why alignment (for characters) needs to go


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Ckorik wrote:
The story is that the CG good is at war with the LG god (happens - it's a good story) and so you need protection from good.

What's wrong with Protection from Law?


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


I'm not re-hashing that debate - I'm arguing that a cleric CN cleric casting protection from good 5 times and becoming evil (making them 1 step removed too many from their CG deity) is a bad mechanic.
I would really like to understand how "you said you were going to play X, your character is behaving in ways Y not compatible with X, therefore the universe treats your character as Y" is a bad mechanic; it seems to me an actively positive one at a level of choices having consequences.

You swore as, a cleric or summoner, to respect the morals upheld by X,Y, or Z plane, in exchange for supernatural win juice. You have violated those original promises, so your outsider patron cuts you off.

Granted, I probably wouldn't give my players any hassle if they are using infernal healing or protection from good for definitely good outcome. But it's also fairly rare that you are going to be starting a fight with paladins or angels and actually be trying to do good.


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


I would really like to understand how "you said you were going to play X, your character is behaving in ways Y not compatible with X, therefore the universe treats your character as Y" is a bad mechanic; it seems to me an actively positive one at a level of choices having consequences.

Because I can play the same character as an oracle and not give a flying fig what my alignment is - making the entire point of your 'consequences' moot and making the game rules arbitrary and nonsensical. This is why mechanics tied to class abilities is a horrible system.


Kaladin_Stormblessed wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
The story is that the CG good is at war with the LG god (happens - it's a good story) and so you need protection from good.
What's wrong with Protection from Law?

The LG god has NG followers. (1 step).


Kaladin_Stormblessed wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
The story is that the CG good is at war with the LG god (happens - it's a good story) and so you need protection from good.
What's wrong with Protection from Law?

I've had a few great adventures when the forces of law (formians) started expanding aggressively (but in an orderly fashion) and had to be stopped. The GM was a guy I'd say was very lawful IRL. It was a good exploration into the effects of order pushing deep into the realms of tyranny. Dangerous too. A giant axiomatic scorpion killed our wizard in a single hit at level 15.

Silver Crusade

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


I would really like to understand how "you said you were going to play X, your character is behaving in ways Y not compatible with X, therefore the universe treats your character as Y" is a bad mechanic; it seems to me an actively positive one at a level of choices having consequences.

Because I can play the same character as an oracle and not give a flying fig what my alignment is - making the entire point of your 'consequences' moot and making the game rules arbitrary and nonsensical. This is why mechanics tied to class abilities is a horrible system.

Except you can't, and you're wrong. A Cleric prays to a Deity, deity gives them power. Deities throw powers at an Oracle at random and Oracle usually doesn't even know which Deity was responsible and doesn't get a say. Very different characters.


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WhiteMagus2000 wrote:

Granted, I probably wouldn't give my players any hassle if they are using infernal healing or protection from good for definitely good outcome. But it's also fairly rare that you are going to be starting a fight with paladins or angels and actually be trying to do good.

I don't argue that every table has these issues. I'm arguing that they exist. I respectfully ask that you search the Paizo forums for 'will a paladin fall' - read through a few thousand posts - and then come back to explain how these issues are not real, because you have personally never seen them.

I, personally, have never had a player try to fight with another player - as in 'roll dice we are throwing down'. I don't deny this happens because it hasn't happened to me or my tables.

I, personally, have never had a player die to dragon breath at my table. I don't deny this happens, because it hasn't happened to me or my tables.

I submit that if the rules are not a problem for your table, and they are optional (but still fully implemented on NPC's - thus making using them super easy) that you shouldn't have an issue with a simple 'we are using alignment in this game' in your games.


you have this incredibly convoluted scenario and the DM is forcing on you a situation that is anti-theatrical to "having-fun" .

It really just seems like the GM in this case is deliberately messing with you, after all, the situation was initially set up by the GM, and if the GM is not going to work with you to let you play the sort of game you want to play, by enforcing rules that are counter-intuitive to the scenario the GM herself has created, something is as they say

"rotten in the state of Denmark"

in my opinion, you are just in a "bad game" and I still cannot see how any of this is a fault of the system or the rules as they are played by people I have played with in the past


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Terquem wrote:

you have this incredibly convoluted scenario and the DM is forcing on you a situation that is anti-theatrical to "having-fun" .

It really just seems like the GM in this case is deliberately messing with you,

So you are saying - because my table chose a style of story to play - and the rules restrict the kind of character that I want to play in that story - that this is BADWRONGFUN?

I've not once attacked anyone's stories in this thread. You can tell your story and have the morality options and falls from grace in your game, but if I want to do it in my game where heaven had a civil war by the rules I can't?

That sucks.

Why are the current mechanics only setup to allow a certain type of story to be told?

Why have those mechanics if they restrict, rather than enhance the story?


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Ckorik wrote:
WhiteMagus2000 wrote:

Granted, I probably wouldn't give my players any hassle if they are using infernal healing or protection from good for definitely good outcome. But it's also fairly rare that you are going to be starting a fight with paladins or angels and actually be trying to do good.

I don't argue that every table has these issues. I'm arguing that they exist. I respectfully ask that you search the Paizo forums for 'will a paladin fall' - read through a few thousand posts - and then come back to explain how these issues are not real, because you have personally never seen them.

I, personally, have never had a player try to fight with another player - as in 'roll dice we are throwing down'. I don't deny this happens because it hasn't happened to me or my tables.

I, personally, have never had a player die to dragon breath at my table. I don't deny this happens, because it hasn't happened to me or my tables.

I submit that if the rules are not a problem for your table, and they are optional (but still fully implemented on NPC's - thus making using them super easy) that you shouldn't have an issue with a simple 'we are using alignment in this game' in your games.

You are correct about the paladin falling being a problem. By the way Golarion is written a paladin might be forced to fall on literally a daily basis (depending on how literal you take things and how well you comprehend history). I agree with you that this is an issue.

But that still doesn't give any kind of explanation as to why pissing off your patron diety by doing blatantly evil things wouldn't cause them to cut you off.

Seems like it'll require some kind of re-write. Such as, divine casters don't get their powers from outsiders, but from shear magical training and pulling their energies from the non-aligned possitive energy (or negative energy) plane. More like priests in World of Warcraft, I guess.


Ckorik wrote:
Terquem wrote:

you have this incredibly convoluted scenario and the DM is forcing on you a situation that is anti-theatrical to "having-fun" .

It really just seems like the GM in this case is deliberately messing with you,

So you are saying - because my table chose a style of story to play - and the rules restrict the kind of character that I want to play in that story - that this is BADWRONGFUN?

YES! If it is not fun to play because the GM is enforcing rules you think should not be enforced because they are counter to the theme of the story, then YES, YES! it is in fact BADWRONGFUN

Your GM does not have to enforce those rules if it is making the game not fun for you. If the GM will not see how it is making the game not fun for you, find a new GM. Or, you know, stop complaining because you are IN FACT, having fun.


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I am struggling to understand how anyone, ever, got into the hobby of playing a fantasy role playing game and after, oh I don't know how long, became convinced that the rules of the game must be followed exactly as they are understood, or the game itself is somehow broken.


I don't know how many ways it can be said

Have a conversation with the people you want to play with about what all of you want to get out of the experience of playing the game.

The game isn't broken, except in the sense that it is a set of rules that people agree upon for playing games of "make-believe" which is probably about as broken a concept as one could be at its core.


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Just from characters? Honestly the best thing that could happen that AL isn't presented even as an optional rule. Why? Because morality mechanics are cancer. A tumour on the hobby that as an idea has caused more harm than any single other mechanic in any RPG ever.

But since that has about snowballs chance in hell, if you are gonna make a mechanic, that means it is a rule. And rules are hard, none of this wishy washy vagueness. Either write is a rule especially given that this is objective morality or don't pretend you are actually creating a ruleset.


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


I would really like to understand how "you said you were going to play X, your character is behaving in ways Y not compatible with X, therefore the universe treats your character as Y" is a bad mechanic; it seems to me an actively positive one at a level of choices having consequences.

Because I can play the same character as an oracle and not give a flying fig what my alignment is - making the entire point of your 'consequences' moot and making the game rules arbitrary and nonsensical. This is why mechanics tied to class abilities is a horrible system.

If you can play exactly the same character as two distinct classes, that would seem to me to indicate the classes are broken in not being distinct enough.


WhiteMagus2000 wrote:


But that still doesn't give any kind of explanation as to why pissing off your patron diety by doing blatantly evil things wouldn't cause them to cut you off.

Isn't this already best left to the GM to flesh out? Is it that hard to imagine a faith - (just imagine with me for a moment) where the highest servant in heaven rebels and instead of destroying that servant in an instant they cast them out - but keep supplying them with power?

I mean - that kind of story might be hard to find in the real world - but I see room for both 'your deity watches everything you do and will let you know if they are unhappy' to 'your deity doesn't even know you are there - you siphon off them like a lamprey'.

Going back to older versions of the game there was a time when cleric spells level 1-3 (when there were only 7 levels of casting) were assumed to be just rituals that anyone with the correct training could use - and thus would still work in places 100% cut off from your deity (such as when hopping planes).

This is yet another place where the default mechanic forces a game assumption onto the players and GM without actually saying so.


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Ckorik wrote:


The story is that the CG good is at war with the LG god (happens - it's a good story)

Angels, in the default setting, are kind of all about keeping this from happening, so it does not feel like a particularly default-setting compatible story.

Silver Crusade

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


The story is that the CG good is at war with the LG god (happens - it's a good story)
Angels, in the default setting, are kind of all about keeping this from happening, so it does not feel like a particularly default-setting compatible story.

Yeah I was kinda scratching my head at that too.


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Terquem wrote:
I am struggling to understand how anyone, ever, got into the hobby of playing a fantasy role playing game and after, oh I don't know how long, became convinced that the rules of the game must be followed exactly as they are understood, or the game itself is somehow broken.

So my argument here is that under the class section of the rules - every time it has an alignment section it says *optional*.

You are saying your table has no issue with following the rules as you wish and your table always talks about what they want at the start of the game.

So why is adding the word 'optional' a few dozen times into a book you already treat as 'optional' to begin with something you need to fight against?


buh, guh, uh

The whole of the game, from the introduction of the rules is clearly presented as a game to be played any way that makes you happy. If that is not understood under the rules section for Alignments, I'm sorry, but I don't get it.

In life, real life, in my experience anyway, people rarely agree on what the rules are for playing, let alone winning. For me, in my life, role-playing games created a tiny little microcosm, not where there was a GM who imposed the rules hard and fast, but where a small group of people, for a short period of time, could all agree on what the rules for having a good time would be.


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Terquem wrote:


buh, guh, uh

The whole of the game, from the introduction of the rules is clearly presented as a game to be played any way that makes you happy. If that is not understood under the rules section for Alignments, I'm sorry, but I don't get it.

In life, real life, in my experience anyway, people rarely agree on what the rules are for playing, let alone winning. For me, in my life, role-playing games created a tiny little microcosm, not where there was a GM who imposed the rules hard and fast, but where a small group of people, for a short period of time, could all agree on what the rules for having a good time would be.

Then this change shouldn't matter to you and wouldn't affect your game at all - why are you arguing against it?


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Terquem wrote:


Have a conversation with the people you want to play with about what all of you want to get out of the experience of playing the game.

I'm entirely in agreement with you on this.

I would however posit that a game is a social contract - an agreement to play in a certain way, with a certain set of rules, in a certain genre, whatever. I am all for discussion and planning at levels of not playing horror with people who don't like horror, or not including fictional religious content if people with strong real-world religious beliefs are uncomfortable with that, and so on.

I still also feel that, whatever agreements you come to about how you are going to play, a player who in that setup set out to play whatever X you agreed on and is actually playing Y should get reacted to on the grounds that they are playing Y rather than X. The exact value of X in the equation is immaterial, it's the change from it that matters.

Alignment provides a reasonably solid (IMO) mechanistic basis for codifying responses to some forms of playing X as if it were Y.


Ckorik wrote:


Why have those mechanics if they restrict, rather than enhance the story?

How any different ways can I say "for some people playing against restrictions is the essence of fun" here ?


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


Why have those mechanics if they restrict, rather than enhance the story?
How any different ways can I say "for some people playing against restrictions is the essence of fun" here ?

As many times as it takes for you to realize that having the rules as optional will not harm your table experience while ensuring that if a GM wants a game heavy into morality and consequences, they will have to at least announce it to the table prior to it's start.

The argument *for* optional alignment rules doesn't restrict or disrupt your table - unless you think that a majority of the people you game with don't - actually - like the rules and would vote against it.


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


The story is that the CG good is at war with the LG god (happens - it's a good story)
Angels, in the default setting, are kind of all about keeping this from happening, so it does not feel like a particularly default-setting compatible story.

It's popular to depict angels as tyrants, enforcing law at the expense of good, in order to make those factions look bad.

Ckorik wrote:


Is it that hard to imagine a faith - (just imagine with me for a moment) where the highest servant in heaven rebels and instead of destroying that servant in an instant they cast them out - but keep supplying them with power?

That's exactly the story of Asmodeus you are describing. You think that powers of heaven should keep supplying him with power after he starts warping and harvesting the souls of mankind? Whatever you want dude, but I think it'll require some alteration of the mechanics and story to fit into most D&D/Pathfinder settings.

And I DID recommend an alteration to the rules to separate alignment from class features.


wait, wait, wait

YOU think I"M arguing AGAINST making alignment rules optional?

Wow, I think you are arguing FOR removing alignment rules from THE GAME, not from YOUR TABLE

what are you, exactly, arguing for? Removing alignment restrictions from characters in a game being played by a group of friends next Thursday night?

or

Removing alignment restrictions from the game

While the rules, and guidelines for using alignment in my games has never been a problem, I clearly see that it is for others. However, it does not seem necessary to eliminate the rules for how alignments "might" work for characters from the game entirely.

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I am not a big fan of alignment. Trying to do a murder mystery, just have the cleric / paladin detect evil until they find the evil person. No one detects as evil just have them take off their rings.

There are a lot of loopholes with the arbitrary system of alignment we have now. The Monkey King is most definitely a monk. Paladins have no abilities grounded in law only good. Which funny enough is the exact opposite of the original which was only Lawful (ie no good at all).

That being said the alignment system is used as a short hand for monster types in the game. For example LG (stuck up but generally helpful), NG (pure hearted), and CG (flighty but helpful). The easy classification allows players to go waaagh when seeing a normally hostile race like orcs and goblins. When seeing good aligned races they are more prepared to negotiate. This does make the game go faster and can be easier on both the dm and players. Is this good? I am not so sure.


Ckorik wrote:


As many times as it takes for you to realize that having the rules as optional will not harm your table experience while ensuring that if a GM wants a game heavy into morality and consequences, they will have to at least announce it to the table prior to it's start.

I'm not arguing against having alignment be optional. Not at all.

Ckorik wrote:


'Oh well just houserule these things away' - yep - that's fine - they shouldn't be mechanics in the first place. That's what this thread is about.
Ckorik wrote:


I think it's fine to have an alignment in the game (remember this thread is about players - not the game) - I just think it should be divorced from class mechanics.
Ckorik wrote:


A sense of self over your character is one of the most fundamental things you have control over - it shouldn't even be an option to take it away.

These statements of yours over the past few pages sounded to me, in all good faith, like you don't want alignment with mechanical effects to be a supported option at all for anyone. That is the position I am arguing against.

I want it to exist, and I want to be in the CRB, so that there is an objective reference for it (for those players who don't trust their GM, even though I am unlikely ever to play with such). I am entirely happy with a dozen extra usages of the word "optional" attached to every mention of it, which I can cheerfully ignore. I am not happy with being told that it can't be there.


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


I want it to exist, and I want to be in the CRB, so that there is an objective reference for it (for those players who don't trust their GM, even though I am unlikely ever to play with such). I am entirely happy with a dozen extra usages of the word "optional" attached to every mention of it, which I can cheerfully ignore. I am not happy with being told that it can't be there.
Terquem wrote:
Wow, I think you are arguing FOR removing alignment rules from THE GAME, not from YOUR TABLE

No - I'm arguing that it should be removed as a default option. I acknowledge it's place in the history of the game, but think that it shouldn't be a default assumption anymore. By making the rule optional for *players* it means that GM's will have to be explicit about the kind of game they want. Your table of old hats won't care - a new table or strangers finding a game will now have the ability to know before they get involved what kind of game is happening.

In other words this change shouldn't affect you if your table likes alignment.


WhiteMagus2000 wrote:


That's exactly the story of Asmodeus you are describing.

In the real world there are several major religions that have the same story - in these religions all creation is from the deity and the deity is all powerful (nothing exists without it) and so the fallen one only exists and has power due to explicit consent.

That's the story in real life - the one you quote is based on that story - but the game version names are changed and Asmodeus has his own source of power. My point is the real world *has* stories where the 'fallen one' still is empowered - I can certainly see that story being told where Sarenrae is the goddess involved, and it's one of her servants.


Windcaler wrote:
You were granted power in exchange for following that code

Everyone keeps treating Paladins like this. It's the other way around. The character followed that code and was rewarded with being a Paladin. It isn't some demonic pact or bargain for power (that's Antipaladins).


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Ckorik wrote:


No - I'm arguing that it should be removed as a default option. I acknowledge it's place in the history of the game, but think that it shouldn't be a default assumption anymore. By making the rule optional for *players* it means that GM's will have to be explicit about the kind of game they want. Your table of old hats won't care - a new table or strangers finding a game will now have the ability to know before they get involved what kind of game is happening.

In other words this change shouldn't affect you if your table likes alignment.

Making it a non-core option does make it more of an uphill exercise to incorporate it in a game, because not all people unwilling to use non-core options are doing so because of objecting to the specifics of any given option.

As one of the other threads around here pointed out, it is easier to remove an option you don't like, in your table, than add in one that does not have the support.


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


No - I'm arguing that it should be removed as a default option. I acknowledge it's place in the history of the game, but think that it shouldn't be a default assumption anymore. By making the rule optional for *players* it means that GM's will have to be explicit about the kind of game they want. Your table of old hats won't care - a new table or strangers finding a game will now have the ability to know before they get involved what kind of game is happening.

In other words this change shouldn't affect you if your table likes alignment.

Making it a non-core option does make it more of an uphill exercise to incorporate it in a game, because not all people unwilling to use non-core options are doing so because of objecting to the specifics of any given option.

As one of the other threads around here pointed out, it is easier to remove an option you don't like, in your table, than add in one that does not have the support.

I don't disagree with that statement - which is my my solution calls for leaving alignment in the game and used for all NPCs. By only selectively removing it from *mechanics* tied to characters and making those optional the chassis is there in the game to use it with no issue at all.

Consider -

  • Alignment: A cleric's alignment must be within one step of her deity's, along either the law/chaos axis or the good/evil axis (see Additional Rules).

    Changes to this:

  • Alignment: Any. (Optional: A cleric's alignment must be within one step of her deity's, along either the law/chaos axis or the good/evil axis see Additional Rules).

    No spells or anything else in the game changes - this isn't like removing magic items or changing how diseases work - making that line optional doesn't change the rest of the game, or statblocks.


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    Oh, I think I see now. You want to play the "fall of the arch-angel" but be the one who was in the right, and come out on top in the end.

    Okay, um, never mind. Have fun.


    Why exactly would a person worship a deity whose morals or ethics they oppose? Being a Cleric requires active worship. If you want divinely granted powers, but want to oppose that benefactor, play an Oracle (Oracles, by the way, already don't have any alignment requirement).


    Bloodrealm wrote:
    Why exactly would a person worship a deity whose morals or ethics they oppose?

    You'll often find that a deity's Areas of Concern, Obedience and codes aren't nearly as limiting as the alignment would lead you. There are cases where you could follow the god to a T and be farther away from the alignment than a single step. For instance, if you're NG and you worship a LN god and can follow all the rules [as none of them are overtly L] then what would be the issue? An example of this could be a dwarf worshiping Abadar for trade and metal working.


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    Bloodrealm wrote:
    Why exactly would a person worship a deity whose morals or ethics they oppose? Being a Cleric requires active worship. If you want divinely granted powers, but want to oppose that benefactor, play an Oracle (Oracles, by the way, already don't have any alignment requirement).

    Well it's enough of a thing that it's allowed in the actual official setting via Pact Servant - which lets you play a LG (channel healing) cleric of Asmodeus.

    So it's apparently not strange enough that they added it into the setting, and thus is legal - even if you currently have to take a feat - because the current rules get in the way of telling this type of story.

    Which is another reason why alignment should be optional by default.


    I feel like this is probably another one of those situations like using Infernal Healing as an argument against alignment. It's a corner-case of there being something weird with the specific thing instead of with alignment as a whole.


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    Ckorik wrote:

    Consider -

  • Alignment: A cleric's alignment must be within one step of her deity's, along either the law/chaos axis or the good/evil axis (see Additional Rules).

    Changes to this:

  • Alignment: Any. (Optional: A cleric's alignment must be within one step of her deity's, along either the law/chaos axis or the good/evil axis see Additional Rules).

    No spells or anything else in the game changes - this isn't like removing magic items or changing how diseases work - making that line optional doesn't change the rest of the game, or statblocks.

  • It actually does change things, because books have word count restrictions and Paizo has had to cut down on stuff to meet them in the past. This sounds like a lot of clunkiness that really only needs a few notes in one place, not everywhere there's an alignment restriction.

    Other than that? As long as it's not a matter of actually changing the amount of content there is that does use alignments? And your whole complaint of "no alignment as the default" meant all this time "present them both clearly, just specify that playing with or without alignment is possible, in case someone didn't read/believe in Rule Zero"? I couldn't care less which one is listed first or explicitly tagged as optional.

    Whatever you do at your table is of no concern to me, I just don't want to have to write pages of houserules and homebrew content to reestablish alignment in my own games.


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    Kaladin_Stormblessed wrote:

    ... , because books have word count restrictions and Paizo has had to cut down on stuff to meet them in the past. ... (edit)

    I can respect that. I was trying to find a way to change things without ruining anyone who does love alignment's fun. I think the *least* disruptive option would be the class mechanics rules being optional. To me it forces the issue to the start of a game rather than the middle (if it was going to be an issue) - puts the pressure on the player (well if you agreed to play in the game and it was stated 'full alignment rules' then it's really your problem not the GM's...) and at the same time leaves the vast majority of how alignment interacts with the game alone. To me it's worth a dozen or two words.


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    Ckorik wrote:
    Kaladin_Stormblessed wrote:

    ... , because books have word count restrictions and Paizo has had to cut down on stuff to meet them in the past. ... (edit)

    I can respect that. I was trying to find a way to change things without ruining anyone who does love alignment's fun. I think the *least* disruptive option would be the class mechanics rules being optional. To me it forces the issue to the start of a game rather than the middle (if it was going to be an issue) - puts the pressure on the player (well if you agreed to play in the game and it was stated 'full alignment rules' then it's really your problem not the GM's...) and at the same time leaves the vast majority of how alignment interacts with the game alone. To me it's worth a dozen or two words.

    I’m a fan of alignment, but you’ve made a number of reasonable points. How do you model stories with profane/sacred sites?

    I’m thinking of all the modules over the years: “if a good character drinks from the pool then...” or “it can only be wielded by an evil....” and so forth.

    Do you just make those restrictions descriptive, rather than mechanically defined?


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    So many strong feelings for alignment that I'll never understand because it's never had a negative impact on my games. Well once from someone that insisted we were doing alignment wrong but that was more their problem than ours.


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    Bloodrealm wrote:
    Windcaler wrote:
    You were granted power in exchange for following that code
    Everyone keeps treating Paladins like this. It's the other way around. The character followed that code and was rewarded with being a Paladin. It isn't some demonic pact or bargain for power (that's Antipaladins).

    You sure about that?

    It seems like it'd be a Lawful sort of thing to do.


    Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
    Bloodrealm wrote:
    Windcaler wrote:
    You were granted power in exchange for following that code
    Everyone keeps treating Paladins like this. It's the other way around. The character followed that code and was rewarded with being a Paladin. It isn't some demonic pact or bargain for power (that's Antipaladins).

    You sure about that?

    It seems like it'd be a Lawful sort of thing to do.

    With Paladins, doing the right thing comes first, and the powers come with it. Nobody is going around seeking power and saying "Hey, I know, I'll just dedicate my life to a code of altruistic beliefs and standards to a greater degree than even most Clerics! Easy-peasy!"

    I guess it IS a sort of pact in that it's a promise to both their deity and to themself, but so many people seem to think that it's something the character is forced into or only begrudgingly upholds because it gives them toys.

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