into your new character's 10,000 word history).


I use it in my games, but only as an idea of personality at character creation. I don't strictly enforce it, nor do I track it after that point. I let the PCs actions speak for them.

I've also removed or eased most of the requirements from systems (paladins must match deity alignment, monks can be any). I do still have aligned outsiders, but even they can change given time.


So, those of you that give alignment the shaft...how do you prevent your paladin from being effectively neutered by removing his smite?


thegreenteagamer wrote:
So, those of you that give alignment the shaft...how do you prevent your paladin from being effectively neutered by removing his smite?

I just let them smite anything.


Serghar Cromwell wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:
So, those of you that give alignment the shaft...how do you prevent your paladin from being effectively neutered by removing his smite?
I just let them smite anything.

Hm. Maybe it's just me, but that makes them a lot more powerful IMO. Smite is like Challenge on crack. To be able to do that to anything...well...wow. Plus you can behave however the heck you want without losing your powers? No need to play any other martial type, I suppose.

I dunno, I always thought the pally was much more powerful than the other martials, but his drawback was that power could only be directed at evil, and he had to behave himself.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

They can only do it so many times a day. And like any divine power, misuse it and you'll get a talking to. The code doesn't go away just because alignment does.


thegreenteagamer wrote:
Serghar Cromwell wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:
So, those of you that give alignment the shaft...how do you prevent your paladin from being effectively neutered by removing his smite?
I just let them smite anything.
Hm. Maybe it's just me, but that makes them a lot more powerful IMO. Smite is like Challenge on crack. To be able to do that to anything...well...wow. Plus you can behave however the heck you want without losing your powers?

In my experience, it isn't that bad. I generally see Paladins fighting evil things in games with alignment anyway, so it isn't that much of a boost based on what I've seen, and no alignment doesn't mean no repercussions for bad deeds. A Paladin who steps out of line gets dealt with by other Paladins or by mage hunters. Given the fact that a citizen of a nation of 12 million can count the number of Paladins in that nation at any one time on their fingers and toes, every Paladin around knows all the other local Paladins and communicates with them on a somewhat regular basis (We have telegraph lines, primitive phones, and trains, plus the old methods. It can be done.). If one goes bad, news spreads around the community fast, so the reaction will be swift. RP issues should be handled by RP and not mechanics anyway.

Quote:
No need to play any other martial type, I suppose.

Paladins aren't that powerful. Besides, I use compacted feat chains and the Rogue Genius Games Talented Class line, which basically allows classes like Fighter to buy class/archetype abilities as desired at each level and is probably the best thing to ever happen to Fighters. With those changes, Fighters are much more flexible and thematic and can either load up on bonus feats or totally ignore bonus feats as desired, and Monks can be built to be pretty damn good in combat. Ranger, Barbarian, Rogue, and Cavalier are fairly good under the system, too. Paladin hasn't been done yet. So, plenty of other martials have stuff going for them. Not everyone wants to be a Holy Warrior, anyway. Especially in a setting that de-emphasizes Holy anything do to no longer having a pantheon.


I have used it (alignment) in certain settings, but, I like to involve more real world-influenced moral debates in my games, and make what is good or evil/right or wrong to be something that can't be verified by means of magic. I think alignment just tends to cutout too much potentially interesting philosophical and moral debate (which my players like to engage in).

My current game setting is based on historical earth, but with the introduction of creatures out of legend (dragons and such). Since morality in the real world is something that will forever be debated and can't be absolutely proven, it should be that way in my game (which is despite having fantasy elements added on, otherwise historical earth) as well.

As for things that are currently in Pathfinder tied to alignment (smite and detect spells) I have them instead be vs. creature type. So, smite dragons, or undead for example. Paladins I actually have gain favored enemies as rangers do, in order to determine what they can smite or not.
I've been using this system for about 4-5 months, and it has worked quite well.


thegreenteagamer wrote:
So, those of you that give alignment the shaft...how do you prevent your paladin from being effectively neutered by removing his smite?

I allow them to use it only on followers of other, non-allied, faiths. Basically a Paladin is the martial agent of their Goddess's will. So, their wrath falls upon those who do not keep to her ways.


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thegreenteagamer wrote:
I dunno, I always thought the pally was much more powerful than the other martials, but his drawback was that power could only be directed at evil, and he had to behave himself.

Sounds like you're a child of pre-WotC D&D too. :)

Anyhow, the "extra power balanced out by role play restrictions" philosophy fell out of favor in 2000, 'cause it works...well, inconsistently at best. And because the fighter got his own toys starting with 3e.

The paladin's alignment restriction and code are just legacy quirks at this point.


I don't know; I find when I eliminate alignment, everyone in my groups tends to lean quite heavily towards the chaotic and evil sides of the spectrum.

I think it's because in a fantasy setting there are no real repercussions for being a bastard. Most of the time when your bluff is through the roof or and you destroy the bodies of your victims, people don't find out you did whatever horrible, unspeakable things you did, because speak with dead doesn't work on ashes and zone of truth is so easily circumvented as to be laughable, and the like.

Sure, you can handwave that somehow people find out you're up to...whatever you're up to...but even then, character death is not a real repercussion. Resurrections happen, and for many players, new characters can be just as fun as the last one.

"Heroes" are a dying breed these days, with the rise of the antihero and the like. Who wants to be Captain America when you can be Wolverine?


thegreenteagamer wrote:
Serghar Cromwell wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:
So, those of you that give alignment the shaft...how do you prevent your paladin from being effectively neutered by removing his smite?
I just let them smite anything.

Hm. Maybe it's just me, but that makes them a lot more powerful IMO. Smite is like Challenge on crack. To be able to do that to anything...well...wow. Plus you can behave however the heck you want without losing your powers? No need to play any other martial type, I suppose.

I dunno, I always thought the pally was much more powerful than the other martials, but his drawback was that power could only be directed at evil, and he had to behave himself.

Only one god in my setting has paladins in large numbers, and they're basically his Space Marines, so that's not an undesirable result in my case. Besides, your superiors will come down on you hard if they get wind of you abusing your power.

Also, I condensed feat chains with scaling feats and a lot of relaxed prerequisites, which also gives significant buffs to the other martial classes.


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thegreenteagamer wrote:
I don't know; I find when I eliminate alignment, everyone in my groups tends to lean quite heavily towards the chaotic and evil sides of the spectrum.

Ah. My group is exactly the opposite of that, which is why I don't run into many problems.


thegreenteagamer wrote:

I don't know; I find when I eliminate alignment, everyone in my groups tends to lean quite heavily towards the chaotic and evil sides of the spectrum.

I think it's because in a fantasy setting there are no real repercussions for being a bastard. Most of the time when your bluff is through the roof or and you destroy the bodies of your victims, people don't find out you did whatever horrible, unspeakable things you did, because speak with dead doesn't work on ashes and zone of truth is so easily circumvented as to be laughable, and the like.

Sure, you can handwave that somehow people find out you're up to...whatever you're up to...but even then, character death is not a real repercussion. Resurrections happen, and for many players, new characters can be just as fun as the last one.

"Heroes" are a dying breed these days, with the rise of the antihero and the like. Who wants to be Captain America when you can be Wolverine?

Depends on the theme of the game. I run games where the PCs are the arm of the government that deals with monsters and mages. The very theme of the game encourages Good and Law, because going after whatever evil fiend just popped up is literally what the PCs' job description consists of. If somebody acts in an evil manner, the consequences are swift, because the government watches what its top killers are doing. I subscribe to the idea that once a mission is handed down by command the players should be free to pursue that mission as they see fit without interference from command, because I don't want to railroad all choice away, but if they do something like beat or kill civilians without any sort of justification, command will react to that.

This is a fairly unusual style of gaming, though. I can see how it could be much more of a problem in a sandbox game.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
thegreenteagamer wrote:

Sure, you can handwave that somehow people find out you're up to...whatever you're up to...but even then, character death is not a real repercussion. Resurrections happen, and for many players, new characters can be just as fun as the last one.

"Heroes" are a dying breed these days, with the rise of the antihero and the like. Who wants to be Captain America when you can be Wolverine?

Because being Captain America opens doors that being Wolverine does not.

One of my favorite GMs made the point that the party reaps what it sows. Offer no quarter, and words gets around. Soon everyone is fighting to the death because they know you won't give them anything else. Fights get nasty very, very quick. And attitudes towards your murderhobos turn out the same as any other dangerous killer.

You can say that raise dead is cheap, but such antagonism makes a toxic environment that only the most maladjusted players can stand.


Oh, I used to run consequences and "the man" watching and the like, but my players turned to learn Speak With Dead and Nondetection ASAP, and besides that, leave behind no witnesses to spread rumors about who it is that is doing all the murderhoboing. When oil is cheap, and spark is a cantrip, it's not that hard to leave nobody to Speak With Dead with for the authorities trying to puzzle who it is that is behind all these crime sprees.


Recently in the homebrew section there was an idea to use a new alignment system based off the colors from Magic: The Gathering. Now before I found this, I didn't care much for alignment. Most of my players see the option to be evil and want to murder people. However, this color alignment system got me thinking, and I took the idea and ran with it.

This is my introduction to the new color alignments and how to use them. There is no more good and evil, although morality and amorality still exist. So does law and freedom, which is pretty close to chaos. I'm going to be adjusting the classes accordingly to compensate for their alignment changes. Paladins for instance, will have to make White one of their two color choices, since White represents law and morality. Similarly, Barbarians need to have Red as one of their colors, since Red represents freedom and emotions.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
thegreenteagamer wrote:
Oh, I used to run consequences and "the man" watching and the like, but my players turned to learn Speak With Dead and Nondetection ASAP, and besides that, leave behind no witnesses to spread rumors about who it is that is doing all the murderhoboing. When oil is cheap, and spark is a cantrip, it's not that hard to leave nobody to Speak With Dead with for the authorities trying to puzzle who it is that is behind all these crime sprees.

In a game of divination and gods, there are no secrets that last.

Characters who go to those lengths should be rewarded for that, but word gets out eventually. Much like any other BBEG can't hide from the PCs forever.


Serghar Cromwell wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:
I don't know; I find when I eliminate alignment, everyone in my groups tends to lean quite heavily towards the chaotic and evil sides of the spectrum.
Ah. My group is exactly the opposite of that, which is why I don't run into many problems.

My group is mostly Neutral Meh, but I usually have one who leans more toward Evil.


I dunno... I never really had a problem with it. I never had someone else detect evil on my players' characters, AFAICR. I have had two characters change alignment because they did some really s!~*ty stuff (which were reasonable at the time), and one of them changed back because he wanted to and did what he felt he had to do. Still, I have given a number of warnings when people are discussing things like "The thieves' guild kidnapped our friend, so let's just fireball the living s%$% out of their entire headquarters. If we recognize the burnt remains of our friend, we can just resurrect her then".


thegreenteagamer wrote:


I dunno, I always thought the pally was much more powerful than the other martials, but his drawback was that power could only be directed at evil, and he had to behave himself.

He's better than the Fighter, but so is every other Martial.

It basically goes like this:

Barbarian: Highest DPR (consistently), good defenses, very sturdy, not hampered by usual full attack imitations.

Paladin: Best defenses (with no drawbacks), decent DPR (highest against Smited target, a few times a day), by far the sturdiest class in the game (Swift action healing).

Ranger: Decent defenses, good DPR (very high against Favored Enemy, possibly trumping Barbarian against those targets), very build flexible (make excellent Archers and TWFers due to being able to get bonus Feats, and ignore prerequisites on those. Both boost his innate class features by a good bit.), decent sturdiness, best skills.

Throwing in other books:

Cavalier: Potentially highest single hit damage (on a charge), decent everything else, good mobility.

Gunslinger: Most consistent to-hit, leading to great DPR, decent everything else.

Bloodrager: Barbarian, but less sturdy, worse saves, somewhat less DPR, and a whole lot of self-buffs from various Bloodlines giving him a good deal of flexibility while maintaining a good amount of power.

Brawler: A Fighter with more skills and in combat flexibility. He's sorta the "Jack of all trades" martial, with few glaring weaknesses but few outstanding strengths.

Slayer: Ranger sans spells, but with less situational damage application, meaning he outputs damage more consistently. All other aspects are basically identical to Ranger.

Swashbuckler: Decent damage (less consistent than many due to major damage source being shut down by a few common creature types), worst saves of any martial, decent AC, special defense in the form of Parry.

So the Paladin stacks up well, but certainly doesn't beat out every other martial.


Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:

I removed it from my campaign setting, but I use it when I theorycraft character backstories in case I use the character under a different GM. I have several reasons. I touch up against issues that are major political arguments IRL, and I don't want to start throwing up alignments to those involved in those issues. In the setting backstory, humans and various allies killed all the gods but one, and that god is a horrid creature, so alignment isn't being enforced from above and humans are free to define their own moral compass. We don't have a cosmic or absolute ruling on what good and evil are. Finally, the setting revolves around government agents who keep the biggest threats in the monster population under control and deal with rogue mages, both of which are extremely dangerous jobs. This slants the game towards Law and towards Good heavily enough that I find it better to just have people be people instead of tagging them with an alignment when the game itself is heavily biased towards certain parts of the spectrum. Law and Good are very easily conflated when looking through the eyes of those who uphold law and order, and Chaotic Good is just going to cause trouble. Maybe even more than Chaotic Neutral or True Neutral. If that much of the alignment spectrum is problematic, it's easier to get rid of it and just say "You are an elite Crown Agent. Please role play accordingly." then have an alignment system where most alignments don't fit the game well.

So, what about you guys?

It's a measure of how you cosmically relate to the metaverse around you. You can think that an action shouldn't be evil until the cows come home, because 'reasons' but ...

"But I exist!" Said a man to the universe. In reply, the universe sayeth, "that may be true, however that fact does not engender in me a sense of obligation."

In other words, just because you, philosophically, think something should not be evil doesn't mean that the universe, the magical universe, does not treat it as evil in respects to how in interacts to you.


Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
{. . .} In the setting backstory, humans and various allies killed all the gods but one, and that god is a horrid creature, so alignment isn't being enforced from above and humans are free to define their own moral compass. {. . .}

What, is this set on Earth? :-)

Just because the one remaining God is a horrid creature doesn't necessarily mean that alignment won't be enforced. It just means that if it is enforced, it will be enforced horribly.

* * * * * * * *

My inclination (if I could ever be DM/GM again) would be to have an alignment system with a combination of superimposed absolute and relative aspects. Absolutes would exist, but the world view of characters and other entities could distort their view of these absolutes, so even if you did your own detection and registered 2 different Paladins as Lawful Good, you could find cases in which their own Detect Evil abilities come up with different results not explainable solely by quantitatively different detection sensitivity (one detects something as Evil that the other one doesn't AND vice versa -- in a REALLY EXTREME case they might detect each other as Evil, although in this case it would be getting hard to find somebody else that would detect both of them as Lawful Good). Of course, keep in mind that I would also replace Paladin (and Antipaladin) with a Holy Warrior Prestige Class (designed to start preferentially from Cavalier, which itself would be rebuilt as an Archetype of Fighter) that could be of whatever alignment matches the religion.

And, to touch (dangerously) on the topic of another alignment thread, an Evil character casting a bunch of [Good] spells wouldn't turn Good as a result(*), but MIGHT (even by accident) succeed in obscuring their Evil alignment from alignment detection magic.

(*)They might get some temptation to do so but wouldn't have too hard a time resisting this, even though an Evil character might have to go to extra trouble to cast [Good] spells in the first place.


As a GM I don't use it, paladins have a code & all actions, good or bad, have results and reactions.
I tell my players upfront that they are equally responsible for keeping the story going.
My players keep the group together and decide what morals they follow individul and as a group.
We have a "no PVP-rule" that also includes skill rolls, everybody follows it and let roleplaying or out-of-character discussion solve any potental conflicts.

The paladin is fine, he has detect undead instead and sometimes his smite has no effect.
(I mostly keep the aligments on monsters, but he has to guess if enemies are evil - undeads and demons are almost always safe choices)

As a player I pick one as a guideline and ignore it unless it's tied to class abilities, - even then I refer to it loosly.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
{. . .} In the setting backstory, humans and various allies killed all the gods but one, and that god is a horrid creature, so alignment isn't being enforced from above and humans are free to define their own moral compass. {. . .}
What, is this set on Earth? :-)

That's not horrendously offensive to over 1/2 of the world if you include all three major monotheistic religions at all.


thegreenteagamer wrote:
"Heroes" are a dying breed these days, with the rise of the antihero and the like. Who wants to be Captain America when you can be Wolverine?

...Wolverine is an antihero? He seems pretty darn heroic to me, but maybe he's less so in the comic books.

Anyhow, I'll stop nitpicking, and substitute 'Wolverine' for 'James Bond.'


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thegreenteagamer wrote:
"Heroes" are a dying breed these days, with the rise of the antihero and the like. Who wants to be Captain America when you can be Wolverine?

Yea, there's too many of these new-fangled anti-heroes like Gilgamesh, Achilles, Odysseus, Herakles, Aeneas, King Arthur, and Lancelot. Why can't we just go back to the traditional, old-fashioned heroes like...um...uh...

Liberty's Edge

I use Alignment about as much as the rules specify.

Which is to say, it governs a few specific rules interactions with spells, I make players pick one, and I would theoretically change a PC's Alignment if they started acting really weird for the Alignment in question...though to be fair, I've warned some people about actions occasionally, but only occasionally, and never actually changed anyone's Alignment, since mostly people write the Alignment they want to play on their sheet.

I also use it as a tool to help determine how to roleplay published NPCs, particularly in regards to what they want.

It's...really not nearly as high impact as a lot of people seem to make it out to be on the forums here.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
It's...really not nearly as high impact as a lot of people seem to make it out to be on the forums here.

Indeed. I write down whatever mechanical alignment is required, and then role-play my character the way I was going to anyway.

No one has ever commented on my actions being out of line.

Liberty's Edge

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
It's...really not nearly as high impact as a lot of people seem to make it out to be on the forums here.

Indeed. I write down whatever mechanical alignment is required, and then role-play my character the way I was going to anyway.

No one has ever commented on my actions being out of line.

Yeah...as much as people argue about it on here, and as much as I've occasionally discussed what specific Alignments mean in real life, I've never actually gotten into an argument about it during play. Either as a player or GM.

A brief once-over usually serves to get most people an Alignment close enough to what they feel like playing that nobody's gonna complain.


In my games alignment is generally ignored other that being a general label and mechanical effects. It exists and we're aware of it but most things involving it rarely come up.


Tequila Sunrise wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:
"Heroes" are a dying breed these days, with the rise of the antihero and the like. Who wants to be Captain America when you can be Wolverine?

...Wolverine is an antihero? He seems pretty darn heroic to me, but maybe he's less so in the comic books.

Anyhow, I'll stop nitpicking, and substitute 'Wolverine' for 'James Bond.'

Wolverine publicly and repeatedly attempts to snake Cyclops' girlfriend from him. And, depending on which timeline, eventually succeeds.

Sound's kinda Anti-hero-ish to me. Bond was never that big of a ____.


Quark Blast wrote:
Tequila Sunrise wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:
"Heroes" are a dying breed these days, with the rise of the antihero and the like. Who wants to be Captain America when you can be Wolverine?

...Wolverine is an antihero? He seems pretty darn heroic to me, but maybe he's less so in the comic books.

Anyhow, I'll stop nitpicking, and substitute 'Wolverine' for 'James Bond.'

Wolverine publicly and repeatedly attempts to snake Cyclops' girlfriend from him. And, depending on which timeline, eventually succeeds.

Sound's kinda Anti-hero-ish to me. Bond was never that big of a ____.

You're right; James Bond just gets half his girlfriends killed, and never keeps any of them for more than one fade-to-black ending.

Much more heroic. ;)


Tequila Sunrise wrote:

You're right; James Bond just gets half his girlfriends killed, and never keeps any of them for more than one fade-to-black ending.

Much more heroic. ;)

Neither does he promise them any more than that. Wolverine more than implies he'd be better for Jean Grey than Cyclops.

And Bond doesn't sleep with married women (not a Bond fan here and haven't seen all the movies, especially the older ones, so I could be wrong about that). [edit] Nor with those below his maturity level - since with a nearly immortal character saying, "he sleeps with women half his age", really doesn't mean what it ordinarily would.[/edit]

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