why alignment (for characters) needs to go


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
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.

For the most part, the law/chaos axis is ignored in my experience: It's ALL about the good/evil. As such, I only ever recall a single barbarian 'acting lawful' with all the barbarians, druids and monks around.

Vidmaster7 wrote:
Getting rid of alignment is like or rather is getting rid of a part of the role playing.

I have to be honest, I've never understood this sentiment. You can play fun and rich characters full of personality that fully engage with the setting all without EVER looking at the alignment of your character. For the VAST amount of games I see, alignment is either ignored or abused: it's not really a roleplaying boon or a challenge: when it rears it's head, it's as a speed bump or hurdle to roleplaying. ex: 'you can't do that', 'that alignment means I'd do that', 'that's not x'... Instead of filling out the characters personality and mentality, it's alignment first and character second. I'd rather have an interesting and engaging character, even if that means it doesn't fit into one of the neat alignment boxes. When you don't have anything in the alignment box, you don't have someone thinking/saying 'you're doing it wrong': you're JUST playing your character to the best of your ability and the world can take your actions to form an opinion.

PS: As an example, I once played a neutral/amoral assassin. He was the 'nicest' character in the group of mostly good players. I just didn't advertise that was because it benefited me. I was loyal to the group because there's safety in numbers: not because I was lawful. I saved lots of people because I was paid or because they'd owe me: not because I was good. I ignored laws and avoided arrest to rescue the farmers daughter because I got paid and she was cute: not because I was chaotic. I used poison because it was efficient: not because it was evil. Far too often what your character should do doesn't fall into a neat box and I don't understand the desire to try.


graystone wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
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.

For the most part, the law/chaos axis is ignored in my experience: It's ALL about the good/evil. As such, I only ever recall a single barbarian 'acting lawful' with all the barbarians, druids and monks around.

Vidmaster7 wrote:
Getting rid of alignment is like or rather is getting rid of a part of the role playing.

I have to be honest, I've never understood this sentiment. You can play fun and rich characters full of personality that fully engage with the setting all without EVER looking at the alignment of your character. For the VAST amount of games I see, alignment is either ignored or abused: it's not really a roleplaying boon or a challenge: when it rears it's head, it's as a speed bump or hurdle to roleplaying. ex: 'you can't do that', 'that alignment means I'd do that', 'that's not x'... Instead of filling out the characters personality and mentality, it's alignment first and character second. I'd rather have an interesting and engaging character, even if that means it doesn't fit into one of the neat alignment boxes. When you don't have anything in the alignment box, you don't have someone thinking/saying 'you're doing it wrong': you're JUST playing your character to the best of your ability and the world can take your actions to form an opinion.

PS: As an example, I once played a neutral/amoral assassin. He was the 'nicest' character in the group of mostly good players. I just didn't advertise that was because it benefited me. I was loyal to the group because there's safety in numbers: not because I was lawful. I saved lots of people because I was paid or because they'd owe me: not because I was good. I ignored laws and avoided arrest to rescue the farmers daughter because I got paid and she was cute: not because I was chaotic. I used poison because it was efficient: not because it was evil. Far...

I too rely on it less and less as I've played over the years but in my early days it was a big help for me to build a character around. So that I had a difference and wasn't just playing myself. Alignment can be a valuable tool to encourage role play. Unless your taking extreme departure I don't think a DM should tell you your playing your character wrong, but if you are LG and killing small cute woodland creatures then yes Call them out on it. BTW your character was NE or maybe CN (depending on how far you would go) motivated by self interest.

Liberty's Edge

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For me, the advantages of Alignment in terms of roleplaying are twofold:

1. If you don't have an idea for who your character is as a person already firmly in mind, Alignment can serve as an excellent starting place. It's certainly not the whole of their personality, but especially in combination with the mental ability scores it can be an very good place to work outward from. This is very nice for some players who are better at working out character personalities in play than beforehand, since it gives them a kernel to build that developing personality around.

2. It's absolutely wonderful from a GM perspective. You simply don't have time to work out detailed personalities for Bandit #3 and similar NPCs, and their alignments are really useful shorthand for 'what kind of people are these?' I mean, NE Bandits are very different people from CN ones and those differences are easily communicated in two letters. That's a wonderful GM tool that makes things so much easier when roleplaying random people in the world.
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Really, a lot of games have some sort of personality or morality mechanic (or both!), often a lot more detailed than alignment, to serve these purposes, and IME games with something in that 'slot' tend to be easier to develop character personalities for than ones lacking anything of the kind. It's not necessary by any means, but it is useful.

It also says something about the kind of game you want to have. A game with no morality mechanics is much more inclined to wind up being driven by ruthless pragmatism than one that has them. That's not precisely universal, but it's a definite trend. Pathfinder is intended primarily as a game where you play heroic people doing something good. That having a mechanic (even an entirely voluntary one...nobody has to be Good) to enforce that is useful in setting the proper tone.

Speaking of tone, the things you have rules for say what's important in the game in question. Those that lack a moral system are saying that moral questions either aren't the focus of the system in question (like, say, Shadowrun) or that PCs are expected to answer such questions however they like, including with 'I don't care.' or 'Murdering people for food is totally fine.' (like Apocalypse World). Either way, I don't think that's the kind of game Pathfinder is or wants to be.

None of which is to say that I don't think there are issues with Alignment in some people's games. There clearly are, even if I personally haven't run into them. But I feel like they're better solved by a combination of discussions regarding alignment and social contract in the GM section and rules for removing alignment if you don't want to deal with it. The latter has explicitly been stated to be included in the PF2 corebook, as has some more discussion of the social contract (though they haven't explicitly said that the social contract discussion will involve alignment).


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I somehow quoted the wrong post here. This is meant as a response to the "Sun Wukong isn't a monk" post.

Sun Wukong is literally, explicitly a monk. Twice. He's a double monk. He can flurry of blows his flurry of blows. He attained enlightenment.

Like what's this nonsense about monks being lawful in fiction? Aang, again literally a monk (whether he conforms to your stereotyped D&D abilities or not), definitely demonstrated to be unlawful when he goes against all teachings and traditions about what the Avatar is supposed to do right down to one who was the same variety of monk as him only more senior. Every good authority figure tells him to kill Ozai and he's pointed out as an exception to the one rule of his order that would interfere, so there's no lawful reason for him to refuse.

Jade Fox: Unrogue/monk, blatantly chaotic evil (best demonstrated when she attempts to kill her own student). Also specifically has a screw the rules attitude and learned her martial arts in secret.

Jen Yu: Super chaotic. Her entire character arc is about rebellion from what's expected of her.

Fong Sai Yuk: Comes across as pretty unlawful. Arguable either way, but that's kind of the point.

Shao Feng: Vacillates between alignments throughout his story. His character would be impossible with a rigid interpretation of alignment.

Yen Shisan: Pretty much the male version of a gothic lolita. Goes out of his way to be countercultural so people will leave him alone.

The Entire "Stole Muh Style" Character Archetype: This is like.... sixty percent of wuxia villains and probably just as many wuxia heroes.

Like three thousand martial arts cinema characters I'm forgetting: Like this isn't even remotely uncommon. Your typical wuxia hero is frequently struggling with law vs chaos alignment issues. Others are pirates and thieves and whatever else.


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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.

Oh people should probably go to some designated afterlife.

It just as things stand in PF, it's well, weird (or maybe a bit counterintuitive?), but in a good way :P.

So you die. Now unless someone messes with your soul you go to the boneyard and Pharasma sorts out your soul for it final destination.
This is where things gets fun.
So if you worship a God/Goddess you get sent to their divine realm for a final judgement.

So lets imagine you are a pious Gorumite. You die on the battle field and get send before him, in his divine realm in Elysium, to stand before him for your judgement. You just happen to spread the word of mighty Gorum to the rest of Golarion as a Anti-Paladin.
Yes, its true anti-paladins can literally "go to heaven" (Well, one of them at least).

And there's quite a few of these; CE Calistrian going to Elysium, CE Norgorberite going to Axis, LN Nethysian ending up in the Maelstrom,

This, This isn't a flaw. This is a good thing!

Why is a good thing? Well it seems to indicate that the Gods might not be that particular about which "kind of" souls they welcome to their divine halls as long as they were faithful to that God's/Goddess' dogma.
God's/Goddess' carving out a piece of a plane, make it their own (you know like mighty mages, nutty villains and powerful outsiders are wont to do), even if the plane in question would be seemingly "hostile" to that particular usage is also a nice touch.

Fuzzypaws wrote:


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.

A perfectly acceptable approach.

While I might not agree with every idea, usage or conceptual explanation of fuzzy's here, this is still a nice, open and inviting way of looking at things.
Classes should ideally be with as few "absolute requirements" (ie. Alignment reqs, This code, not that code, This ancestry/sex/species/ethnicity and so one) as possible.
Codes, dogmas, creeds or the like should be the guiding line for player characters who want to cling to a higher cause, instead of the old Alignment concepts that tended to shift too closely to a form of "mental programming".

Athaleon wrote:


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...

Basically (and luckily) how the two groups I'm part of have been playing things for the last (around) 4 years. Its been the most calm and care-free years of gaming for me in resent memory.

Before that... *Shrudders* ...yea not so much. Sure I was in different (and far more numerous) groups back then, but the people weren't really that different from the people I play with now (heck some of them are the same people), but the way we played the game was.
The most important thing I learned from back then was: Any rule isn't a rule, it's a guideline and Alignment is no different in that respect too.


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.

Trust me, it's every bit as possible, and sometimes every bit as necessary, for the good of a campaign as a whole and the enjoyment of everyone in it, to come down on a player who is being problematic about maintaining character consistency in an alignment-free setting.

You talk about this as if it were an exercise in the DM reducing player fun, rather than the DM having a ready tool to hand for maintaining the kind of fun that has already been agreed upon. In the same way that, to use your earlier analogy, if the group don't want a horror game, it's the DM's responsibility to deal with any specific player who tries to push things in a horror direction that the other players do not want.


totoro wrote:
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.

I would be totally on for a social contract of that sort that said "define the character you want to play clearly, so that we can work together in building a campaign that fits with that character; play that character consistently in order not to ruin the game experience for everyone else, and if you don't, expect to lose character abilities".


Vidmaster7 wrote:


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 am all for the game enabling that kind of play so long as everyone concerned wants it, and I suppose it is in some ways traditional, though it is not one that appeals to me as a player or a DM.


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


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.

Similar experience here.

I like alignment, in concept at least, and was initially put off that 4e makes it essentially toothless. But in actual play, I'm fine with it. I still do like the idea of alignment, and specifically the two-axis model, but given the choice between any pre-4e execution of alignment and no or toothless alignment, I frankly prefer the latter.

D&D/PF is a role-playing game, and part of role play is having the freedom to customize and play your character as you see fit. There are certain cases where alignment arguably has business getting involved with PCs, notably divine- and alignment-powered classes, but pre-4e alignment trappings go far beyond that point.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
graystone wrote:
Kaladin_Stormblessed wrote:
Removing (mechanically relevant or otherwise) alignment is easier than adding mechanically relevant alignment.
Is it? Seems equally viable either way.

No, it's not.

The current game has alignment. That means it has alignment mentions for pretty much every creature, and some weapon affixes mention alignment, and some class features mention alignment. It's in a bunch of places. Taking it out is a little bit challenging, because you have to make sure that some things don't get too strong (a Holy weapon that works on everyone you don't like too strong, but is it a big problem if the Paladin's smite loses that restriction?). But it's doable.

Now picture a game without the alignment baseline. You have to manually come up with content as you go. Which monsters are "always evil"? Which are "usually evil"? You don't have anything to go on. This is much harder than the other way, where you simply ignore the pieces about alignment you don't like for free as you go. This hypothetical version doesn't have a Holy weapon affix. What if you want one? How hard should it hit for?

It's just huge amounts of content that you don't notice if you run a game without alignment, but that you'd basically never be able to replicate if you tried to inject it on top of a game that lacks alignment completely.


cfalcon wrote:

Now picture a game without the alignment baseline.

This isn't being discussed in this thread - so no I won't picture the game like this.


Just for the record.. I do not like the alignment class restrictions, but I have zero problem with the characters having alignment the way it is now.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
graystone wrote:

I'd rather have an interesting and engaging character, even if that means it doesn't fit into one of the neat alignment boxes.

To be honest, I think of all of my characters as interesting and engaging myself and am known for putting way too much time into character creation. Still I have never had problems with attaching an alignment descriptor to any of them. Now this may have to do with two reasons, the first being that I never particularly cared about RAW (personally I think RAI is much more important than that), and the second being that I don't see alignment as very restrictive. Some might say that in my games, alignment gets mostly ignored but that's not true at all. It's just that we handle alignment in a "sum of all your decisions and actions in recent past" way, so there's room enough to deviate with single actions without directly changing alignment. (Technically I'm using a very loose matrix akin to what happened in the NWN games)

And no, this also doesn't mean that we're ignoring alignment as soon as it gets into the way of what is practical, it's just that we accept that human(oid) beings (and even Paladins) are not perfectly consistent in all their doings


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cfalcon wrote:


It's just huge amounts of content that you don't notice if you run a game without alignment, but that you'd basically never be able to replicate if you tried to inject it on top of a game that lacks alignment completely.

This. I want alignment to still be a part of the game-- I want aligned Outsiders, and touched or tainted mortals, to have alignment subtypes and be affected by aligned magic.

I just want it to have very little effect on mortals who are not explicitly tied to the metaphysical forces alignment represents, and to be more clearly/consistently/thoroughly delineated for player characters who are supposed to be.

I don't want it gone, I just want it off my neck.


FaerieGodfather wrote:
cfalcon wrote:


It's just huge amounts of content that you don't notice if you run a game without alignment, but that you'd basically never be able to replicate if you tried to inject it on top of a game that lacks alignment completely.

This. I want alignment to still be a part of the game-- I want aligned Outsiders, and touched or tainted mortals, to have alignment subtypes and be affected by aligned magic.

I just want it to have very little effect on mortals who are not explicitly tied to the metaphysical forces alignment represents, and to be more clearly/consistently/thoroughly delineated for player characters who are supposed to be.

I don't want it gone, I just want it off my neck.

It already is, slap N on the alignment portion of your character sheet.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
FaerieGodfather wrote:
I don't want it gone, I just want it off my neck.
It already is, slap N on the alignment portion of your character sheet.

Unless I am playing a Monk. Or a Shifter, and my DM decides I'm just a little too CG to keep advancing in my class.


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side offtopic question: IF I made a wizard and named it "Q" the one from Star Trek, do you think I could get away with N/A on the alignment part?


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

For me, the advantages of Alignment in terms of roleplaying are twofold:

1. If you don't have an idea for who your character is as a person already firmly in mind, Alignment can serve as an excellent starting place. It's certainly not the whole of their personality, but especially in combination with the mental ability scores it can be an very good place to work outward from. This is very nice for some players who are better at working out character personalities in play than beforehand, since it gives them a kernel to build that developing personality around.

2. It's absolutely wonderful from a GM perspective. You simply don't have time to work out detailed personalities for Bandit #3 and similar NPCs, and their alignments are really useful shorthand for 'what kind of people are these?' I mean, NE Bandits are very different people from CN ones and those differences are easily communicated in two letters. That's a wonderful GM tool that makes things so much easier when roleplaying random people in the world.

I agree with these points. I don't think alignment needs to go. But I do think it should be less tied to game mechanics. 5e seems to have hit my personal sweet spot. Pathfinder has a lot of stuff tied up in alignment, from what classes you can pick, to specific versions of class abilities, to how the same spell effects two different people, to how you ward yourself against enemies. I think having such a heavy mechanical influence can make alignment selected for meta reasons over story reasons, and that is kinda lame.

I also just don't think alignment works super well for regulating morality. Most people have shades of every end of the spectrum. Even if morality is supposed to have objective truths in Pathfinder, in execution the philosophical framework of alignment is too vague and open to interpretation and full of corner cases. People at the table won't always agree what crosses the line for good or evil, and so tying mechanics too closely to that can end very badly.

Keep alignment, but not not as a mechanical focus.


Steelfiredragon wrote:
side offtopic question: IF I made a wizard and named it "Q" the one from Star Trek, do you think I could get away with N/A on the alignment part?

Nah, that guy is Chaotic as all heck.


the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
totoro wrote:
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.
I would be totally on for a social contract of that sort that said "define the character you want to play clearly, so that we can work together in building a campaign that fits with that character; play that character consistently in order not to ruin the game experience for everyone else, and if you don't, expect to lose character abilities".

I was nodding along until the very last part. Just as you don't give PCs an in-game ability because the player brought cookies, you don't take away an in-game ability because the player ate your cookies. The social contract should not be used to destroy character concepts. Period. Just pull off the bandaid if you can't get a player to play in an appropriate manner; ask them to shape up or ship out. Don't weaken their character. My opinion, of course.


Alignment is a HUGE part of many of my games. While it might not be supportive of a position that you MUST keep alignment, I use house rules to increase the influence of alignment. (It is not supportive because if you can increase the influence with house rules, surely you can add it.) I actually think almost any movie or book you read uses alignment, too. You just have to define it appropriately in the context of the setting, put the power of deciding how to meet the requirements of the alignment on the character (that is, the player), and watch as it unfolds within that setting.


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I'd be fine with alignment restrictions on shifter/monk/barbarian/non-divine casters in general being removed... wouldn't particularly be inclined to do it myself, but if it happens in 2e I'll play along without complaint.

Ckorik wrote:
cfalcon wrote:

Now picture a game without the alignment baseline.

This isn't being discussed in this thread - so no I won't picture the game like this.

Yes, actually, it is. Just because it's not what you had in mind when you started the thread doesn't mean it's not a concept people in this thread are advocating for.

There is you, who started this thread but do not own it, arguing for alignment to be in the game but not applied to people/PCs/etc. And several people agreeing with this.

There are also people in this thread arguing for removing/diminishing alignment across the board entirely, unless I'm seriously misunderstanding.

That post of mine was directed toward the latter group. It's quite possible cfalcon's also was. "That's not what I'm talking about and not what I want" would be valid. Saying it's not being discussed in the thread is just flat out incorrect.

Also, it seems very likely to me that if alignment was removed for PCs and the majority of NPCs, that rules options using alignment would be decreased, so the point stands. It would still be harder to houserule in than to houserule out.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
in my early days it was a big help for me to build a character around

For me, I'd rather 'training wheels' be a section on roleplaying suggestions. Various archetypes to play like 'lone wolf', 'antihero', '4 color hero', ect instead. With a loose framework, you can freely build your character as you wish without being constrained by it.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
1. If you don't have an idea for who your character is as a person already firmly in mind, Alignment can serve as an excellent starting place.

Honestly, this is a foreign concept for me. I have a character in mind first, then build a character to fit that image. If the idea is so nebulous that I need alignment to focus it, it's not a character I'm spending time on. If someone come to me saying they are having an issue like this, I'd suggest personality archetypes and/or a character in film/book/ect to use as a jumping off point: Those as a MUCH firmer base to build something off of than, IMO, the more nebulous alignment descriptions.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
2. It's absolutely wonderful from a GM perspective.

IMO, a line or two of personality/goals/ect fills this need MUCH better. CN might see themselves as freedom fighters, misguided youth bullying people and taking their stuff or raving lunatics on shrooms: Cn really didn't narrow down which one of those they are.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Those that lack a moral system

A moral system doesn't require a strict alignment system. Things can be good and evil without the capital letters G and E being attached. In fact a moral system without alignment, IMO, can better emulate a living breathing one: NOW your god is actually concerned with what they care, like their tenets, instead of the random alignment attached to them.

cfalcon wrote:
Now picture a game without the alignment baseline. You have to manually come up with content as you go.

This is totally false. You either have a section in the back of the books with the alignment items, to it's as hard as flipping pages. If it taken out altogether, you open of the totally free PRD, and take the alignment from the pathfinder classic rules element you want alignment for. In neither case do you have to reinvent the wheel.


Some people need the training wheels.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Some people need the training wheels.

I didn't disagree. That's why I suggested something they could use that, IMO, is far superior at that job.


Eh it feels to much like taking the D&D out of the D&D its been integral part of the game for so long. I would really hate to see it go.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Eh it feels to much like taking the D&D out of the D&D its been integral part of the game for so long. I would really hate to see it go.

I feel like it's mainly nostalgia/tradition for me. I reject the claim that those are bad reasons for keeping them in - we all have different things which are going to attract us to PF2. In my case, ability to relate to how I've been playing for forty years is one such driver of interest.

I can see the point of people who'd prefer a 'clean slate - things in or out solely on their merits' approach, I just don't share their tastes.

Liberty's Edge

graystone wrote:
Honestly, this is a foreign concept for me. I have a character in mind first, then build a character to fit that image. If the idea is so nebulous that I need alignment to focus it, it's not a character I'm spending time on. If someone come to me saying they are having an issue like this, I'd suggest personality archetypes and/or a character in film/book/ect to use as a jumping off point: Those as a MUCH firmer base to build something off of than, IMO, the more nebulous alignment descriptions.

This is true for some people (I tend to have a pretty solid character idea before I get started, too)...but I've certainly met many people who very much fall into the category described. Your experience is not universal.

As for fictional characters, those can be good inspirations too, but alignment has the great virtue of being a simple list and built into character creation and can spark the imagination of people who are otherwise wondering what to go with.

If someone is having trouble coming up with something, a list of options is often very useful, and alignment/race/class does a good job of fulfilling that niche (as will Alignment/Ancestry/Background/Class in PF2).

There are certainly other things that could fill this niche, but it is a very useful niche to have filled, so simply removing it does indeed cost the game something. Not something irreplaceable, but something that would probably need replacement.

graystone wrote:
IMO, a line or two of personality/goals/ect fills this need MUCH better. CN might see themselves as freedom fighters, misguided youth bullying people and taking their stuff or raving lunatics on shrooms: Cn really didn't narrow down which one of those they are.

It usually does in context, and it's a lot quicker to write (often an order of magnitude quicker, since it's two letters and a good description will be at least 20), and that's a huge deal in published adventures and the like.

And remember, Paizo probably makes more money on published adventures than anything else. Things being good for published adventures is important for Pathfinder.

graystone wrote:
A moral system doesn't require a strict alignment system. Things can be good and evil without the capital letters G and E being attached. In fact a moral system without alignment, IMO, can better emulate a living breathing one: NOW your god is actually concerned with what they care, like their tenets, instead of the random alignment attached to them.

Replacing alignment with a more complicated and comprehensive moral system with actual mechanical weight is totally a valid option. It is not, however, the same as simply removing it, and is in fact a much more in depth change to the game and how it functions.

I'd personally be on board with this but I suspect a lot of people who don't like alignment would also object to such a system, as would many traditionalists, so I don't see it being super popular or a good plan for Paizo, business-wise. Especially since it would likely not have the same advantage in regards to published adventures.


Steve Geddes wrote:
I feel like it's mainly nostalgia/tradition for me. I reject the claim that those are bad reasons for keeping them in

I can respect that perspective even if I don't exactly agree: it's most likely the difference between your nostalgia and my more turbulent memories of it.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
I've certainly met many people who very much fall into the category described. Your experience is not universal.

Oh, I understand that. I've helped countless people make characters over the years. From my perspective, alignment just doesn't "spark the imagination of people" the way it seems to for you. The tiny blurb in the book under alignment is dwarfed by character types the person has actually experience in book or film. and it's much easier to latch onto the idea. IMO it's far from a "very useful niche to have filled" that could be filled with actual advice on character building. I can honestly say, I don't recall anyone I played with read the alignment section and say 'oh NOW I have a good idea for a character'.

Deadmanwalking wrote:

It usually does in context, and it's a lot quicker to write (often an order of magnitude quicker, since it's two letters and a good description will be at least 20), and that's a huge deal in published adventures and the like.

And remember, Paizo probably makes more money on published adventures than anything else. Things being good for published adventures is important for Pathfinder.

Oh I understand, but they also add alignment in for NPC's that are more fleshed out: they makes a 2-3 page detailed background and profile of an NPC in the back and you have to spend ANY space on alignment? Second, it's not as much space when it covers multiple creatures. Thirdly, if "a good description" takes so much space, I think it illustrates how little the alignment actually informes. You can have diametrically opposite outlooks easily fall under the same alignment.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Replacing alignment with a more complicated and comprehensive moral system with actual mechanical weight is totally a valid option. It is not, however, the same as simply removing it, and is in fact a much more in depth change to the game and how it functions.

Oh, I think you misunderstand. A moral system doesn't need to be more complicated and that isn't what i'm advocating. Quite the opposite actually. You wrap paladin/cleric codes into the gods tenets and they work for all followers. Simple, easy and everyone can agree with clearly spelled out do's and don't. IMO, much LESS complicated that trying to figure out 'is this x alignment' we have now.

Anything else falls into 'good' and 'bad': just drop law and chaos as they seem to have little impact as is.


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graystone wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
I feel like it's mainly nostalgia/tradition for me. I reject the claim that those are bad reasons for keeping them in
I can respect that perspective even if I don't exactly agree: it's most likely the difference between your nostalgia and my more turbulent memories of it.

No doubt. I’ve never had a problematic Paladin, nor any unenjoyable alignment argument at the table (including a scattering of evil PCs over the years, although that’s not to my personal taste).


I have never had any problem with a Paladin at any table I have been a GM or player at.

... Chaotic Neutrals on the other hands... That is up there with my banned alignments.

I run exclusively good games, so my rules on alignments are:

No Evil, no Chaotic Neutral.

Why?

I told more than one player, "No evil alignments."

Only to have them say, "I'll do Chaotic Neutral."

Then proceed to act evil with the explanation, "My character is CN he's kind of crazy."


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Yeah they are just not properly interpreting CN. Its more of a I'll do almost anything to get ahead but I won't like burn an orphanage mind you.


Vidmaster7 wrote:
Yeah they are just not properly interpreting CN. Its more of a I'll do almost anything to get ahead but I won't like burn an orphanage mind you.

One of them actually did burn down an orphanage.

No, I'm not kidding.

His justification was... Completely nuts...


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HWalsh wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Yeah they are just not properly interpreting CN. Its more of a I'll do almost anything to get ahead but I won't like burn an orphanage mind you.

One of them actually did burn down an orphanage.

No, I'm not kidding.

His justification was... Completely nuts...

See I wouldn't ban the alignment for everyone just that player. when he asks why you reply I'm just Completely nuts.

That and before I banned him have his character hunted down by paladins, and of course shift his alignment to CE.

Silver Crusade

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What if I burn down a goblin orphanage?


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Gorbacz wrote:

What if I burn down a goblin orphanage?

You stop Right their sir we are not going their.


HWalsh wrote:

I have never had any problem with a Paladin at any table I have been a GM or player at.

... Chaotic Neutrals on the other hands... That is up there with my banned alignments.

I run exclusively good games, so my rules on alignments are:

No Evil, no Chaotic Neutral.

Why?

I told more than one player, "No evil alignments."

Only to have them say, "I'll do Chaotic Neutral."

Then proceed to act evil with the explanation, "My character is CN he's kind of crazy."

Same, CN is the worst permissible alignment.

Silver Crusade

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I was actually about to ask what happens when you burn down a goblin orphanage but one of the goblins was actually an undercover polymorphed Paladin.


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Bags are flammable Gorbacz... remember that.

Silver Crusade

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You don't want to burn downy my sacky exterior and leave the void of annihilation that sits inside of me without the thin barrier that protects you from it.

You really don't want that.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

I have never had any problem with a Paladin at any table I have been a GM or player at.

... Chaotic Neutrals on the other hands... That is up there with my banned alignments.

I run exclusively good games, so my rules on alignments are:

No Evil, no Chaotic Neutral.

Why?

I told more than one player, "No evil alignments."

Only to have them say, "I'll do Chaotic Neutral."

Then proceed to act evil with the explanation, "My character is CN he's kind of crazy."

Same, CN is the worst permissible alignment.

What blows my mind is you guys are blaming the alignment and not the idiot player who thinks being CN justifies any stupid decision he makes. That is not how you play CN its closer to CE really but a stupid suicidal way to play CE but at least it is somewhat accurate of CE. Why did i do it? cause it was fun! That is pretty CE.


Gorbacz wrote:

You don't want to burn downy my sacky exterior and leave the void of annihilation that sits inside of me without the thin barrier that protects you from it.

You really don't want that.

You make a good argument. I'm not sure if that would actually happen but I'm also not sure enough that it wouldn't to try it >.>


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

I have never had any problem with a Paladin at any table I have been a GM or player at.

... Chaotic Neutrals on the other hands... That is up there with my banned alignments.

I run exclusively good games, so my rules on alignments are:

No Evil, no Chaotic Neutral.

Why?

I told more than one player, "No evil alignments."

Only to have them say, "I'll do Chaotic Neutral."

Then proceed to act evil with the explanation, "My character is CN he's kind of crazy."

Same, CN is the worst permissible alignment.
What blows my mind is you guys are blaming the alignment and not the idiot player who thinks being CN justifies any stupid decision he makes. That is not how you play CN its closer to CE really but a stupid suicidal way to play CE but at least it is somewhat accurate of CE. Why did i do it? cause it was fun! That is pretty CE.

I've encountered more idiot "my character is CN" alignment characters than disruptive people playing a CE character in 20+ years of d+d. CN, like kender are like little red warning flags that you're about to have one of "those" players at the table.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Vidmaster7 wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
HWalsh wrote:

I have never had any problem with a Paladin at any table I have been a GM or player at.

... Chaotic Neutrals on the other hands... That is up there with my banned alignments.

I run exclusively good games, so my rules on alignments are:

No Evil, no Chaotic Neutral.

Why?

I told more than one player, "No evil alignments."

Only to have them say, "I'll do Chaotic Neutral."

Then proceed to act evil with the explanation, "My character is CN he's kind of crazy."

Same, CN is the worst permissible alignment.
What blows my mind is you guys are blaming the alignment and not the idiot player who thinks being CN justifies any stupid decision he makes. That is not how you play CN its closer to CE really but a stupid suicidal way to play CE but at least it is somewhat accurate of CE. Why did i do it? cause it was fun! That is pretty CE.
I've encountered more idiot "my character is CN" alignment characters than disruptive people playing a CE character in 20+ years of d+d. CN, like kender are like little red warning flags that you're about to have one of "those" players at the table.

No I still think this is a player issue. I've had plenty of people play CN just fine. besides just because the player says he is playing CN doesn't mean hes not actually playing CE.


I mean frankly if a player takes a purposely game disrupting action and justifies it with my character is a chaotic nut you should thank the system for letting you know that player doesn't care about your game and your players having fun so at least now you know to get rid of that player.

anyways for your example here we go on the what to do

Ok well burning down the orphanage is an evil act so I am going to shift your alignment to CE and because I don't allow evil characters I'm going to have to not let you play that character anymore.


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Its easier to take issue with game mechanics that enable problem players than try to change a problem player's attitude, there also isn't a limitless supply of rpg players in a reasonable area and generally i'd rather play a game with friends i have more in common with than just a rpg, even if it means having to figure out how to circumnavigate annoying tendencies with modifying the game.

Specifically i've played with plenty of people who are just fine, as long as you don't hand them the kinds of in character justifications to be an annoying burden to the party that certain game options outright encourage. (CN, Kender, paizo goblins)


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I just have trouble believing that a problem player will not find another way to cause a problem.

And if its a friend I'll just talk to them and tell them what their doing wrong.


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Vidmaster7 wrote:
I just have trouble believing that a problem player will not find another way to cause a problem.

Everything's a spectrum. The harder someone has to stretch to be a problem the fewer problems are liable to crop up overall. Its like raccoons. If you have raccoons you don't leave your trash outside of a can in an untied bag. You'll find yourself cleaning up less scattered trash by having a trash bin, with a decent lid and a solid, low center of gravity.

Liberty's Edge

graystone wrote:
Oh, I understand that. I've helped countless people make characters over the years. From my perspective, alignment just doesn't "spark the imagination of people" the way it seems to for you. The tiny blurb in the book under alignment is dwarfed by character types the person has actually experience in book or film. and it's much easier to latch onto the idea. IMO it's far from a "very useful niche to have filled" that could be filled with actual advice on character building. I can honestly say, I don't recall anyone I played with read the alignment section and say 'oh NOW I have a good idea for a character'.

Say it? No. Find it very useful in visualizing who their character is as a person when all they had before was what they could do? Oh yeah, that I've seen. Actually pretty regularly.

graystone wrote:
Oh I understand, but they also add alignment in for NPC's that are more fleshed out: they makes a 2-3 page detailed background and profile of an NPC in the back and you have to spend ANY space on alignment? Second, it's not as much space when it covers multiple creatures. Thirdly, if "a good description" takes so much space, I think it illustrates how little the alignment actually informes. You can have diametrically opposite outlooks easily fall under the same alignment.

Well, in response to your first point, I'm not talking about NPCs they write up a whole background on, but those that come up incidentally in the adventure like the one bandit the PCs leave alive to interrogate. Knowing whether he will, say, sell out his comrades for survival is suddenly super relevant, and something alignment is a good guide to.

In regards to your second, Alignments already have descriptions longer than that, so those two letters inherently give you a good long look at their morality. Could they be better defined? Sure. But even as they are, they allow a quick abbreviation to say a lot.

In regards to your third, I actually rather strongly disagree. At least I do as I understand the term 'diametrically opposed outlooks'.

graystone wrote:

Oh, I think you misunderstand. A moral system doesn't need to be more complicated and that isn't what i'm advocating. Quite the opposite actually. You wrap paladin/cleric codes into the gods tenets and they work for all followers. Simple, easy and everyone can agree with clearly spelled out do's and don't. IMO, much LESS complicated that trying to figure out 'is this x alignment' we have now.

Anything else falls into 'good' and 'bad': just drop law and chaos as they seem to have little impact as is.

Having twenty (or, actually, a lot more...especially if you include Atheism and philosophies, which you should) different specific codes of behavior all mechanically enforced is not simpler than 9 relatively well defined ones. Now, the alignments could absolutely stand to be clarified a bit, but that's a call to do that, not abandon them.

And I actually see Law vs. Chaos come up and be relevant pretty often. Usually more about means and priorities than ultimate goals, but they do come up.
.
.
.
And for the record, I've never had a player be disruptive due to their Alignment. My most disruptive player played characters from LG to CN and was about equally disruptive with all of them (which wasn't too bad or I wouldn't have kept playing with him).

Oddly, the one Evil game we played he went CE and was probably less disruptive than any other character I saw him play.


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Ryan Freire wrote:


Specifically i've played with plenty of people who are just fine, as long as you don't hand them the kinds of in character justifications to be an annoying burden to the party that certain game options outright encourage. (CN, Kender, paizo goblins, paladins)

Fixed that so it applies for my experience!

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