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Seems like the thing that people have a hard time understanding or role playing is that you don't have to strictly adhere to your alignment.. It's an easy mistake to see alignments as some sort of restriction on personality or to see them as single lines that cannot be crossed. One evil choice doesn't make your good character evil because people are allowed to make choices, mistakes and have free will. Alignments are simply gauges with lots of wiggle room.

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Originally Posted by KillerRabbit

You can only believe that by ignoring pages and pages of D&D lore: https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Shar

Shar wants to return the world to nothing. She seeks the destruction of all life.

This is what clerics of Shar should do: https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Church_of_Shar

Random murders, destroying good institutions, generating mistrust among allies.



It's not random, Shar tells them who it is, also to Clerics of Shar destruction of life might seem like a good thing, after all a lot of them join because they have suffered and Shar elivates the pain, so they think world without life would be a better place.

Originally Posted by KillerRabbit
In D&D evil isn't arbitrary, it part of you, you can detect it will spells, certain magic items will only respond to certain alignments.


These spells were actually changed to respond to particular beings, aka demond, devils, celestial, fey, undead etc. not alignments.

Originally Posted by KillerRabbit
For me you action have no moral consequences it reduces roleplay value.


Actions having consequances and alignment are two completely seperate things. NPC should react accordingly to actions that you have done, but you don't need alignment for thta. The consequance that you seem to want is something shifting on your characters sheet.


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Originally Posted by vyvexthorne
Seems like the thing that people have a hard time understanding or role playing is that you don't have to strictly adhere to your alignment.. It's an easy mistake to see alignments as some sort of restriction on personality or to see them as single lines that cannot be crossed. One evil choice doesn't make your good character evil because people are allowed to make choices, mistakes and have free will. Alignments are simply gauges with lots of wiggle room.


And you know who has the MOST trouble understanding what you just wrote? Game developers. So I'd rather they don't touch alignment at all.

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Originally Posted by vyvexthorne
Seems like the thing that people have a hard time understanding or role playing is that you don't have to strictly adhere to your alignment.. It's an easy mistake to see alignments as some sort of restriction on personality or to see them as single lines that cannot be crossed. One evil choice doesn't make your good character evil because people are allowed to make choices, mistakes and have free will. Alignments are simply gauges with lots of wiggle room.


This is common enough in the communities that put Alignments on a pedestal that it is part of why I've tended to drop alignments entirely when I play or run. There are more personal roleplaying guides in 5e anyway. It's not necessary.

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Originally Posted by Sadurian
Originally Posted by VincentNZ
I would like to see something like a statistic at the end for the PC, like a Karma score.

That sounds good, but I'd like it available throughout the game. A sort of moral mirror that lets you see the character's ethics as other might view them.

I've mentioned before that I'd like certain dialogue and choice options to register you down one of several potential moral or personality pathways. Ideally, these choices would not be tagged on-screen as 'the flirt', 'the sociopath', 'the rule-follower' and so on, but leave it for the player to decide which is which.

Your relative score in each area might influence how NPCs react to you.


This is pretty much how the reputation system in Pillars of Eternity worked...and I quite loved that. It was shaped by your decisions rather than be chosen in character gen and gave a more detailed view of your character's ethics, morality, and politics.

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Originally Posted by Sadurian
There are many examples of downright evil people who displayed what would be classed as good behaviour.

But that one "good" behavior does not stop them from being evil. Even with that "good" behavior, they are still evil. That's my point. So if you are talking about the game allowing that evil character to do that one "good" thing, sure. I can accept that. But it should not change the fact that they are evil. And that is what alignment gives us.
Originally Posted by Kadajko
You can't accommodate for all the logic any individual could follow, why would you reduce roleplay value based on your arbitrary interpritation of someones motives?

1) Save the tieflings. [ Good ] ( They've done nothing wrong and don't deserve to die. )
2) Save the tieflings [ Evil ] ( I think tieflings are evil Devil spawns and I want to watch the world burn. )
3) Kill the tieflings [ Good ] ( I think tieflings are evil Devil spawns and I will rid the world of them. )
4) Kill the tieflings [ Evil ] ( I just like killing. )

I can come up with ANY alignment motivations for ANY action, every dialogue choice would have to have like 9+ variants of the SAME option in different flavors, OR we can just roleplay in our head what makes sense.

Which just reduces ALL actions to meaningless sameness. In this kind of a framework, there is zero point or value to role-playing. All of this, including the discussion of Shar's nature, may be subjective to you. But they are not subjective at all in the world of the Forgotten Realms setting.

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Originally Posted by kanisatha

Which just reduces ALL actions to meaningless sameness. In this kind of a framework, there is zero point or value to role-playing. All of this, including the discussion of Shar's nature, may be subjective to you. But they are not subjective at all in the world of the Forgotten Realms setting.


Agreed with this. If all actions can be declared good because the punter wants them to be good then there's no point to role playing. And in practice there are usually mods that allow people who disagree with devs interpretations to edit 'reputation', alignment and the like. Which is a better solution than removing them completely.

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Another thing also is that good vs bad, morality and alignment are also very much subjective and open for interpretation, which is why I personally don't believe in pre-alignment and being 100% tied to those options for the rest of your play-through, with the only exceptions being devotion based (think Paladin or Demonic).

It being subjective can also be seen this way: say the game writer says killing A is good and saving them is bad, but who determines that from a moral point of view? It's like political aligment, both sides think they're right and the other is wrong.

Say I plan playing my character mostly as good (as in: trying to protect the less fortunate and go against the bandits), but there is a moment in the game where in my opinion saving that 1 bandit who is trying to improve their life is the good thing to do, but the commoners demand they're punished or banished and then the option to save them and give them another chance is scripted by the developer as evil, I don't wanna be locked out of that as a mostly "intended as" lawful good character.
And therefore I prefer a system that let's you make decisions and take consequences of those decisions on the go, without it being predetermined. Good people sometimes do bad things and bad people sometimes do good things too, none of that is ever 100% mutually exclusive and sometimes people deep down genuinely believe they are doing the good or bad thing.

I suppose the only exceptions would be Paladins and similar things, because they have to make a devotion to even be allowed to act under their division in the first place, but even then, a Paladin can perfectly make different choices after leaving their training and whatever they lore-wise go through before being declared Paladin, but in that case you just make them Lawful/Good in creation and in their skill compatibilities without associating that to dialogue. With the exception of maybe giving them some specific dialogue options for Paladin, kinda like the specific options based on Religion, Nature, Wisdom, etcetcetc, but those are additional, you're not losing any of the base options.

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Originally Posted by Genky


It being subjective can also be seen this way: say the game writer says killing A is good and saving them is bad, but who determines that from a moral point of view? It's like political aligment, both sides think they're right and the other is wrong.



Sure. And in real life people who never talk about politics are kinda boring.

Originally Posted by Genky


Say I plan playing my character mostly as good (as in: trying to protect the less fortunate and go against the bandits), but there is a moment in the game where in my opinion saving that 1 bandit who is trying to improve their life is the good thing to do, but the commoners demand they're punished or banished and then the option to save them and give them another chance is scripted by the developer as evil, I don't wanna be locked out of that as a mostly "intended as" lawful good character.


Sounds like a bad developer and I think the right thing to do if find the forums and make it clear that's a bad choice. I doubt you would find many fans disagreeing with you on this instance. Examples of alignment done badly don't mean all examples are bad.

And it's possible to have alternative alignment outcomes but they should be done in accordance to the Forgotten Realms lore. Should you kill the bandit? If you worship Tyr the question should come down to is this a lawful killing or vigilantism? If it's Meilekki it's a matter of frontier justice. Eldath would say no, all killing is wrong. So if a court has convicted the man the paladin of Tyr has to agree with the court where Eldath or Meilekki would be okay with redemption.

And for every example of where alignment has been done badly there is a counter example where lack of alignment has made the setting shallow.

I loved DOS2 -- making the world burn while standing a pool of blood was good, tactical fun. But from a role play perspective it was pretty thin soup and that was due, in part, to the absence of an alignment system.

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Originally Posted by KillerRabbit
Originally Posted by kanisatha

Which just reduces ALL actions to meaningless sameness. In this kind of a framework, there is zero point or value to role-playing. All of this, including the discussion of Shar's nature, may be subjective to you. But they are not subjective at all in the world of the Forgotten Realms setting.


Agreed with this. If all actions can be declared good because the punter wants them to be good then there's no point to role playing. And in practice there are usually mods that allow people who disagree with devs interpretations to edit 'reputation', alignment and the like. Which is a better solution than removing them completely.


I also did not like that application.

On the subject of more nuanced alignments, I went into Pillars of Eternity and snapped a pic of my character's reputations/dispositions there. Which is basically the replacement for alignment in that game.

[Linked Image]

Benevolent 4, Honest 4, Diplomatic 3, Passionate 3, Aggressive 2, Rational 2, Stoic 1, Deceptive 1, Clever 1.... I believe dispositions cap out at 4.

Mostly heroic reputation, except the Ethic Nol who hate me...but I forget who exactly they are.


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Originally Posted by kanisatha
[quote=Sadurian]
Which just reduces ALL actions to meaningless sameness. In this kind of a framework, there is zero point or value to role-playing. All of this, including the discussion of Shar's nature, may be subjective to you. But they are not subjective at all in the world of the Forgotten Realms setting.


No, characters in the world should react to my actions as they see them, they can have their own opinions and their own conclusions. Actions should matter, there should always be consequances. What I don't want is the game, aka the character sheet that brakes the fourth wall telling me what I did. If the ingame characters think I did something good or something evil that's fine, I may disagree, just don't tell me it's objective. It seems to me like you don't know how to roleplay your character tbh, and you need help and feedback from the game in order to know what you need to do to stay true to your alignment so that it tells you exactly what you need to do.


Edit: Yes here it is, proves my point:

Originally Posted by KillerRabbit

I think the right thing to do if find the forums and make it clear that's a bad choice.


You need the game to tell you what is bad and what is not. Please don't take it as an insult, to each their own, but I believe that the deeper you roleplay the less you want things like alignment.

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Originally Posted by KillerRabbit
Sounds like a bad developer and I think the right thing to do if find the forums and make it clear that's a bad choice. I doubt you would find many fans disagreeing with you on this instance. Examples of alignment done badly don't mean all examples are bad.

Neo-nazis exist, therefore there are people who disagree, no matter how crazy and unlogical it seems to you and me.
That's the whole point I was making.
And no, don't take this way out of context, it's just a radical example to make my point as clear as possible, it doesn't have to be that far-fetched in order to be open for interpretation, relative and subjective.

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Never had much use for "fixed" alignment.

From my experience, players don't rigidly stick to them anyway.
Or endlessly look for ways to justify how their behaviour falls under the alignment.

What I *am* a fan of are reputation systems.
The world and NPC's responding to the outcomes of your choices and behaviour.

Murder everyone in a village?
Maybe you've done a great service to an invading warlord, who now wants to hire you.
Maybe you've now got a bounty on your head from the local lord.
Maybe you've accidentally killed someone with hidden knowledge and are now being tracked by people who want that secret.

Saved the village from raiders?
The evil cultists operating in the village get to continue their plans.
A young hero survives the raid and joins your party.
The local mayor grants you a plot of land in gratitude.

The important part is that the magnitude of a decision directly affects how big a deal it makes and how hard it is to come back from.

If you murder a child in cold blood and people find out, how likely do you think it is that lawful people fill forgive you?
No amount of giving gold to beggars or saving orphans can undo those horrors.
There comes a point where your choices beget your reputation... and that reputation becomes a collar around your neck.

That's the real power of making decisions, not this weird restriction around what you "should and shouldn't do based on a decision at character creation".

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Originally Posted by Quietwulf
Never had much use for "fixed" alignment.

From my experience, players don't rigidly stick to them anyway.
Or endlessly look for ways to justify how their behaviour falls under the alignment.

What I *am* a fan of are reputation systems.
The world and NPC's responding to the outcomes of your choices and behaviour.

Murder everyone in a village?
Maybe you've done a great service to an invading warlord, who now wants to hire you.
Maybe you've now got a bounty on your head from the local lord.
Maybe you've accidentally killed someone with hidden knowledge and are now being tracked by people who want that secret.

Saved the village from raiders?
The evil cultists operating in the village get to continue their plans.
A young hero survives the raid and joins your party.
The local mayor grants you a plot of land in gratitude.

That's the real power of making decisions, not this weird restriction around what you "should and shouldn't do based on a decision at character creation".


Couldn't have said it better myself.

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Originally Posted by Quietwulf
Never had much use for "fixed" alignment.

From my experience, players don't rigidly stick to them anyway.
Or endlessly look for ways to justify how their behaviour falls under the alignment.

What I *am* a fan of are reputation systems.
The world and NPC's responding to the outcomes of your choices and behaviour.

Murder everyone in a village?
Maybe you've done a great service to an invading warlord, who now wants to hire you.
Maybe you've now got a bounty on your head from the local lord.
Maybe you've accidentally killed someone with hidden knowledge and are now being tracked by people who want that secret.

Saved the village from raiders?
The evil cultists operating in the village get to continue their plans.
A young hero survives the raid and joins your party.
The local mayor grants you a plot of land in gratitude.

That's the real power of making decisions, not this weird restriction around what you "should and shouldn't do based on a decision at character creation".


I will once again point to Pillars of Eternity.

An objective, numbered stat in a CRPG is a fair replacement for the ability to adjudicate individual situations and behavior on a case by case basis as a human GM. So while I find alignment unnecessary in TTRPG, it's not a terrible idea in a CRPG.

The problem is that Alignment with its two axes of Law/Chaos and Good/Evil is really under-utilizing what you can do in terms of tracking. Also...you have to value things on a good vs evil or law vs chaos level.

Good vs Evil is mostly easy....but Law vs Chaos assignments in past D&D games I've mostly found to be weird and arbitrary.

Single axis alignments tend to be even more disappointing and more prone to really weird, arbitrary decisions on what is what. (Open Palm vs Closed Fist in Jade Empire, Paragon vs Renegade in Mass Effect, Light vs Dark in Star Wars)

I tend to feel alignment with no mechanical impact is harmless. But Alignment with actual impact on dialogue will again be disappointing.

Pillars has the best approach to such behavior tracking I've seen. I've heard Tyranny has a similar approach, but I've never played it since I'm not fond of "play the bad guy" style games and whether or not that's what it is....that's what it was marketed as...so I was never interested.

Last edited by Thrythlind; 23/10/20 12:14 AM.
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Originally Posted by Kadajko
Originally Posted by kanisatha
[quote=Sadurian]
Which just reduces ALL actions to meaningless sameness. In this kind of a framework, there is zero point or value to role-playing. All of this, including the discussion of Shar's nature, may be subjective to you. But they are not subjective at all in the world of the Forgotten Realms setting.


No, characters in the world should react to my actions as they see them, they can have their own opinions and their own conclusions. Actions should matter, there should always be consequances. What I don't want is the game, aka the character sheet that brakes the fourth wall telling me what I did. If the ingame characters think I did something good or something evil that's fine, I may disagree, just don't tell me it's objective. It seems to me like you don't know how to roleplay your character tbh, and you need help and feedback from the game in order to know what you need to do to stay true to your alignment so that it tells you exactly what you need to do.


Edit: Yes here it is, proves my point:

Originally Posted by KillerRabbit

I think the right thing to do if find the forums and make it clear that's a bad choice.


You need the game to tell you what is bad and what is not. Please don't take it as an insult, to each their own, but I believe that the deeper you roleplay the less you want things like alignment.

No, I don't need the game to tell me how to play my character. To the contrary, what I want is for the game to recognize and acknowledge my good actions as good actions. And for that, the game needs an objective frame of reference through which to decide what is "good" and what is something else. If such a frame of reference does not exist, then my good actions are no different from your evil actions.

Oh, and @KillerRabbit and I are not the same person.

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Originally Posted by Thrythlind
Originally Posted by Quietwulf
Never had much use for "fixed" alignment.

From my experience, players don't rigidly stick to them anyway.
Or endlessly look for ways to justify how their behaviour falls under the alignment.

What I *am* a fan of are reputation systems.
The world and NPC's responding to the outcomes of your choices and behaviour.

Murder everyone in a village?
Maybe you've done a great service to an invading warlord, who now wants to hire you.
Maybe you've now got a bounty on your head from the local lord.
Maybe you've accidentally killed someone with hidden knowledge and are now being tracked by people who want that secret.

Saved the village from raiders?
The evil cultists operating in the village get to continue their plans.
A young hero survives the raid and joins your party.
The local mayor grants you a plot of land in gratitude.

That's the real power of making decisions, not this weird restriction around what you "should and shouldn't do based on a decision at character creation".


I will once again point to Pillars of Eternity.

An objective, numbered stat in a CRPG is a fair replacement for the ability to adjudicate individual situations and behavior on a case by case basis as a human GM. So while I find alignment unnecessary in TTRPG, it's not a terrible idea in a CRPG.

The problem is that Alignment with its two axes of Law/Chaos and Good/Evil is really under-utilizing what you can do in terms of tracking. Also...you have to value things on a good vs evil or law vs chaos level.

Good vs Evil is mostly easy....but Law vs Chaos assignments in past D&D games I've mostly found to be weird and arbitrary.

Single axis alignments tend to be even more disappointing and more prone to really weird, arbitrary decisions on what is what. (Open Palm vs Closed Fist in Jade Empire, Paragon vs Renegade in Mass Effect, Light vs Dark in Star Wars)

I tend to feel alignment with no mechanical impact is harmless. But Alignment with actual impact on dialogue will again be disappointing.

Pillars has the best approach to such behavior tracking I've seen. I've heard Tyranny has a similar approach, but I've never played it since I'm not fond of "play the bad guy" style games and whether or not that's what it is....that's what it was marketed as...so I was never interested.

Yes I love the PoE approach as well.

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Originally Posted by Thrythlind
[quote=Quietwulf]Never had much use for "fixed" alignment.

I will once again point to Pillars of Eternity.

An objective, numbered stat in a CRPG is a fair replacement for the ability to adjudicate individual situations and behavior on a case by case basis as a human GM. So while I find alignment unnecessary in TTRPG, it's not a terrible idea in a CRPG.

I tend to feel alignment with no mechanical impact is harmless. But Alignment with actual impact on dialogue will again be disappointing.

Pillars has the best approach to such behavior tracking I've seen. I've heard Tyranny has a similar approach, but I've never played it since I'm not fond of "play the bad guy" style games and whether or not that's what it is....that's what it was marketed as...so I was never interested.


Yes, I recall the way Pillars of Eternity handled it. I think it was a pretty decent compromise and I found it interesting the way gaining one element (Compassion) would lower your reputation with groups who valued Cruelty for example. So by behaving a certain way, you'd open some paths, yet close others. I also liked the way that your reputation for a given kind of behaviour would eventually open up additional options for you. If people felt you were fair minded most of the time, then they were more likely to trust your judgement for example.

Sadly, this kind of complex alignment tracking doesn't exist in DnD, so the dev's kind of have their backs to the wall.
It feels like as soon as they put a system in, people immediately load up that system with expectations.

So the second they put traditional DnD alignment in, you're going to have people arguing "Why is this even in the game if it doesn't do anything!?!". A fair point indeed.
So you either try and shoehorn something in around alignment, with imperfect results, or you just leave it out all together and track "reputation" based stuff based on big events e.g. "Saved the refugee's, freed the druid" etc.

Basically I'm come to accept that no matter what the Dev's do.. someone's going to be unhappy. My only hope is they stay true to their personal vision for the game.

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Originally Posted by kanisatha

No, I don't need the game to tell me how to play my character. To the contrary, what I want is for the game to recognize and acknowledge my good actions as good actions. And for that, the game needs an objective frame of reference through which to decide what is "good" and what is something else. If such a frame of reference does not exist, then my good actions are no different from your evil actions.


I'd argue the game should acknowledge your actions with reactions.
Assigning "labels" do those reactions is restrictive and doesn't really serve any purpose.

For example;

You save a man being robbed on the road by bandits (Good)
Except the man is actually a necromancer preying on the children of the village (Bad)
So you confront the necromancer, only to discover he's attempting to bring back his brother (the mayors) daughter? (Bad .. messy?)
So you kill the necromancer. Unfortunately, he's also the only apothecary the village has, so now they're furious with you? (Good.. but messy?)
You present the village with evidence he's been kidnapping children! (Good)
They respond by saying that losing some of their children for the sake of the villages survival is worth it! (Evil)
You burn the village down and murder everyone in response (... good?... but bad?)




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Originally Posted by kanisatha

No, I don't need the game to tell me how to play my character. To the contrary, what I want is for the game to recognize and acknowledge my good actions as good actions. And for that, the game needs an objective frame of reference through which to decide what is "good" and what is something else.


Why do you need the game to acknowledge your actions as good or evil? You don't know yourself? You realize that the ONLY way the game can acknowledge that is by adding ( good ) or ( evil ) next to the dialogue and then change your character sheet? Any consequances for your actions in the game are a completely seperate thing that is not related to alignment in any way shape or form.


Originally Posted by kanisatha
If such a frame of reference does not exist, then my good actions are no different from your evil actions.


It's almost as if its subjective and adds roleplay value instead of taking it away.



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