why alignment (for characters) needs to go


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Ckorik wrote:
The suggestion floated in this thread - would still make alignment something you put on a sheet - that mechanically interacts with spells, outsiders, and other such things.

Oh, I understand this compromise. If it's the best we could do, it'd be better than the current form [ie:better than nothing]. For myself though, I'd rather see the alignment on the sheet to be optional. The same 'framework' can exist and all those spells and such that interact with it too: JUST in an optional section in the back of the books. No needing to reinvent the wheel, JUST an explicit buy in by the DM/players to include it in the game.

In a 'total win' situation though, my 100% getting my way, would be it totally removed.

PS: the "Take it or leave it" part was my main issue with HWalsh's post as I plan to advocate for shifting alignment as far from default as possible. As such, there was only one thing I could pick from those options.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

1.First, I have to admit, that I don't completely agree with what JJ said in the quoted post. Won't go into details but for that reason I don't think that said quote is a good justification for removing alignment.

2. I love alignments (and I love LG paladins even when I disagree with HWalsh ob basically everything related to that), so to see them go completely would probably be a dealbreaker for me.

This said, a lot of that probably has to do with a bit of basic mistrust I have against players I don't know very well. I've seen too often them trying certain (evil) shenanigans that are not acceptable at my table and alignment is an easy way to disallow for that (main reason why I won't accept evil characters in my games). So losing aligment would make it harder for me to set those rules (and again, as this is nothing I'm willing to compromise about, it's also nothing I do want to discuss everytime before a game starts).

On the other hand, I'm fiddling a lot with alignment and love me some games where not everything is black and white (Eberron taught me that much). So, given the right players, I have no use for alignment as is which leads to us mostly ignoring what's in the book.

Meaning that I probably should learn to trust my players a bit more and not use alignment as an excuse. IN which case alignment would be no longer needed. :)


Tectorman wrote:
Quote:


Some of us do operate on the basis that it's insulting to default assume a player is immature enough to treat "morality in this fictitious universe works this way" as an "assault on their own values on morality and ethics"; because IME people who want to play RPGs at all tend to know the difference between a piece of fiction and an expression of a genuine belief.

It's not about whether they're mature enough to handle it if they're subjected to it, but about whether they should have to be subjected to it on a constant basis as an assumed default.

When you use the phrase "subjected to" there, and talking about having to "handle it", you are assuming it is an imposition.

I do not understand where this assumption comes from.

Are you for some reason under the impression that when I DM a strict alignment game, I am using my personal notions of what is good to define Good in the places Pathfinder is unclear?

I can see how that might be an imposition (if not properly talked through) but as I believe I have said before, of all the reasons for picking a morality in the real world, "maximising the possibility of drama" is not one I am drawn to at all, whereas it is very much the way of approaching alignment that makes sense in a game the object of which is to have exciting adventures.

Can we please put the strawman of "having alignment must mean the DM will set out to impose their personal moral preferences on players" away? Because that strongly implies not trusting a DM to know the difference between "fiction intended to be mutually enjoyable" and propaganda, and that's an insultingly low bar.

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Horror Adventures exists. Horror-themed adventures exist and existed before that book or even P1E existed. At no point is it reasonable to suggest that horror-themed games should be forever off the table, no questions asked. But it is reasonable that that sort of thing should have to be expressly consented to, never just dropped on a player's lap.

Can we also please put the strawman of "being asked to engage with a moral perspective different from your own == springing horror on people without warning" down ?

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I'm never assuming people are immature. I am giving people enough regard and dignity that I don't think anyone should have this sort of thing imposed.

The implication here that a DM would impose their perceptions of morality on a game without talking to the players about what that is going to entail in the given campaign is also not particularly complementary.

(It also feels like anti-alignment people are assuming pro-alignment DMs are going to impose a consistent take on alignment across every campaign they run rather than adjusting it for what works for the campaign and the relevant group of players, which again makes no sense to me.)

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Just like there's no fine print that I'm signing when I join a Pathfinder game saying "Go ahead and hit me with whatever horrors you got" (and nor are you to be assuming any), so to should you not be assuming any such fine print regarding morality or ethics. I mean, is that just basic decency?

I'm not assuming any such fine print.

I am saying that in a game with alignment it is the responsibility of a DM to make such decisions about alignment related issues, to consult with the players about doing so beforehand, and then to enforce them during the campaign. Because unlike the players, the DM knows what situations will be coming up in the campaign that have the potential to be divisive.

It seems a remarkable failure of inclusivity, to me, to say that a player must never be asked to engage with anything differing from their personal moral perspective.


HWalsh wrote:


It is the flavor of the UNIVERSE and has been part of it forever. These aren't just "how people act" these are elemental forces. Quantifiable energies.

Agreed entirely.

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If you think your character is Lawful Good, but the Universe says they are Neutral Good then you write down Neutral Good and move on. End of story.

Could not disagree more strongly.

If you think your character is Lawful Good, but the fictional universe says they are Neutral Good, that conflict is the beginning of any number of different ways of building an interesting character.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Removing alignment as a mechanic profoundly changes the metaphysics of the setting.

We're making profound changes already. Equipment shifts from slots to resonance, alchemists loss 'spells' and forget mutagens, goblins turn good, ect... 10th level spells just appeared out of nowhere. Material, mental, spiritual and vital essence is now a thing. So I don't see where alignment os a bridge too far.

Secondly, the "metaphysics of the setting" can stand without the players having it. People after death can go to the plane that best matches their actions based on the old alignment.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
weird retcon and break from verisimilitude

LOL I say the EXACT same thing about core goblins but we seem to be getting them... :P

WormysQueue wrote:
This said, a lot of that probably has to do with a bit of basic mistrust I have against players I don't know very well.

For me, it's Dm's that I don't know very well and not knowing how they think. People can have WILDLY different ideas of what alignment some actions/events are.

WormysQueue wrote:
I've seen too often them trying certain (evil) shenanigans that are not acceptable at my table and alignment is an easy way to disallow for that (main reason why I won't accept evil characters in my games).

For me, I've seen it from the players side where it seemed that alignment was used as a cudgel and/or a catch 22 by a DM. I think for every horror story you have of players being an issue, I'll have one of DM being one. The difference is that in your case, it's not hard to play a neutral in an evil way so if someone wants to be disruptive, that alone isn't a barrier. Not having player limitations based on alignment actually WOULD place a limiter at least on that particular issue.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, I guess that you've read my conclusion from the post you quoted. It's not that I think of my position as very defensible.

Liberty's Edge

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graystone wrote:
We're making profound changes already. Equipment shifts from slots to resonance, alchemists loss 'spells' and forget mutagens, goblins turn good, ect... 10th level spells just appeared out of nowhere. Material, mental, spiritual and vital essence is now a thing. So I don't see where alignment os a bridge too far.

Given how the Planes work it's a much bigger change than any of those. It's a lot bigger than any but the Essences thing just by virtue of Detect Evil and the like existing.

I'd even argue a few of those aren't actually metaphysics changes (Alchemists never technically had spells, for example), or certainly not large ones.

graystone wrote:
Secondly, the "metaphysics of the setting" can stand without the players having it. People after death can go to the plane that best matches their actions based on the old alignment.

Not really. I mean, why are PCs immune to the rules that apply to everything else in the universe including Gods? That's weird as hell.

graystone wrote:
LOL I say the EXACT same thing about core goblins but we seem to be getting them... :P

Hey, I agreed with you absent an in-universe rationale. We just disagree on how extreme an in-universe rationale would be necessary.


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WormysQueue wrote:
Well, I guess that you've read my conclusion from the post you quoted. It's not that I think of my position as very defensible.

Oh, I was just pointing out that the "mistrust" issue can go both ways and how that affects our perspective of the issue. And I too think having a group you know and trust would make the majority of our issues moot. So I agree with most of your post, it's just we're starting from different sides of the fence. ;)


the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
HWalsh wrote:


It is the flavor of the UNIVERSE and has been part of it forever. These aren't just "how people act" these are elemental forces. Quantifiable energies.

Agreed entirely.

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If you think your character is Lawful Good, but the Universe says they are Neutral Good then you write down Neutral Good and move on. End of story.

Could not disagree more strongly.

If you think your character is Lawful Good, but the fictional universe says they are Neutral Good, that conflict is the beginning of any number of different ways of building an interesting character.

How?

Seriously?

Unless you are playing maybe a Paladin, who has to be Lawful Good, how does you playing your character as you think is Lawful Good, while the system says Neutral Good, hurt your interesting character in any way?

In all but the rarest situations this doesn't affect your character's degree of interesting. The only thing this does is make your character "wrong" in thinking he is Lawful as the Universe, not your character, defines it.

This literally doesn't do anything to you at all. It certainly doesn't make it any less interesting. It adds a part to your character where they disagree with the Universe, which is, arguably, pretty interesting in and of itself.


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no 2 people think alike
no 2 people will ever completely agree on anything and everything.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Given how the Planes work it's a much bigger change than any of those. It's a lot bigger than any but the Essences thing just by virtue of Detect Evil and the like existing.

Nothing stops detect evil spells from working... You just use the EXACT same method you'd use to determine if an act was evil to determine if there is anything to detect: you don't need the initials L,G,E,C and N detect good, bad, erratic or orderly things.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Not really. I mean, why are PCs immune to the rules that apply to everything else in the universe including Gods? That's weird as hell.

Why do mortals NEED to follow the rules that govern gods and planes? it's NOT about 'immune', but mortals being changeable, mercurial things. No person is a monolith of singular alignment energies. If you wanted to insist angels and devils have alignment, that's one thing. A human? Not buying it. They might DO evil or good but aren't at their essense good or evil.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Hey, I agreed with you absent an in-universe rationale. We just disagree on how extreme an in-universe rationale would be necessary.

Not disagreeing: Just pointing out that one persons sea change is another's change equivalent to other changes in the works. For me, goblins is like what you're describing alignment removal as.


Arguably -

I guess, a somewhat compromise (though I wouldn't be happy with it) would be if alignment was simply a descriptor of the type of energy you are naturally aligned to - At which point then it stops becoming a descriptor that is based on your behavior and is something independent of it that would open it up for more effects.

IE someone targeted by a compulsion to act in a way accordance with their energy alignment would suffer a penalty to their saves.

I think it would be ridiculous, but that could work from a lore perspective to a point. You could strengthen the Paladin code to force Lawful Good behavior and require Lawful Good energy alignment, and that might pass with me... But that would be really silly.


HWalsh wrote:


How?

Seriously?

Unless you are playing maybe a Paladin, who has to be Lawful Good, how does you playing your character as you think is Lawful Good, while the system says Neutral Good, hurt your interesting character in any way?

That depends on what sense you mean "hurt" in. Hurt the concept as fun to play, not at all. Hurt the character in their ambitions, maybe.

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The only thing this does is make your character "wrong" in thinking he is Lawful as the Universe, not your character, defines it.

Playing a character who really wanted to be a Paladin and thought they deserved it, but whom the relevant gods and other bits of universe did not agree deserved it, seems a lot of fun to me, with possibilities ranging from tragic to antiheroic. (A whole range of options that go away if the requirements for Paladin are relaxed.)

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This literally doesn't do anything to you at all. It certainly doesn't make it any less interesting. It adds a part to your character where they disagree with the Universe, which is, arguably, pretty interesting in and of itself.

This sounds like I am not expressing myself clearly enough, it was "write down Neutral Good and move on. End of story" in your previous post I was disagreeing with, because I was thinking of that conflict with how the universe defined things as the beginning of any number of interesting stories.


graystone wrote:

Why do mortals NEED to follow the rules that govern gods and planes? it's NOT about 'immune', but mortals being changeable, mercurial things. No person is a monolith of singular alignment energies.

Oh, agreed absolutely.

But at the end of their lives, they are going somewhere that will judge them on the basis of those rules and assign them to an afterlife accordingly, so if they have preferences about which afterlife they end up in, following the rules is only sensible.

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If you wanted to insist angels and devils have alignment, that's one thing.

I don't think of the principal outsider families as having alignment, I think of them as being alignment, distilled and embodied from mortal souls. (Angels being somewhat of an exception here). No more capable of changing that than humans are of growing wings (without major magic).

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A human? Not buying it. They might DO evil or good but aren't at their essense good or evil.

A stipulation I am happy to work with for the sake of making Pathfinder a more enjoyable game; whether one buys it or not in reality seems irrelevant to that.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I wasn't sure about the idea of not having alignment until my GM for our Hell's Rebels campaign said 'There Shall Be No PC Alignment' with the caveat 'Outsiders still have alignment, because they're 'outside' normal mortal reality, and embody alignment'.

It's made for a very neat and interesting campaign, and I can't understand the resistance to the concept. Now.

As in, my brain can't wrap around the logic loops for justifying an artifact of the 1st Edition AD&D sticking around for so long when nearly *everything else* has changed about the game.


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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
HWalsh wrote:


How?

Seriously?

Unless you are playing maybe a Paladin, who has to be Lawful Good, how does you playing your character as you think is Lawful Good, while the system says Neutral Good, hurt your interesting character in any way?

That depends on what sense you mean "hurt" in. Hurt the concept as fun to play, not at all. Hurt the character in their ambitions, maybe.

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The only thing this does is make your character "wrong" in thinking he is Lawful as the Universe, not your character, defines it.

Playing a character who really wanted to be a Paladin and thought they deserved it, but whom the relevant gods and other bits of universe did not agree deserved it, seems a lot of fun to me, with possibilities ranging from tragic to antiheroic. (A whole range of options that go away if the requirements for Paladin are relaxed.)

Quote:
This literally doesn't do anything to you at all. It certainly doesn't make it any less interesting. It adds a part to your character where they disagree with the Universe, which is, arguably, pretty interesting in and of itself.
This sounds like I am not expressing myself clearly enough, it was "write down Neutral Good and move on. End of story" in your previous post I was disagreeing with, because I was thinking of that conflict with how the universe defined things as the beginning of any number of interesting stories.

Well that is what I mean:

You start out saying, "I think my character is Lawful Good, but the system says the behavior I want to portray is Neutral Good. So I am putting down Neutral Good in my alignment."

It doesn't affect you.

Yes, it means you can't be a Paladin, but as I said, that doesn't make a character uninteresting. There is something realistic about not being able to do something that you just can't do.

Case in point:

In December of 2016 I was put in a wheelchair. I am never getting out of this unless I maybe hit the lottery or something. I hate, utterly hate, the fact that there are just things I can't do that I want to do, but I have to live with them.

I used to love amusement parks, beaches, and taking nature walks. I cannot do these things anymore. That is just something I have had to accept. I could either let that eat me, or I could keep going despite it. I kept going.

That is interesting. That is what happens when someone who just doesn't believe in the tenets of lawful good who wants to be a Paladin. They can't. They have a lot of options at that point and they have to decide... Are they going to have their player scream at Paizo or their GM until they can... Or are they going to push on, pull through, and make a hero despite it?

I know which one I find more interesting from a narrative perspective.


Steelfiredragon wrote:

no 2 people think alike

no 2 people will ever completely agree on anything and everything.

Applying this in fine enough detail to be true also stretches it to a point where I am at a loss to see how it is relevant to the discussion here; what were you aiming to convey?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I prefer a little *less* 'realism' in my fantasy environments.

I'd prefer to see deities and beings that *aren't* PERFECT and have their 'blind spots' and their weaknesses and... be rounded characters.

The idea that there is only One True Path is very disturbing to me for some reason I can't quite put a finger on.


HWalsh wrote:


That is what happens when someone who just doesn't believe in the tenets of lawful good who wants to be a Paladin. They can't. They have a lot of options at that point and they have to decide... Are they going to have their player scream at Paizo or their GM until they can... Or are they going to push on, pull through, and make a hero despite it?

I know which one I find more interesting from a narrative perspective.

I think we are entirely in agreement on this point after all, then, and I am sorry for whatever combination of misreading you and clumsy phrasing on my part suggested otherwise.


Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


I'd prefer to see deities and beings that *aren't* PERFECT and have their 'blind spots' and their weaknesses and... be rounded characters.

Beings that can be statted, generally, yes. I favour deities being sufficiently superhuman that they should not come across as rounded human-equivalent characters because humans should not be able to comprehend them that well, though I can see arguments for maybe softening that with gods who were (relatively) recently mortals.

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The idea that there is only One True Path is very disturbing to me for some reason I can't quite put a finger on.

I'm all for multiple distinct "true paths", each worth having, each with unique benefits and drawbacks mechanistically, and each with roleplaying constraints as apt. The more of those the game characterises and embodies well in distinct character classes, the better.

Alignment seems like a fairly solid mechanism to build the relevant distinctions on, and certainly an easier one to defend than coming up with some possibly better new one from scratch and trying to get that embedded in the game. I don't by any means believe it is perfect or the One True Path; I do believe it is the best plausible option we have for the game.

Multiple different ways of being Good with each their value, and each their incentives for people to play them, seems all to the good for game flavour and for inclusivity. And to be a very distinct case from a watered down mishmash where any character class can have any alignment and multiclass into any set of skills.


Steelfiredragon wrote:

if one keeps arguing about the same thing and pretty much the same way over and over again and refuse to budge. You have let that little line about no 2 people think alike and what not.

this goes equally into alignment threads/ discussions and why they should stay the same or change with the times.

thus
no 2 people think alike
no 2 people will ever comepletely agree on anything and everything.

Lack of faith in ability to change people's minds by reasoned discourse is neither something I consider virtuous, nor something that matches my experience of humanity.


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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Steelfiredragon wrote:

if one keeps arguing about the same thing and pretty much the same way over and over again and refuse to budge. You have let that little line about no 2 people think alike and what not.

this goes equally into alignment threads/ discussions and why they should stay the same or change with the times.

thus
no 2 people think alike
no 2 people will ever comepletely agree on anything and everything.

Lack of faith in ability to change people's minds by reasoned discourse is neither something I consider virtuous, nor something that matches my experience of humanity.

yes, but it also stops with some individuals acting like not going to budge hardliners and even off a forum and a face to face discussion tends to being a lot more bullheaded.

and you're right its not virtuous , not cowardly either. better to try and fail rather than not try in fear of failure. sooner or later one can change another's mind only if enough to get a compromise. But even I get tired of trying all the time to convince anyone of something,,( even more so with my boss at work and some of the things he teases me with)

oh and by the way. I suffer from
asperger syndrome, so please dont read to much into me, I know all to well that nobody else thinks like me and all to well know that there are some things that will go right by me and likewise something I might say.


Steelfiredragon wrote:


But even I get tired of trying all the time to convince anyone of something,,( even more so with my boss at work and some of the things he teases me with)

My sympathies, that does sound rather uncomfortable.

Quote:


oh and by the way. I suffer from
asperger syndrome, so please dont read to much into me, I know all to well that nobody else thinks like me and all to well know that there are some things that will go right by me and likewise something I might say.

In case it helps, nothing you have said has upset or offended me.


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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
But at the end of their lives, they are going somewhere that will judge them on the basis of those rules and assign them to an afterlife accordingly, so if they have preferences about which afterlife they end up in, following the rules is only sensible.

But how does that require alignment? Wouldn't the aspects of the afterlife be more meaningful than a simple alignment descriptor?

the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
A stipulation I am happy to work with for the sake of making Pathfinder a more enjoyable game; whether one buys it or not in reality seems irrelevant to that.

I'm both "not buying it" from a reality aspect and an enjoyment aspect: alignment isn't a requirement for either IMO.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
NetoD20 wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
HWalsh wrote:


Morality in Pathfinder is NOT subjective. There is elemental good and elemental evil. The universe defines these, not the...
Morality in the real world is subjective - which is why it's fine for the game world but not for player characters.
Except the player characters are part of the world, so the multiverse's objective morality must apply to them as well. And there's no impediment to playing characters with gray morals, because one can just choose to be Neutral Something, so even that isn't a problem.

Neutrality isn't grey, it also has objective existence, and given the hours of arguments about whether or not motive matters and if specific actions are aligned I can see why this is problematic.


graystone wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
But at the end of their lives, they are going somewhere that will judge them on the basis of those rules and assign them to an afterlife accordingly, so if they have preferences about which afterlife they end up in, following the rules is only sensible.

But how does that require alignment? Wouldn't the aspects of the afterlife be more meaningful than a simple alignment descriptor?

That depends on whether you'd rather your bunch of different afterlife aspects have some underlying systemic order to them, I would think. I very much favour them having such an order, and while alignment is by no means perfect for that either, it's the best plausible option we have. (Myself I'd probably rather have something with more detailed axes and more options, but making something workable, balancing it and selling people on it seems unlikely to work, and alignment as we have it is at least a start.)

Quote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
A stipulation I am happy to work with for the sake of making Pathfinder a more enjoyable game; whether one buys it or not in reality seems irrelevant to that.
I'm both "not buying it" from a reality aspect and an enjoyment aspect: alignment isn't a requirement for either IMO.

Maybe I wasn't sufficiently clear again, there.

The position that "humans might do good and evil but aren't in essence good or evil" is something I have an opinion on in the real world (outside the scope of this discussion), which has nothing to do with my opinion of whether it is a good mechanic for Pathfinder (which I don't think it is; the mechanistic and gameplay consequences of descriptive alignment that is based on characters' actions seem a positive thing to me, so for Pathfinder purposes I favour describing a human as Good if they do Good things.)

I am, to put it another way, arguing that alignment is a plus on enjoyment grounds, and that assessing it on realism grounds is pointless to a degree of actively unhelpful in judging how well it works as a game mechanic.

Scarab Sages

In my experience, people that don't like the alignment system tend to be those that disagree with its stipulations on a philosophical level, rather than a gameplay level.

Given the context of the setting, it makes sense for humanoids to have a general alignment. It slots them into their place in the greater conflicts of the multiverse. If this is actually a problem, I could easily Paizo doing a small sidebar on playing without alignment, where alignment descriptors are removed from specific spells or abilities, and spells or abilities that affect different alignments differently treat all targets as being Neutral aligned for all intents and purposes, or something to that effect. If they don't, it honestly isn't a big deal. People just need to learn to stop taking a single mechanic so seriously.


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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
That depends on whether you'd rather your bunch of different afterlife aspects have some underlying systemic order to them, I would think. I very much favour them having such an order, and while alignment is by no means perfect for that either, it's the best plausible option we have. (Myself I'd probably rather have something with more detailed axes and more options, but making something workable, balancing it and selling people on it seems unlikely to work, and alignment as we have it is at least a start.)

there isn't a need for a "systemic order" though". All you need is x plane attracts those those like x. y, z and dislike x, y z. No axes required at all. In fact adding extra thing like alignment and axes just needlessly complicates things. I simple description of what souls tend to go there is ALL you need.

the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
I am, to put it another way, arguing that alignment is a plus on enjoyment grounds, and that assessing it on realism grounds is pointless to a degree of actively unhelpful in judging how well it works as a game mechanic.

The thing is that people look at things like alignment using their understanding of it and that's informed from their own sense of realism. As such, having humans as players makes looking at them with realism in mind an inevitability. Most people want a three dimensional character that is much more than a 2 letter alignment could hope to cover and any character with depth is never going to conform to those letters.

Even setting aside those arguments, my personal experience is that alignment doesn't work well from either an enjoyment or a mechanical point of view.

Davor wrote:
People just need to learn to stop taking a single mechanic so seriously.

People TEND to take things that remove all of your class abilities a bit seriously... :P


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Davor wrote:

In my experience, people that don't like the alignment system tend to be those that disagree with its stipulations on a philosophical level, rather than a gameplay level.

Given the context of the setting, it makes sense for humanoids to have a general alignment. It slots them into their place in the greater conflicts of the multiverse. If this is actually a problem, I could easily Paizo doing a small sidebar on playing without alignment, where alignment descriptors are removed from specific spells or abilities, and spells or abilities that affect different alignments differently treat all targets as being Neutral aligned for all intents and purposes, or something to that effect. If they don't, it honestly isn't a big deal. People just need to learn to stop taking a single mechanic so seriously.

The reason people take it seriously is because of problem GMs and problem players. The former set traps for their players with alignment-based character classes, or even without intentionally setting traps start bitter fights over interpretation of actions and intent with players who think about the world differently than they do. The latter try to control other party members, or gravitate toward certain alignments (*cough Chaotic Neutral cough*) because of a perceived license or encouragement to be a random troll a@#&&!%.

My stance is that alignment should be in the game because of its tradition and because it is sometimes useful, but minimized except in the case of powerful magical/spiritual creatures like outsiders and dragons. For characters, it would just be a soft framework to hang more important personality traits on - a general guide to behavior but not a prescriptive one. GMs should be explicitly advised to not create moral traps to trip up clerics and paladins, to not try to change player alignment, to not punish players for having a different viewpoint of alignment than they do.

Ideally, classes wouldn't have alignment requirements at all. The few classes where it's semi-appropriate would be better served by more defined Codes instead, like a Code for clerics and paladins of given deity X.


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HWalsh wrote:
Tectorman wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Tectorman wrote:
yet a player is always expected to have to brace themselves for whatever assault on their own values on morality and ethics gets thrown their way all because they committed the unforgivable and grievous sin of being interested in playing the cool martial artist class and not buying into its Insane Troll Logic connection to being lawful?

Some of us do operate on the basis that it's insulting to default assume a player is immature enough to treat "morality in this fictitious universe works this way" as an "assault on their own values on morality and ethics"; because IME people who want to play RPGs at all tend to know the difference between a piece of fiction and an expression of a genuine belief.

It's not about whether they're mature enough to handle it if they're subjected to it, but about whether they should have to be subjected to it on a constant basis as an assumed default.

Horror Adventures exists. Horror-themed adventures exist and existed before that book or even P1E existed. At no point is it reasonable to suggest that horror-themed games should be forever off the table, no questions asked. But it is reasonable that that sort of thing should have to be expressly consented to, never just dropped on a player's lap. Sure, they probably could grin and bear with it for however long they need to, but they shouldn't have to.

I'm never assuming people are immature. I am giving people enough regard and dignity that I don't think anyone should have this sort of thing imposed. There's a difference.

Ditto alignment. Just like there's no fine print that I'm signing when I join a Pathfinder game saying "Go ahead and hit me with whatever horrors you got" (and nor are you to be assuming any), so to should you not be assuming any such fine print regarding morality or ethics. I mean, is that just basic decency?

Come on, this is a load of bunk.

The alignment system didn't assault anyone's dignity. For crying out loud this is becoming insane.

Seriously - Listen to what you guys are saying...

The system for alignment, which is an objective classification imposed by the universe itself in a fictional game, is being called an assault on people's dignity?

Holy tar people.

Seriously, you can accept Elves, and Goblins, and Orcs. You can accept demons, and angels, and magic. You can accept elemental planes, intelligent weapons, and the ability to resurrect people from the dead. That is all fine and dandy. However the fact that the morality system is different from your own personal views is an assault?

Anyone who is insulted by alignment... I hate to say it, but they don't need to be playing RPGs. They aren't mature enough to handle it. That shows an inability to separate reality from fantasy and that means that gaming is too dangerous a hobby for them to partake in.

I mean, this feels like some serious Twilight Zone level, Mazes and Monsters type stuff. We absolutely don't need that.

You say all that, and I see those exact arguments being used for why a DM just decided to ram a horror-themed game down his players' throats, never mind their feelings, they're just supposed to suck it up and take it. And I can't help but see that as villainous. Absolutely monstrous.

From all these posts in all of these threads, the one thing the pro-alignment side ever seems to boil down to is "I want something to hand over other people's heads. Something to lord over them. There's nothing as important as my ability to say 'Get thee hence'." Sometimes it'll get couched in terms of maintaining the feel and theme of the setting or the game's legacy, but since that gets accomplished all the damned time anyway and without this need to hang something over a player's head, I will never see it as either necessary or warranted.

Seriously, think about what you're saying.

The game's legacy is more important than the people playing the game. Screw the players, at least the setting is intact. What kind of integrity can that really be? And all this for a character archetype that's supposed to be the beacon of good? That's not a Paladin you've ever described, not when you keep choosing "Neener, neener" over "beacon of good".

And I play plenty of RPGs. Ideally, my choices of which ones to engage with are based on personal preference, first and foremost. I just happen to think that the game or gaming community saying "Get thee hence" should only ever be a distant second, fifth, dead last it shouldn't even be on the list!!

For the love of God, why would anyone have such a need to lord this sort of thing over their fellow players at a Saturday afternoon game?!


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the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:

When you use the phrase "subjected to" there, and talking about having to "handle it", you are assuming it is an imposition.

I do not understand where this assumption comes from.
Are you for some reason under the impression that when I DM a strict alignment game, I am using my personal notions of what is good to define Good in the places Pathfinder is unclear?
I can see how that might be an imposition (if not properly talked through) but as I believe I have said before, of all the reasons for picking a morality in the real world, "maximising the possibility of drama" is not one I am drawn to at all, whereas it is very much the way of approaching alignment that makes sense in a game the object of which is to have exciting adventures.
Can we please put the strawman of "having alignment must mean the DM will set out to impose their personal moral preferences on players" away? Because that strongly implies not trusting a DM to know the difference between "fiction intended to be mutually enjoyable" and propaganda, and that's an insultingly low bar.

When I see game after game and setting after setting accomplish exactly that without using alignment or at least without alignment restrictions, and when the only thing I see the alignment restrictions do is "maximize the possibility of drama" and "impose moral preferences on players (maybe the DM's, maybe just his interpretation of the book's but that's irrelevant because the core issue is the imposing of anyone's moral preferences)", then I don't see it as a strawman. We're at "mutually enjoyable" when everyone on both sides has the choice of what they buy into.

the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
Can we also please put the strawman of "being asked to engage with a moral perspective different from your own == springing horror on people without warning" down ?

They do not exist at the same level of trauma, but a person's moral perspective is just as deeply personal as what does and does not make them uncomfortable. And again, what "engaging" is there? The universe's moral perspective is what it is. Unless you're talking about an adventure where the PCs invade the seventh level of Heaven, Asmodeus's innermost sanctum, the bottom of the Abyss, etc, to find all the components of whatever mechanism is broadcasting alignment throughout the universe in order to find a way to destroy it or cast it out of the multiverse for good (which doesn't actually sound that bad), then there is no engaging with that moral perspective. There's "the character exists in that universe, end of story" or "the player walked, end of story".

A fallible entity, whether individual or group, with their own not-universally-backed moral perspective, can be engaged with. Agreed with, disagreed with, or parting ways with more to think about, but there is the possibility of give and take there. How can a player character change the universe's mind?

the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:

The implication here that a DM would impose their perceptions of morality on a game without talking to the players about what that is going to entail in the given campaign is also not particularly complementary.

(It also feels like anti-alignment people are assuming pro-alignment DMs are going to impose a consistent take on alignment across every campaign they run rather than adjusting it for what works for the campaign and the relevant group of players, which again makes no sense to me.)

If the GM isn't imposing their (or the book's) moral perspective, then the players had the option to not buy into it by default. Which is exactly what I'm pushing for.

And my worry isn't that GMs are going to impose a consistent take on alignment so much that they'll be consistently imposing any take on alignment. But hey, as long as the players' default option is to be able to not buy into alignment, then we don't have a problem.

the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:

I'm not assuming any such fine print.

I am saying that in a game with alignment it is the responsibility of a DM to make such decisions about alignment related issues, to consult with the players about doing so beforehand, and then to enforce them during the campaign. Because unlike the players, the DM knows what situations will be coming up in the campaign that have the potential to be divisive.
It seems a remarkable failure of inclusivity, to me, to say that a player must never be asked to engage with anything differing from their personal moral perspective.

Agreed with that being the case in a game with alignment and alignment mechanics. Totally don't buy into the premise that it MUST be a game with alignment and alignment mechanics, though. See above for my disagreement that the player even can engage with a universe with a differing moral perspective, other than to walk entirely.


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For me the Alignment system is just a holy cow that nobody want to touch, it have some flavor, but thats all there is to it. For a mechanic that is so extremly vague that after 5 decades of arguing we still havent agreed the slightest on how this system is supposed to work is enough to me that the system is in need of a dire rewamp or removal.

I cant even pretend that i understand the argument of why this vague morality system is so critical to the game to the point some people would find it otherwise unplayable, but i do see how the alignment on a grand divine basis does set up the balance between the divine powers. For me the alignment system have just become a weird thing which allow GMs to control players beyond having the world react: "Your character wouldnt do that" and then you have the other side of the argument "My character would do that" from the player side.

The concept of Law and Chaos more more sense than the axis of Good and Evil, i would even argue that the linear "Mass Effect Alignment" is better than what D&D currently have to offer both mechanically and roleplaywise in its current incarnation. Way too many times we see the basic stereotypes: The Stick-in-the-mud Lawful Stupid Paladin, the Dick-rogue that steals and sabotage their allies, the Cartoony Villian that is the Chaotic Evil, and the totally spastic that is Chaotic Neutral.

The stereotypes exist for a reason, and i blame the vagueness that is the alignment system. You might not have seen them in your games, but i have seen them a lot (At least one of these stereotypes in every new group i encounter).


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Comparing alignment to a horror themed game is hyperbolic in the extreme. Moreover characterizing people as monstrous for liking alignment as it is will provoke an ugly fight if you keep doing it.

Liberty's Edge

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Tectorman wrote:
You say all that, and I see those exact arguments being used for why a DM just decided to ram a horror-themed game down his players' throats, never mind their feelings, they're just supposed to suck it up and take it. And I can't help but see that as villainous. Absolutely monstrous.

Okay, whoah, hold up a minute here. Running a horror game is entirely within a GM's prerogative. What's uncool about ramming it down people's throats is not running it, or even refusing to run non-horror games. It's about consent. If a game is labeled a horror game (and many are), you are not violating people's consent by using it as such.

Now, you should probably clarify what horror means to your fellow players and any specific subject matter you'd like to avoid in your horror games, but it merely being a horror game is not inherently a problem if people know that going in.

Similarly, Alignment is not a hidden and secret part of the game that gets sprung on people with no warning. It's a fundamental part of character creation and listed right at the top of the sheet with Race and Class in PF1 (and likely in PF2). And people who play the game know that. They know that this is a game in a world with fundamental and objective moral rules. Or they do if they either read the game or get a competent person to explain it.

Now, people aren't always gonna agree on how such rules are gonna be applied, and some GMs will absolutely misuse them, but that's no reason to get rid of them altogether, it's a reason to discuss what is and isn't moral in your game world as a group just like, in a horror game, you discuss what forms of horror are and are not acceptable.

Indeed, arguing you should get rid of Alignment because GMs have used it in inappropriate ways is like arguing that Call of Cthulhu should get rid of its horror elements because some GM in that game has ignored their player's wishes and brought up a variety of horror they find traumatic without their consent. It's applying a solution to the wrong thing, since the issue there is not the clearly labeled horror/morally focused game, it's the GM being a dick and/or not clarifying their players' comfort levels.

Now, some GM advice involving checking in with people what sort of moral issues they are or are not interested in exploring in the same way many recent horror games give this advice in regards to horror elements is an excellent idea. But removing alignment from the game is not a logical solution to this particular issue.

Tectorman wrote:
From all these posts in all of these threads, the one thing the pro-alignment side ever seems to boil down to is "I want something to hand over other people's heads. Something to lord over them. There's nothing as important as my ability to say 'Get thee hence'. Sometimes it'll get couched in terms of maintaining the feel and theme of the setting or the game's legacy, but since that gets accomplished all the damned time anyway and without this need to hang something over a player's head, I will never see it as either necessary or warranted.

I have never held Alignment over people's heads (no, not even Paladins). That's a weird and dickish thing to do to people most of the time. Indeed, I think the only time I've ever seen a PC change alignment was at the player's instigation, and I've only ever even brought up warnings about behaviors changing alignment a handful of times.

And yet, I very much want to continue the existence of alignment in Pathfinder (and D&D). I want to do so for both legacy and verisimilitude reasons, as well as because it's actually a really great and convenient shorthand for how most characters behave, at least in terms of moral choices, most of the time. It has history, both in reality and in the game world, and utility in terms of its actual use in most games.

Tectorman wrote:

Seriously, think about what you're saying.

The game's legacy is more important than the people playing the game. Screw the players, at least the setting is intact. What kind of integrity can that really be? And all this for a character archetype that's supposed to be the beacon of good? That's not a Paladin you've ever described, not when you keep choosing "Neener, neener" over "beacon of good".

This assumes the players don't care about the setting's integrity. If they do, then you're screwing over them by violating it. Really, your whole post just assumes this. It assumes the vast majority of players agree with you on alignment and will welcome its removal. This is pretty clearly not entirely true.


HWalsh wrote:


In December of 2016 I was put in a wheelchair. I am never getting out of this unless I maybe hit the...

Man. Sorry to hear that.


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dragonhunterq wrote:
I have never had an issue with alignment at the table - never. I didn't even realise it was a problem until I started playing PF and joined the forums here.

Same. Played for 17 years using alignment never had trouble from alignment specifically.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Tectorman wrote:
From all these posts in all of these threads, the one thing the pro-alignment side ever seems to boil down to is "I want something to hand over other people's heads. Something to lord over them. There's nothing as important as my ability to say 'Get thee hence'." Sometimes it'll get couched in terms of maintaining the feel and theme of the setting or the game's legacy, but since that gets accomplished all the damned time anyway and without this need to hang something over a player's head, I will never see it as either necessary or warranted.

I often frame my discussions on alignment as “the DM can do...” or “it’s up to the DM”. That’s just because I think it’s useful to stick closely to the rules in these kinds of debates (which stipulate that alignment is entirely within the DM’s purview), rather than try to solve the so far unanswered question of “what constitutes a good/evil act?” which unfortunately tends to dominate alignment disputes.

However, for clarity, let me be clear that I prefer alignment as a player too. It’s not because I personally want to impose my view of morality on other people.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
HWalsh wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
HWalsh wrote:


How?

Seriously?

Unless you are playing maybe a Paladin, who has to be Lawful Good, how does you playing your character as you think is Lawful Good, while the system says Neutral Good, hurt your interesting character in any way?

That depends on what sense you mean "hurt" in. Hurt the concept as fun to play, not at all. Hurt the character in their ambitions, maybe.

Quote:


The only thing this does is make your character "wrong" in thinking he is Lawful as the Universe, not your character, defines it.

Playing a character who really wanted to be a Paladin and thought they deserved it, but whom the relevant gods and other bits of universe did not agree deserved it, seems a lot of fun to me, with possibilities ranging from tragic to antiheroic. (A whole range of options that go away if the requirements for Paladin are relaxed.)

Quote:
This literally doesn't do anything to you at all. It certainly doesn't make it any less interesting. It adds a part to your character where they disagree with the Universe, which is, arguably, pretty interesting in and of itself.
This sounds like I am not expressing myself clearly enough, it was "write down Neutral Good and move on. End of story" in your previous post I was disagreeing with, because I was thinking of that conflict with how the universe defined things as the beginning of any number of interesting stories.

Well that is what I mean:

You start out saying, "I think my character is Lawful Good, but the system says the behavior I want to portray is Neutral Good. So I am putting down Neutral Good in my alignment."

It doesn't affect you.

Yes, it means you can't be a Paladin, but as I said, that doesn't make a character uninteresting. There is something realistic about not being able to do something that you just can't do.

Case in point:

In December of 2016 I was put in a wheelchair. I am never getting out of this unless I maybe hit the...

the issue I have with paladins is the fact that they have to be LG, when that has never made sense, nor even reflected the tropes and Archetypes they are based on.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
I have never had an issue with alignment at the table - never. I didn't even realise it was a problem until I started playing PF and joined the forums here.
Same. Played for 17 years using alignment never had trouble from alignment specifically.

I've been playing since the first box set came out. I could barely read back then. I never DM'd a game where there was a problem and I never personally had an alignment problem with a DM, but I think I instinctively figured out how controlling the DM was going to be and went with Chaotic Good if I sensed any dominant tendencies.

I was in a game in which another player was a detect-smite paladin, which the DM absolutely hated, and forced the player to play differently with the threat of an alignment shift. The player fell into line, but I always thought it was the player who should have been able to decide how to further the cause of Law and Good, not the DM, and it has impacted my DMing ever since. I don't think it helped that in the early days paladins were kind of a joke. The game designers seemed to encourage picking on paladins in a very subtle way, or at least I felt like that. Also, there were plenty of modules that were rather like what you would think belonged in Hackmaster. DMs totally messed with players back in the day. Players have a lot more control now.


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I'm reposting this from the necromancy thread. I think it addresses many of the issues raised in this thread.

PF1 has a section that says, essentially, alignment is a fuzzy collection of personality traits that is definitely not a straightjacket, then goes on to say the DM has absolute control over what alignment you are and, if he doesn’t like the alignment you put on your character sheet, it is fully and unconditionally the power of the DM to reach over and scratch it out. So alignment is handcuffs the DM can slap on you and then toss you into another alignment category. Definitely not a straightjacket because the rules are explicit, it’s just handcuffs. :/

There are currently three or four groups with a dog in the fight. The first, just to get it out of the way, is the game designers, who might think a Barbarian/Paladin is too mechanically strong or too aesthetically displeasing. I don’t think Paizo is incapable of addressing the mechanical issue with some good game design and the aesthetics can easily be addressed with archetypes, if necessary, so, let’s move on.

The second group says we don’t want alignment because it actually is a straightjacket (true in some games). If it were possible to make alignment not a straightjacket in fact (instead of just in words), I think the vast majority of this group would be satisfied. I mean, if you can choose a character concept, match an alignment to the concept that is most appropriate, and never have anybody (specifically, the DM) bother you about it, problem solved, right? At character creation, alignment can be treated as just one aspect of personality that you just happen to jot down on your character sheet, along with ancestry and background.

The third group says we should keep alignment, but it really has two subgroups: 1) those that want to control player behavior and 2) those that like alignment because it serves a narrative and mechanical function in a game that includes Good and Evil as actual forces in the multiverse. For the group that wants to control player behavior, I would argue an alignment-agnostic social contract works better. You can still restrict alignments if you want, but many of the behaviors that are disruptive can be handled with a social contract on which agreement is reached prior to the game. For example, I have a “no rape” rule and what I would characterize for simplicity as a no PvP rule. I don't care what character concept you have; if rape is part of it, you can't play it. Similarly, a DM could easily say, “I am not restricting your alignment per se, but you cannot murder PC races, so there are going to be some limits on your character concept if you choose to be Evil.” That’s not my rule, I’m just providing it as a legitimate social contract that is, in fact, alignment-agnostic. As to the second subgroup, if the players choose their alignments based upon clear definitions that are likely to allow a great deal of variation within them, I think everyone is going to be happy.

To address these issues, I think the alignment section should start with something like this (not a whimpy "don't worry, this isn't a straightjacket;" come in strong):

Alignment is a fundamental force of the multiverse. You should choose your alignment carefully because it can have a significant impact on how your character interacts with, in particular, magic and magical beings, as well as powers granted to your character, particularly for Clerics and Paladins. That said, alignment is entirely determined by character intentions, so if you choose an alignment that best describes your character’s intentions, you will not be forced to change alignment. PC intentions are solely under the control of the player, not the DM. The DM may or may not require you record something like “Delusion: Believes all red-haired women are witches and all witches are evil” on your character sheet if your character has a belief that something is true that is, in fact, objectively false (the DM is the arbiter of what is objectively true in the world) and that may result in the character taking an action that would deviate from alignment if the character did not have that delusion. Also, insanity may be detectable by insightful creatures or via the use of spells if your character has any delusions.

Lawful Good: [Leaving blank because Law/Chaos is tricky]
Neutral Good: If you have the intention to protect innocent life whenever it is feasible, you are Neutral Good. If you fail to protect innocent life or take innocent life, the DM may ask you if it was your intention to protect innocent life, despite the outcome. If so, your alignment does not change.
Chaotic Good: …

Then launch into the Alignment-Agnostic Social Contract. One part can be “DMs may restrict Evil alignments as a shorthand for certain behaviors. If you have a concept for a character who believes Orcs are capable of free will, but you kill them for fun anyway, your character is Evil, even if you do not kill PC races for fun. If you want to play such a character, you can always ask your DM if he or she means ‘not allowed to murder PC races,’ no PvP, no Evil of any kind, or something else.”

Rules are exception-based. These rules in no way prohibit the existence of Evil, OK, I'll try to use the accepted word, taint. Animate Dead, Undead, Evil objects, etc. are all covered by this exception.


totoro wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
I have never had an issue with alignment at the table - never. I didn't even realise it was a problem until I started playing PF and joined the forums here.
Same. Played for 17 years using alignment never had trouble from alignment specifically.

I've been playing since the first box set came out. I could barely read back then. I never DM'd a game where there was a problem and I never personally had an alignment problem with a DM, but I think I instinctively figured out how controlling the DM was going to be and went with Chaotic Good if I sensed any dominant tendencies.

I was in a game in which another player was a detect-smite paladin, which the DM absolutely hated, and forced the player to play differently with the threat of an alignment shift. The player fell into line, but I always thought it was the player who should have been able to decide how to further the cause of Law and Good, not the DM, and it has impacted my DMing ever since. I don't think it helped that in the early days paladins were kind of a joke. The game designers seemed to encourage picking on paladins in a very subtle way, or at least I felt like that. Also, there were plenty of modules that were rather like what you would think belonged in Hackmaster. DMs totally messed with players back in the day. Players have a lot more control now.

I played with a DM who tried to test me at every point on my paladin hood I passed every test without question (even kind of made it fun like an extra challenge to overcome and it helped that I usually was rewarded for overcoming the challegnes) but I can see a DM having different ideas on what it means. I think the PFS rule I heard where a DM has to give a warning before the action that it will cost you is pretty fair and should clear things up.

I actually thought alignment gave me an interesting challenge when I was first learning to role play granted we focus on it less now but I think it is a decent tool for new players to learn role play step by step. You think hmm what should I do here well my character is XX so maybe this would reinforce that.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
I have never had an issue with alignment at the table - never. I didn't even realise it was a problem until I started playing PF and joined the forums here.
Same. Played for 17 years using alignment never had trouble from alignment specifically.

Same. I have only run into alignment issues with people on forums and one other time in the last 29 years since I started gaming. One time. Yes, that GM was a jerk, he also had weird ideas about what was acceptable behavior. Aside from that, Alignment has never caused a real issue outside of what I have really seen on forums. Thus I can not believe it is any real problem in the real world.


I mean I can believe it happening but I think that is more of a group or individual issue.


totoro wrote:

Lawful Good: [Leaving blank because Law/Chaos is tricky]

Neutral Good: If you have the intention to protect innocent life whenever it is feasible, you are Neutral Good. If you fail to protect innocent life or take innocent life, the DM may ask you if it was your intention to protect innocent life, despite the outcome. If so, your alignment does not change.
Chaotic Good: …

Lawful Good: You have the intention to protect innocent life whenever if it is feasible. You respect legitimate authority and laws, so long as those laws are just and not used to oppress people. You believe that the law, in general, is just and that it brings stability, peace, and prosperity to the people. You generally believe in the natural order of things, that there is an inherent structure in the world and it is simply the way things should be.

Neutral Good: You have the intention to protect innocent life whenever possible if it is feasible. You do not have strong feelings one way or another about the law. If the law is stopping you from helping someone you have no problem breaking it, even if it is normally a just law. You aren't sure that laws are needed, but at the same time you feel that total freedom can be just as dangerous as too strict laws. Generally you follow the laws, mostly because you don't want to deal with the hassle that could come your way by not doing so.

Chaotic Good: You have the intention to protect innocent life whenever possible if it is feasible. You do not like structure and law, things like tradition and such often just get in the way. You think people are best when left to their own devices to do as they please. You think that, most of the time, laws are a weapon wielded by the powerful to keep the weak under their thumb. You may possess a code that you created for yourself, but you don't like the idea of a code imposed on you by others. If a silly thing like a code or promise stopped you from helping someone in need you have no problem breaking it.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
I mean I can believe it happening but I think that is more of a group or individual issue.

Oh certainly it happens - I just mean it isn't a widespread panic issue by any stretch.


HWalsh wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
I mean I can believe it happening but I think that is more of a group or individual issue.
Oh certainly it happens - I just mean it isn't a widespread panic issue by any stretch.

Oh OK got ya.


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dragonhunterq wrote:
I have never had an issue with alignment at the table - never. I didn't even realise it was a problem until I started playing PF and joined the forums here.

I don't know which communities you frequent but alignment complaints are certainly older than PF and its forums.

As I always mention, my groups don't have problems with alignment because we all but ignore it. Either it's just a toothless descriptor or we just agree not to think too hard about it, because it breaks as soon as you do. I've never had a Paladin fall, but by RAW (which I'm told is an exact and rigid description of the physics of the setting universe, including flavor text) the Paladin falls because he spat upon his oaths and shamed himself with his moral dalliances, committing one too many transgressions until The Universe Itself drop-kicked him into the bottom of the ninth circle... of Neutral Good.

Though I did once "retire" a Paladin by having him leave a group, because he was tired of being ignored when telling them not to steal, and so on. But he'd have done that whether alignment was in the game or not, because I don't need to write Lawful Good at the top of my character sheet to make a character behave consistently with his personality. It's not necessarily a bad thing for a Paladin to have high moral standards, but let's not pretend the Paladin doesn't have to hold his companions to high moral standards as well. Except in extremis, you cannot say "I'm not allowed to poison people, but I pal around with a Rogue who does, and I have to admit that the stuff is handy." I think that is a frequent source of conflict between the party and the Paladin, and even the wiggle room afforded by the "in extremis" caveat is an admission that at least some principle can be compromised for the sake of expedience. Where is the line to be drawn?

Alignment doesn't have to offend my personal sensibilities or spark an intractable debate with a GM or the party to diminish the quality of the game in my view. Why, in a universe with measurable, objective Good, do moral quandaries exist at all? If your god doesn't just tell you directly what constitutes Good, you can literally perform experiments to find out. Such experimentation may turn you Evil, what with all the people you kidnapped and tied up to run them over with trains, but not to worry: According to a recent sourcebook, Protection from Evil is an effective antidote. Contrary to its name, it is not actually a prophylactic-or presumably it would prevent you from performing unethical experiments in the first place.

If the Standard Model of Ethics and/or divine revelation (i.e. the word of Paizo or the DM) tells you that killing Goblin Orc babies (or some other act that you find reprehensible) is actually objectively Good, the player has to swallow it: In-universe, it's The Right Thing To Do - and the corollary is that neglecting to do it is morally wrong. Of course, someone might then put forward an argument that the Objective Universal Force-Which-We-Call-Good isn't actually "small-g good", at least not all the time. Ah s+@!, now we've got all this mechanical and setting baggage but morality is subjective again.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
I have never had an issue with alignment at the table - never. I didn't even realise it was a problem until I started playing PF and joined the forums here.
Same. Played for 17 years using alignment never had trouble from alignment specifically.

Played since the game was in pamphlet form [blackmoor rules]. Have had alignment issues off and on over all the years with a fairly even balance of player issue, DM issues and plain old 'not seeing eye to eye'. In ALMOST every instance, they were paladin issues It led me to a 'no paladin' policy [right next to the no kender policy]. Of the 10% non-paladin issue, they were more about alignment shifts and various abilities/items linked to alignment.

Vidmaster7 wrote:
I mean I can believe it happening but I think that is more of a group or individual issue.

I've seen it with a wide variety of players and DM's over the years. I rarely encounter an alignment issue myself, but I think that's more my picking non-troublesome alignment and classes: The issue foe me is mostly an argument between Dm and player that delays/ends the game.

I think it's more of an issue of consistently playing with a set group/setting or not. Once you can gauge how others will react to an action, it makes alignment issues much easier. When you don't have that, you start from scratch every time and you might go from a group that sees alignment almost identically to one that widely varies.


graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
dragonhunterq wrote:
I have never had an issue with alignment at the table - never. I didn't even realise it was a problem until I started playing PF and joined the forums here.
Same. Played for 17 years using alignment never had trouble from alignment specifically.

Played since the game was in pamphlet form [blackmoor rules]. Have had alignment issues off and on over all the years with a fairly even balance of player issue, DM issues and plain old 'not seeing eye to eye'. In ALMOST every instance, they were paladin issues It led me to a 'no paladin' policy [right next to the no kender policy]. Of the 10% non-paladin issue, they were more about alignment shifts and various abilities/items linked to alignment.

Vidmaster7 wrote:
I mean I can believe it happening but I think that is more of a group or individual issue.

I've seen it with a wide variety of players and DM's over the years. I rarely encounter an alignment issue myself, but I think that's more my picking non-troublesome alignment and classes: The issue foe me is mostly an argument between Dm and player that delays/ends the game.

I think it's more of an issue of consistently playing with a set group/setting or not. Once you can gauge how others will react to an action, it makes alignment issues much easier. When you don't have that, you start from scratch every time and you might go from a group that sees alignment almost identically to one that widely varies.

I feel like any soft rule of RPG's suffers from that problem. In fact I'm willing to bet general Role playing can cause issues in some peoples games. I personally even played with a group before that actively discouraged role play Just wanted you to roll dice I guess (I dumped them so hard.) So for your side I will say that the paladin is one of the classes that has a soft rule (alignment and code) directly affecting a hard rule (his pally abilities). The druid a little as well but it is real easy to avoid teaching someone druid who even thing about that? Monk also got to be lawful but Its probably hard to enforce.

So I can see the issues your talking about but I feel alignment is as essential to the D&D experience as role playing in general. Some peoples games might be better for it but a lot of other people will suffer and miss out as well. Getting rid of alignment is like or rather is getting rid of a part of the role playing. which is like 2/3 of what RPG stands for. Its another challenge in the game. I think challenges are good.

Oh and Tried roll 20 out btw. It feels so weird like a different game, and that was with friends.

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