why alignment (for characters) needs to go


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What I don't get, and it's probably just ignorance or lack of experience on my part, but I don't get why discussions of "real world" moral philosophy, at the table, is necessary for a good game of Make Believe.


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My first D&D character ever, on 2ed, was a CG elf bardess. I loved that character. On 2ed she was not legal (illegal race and alignment for bard), but neither me not the DM (newbie too) where conscious of this at the moment. When we notice, the DM let me continue to play with her. Obviously, I do not like any alignment restrictions.
But I find there are two kinds of alignment restrictions; the divine and the rest. I dislike both, but can accept the divine restrictions; the divine classes having important moral components have some logic. What I dispise is the rest; Monk and Barbarian, basically. Specially monk. Some awesome fictional monks, like Zaheer (CN)or Aang himself (CG) from Avatar or Togashi Mitsu (CG)from Legend of 5 Rings are totally monks, and totally illegal on PF. Being a monk has nothing to do with law or chaos. Or should not, at least.


Terquem wrote:
What I don't get, and it's probably just ignorance or lack of experience on my part, but I don't get why discussions of "real world" moral philosophy, at the table, is necessary for a good game of Make Believe.

It is not necessary. But those make for interesting stories.

Edit: non real world morals (like alignment) aren't necessary either for good games of Make Believe.


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unless you all agree that those rules will be applied to the game you are playing, which is suggested by the rule books, only suggested.

I don't remember reading in any of the books that discussing real world moral conundrums and arguing if "the ends justify the means" can be, in any way, adjudicated, by the dungeon master for improving the overall quality of the game session

Sure, sometimes talking about morality can be fun

I've never experienced a game of D&D where talking about morality, as it is understood in the real world, made the game better.


So, I would like to pose a new question in this debate:

Pathfinder is an RPG. A game. What are games used for? For this question let's all assume "escapism" as a common goal. Cool? Cool.

What I see from one side is this argument: "Having real world morality disrupts my escapism of a black and white world where things make sense."

From the other side I see "Not having a playground to discuss real world morality disturbs my escapism.:

And I get both sides, I really do. Some days I want some game of thrones level of grey morality and no one is a good guy. Some days, I want morality about as deep as the mobile game Kingdom Rush where you just defend your farmers from orcs.

So ultimately I have to ask: What happens if Paizo removes alignment restrictions from the player side? Do we just keep playing 1e? At least my reasons for continuing 1e don't hinge on a few mechanics, it actually hinges on copious amounts of 3pp rulebook use (like Pure Steam!, Ultimate Psionics, Path of War, and Akashic Mysteries).

What happens if they leave it in? Do you look for a new game like D&D 5e that DID remove alignment for the most part?


I just had this crazy thought

What if you removed alignment restrictions from player characters, not from the game, just the rules that would take spell access away from a player character Cleric, and instead played with the characters they way you want to play with them

But

All night long all you did was keep arguing with the DM about what the real meaning of "right and wrong" are, and how, "the ends, DO justify the means."

What have you accomplished?

I mean are you trying to play Pathfinder (D&D) or are you trying to win an argument about morality?


WhiteMagus2000 wrote:
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.

That's a odd way to interpret that - I put as much faith in the GM as they put in the players.

If you can't trust your players then they shouldn't trust you as the GM. There is no world in which the GM doesn't trust their players but that's just ok because the GM is more important - the GM isn't somehow more important than the players.


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Terquem wrote:


I've never experienced a game of D&D where talking about morality, as it is understood in the real world, made the game better.

I did, often. I fact, I like to present said moral dilemmas to the characters as a GM. Things that make them doubt which one is the right answer, if any. However, that only works if you can't cast a spell to know the Right Answer (TM)


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

Quote:


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.

Isn't that the exact argument used by the daemons in Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Well, I guess we know your alignment.

I'm kidding in saying that you are NE IRL, but most (if not all) instances of beings arguing against moral restrictions or that morality is only an outdated social construct, in both PF and D&D are CN, NE, or CE. Call of cthulhu too. Just saying.


Terquem wrote:
What I don't get, and it's probably just ignorance or lack of experience on my part, but I don't get why discussions of "real world" moral philosophy, at the table, is necessary for a good game of Make Believe.

This is a flavor thing. All our activities start with real world morality and philosophy discussions.

Sovereign Court

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

Quote:


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.

Again, D&D and Pathfinder are NOT SUBJECTIVE on good and evil. They are OBJECTIVE. There are cosmic and divine forces of GOOD and cosmic and divine forces of EVIL. Without that there could not be an actual alignment system.

Demons and Devil's are evil. They are Angels and Archons that are good. There might be one in a million, one in ten million that is an exception to the rule. But these creatures are ABSOLUTELY good or evil. They are not some in between as are the gods that lord over these creatures. They have moral validity because they are so aligned with what that part of the cosmetology stands for.

As for the characters, no. Their intent and belief of what they are has no place in what they actually are. A serial killer that has voices in his head telling him that he is slaying demons but is cutting down innocent after innocent is NOT a good person because he believes he is killing demons. Now perhaps he is not evil until he is presented with facts and continues to do what he's doing anyway.

The character's acceptance of moral authority might matter for that character's RP. That doesn't mean that any entity of good is going to deem them good because they THINK they are good. That doesn't mean a god of good is going to grant them powers when every action they've taken is evil. These things matter and it's more than just a characters opinion on them.


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Kiln Norn wrote:


Again, D&D and Pathfinder are NOT SUBJECTIVE on good and evil. They are OBJECTIVE.

Incorrect - as long as a human makes a judgment call on actions taken then it's subjective.

Until you can point to the rule plage that lists every action that counts as good and every action that counts as evil - when that's 'left to GM interpretation' then it's subjective. The GM making a judgment call is the literal definition of a subjective rule.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I actually really liked Eberron's take on alignment back in the 3.5 days, because while it never removed alignment (which I always found to be a suboptimal model of motivation and behavior for, among other things, the reason this thread already has 8 pages despite its short age), it did make things more grey by removing alignment assumptions and restrictions. For instance, they clarified that divine magic is derived from faith itself, not the divine being to which the faith was being presented. In other words, it is perfectly feasible for a cleric of a LG god to be CE and still have magic. This adds a degree of real-world drama that I sort of enjoy. It has a more pulp-noir feel.

Besides, that's not even addressing the fact that even the perceived "objectivity" of RPG morality is subjective, since one good god might not agree with another good god on a common definition of good. Ergo, if two gods of the same alignment cannot agree on whether a certain act is good, it is by definition subjective.

Also, evil spells never made too much sense to me, especially since many "evil" spells don't even address malicious or harmful actions. For instance, summoning a fiendish being should not be inherently evil, because even though the being you are binding is composed of evil, the individual in control of the situation possesses free will and nuance and is thus not defined by their nature. A tool can't really be good or evil. It can be designed such that it has no non-negative applications (like a gun, for e.g., which is solely designed to kill), but even then, someone could use them in a context in which they might be used "for good" (take the gun example, if you use it to shoot a demon lord trying to destroy the world).

I dunno, I just think alignment is oddly restrictive and kind of counterintuitive. I've never found it useful. I've found it disruptive at times. I'd prefer without it, but I just ignore it anyway, soooooo


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
As far as I am concerned, the purpose of alignment is to get players to think of their character's inner life in terms of how they justify or rationalize their behavior.

Yes. But there are a number of different other options for that besides LG to CE alignment. From pretty simple ones, like Renegade/paragon in Mass Effect, or the 5 colors in MtG, to other more nuanced like Nature and Demeanor, archetypes +humanity, Courage, conviction and self control in Vampire Masqarade, to Pendragon several pairs of virtues and personal traits (forgiving/vengeful, chaste /lust,trusting /suspicious, humble /proud...)


Quote:
Again, D&D and Pathfinder are NOT SUBJECTIVE on good and evil. They are OBJECTIVE. There are cosmic and divine forces of GOOD and cosmic and divine forces of EVIL. Without that there could not be an actual alignment system.

True. But pathfinder gives us a clear and objective view of what is Good and Evil (or Law and Chaos) but not what it is right or wrong.

Sovereign Court

Ckorik wrote:

Incorrect - as long as a human makes a judgment call on actions taken then it's subjective.

Until you can point to the rule page that lists every action that counts as good and every action that counts as evil - when that's 'left to GM interpretation' then it's subjective. The GM making a judgment call is the literal definition of a subjective rule.

No. Just because it's left to a DM to interpret doesn't mean the setting itself isn't objective. There are obviously basic actions that are either inconsequential or otherwise unimportant. Is waking up in the morning good or evil? Ya. I get it. That said there are actions that just don't matter. Notice that demons don't practice banditry? Is it still evil? There are still entities out there that can objectively state what is good or evil even if it is through the DM.

I'm not speaking of the idea that a DM makes decisions though. I'm speaking of the legitimate fact that in setting there are objective definitions of what these things mean.

gustavo iglesias wrote:
True. But pathfinder gives us a clear and objective view of what is Good and Evil (or Law and Chaos) but not what it is right or wrong.

This is true. I admit that there is not much that can be said here. And there are always grey areas. That doesn't mean that there isn't one. It can make for some awesomely fun points in a game as well. There are arguments to be made for the kill 1 to save 1000 if you know for a fact that it will work out that way and the repercussions for that choice.

But if it's kill 5 people to save that one person I care about it's probably not doing good or being right.


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What if it is killing 5 evil men to save Mahatma Ghandi? What if it is 5 evil me to save a little baby? Or an old, dying man? Or your mother? Or a guy in the verge of curing Cancer? what if he 5 evil guys are keeping the other guy hostage? What if the other guy need the organs of the 5 evil guys, who are the only compatibles, and you kill them for their organs? what if it is 5 good men to save the guy who might or might not cure Cancer? What if it is sacrifice 5 soldiers to save the King? And 5 kings to save one soldier ? Or 5 soldiers to save a soldier (the whole point of Save Private Ryan)?

There is a Lot to be said about the issue because it is much more complex than just counting dead people. And more complex than casting a Detect Right Thing To Do with the Paladin ability too.


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gustavo iglesias wrote:

What if it is killing 5 evil men to save Mahatma Ghandi? What if it is 5 evil me to save a little baby? Or an old, dying man? Or your mother? Or a guy in the verge of curing Cancer? what if he 5 evil guys are keeping the other guy hostage? What if the other guy need the organs of the 5 evil guys, who are the only compatibles, and you kill them for their organs? what if it is 5 good men to save the guy who might or might not cure Cancer? What if it is sacrifice 5 soldiers to save the King? And 5 kings to save one soldier ? Or 5 soldiers to save a soldier (the whole point of Save Private Ryan)?

There is a Lot to be said about the issue because it is much more complex than just counting dead people. And more complex than casting a Detect Right Thing To Do with the Paladin ability too.

Aren't most pathfinder games about killing 5 men [monsters, dragons, ect] to save the baby [, old man, mother, princess, ect]? In the paladin's case though, it likely answer to them all is 'the paladin falls'! ;)


If they remove alignment we can't have paladins. We need paladins and we need them to be LG.

*Opens can of worms*

Seriously though, alignment needs to exist, otherwise why bother playing?

90% of adventures: stop this bad guy / help this good guy.

Alignment is what separates the "good guys" from the "bad guys".

I'd guess 90%+ of games are played with the PCs fighting against " Evil ", if evil doesn't exist, what is there to fight against?

Sovereign Court

While the issue of who you are killing matters I was speaking in a vacuum. However, 5 evil people to save a saint might matter. 5 nondescript people to save nondescript person I like more is pretty much evil. People sacrificing themselves in the line of their duty is not the same.

Context matters of course, but there is still in the lore of the world a Yes/No answer in there and the exact response of the person is also going to vary by... *gasp* their alignment. A follower of Iomedae is going to react differently than say... Sarenrae.


WhiteMagus2000 wrote:
the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
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.

Quote:


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.

Isn't that the exact argument used by the daemons in Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Well, I guess we know your alignment.

I'm kidding in saying that you are NE IRL, but most (if not all) instances of beings arguing against moral restrictions or that morality is only an outdated social construct, in both PF and D&D are CN, NE, or CE. Call of cthulhu too. Just saying.

Worth pointing out the culture of Rahadoum, which is very intent on keeping divine conflicts off their collective lawn, is LN.


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Quote:
Aren't most pathfinder games about killing 5 men [monsters, dragons, ect] to save the baby [, old man, mother, princess, ect]? In the paladin's case though, it likely answer to them all is 'the paladin falls'! ;)

Yes.

Most people also agree that a man who kills 5 terrorists that have another man hostage is in fact a hero. Things become more complicated when it is 5 terrorists who do Not have another man hostage. Or if it is 5 people who might or might not become terrorists. Or 5 people who only share an attribute with some terrorists, like color of skin. Or, you know, being orcs.


Kiln Norn wrote:
People sacrificing themselves in the line of their duty is not the same.,

what about the general who sends 5 (unwilling) soldiers to a certain death, so the king can escape?

Quote:
Context matters of course, but there is still in the lore of the world a Yes/No answer in there and the exact response of the person is also going to vary by... *gasp* their alignment. A follower of Iomedae is going to react differently than say... Sarenrae.

Not by their alignment. By their ethos. Ragathiel wont answer like Iomedae either. Or Erastil, or Torag. Shelyn won't answer like Saerenrae, nor Deana will do like Cayden Caylean, nor Gorum like Groetus


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*Thelith wrote:

If they remove alignment we can't have paladins. We need paladins and we need them to be LG.

*Opens can of worms*

Seriously though, alignment needs to exist, otherwise why bother playing?

90% of adventures: stop this bad guy / help this good guy.

Alignment is what separates the "good guys" from the "bad guys".

I'd guess 90%+ of games are played with the PCs fighting against " Evil ", if evil doesn't exist, what is there to fight against?

But you did a fine job of explaining how you can do it: "good guys" vs "bad guys". Is star wars a less engaging story if darth vader doesn't have a big E for evil printed someplace on his 'sheet'? Someone's behavior, actions and habits paint a MUCH better picture than a two letter alignment. Someone's evil for kidnapping kids and feeding them to their pet demon so it can reanimate an army of undead and NOT because someone labeled them evil.


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The fact is alignment is a vestige of the outdated system that Paizo is replacing...the Pathfinder RPG at this point has truly matured into its own thing as a distinct game. IMO PF2 is the perfect time to drop pointless sacred cows that didn't originate with the Pathfinder RPG & Paizo.


AstroPuffin wrote:
The fact is alignment is a vestige of the outdated system that Paizo is replacing...the Pathfinder RPG at this point has truly matured into its own thing as a distinct game. IMO PF2 is the perfect time to drop pointless sacred cows that didn't originate with the Pathfinder RPG & Paizo.

What about my life-sized golden statue of Gary Gygax? Are you telling me I bought that for nothing? *rage*


Wild Spirit wrote:
AstroPuffin wrote:
The fact is alignment is a vestige of the outdated system that Paizo is replacing...the Pathfinder RPG at this point has truly matured into its own thing as a distinct game. IMO PF2 is the perfect time to drop pointless sacred cows that didn't originate with the Pathfinder RPG & Paizo.
What about my life-sized golden statue of Gary Gygax? Are you telling me I bought that for nothing? *rage*

Gary would tell you that good and evil don't matter - because he only payed with 'law' and 'chaos' - of course all monsters were chaos and all players were law... so /shrug - people still seemed to have a good time.

Sovereign Court

Gygax also has some very interesting quotes about what a LG paladin would do with a prisoner. Concepts that I tend to agree with but people love to argue are evil.


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Kiln Norn wrote:
Gygax also has some very interesting quotes about what a LG paladin would do with a prisoner. Concepts that I tend to agree with but people love to argue are evil.

Are you kidding me? Hurting people is the proper thing to do as long they are the *bad guys*! Be a good citizen and make those *bad guys* suffer!


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People have mentioned that GURPS and other RPGs don't have alignment, but GURPS actually does. The mental disadvantages such as honesty and charity (they count anything as a disadvantage that limits your actions). The plus side is it gives you bonus points to spend in other places. What if alignments for characters was optional, but for each alignment component (good, evil, lawful, and chaotic) that you do agree to abide by, you get a bonus trait? Seems like it might satisfy both sides.


WhiteMagus2000 wrote:
People have mentioned that GURPS and other RPGs don't have alignment, but GURPS actually does. The mental disadvantages such as honesty and charity (they count anything as a disadvantage that limits your actions). The plus side is it gives you bonus points to spend in other places. What if alignments for characters was optional, but for each alignment component (good, evil, lawful, and chaotic) that you do agree to abide by, you get a bonus trait? Seems like it might satisfy both sides.

Yes, so much yes!


WhiteMagus2000 wrote:
People have mentioned that GURPS and other RPGs don't have alignment, but GURPS actually does. The mental disadvantages such as honesty and charity (they count anything as a disadvantage that limits your actions). The plus side is it gives you bonus points to spend in other places. What if alignments for characters was optional, but for each alignment component (good, evil, lawful, and chaotic) that you do agree to abide by, you get a bonus trait? Seems like it might satisfy both sides.

I'd expect to see a lot of people thanking you for the free trait by picking something asinine like "does what he wants when he wants. Chaotic!"


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
WhiteMagus2000 wrote:
People have mentioned that GURPS and other RPGs don't have alignment, but GURPS actually does. The mental disadvantages such as honesty and charity (they count anything as a disadvantage that limits your actions). The plus side is it gives you bonus points to spend in other places. What if alignments for characters was optional, but for each alignment component (good, evil, lawful, and chaotic) that you do agree to abide by, you get a bonus trait? Seems like it might satisfy both sides.
I'd expect to see a lot of people thanking you for the free trait by picking something asinine like "does what he wants when he wants. Chaotic!"

Yes, that's exactly what it is, a choice!


Then they'd have to play chaotic and show little regards for laws or authority or suffer some kind of penalty. That could create it's own interesting situations where a CN person would have to choose to obey authority/laws or tick off someone more powerful than they are.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

...relevant?


Wild Spirit wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
WhiteMagus2000 wrote:
People have mentioned that GURPS and other RPGs don't have alignment, but GURPS actually does. The mental disadvantages such as honesty and charity (they count anything as a disadvantage that limits your actions). The plus side is it gives you bonus points to spend in other places. What if alignments for characters was optional, but for each alignment component (good, evil, lawful, and chaotic) that you do agree to abide by, you get a bonus trait? Seems like it might satisfy both sides.
I'd expect to see a lot of people thanking you for the free trait by picking something asinine like "does what he wants when he wants. Chaotic!"
Yes, that's exactly what it is, a choice!

Not one that I would like anyway. I've been in too many games that featured picking not-disadvantages to leverage more power (IE: "Vulnerable to bullets" on a regular human) for the system tying directly into the alignment system to sit well with me. A Paladin code would be hypothetically worth a trait (or several) since that more than likely will be an inconvenience. A more fleshed out druidic system and other traits can do that as well, but picking up a free trait for non-disadvantage (Unless you want to convince me that "Does what he feels like as the situation/his whims dictate" is actually a potential problem) shouldn't be rewarded imo.


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Wild Spirit wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
WhiteMagus2000 wrote:
People have mentioned that GURPS and other RPGs don't have alignment, but GURPS actually does. The mental disadvantages such as honesty and charity (they count anything as a disadvantage that limits your actions). The plus side is it gives you bonus points to spend in other places. What if alignments for characters was optional, but for each alignment component (good, evil, lawful, and chaotic) that you do agree to abide by, you get a bonus trait? Seems like it might satisfy both sides.
I'd expect to see a lot of people thanking you for the free trait by picking something asinine like "does what he wants when he wants. Chaotic!"
Yes, that's exactly what it is, a choice!
Not one that I would like anyway. I've been in too many games that featured picking not-disadvantages to leverage more power (IE: "Vulnerable to bullets" on a regular human) for the system tying directly into the alignment system to sit well with me. A Paladin code would be hypothetically worth a trait (or several) since that more than likely will be an inconvenience. A more fleshed out druidic system and other traits can do that as well, but picking up a free trait for non-disadvantage (Unless you want to convince me that "Does what he feels like as the situation/his whims dictate" is actually a potential problem) shouldn't be rewarded imo.

Then they'd have to play chaotic and show little regards for laws or authority or suffer some kind of penalty. That could create it's own interesting situations where a CN person would have to choose to obey authority/laws or tick off someone more powerful than they are.

Does the foul mouthed, heavy drinking, party rogue be polite to the archbishop (and follow the requirements of his quest), or does he disregard the inconvenient part of the mission and mumble passive aggressive jabs about how religion is stupid and morality is just a social construct?

But the bonuses we are talking about is like +1 or one kind of save or skill. Not huge.

And since a HUGE portion of the thread is about how alignment is limiting, are you saying that it isn't in any way?

In any case, I've said my peace. I you don't like my compromise, feel free to resume your bickering.


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WhiteMagus2000 wrote:
fowl mouthed

Quack, quack?


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WhiteMagus2000 wrote:


I'm kidding in saying that you are NE IRL, but most (if not all) instances of beings arguing against moral restrictions or that morality is only an outdated social construct, in both PF and D&D are CN, NE, or CE. Call of cthulhu too.

I think I may have made my point at the wrong scale, here.

I am very much in favour of PF having an objective universal morality as defined by alignment. I also think that rejecting that outright is a way of getting particularly interesting characters in a setting which has universal alignment.

"What makes for interesting characters in a fictional setting", to me, is totally and utterly independent of my actual moral perspectives (which would probably best be summed up in PF terms as Lawful Silly tending generally in the direction of Good). Ethical positions in a fictional world are primarily interesting or not based on whether they make a good story, which is not the sort of criterion that seems a good idea to have central in one's real-world ethical choices, to my mind.


Terquem wrote:
What I don't get, and it's probably just ignorance or lack of experience on my part, but I don't get why discussions of "real world" moral philosophy, at the table, is necessary for a good game of Make Believe.

Are you familiar with the EN Publishing adventure path Zeitgeist, which exists in PF and 4e versions ?

It runs level 1 - 20, and features a principal antagonist who is far from unsympathetic and makes strong philosophical points (and considers him convincing your players to take his side a strong possibility), a section in the middle involving infiltrating the "enemy" camp in which they turn out to be having a gathering to determine their agenda with five very philosophically different major factions and succeeding at infiltration may well involve getting into a bunch of debates about this, and ends up with getting to literally rearrange the planar structure of the multiverse so that it better supports whatever philosophical and political position the PCs espouse by then. I'm hoping I might get to run it soonish, though it's not immediately next.

Not necessarily to everyone's tastes, but it seems to be pretty highly regarded and it is certainly a strong example of how bringing real-world moral philosophy into a PF game can be to its benefit.


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Terquem wrote:


I mean are you trying to play Pathfinder (D&D) or are you trying to win an argument about morality?

Sorry, who said anything about trying to win an argument about morality?

I'm talking about the fun to be had in experimenting with characters and settings that have different moralities, at the same level as playing characters who are different from you in other ways. Nothing in there needs to be confrontational for the players. That's kind of the core of my point.


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I know I tend to prefer settings where the gods (if present at all) are distant and mysterious, rather than obnoxious busybodies always sticking their noses in everything like in the Misbegotten Realms. Settings where characters don't have an absolute universal code shining from the sky and so have to do their best to live by their own personal codes and the codes of the organizations to which they belong. To me, a warrior striving to follow something like the Paladin's code in a world where he's not forced to by the rules is even more heroic than the guy who does it because he sees his god or goddess's avatar at mass once a month.

I've said this before and in case it got lost I'll say it again: I'd prefer for classes with alignment restrictions to be loosened to code restrictions instead. And for those codes to have more setting consistency across the board. So a cleric and paladin of the same deity have the same code, the code of the deity they both worship and which invests both of them with its power. And in a setting like I just described where the deities are mysterious or maybe absent, clerics and paladins can still exist but draw from a code based on the alignments but not married to it.


Wild Spirit wrote:
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
WhiteMagus2000 wrote:
People have mentioned that GURPS and other RPGs don't have alignment, but GURPS actually does. The mental disadvantages such as honesty and charity (they count anything as a disadvantage that limits your actions). The plus side is it gives you bonus points to spend in other places. What if alignments for characters was optional, but for each alignment component (good, evil, lawful, and chaotic) that you do agree to abide by, you get a bonus trait? Seems like it might satisfy both sides.
I'd expect to see a lot of people thanking you for the free trait by picking something asinine like "does what he wants when he wants. Chaotic!"
Yes, that's exactly what it is, a choice!

But much of the fun of a universal alignment system is it coming with both outsiders embodying specific positions who do not generally have a choice (the handful of exceptions in PF lore and setting are clearly marked as very rare), and with people making those choices in character development/generation and then having the consequences constrain their characters in future. Too much choice in any specific game, ruleset, or system, leads to a characterless mess that's hard to make stories from. GURPS works best given a well-defined setting which gives or implies clear directions for that kind of thing.

I think I tend to play outsiders a bit more extremely into their alignment than PF canon; my devils won't lie, and they won't backstab each other (unless they genuinely believe it's for the greater good of Hell's agenda; backstabbing for personal gain is not LE, backstabbing to remove an incompetent who is holding up Hell's triumph is fine) and likewise my demons won't organise plans of any sophistication (because if the souls that made them up were capable of being that organised, they would have become devils rather than demons.)


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actually we don't need paladins to be LG, we need them to be good aligned
AND we need paizo to kill one of the holy cows for holy hamburgers and that is to get rid of the lawful and chaotic alignments

you make my character from ng to cg for doing something you and the rules deam chaotic when what I had my character do was the right thing to do? then you have an issue with the alignment system that had that issue just sitting there in plain sight for the past 30+ years and nobody ever wanted to notice it...
times change things change
the more things change, the more they stay the same

now if you want a really good lawful act? ( well it would be lawful to me anyway hahahahahahaha) it would be to lock this thread, but really the chances of that lawful act happening... isn't all there

but even if paizo did get rid of the chaotic and lawful alignments, many players would want something to put in its place... so they could have that attached to the paladin and any other alignment restricted class.

edit: this was said elsewhere, but it is worth sharing here. Being good aligned does not mean you have to be nice


WhiteMagus2000 wrote:


Does the foul mouthed, heavy drinking, party rogue be polite to the archbishop (and follow the requirements of his quest), or does he disregard the inconvenient part of the mission and mumble passive aggressive jabs about how religion is stupid and morality is just a social construct?

That's exactly the sort of dilemma I want alignment to give PCs.


Steelfiredragon wrote:

actually we don't need paladins to be LG, we need them to be good aligned

AND we need paizo to kill one of the holy cows for holy hamburgers and that is to get rid of the lawful and chaotic alignments

you make my character from ng to cg for doing something you and the rules deam chaotic when what I had my character do was the right thing to do?

Thinking you get to decide what's the right thing to do, or know what it is other than what your code tells you, is the antithesis of a paladin as character concept.

Though I could probably compromise on getting rid of good and evil but keeping lawful and chaotic. Gary Gygax' conception of the game was often way too antagonistic between players and DM for my tastes (seriously, rot grubs?) but he got that bit right.


might be then why star wars is really entertaining these days then.

you are either light side, dark side or somewhere in the middle.

there is chaos in heavy law and order and there is law and order within chaos.

expect to act a certain way....

Sovereign Court

Steelfiredragon wrote:

actually we don't need paladins to be LG, we need them to be good aligned

AND we need paizo to kill one of the holy cows for holy hamburgers and that is to get rid of the lawful and chaotic alignments

you make my character from ng to cg for doing something you and the rules deam chaotic when what I had my character do was the right thing to do? then you have an issue with the alignment system that had that issue just sitting there in plain sight for the past 30+ years and nobody ever wanted to notice it...
times change things change
the more things change, the more they stay the same

now if you want a really good lawful act? ( well it would be lawful to me anyway hahahahahahaha) it would be to lock this thread, but really the chances of that lawful act happening... isn't all there

but even if paizo did get rid of the chaotic and lawful alignments, many players would want something to put in its place... so they could have that attached to the paladin and any other alignment restricted class.

edit: this was said elsewhere, but it is worth sharing here. Being good aligned does not mean you have to be nice

The edit there is beautiful for it's accuracy. As for doing something that is deemed the right thing to do shouldn't change your alignment... if done once. Perhaps twice or a third time depending on what the action is. One time is an outlier. If you continue to follow the same line of action again and again and again that is when your alignment is starting to shift.


Steelfiredragon wrote:
well I wouldn't have any of my characters go and break some village's ancient dam that stood for hundreds of years unless I could not convince you an orc horde was coming... though I would likely go and tell them that their fate is their hands.

Now while I do like the alignment system and view it as a tool, and no offense to Steelfiredragon, but this right here is a good example of something that will start arguments.

Is it good to go break the dam to save the people? Is it Chaotic to ignore their rules and way of life? Is it Neutral to destroy a village relic to save said village? Is it Evil to do so against their wishes?

Problem, to me at least, is while the Alignment system 'codifies' these actions, you could very well still get player arguments over the "Right and Wrong" things to do here with it gone.

Sorry for yoinking your example, but it was such a good one.

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