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Is sticking to an alignment a limitation on your roleplaying?

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That's largely what I do. It works the other way, too: "I'm not evil, I just detect that way. Genetics, donchaknow."

 

 

Hee!  

 

Actually, thinking a bit on my idea, I suppose there might be a way to refine it further, without totally destroying the use of alignment as a sort of "guideline" of behavior.

 

First off, I think I would make a distinction between a regular alignment, and a TRUE alignment.  Functionally, this would be very similar to my "everyone is Neutral" idea.

 

The idea would be that you might have Neutral-Neutral, Chaotic-Good, Lawful-Evil or whatever written down on your sheet.  If so, fine.  You aren't going to get slapped by the GM for failing to ALWAYS stick to that particular alignment -- though if the GM thinks your consistently edging in another direction, he might SUGGEST you tweak it accordingly.

 

That changes if you stick "True" in front of your alignment.  True Lawful-Good no longer means you just tend to be a goody-two-shoes (who might occasionally deviate if you get him REALLY angry), but that you're DEDICATED to sticking to that alignment even when it's not convenient to do so.  True Chaotic-Evil means that you're this slavering, berserk force of killing and destruction, utterly lacking in sophistication, incapable of doing anything the least bit Good or Lawful -- not even if it's just a temporary ruse meant to further some greater evil.  True Lawful-Evil might mean you're like the djinn in so many of those twisted tales -- bound to follow promises and agreements to the LETTER, but for some reason also compelled to utterly twist the meaning insofar as you're able to ... just because it's in your nature, even if you happen to LIKE the poor fool who freed you from the lamp.  Whatever it is, you don't just get to pick and choose whether you'll stick to it this time, in order to show some "nuance."

 

All those alignment-dependent effects such as "Detect Evil" or "Banish Good," or class requirements, or magic items ... those under this system would only respond to the "True" version of any given alignment.  So a paladin has to be dedicated to Lawful-Good (True Lawful-Good) in order to keep his perks and powers.  Detect Evil is not a viable way to scan a room for bad guys, unless the bad guy is truly demonic.  And so on.

 

This is basically a restating of my previous idea, but it might better accommodate someone who wants to use alignment on his character sheet to give a guideline of where he's going with his concept (chaotic-good rogue, lawful-good knight/fighter, neutral wizard, etc.) without danger of being smacked around by the GM if his interpretation in practice isn't an absolute thing.

 

I'm not sure where I'd put CLERICS on this scale.  I suppose that's something I'd have to work out with the group, and it would depend upon the setting.  It might not be so necessary to force the character into a "True" version of an alignment to follow his deity, as long as he follows the specific tenets of his faith.  That way, I could occasionally have a corrupt priest who goes through the motions enough to stay in good standing with a "good" patron deity in its squabbles with the rest of the pantheon ... but he could still turn out to be the villain of a tale.  (I'm thinking here of a setting with a Greek/Roman sort of pantheon, where even the "good" gods are rather capricious and prone to in-fighting.)

 

...

 

 

 

 

I pretty much never use dice for character building anymore. It's point-buy all the way for me. So you don't have to play anything you don't want to play.

 

 

Same here, in the last few d20 games I ran.  Once upon a time, I just took it for granted that all RPG systems had you roll random stats.  It was rather amazing, how the players who brought their character sheets already written to the table ("I rolled mine up at home") tended to be awesome, compared to the 8s and 12s and maybe a 13 that I'd get when I rolled up mine.  (If D&D had some issues, though, Palladium "TMNT" with all the expansions was EVEN WORSE when it came to crazy spread of starting character power going by tables.  I get to play ... a car mechanic who can fire a gun with a middling chance of hitting something.  This guy gets to play ... a time traveler with his own intra-dimensional machine, the equivalent of FOUR college educations, AND a school of martial arts.  Hmm.)

 

After getting to play a few systems where you actually CHOOSE your attributes by allocating points and Edges/Advantages and such, I just couldn't stomach going back to dumb luck on something that's going to impact your character's entire career.  (Sure, there's a lot of randomness DURING the campaign, but that tends to balance out between the good and bad.  Character creation randomness, however, is greatly outsized in term of its impact -- positive or negative -- to your character's overall performance.)

 

If I'm going to be stuck with a random character in the name of "variety," I think I'd rather just have a stack of pregen sheets -- each one carefully designed to be interesting and playable. Nobody gets stuck with the "all 17s-and-18s" wunderkind, or the "8 CHA is my best stat" comic-relief.  We'd just randomly draw sheets out of the pile, have a starting concept, and then "personalize" the rest of the details that wouldn't be determined by dice.

 

I mean, if I have to write up my character concept to fit with a bunch of random stats, and I can't even pick my class (or in some versions, race) unless I meet certain minimum requirements, that's not all that far off from just getting a randomized suite of character attributes as a package deal.

 

Ultimately, though ... I think I'd rather just stick with point-buy.  When it comes to level-based fantasy games, d20 3.5's point-buy option seemed to work just fine.  If the desire is to have a "higher-powered" campaign all around, it's pretty easily tweaked by adjusting the points to start with.  Everyone gets equal chances to either play a more modest, "well-rounded" character, or to specialize by having more pronounced strong and weak points.

 

 

(Quote by Mangochutnee, but I didn't navigate the quote buttons correctly.)

 

 
Pretty sure you're joking, but doesn't that put quite a bit of extra pressure on the mental classes? After all if I wanted to play a Barbarian with 25 STR no one expects me to pump iron and throw back protein shakes until I can show up on game night looking like Dwayne Johnson. If I want to play a character who is very persuasive, I'll put my skill points into Diplomacy, which represents my character's ability to get the job done. I feel that the benefit of using stats and skill points this way frees people up to try out a persona that may be entirely foreign to them, and it mostly outweighs the negative connotations of "roll-playing".

 

 

 

 

I remember when this was quite the controversy back in my LARP days in college.  We had a LARP system where we actually fired foam-tipped arrows at each other (using low-strength practice bows and tip-less arrows with big foam tips with duct tape or vinyl covers) for archery.  It was a hoot; accuracy was minimal, and you could, if sufficiently alert, literally side-step an arrow or block it (though we ended up ruling that you could only do that intentionally if you played the "Martial Artist" class or had an appropriate spell or magic item to let you do that).  We also used foam swords ... and I consider myself blessed and lucky that nothing ever happened that resulted in a lawsuit.

 

There were veterans of some other game system (called "NERO," I think) who were used to a system where you'd have a series of random numbers on pull-off tabs you'd put on a bracer, and basically pull off a random number to indicate the outcome every time you "fire an arrow" -- versus actually having to physically attempt the feat.  The game we were playing ("SwordTag") was heavily focused on PLAYER ability (with certain admittedly arbitrary exceptions), whereas NERO was more focused on CHARACTER ability.  The basic argument was, "I may not be able to shoot an apple off the head of that goblin at 50 yards, but my 15th level RANGER can!"

 

The problem is almost inverted when it comes to tabletop RPGs, where we rely on dice rolls for the physical actions, and player ability for negotiations.  (Strictly speaking, there was no Charisma or negotiation in SwordTag.  The monsters were just going to attack, and that was that.  ;)  )

 

I still don't know what the "right" solution is.  Generally, I try to accommodate as a GM: Charisma is how the NPCs react to you.  Intelligence is the extra information the GM gives you to reflect what your character figured out on his own.  Knowledge is the extra clue you get appropriate to the area of expertise written down on your character sheet.

 

And yet ... sometimes a player will make an impassioned speech to some NPCs, and he just makes some REALLY GOOD POINTS, and I feel like the NPCs should be swayed, or if there's a skill roll he should get a hefty bonus.  The player just used "player skills," and not every player at the table might be so articulate, and yet the general mood seems to be that this ought to count for something.  (Here, the "general mood" -- as I perceive it -- influences me a lot.  What can I get away with rewarding as a GM, without anyone feeling shortchanged?  What will make this more fun for the players?  What sort of player interaction/roleplay supports that?)

 

On the flip side, I'll often find myself wincing when a player is making an incredibly WEAK argument, and yet all his stats and lucky rolls indicate that his CHARACTER ought to be making a winning impression.  It's awkward if someone chooses to play the "face" type, yet is one of those players who seems to have great difficulty explaining what he wants to DO with his character in complete, coherent sentences.  (Full disclosure: I'm often that sort of player.  I want to play the Charisma type, but I don't have the charisma when I'm put on the spot.  I don't get to edit my words in real life.)  In that case, I'll often try to imagine what I think the PC should be saying.  Is it even possible to win this argument?  If so, I might insert a bit of narration to fill in some of the gaps -- though I may run into some friction if the player still thinks he had a solid case and doesn't need the GM to "fix" it.  

 

For puzzles ... blargh.  Back when I was in college, my players LOVED PUZZLES.  I worked with letter-substitution codes, and the players were happy to drop everything and get together and work it out.  It was how they had fun.  Hero System PER rolls, etc., weren't made to solve the puzzle, but rather to get a certain number of clues (roll high, get more letters/symbols automatically figured out) to make it easier to get there.  They would've been offended if I just boiled it down to a simple skill roll or attribute test.

 

However, I took that same assumption to another group where nobody knew how to handle a letter-substitution code, and nobody was willing to consider the possibility that this puzzle might just be an entertaining "side-quest" and NOT critical to solve before exploring further ... and it was a total disaster.  I was too set in my ways to even consider the possibility of saying, "Okay, make an INT check and -- ho boy!  What a roll! YOU SOLVED IT!" in order to keep things moving.  (But then, after presenting a full-fledged actual puzzle to solve, I'm pretty sure my players would have caught on that I was winging it by reducing it to a simple roll.  I'd painted myself into a corner there.)

 

I don't always call it right.  It's still a grey area for me.

 

 

Edited by Jordan Peacock
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How you interpret results also makes a big difference within a game, too.  As an example, let's take a 19 Int Wizard and a 5 Int fighter.

 

They're trying to figure out how to open a strange sealed door which they think might be trapped.  The door is decorated with a complicated relief of strange symbols, writing, and sigils.  There are two worn buttons: one vaguely looks like maybe a bird, the other vaguely looks like it might be a snake.  Pressing the right one opens it, the wrong one activates the trap.

 

Can they both figure out the puzzle?  Sure.  The wizard certainly has the better odds, though.  So he makes an Int check.  Rolls a 20.  Can't figure it out.  Fighter tries, rolls a 3.  Figures it out.

 

Is this logical, that the dumb as dirt fighter could figure out a puzzle a wizard couldn't?  I'd say it's quite logical.  In this case, the wizard called on all his large bank of knowledge to help figure it out.  But he overcomplicated his own reasoning.  He overthought it.  He was aware of the complexity of the task, and so sought to figure out the complex solution - but he may have realized that certain symbols could be interpeted one way, or maybe a different way, because Althion of Albion wrote that wonderfully thoughtful scroll one time that challenged the assumptions of Timmy the Elder.  Thus he was unable to reason his way to the solution, because he was intelligent enough to account for dissenting intellectual opinion among what he'd read before - and that clouded the issue while he mulled it over.

 

Whereas the fighter might simply have reasoned "snakes are bad" and pressed the bird-looking button.  All the funny squiggles don't mean anything to him, it came down to a simple binary choice - and presented with the choice of a bird or a snake, he chose to press the "good" one.  He then might hoot and dance, pointing at the wizard and declaring "Ha ha, me smarter than pointy-hat guy!  Ha ha!" 

 

 

*** Note: the above situation is how I prefer to run puzzles most times for expediency.  Rather than giving "clues" which most often result in 5 hours of wasted party debate trying to figure it out, which has never been fun.  Riddles don't work for us.  The only exception is when "clues" for something are given out over a very long period, in which case an Int check results in a DM summary of the clues in rightful order which should lead to a conclusion.  If both Int checks failed, then they're left to decipher a course of action and choose. 

 

I prefer this method, since it exploits the abilities of smart characters to more quickly figure things out without wasting game time.  It also neatly solves the issue of a character being smarter than the player - the player might never figure out the puzzle, but his super genius wizard probably could.  It's only when the character fails that I leave players in the soup, which I think is also fair because at that point even their character is stumped and has to make a guess. 

Edited by buglips*the*goblin
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After getting to play a few systems where you actually CHOOSE your attributes by allocating points and Edges/Advantages and such, I just couldn't stomach going back to dumb luck on something that's going to impact your character's entire career.  (Sure, there's a lot of randomness DURING the campaign, but that tends to balance out between the good and bad.  Character creation randomness, however, is greatly outsized in term of its impact -- positive or negative -- to your character's overall performance.)

 

If I'm going to be stuck with a random character in the name of "variety," I think I'd rather just have a stack of pregen sheets -- each one carefully designed to be interesting and playable. Nobody gets stuck with the "all 17s-and-18s" wunderkind, or the "8 CHA is my best stat" comic-relief.  We'd just randomly draw sheets out of the pile, have a starting concept, and then "personalize" the rest of the details that wouldn't be determined by dice.

 

 

 

I prefer the roll randomly method (and place wherever).  It makes each character unique, with different flaws and strengths.  To compensate for the initial stats affecting a character's "career", I make additional stat points available through play.  Some by gaining levels, some through other means.

 

That's because I believe that a good character should begin as one thing and wind up something different.  They should grow and change, like characters in good stories do.  "Building" a character the way I "want" starting out strikes me, for my personal taste, as a very boring way to play.  Randomness provides me with a challenge,  and gaining additional points provides ongoing customization. 

 

I'd rather set out wanting a Paladin and not making the grade than to be able to build a starting Paladin with point allocation.  If I don't make the grade, I'd still make my character - but now I have to explain how he is a Paladin but isn't.  Maybe he isn't, but really wants it so he lives like he is.  Maybe he flunked out of Paladin school. 

 

With additional gained points, he may eventually be able to reach his dream.  He'll have proved his worth. 

 

I'd love to play a character who doesn't even meet the basic class requirements, actually.  Like a fighter or wizard with a main stat of 6.  The really, really dumb sorcerer's apprentice who everybody thinks has no chance (maybe the wizard only mentored him because he owed the character's dad a favour), so he gets thrown out on his own.  Adventures follow.  He tries hard, slowly overcomes his disadvantages, and becomes a wizard at last.  I could totally make that work.  Or a foolish cleric.  A clumsy thief.  

 

I have more fun with characters who start out disadvantaged than ones who start out with bonuses.  They've got more heart to them because they have to struggle more. 

 

 

ETA:  No offense intended to Doug, particularly if his group is happy with the method, but a game with no alignments and no random stats would be a game that has sucked a lot of my fun away as a player.  I'd find it a difficult thing to get invested in, because a lot of my fun comes from being creative within the existing framework.  I wouldn't need it in order to create a well-rounded and interesting character, it would just be a lot less challenging and interesting for me to do so.  I'd just be making up story, when I'd much prefer to take a bag of ingredients and figure out a story for it.  I tend to get more unusual things that way that I can explore. 

 

ETA 2:  I suppose I could refine that by saying that for my enjoyment as a player, it's a lot more interesting for me to figure out who my characters are than to make them what I want them to be. 

Edited by buglips*the*goblin
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Another sequential post, but this one is because I'm leaving in a few minutes and likely to be gone for a bit and I thought that explaining a bit about how I use alignment as a player and what I get out of it might help illustrate my perspective and why I wouldn't want to play without it.

 

I mentioned my troublesome tiefling earlier, and that I designed the character to specifically be a menace.  But I'm still compelled to flesh out characters or I won't get much out of them.  So when I decided to make said tiefling, I knew she was part lower planar and part something else.  In this case, human.  So I decided she was an abyssal tiefling.  This meant she'd likely be chaotic.  I didn't want her to be evil, and couldn't really see how she'd be good, so that meant neutral.  Chaotic Neutral.

 

I'd never played one of those before.  So now I go on to stage two:  what does being Chaotic Neutral mean?  This is an important question for me, since this alignment is going to influence and colour her perspectives, her worldview, her interactions, her behaviour, and her actions.  So I know that the neutral part means sometimes she does good things, and sometimes she does bad things.  And the chaotic part tells me that she's strongly resistant to order, behaviour codes, rules, obligations, and so forth.  Very likely to be disruptive, not a team player, and do whatever she wants.

 

Now the third part is:  why is she this way?  More than just the logical deduction of where she hails from.  She's this way for a reason, and I have to figure out why.  Is it nature?  Nurture?  Both?  She's certainly contradictory, and not all bad.  She does do good things from time to time.  But why?  What's in it for her? 

 

Does she ever feel guilty for doing bad things?  Maybe so.  But she does them anyway.  Why?  Is it because she can't help herself?  Maybe.  Or maybe it's because part of her wants to be better, but she doesn't really believe she can be better.  There's just too much history.  Too much of not being able to trust anybody.  Or love anybody.  Or be loved by anybody.  Maybe part of her thinks she can be better, and be worth something, but she's been so beaten down that she's simultaneously full of self-loathing.  So she's brilliant, but careless.  She doesn't bother to calculate the volume of fireball because she doesn't care what happens.  It doesn't mean anything.  If she dies, no big loss.  Crap happens.  If she doesn't, she doesn't.  If other people do, or don't, who cares?

 

And maybe in addition to this there's this whole other side where she does care.  So sometimes she heals people, or protects them, or helps them accomplish their goals.  But she's still dangerous to them, and they can't count on her.  Because she is dangerous to herself and can't count on herself.  And she doesn't understand why they keep saving her, why they help her, why they do things for her.  It's completely alien to her, because nobody's ever done that before.  They shouldn't like her, much less love her, because she's unworthy of it.  And she'll prove it.  Because that's the way things are.

 

But at the same time, because some of them treat her well she regrets things she does.  So maybe she tries to be a little better, and does a rash of good things.  But it can't last, because nothing lasts. 

 

That's why I don't see alignment as "just a label".  Her alignment makes her different from me as a player.  Her worldview is different.  How she behaves is different.  I might have initially designed her to be disruptive, but I also wound up finding ways she's more complicated than that.  Potential.  Maybe she can change, even.  Maybe she can conquer her woes and troubles (maybe with the help of some therapy).  Alignment informed me about who she is, and how she's different, and exploring that very different perspective made her more real.  It gave her substance and depth.  Subtlety. 

 

Without alignment as the starting point, I'm certain I would never have been able to get such a rich character out of it.  Because I wouldn't have known anything about her.  She just would have been me in a funny suit doing things, but instead when I played every week or so I got to spend 6-8 hours in an entirely different brain.  It was sometimes pretty disturbing to be in that brain, too, because as time went on I got used to thinking like she did as I played.  It was like having this whole separate living entity inside me.  And she's still there, too.  All of them are.  If I felt like it, I could have them converse with each other and write it down. 

 

That's why I'm so hyped about alignment as a tool, because of those things I got out of it.  Because of how digging into it informed me about the characters I played, and what I got out of it.  It's like a game inside a game, a whole uniquely personal thing for me as a player that I found intensely fulfilling and that let me get into the bigger game in a much deeper way.  It elevates the performance of my improvisational acting and makes the whole experience more believable for me and for others. 

 

Even if sometimes I roasted half the party with fireball.  If they didn't like it, she could have easily been dispatched.  AC 10 wizard/cleric with a con penalty.  A good surprise attack with a sword would have done the job.  The only reason she stuck around was because they enjoyed having her there.  What their characters got out of having her around outweighed the risk of fiery, explosive death. 

 

And now I'm going to go and stop consecutive posting for a while.  ::P:

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Good gravy, Buglips...why have you not written a book on this subject?

 

I've seen more insights into organic DMing in these last 7 pages than in my entire nearly 20 years of being, and talking to, DMs...and it's making me rethink everything about how I do things.

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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.

 

 

 

That's why I mentioned it's the most abused alignment, and the least understood.  I play it rarely, since it does tend to lead to trouble in any case, but CN can have a lot of interpretations.  In its simple form, it's just that a person is ambivalent about good and evil but prone to disorderly conduct.   But whether it is overt or subtle can lead to several different places.

 

Such a person may have fairly decent principles.  They might be extremely libertarian, for example, believing that freedom is the greatest principle of all and that arguing morality merely confuses the issue.  The right to choose one's own destiny without fetter means some people will choose to do bad things, some good, and it'll probably work itself out.  It's not the primary concern, the essential freedom is. 

 

A different CN person might simply want to set things in motion and see what happens.  They may be completely without any principle and not care what the effect is or who it hurts (or helps).  They just want to see things happen, to disrupt the status quo. 

 

Yet another might simply be crazy.  And another again might be quite rational, even brilliantly so, but through action and effect merely appear crazy to everybody else because their motives, however valid, are incomprehensible when explained. 

 

Besides, if they really wanted to be able to do whatever, whenever they should have picked neutral.  I hate how neutral was explained (and I think bad explanations of alignment are a principle cause for confusion and dislike about them).  "Keeping the balance?"  That might work for druids, but not everybody else.  That's an extraordinarily narrow view of true neutral.  All a person needs to be neutral is to have no strong opinion or inclination.  Whether they choose to interpret it as meditative avoidance of extremism, or simply can't be bothered and are apathetic the result is the same.  Or if they felt that "you gotta do what you gotta do" *shrug*

 

Chaotic neutral, well, that's picking a side.  ::P:  

 

My interpretation of Chaotic Neutral:

I am me, myself - the only person that I can rely upon.

I am amoral - not immoral.

I do things not because they harm others, but because they benefit me.

I do not go out of my way not to harm others - but neither do I go out of my way to cause harm. If folks get out of my way then I do not chase them down.

I fully trust no one - nor should anyone fully trust me.

I am an island, alone unto myself, even within the crowd.

 

Now me, I much prefer an alignment that has been stated thus:

 

The Auld Grump

Edited by TheAuldGrump

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There could almost be an argument made for true neutral there, Grump.  I suppose it comes down mainly to whether a statement regarding authority would be 'The slow-moving processes of authority/bureaucracy do nothing but hamper me' (chaotic) or 'I will cooperate with authority when it is beneficial to me, but have no desire to rely on it' (neutral).

Edited by Foxden Racing
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I prefer the roll randomly method (and place wherever).  It makes each character unique, with different flaws and strengths.  To compensate for the initial stats affecting a character's "career", I make additional stat points available through play.  Some by gaining levels, some through other means.

 

That's because I believe that a good character should begin as one thing and wind up something different.  They should grow and change, like characters in good stories do.  "Building" a character the way I "want" starting out strikes me, for my personal taste, as a very boring way to play.  Randomness provides me with a challenge,  and gaining additional points provides ongoing customization. 

 

I'd rather set out wanting a Paladin and not making the grade than to be able to build a starting Paladin with point allocation.  If I don't make the grade, I'd still make my character - but now I have to explain how he is a Paladin but isn't.  Maybe he isn't, but really wants it so he lives like he is.  Maybe he flunked out of Paladin school. 

 

 

I am completely against this.  If I want to play a paladin, but cannot because I dropped too many 8s, how is that fun?  Stuck with the fighter, even though I want the paladin abilities.  Gaining stats and switching to paladin at 8th level is not the same, and would not be fun.  I dropped out of a Shadowrun campaign since they started super low, well below any normal starting character.  Why would I want to play that, when I want to play the street samarui with bionic arms already implanted?  Playing a crappy character while saving up money while everyone else in the group already has what they want is not fun, and I would not want anyone to play something they dont want to.

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I am completely against this.  If I want to play a paladin, but cannot because I dropped too many 8s, how is that fun?  Stuck with the fighter, even though I want the paladin abilities.  Gaining stats and switching to paladin at 8th level is not the same, and would not be fun.  I dropped out of a Shadowrun campaign since they started super low, well below any normal starting character.  Why would I want to play that, when I want to play the street samarui with bionic arms already implanted?  Playing a crappy character while saving up money while everyone else in the group already has what they want is not fun, and I would not want anyone to play something they dont want to.

 

 

It's a "to each their own" thing.  Those players who are in it for the journey will tend to agree with Buglips, while those who are in it for the destination will tend to agree with you.  Neither is right, and neither is wrong...though from personal experience, I will say that playing exactly what you want to play, with not having to work around setbacks, does get boring after ~20 years.

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I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons for 30 years now.  I have always played what I wanted - I will walk away from a game where that is not allowed.  If I want to play a hard luck character who needs to work up to be what he wants, fine - that is what I want.  But to be limited like that purposefully = no fun for me.

 

Agree with the "to each their own".  I am not going to waste my preciously rare gaming time to be artficailly hampered by either the GM or the game system.

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You're more patient than I, then!  My biggest problem is that it takes me forever to come up with a concept I really like in terms of fiction, and so have to write to mechanics far more often than I build to fiction.  It's not uncommon for me to play a character for 3-6 months before I really 'get' them, when I don't start out with a story I'm in love with.

 

Anecdotally (to give an idea of what experiences have shaped my opinion), I started going down the 'How many hands can I tie behind my back and still have fun' route a few years ago, after getting bored of building what I knew would be good mechanically...and from there have since moved onto trope-busting [the fighter who's a better archer than the ranger...or even better, the Shadowrun phys-adept "rigger"] and/or "What ever possessed you to try that?" [such as dual-wielding a shortsword and a pistol crossbow].

 

But as said before [and agreed to], to each their own.  At this stage of my gaming career I take more joy from challenging myself and reacting to the unexpected than from doing what I'm already good at...that doesn't make me right any more than it makes me wrong. :)

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I'm of the opinion that alignments are guidelines as some of the others have stated here. They give a range for how a specific kind of character would react in given circumstances, but I also hate the LG requirement for D&D/Pathfinder for the paladin, to me a Paladin is a holy warrior and in the games I run I allow any good and most neutral alignments (my only restriction is the CN) for them as long as they follow the tenets of their faith. Law is a man-made thing in almost all circumstances, it's not a law of the god(s) where paladins usually get their source of divine power so as long as they are following what their god would like them to do to the best of their abilities I will never put that paladin into a moral conundrum of which there is no right answer and take away powers if they don't get it right. The same goes for Anti-Paladins, I allow any alignment of the evil scale when I run evil games. There are gods/demons/forces beyond that are of all types of alignments and each have their own tenets/dogma/teachings that the specific character should try to follow to stay in the good (or evil) graces of their deities. 

 

As far as alignments in general go I like the way Buglips thinks and has written out his explanations. I feel alignment is a great tool to really delve into a character's motivations and back-story, it gives a lot more opportunity for role-playing and self-discovery for the player who is using that character.

 

A bit off-topic so I'll spoiler it:

 

Let's face it, most of D&D/Pathfinder is centered on combat with the experience being placed upon killing things, taking their loot and leveling up, which means a lot of games are combat-oriented and place less value on actual role playing, but I've swapped out my games to make them experience-less. As an aside, my group has gotten rid of experience all together. We vote at the end of each session with a majority rule whether to level up or not, this makes it more player centric and I've found more role-playing gets done, more story gets covered, and more fun is had in my group for this practice. This allows the players who really want to delve into their alignments and their character motivations to do so more seriously without holding the group back if they want to go do some little side-quests that are about characters rather than having to move to the next combat.

 

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Yes - but that is what you want to do, which is completely fine.  I have also played characters like that - but it is what I wanted.  But, if I want to play something and the GM says 'no', I walk away.

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