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Pingo

Is sticking to an alignment a limitation on your roleplaying?

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Where you might see a screwjob from a stick in the butt DM, I might see an exquisite opportunity to take the character down an even richer path.  And that could very well hinge just on that little question of law vs. chaos.  Tyr's got high standards.  It's not for me to question them, but to try and do better.  I mean, I have to trust my DM here.  If I don't, I wouldn't play anyway. 

 

But having the question hang in the balance raises the stakes for my decision, and that makes it exciting to play.  I have something to lose, in a defined and meaningful way. 

 

I guess there, regardless of use of alignment, is where we will have to agree to disagree.

 

I'm all for alignment being used (or not if that is your preference as well) but when it's used AGAINST the players I don't much get the point. If I'm playing a murdering rapist paladin then clearly I'm not going to keep my powers. But if I kill someone in the campaign that is a perceived threat and it turns out it's a "good guy" or even another paladin than I'm not doomed to be shunned by my church and stripped of the powers given by my god to fight evil.

 

That reeks of the DM purposely putting players in a lose lose situation just for the "excitement" of an event like changing alignment, which in this case would totally destroy a character. Unless you are doing a major diametrically opposed thing to your current alignment (under your own will with the knowledge that it breaks your moral standard), you shouldn't just instantly lose all your powers.

 

I have a major attachment to my pally. If this Saturday he were to lose all his powers because he was put into a lose lose situation by our GM I would be PISSED. You see that as a layer of character creation. I see that as a waste of a 26th level paladin (who just became, at best a level 26 fighter, with much fewer feats and paladin based feats taken). In your mind this isn't a big deal. In my mind it's huge. I have this character and I go to play in a campaign. But my guy's alignment and my guy in general isn't EVER the main focus of the story and so shouldn't be (and isn't) the main focus of the session. Our GM does a great job of setting a plot but also coming up with scenarios as we go. If we do something to circumvent, or work around something he throws our way, he NEVER punishes us. In fact it is encouraged and rewarded (although since he has played the longest, generally speaking, he has the one up on us lol).

 

Anyhow, I guess my whole point is, regardless of if you love the alignment system and use it, or detest it and shun it, alignment shouldn't be something actively used AGAINST you by the GM. The story, the plot, the campaign should provide plenty of excitement on it's own (and time for character development as well if you so choose) without pigeon-holing the people playing. We (or at least I) wouldn't appreciate being the target of the GM trying to trip you up every session just for potential "excitement." That could easily ruin multiple people's characters and really ISN'T fun.

 

Long story short I guess is: we use the basic alignments given in Pathfinder but we never force them to pigeon hole each other or the group. There is enough plot and bad guys to deal with that we don't need to put each other under the microscope in every situation and reflect on our alignment to judge if our actions or outcome suits our alignment. 

 

Normally I don't have this issue but I'm finding it rather hard to get my point acrross today. I feel I am continually leaving out key points. Oh well, I guess it makes for a longer thread with more replies hahaha

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I think most of the "alignment" complaints are really just "bad DM" complaints.

 

I would point out that putting my Paladin into the vise was the essential part of the plot from the beginning.  He wasn't just some random do-gooder tricked into losing his paladinhood by an evil DM.  His morals and standing were challenged, and I think they should be challenged, and the consequences of the choices I make be played straight.  Good or bad.  I think that's essential for a Paladin to prove his stuff, it is the plot.  Without being tested, how could he know his merit?  Being a paladin should be hard (but fair).

 

This does, of course, presume a fair and competent DM.  But the absence of same means a game with significantly more flaws than just alignment, so I don't see why that should be singled out.  I've played under some real crappy DMs, I don't play under them any more.  And my favourite DM (the paladinbreaker) wasn't even much of stickler for alignments until I insisted on it.

 

Most of the other people's "paladins" were played... badly, if I'm generous.  They deserved to be broken, because they didn't have what it took.  That's why they fell so easily.  I got cheated out of my arc by maneating bugs (not on his watch, we had a single campaign with rotating DMs) so I'm hoping that soon I'll get another crack at being tortured.  I'll even rile him up beforehand, just to make sure he's really super mean about it.  Bring your worst tortures, I am ready! 

 

But I do trust him to be fair.  And listen, if your DM isn't fair stop wasting your time and find one who is.  Maybe how they use alignment can be an early tell before you waste much time on their game, because if you can't trust them with that it should call into question the rest of their adjudication and how much you should trust it. 

 

 

ETA:  I just emailed my upcoming DM and threw the gauntlet at him.  I have several months to really get under his skin, and I intend to use them. 

 

 

ETA 2:  I'm also assuming that loss of Paladinhood, unless exceptionally egregious circumstances of bad behaviour, should be something the character can eventually earn back after suitable proper living and questing.  Otherwise it's not much of an arc, and that's pretty silly. 

Edited by buglips*the*goblin
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I think, at this point, we're at an irreconcilable disagreement. I don't see how having an alignment label adds to a well-constructed character personality. I see many ways that having such a label subtracts from such a character.

 

I've never missed alignments in RuneQuest, or Hero, or Seventh Sea. or GURPS, or Traveller. I've often lamented alignments in D&D.

 

When the sample size is large enough, I take that as evidence.

 

I'm glad you have a game that works for you.

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Certainly we've at least given Pingo a thorough working over of the subject and opposing views, anyway.  I'd consider that mission accomplished for the thread.

 

Happy to fight with you any time, Doug.  :bday:

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I think most of the "alignment" complaints are really just "bad DM" complaints.

 

I would point out that putting my Paladin into the vise was the essential part of the plot from the beginning.  He wasn't just some random do-gooder tricked into losing his paladinhood by an evil DM.  His morals and standing were challenged, and I think they should be challenged, and the consequences of the choices I make be played straight.  Good or bad.  I think that's essential for a Paladin to prove his stuff, it is the plot.  Without being tested, how could he know his merit?  Being a paladin should be hard (but fair).

 

This does, of course, presume a fair and competent DM.  But the absence of same means a game with significantly more flaws than just alignment, so I don't see why that should be singled out.  I've played under some real crappy DMs, I don't play under them any more.  And my favourite DM (the paladinbreaker) wasn't even much of stickler for alignments until I insisted on it.

 

Most of the other people's "paladins" were played... badly, if I'm generous.  They deserved to be broken, because they didn't have what it took.  That's why they fell so easily.  I got cheated out of my arc by maneating bugs (not on his watch, we had a single campaign with rotating DMs) so I'm hoping that soon I'll get another crack at being tortured.  I'll even rile him up beforehand, just to make sure he's really super mean about it.  Bring your worst tortures, I am ready! 

 

But I do trust him to be fair.  And listen, if your DM isn't fair stop wasting your time and find one who is.  Maybe how they use alignment can be an early tell before you waste much time on their game, because if you can't trust them with that it should call into question the rest of their adjudication and how much you should trust it. 

 

 

ETA:  I just emailed my upcoming DM and threw the gauntlet at him.  I have several months to really get under his skin, and I intend to use them. 

 

I can say with all confidence that my comments here aren't based on my DM having a major failing or inability to use alignments. He knows more about D&D and Pathfinder than anyone I know.

 

Truth be told we don't even play a full version of pathfinder because he and his dad had developed an entire game world and have their own Gods (one issue he had with 3.5 and Pathfinder was the total lack of any class needing to select a god and gaining benefits from doing so, other than simple RP value and Clerics) where one is rewarded, regardless of class or alignment, with feats, traits, special feats etc etc for worshiping a particular god.

 

So if anything, in our campaigns, the gods and the alignments which fit into each god's sphere's is even more enhanced. But it's never been a main focal point of abuse for either us or him. 

 

I guess in the end anyone can play however they want. Some people though, I think we will all agree, allow the books and rules of whatever system they use to constrain them while others use them and even step outside of them to enhance a campaign. How that is done is up to each GM and as long as the players are willing to show up each session and work within the guidelines set down, they can't complain about it too much lol

 

In this case from my experience I don't think I would enjoy the way your GM (or group) runs and that is just a matter of my experience and play style I've had with the same GM and cohesive group of 15 years. No disrespect meant. Each group has their own things. But that is the beauty of it all. We all enjoy RPGs but we all put our own little nuances and twists in, so there is always at least a small variable from each person.

 

Still, I play for the fun, for the story arc and rarely does the alignment of my or the members of our group come into play in a MAJOR, campaign breaking way as you have highlighted.

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I didn't mean your DM specifically, only that any DM who would arbitrarily either screw a Paladin over or, as noted earlier, bludgeon people with alignments, represents a "poor DM" experience rather than a fault of the system.  I felt it important to note that in the example of my particular paladin, I had insisted on such treatment.  Demanded, even.  But that my motivation for this was also based in trust for his fair judgement.

 

Absent that, I would not be so eager.  And I can list a dozen DMs who played to "win" more than played fair.  (But the rest of their game also sucked, so no loss) 

 

But it's fine to put a paladin through the ringer if its fair and with good purpose. 

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I'll just leave this here as a thought, I've only played through one encounter of D&D so I have no real opinion, but this made me think...

 

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So I'm a lawful neutral ranger.

 

Question 45(?) on that survey is silly. I can eat animals and treat them respectfully before I eat them.

 

ETA: And hubby is a true neutral ranger. He's outraged by that. He doesn't believe anyone is true neutral.

Edited by redambrosia
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Alignment is a tool like a armature, it helps by giving structure so that you don't end up with a formless blob. It certainly in't the only way. I think most of the animosity to alignment comes from things like "Detect Evil" rather than alignments as a tool in developing conflict and story.

 

And if you think that there is no way your paladin losing his paladin status could make for an interesting game because it would mess up your feat selection, you're playing a game about tactics instead of story (which is fine, just different).

 

Edit: patent reading fatigue induced typos removed.

Edited by falstius
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I'm a 6th level Neutral Good Wizard.  I can see that I suppose.

 

As far as the whole alignment debate, I can take it or leave it.  I see both sides.  I do chose an alignment based upon what I see as my characters motivations.  Though I do focus more on the motivations and make the alignment match.  In my favorite system (home-brew system that my original gaming group came up with) we didn't bother with alignments as they weren't really needed.  It was all about your character concept and interactions within the game world.

 

I chose alignments for DnD as they are required for certain game mechanics.  But as stated I can play any character I want to without using alignments.

 

Again, I don't see a wrong or right way.  Play however works for you.  Playing without alignments is no different than any other house rule in my book.

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Personally I see Lawful Good as a potentially awesome opportunity to pit Lawful and Good against each other (if the player's into it).

 

There's no reason Lawful Good can't be lethal or even frightening, provided he (or she) is convinced he's in the right. Certainly it is not exceptional even in early modern combat to accept surrender only under certain conditions; and in the middle of a bloody, chaotic melee is not one of them. For someone who had surrendered, re-armed, and attacked from behind, I don't see why Judge Dre... Lawful Good Paladin couldn't charge them with attempted murder and execute them.

That is what I get for posting using my e-reader.... ::P:

 

The Auld Grump

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You might find this real life race, class, alignment test interesting: http://www.easydamus.com/character.html

Been a long time since I used that... and the answer has changed.

 

I have gone from a 12th level Lawful Good Elf Bard to 16th level Lawful Good Human Wizard/3rd level Sorcerer.... :huh:

 

The Auld Grump

 

Me biggest problem was the 'Elf' part.... ::P:

 

The Auld Grump, I am so very much not one of those pointy eared gits....

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There was one time** Alignment caused a real problem in a game I was involved with. Just the once.

 

Every group I played with used it. But it was just a box to check off. A simple game mechanic that sometimes helped decide encounter reactions and limited choices of petty deities. Meh.

 

There were one or two players who chose Chaotic Neutral by which they meant: I can do whatever, whenever. Woot!  But, they usually came to a bad end sooner or later, so: Meh.

 

**OK, the one time: It was one of my first forays as a DM. I made a little village on the seashore. I think it was called Blackthorn or Blackwall. It was about a dozen buildings; a keep on a peninsula, and boasted a fleet of 6-8 fishing boats. No big deal. Passing cogs visited once a week maybe. A petty Baron's fiefdom. Right, so there was this first level Paladin. Upon discovering that one of the dozen buildings was a brothel he decided that his alignment required that he attack the place immediately. Chaos ensued. Long story short, the sergeant leading the large squad of guards that came to investigate who was breaking the peace was not 1st level. He was third or fourth. And this "lawful good" Paladin ended up armor-less, sword-less and in a cell.

 

When the Paladin tried for 'divine intervention' to pray his way out of the fix I sent him an Angel or Deva*** or some-such, and the divine creature promptly and permanently changed him to Chaotic Good.

 

Perhaps it was wrong... :devil: ...I was new.

 

 

***There was some house rule [?] that once per playing session [or was it level?]  a character could pray for divine intervention. There was a dice roll at very long odds 1:100 or maybe 1:216. But he got the required roll, whatever it was.

Edited by TGP
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I mean really, people talk about "Lawful Good is boring" but the samurai, the knight, the One Good Cop, are all Lawful Good. The archetype has plenty of "fun" in it if you dig that.

Wait samurai are not LG, they are definitely Lawful but good is certainly not required to be considered an honorable samurai.

 

In current L5R setting material the Obsidian Oracle is a great example; she is honorable but very much evil.

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I'll just leave this here as a thought, I've only played through one encounter of D&D so I have no real opinion, but this made me think...

 

It's very, very different, but I am suddenly reminded of a game a theologian friend of mine wrote long ago, "The Game of Virtues." It involved building structures of virtues on cards (such as faith, hope, charity, honor, etc.) rather like the organizations in "Illuminati." They built on each other in special ways, and there were negative virtues as well, like envy, wrath, and sloth. Each affected how one moved around a game board representing the major realms of a medieval society and what one could do there.

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