pf 2.0 alignment


Prerelease Discussion

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Shadow Lodge

Or the whole mistaken mess of "Lawful must follow the local law".

Honestly it should have been called that in the first place.


I would second (or third at this point) Order vs Chaos. I also think Ordered works better than say orderly so..

Ordered Good, Ordered Neutral, Ordered Evil


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Bardarok wrote:

I would second (or third at this point) Order vs Chaos. I also think Ordered works better than say orderly so..

Ordered Good, Ordered Neutral, Ordered Evil

Ordered Fries and a Drink With That


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Kjeldorn wrote:

Choice number 1: Do away with it.

Why: Simple because I truly believe that most players are going to play "heroic" individuals without having to be shoe-horned into a particular brand/flavour of "heroic". The less that the individual player is asked to conform to a pre-determine notion of morality, then more power we're ultimately give to the players to write their own stories.

Alignments don't just have one personality each. Just figure out what alignment your character's personality fits into best.

The objective morality names are also part of the game and part of the setting and cosmology. Given the objective morality, Good and Evil may not have the same positive or negative connotations as real life. In a mostly Evil-aligned society, Evil would probably be regarded as positive. We already know Chaos is not necessarily a negative term.


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If they did away with alignments, could we then have spells like

"Protection from the thing trying to eat me"

and "Detect plot element meant to mislead me from finding the clue."


Renaming Law to Order would be fine with me, and maybe a partial lift of some class restrictions, but that's the end of what I'd like.


MuddyVolcano wrote:

Rename Lawful to Order.

Then you truly have Order vs Chaos. It's a commonly accepted trope in many fantasy novels, so it isn't without precedent.

It also solves the arguments about alignment changing when you cross a national border.

agent Max Smart and agent 99 agrees,,,,,

no though in all seriousness

just remove the law and chaos alignments from players. you are either good, neutral or evil, no more of the LG , LN etc

Grand Lodge

Terquem wrote:

If they did away with alignments, could we then have spells like

"Protection from the thing trying to eat me"

and "Detect plot element meant to mislead me from finding the clue."

Perhaps the answer is to keep alignment, but make the player and DM agree on one by 3rd level when detect spells start working on them. That way all you crazy people that really want to play evil PCs can do so without having a paladin call a smite on you. ;) Well, not until 3rd level.


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Its funny, pathfinder 2e isn't exactly blowing me away, but it is renewing my interest in old ideas and homebrew rules I had in the past. One of those ideas was a personality trait system, where you got to pick a trait like brave, compassionate and so on. You actually got mechanical benefits for role-playing that trait. Anyway all day today I kept thinking about it, like I want to explore this more, I want to flesh this out.


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I think alignment is important. As a DM tool. There should not be a line on character sheets for Alignment. The players should never know their alignment, or anyone else's. It's best used as an ear-mark for the DM to present monsters and peoples in broad strokes of "X values Y, and will typically do Z to accomplish it."

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I disagree with OP's premise. I like the classic alignment chart just fine. I'm not here to persuade anyone about why it is just about perfect, though: plenty of players disagree on this.

I will offer this, I suppose: it's a hell of a lot easier to throw out the alignment system as a houserule, than it is to shove one in.

The Exchange

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I disagree with the OP as well. Alignment adds flavor and variety. So tired of people playing murdering hobos and using the most twisted logic to defend the ' I do whatever I want whenever I want' mentality. Paladins should be LG, druids should be partially N if not true neutral. Just give people reasonable guidelines for alignment. It is not a straightjacket, more like a code or in the case of evil & chaotic alignments more like a guide line


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Talek & Luna wrote:
I disagree with the OP as well. Alignment adds flavor and variety. So tired of people playing murdering hobos and using the most twisted logic to defend the ' I do whatever I want whenever I want' mentality. Paladins should be LG, druids should be partially N if not true neutral. Just give people reasonable guidelines for alignment. It is not a straightjacket, more like a code or in the case of evil & chaotic alignments more like a guide line

See, posts like this are why I think alignment needs to die in a fire.

Why do Druids need to be "something neutral"?

If it's okay for a Druid to be Lawful and still be in harmony with nature, and it's okay for a Druid to be Good and still be in harmony with nature... then why is not okay for a Druid to be both Lawful and Good?

We have put up with this idiotic, incoherent insane troll logic for too long. It's time to stop pretending it makes sense, stop pretending it adds anything of value to the game... and kill it with a shovel.

If you want a class to have some kind of Code of Conduct they're required to follow, give it a Code of Conduct that makes logical sense.

Otherwise, stop saddling classes with arbitrary restrictions that have absolutely nothing to do with any kind of narrative or mechanical function.


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doomman47 wrote:
Angel Hunter D wrote:

Honestly, if we don't remove alignment then we need to clarify and codify it. I know people hate it, but the ambiguity is what causes the problems. If alignment is a thing, and especially if it has any mechanical rules (spells, smites, etc.) then it's needed. Good, Evil, Law, Chaos - those are fundamental metaphysical aspects of the setting, just as much as the properties of the elemental and positive/negative energies.

And I know someone is gonna say "but if we do that people will toe the line with evil" - well that's fine, that's what we call Neutral.

I want less rules baked in alignment, alignment can stay but it shouldn't dictate actual game mechanics

I agree with codification and I want it to dictate game mechanics. What I don't want is for it to dictate player choices. I think players should be the arbiters of PC alignment and the DM should just slap an insanity tag on the PC, if necessary, but leave PC alignment alone.

That is to say, if a player says "I killed her because I thought she was a demon in disguise," it doesn't matter if it was an innocent child. Player gets to decide what PC thinks, not DM. PC is still LG, but everyone will treat the PC as they believe is appropriate (potentially including the death penalty). If a LG cleric casts know alignment and it comes up LG, they might say, "I think this LG person is too dangerous and we have no place to jail them, so they get the axe. Too bad about the mental illness, but the innocent by reason of insanity defense is so post-industrial." NPCs get to pick their own intent (and therefore alignment), too, and protecting the innocent seems like good intentions to me.

The problem with alignment usually stems from bad, or at least overly controlling DMs, who try to tell players their paladins are evil because they chose to sacrifice one to save many. What DMs should do is ask whether the paladin was sacrificing for expediency, because they want to see some innocent blood spilled, or because they are trying to save the innocent. The paladin can still feel bad about taking a (lower-case 'e') evil action with Good intentions, of course, even if their alignment doesn't change. If the PLAYER wants, they can even multi-class into something else to represent their feeling of having fallen from grace. No need for stripping of powers or changing alignment or whatever.


Talek & Luna wrote:
I disagree with the OP as well. Alignment adds flavor and variety. So tired of people playing murdering hobos and using the most twisted logic to defend the ' I do whatever I want whenever I want' mentality. Paladins should be LG, druids should be partially N if not true neutral. Just give people reasonable guidelines for alignment. It is not a straightjacket, more like a code or in the case of evil & chaotic alignments more like a guide line

I disagree with the restriction on druids. I only disagree with the restriction on paladins to the extent they are holy avengers. I think a LN or LE paladin could work just fine and the word "paladin" can probably be overloaded to include such concepts. Any alignment could work, and has in past D&D iterations, for paladin-like classes.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
FaerieGodfather wrote:
Why do Druids need to be "something neutral"?

Because nature is inherently neutral. Requiring druids to be partially neutral (or even true neutral, which was way better IMO) forces them into a partially alien role. They are simultaneously more enlightened in some ways than the civilizations around them and also more savage and unenlightened. They are different. The alignment provides a way to stamp that into the game in a way that everyone understands.

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It's time to stop pretending it makes sense

Why does it make sense to me and everyone I've played the game with, literally ever?

I'll reiterate my point though: a DM who wants to throw these restrictions out has little stopping him in the case of the paladin (he has to work out the ramifications of the alignment-based moves), and nothing stopping him in the case of the druid, monk, etc. Meanwhile, a DM trying to add them into a game has quite a bit of work to do, especially if the monsters and spells don't come tagged with alignments.

totoro wrote:
I think players should be the arbiters of PC alignment and the DM should just slap an insanity tag on the PC, if necessary, but leave PC alignment alone

I just disagree. I think this is an important DM tool. It isn't irreplaceable, but it's important.


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I can just as easily argue nature as inherently good or inherently chaotic or inherently lawful, or as an explicit pair of dualities of good and evil as well as law and chaos with druids incapable of harmonizing with both sides of either duality at once, resulting in druids incapable of any neutral alignment.


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cfalcon wrote:
Because nature is inherently neutral.

Nonsense. Nature doesn't give a damn about alignment, including any concern for "neutrality".

cfalcon wrote:
Requiring druids to be partially neutral (or even true neutral, which was way better IMO) forces them into a partially alien role.

Nonsense. Five out of the nine alignments, all of which are based on human morality... are somehow alien to human morality?

I will agree, at least, that if Druids are supposed to be Neutral, forcing them to be fully neutral makes perfect sense. Again, it's this arbitrary silliness that Druids can be Lawful or Good, but not both, that I object to.

cfalcon wrote:
The alignment provides a way to stamp that into the game in a way that everyone understands.

Your other arguments are based on ridiculous contrafactuals. I can't even figure out what this one's supposed to mean; it's just baffling.

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It's time to stop pretending it makes sense
cfalcon wrote:
Why does it make sense to me and everyone I've played the game with, literally ever?

Probably because you've never taken the thirty seconds it takes to realize that everything you're saying is absolute nonsense.

cfalcon wrote:
I'll reiterate my point though: a DM who wants to throw these restrictions out has little stopping him in the case of the paladin ... and nothing stopping him in the case of the druid, monk, etc.

In that case, why don't we solve the alignment problem and the multiclassing problem in one fell swoop by adding a third alignment axis-- morality cubes!-- and then assign each and every single class one combination of Law/Chaos, Good/Evil, and Bacon/Necktie they're allowed to follow.

Then DMs who don't want their entire game dictated by the philosophical ramblings of absolute madmen can just throw the whole thing out, and DMs who are obligated to follow RAW for Organized Play can just suck it up.

I take back everything I just said about you. You're a friggin' genius.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
FaerieGodfather wrote:
Nonsense. Nature doesn't give a damn about alignment, including any concern for "neutrality".

Yes, correct, that's why nature is neutral. I really recommend some of the older material on this, where they kind of walk you through the reasoning for this model. It's super good. Or, uh, effective. It's super effective.

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Nonsense. Five out of the nine alignments, all of which are based on human morality... are somehow alien to human morality?

Only the "good" ones are really defined on human morality, but they have broader truths for any society that isn't inconceivably alien to us. The "evil" ones vary between stuff you could argue as natural (extreme selfishness) and stuff that isn't (devotion to strictly evil ideals).

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I will agree, at least, that if Druids are supposed to be Neutral, forcing them to be fully neutral makes perfect sense. Again, it's this arbitrary silliness that Druids can be Lawful or Good, but not both, that I object to.

So the history on this goofy situation is that we started with true neutral druids, but they wanted to open it up in 3.0. They could have allowed neutral good and neutral evil- arguably reflections of nature- but instead they also allowed lawful neutral and chaotic neutral- a bit harder to justify, and went with the "some aspect must be neutral". This means that the lawful neutral of the druid is less about the primacy of order and more about order in nature, but this distinction is only ever implied.

I don't think that the ability of lawful neutral or neutral good, but not lawful good, to be druids, is a good argument to eliminate the moral core of the nature-supremacy ethos and its attendant class- I'd much prefer they stepped partially or all the way backwards on this. When player choice clashes with kit, I think a system designer should choose kit, but choose it in such a way that a DM can easily see how that unplugs, and write the rules such that a later designer/DM can easily overwrite that part.

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Your other arguments are based on ridiculous contrafactuals. I can't even figure out what this one's supposed to mean; it's just baffling.

By stamping something with an alignment- a behavior, a monster, a bloodline, a class- you give a massive tell to future storytellers and world builders about what this is supposed to be. Someone who goes against this intent does so knowing that they'll have to patch a few holes, and that's fine- the alternative was to offer essentially no direction at all. It's really good to do this where appropriate, such as druid, paladin, anti-paladin, etc.

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Probably because you've never taken the thirty seconds it takes to realize that everything you're saying is absolute nonsense.

I honestly didn't realize this stuff was hard to follow. Basically, alignment restrictions are a way to signal to people what you want this used for, what fantasy and kit are the default language that people should understand. When you remove the restriction, you make it vague and cloudy, and you remove the ability for the player to read the class and have an image. This doesn't mean it has to be that way in all possible content, but you want to set the more restrictive baseline, with the relatively straightforward and somewhat human-centric alignment, as a tool.

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In that case, why don't we solve the alignment problem and the multiclassing problem in one fell swoop by adding a third alignment axis-- morality cubes!-- and then assign each and every single class one combination of Law/Chaos, Good/Evil, and Bacon/Necktie they're allowed to follow.

Bacon Chaotic Neutral is the new Kender!

Honestly, you could easily sell me on this idea if you had something else that worked perpendicular to the two existing axes. The existing setup is so excellent because it maps reality closely enough to be understandable, and serves as a good creative focus. There are settings that throw it away, usually to their detriment- but that doesn't mean it couldn't be done better.

Establishing form in the void is the big goal of all of this. It makes for a common language, and of course it isn't going to be accurate under every filter.


LN druid-Ant colony, an organized group of tenders of nature who have a strict hierarchy, strict duties, and a strong code about what they're allowed to influence and tend to in nature. EG: no one who hasn't learned to resist natures lure is allowed dealings with the fae. Think first edition where you had to challenge to ritual conflict to gain rank(levels at the time)

CN druid: the wrath of nature. Similar to the circle oroborus in Iron kingdoms these druids work against the forces of civilization. More likely than even the NE druids to attack and destroy things like mining operations or lumber camps. They may have an "organization" but its plagued with a high level of infighting as everyone has their own idea as to how to serve nature best.


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While I don't REALLY care for alignment, and I have all but stripped it from my game, in the event that it adds something to someone else's game, I vote to keep it, but make it optional.

It's a heck of a lot easier to strip something out of a game than add it back in.


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I know a lot of people will hate me for this, but I want to see alignment actually become even more of a fundamental aspect of the game. Alignment isn't restricting, it's just a very simplified way of describing your character's worldview and ethics. If I sit down with a new group of players and say "My character is a Chaotic Good Half-Elf Ranger," everyone has a decent idea of what to expect from my character with just a single sentence. It's also a good way of spotting a potentially problem character right away. If someone sits down and says "my character is a Chaotic Evil Fighter" then everyone is going to know what to expect from that character too, and the GM can jump in preemptively and say "sorry, but no Evil characters." Without alignment, neither of those things will be nearly as simple. You would have to wait until the Choatic Evil character barred the exits and set fire to the village orphanage just because he wanted to murder children for a laugh to realize he's a problem. Alignment is a useful tool for both GMs and players. GMs who use it as an arbitrary restriction are doing it wrong.


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MidsouthGuy wrote:
I know a lot of people will hate me for this, but I want to see alignment actually become even more of a fundamental aspect of the game. Alignment isn't restricting, it's just a very simplified way of describing your character's worldview and ethics. If I sit down with a new group of players and say "My character is a Chaotic Good Half-Elf Ranger," everyone has a decent idea of what to expect from my character with just a single sentence. It's also a good way of spotting a potentially problem character right away. If someone sits down and says "my character is a Chaotic Evil Fighter" then everyone is going to know what to expect from that character too, and the GM can jump in preemptively and say "sorry, but no Evil characters." Without alignment, neither of those things will be nearly as simple. You would have to wait until the Choatic Evil character barred the exits and set fire to the village orphanage just because he wanted to murder children for a laugh to realize he's a problem. Alignment is a useful tool for both GMs and players. GMs who use it as an arbitrary restriction are doing it wrong.

I'll actually disagree with your premise.

I literally don't know much about your Chaotic Good Half-Elf Ranger that I wouldn't know from just "Half Elf Ranger".

Why?

Because there are about 15 definitions of what makes a character "chaotic" and a good chunk of them have reasonable explanations behind them.

To the point that it IS useful, it is almost unnecessary. Regardless of what mechanics are in the game, a GM saying, "no evil characters" is just as informative. It tells me, "don't play a bad guy".

In other words, if I thought a character was evil, I'd write it on his character sheet. If I didn't, I wouldn't.

If Alignment was some hard and fast rule in the game, it MIGHT be a useful mechanic, but as it stands, I can play a character that I call Lawful Evil and have someone else call him Chaotic Neutral. (This has literally happened to me.) It effects the game to! Did I just take extra damage from that smite? Can I pick up that Unholy sword and use it effectively? How do the denizens of Mechanus react to me?


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The Monk/Druid/Barbarian restrictions I'd like to see gone in the new edition. These don't improve the game, and can work well without restriction. The classes may need mechanical rebalances, but not in the slightest due to alignment.

I'm ambivalent towards keeping or eschewing Paladin alignments. It wouldn't really change the lore much (we have canonical 'paladins' for all alignments other than CG, CN, N, and already with the Grey Paladin, anti paladin, and Insinuator) but might drive away some customers who would prefer to ignore those and stick to traditional paladins. I likely won't use Paladin in PF2 if they don't change it, but I'm okay with that far more than many paladin fans are okay with banning the non-LG paladins.


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I sometimes disagree with the definition of good, evil, law, and chaos. There are a lot of different definitions about what it is, but I absolutely hate when a DM tells a player "that's evil" when the player is trying to do something that will result in good. Usually the old "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" and other clichés get trotted out, which is utterly devoid of any real logic; it just sounds good. The DM should only be able to say "that seems evil to me" and the player should be able to respond with "it isn't because." Taking away the ability of a player to state his or her own character's intent is a pet peeve of mine.


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Before I get into arguing again, I'd like to take a moment to apologize for the hostility of my previous post-- I am not well, and I am responding emotionally to a multitude of people who are not you, and to whom you will notice I am conspicuously not apologizing to.

FaerieGodfather wrote:
Nature doesn't give a damn about alignment, including any concern for "neutrality".
cfalcon wrote:
Yes, correct, that's why nature is neutral.

Just take a moment and think about what you just said, will you?

cfalcon wrote:
I really recommend some of the older material on this, where they kind of walk you through the reasoning for this model. It's super good. Or, uh, effective. It's super effective.

I started with AD&D over twenty-five years ago. I've read all of the older material, and it was aggressively bad before Wizards of the Coast came along and made it worse.

As I noted in the previous post, while I disagree with Neutral-Only Druids-- as Nature does not care about alignment forces-- at least the idea that Druids must not have any non-neutral alignment makes a modicum of sense. It's the idea that Druids can have an alignment as long as they only have an ethical alignment or a moral alignment, that offends.

FaerieGodfather wrote:
Nonsense. Five out of the nine alignments, all of which are based on human morality... are somehow alien to human morality?
cfalcon wrote:
Only the "good" ones are really defined on human morality, but they have broader truths for any society that isn't inconceivably alien to us.

Wooooooooow.

This... this right here... is why the alignment rules need to be axed and why the designers of the game need to stop positing that they represent any kind of objective morality. Statements like this repudiate the very notion that any kind of objective morality is even logically possible.

cfalcon wrote:
I don't think that the ability of lawful neutral or neutral good, but not lawful good, to be druids, is a good argument to eliminate the moral core of the nature-supremacy ethos and its attendant class-

You miss my point entirely.

I'm not suggesting it as an argument against the core ethos of the Druid class.

I'm pointing out that this inherently silly contradiction highlights that the core ethos of the Druid class has nothing to do with the alignment system at all, and thus that restricting the class on the basis of the alignment system is ridiculous and arbitrary.

Frankly, if this argument is just a heated difference of subjective opinion-- as opposed to you being incomprehensibly wrong on every conceivable level-- it still proves that the alignment system cannot serve its intended purposes and that its inclusion is detrimental to the game as a whole.


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cfalcon wrote:
By stamping something with an alignment- a behavior, a monster, a bloodline, a class- you give a massive tell to future storytellers and world builders about what this is supposed to be.

That only works if the alignment system is logically consistent and actually corresponds to some relatively incontrovertible feature of the game world. If the alignment system is a mess of incoherent and arbitrary proclamations... hanging your campaign setting on them is only going to make your campaign setting equally incoherent and arbitrary.

I am not opposed to restrictions on PC concepts when they serve some purpose in maintaining the theme and feel of the game's story-- but, again, in order to serve a purpose, those restrictions would have to make sense within the game world without having to perform intellectual acrobatics to rationalize them.

FaerieGodfather wrote:
Probably because you've never taken the thirty seconds it takes to realize that everything you're saying is absolute nonsense.
cfalcon wrote:
I honestly didn't realize this stuff was hard to follow.

Alright, I deserved that.

cfalcon wrote:
Basically, alignment restrictions are a way to signal to people what you want this used for, what fantasy and kit are the default language that people should understand. When you remove the restriction, you make it vague and cloudy, and you remove the ability for the player to read the class and have an image.

But, as I noted in my previous post, in order for this to work, the alignment system actually has to have a consistent meaning relative to the game's fiction.

When the alignment system is an incoherent mess, tying the in-game fiction to it doesn't provide guidance-- all it does is render the game world equally incoherent, far moreso than providing no guidance at all.

I am not suggesting that ethos-driven classes like the Paladin, and to lesser extent the Cleric and Druid, should not have strict in-game ethos with mechanical consequences. I'm saying those Codes of Conduct should be explicit, consistent, and unique-- and that the alignment system in its current form is incapable of meeting those criteria.

cfalcon wrote:
Establishing form in the void is the big goal of all of this. It makes for a common language, and of course it isn't going to be accurate under every filter.

There's always going to be some wackjob that won't agree with even the clearest, most reasonable system of rules.

But the more wackjobs you have, the clear it should be that the problem is not with the people arguing with the rules, but with the rules themselves. The rules are not "establishing form in the void", they are interfering with the games we're trying to play and the stories we're trying to tell.

They're causing more arguments, like this one, than they are settling.


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doomman47 wrote:
I would like to see the removal of any and all alignment restrictions both on classes and monsters it stifles creativity for character concepts by locking out certain classes from multi classing as well as makes monster encounters boring, I want to be able to run into good undead or red dragons or evil angels with out the gm having to make up a bunch of house rules and some convoluted story reason why these creatures are this way.

I disagree strongly with everything in this post.


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Nah, I like alignment.


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Evil being still act evil even if you removed the evil label.
If you want to remove alignment on the basis that you want all entities to show all possible behaviors, you have to remove all personality they might have.

"Angels are good" is compression of their personality. "Angels are self-sacrificial and like to help others" is what translates out of the alignment system if you unpack it. You see, we can remove alignment and get "Angels are humanoids with wings", but what do you have at that point? Stat block? No alignment also means no set behavior.

So you would have to implement some other behavior system to the game in the end anyway. And that might get in your way just as much.


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Good and Evil = 'morality' Alignment

Lawful and Chaotic = 'personality' Alignment

I must say Lawful and Chaotic as a personality is in my opinion something that need to die terrible terrible death.

I want disciplined warriors of Chaos, and flimsy Lawful citizens.

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Rename Lawful to Order.

Then you truly have Order vs Chaos. It's a commonly accepted trope in many fantasy novels, so it isn't without precedent.

It also solves the arguments about alignment changing when you cross a national border.

Or it could be changed into 5x5 alignment chart with weaker mortal versions and absolute ones - like AXIOMATIC - LAWFUL - BALANCED - ANARCHIC - CHAOTIC.

In such situation various detect and smite abilities would work only on extreme beings.

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The objective morality names are also part of the game and part of the setting and cosmology. Given the objective morality, Good and Evil may not have the same positive or negative connotations as real life. In a mostly Evil-aligned society, Evil would probably be regarded as positive. We already know Chaos is not necessarily a negative term.

In fact in Age of Creation gods were planning to call those sides Light and Darkness to avoid any unnecessary conundrum with mortal philosophies.

Unfortunately Torag and Nurgal vetoed this proposition, bloody naysayers.


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See, posts like this are why I think alignment needs to die in a fire.

Why do Druids need to be "something neutral"?

If it's okay for a Druid to be Lawful and still be in harmony with nature, and it's okay for a Druid to be Good and still be in harmony with nature... then why is not okay for a Druid to be both Lawful and Good?

We have put up with this idiotic, incoherent insane troll logic for too long. It's time to stop pretending it makes sense, stop pretending it adds anything of value to the game... and kill it with a shovel.

If you want a class to have some kind of Code of Conduct they're required to follow, give it a Code of Conduct that makes logical sense.

Otherwise, stop saddling classes with arbitrary restrictions that have absolutely nothing to do with any kind of narrative or mechanical function.

Yeah I agree. I see no reason why you cannot be Chaotic Good nature-dedicated guy. Or demonic druid of fungus.

(But yeah you can be NE druid - because somehow daemons are more pro-life than qlippoths).

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That is to say, if a player says "I killed her because I thought she was a demon in disguise," it doesn't matter if it was an innocent child. Player gets to decide what PC thinks, not DM. PC is still LG, but everyone will treat the PC as they believe is appropriate (potentially including the death penalty). If a LG cleric casts know alignment and it comes up LG, they might say, "I think this LG person is too dangerous and we have no place to jail them, so they get the axe. Too bad about the mental illness, but the innocent by reason of insanity defense is so post-industrial." NPCs get to pick their own intent (and therefore alignment), too, and protecting the innocent seems like good intentions to me.

TBH if I play alignment more like a karma, so it's other way round. Players will has nothing to do with it, they do not choose it. It's just sooner or later if they push karma to far, someone will take notice.

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who try to tell players their paladins are evil because they chose to sacrifice one to save many. What DMs should do is ask whether the paladin was sacrificing for expediency, because they want to see some innocent blood spilled, or because they are trying to save the innocent. The paladin can still feel bad about taking a (lower-case 'e') evil action with Good intentions, of course, even if their alignment doesn't change. If the PLAYER wants, they can even multi-class into something else to represent their feeling of having fallen from grace. No need for stripping of powers or changing alignment or whatever.

That depends in my belief of what paladin exactly does.

If he leaves one innocent to save thousand sure. If he sacrifice one innocent to Lamashtu to save thousand... then nope definitely nope.

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Meanwhile, a DM trying to add them into a game has quite a bit of work to do, especially if the monsters and spells don't come tagged with alignments./quote]

To some extent if there are some specific powers.
But mostly you can just read description and decide - this monster is TN, this monster is CE - so pally can smite him.

TBH I'd say leave alignments be, but leave class limitations and if class use lot of AL based powers - make enough variants for all - that's mostly for variant paladins.

And if someone want to put additional limitations like only LG paladins, only TN druids, or only CE barbarians - he's free to do it, he just cut out some options.

So good compromise I think - alignment mechanics that is pushed as limitation in core rules in minimal level


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but I absolutely hate when a DM tells a player "that's evil" when the player is trying to do something that will result in good. Usually the old "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" and other clichés get trotted out, which is utterly devoid of any real logic;

I'd say in Pathfinder reality with cosmic forces, such "deontological" morality without necessary consequentialist edge definitely has it's logic.

If Champion is bound to serve cosmic power of Good, he is bound to serve cosmic power... and when Evil and Good are in constant strife - then doing evil things for good sake or other way round is quite problematic.

That's why antipaladins are usually loner champions on their dark patrons leash, not a leaders of cult - because that would push them into playing with good for evil sake. And pure Evil won't take that.


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Quote:

Evil being still act evil even if you removed the evil label.

If you want to remove alignment on the basis that you want all entities to show all possible behaviors, you have to remove all personality they might have.

"Angels are good" is compression of their personality. "Angels are self-sacrificial and like to help others" is what translates out of the alignment system if you unpack it. You see, we can remove alignment and get "Angels are humanoids with wings", but what do you have at that point? Stat block? No alignment also means no set behavior.

So you would have to implement some other behavior system to the game in the end anyway. And that might get in your way just as much.

Nope, alignment is not personality, thou they influence each other. Alignment is basically - which eternal unfantomable cosmic force you support in your actions, and it's based on assumption this have mechanical implications because those forces work in lifes of mortal.

If it was just personality it would affect social play and actions - but no more smite evil, detect chaos, axiomatic weapons and so on


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The world of golarion has absolute morality. Evil acts are always evil. You can't cast animate dead or infernal healing without it being an evil act. Doesn't matter the reason or how you justify it. Some things and creatures are evil.


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KujakuDM wrote:
The world of golarion has absolute morality. Evil acts are always evil. You can't cast animate dead or infernal healing without it being an evil act. Doesn't matter the reason or how you justify it. Some things and creatures are evil.

And yet, some things that are just evil, literally made of pure evil, can become neutral or even good in Golarion. It is rare (I can think of 2 examples, plus some undead) but it shows that the objective morality applies better to actions than creatures capable of making decisions. Which is a lore-reason PF2 could have less alignment restrictions.


Indeed but it's different thing when mortal use EVIL SOULSTUFF to power his benevolent cause - because he spread powers and influences of Evil more with that, and it's different when being of EVIL SOULSTUFF try to decrease influence of Evil in itself.


Imo exceptions that usually require direct divine intervention don't really prove much.

See wrath of the righteous.


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The reason I like alignment:

I don't like "Subjective Morality" and I really don't like how so many people (incorrectly) consider morality a subjective topic when that is a theory and by no means any kind of law.

To encapsulate how the Subjective Morality Theory works we have to look at what it means.

What it means is that "morality" or "good and evil" are constructs based on the perception of the person performing the act.

In some cases this is fairly cut and dry:

"If Eve the Sorceress sees a dying orphan who is at -2 HP and is bleeding out and she rushes over, smears some unholy water or demon blood on him, and then calls out to the powers of darkness to cast infernal healing this is a good act."

In Golarion this is an evil act, not because she saved the child, that is a good act, but because she used infernal healing to do it. Some might argue that this is a neutral act, as the use of infernal healing is evil, but saving the child is good. Some others might even argue that saving the child is more good than the evil wrought by using infernal healing and as such it is still a good act.

That is a very complicated situation... Objective morality says otherwise...

Objective morality:

Saving a child = Good.
Using Infernal Healing = Bad.

The two actions are not directly related. Chances are, such a thing wouldn't cause an alignment shift, though would still make a Paladin fall... If the Paladin somehow had access to Infernal Healing.

Though those are the kind of cut and dry areas... Where subjective morality falls apart is when we get into the complex situations.

Slavery is a pretty common one:

So let us say that in the kingdom of Alamat (a place I just made up) slavery is legal. There are many ways to become a slave in Alamat. The first is to sell yourself into slavery for a period of service in order to pay off a debt. The second is to be convicted of a crime such as theft. It is illegal in Alamat to force someone not convicted of a crime into slavery.

So - I have set up the city of Alamat above, and we have the rules... Is the city of Alamat evil?

Under objective morality probably not - Slavery is a form of legal punishment (we do this in modern day countries all the time by making inmates perform labor) or a legal status that someone enters into willingly.

Under subjective morality it is absolutely evil - Why? Well the prisoners who were convicted of crimes and are being enslaved because of it don't want to do the labor. Thus, from their perspective, it is being forced on them and thus, since it negatively impacts them, it is evil.

In fact there is no good or evil possible under subjective morality.

A serial killer who murders women who have red hair because red hair reminds him of his mother. His mother used to beat him and as such he believes that all red haired women are evil and a threat to society and everyone around them. He is protecting others from these evil people.

Is the serial killer evil?

Under objective morality he is absolutely evil.

Under subjective morality he is not evil, at least not to him, because he has justified his behavior. He may be incorrect in his assumption that red hair on a woman marks them as evil, but he is genuinely acting out of a belief that he is protecting people. Thus under subjective morality he is not an evil person.

Of course, under subjective morality he is also an evil person to every person who was hurt by his actions. That is because that is how subjective morality falters.

To quote a famous ex-president, "When the president does it, it's not wrong."

A slaver may believe that enslaving others is not wrong, because those others are not him, but he will believe being enslaved himself is wrong because it negatively affects him.

Thus the theory of subjective morality hinges on the concept that morality is not a thing.

This doesn't work in Pathfinder because morality is objective, good and evil are not nebulous psychological constructs, they are actual things that can be codified and quantified and are not created or influenced by a collective social contract.

This is also why, in Golarion, it is so welcoming to people of every gender and orientation.

In real life the social contract humanity had once believed that homosexuality was evil at worst, and at best a psychological problem... One that could be fixed by a lobotomy...

That is because we had no way to measure, in real life, if homosexuality was evil or not. In Golarion, you call your local Paladin, or local Cleric, and say, "Hey. Is this evil?" On augury later and the issue is put to bed. No fuss, no muss, no years of abuse and horrible treatment until the social contract changed... We have an authority that we appeal to who can give us a clear and correct answer.

The reason why so many people want subjective morality in their games is because, truly, they do some things that, by the game world's definition, is evil. They don't like the idea of being evil, and they truly see no issue with the behavior, so they feel a compulsion to try to justify that in the game. The easiest way to do this is to remove morality from the game. The game can't call them evil if the game no longer has a definition for evil after all.

I, personally, prefer objective morality. I also don't believe in the theory of subjective morality and feel it is a load of bunk.


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Careful now. Brining irl politics to alignment doesn't end well.

(I don't really disagree with your points however. Just a call of caution)


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Envall wrote:

Evil being still act evil even if you removed the evil label.

If you want to remove alignment on the basis that you want all entities to show all possible behaviors, you have to remove all personality they might have.

"Angels are good" is compression of their personality. "Angels are self-sacrificial and like to help others" is what translates out of the alignment system if you unpack it. You see, we can remove alignment and get "Angels are humanoids with wings", but what do you have at that point? Stat block? No alignment also means no set behavior.

So you would have to implement some other behavior system to the game in the end anyway. And that might get in your way just as much.

I have never understood this line of argument. Most stories in most settings do not have alignment, yet good & evil exist and can even be objective. For what reason would Angels suddenly cease to be benevolent outsiders because they no longer have Good as an explicit label and measurable physical property stuck to them by a game system?

HWalsh wrote:

I don't like "Subjective Morality" and I really don't like how so many people (incorrectly) consider morality a subjective topic when that is a theory and by no means any kind of law.

You're getting hung up on the idea that a game system not having alignment mechanics means morality is subjective in that system.


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KujakuDM wrote:
The world of golarion has absolute morality. Evil acts are always evil.

Even if I except that as true, it requires fallible people to extrapolate that absolute morality in a subjective way: This makes the distinction between an absolute and a subjective morality moot in all but the extremely few cases called out as aligned. Add to that the 'toss a dart at the dartboard' results of some of the listed aligned actions and it puts a serious 'dent' in any absolute morality assertion.

Example: If a paladin casts: Pain Strike [racks the targeted creature with agony], they fall. But if they cast Howling Agony [wracking pains through the targets’ bodies] or Inflict Pain [wrack the target’s mind and body with agonizing] a thousand times, they are just fine. This puts the entire concept of absolute morality in question as there is no rhyme or reason involved.


One has the evil type one doesn't. That's the absolute part.


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KujakuDM wrote:
One has the evil type one doesn't. That's the absolute part.

You skipped over the important part: they do the EXACT same thing except the non-evil ones inflict MORE pain. SO if inflicting pain is evil, all should be evil but aren't. This means there must be a subjective reason to have one evil and the others not and the whole thing isn't absolute/objective.

A randomly slapped on tag without any clear reason why isn't a logical/meaningful/useful example of absolute morality as it isn't consistent, which is the cornerstone of an absolute system: if the same type of action has variable results, it by definition isn't absolute.


No I didn't skip over the important part. One has the evil descriptor one doesn't.

If you are speaking to your specific interpretation of rules and how paladin should follow then in your game that's fine. But my point is that one is expressly defined as evil by the rules. One isn't.

Absolute morality.


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KujakuDM wrote:
Absolute morality.

Absolutely subjective maybe. If you can't trust the tags then you can't trust the system. Inflicting pain either is or isn't evil determined seemingly by a spin of the 'alignment' wheel. I also find the fact that a spell that inflicts pain is deemed to be JUST as evil as a spell that protects you from good... The 'Absolute' system seems quite arbitrary, unbalanced and random which is something that kind of system should never be.

My question to you is, what basis does the paladin pick which of those three spells is evil if they can't figure out the tag but knows what they do? If he picked the most humane option, he picked evil which seems contrary in the extreme!

Liberty's Edge

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Get that alignment nonsense out of the game! If I never have to endure a "you can't do that because my interpretation of your alignment says so" debate, there will be many more sunny days in my future.


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J-Bone wrote:

Get that alignment nonsense out of the game! If I never have to endure a "you can't do that because my interpretation of your alignment says so" debate, there will be many more sunny days in my future.

#BurnItInFire


graystone wrote:
KujakuDM wrote:
Absolute morality.

Absolutely subjective maybe. If you can't trust the tags then you can't trust the system. Inflicting pain either is or isn't evil determined seemingly by a spin of the 'alignment' wheel. I also find the fact that a spell that inflicts pain is deemed to be JUST as evil as a spell that protects you from good... The 'Absolute' system seems quite arbitrary, unbalanced and random which is something that kind of system should never be.

My question to you is, what basis does the paladin pick which of those three spells is evil if they can't figure out the tag but knows what they do? If he picked the most humane option, he picked evil which seems contrary in the extreme!

Then don't play pathfinder? Or at least dont play any system with D&D inspiration that has alignment in it.


Like I'm sure you know there are a myriad of role playing systems with significantly less history in them that do just fine without alignment.

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