Will it be easy to remove alignment ?


Prerelease Discussion


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So, I'm not a fan of alignment. Even if it is a good way to have a general vision of a character at creation, I don't think someone can keep the same vision of the world when they travel with a group of very peculiar persons, a.k.a adventurers. I usually don't refer to my players' alignments once we all get to know their characters' personnalities, letting them evolve the way they want.

I have multiple exemples to show why alignments may be a problem in roleplay-oriented campains :

One of my groups (for Carrion Crown) is composed of two paladins (LG, Iomedae and Desna) and a necromancer Agent of the Grave (CE) (note : I removed the "Must be a member of an undead-worshipping cult for 1 year" condition). The necromancer, who lived alone in a swamp, was used to control corpses like puppets and didn't get the meaning of life. But with the influence of the paladins, after many adventures, she learned that necromancy is badly seen, and even though she continues learning on the subject, she greatly reduced her use of her powers, only using the corpses of her ennemies and only when the situation was dire. She even ends liking the two paladins and saving them multiple times out of good heart. On the other end, the Paladin of Iomedae, who did not condone her acts, had to let her use her powers for the greater good by preventing over evil necromancers from killing innocents, and even had to ride on a zombie horse to escape. Even if it isn't "Lawful Good-ish", he now understands that her powers are important for his quest, and that, even if using undeads is an Evil act, sometimes you have to accept Evil to save innocents. He also sometimes had to break into private buildings and work with evil creatures in order to investigate and capture the big baddies.

In another group (for Wrath of the Righteous this time), a player plays a CN Summoner, an in-training commander. She gets to be an official soldier, and throughout the story, ends up being blindly loyal to her army and to the group. And even if at first she became a commander because it was because of her upbringing, she ends up developing a strong sense of justice and wants to protect the innocent citizens of Golarion.

In those scenarios, the Necromancer should become CN (from CE), the Iomedae's Paladin may become NB (from LB), and the Summoner will end up becoming LB (from CN). I know a character can change their alignment during their adventures, but I don't like the fact that their alignment change their capacities because of the system's mechanics :

*The Necromancer can no longer gain Agent of the Grave levels while she still continues studying necromancy because she starts being moderate about using corpses and doesn't actively kill people to get fresh corpses
*The Paladin looses all his powers because he allows a Necromancer to travel with him and because he broke the law while this is done for the greater good and he still follows the precepts of Iomedae
*The Summoner can no longer call fiendish animals with her Summon Monster magic power while she did it all her life just because the crusade made her a better person

Those changes always seemed arbitrary to me, and very anti-roleplay. For some classes, you have to ensure that you don't change your alignment to keep your powers because of the "system" mechanic. I would not have any issue with alignment if it was purely roleplay and did not have impact on the system. Unfortunately, it does have an impact.

Unchained tried to allow players to replace alignment with loyalties, but even this system seems too restrictive to me. There is a little paragraph about removing alignment alltogether, but it does not really tell you how to do so. Removing alignment in PF1 forced you to rewrite a bunch of rules (especially Clerics/Paladins) without any tips on the matter.

So, my question to the devs is : will there be an easy way to remove alignment in PF2 ? Without rewriting too much rules ?

For now, the main obstacle to removing alignment is the Paladin (and other potential archetypes) with their LG-only alignment, but I feel like the tenets may be enough. It may be interesting to know if there will be other alignment-restricted options, and if the devs made them as easy to ignore as for the Clerics without having to alter the rules too heavily (for exemple, the Cleric's powers depend on their god and not on their alignment).


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According to a dev post in another thread, rules for removing alignment easily will be included in the core rules.


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So if your already houseruling (changed the requirements for the Agent of the Grave) what would be the hinderance to do so again?

Alignment requirements are just a shortcut describing that certain abilities and deeds require a certain mindset. If a character changes he might realize he can't do those things as easily as before. And anathema seems to be the mechanic your looking for, with enough examples for the cleric (one for each god) it should be easy to come up with other "anathema" for other classes with alignment restrictions.


Wermut wrote:
So if your already houseruling (changed the requirements for the Agent of the Grave) what would be the hinderance to do so again?

For the Agent of the Grave, I only removed one roleplay condition because, even though she wasn't part of an evil organization, she had all other conditions right. She still was an Evil character at the time.

Removing one little condition is something, but the problem comes when you have to houserule many rules not knowing if you endanger the game's balance. I would houserule that a Summoner can invoque all creatures, no matter their alignment. But what about Paladins and Clerics whose main mechanic depends on alignment ? How would the Paladin's Smite or Circle of Protection spells work when you don't have aligned creatures anymore, without being unusable in 50% of the case where they should ? There are many widely used spells and class feats that depend on alignment.

Houseruling is a mean, but it takes an immense amount of time to houserule something as heavy as alignment - way more than telling an accomplished necromancer doesn't need to be part of the Whispering Way to become an expert.

Wermut wrote:
Alignment requirements are just a shortcut describing that certain abilities and deeds require a certain mindset. If a character changes he might realize he can't do those things as easily as before.

I have to disagree with you on this one. As I said, the Summoner used to summon Fiendish animals all her life. You don't forget how to ride a bike because you started working at a hospital.

FedoraFerret wrote:
According to a dev post in another thread, rules for removing alignment easily will be included in the core rules.

Sweet =) Thanks for the info !


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No. Alignment doesn't need to be removed. Just play another game if that's all you want.


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Brother Fen wrote:
No. Alignment doesn't need to be removed. Just play another game if that's all you want.

Except it isn't "all they want". There want to play a game like pathfinder they just don't rant to use alignment. There is nothing that makes alignment intrinsic to pathfinder outside of small chases that might never come up in a campaign like paladins.

Paizo Employee Designer

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FedoraFerret wrote:
According to a dev post in another thread, rules for removing alignment easily will be included in the core rules.

Or rather, there are rules in the book that make it much easier to remove alignment. The difference is subtle, but it is a difference.


Mark Seifter wrote:
FedoraFerret wrote:
According to a dev post in another thread, rules for removing alignment easily will be included in the core rules.
Or rather, there are rules in the book that make it much easier to remove alignment. The difference is subtle, but it is a difference.

It is an important difference to make clear to people if you don’t want too much blowback later on.

It seems like a hard line to walk if alignment carries any load in the balance of the game though.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Excaliburproxy wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
FedoraFerret wrote:
According to a dev post in another thread, rules for removing alignment easily will be included in the core rules.
Or rather, there are rules in the book that make it much easier to remove alignment. The difference is subtle, but it is a difference.

It is an important difference to make clear to people if you don’t want too much blowback later on.

Yep, that is why I corrected the report of the inverse in this thread. I knew it was based on my post in another thread, and I was very careful in my words not to say it the other way.

Silver Crusade

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Excaliburproxy wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
FedoraFerret wrote:
According to a dev post in another thread, rules for removing alignment easily will be included in the core rules.
Or rather, there are rules in the book that make it much easier to remove alignment. The difference is subtle, but it is a difference.

It is an important difference to make clear to people if you don’t want too much blowback later on.

Yep, that is why I corrected the report of the inverse in this thread. I knew it was based on my post in another thread, and I was very careful in my words not to say it the other way.

When you say "easier," is that "easier than PF1"? Or is there something else to fill out the implied "than ___"?


Likely, there will not be a specific section of rules for how to remove alignment from the game. But the existing game rules will be set up as to allow alignment to be removed easily.

*keeps fingers crossed for a minimum of spells that affect various alignments differently*


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Considering Paladin is apparently so tied to Lawful Good that changing it's words to chaos or evil would require major integral structural changes, it sounds more like there will be ways to reduce the impact of alignment rather than removing alignment to actually work in PF2e without you having to blanket ban classes.


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Milo v3 wrote:
Considering Paladin is apparently so tied to Lawful Good that changing it's words to chaos or evil would require major integral structural changes, it sounds more like there will be ways to reduce the impact of alignment rather than removing alignment to actually work in PF2e without you having to blanket ban classes.

Agreed. That post from Jason made me REALLY think that you're going to need a pry bar to actually remove alignment that's so baked in to the system.


Milo v3 wrote:
Considering Paladin is apparently so tied to Lawful Good that changing it's words to chaos or evil would require major integral structural changes, it sounds more like there will be ways to reduce the impact of alignment rather than removing alignment to actually work in PF2e without you having to blanket ban classes.

Pretty much, what he said is that there will be rules to make it easier, not that the effects of said rules wont implicate in heavy change to what the system was meant to do at first.

Honesntly, one of the rules might be literally ban class X, remove archetypes Y,Z,U,I... and so on.

It makes it much easier because a person knows exactly what to do, doesnt mean part of the content isnt lost in the transaction or that it is less bound to the system.

Evil spells are still in the game and so on.


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Nox Aeterna wrote:

All he said is that there will be rules in the book to doing so to make it easier for the person doing it.

Honesntly, one of the rules might be literally ban class X, remove archetypes Y,Z,U,I... and so on.

It makes it much easier because a person knows exactly what to do, doesnt mean part of the content isnt lost in the transaction or that it is less bound to the system.

Evil spells are still in the game and so on.

Yes.

I am unsure why you are using a confrontational tone (though perhaps I am misinterpreting your tone)?


Milo v3 wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:

All he said is that there will be rules in the book to doing so to make it easier for the person doing it.

Honesntly, one of the rules might be literally ban class X, remove archetypes Y,Z,U,I... and so on.

It makes it much easier because a person knows exactly what to do, doesnt mean part of the content isnt lost in the transaction or that it is less bound to the system.

Evil spells are still in the game and so on.

Yes.

I am unsure why you are using a confrontational tone (though perhaps I am misinterpreting your tone)?

Yeap, sorry, if you tell me what sounded confrontational i will promptly change it. Just explaning it from what i understood.


Nox Aeterna wrote:
Yeap, sorry, if you tell me what sounded confrontational i will promptly change it. Just explaning it from what i understood.

The "All he said is that there will be rules in the book to doing so to make it easier for the person doing it." combined with my post in the reply gave me the impression that there was something in my post which suggested that I was assuming more from Marks statement or that I felt that the statements about the Paladin conflicted with Marks statement.


Milo v3 wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:
Yeap, sorry, if you tell me what sounded confrontational i will promptly change it. Just explaning it from what i understood.
The "All he said is that there will be rules in the book to doing so to make it easier for the person doing it." combined with my post in the reply gave me the impression that there was something in my post which suggested that I was assuming more from Marks statement or that I felt that the statements about the Paladin conflicted with Marks statement.

Funny enough i was actually agreeing with you and just trying to make another try at getting the point across. I will try to change it in a way it better represent that.


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Agreement and Civil Discussion over misunderstandings of tone. What is happening to these forums!?


Milo v3 wrote:
Agreement and Civil Discussion over misunderstandings of tone. What is happening to these forums!?

haha well, forum discussons arent exactly as foward in what causes issues in the communication i guess, probably much of the heated debate and misunderstandings could be covered better if it wasnt a post by post format like this, we are basically just have a conversation at this point that has little to the with the subject of the thread.

Honeslly, probably a vast majority of the people around is actually much nicer than they sound each and every post :P.


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Milo v3 wrote:
Brother Fen wrote:
No. Alignment doesn't need to be removed. Just play another game if that's all you want.
Except it isn't "all they want". There want to play a game like pathfinder they just don't rant to use alignment. There is nothing that makes alignment intrinsic to pathfinder outside of small chases that might never come up in a campaign like paladins.

Exactly. I really like Pathfinder because it's a very simulationist and complete game, with an answer for 90% of situations and rules that can be played with to play epic scenes. It is my favorite tabletop roleplaying game. Like Milo said, I just feel like alignment doesn't need to be part of the system, and my players and I always tend to forget which character has which alignment and prefer roleplaying our characters based on how we see them, not based on how to keep them with all their powers. Playing your alignment can become really difficult depending of the rest of your group's alignment without making your character leave the group. That would be a shame to throw away the whole cake just because I don't like the cherry on top of it.

Mark Seifter wrote:
FedoraFerret wrote:
According to a dev post in another thread, rules for removing alignment easily will be included in the core rules.
Or rather, there are rules in the book that make it much easier to remove alignment. The difference is subtle, but it is a difference.

Hmm, ok. Thanks for the correction ^^ Could you please elaborate ? Will we have some kind of walkthrough, or will we have an Unchained situation where you just say "just ignore everything alignment based" ? Will some of the main content be lost like Milo and Nox suggested ? (I don't mind loosing some archetypes as long as core classes/races are still available) Will you bring back the loyalty system ?

Nox Aeterna wrote:
Evil spells are still in the game and so on.

Yeah, that bothers me. I don't mind having spells with just the "Evil" descriptor, it's pretty easy to ignore a descriptor. But when your spell has different effects depending on alignment, it generally creates problems. A cleric from the Good Domain can never cast her Holy Word because there always is at least one Neutral character in her group, while a Paladin can use his Aura of Justice for an Evil character with no problem =( I hope spell effects won't be differentiated by the target's alignment.

Milo v3 wrote:
Agreement and Civil Discussion over misunderstandings of tone. What is happening to these forums!?

What !? How dare you be civilised on my thread !? D=< (joke)


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Isn't it strange that a game that prides itself on giving players options then tries to shove the whole multiverse into 9 little pigeon holes?


IDK, 9 options on one single game element sounds like a decent amount of choice. When that choice extrapolates into classes, feats, spells, etc. sounds like something to be proud of. Clearly, YMMV.


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Planpanther wrote:
IDK, 9 options on one single game element sounds like a decent amount of choice. When that choice extrapolates into classes, feats, spells, etc. sounds like something to be proud of. Clearly, YMMV.

I guess that's why there's never any arguments or questions about what exactly each of those 9 boxes mean.


Wait, I thought it was too simple?


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Planpanther wrote:
Wait, I thought it was too simple?

Dunno where you got that since I never used that word. How about "Needlessly confining?"

Between dozens of races, classes, feats and archetypes we have thousands of possibilities for characters. Enough to fill the multiverse. And then we cram them all into those 9 little boxes. Needlessly.


Almarane wrote:
Wermut wrote:
So if your already houseruling (changed the requirements for the Agent of the Grave) what would be the hinderance to do so again?

For the Agent of the Grave, I only removed one roleplay condition because, even though she wasn't part of an evil organization, she had all other conditions right. She still was an Evil character at the time.

Removing one little condition is something, but the problem comes when you have to houserule many rules not knowing if you endanger the game's balance. I would houserule that a Summoner can invoque all creatures, no matter their alignment. But what about Paladins and Clerics whose main mechanic depends on alignment ? How would the Paladin's Smite or Circle of Protection spells work when you don't have aligned creatures anymore, without being unusable in 50% of the case where they should ? There are many widely used spells and class feats that depend on alignment.

Houseruling is a mean, but it takes an immense amount of time to houserule something as heavy as alignment - way more than telling an accomplished necromancer doesn't need to be part of the Whispering Way to become an expert.

Well if you wanted to remove alignment from such skills... my first idea would be to replace the whole notion of alignment. So no more Circle against Evil, maybe a Circle for Devils, Demons and Undead but yeah. If there is no alignment abilities based on it should at least change. Alignment is also a tool to make things easy (all evil things get this sticker that you can identify with magic), removing such a tool makes things usually more complicated I agree.

You could also go a middleway and only remove alignment for requirements and not consequences. Your paladin would still have to behave accordingly to the tenets of his (naturally LG/NG/CG) god, but he could Smite Evil and be CG.

Almarane wrote:
Wermut wrote:
Alignment requirements are just a shortcut describing that certain abilities and deeds require a certain mindset. If a character changes he might realize he can't do those things as easily as before.
I have to disagree with you on this one. As I said, the Summoner used to summon Fiendish animals all her life. You don't forget how to ride a bike because you started working at a hospital.

Yes but the alignment change doesn't neccessarily indicates that the character (not the player) no longer can do certain things, but no longer has the will/wish to do so. If a certain class requires alignment not as part of contract/agreement it could be interpreted as a ressource to draw on. Summoning evil creatures for example might require a certain kinship or a certain cold-heartedness (like Summoning "You are evil, we are evil... whatever reason you summon us for has a high chance to be something we enjoy." also the whole rip creation apart to open a temporary portal to your favourite hell-lookalike). Joining Tar-Baphons Fanclub (Agent of the Grave) requires not only necromancy but the "I-can't-wait-to-stab-myself-to-become-a-lich-kind" of necromancy which is: evil.


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Starfinder did a good job of making alignment largely meaningless, outside of a few feats and weapon fusions. Any class can be any alignment.

I don't see why Pathfinder 2E can't do that. What is a paladin but a fighter with a particular overlay or archetype? Do you really need to be lawful to excel at unarmed combat, or be chaotic to play a lute magically?

Morality and ethics should not be a straightjacket on game mechanics.

If you must keep alignment in the game, make it a personal choice. If someone wants to have paladin game mechanics but play a selfish, evil character... well that wouldn't even be unrealistic, as there are plenty of people in the real world that see themselves as shining paragons, but are actually trash people.

Back when I was playing 3.5E, I had a plan to play a kung fu panda, a druid that got bear shapechange and then switched to monk. He had to be Lawful Neutral, and I played him that way, as the most civilized city druid in existence. It required some mental gymnastics. I couldn't have played a barbarian/monk, even through there are plenty of uncivilized cultures that have ascetic wise men and unarmed fighters.

Ultimately, alignment class requirements are an unneeded restriction on our creativity as players, and should eventually be done away with, or marginalized.


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Dracomicron wrote:

Starfinder did a good job of making alignment largely meaningless, outside of a few feats and weapon fusions. Any class can be any alignment.

I don't see why Pathfinder 2E can't do that. What is a paladin but a fighter with a particular overlay or archetype? Do you really need to be lawful to excel at unarmed combat, or be chaotic to play a lute magically?

Morality and ethics should not be a straightjacket on game mechanics.

If you must keep alignment in the game, make it a personal choice. If someone wants to have paladin game mechanics but play a selfish, evil character... well that wouldn't even be unrealistic, as there are plenty of people in the real world that see themselves as shining paragons, but are actually trash people.

Back when I was playing 3.5E, I had a plan to play a kung fu panda, a druid that got bear shapechange and then switched to monk. He had to be Lawful Neutral, and I played him that way, as the most civilized city druid in existence. It required some mental gymnastics. I couldn't have played a barbarian/monk, even through there are plenty of uncivilized cultures that have ascetic wise men and unarmed fighters.

Ultimately, alignment class requirements are an unneeded restriction on our creativity as players, and should eventually be done away with, or marginalized.

Wholeheartedly agree, there is nothing in alignment thats not already part of a good character background.


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Wermut wrote:
Dracomicron wrote:

Starfinder did a good job of making alignment largely meaningless, outside of a few feats and weapon fusions. Any class can be any alignment.

I don't see why Pathfinder 2E can't do that. What is a paladin but a fighter with a particular overlay or archetype? Do you really need to be lawful to excel at unarmed combat, or be chaotic to play a lute magically?

Morality and ethics should not be a straightjacket on game mechanics.

If you must keep alignment in the game, make it a personal choice. If someone wants to have paladin game mechanics but play a selfish, evil character... well that wouldn't even be unrealistic, as there are plenty of people in the real world that see themselves as shining paragons, but are actually trash people.

Back when I was playing 3.5E, I had a plan to play a kung fu panda, a druid that got bear shapechange and then switched to monk. He had to be Lawful Neutral, and I played him that way, as the most civilized city druid in existence. It required some mental gymnastics. I couldn't have played a barbarian/monk, even through there are plenty of uncivilized cultures that have ascetic wise men and unarmed fighters.

Ultimately, alignment class requirements are an unneeded restriction on our creativity as players, and should eventually be done away with, or marginalized.

Wholeheartedly agree, there is nothing in alignment thats not already part of a good character background.

You forget the value of needless strife and undue exclusivity. Kind of like those things shouldn't be valued.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Wermut wrote:

Well if you wanted to remove alignment from such skills... my first idea would be to replace the whole notion of alignment. So no more Circle against Evil, maybe a Circle for Devils, Demons and Undead but yeah. If there is no alignment abilities based on it should at least change. Alignment is also a tool to make things easy (all evil things get this sticker that you can identify with magic), removing such a tool makes things usually more complicated I agree.

You could also go a middleway and only remove alignment for requirements and not consequences. Your paladin would still have to behave accordingly to the tenets of his (naturally LG/NG/CG) god, but he could Smite Evil and be CG.

I liked Unchained's advice on running an alignmentless game. Its up on the PRD.

I imagine they kept that advice in mind, where it worked well, where it did not, when designing this time around.

Paizo Employee Designer

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AnimatedPaper wrote:
Wermut wrote:

Well if you wanted to remove alignment from such skills... my first idea would be to replace the whole notion of alignment. So no more Circle against Evil, maybe a Circle for Devils, Demons and Undead but yeah. If there is no alignment abilities based on it should at least change. Alignment is also a tool to make things easy (all evil things get this sticker that you can identify with magic), removing such a tool makes things usually more complicated I agree.

You could also go a middleway and only remove alignment for requirements and not consequences. Your paladin would still have to behave accordingly to the tenets of his (naturally LG/NG/CG) god, but he could Smite Evil and be CG.

I liked Unchained's advice on running an alignmentless game. Its up on the PRD.

I imagine they kept that advice in mind, where it worked well, where it did not, when designing this time around.

Thanks! That section was one my babies in Unchained (my first book as a designer at Paizo). Now those are rules that actually literally talk about removing alignment. Combine that advice from Unchained with the fact that the rules in PF2 make it easier to follow the advice, and you pretty much have all you need.

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