why alignment (for characters) needs to go


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Ckorik wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:


Flipping it, if the rules are so easily altered that we can flip it back if Alignment goes, why can't you just get rid of them in your game? No I'm seriously asking why you can't besides "It's in the rules".

Because if everyone isn't mature enough to handle that discussion it's impossible. Those kinds of games are already the ones where alignment is more likely to be an issue than others.

Almost a litmus test - if the table is mature enough to have a discussion about alignment before the game - then it's a good rule to have. If that discussion can't be had before the game (for a variety of reasons) it's a good bet that it's a bad rule to have.

You asked. Your own argument (as to why it's never been a problem for you) is a good reason why though.

And if that discussion can't be had you.., can't get rid of it why? Is it then because rules or because of players showning problematic behavior? You still haven't answered why.

If it's a litmus test, great! For what though? Maturity? If that's what you want in your players, then in your argument why does the other group matter to you since they seem immature? I also find it hard to believe "Don't be a jerk" requires a high level of maturity and or roleplaying skills.

My own arguement why it's not a problem is a good reason why..., what? That it's a bad idea?


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Terquem wrote:
If the table isn't "mature enough" to handle a discussion about the differences between right and wrong (as generally accepted in most main stream fiction) then I would suggest the table isn't mature enough to be playing fantasy role playing games when death, and violence, are routine - maybe pick up Tails of Equestria, and play that for a couple of years until the table is a little more mature.

Your argument is ironic - so I appreciate it for that reason - even if I disagree with the entire premise :)


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MerlinCross wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:


Flipping it, if the rules are so easily altered that we can flip it back if Alignment goes, why can't you just get rid of them in your game? No I'm seriously asking why you can't besides "It's in the rules".

Because if everyone isn't mature enough to handle that discussion it's impossible. Those kinds of games are already the ones where alignment is more likely to be an issue than others.

Almost a litmus test - if the table is mature enough to have a discussion about alignment before the game - then it's a good rule to have. If that discussion can't be had before the game (for a variety of reasons) it's a good bet that it's a bad rule to have.

You asked. Your own argument (as to why it's never been a problem for you) is a good reason why though.

And if that discussion can't be had you.., can't get rid of it why? Is it then because rules or because of players showning problematic behavior? You still haven't answered why.

If it's a litmus test, great! For what though? Maturity? If that's what you want in your players, then in your argument why does the other group matter to you since they seem immature? I also find it hard to believe "Don't be a jerk" requires a high level of maturity and or roleplaying skills.

My own arguement why it's not a problem is a good reason why..., what? That it's a bad idea?

I'm curious - when my solution leaves alignment on a character, leaves the system in place for spells and npcs, how you get 'get rid of it' as what I'm proposing?

Getting 'rid' of alignment is to remove it from the game. I leave 80% of it in and take out the 20% that causes issues at a table, I don't even ask to have those rules taken all the way out - just be made optional from the start.

Can we come down from the moon with the 'get rid of it' argument? I didn't ask that - that's one of the other 300 threads on alignment (I'm sure - I've stayed out of them to argue my point alone) - for all the reasons you point out why alignment is a good thing - I think a compromise is the best solution - if the only argument I can get isn't even going to read or take a moment to actually consider what I'm asking I'm no longer going to respond to those people who want to argue a different point I'm not making.

Sovereign Court

Ckorik wrote:

Quote here

James Jacobs wrote:

I often see this type of sentiment on the internet, and it frustrates the hell out of me.

The ONLY person who gets to decide if something is insulting is the person being insulted by it. If someone says something that ends up offending someone else, the responsible and mature solution is not to justify their insulting/offensive actions by trying to describe how they don't see it's insulting. That just digs their hole deeper and makes them condiscending as well as insulting to the person who's offended.

The right solution is to either nod your head and stop using that sort of offensive behavior (preferably altogether, but certainly when speaking to the person you, perhaps inadvertently, offended).

This is why alignment needs to go. Any other part of the game that causes as much hurt at the table as alignment is gone over with a fine tooth comb or given BIG WARNINGS ABOUT CONSENT (such as in the horror rules book).

Morality is SUBJECTIVE and as such has no place being used as a game mechanic. The rules of pathfinder are crunchy - morality rules are squicky, moist, and libel to smell like last week's cheese.

When the creative director (and company honestly) understand why trying to explain away why something is insulting/offensive is in fact just digging in deeper - after so many years of anguish about alignment and codes and evil spells and how it ruin's peoples games why is this still a core mechanic?

New edition - time for alignment to go - at least for player characters who should have sole authority over a subjective category that two reasonable college professors who spent lives studying ethics and morality could argue all day over.

See, you might have a point here... if you had a point. Alignment is NOT SUBJECTIVE in the setting of D&D or the setting of Pathfinder. Want to know why? Asmodeus is not in ANY WAY good, he is OBJECTIVELY evil. He would not say he was GOOD. He might say he is RIGHT but not GOOD. Rovagug is not in ANY WAY good, he is OBJECTIVELY evil. Sarenrae is OBJECTIVELY good. Iomedae is OBJECTIVELY good.

In a setting where there are gods and creatures that embody the very philosophy of what it is to be GOOD or EVIL there is not subjectivity in that. There are forces that rule the universe that put out OBJECTIVE meaning to what good and evil are. You might think or try to reason what is SUBJECTIVELY good, or that your evil character BELIEVES that he's doing good. It doesn't make him good.


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Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

I know that this is 305 posts into the conversation, but I want to join with those who say that alignment has never caused a problem at any game I've run in the last thirty-five years.

When I've seen those problems in other groups, it's generally come from the fact that people believe they understand "Good" and "Evil" as real-world concepts and try to shoe-horn them into the fantasy world without acknowledging the "Law" and "Chaos" are equally powerful forces in that fantasy world. The idea that an angel and an eladrin could have as much dislike for one another as an angel and a devil (though they would carry out that dislike in very different ways because of the difference between morality and ethics and so on and so forth) seems to be the hurdle that players have to get past.

Folks who haven't "gotten it" yet seem to insist that the "good guys" would get along. Recognizing that Chaotic-Good and Lawful-Good are just as different as Lawful-Evil and Lawful-Good is a big step, and it's challenging for some.

I've never had someone who developed an understanding of these fantasy norms continue to impress "real world" norms on my game.


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Kiln Norn wrote:
Alignment is NOT SUBJECTIVE in the setting of D&D or the setting of Pathfinder. Want to know why? Asmodeus is not in ANY WAY good, he is OBJECTIVELY evil. He would not say he was GOOD. He might say he is RIGHT but not GOOD.

I'm not recalling anything in PF lore to specify that he wouldn't, and "Evil be thou my good" is something Milton's Satan, the strongest inspiration for Asmodeus, says directly.

Any sentient being can reject any other sentient being as a moral authority. That the one laying down the rules has the entire shape of the universe backing them is just a bigger stick backing that position. ("All but less then He whom thunder hath made greater", to quote Milton again - Satan regards God's argument for being the defining authority on Good as nothing more than having bigger thunderbolts.)


Chaderick the Penguin wrote:


Folks who haven't "gotten it" yet seem to insist that the "good guys" would get along. Recognizing that Chaotic-Good and Lawful-Good are just as different as Lawful-Evil and Lawful-Good is a big step, and it's challenging for some.

The difference, though, is that while LG archons and CG azatas have pretty irrevocable differences, there's a whole extra set of outsiders, the angels, largely there to enable them to work together anyway. Evil doesn't have an equivalent.

I'm pretty sure it's in the lore somewhere, though it may have been an aside in James Jacob's enormous ask thread, that when demons as the youngest major outsider race boiled out of the Abyss, LG and CG and LE all stood against them with co-ordination and co-operation implicit.


Milton was CN


Ckorik wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:


Flipping it, if the rules are so easily altered that we can flip it back if Alignment goes, why can't you just get rid of them in your game? No I'm seriously asking why you can't besides "It's in the rules".

Because if everyone isn't mature enough to handle that discussion it's impossible. Those kinds of games are already the ones where alignment is more likely to be an issue than others.

Almost a litmus test - if the table is mature enough to have a discussion about alignment before the game - then it's a good rule to have. If that discussion can't be had before the game (for a variety of reasons) it's a good bet that it's a bad rule to have.

You asked. Your own argument (as to why it's never been a problem for you) is a good reason why though.

And if that discussion can't be had you.., can't get rid of it why? Is it then because rules or because of players showning problematic behavior? You still haven't answered why.

If it's a litmus test, great! For what though? Maturity? If that's what you want in your players, then in your argument why does the other group matter to you since they seem immature? I also find it hard to believe "Don't be a jerk" requires a high level of maturity and or roleplaying skills.

My own arguement why it's not a problem is a good reason why..., what? That it's a bad idea?

I'm curious - when my solution leaves alignment on a character, leaves the system in place for spells and npcs, how you get 'get rid of it' as what I'm proposing?

Getting 'rid' of alignment is to remove it from the game. I leave 80% of it in and take out the 20% that causes issues at a table, I don't even ask to have those rules taken all the way out - just be made optional from the start.

Can we come down from the moon with the 'get rid of it' argument? I didn't ask that - that's one of the other 300 threads on alignment (I'm sure - I've stayed out of them to argue my point alone) - for all...

Because in your solution it's still there? You don't think that a player won't notice it if someone casts Protect Good and looks to you and asks "So what happens?" And that leads to an argument about rules, morality, etc etc?

If you are that worried that players can not, will not, be able to have a general understanding of it how alignment works, IN YOUR GAME, how the hell do you expect them to work together as a team?

Your POINT as I can tell is that Alignment is bad because people feel pigoned holed into playing their characters certain ways that are outside of their understanding. That they cannot put themselves easily into someone else. And at worst, you have a table that's arguing over "This person is CG why aren't you playing as a CG" or the DM punishing someone because they aren't Lawful Good Enough.

I hate to break it to you, but the problems don't go away if you remove Alignment. You just simply remove a modifier. "You're LG you cant' do this" becomes "You're a good guy, you can't do this".

Chaderick the Penguin wrote:
Folks who haven't "gotten it" yet seem to insist that the "good guys" would get along. Recognizing that Chaotic-Good and Lawful-Good are just as different as Lawful-Evil and Lawful-Good is a big step, and it's challenging for some.

Ask them what media they watch. Depending on the answer, you can probably find an example of "These two people/groups are both good but don't like each other".

Cop show - Local Police and Feds are both good but argue over protocol or who gets the credit.
Super Hero Show - Yeah most the time Batman and Superman get off to the wrong foot.
5 Man Band archetype - The Lancer is basically a living embodiment of "I don't like you that much and challenge you but I'll work with you"

Roleplaying is Living fiction but it is still Fiction. You can draw on understanding of other media to help with this for newer players.


Ckorik wrote:


I'm curious - when my solution leaves alignment on a character, leaves the system in place for spells and npcs, how you get 'get rid of it' as what I'm proposing?

Because on the first page of this thread you said "it can stay - just not for player characters" and you are now saying otherwise ?

It's beginning to make me wonder whether the defining thing that all your experiences where alignment was a problem have in common is your (still unsupported) assertion that "hardwired alignment means characters have no power over what they consider right and wrong" as it seems that not holding that perspective is a common thread among players for whom alignment issues have never been a problem.


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Been thinking about it for the last couple days. There are plenty of RPGs that don't have alignment, but all of the most impactful for me are the ones that do. From Knights of the Old Republic, to Mass Effect, to the most interesting of all, World of Darkness. With the morality and virtues, and vices the characters just felt so much more real. And people I cared about. The tough choices; when I had to decide to save one life, but had to ignore two others. Those made me think and stuck with me for years, so much more than murder mobo #27, who's generally "good", but sometimes kills a hostage so he can drop a nuke on the baddy at the same time, then never feels a sliver of guilt.
Feels like removing alignment for the tactical ease of everyone being chaotic neutral cheapens the RPG part.

Sovereign Court

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


I'm curious - when my solution leaves alignment on a character, leaves the system in place for spells and npcs, how you get 'get rid of it' as what I'm proposing?

Because on the first page of this thread you said "it can stay - just not for player characters" and you are now saying otherwise ?

It's beginning to make me wonder whether the defining thing that all your experiences where alignment was a problem have in common is your (still unsupported) assertion that "hardwired alignment means characters have no power over what they consider right and wrong" as it seems that not holding that perspective is a common thread among players for whom alignment issues have never been a problem.

I'm not arguing with you here but just wanted to point out that even if characters consider themselves right or wrong holds no relevance to the fact of IF they are right or wrong. Gods of both good and evil exist and therefor there is a definitive answer as to what IS right or wrong. The character might THINK they did right and then get slapped in the face by a Empyreal. That's a pretty big sign that you were, in fact, wrong.


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I'm still trying to figure out when/where it became a thing that a PC's on-sheet alignment determined behaviour, and not the other way around. Picking an alignment at creation is just a rough idea of how you think your PC will be at THAT MOMENT IN TIME. That doesn't mean the alignment will never change as the result of decisions that arise through normal gameplay.

Sure, there are some, mostly Paladins and Druids that need to be mindful of their alignment, but that is actually baked into the very fabric of the class' persona. Paladins needing to remain LG is a GOOD thing. It's what gives them their abilities. Looking to maintain a balance so that nature can exist in harmony is the very definition of the point of a Druid. These PCs still start off with arbitrary alignments. Then, through making decisions, that alignment might shift deeper into their favour, or start to show where they are starting to slip against their ethos.

MASSIVE alignment shifts should always be a truly rare thing. Alignment shifting a point or two (on a scale of 0-100) is not the end of the world. If it is, chances are the PC has had plenty of time and opportunity to examine their behaviour before that.

Sovereign Court

Agreed. Though there are lost of players now that get pissy even if a DM thinks they did something that is going to shift their alignment and no item was involved.


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MerlinCross wrote:
Because in your solution it's still there? You don't think that a player won't notice it if someone casts Protect Good and looks to you and asks "So what happens?" And that leads to an argument about rules, morality, etc etc?

Wow - I've said this before - but if you have "good" written on your character sheet the same thing happens with 'my system' as it does *now*.

How is this hard for you to grasp? My changes do *not* affect this in any way - regardless of if you use the optional rules or not - the *only* thing that would change is if your alignment shifted (or you chose to be a CG follower of a LN god say) you wouldn't loose your class abilities.

My system just trusts the player to put down on their character what they *intend* the character to be - and keeps the game from screwing their player if that happens to change in the game (for whatever reason) - it doesn't remove any spell effects, or any consequences (otherwise) - it just keeps the class abilities intact.


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TolkienBard wrote:

I'm still trying to figure out when/where it became a thing that a PC's on-sheet alignment determined behaviour, and not the other way around. Picking an alignment at creation is just a rough idea of how you think your PC will be at THAT MOMENT IN TIME. That doesn't mean the alignment will never change as the result of decisions that arise through normal gameplay.

Sure, there are some, mostly Paladins and Druids that need to be mindful of their alignment, but that is actually baked into the very fabric of the class' persona. Paladins needing to remain LG is a GOOD thing. It's what gives them their abilities. Looking to maintain a balance so that nature can exist in harmony is the very definition of the point of a Druid. These PCs still start off with arbitrary alignments. Then, through making decisions, that alignment might shift deeper into their favour, or start to show where they are starting to slip against their ethos.

MASSIVE alignment shifts should always be a truly rare thing. Alignment shifting a point or two (on a scale of 0-100) is not the end of the world. If it is, chances are the PC has had plenty of time and opportunity to examine their behaviour before that.

Sure - I agree - except that casting protection from evil 5 times is enough to swing someone from lawful neutral to lawful good.

That's enough to actually take away class abilities for a cleric. That's the rules as of right now.

You (like others) need to admit your tables are not following the rules to begin with - and then step back and actually look at what the rules say.

This isn't a problem with just alignment - but alignment is the one that is arbitrary and can screw over your character. There are lots of rules in Pathfinder that are bad rules - that no one follows. I'm sure somewhere there is a table that forces you to roll a save for every item on you if you roll a natural 1 on an AoE. I have yet to see it happen. Even PFS has a 'house rules' document because not all the rules are great.

It's helpful if you step back first and consider if how your table handles things is 'the rules' - or if it actually follows my system here (so far every 'personal anecdote' I've seen wouldn't have been affected by my system)


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“the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh” wrote:
“Tectorman” wrote:
“the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:


For some of us it worked back then. I'd very likely disallow a lawful good rogue today, unless someone sold me on a really convincing concept.
And for others it didn’t, so now in P1E, a player doesn’t have to feel disenfranchised by having to fight for his character concept at a table where the other players aren’t having to fight for their’s, for just arbitrary reasons.
Why are you asserting that reasons for character concepts that fit with the genre and tone of a game are arbitrary as if that were a bad thing? They are arbitrary in the sense that the selection of game genre and tone is an active choice, but there being limits to what works with any given genre or tone is about plausible world-building and mechanistic and narrative consistency.

I’m calling it arbitrary because a whole lot of things in the game that WERE considered to be outside a given genre or tone or outside the bounds of plausible world-building and narrative consistency turned out not to be outside the genre or those bounds at all. There’s nothing inconsistent with an evil Ranger. Eventually, the game realized this. There’s nothing inconsistent with a lawful Bard. Eventually, the game realized this. There’s nothing inconsistent with a chaotic Druid. Eventually, the game realized this. There’s nothing inconsistent with a non-lawful Monk. Eventually, the game will realize this.

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Fact is, going into that rigamarole takes effort and time. Even when all the participants are supposed to respect each other enough for a civil discussion to happen, it still takes effort and time.
No argument there. I think effort and time of this sort is a reasonable expectation to have of people, though, particularly if they care strongly about playing a particular character concept.
And it gets tiring having to fight that same battle again and again and again and again. Yes, I do feel strongly about my not-lawful but still ki-using Monk, as strongly about it as another player’s chaotic Rogue or multiclass Fighter/Sorcerer or only-axe-using Barbarian. They don’t have to gear up for a philosophical war each and every time.

Anyone taking more than one level of Sorcerer on a Fighter probably would have to make a strong case for it in any PF campaign I have run, fwiw; flavourwise it hasn't fit. As indeed would be the case with trying to sell me a non-lawful Monk, or any other variant on "has a martial arts-based skill set of the sort that takes intense discipline and training but wants to play a character without the personality to do that."

Let me re-emphasise, in case it is getting lost in the shuffle I am all for Pathfinder supporting as wide range of character concepts as possible. I just feel strongly that Pathfinder, and the broader genre of D&D-type games, benefit strongly at a flavour level from doing that with a large number of distinct classes, with restrictions on each class at levels such as alignment, rather than with fewer classes that have less actual identity. You like the idea of playing a paladin but don't like the alignment restriction ? Talk to me about what you want from your character that fits with features of being a paladin, and odds are some take on a warpriest would fit it better.

So a multiclass Fighter/Sorcerer as well as a lawful good Rogue would be difficult sells for you. Despite both of those being perfectly valid P1E characters. That tells me you’re already going to allow or disallow character concepts independent of what the rules say. And yet, for groups that do go by what the rules say, regardless of what the rules are saying, just because what is or isn’t RAW does have that clout, whether it should or not, the simple allowance of an MC Fighter/Sorcerer or a lawful good Rogue is a godsend. It’s something that shakes up what you would consider coherent world-building. It isn’t something that shakes up their’s. Nor does it diminish how their game benefits at a flavor level.

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And this isn’t about the specific expectations of one particular campaign. Wrath of the Righteous says “no scurvy knaves”. P1E does not. A campaign with only elf PCs says “no dwarves, gnomes, or half-orcs”. P1E does not. You’re coming at this from the perspective that these sorts of changes “mess things up” by default until they’re proven not to.
I'm coming from the perspective that for any specific individual campaign, they might unless proven otherwise, and if I am DM players need to tell me in advance. PF1.0 supports Wrath of the Righteous and Skull and Shackles and any number of other campaigns, pre-written or homebrew, any one of which can have restrictions to fit genre and tone, or indeed any other matter of individual preference. (Valeros, for example, is depicted in a number of place as a flirtatious individual. In some contexts I would greatly enjoy playing him. In my current primary group I would not find that appropriate, because of it including people more than twenty years younger than me and that being a shape of interaction with potential to be uncomfortable for them. Anyone else running a PF game for this group would be entirely reasonable to ban me playing Valeros on those grounds, to my mind.)

So let those restrictions that may or may not be necessary at the level of an individual campaign be decided AT that level, rather than game-wide. Valeros may or may not be appropriate in a given group, depending on how fully you express his flirtatious side. So what exactly is the wisdom in the game instituting a blanket ban on Valeros entirely? You just said there are groups capable of handling Valeros without a problem. Okay, in like fashion, there are groups that have no intellectual disconnect with lawful good Rogues or lawful Bards or not-lawful Monks, or Paladin/Holy Warrior/Champions capable of standing for things besides LG or CE. And they no more need their starting position with regards to those concepts in the game to be “no” than your ability to play as Valeros.

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Shouldn’t your contention require just as much proof and just as much effort and time to prove it?
That assumes a shape of equality of investment in the player/DM relationship that I think is inaccurate.

But we’re not talking about this as player and GM. I’m not likely to ever meet you in real life. We’re having this discussion here, on these boards, when P2E is still being developed. As I see it, you and I are equally invested. So why is your contention that these sorts of changes must be assumed to mess things up as a default? Especially when these sorts of changes HAVE happened time and time again and did NOT mess things up? Neither for the game (since P1E apparently did well for itself) nor for you (since you still disallow lawful good Rogues, etc.).

Sovereign Court

Ckorik wrote:

Wow - I've said this before - but if you have "good" written on your character sheet the same thing happens with 'my system' as it does *now*.

How is this hard for you to grasp? My changes do *not* affect this in any way - regardless of if you use the optional rules or not - the *only* thing that would change is if your alignment shifted (or you chose to be a CG follower of a LN god say) you wouldn't loose your class abilities.

My system just trusts the player to put down on their character what they *intend* the character to be - and keeps the game from screwing their player if that happens to change in the game (for whatever reason) - it doesn't remove any spell effects, or any consequences (otherwise) - it just keeps the class abilities intact.

See there's a problem again. A CG person would not choose to follow a LN god. CG and LN philosophies don't match. CG likes to go out, drink beer, have a good time with friends, and overthrow the tyrant. LN in a lot of ways may support that very tyrant, tell you how much beer you are allowed to drink, and put up a curfew about when you need to be home and not hanging out with friends. One does not go well with the other. They are very opposed ideals.

A person who was staunchly CG would never make it through the training to be a cleric and the likelihood a LN god would grant that person spells is almost non existent. Why? Because they can't be sure that the person is going to use that magic to further the gods cause which is EXACTLY what a cleric is supposed to be doing. Furthering the goals of their deity.

Likewise if something causes your alignment to change the god may well cease granting you those powers that he's been giving. Why? Because your alignment is your absolute concept of how the world works, sure it can change with your character but a god isn't going to have someone with entirely opposite ideals to his own being given power when that power may counteract everything he is working toward. So yes, it can screw your character over. Welcome to Roleplaying.

A) Your god gave you lemons, find a new god.
B) Attonement
C) Go on a quest for redemption and character development.
D) Wait what? Characters can grow and change and not everything in a roleplaying game is about murdering the monsters and stealing all the loot? I can have actual character growth and concept that builds on ideas of what my character is and does and that is something that's ok within the system of the game ohmygod!


Ckorik wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Because in your solution it's still there? You don't think that a player won't notice it if someone casts Protect Good and looks to you and asks "So what happens?" And that leads to an argument about rules, morality, etc etc?

Wow - I've said this before - but if you have "good" written on your character sheet the same thing happens with 'my system' as it does *now*.

How is this hard for you to grasp? My changes do *not* affect this in any way - regardless of if you use the optional rules or not - the *only* thing that would change is if your alignment shifted (or you chose to be a CG follower of a LN god say) you wouldn't loose your class abilities.

My system just trusts the player to put down on their character what they *intend* the character to be - and keeps the game from screwing their player if that happens to change in the game (for whatever reason) - it doesn't remove any spell effects, or any consequences (otherwise) - it just keeps the class abilities intact.

Now - Okay he gets protection from me. Your system which you want Alignment gone - So what happens? I'm blank. Or did I put down CN while acting as a NG person? No wait, I'm N but I'm playing a class locked to Good.

Do you see how confusing that is? More so if your players call each other out on it(You're not acting Good dude when you killed my Raven).

Your solution is to just lock them into whatever Alignment they want?

BLOODY HELL why didn't we think of that? HEY GUYS! Maybe we shouldn't change people's alignment!

What you say, isn't new or game changing. I don't have numbers but I would think forcefully changing someone's alignment is a bad thing to do, UNLESS they are being a jerk about it. Show of hands guys, who changes CN to CG or LG because of what players do and not say bump them down lower because they decided to randomly stab someone? Most Alignment stories seem to revolve around going DOWN the chart than up. I mean how many stories do we have of a Barbarian becoming Lawful?

So is that it? Just lock the Alignment to what the player wants? You have solved basically nothing. Sure THAT player might be fine and happy, but you have not stopped the arguments about morality and alignment from the other people at the table. And you seem to have a low opinion of players or at least not believe them mature enough to start a discussion about it peacefully. So they will argue, and there will be problems at this table of yours with this system.

How hard is it for you to grasp that your solution(If it is as simple as locking alignment to player's choice) doesn't seem to solve the wider problems we and yourself have brought up?


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One thing I'd like to bring up seriously, however, is that the rule of "casting 5 good spells makes you good" is ... well it's optional. Its from Horror Adventures. Not the CRB, not the APG, not the Ultimate series. That rule first appeared in the "Adventures" series, which was about a style of game play. Like Mythic Adventures. Are we now saying every player can expect to receive a Mythic Rank from their GM?

I have no dog in this fight. Alignment has always been pretty fluid (but not abusable) in my games. Yes this is houseruled. But as far as I knew, the spells shifting alignment was from a book that people can largely ignore because it's not a part of the base mechanics. Right?


Tectorman wrote:


I’m calling it arbitrary because a whole lot of things in the game that WERE considered to be outside a given genre or tone or outside the bounds of plausible world-building and narrative consistency turned out not to be outside the genre or those bounds at all.

I do not feel the game is better for having had some of these alignment restrictions removed.

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Anyone taking more than one level of Sorcerer on a Fighter probably would have to make a strong case for it in any PF campaign I have run, fwiw; flavourwise it hasn't fit.
So a multiclass Fighter/Sorcerer as well as a lawful good Rogue would be difficult sells for you. Despite both of those being perfectly valid P1E characters. That tells me you’re already going to allow or disallow character concepts independent of what the rules say.

On a campaign by campaign basis, yes. On the same grounds as not allowing a set of scurvy knaves in a Wrath of the Righteous campaign.

"Any campaign I have run" was talking to my practical experience, there, I am sorry if that was not as clear as I meant it.

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It’s something that shakes up what you would consider coherent world-building. It isn’t something that shakes up their’s. Nor does it diminish how their game benefits at a flavor level.

Not arguing that point at all. I am arguing that given that it is easier to cut rules than to implement new ones, all other things being equal it is better for alignment restrictions on classes to be in core than not.

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Shouldn’t your contention require just as much proof and just as much effort and time to prove it?

That assumes a shape of equality of investment in the player/DM relationship that I think is inaccurate.

But we’re not talking about this as player and GM.

Oh, OK. I misread you as making a point specifically about player preferences vs. DM preferences; given that misreading, my previous argument here is irrelevant.

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So why is your contention that these sorts of changes must be assumed to mess things up as a default? Especially when these sorts of changes HAVE happened time and time again and did NOT mess things up? Neither for the game (since P1E apparently did well for itself) nor for you (since you still disallow lawful good Rogues, etc.)

My contention is that if you make alignment restrictions core, a group who doesn't want to play them - can say "we're not playing with them" and proceed with no more effort than that. If you don't make them core, a group that does want to play them has to build them from scratch, without the level of testing and insight into mechanics and consequences that the PF dev team has in balancing the game around them.

Silver Crusade

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Bard of Ages wrote:

One thing I'd like to bring up seriously, however, is that the rule of "casting 5 good spells makes you good" is ... well it's optional. Its from Horror Adventures. Not the CRB, not the APG, not the Ultimate series. That rule first appeared in the "Adventures" series, which was about a style of game play. Like Mythic Adventures. Are we now saying every player can expect to receive a Mythic Rank from their GM?

I have no dog in this fight. Alignment has always been pretty fluid (but not abusable) in my games. Yes this is houseruled. But as far as I knew, the spells shifting alignment was from a book that people can largely ignore because it's not a part of the base mechanics. Right?

The Adventures are part of the Core Line, and nothing in that sidebar in the spells section (aside from how many castings*) was presented as optional, it was not presented under a subsytem or standalone header stating as such. Neither was the statement that torture is also an evil act.

*While I would have loved a more nuanced take on this it just wasn't practical to include a scale for every single spell in existence in this book, but a scale had been something that a large number of people on the forums had long asked for, "how much?", because that statement in HA didn't come out of nowhere, lots of people had been playing under the notion that casting aligned spells was an aligned act (my group has, since back in 3.0 at least) so to lots of people this wasn't a "rule change", but a clarification.


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You realize that all rules outside of the CRB are optional, yes? Let's look at this logically: If I don't own the book, I can't follow the rule. Or are we saying I have to follow rules I didn't buy?

Silver Crusade

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Bard of Ages wrote:
You realize that all rules outside of the CRB are optional, yes? Let's look at this logically: If I don't own the book, I can't follow the rule. Or are we saying I have to follow rules I didn't buy?

All rules in the CRB are optional.

As for your question, it's not a new rule but a clarification, one the game and many groups had been operating under, that casting aligned spells are aligned acts (and that torture is evil). Which even extends to how it is presented, basically amounting to "Yes, casting Evil spells and torturing people are inf fact Evil acts."

The exact amount of castings is optional and I actually suggest ignoring the broad all encompassing 3 step rule for all spells, since something like Hellfire Ray is a magnitude greater degree of Evil than say Infernal Healing.


Kiln Norn wrote:


See there's a problem again. A CG person would not choose to follow a LN god.

See there is the problem again - a CG person can follow and choose to follow a LN god. The problem is only related to Clerics. As you are being pedantic, I will grant - I mean a N god in the case of this cleric - A CN character can follow a N god - but if they case protection from evil 5 times they turn CG and loose powers - my example has a small mistake and the point wasn't impacted, but I am certainly glad you spent so many words to show how wrong I was - but I think you missed the point.

Liberty's Edge

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Perhaps a "morally nebulous" alignment should be added, with the caveat that all alignment related effects treat you as the worst case due to the characters' lack of convictions.


But you get my point, even though it's a clarification, its reasonable to assume that many new gamers, or gamers who are perfectly fine with just the CRB and APG at their table are ignorant of.

Calling it out as a "core rule" as Core Assumption or a Widespread Rule or a Base Assumption or what have you, is counter-intuitive to the argument at hand. Because that clarification doesn't exist for many people who don't buy every book on the shelf. Even on these boards there was a vocal minority who said things like "I'm skipping this book, its not for me" about Horror Adventures.


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MerlinCross wrote:


Now - Okay he gets protection from me. Your system which you want Alignment gone - So what happens? I'm blank. Or did I put down CN while acting as a NG person? No wait, I'm N but I'm playing a class locked to Good.

Do you see how confusing that is? More so if your players call each other out on it(You're not acting Good dude when you killed my Raven).

Why are you so dead set on telling a person how they are playing a character wrong? This is exactly why alignment restrictions shouldn't be tied to class abilities.

Is there really a problem with trusting your players to put down how they feel their character acts? You keep acting like I believe all GM's are out to be malicious - but every argument you make assumes the exact opposite - that the GM is making arguments in good faith while the players are out to cheat the system somehow.

If everyone is as altruistic as you espouse the entire point would be moot and none of these changes would matter at all. I don't understand how you can feel so strongly that the players are just dirty rotten scoundrels ready to play CE paladins or LG murder hobos - when you also claim you've never seen alignment actually cause these exact problems at your table.


I thought the "everything is core" was 4E thing.


Kiln Norn wrote:
The character might THINK they did right and then get slapped in the face by a Empyreal. That's a pretty big sign that you were, in fact, wrong.

It's a pretty big sign that the Empyreal in question does not agree that what you are doing is right, no argument there.

Whether your character accepts that as moral authority, or regards it as every bit as much a coercive action as a Balor punching you in the face because you are doing Good things, is a roleplaying decision. And one that I believe has potential for lots of interesting character options.

Silver Crusade

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Bard of Ages wrote:

But you get my point, even though it's a clarification, its reasonable to assume that many new gamers, or gamers who are perfectly fine with just the CRB and APG at their table are ignorant of.

Calling it out as a "core rule" as Core Assumption or a Widespread Rule or a Base Assumption or what have you, is counter-intuitive to the argument at hand. Because that clarification doesn't exist for many people who don't buy every book on the shelf. Even on these boards there was a vocal minority who said things like "I'm skipping this book, its not for me" on these very messageboards.

Oh yes, while I and others have always played with that notion of how aligned spells work long before HA ever came out I wasn't all that surprised that others did not.

I refer to it as Core rule by it's nature of being included in the Core Rulebook line.


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TolkienBard wrote:
I'm still trying to figure out when/where it became a thing that a PC's on-sheet alignment determined behaviour, and not the other way around.

I don't know that prescriptive vs. descriptive is actually of central importance to the question of alignment shifting with behaviour, though.

The person who writes Lawful Good on their character sheet as a way of saying how their character is supposed to behave, and the person who writes Lawful Good on their character sheet as a description of how their character does behave, are to my mind in exactly the same situation if they later behave Chaotic, with regard to having that behaviour queried and having their alignment changed if they persist in it.


MerlinCross wrote:


What you say, isn't new or game changing. I don't have numbers but I would think forcefully changing someone's alignment is a bad thing to do, UNLESS they are being a jerk about it.

To my mind it is every bit as much implementing a consequence to a choice as having the town guards come after them if they beat up the shopkeeper and steal his stuff rather than buying it from him.

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Show of hands guys, who changes CN to CG or LG because of what players do

Um, of course I do? It doesn't happen often, but neither does the other way around.


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Bard of Ages wrote:

But you get my point, even though it's a clarification, its reasonable to assume that many new gamers, or gamers who are perfectly fine with just the CRB and APG at their table are ignorant of.

Calling it out as a "core rule" as Core Assumption or a Widespread Rule or a Base Assumption or what have you, is counter-intuitive to the argument at hand. Because that clarification doesn't exist for many people who don't buy every book on the shelf. Even on these boards there was a vocal minority who said things like "I'm skipping this book, its not for me" about Horror Adventures.

My understanding is if it's a hardcover rulebook released under the 'rules' line - then it's considered 'core' - that includes anything that you get as part of the "pathfinder rules" subscription. They are all supposed to get put into the PRD (I know it's behind) and they all have PDF's for 9.99 - part of the 'keep the rules accessible' philosophy by Paizo - which I have to commend them for.

Given as such - when looking forward to Pathfinder 2.0 - where they aren't done writing the system yet - and through the playtest nothing is set in stone - I think it's a good faith to take the rules as a 'whole' and argue for what merits being 'core' to the new system.

So sure - in PF 1.0 it's very possible to never have heard of the rule in question, but going forward the rules for PF 1.0 have (in my opinion) gone backwards on alignment - and seem to creep more towards D&D 2E restrictions the more 'tied to the setting' that it has become. I understand (and respect) James Jacobs views on alignment, and how he wants them represented in Golarion, however we now have a new version coming out and the public information we have indicates they are pulling the 'default setting' closer to the rules rather than keeping the rules system agnostic.

This leaves me with all the evidence to call out what I see as troublesome - from all the perspectives listed throughout this thread - and while I respect that the default setting has some consistency and story that tie these types of rules to it - I feel it's a mistake to go backwards in the rules - because it makes aesthetic points about the game world easier to explain.

Hopefully that explains why I treat these as 'all valid' rules and the frame of reference I'm looking at - if it's muddled or unclear I can attempt to elaborate.


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I still support alignment and alignment restricted classes.

Alignment is like backstory, its what you characters starts the game with. Its a set of beliefs, morals and maybe even motivations.

Alignment is part of what makes a stat sheet a real character. A person with goals, motivations, and core beliefs. Without that you just have some numbers on a sheet of papaer.

Paladins are all LG....because only those with the dedication to that set of beliefs and morals will be granted the great powers of a paladin. The gods granting such powers simply wont trust someone else with such power.

To be a dedicated martial artist like a monk, it takes a high level of lawfulness.

These are ok and fit the genre. Does this restrict the players...well yes, it does and that is ok. But its no more restrictive then saying a wizard with a 7 intelligence wont work well. Look restrictions are not evil they are tone setting. I run a game with no high elves, they simply arent around anymore and that is part of the plot and the story of the world. Allowing a player to play one would wreck that and destroy the plot. Restrictions add flavor.

Anyway in ending I hope the new system keeps alignment and that classes keep restrictions based on alignment. I understand those locked into disliking wont be swayed and I support your right to make your arguements against it. I just wanted to make mine in support of it. Thanks and be well all.


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Well, I think by considering things core, we ought to actually look at what's in the current CRB, because a very large chunk of the rules will be coming from there. Sure, they are making alchemist a base class, and including retraining rules, but those feel like exceptions.

I mean, I'm very neutral. I've played in groups with actual alignment score charts that would force alignment shifts secretly.

I've played 3.5 with the "Paladin of Tyranny, Paladin of Freedom etc"

I've even played a game where paladins only had to take an oath, and smite was directed at enemies of that oath.

But neither side of this argument has actually swayed me with any good points. It's gone from "one true wayism" on both sides of the equation, and as an active contrarian, I tend to swim against the current so to speak. If you tell me starting in an inn is a bad opening to an adventure, I'm going to build an entire adventure that never leaves an inn.

EDIT: But even then, there's nothing to swim against here. It's just a cycling argument.


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Bard of Ages wrote:
If you tell me starting in an inn is a bad opening to an adventure, I'm going to build an entire adventure that never leaves an inn.

The very next campaign I am going to run opens with the PCs showing up at the tavern to meet the person who is supposed to hire them to find the tavern closed. I am looking forward to seeing what they do next.

Silver Crusade

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Bard of Ages wrote:
If you tell me starting in an inn is a bad opening to an adventure, I'm going to build an entire adventure that never leaves an inn.

A Spirited Away campaign would be f@++ing awesome.

Sovereign Court

Ckorik wrote:
See there is the problem again - a CG person can follow and choose to follow a LN god. The problem is only related to Clerics. As you are being pedantic, I will grant - I mean a N god in the case of this cleric - A CN character can follow a N god - but if they case protection from evil 5 times they turn CG and loose powers - my example has a small mistake and the point wasn't impacted, but I am certainly glad you spent so many words to show how wrong I was - but I think you missed the point.

I did not miss the point, admittedly 5 spell casts might to far to few. However a cleric should be trying to emulate their chosen god which means that they are going to more toward his alignment and way of thinking and not away from it. If they do something that shifts their alignment to the point that they are thinking differently than they should be for his service he is going to stop giving them power.

Your CN person following a N god casts a ton of good spells but never an evil spell. He's not being neutral is he? He's being good. He casts a ton of evil spells and does evil things exponentially more than he does good things. Still not being neutral is he?

The idea of 'I want to be able to do whatever I want without consequence to my moral standing' is where the difference is. How many shows/movies/stories have one of the bad guys becoming a good guy or at least helping out in the end? These are alignment changes. Some go so far as to have good guys become bad guys. Alignment change. Watch the last season or two of Burn Notice. Alignment changes. They happen. Use them. They are great story devices. If you and your players can't handle that I'm sorry but you might want to stay in the dungeon and murder all the things and ignore the narrative world that evolves with the story.

Ckorik wrote:
Is there really a problem with trusting your players to put down how they feel their character acts? You keep acting like I believe all GM's are out to be malicious - but every argument you make assumes the exact opposite - that the GM is making arguments in good faith while the players are out to cheat the system somehow.

I trust my players to put down exactly what they think their character acts like. I do not trust my players to always be accurate to how their character actually is. There are cosmic alignments in the setting and things change. They might have started out as CG but that doesn't mean they are going to stay that way forever and always.

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

It's a pretty big sign that the Empyreal in question does not agree that what you are doing is right, no argument there.

Whether your character accepts that as moral authority, or regards it as every bit as much a coercive action as a Balor punching you in the face because you are doing Good things, is a roleplaying decision. And one that I believe has potential for lots of interesting character options.

There is another thing here though. One, what your character accepts as a moral authority is not relevant. Again, cosmic forces dictate what is and isn't right. They might not accept that but it doesn't matter in the large scheme of things. They either ARE wrong or right OBJECTIVELY given that the gods themselves stand for these alignments and what they mean. They might think they are LG, doesn't mean they are LG.

Second a Balor punching you in the teeth could mean you are doing something so incredibly good that a Balor was sent out to deal with you. It could also mean that the Balor is just being a Balor and punching you in the teeth sounded like fun before he decides to eat you alive. An Empyreal however is the embodiment of what it is to be good. They aren't going to intervene in something that doesn't directly require them to.


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


What you say, isn't new or game changing. I don't have numbers but I would think forcefully changing someone's alignment is a bad thing to do, UNLESS they are being a jerk about it.
To my mind it is every bit as much implementing a consequence to a choice as having the town guards come after them if they beat up the shopkeeper and steal his stuff rather than buying it from him.

This is what I would probably do first, show their actions have in world results. But if they keep doing it, with no remorse to anyone over it, then I have to talk to them about it kick them out or mark their alignment differently.

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Show of hands guys, who changes CN to CG or LG because of what players do

Um, of course I do? It doesn't happen often, but neither does the other way around.

I've seen it once, after several good actions and a self sacrifice that didn't work(They were going to die but some bad rolls on the monsters part and an ally turning to help made them live. Intent was there) I talked to them about switching to NG if they believed it was a good move. They agreed.

Changing Alignment mid game should be a big character growth result and the player agrees to it. Unless the character is being repeatedly evil, and even then I first suggest making the world deal with them(Guards for example) followed by talking with them or kicking them out if you have to. While I do suggest knocking them down the Alignment chart, the example player sounds like a possible problem with or with alignment.


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Kiln Norn wrote:
I do not trust my players to always be accurate to how their character actually is.

See that's odd I feel the same way about all people not just the players. That's why character powers shouldn't be bound to alignment. If the players aren't trustworthy - neither is the GM.


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Kiln Norn wrote:

One, what your character accepts as a moral authority is not relevant.

To my mind it is the only thing that is relevant.

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Again, cosmic forces dictate what is and isn't right.

They dictate how the universe works. They can take away your class powers if you disagree with them, they can sentence you to an afterlife of their choice, but none of that gives them moral validity.


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I trust my players to put down exactly what they think their character acts like. I do not trust my players to always be accurate to how their character actually is.

It's not just a question of trust to me. The DM picks the campaign and implements any houserule decisions that have to be made. So in addition to your setup in session 0, the players are not necessarily equipped with all the relevant information - there may be important plot twists the DM withholds in order not to have spoilers. It's not an even power relationship, and trying to force it to be means removing an awful lot of possibilities for the game, while trusting your DM enables those.

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They might have started out as CG but that doesn't mean they are going to stay that way forever and always.

Another benefit of alignment is being able to plan a progression into your character concept. "I'm a kid who grew up on the dog-eat-dog mean streets of the worst part of town, but with time around people who support each other and watch each other's backs I will be impressed by that and learn to trust people and be a better person" is a concept that moving from CN to LG by degrees fits with and gives satisfying milestones along the way.

("Kid, you pinged as Good for the first time ever! I'm so proud of you!")

Come to think of it, that would make a good fit for Seelah's Intro to the Iconics backstory.


Ckorik wrote:
Kiln Norn wrote:


See there's a problem again. A CG person would not choose to follow a LN god.

See there is the problem again - a CG person can follow and choose to follow a LN god. The problem is only related to Clerics. As you are being pedantic, I will grant - I mean a N god in the case of this cleric - A CN character can follow a N god - but if they case protection from evil 5 times they turn CG and loose powers - my example has a small mistake and the point wasn't impacted, but I am certainly glad you spent so many words to show how wrong I was - but I think you missed the point.

I think some of parts of the alignment system have to be ignored in order for the game to function as intended. Not that the concept of alignment is bad, just a few oddball rulings (plus the occasional GM or players being jerks). Like how vigilantes have two alignments that they can switch between at will. Really, paizo? Seriously?

If you've ever seen Lisa Stevens playing through a game, you'd notice she plays kind of fast and loose with the rules. As the CEO, I would call whatever playstyle she uses "as intended". So I try not to sweat alignment technicallities and only call players on stuff that is quite obviously abusive (Using infernal healing to aid injured captives = not evil. Keeping an enslaved Erinyes for a consatant supply of devil blood = evil).

A lot of the game world isn't really supported by the rules very well. Like the broken ass economy. And the ramifications of wizards, sorcerers, and alchemists being theoretically just as common as a fighter. The world will break if you try too hard to make every puzzle piece fit together, so I suggest you don't.


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WhiteMagus2000 wrote:


Like how vigilantes have two alignments that they can switch between at will. Really, paizo? Seriously?

I was about to quote that as another example of the good things an alignment system can do.

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A lot of the game world isn't really supported by the rules very well. Like the broken ass economy. And the ramifications of wizards, sorcerers, and alchemists being theoretically just as common as a fighter.

I think Golarion has that pretty well covered on plausibility grounds with people with PC-character-class levels being rare and people of high levels being extremely rare. Published adventures give a statistically biased sample because they have to focus on sending PCs where adventure is to be had.


Ckorik wrote:
Kiln Norn wrote:
I do not trust my players to always be accurate to how their character actually is.
See that's odd I feel the same way about all people not just the players. That's why character powers shouldn't be bound to alignment. If the players aren't trustworthy - neither is the GM.

If you can't trust the game master to be at least moderately fair in doing their duty, why are playing together? It sounds like your table might have some serious issues if no one trusts anyone else.


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If the table isn't "mature enough" to handle a discussion about the differences between right and wrong (as generally accepted in most main stream fiction) then I would suggest the table isn't mature enough to be playing fantasy role playing games when death, and violence, are routine - maybe pick up Tails of Equestria, and play that for a couple of years until the table is a little more mature.

Sometimes tables are mature enough to understand that right and wrong cannot be defined by something as simplistic as dnd alignment. There are a lot of heated debates about that since the advent of philosophy.


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gustavo iglesias wrote:


Sometimes tables are mature enough to understand that right and wrong cannot be defined by something as simplistic as dnd alignment. There are a lot of heated debates about that since the advent of philosophy.

Sometimes a large part of the point of a specific campaign can be to experiment with different definitions of right and wrong, and alignment may not be the perfect starting point for that in some ways but it is better than starting in a vacuum.


You mean like experimenting with "if we are in desperate need and we Animate Dead to save innocent people... Are we being evil?", right?
I agree those are great stories. Make for great debate. However in PD we know the answer, because of "detect right from wrong" spells.

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