Jump to content

Pingo

Is sticking to an alignment a limitation on your roleplaying?

Recommended Posts

Like wise, as a LG character (or pally) you shouldn't be bound to fight an evil person or monster simply based on it being evil, if you are aware that they can't be defeated in the current situation (I.E. a deamon lord of considerable power against a lvl 5 pally). If you play LG as forcing you to fight that deamon, simply because your a pally, I feel that is way overdoing it. Again, lawful good, vs lawful stupid.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hahahha ran into this sooooo much as a low lvl pally.

 

Me: "I detect evil through the door."

 

GM: "Ok. You don't detect anything."

 

Me: "I open the door."

 

GM: "ok guys lets go to initiative"

 

Me: "............"

 

Me: "WTF you said I didn't detect anything."

 

GM: "No...I said you didn't detect EVIL."

 

Me: "Ok so how can that bad guy be there?"

 

GM: "Well, maybe he isn't evil...."

 

Me: "......................."

 

Me: "I go on 3..........."

 

 

hahahahaha oh how legitimately leveling a pally almost 27 levels teaches you things.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am of the opinion, from years of observation, that anybody who doesn't like alignment doesn't understand alignment and lacks imagination.

 

It is the richest, deepest part of the whole game.  I've probably devoted more game-thought to alignment than any other facet (I've mentioned before that I wrote a 100+ page treatise on the subject). 

 

Alignment is the definition of a character's morality, and thus an essential part of the character as a three dimensional construct.  How alignment is used and interpreted is very much open, but must be logical and thoughtful.  This is where most people fail with it.  Alignment is the first consideration I have for any character before anything else, because it's the seed around which everything else is built.  It's their inner driving force, their compass, it is why they are who they are.

 

And, IMO, the AD&D law/chaos axis is elegant, simple, and outrageously deep if used properly. 

 

 

Before I made a Paladin, every single one was boring Mr. Snooty Shinypants Nofun.  My Paladin was not.  I wanted to give my Paladin particular hardships and challenges specifically designed to encourage the DM to try and break him like he had broken every other Paladin before.  I declared the DM could not break this Paladin.  It was literally impossible.  It was impossible because I knew his alignment - I knew what this man was all about.  And I could build him so dedicated to his moral outlook that nothing short of death could sway him from his course.  He was thoughtful, judicious, quiet, and brave.

 

He was a Paladin of Tyr.  But he had no church.  His church had been infiltrated and corrupted, and he didn't know who to trust.  Nobody would believe him.  Correcting this was his challenge, his first duty.  In a way he was sort of undercover, but still Lawful Good.  And not full of pride, either.  He was the first Paladin anybody had seen who would help till fields and mend fences.  He didn't give a tithe, but he was generous to the poor.  And not randomly, but with a plan.  He would find trustworthy people of poor status but good merit and give them the means to help others.

 

And the DM tried to break him.  Threw up all sorts of interesting dilemmas.  Unfortunately, he was randomly killed by bad rolls and bugs so we never got to see his whole arc. 

 

 

But in my recent campaign, I used an example where two Paladins, both Lawful Good, could come to confrontation.  One might believe that the strength of the state requires sacrifice from the people of it and want to requisition from peasants to support an army.  The other might believe that this imposes too much hardship and it is better to encourage the peasants to work harder and try to produce more, rather than simply abscond with the fruits of their labours.  That such excessive requisition would be little better than theft. 

 

That could turn heated in a hurry, especially if both of them were right

 

And then there's the question of what a Lawful Good Paladin might do if a friend, who happened to be a bit shady (rogue), got himself into trouble.  Well, my Paladin would review the record.  If he did some bad things but had also been helpful to the party, he'd advocate on his behalf.  He'd see potential for the thief to reform and become better, maybe.  Or he might owe a debt of loyalty.  Or any number of things.  And if the situation was urgent, time pressing, and crap all the way into the fan he might even organize a jailbreak.  Even if it meant risking his titular status of Paladinhood.

 

Because no Paladin of mine would ever let a technicality stand in the way of good.  No title is worth sacrificing a friend.  He is, after all, Lawful Good

 

But you better believe that after it all settles down he'd submit himself to trial and take full responsibility for his actions, too.  And accept all consequences.  And he'd still come out of it a Paladin, because what makes a man a paragon is not the powers he wields, the mount he's called, or the banner he serves.

 

It's what he is.  And I had hopes that the above storyline with my churchless paladin would have developed into an arc where he lost his powers but still kept up the struggle as vigorously, and unflinchingly, as before.  And maybe gotten the powers and status back, after proving they had been unfairly stripped. 

 

Yeah, that would have been pretty epic. 

  • Like 13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't like alignment.

 

Why not?  It's a serious question, because I think once you unlock how useful it can be you'd like it quite a lot.  A game without it is a game without heart. 

 

ETA:  By which I mean a good game has good drama, and good drama comes from conflict.  And there's no better kind of conflict than meaningful conflict, which is what the alignment system provides. 

Edited by buglips*the*goblin
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Starting your post with a sweeping generalization and an insult isn't exactly the best way to conduct a conversation, buglips.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Starting your post with a sweeping generalization and an insult isn't exactly the best way to conduct a conversation, buglips.

 

It's my opinion, which Pingo asked for.  I actually believe it, and I am prepared to back it up.  If you are insulted by my opinion, then we can discuss why you think I'm wrong and I will put forward my case to prove that I am right and that the only reason to not like it is because it's being used wrongly.  And that not using it deprives a campaign of a critical, necessary element. 

 

And following on that, I believe that if people are willing to strip their game of an essential and rewarding component because it has been used improperly, then the burden of the improper use falls to them and is derived from a lack of imagination - but that this can be corrected by figuring out what it's good for and how to use it to effect. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I don't like alignment.

 

Why not?  It's a serious question, because I think once you unlock how useful it can be you'd like it quite a lot.  A game without it is a game without heart. 

 

ETA:  By which I mean a good game has good drama, and good drama comes from conflict.  And there's no better kind of conflict than meaningful conflict, which is what the alignment system provides. 

 

Alignment is too simplistic for my campaigns.  I prefer a more gritty setting, with lots of conflict and moral tension.  I find alignment gets in the way of ancient settings and trappings.  Slavery is abhorrable to modern people, but was accepted practice in ancient times.  When you have a structure like that, and add the Lawful Good alignment setting, you find players who free the slaves out of modern principles, but fail to realize that they have no one feeding them and housing them after they're set free.

 

   Sure, alignment can be used in my campaigns, but it's more challenging to fight Orcs that have their own civilization and society, rather than just slapping them with some alignment, making it easy to know who the villians are.   Most fantasy RPGs feel like murderous rampages made acceptable by the "evil" tag.  I think that our world, and our fantasy worlds deserve better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

I don't like alignment.

 

Why not?  It's a serious question, because I think once you unlock how useful it can be you'd like it quite a lot.  A game without it is a game without heart. 

 

ETA:  By which I mean a good game has good drama, and good drama comes from conflict.  And there's no better kind of conflict than meaningful conflict, which is what the alignment system provides. 

 

Alignment is too simplistic for my campaigns.  I prefer a more gritty setting, with lots of conflict and moral tension.  I find alignment gets in the way of ancient settings and trappings.  Slavery is abhorrable to modern people, but was accepted practice in ancient times.  When you have a structure like that, and add the Lawful Good alignment setting, you find players who free the slaves out of modern principles, but fail to realize that they have no one feeding them and housing them after they're set free.

 

   Sure, alignment can be used in my campaigns, but it's more challenging to fight Orcs that have their own civilization and society, rather than just slapping them with some alignment, making it easy to know who the villians are.   Most fantasy RPGs feel like murderous rampages made acceptable by the "evil" tag.  I think that our world, and our fantasy worlds deserve better.

 

 

 

Well, I'd say you're using it wrong.  First, the standards of you campaign determines the morality of the campaign.  So if slavery is not bad in your world, then it's up to you to make sure your players understand that Lawful Good doesn't necessarily have a problem with it.  That's not a failure of alignment, that's a failure to properly use it for your situation.

 

As for orcs, all you're doing is giving orcs a multitude of alignments to make a more diverse society.  You don't need to throw away alignments for that.

 

So I don't think either of your examples require abandoning alignment.  In fact, I think those examples show that you're close to unlocking the full potential of using alignment for added layers of complexity.  I'd argue, in fact, that if you think alignment is simplistic then you're definitely using it all wrong.

 

See, here's the thing.  You're a fully developed three dimensional person, right?  As a living entity.  Now, do you feel strongly about things?  Do you have opinions about right and wrong?  Of course you do.

 

Now what alignment does is it defines these things into a workable game template.  So you're using it anyway, even if you think you're not, if you're running anything more than a tactical skirmish game for treasure and xp.

 

A person's alignment is shorthand for what matters to them.  What their priorities are.  I would say this is an essential part of understanding who they are and what they do (and why).  

 

Example:  Lawful Good.  This tells us that this person values lawful order and overall goodness.  So that tells us that, most of the time, this person is going to act in accordance with those priorities.  They will seek solutions which benefit both priorities.  Their overall behaviour will reflect these priorities.  So, at a glance, we immediately have a rough sketch of their morality.  That's handy shorthand, don't you think?  At least as important as stats and HP.

 

Moreover, there's depth here.  What happens when those priorities collide in a situation?  What if the good thing is not also the lawful thing?

 

Now we have a delicious, juicy moral dilemma - one not as readily apparent without the alignment system.  If good wins out as the greater concern, a Paladin may knowingly commit a chaotic act and risk his Paladinhood.  It wouldn't be his first choice, but it wouldn't be much of a dilemma if he had perfect options.

 

So he commits the chaotic act.  Let's say he starts a peasant revolt against people who aren't evil but he feels are following misguided orders.  Now we're into some shades of gray.  But he feels this must be done.  Good wins out.

 

But, because he knowingly commited a chaotic act, he loses his paladinhood.  Not his alignment, but he violated the strictures of his class.

 

Now he is still a Lawful dude, so he probably feels what he did was necessary but he doesn't really feel all the comfortable with it.  So he would feel that he has to atone and answer for it.  Take responsibility for it, even if he has no regrets.  Because his lawful side commits him to his duty.  And we know his duty means a whole hell of a lot to him.

 

Now isn't that interesting?  And that's only one of thousands of complicated permutations that we can derive from situations where we know what a person stands for and the game challenges what they stand for.

 

And if you're not doing that in your game, then you're missing an exceptional opportunity to add, with a simple template, some real meaty dramatic stuff.  

 

Now you could argue that you could do this without alignment.  Fair point, I agree.  But it would be a helluva lot harder, so why not use the easily demonstrated template?  Once people catch on how it works and can be used, they'll use it - and you'll get all kinds of crazy good stuff out of it.  

 

 

ETA:  And as a challenge, anybody can submit an alignment and brief character description (alignment, class, race, etc) and I'll happily provide examples of how I would use their alignment to flesh them out as a more complete, believable person. 

Edited by buglips*the*goblin
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've been there, done that, many years on.  You don't need the alignment to do any of that stuff, but I think our perspectives are off.  When the Crusaders sacked Jerusalem and murdered everyone, they thought they were Lawful Good I'm sure.  I tend to see Paladins as Spanish Inquisitors, and not the flowery knights that are the staple of D&D.

 

It's one reason I stopped playing D&D, much less using alignment.  You're right, alignment has all kinds of rpg drama, but we have more, and better, without it.  We understand alignment, played that way for years, and then used our boundless imaginations to go further. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But, wouldn't it be perfectly acceptable to run a campaign, without slapping a label on actions, like some others have mentioned?  By building a realistic world, and punishing / rewarding actions by the PCs in real time, not according to some arbitrary rules, could you not have a good time?

 

If you and the DM have a difference in how you percieve different alignments, that can only make the game unpleasant for the PC, IMO.  By playing a game, without that label slapped on, you can adjust and use NPC actions accordingly.  Detect Evil on the guy who is helping you tells you he is evil.  But if he genuinely wants to help you, because he percieves the help as solidifying his place in a community, does it matter if he is evil?  That singular action of good is more complex if there is no 'evil' tag floating above his head.

 

I slap Neutral Good on everything, and then play the game letting each individual PC decide how to act as a character, within the confines of a neblous 'good for the world'.  My OCD will not let me leave the field blank :)

Edited by sethohman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't see alignment as arbitrary.  I also don't see why somebody should be punished for their alignment (that also falls under "using it wrong").

 

A person is defined by what they believe in.  Alignment is shorthand for what they believe in.  It shouldn't be restrictive, and if it is then it's being abused.  That doesn't make the system wrong, that makes its use wrong.  Just because a hammer makes a poor screwdriver doesn't mean it can't drive nails. 

 

Alignment is dripping with possibilities to exploit, with no two characters of the same alignment ever being the same.  All it does is mark down where somebody stands in a broad sense.  But you can use it more deeply, too.

 

Take Neutral Evil, for example.  That kind of character might very happily go along with a party and very happily behave in an orderly manner.  Without ever breaking alignment.  Because they just aren't strongly committed to anything on the law/order spectrum.  They'll just roll with it for as long as it works okay.  However lawful their actions might be, even for a long time, they still don't believe in it.  It's just a matter of convenience that can be broken at any time.

 

But a chaotic person, well they're going to be strongly and naturally inclined to be independent and not like rules.  So they might put up with some, but they won't like it.  Maybe they'll just complain about it for a while.  Or maybe at some point they'll get fed up and finally spark a confrontation.  So if a player chooses chaotic and then for a very, very, very long time behaves lawfully - even in situations where it's not convenient - then I think it's fair to redefine them as lawful.

 

They don't need to be punished for it, it's just a correction.  But we're still using the alignment system to figure out where their character stands. 

 

Alignment is also a good tool for a player to figure out what their character might likely do in a situation.  That's what separates the character from the player.  If I'm playing D&D, I'm playing it to escape normal life for a while into some fantasy.  So I use alignment to help guide me to know how somebody who is not me will behave in certain circumstances.  Otherwise it's just me in armor and funny clothes.

 

A character should think differently from me.  They should have their own opinions about things in their world.  That's what gives them depth, and understanding that is what allows me to give a believable performance that the other players will enjoy.  I couldn't do that without alignment.  Most of my opinions on alignment, in fact, came out of using it as a player.

 

My tiefling was chaotic neutral, an alignment that is probably the most abused of all.  Nobody I've run into ever knew what to do with it.  But that alignment, combined with other traits, let me (after considerable thought) to flesh out that character to a rare degree even for my characters.  My god, she had layers.  And she was a huge amount of fun to play, because playing her consistently so it all added up, when her beliefs were so different from my own, was a rewarding challenge.

 

Without having to face that challenge, I'd just have had me in a funny-looking suit.  I wouldn't have known anything about her or what she was likely to do.  Or how she might justify it to other people.  Or how she could simultaneously be a total team player who never once betrayed or abandoned the party - but also killed huge batches of characters because she couldn't be bothered to properly calculate the volume of fireball.  Also, every time she did that she made sure she was in the area of effect - just survived on blind luck. 

 

Good and evil?  Meh, whatever.  I'll go along for the ride.  Maybe something will burn.  And then there was her whole explanation about how disorder really is order because if you think about it, chaos and entropy are the natural state of things.  So if that's the natural state of things, and things exist, then chaos is merely the ultimate expression of the grand plan

 

 

Alignment, baby.  Make it work for you! 

Edited by buglips*the*goblin
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Thrym
      Hellborn Troll
      from WizKids' Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures
       
      I stopped at AC Moore today and picked up one of the FolkArt Pickling Washes I didn't have while my wife was shopping for school play costume materials.  Nearby I found FolkArt Ultra Dyes and picked up two colors to check out; Purple Rain and Pucker Up (a yellow).
       

       
      I have enjoyed using the Glass Enamels with the long cure time before and thought these might work similarly.   I decided to wash my troll with the Purple Rain to see how it comes out and goes on.
       

       
      It's fairly thick out of the bottle but I might not have shaken it enough.  It was taking forever to dry so I hit it with some Testors Dullcote to speed the process and reduce the shine.  It's glossy like inks.
       
      Next, I used Reaper Blood Red to give him the Hellborn look I wanted.
       

       
      Then I pulled out Reaper Violet Shadow to get his hair, teeth and claws darkened.
       

       
      I then went back over the boney bits with the FolkArt Ultra Dye.  It'll put the glossy touch to the claws and teeth.
       
      I am quite happy with him so far.  
       
      Stay tuned and Enjoy!
    • By vutpakdi
      Traveling Encounters volume 1
      Compelling 5th Edition Challenges For CR1 to CR5
       
      This small project is to fund a collection of little encounters that can be dropped into an existing adventure for low level adventurers.  I backed his previous project for alternate character backgrounds, and he delivered the PDFs early.
       

       

       
    • By Lidless Eye
      Here's some shots from the penultimate session of our D&D game.
       
      The party finally confronts the Sewn Sisters.
      The tiles are from "Dwarven Forge" and "Secret Weapon".  The tables, chairs, and most props are from "Mantic:Terrain Crate", with the cauldron being from an Old Glory Crones set.  
      The Scarecrow & Leomon (Half-Elf Paladin) are from "Reaper Bones".
      The rest of the party are 3D prints, from HeroForge, Desktop Hero, and Miguel Zavala.
      The Sewn Sisters are 3D prints from DarkRealms.
      Everything was hand painted by myself.
       


       
      Cradle of the Death God.
      The tiles are Dwarven Forge.
      The party are 3D prints, with designs from Hero Forge, Desktop Hero, and Miguel Zavala. (One is a Reaper Bones piece)
      The Soulmonger is a 3D print designed by Miguel Zavala.  The God That Never Was is a 3D design by Duncan "Shadow" Louca.
      Everything was painted by myself.  I also added LEDs.
       

       
       
       
    • By PandorasGhost
      Hey everybody!
       
      Tried to get the word out by word of mouth, and decided on here might be a good way to go about it as well. The tables for gaming had to be altered from what was on the printed schedule due to some logistics issues. (Logic?! At a con?! Say it isn't so.)
       
      Games on GrowTix should reflect accurate locations (and hopefully always reflected accurate times). Also, there are printed schedules available on the table just beside registration. ALSO, ALSO, I attached the Xcel spreadsheet of the schedule if anyone wants to peruse.
       
      Joseph Wolf's Dreadmere games are still at Table 1 - under the big Dredmere banner. Tables 2 ,3, and 10 are various Roleplaying games, as per the schedule Table 4 is an all-day, every-day Freeblades demo - drop by and check it out! Tables 6 thru 9 are for Gamers looking for Pathfinder/Starfinder D&D Adventure League is now tables 11 thru 23, but Gamers taking part in DDAL are encouraged to head to Table 18, where Colby (and crew) will be marshaling GMs, getting players into games, and generally just controlling the madness of League events. Tables 24 thru 28 are going to host Frog God Games (in the Arabian rooms) ReaperCon 2019 Gaming.xlsx
    • By Jasper_the_2nd
      We're starting a new 5th Ed D&D campaign in a couple weeks.  I decided I might play a rogue, so I wandered down to the LFGS at lunch and looked at what was there (because I obviously have NO miniatures already I could use).
      Spotted the Tabaxi Rogue female pack from WizKids (I like the sculpts and poses of the female figs more than the male ones) so that's going to be my next character.

      Cool fig, primer isn't too bad.  Some nasty mold lines but I only have a week to paint this so I'm not messing with them.  Maybe after I'll clean up the "advanced" version and do a better job on her.
       
      And after some time fiddling with colours.

       
      Well, that looks a mess.  Just figuring out colours.
      Skin base is MSP Alien Flesh.  Cloth is MSPB Succubus Kiss. Had AV Model Air Black handy so used that to start base coating metals.  And leather is MSP Leather Brown.  Still not sure on the leather but I'll give it some time to think about it and maybe try a wash on it.
       
  • Who's Online   15 Members, 0 Anonymous, 189 Guests (See full list)

×