1. SPS Accounts:
    Do you find yourself coming back time after time? Do you appreciate the ongoing hard work to keep this community focused and successful in its mission? Please consider supporting us by upgrading to an SPS Account. Besides the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from supporting a good cause, you'll also get a significant number of ever-expanding perks and benefits on the site and the forums. Click here to find out more.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
You are currently viewing Boards o' Magick as a guest, but you can register an account here. Registration is fast, easy and free. Once registered you will have access to search the forums, create and respond to threads, PM other members, upload screenshots and access many other features unavailable to guests.

BoM cultivates a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. We have been aiming for quality over quantity with our forums from their inception, and believe that this distinction is truly tangible and valued by our members. We'd love to have you join us today!

(If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us. If you've forgotten your username or password, click here.)

D&D alignments.

Discussion in 'Dungeons & Dragons + Other RPGs' started by WickedPrince, Sep 17, 2023.

  1. WickedPrince Gems: 9/31
    Latest gem: Iol


    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2017
    Messages:
    312
    Likes Received:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    The GM has always been the arbiter on alignments. In 1E AD&D a DM could dock players advancement time if he thought they weren't playing their alignments properly when they went up a level - forcing them to spend extra time in training if they RPd their alignments poorly in his estimation. That's not entirely the same as the GM having the ability to define the alignments any way he wants. The GM has the ability to decide what actions fit what alignments (or not) but the definitions of the alignments aren't that arbitrary. And if the interpretation is that the GM can arbitrarily define the alignments any way he wants, then it is indeed GM Fiat. RAW; the alignments have a brief description of their definition. A GM can fiat override that certainly - but then the alignments become mostly useless. One of the points of having alignments is so players have an idea who their characters should get along with or not; both with other PCs and with NPCs where their alignment is (probably) known - for instance MOST NPC Drow are chaotic evil. The PC would have the right to be outright hostile if he thinks that fits his characters devotion to his alignment; or he could decide to do a "wait and see" on any given Drow (maybe watching them carefully and suspiciously) before deciding how to act towards them. Otherwise you pretty much have to assume everyone is True Neutral until you get to know them; because somehow you have no idea of what their rumored morality is. I can't imagine ignoring RAW for GM arbitrarily deciding what the alignments mean that works any other way. Of course a player has the right to ignore opposing alignments at will if he wants; but too much of that and the GM should probably have the PCs alignment slide closer to the opposed morality he's ignoring. Just as in the game where I was playing a CG character in a party that was all otherwise Evil. I voluntarily slid my alignment closer to theirs because I wasn't willing to raise a fuss, thus suggesting my character's fidelity to her chosen alignment was slipping.
     
  2. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,098
    Media:
    10
    Likes Received:
    104
    Gender:
    Male
    My favorite interpretation of the Law vs Chaos axis (just because it makes sense to me) is this: Lawful characters care about tradition, precedents and laws while Chaotic characters care about individualism and defending their own interpretation of why they do things. So it doesn't matter to me if a monk is confused about following the code of his order or the laws of the land - the fact is that the monk cares about following an established set of rules, and so he/she is Lawful. If the monk cares more about his personal interpretation of such laws, then he/she is Chaotic. If they don't care either way then they're Neutral. If they're just making things up as they go along (say, in the act of following a specific rule) then because no precedent exists then that doesn't really tell me anything - what matters is that when an opportunity for following tradition/precedents finally presents itself, then a Lawful individual will almost always choose to follow tradition (or consensus) while a Chaotic individual will almost always choose to "follow their heart".

    Good vs Evil is more straightforward: Evil is selfish particularly in regards to *INTENTIONALLY* choosing personal gain vs harm to others. So for a person living alone in a world, I would have no idea where he/she stands in the good/evil axis. But if other individuals are introduced into that world, then the moment this person chooses to make a decision that benefits him/herself at the cost of doing harm to others, then he/she is now leaning towards Evil. If they start making such decisions consistently then they are definitely Evil. Good is the opposite - a person who is intentionally willing to make personal sacrifices for the gain of others is Good-leaning, and anyone who does so consistently is definitely Good. Neutrals are somewhere in-between.
    As far as unknowingly committing Good/Evil actions goes (especially when it comes to "big picture" scenarios) then this is where the "intentionally" part kicks in. A good person who unknowingly commits evil is still good - but note that this does not excuse negligence. Negligence (especially ignoring what-ifs) is definitely Evil, and knowingly committing negligence is an Evil act. A lot of Good-intentioned but negligent people are Neutral, depending on consistency and scope (it's one thing to be negligent about say small scale business issues, and quite another to be negligent when you're a pharmacist). "Greater Good" and "better/worse of two Evils" decisions are obviously complicated, and I see these the same as the "making things up as you go along because there's no precedent" part of the Law vs Chaos axis interpretation. So if you save the life of a friend over the life of a stranger, then that doesn't really tell me anything except you obviously care for your friend. You may be choosing this decision for selfish reasons, but regardless a similar level of harm is ultimately done here anyway. But when you decide to save your friend vs a whole village, then that's an Evil act. Not that I personally see anything wrong with that (to an extent), but it is definitely an Evil act - there is definitely way more harm done to others by not saving an entire village.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2023
  3. SlickRCBD Gems: 29/31
    Latest gem: Glittering Beljuril


    Resourceful Adored Veteran

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,004
    Media:
    47
    Likes Received:
    171
    Gender:
    Male
    I mentioned this earlier, but I keep thinking about it in relation to your post.
    I had a 2nd edition character that had a strong moral code that he followed sometimes to his own detriment, such as not being able to stand by while children are harmed (probably not the best example, but stopping the big shot noble scion from beating the little girl urchin who bumped into him and spilled the groceries caused the rest of the party to face palm). However outside of things like that he tended to be rather whimsical to the point where he might flip a coin or roll a die (included in his inventory) in order to make a decision about many things.
    I had listed him as neutral good, but the DM said I was flip-flopping between being lawful and chaotic rather than acting neutral and was imposing those penalties on my character.
    The fact that the character's personality was in many ways an exaggerated SD caricature of myself made me feel he was fairly realistic, and that the alignment system shouldn't preclude a character with a personality like him from existing because he doesn't fit neatly into it. Especially since I thought being both lawful and chaotic at different times and situations meant he was neutral, rather than it being strictly a middle ground between the two.
     
Sorcerer's Place is a project run entirely by fans and for fans. Maintaining Sorcerer's Place and a stable environment for all our hosted sites requires a substantial amount of our time and funds on a regular basis, so please consider supporting us to keep the site up & running smoothly. Thank you!

Sorcerers.net is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on amazon.com, amazon.ca and amazon.co.uk. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.