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[DND] The Alignment Thread :O

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Posts

  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I have personally never used alignment in a campaign, and I don't think i could take a GM seriously who insisted on it.

    You can't take a DM seriously when he uses one of dnd's core game mechanics?

    Horseshoe on
    dmsigsmallek3.jpg
  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Horseshoe wrote:
    I have personally never used alignment in a campaign, and I don't think i could take a GM seriously who insisted on it.

    You can't take a DM seriously when he uses one of dnd's core game mechanics?
    "Don't play DND" sounds like the ideal way for this guy to handle the situation. People who don't like Alignment, from what I can see from most other folks, are the people who want to be able to take the easiest path when they game every time, even if it means killin' Hitlerbabies or burning innocent folks to end a plague.

    And Theu, honestly, you couldn't come off sounding like more of an elitist wank. "Alignment is for bad players, why bother with them anyway?" :|

    INeedNoSalt on
  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    People who don't like Alignment, from what I can see from most other folks, are the people who want to be able to take the easiest path when they game every time.
    I can see why you might think this but I wouldn't make such a sweeping generalisation. I tend to prefer no-alignment systems over others and it's certainly not because I want to take the easy way out. My experience is that a lot of people who more into the roleplaying side of things or want to create more realistic settings tend to dislike alignment.

    Of course there are probably the baby-killers too, but removing alignment from the system doesn't mean that the NPCs of the village aren't going to try and lynch them for babykilling.

    SUPERSUGA on
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Hey, I don't like Alignment either...

    ...outside of D&D, that's all I'd say on the subject of taste :P

    Kudos to whoever brought up the point of the D&D cosmos first. In that setting, Good, Evil, Law, Chaos, are all practically aspects of that universe's physical reality- as much as gravity or matter. And that suits that particular fantastical setting perfectly, as it all ties in with the nature of belief/ethos actually dictating lives and, well, even afterlives.

    But in our world, or another world without pantheons or reality-controlling essences such as the goddamn universe itself judging your spirit- it would be pretty much out of place.

    Edcrab on
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  • TheungryTheungry Registered User
    edited February 2007
    I'm sorry. I use DnD as a structure to shape a role-playing experience. I like roleplaying, specifically for the value of developing a story about complex characters that grow through growth, tragedy and adventure. I put a lot of work into my characters and campaigns. I expect other GMs i play with to define PCs and NPCs by their deeds and relationships, not by a static label.

    If you like alignment, use it. If you think its so important that you aren't playing DnD without out, then yeah, i'd rather play with someone who shares my values.

    If we're using mostly DnD rules but not alignment does that mean we're not playing DnD? Who cares?

    Theungry on
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  • AllonAllon Registered User
    edited February 2007
    Alignment sucks and so do you.

    Except in Planescape. Planescape makes even that pile of shit awesome. :3
    Hmm...

    Allon on
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  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Theungry wrote:
    I'm sorry. I use DnD as a structure to shape a role-playing experience. I like roleplaying, specifically for the value of developing a story about complex characters that grow through growth, tragedy and adventure. I put a lot of work into my characters and campaigns. I expect other GMs i play with to define PCs and NPCs by their deeds and relationships, not by a static label.

    If you like alignment, use it. If you think its so important that you aren't playing DnD without out, then yeah, i'd rather play with someone who shares my values.

    If we're using mostly DnD rules but not alignment does that mean we're not playing DnD? Who cares?
    You do, apparently, enough to say that you don't take anyone seriously if they use it.

    And you're using alignment wrong if you're approaching it with alignment-defines-character instead of character-defines-alignment.

    INeedNoSalt on
  • laughingfuzzballlaughingfuzzball Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Utsanomiko wrote:
    People discussing D&D alignment concerns tend very strongly to fall along personal beliefs on morality and ethicality, yet you'll very rarely see someone acknowledge this. Most often the type of people to discuss it in this manner can't even recognize their own philosophical assumptions, and are therefore unable to address the matter appropriately as anything but a matter of mechanics. The types of people capable of discussing the issue fully generally recognize it's inherent silliness. We then wind up with active incapables and inactive capables, which compounds the silliness with sophomoric arguments and flawed logic.

    tldr: You're silly.

    Feh, that conclusion is only being reached because of your own philosophical assumptions, compunded by flawed logic.

    tldr: You're silly.

    titletraintructionoh4.gif

    You made a blanket statement when specificity is both required and feasible, then declared yourself the winner of a non-competitive activity.

    You're the silliest.

    laughingfuzzball on
  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    ME KNOW WORDS

    This is just what Salt wanted when he created this thread.

    CURSE YOU!

    SUPERSUGA on
  • ArdentArdent extra Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    He had to kill children for revenge to survive?

    Killing anyone for crimes they've yet to commit is an evil act, regardless of how you justify it.
    It's a morally ambiguous act; you can't say one way or another for sure that killing someone before they become a mass-murderer would be good for the world, but it could.

    Frankly, sometimes the ends justify the means but when you strike first you instantly cede the moral higher ground which makes history's view on you just a bit harsher.

    And yes, I did it all for the history books (doc files?).

    Ardent on
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  • UtsanomikoUtsanomiko Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    *Shakes his whittlin' stick and mutters about Lawful Evil or something*

    Utsanomiko on
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  • AcidSerraAcidSerra Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Someone said someting about alignemtn threads and killing babies. So here is an example of the difference between alignment and ethics in an example that doesn't include babies.

    During the game Icewind Dale, by Black Isle, you wind up clearing a crypt of full of zombies and other undead guardians to get to the ghost of the evil aligned necromancer within. Under alignment system, this is actually a good thing, since he is evil and you were smiting his undead hordes which are an abomination before good peoples of Fearun. Ethically, you had no grounds to invade his home, and destroy his guardians, when he had done nothing whatsoever to warrant your invasion. He had spent hundreds of years living in peace, and evil he may have been, but harming others he was not.

    So alignment good and evil is okay, but it doesn't always detail ethics perfectly.

    AcidSerra on
  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    AcidSerra wrote:
    Someone said someting about alignemtn threads and killing babies. So here is an example of the difference between alignment and ethics in an example that doesn't include babies.

    During the game Icewind Dale, by Black Isle, you wind up clearing a crypt of full of zombies and other undead guardians to get to the ghost of the evil aligned necromancer within. Under alignment system, this is actually a good thing, since he is evil and you were smiting his undead hordes which are an abomination before good peoples of Fearun. Ethically, you had no grounds to invade his home, and destroy his guardians, when he had done nothing whatsoever to warrant your invasion. He had spent hundreds of years living in peace, and evil he may have been, but harming others he was not.

    So alignment good and evil is okay, but it doesn't always detail ethics perfectly.

    A necromancer raised the undead. He took the dead corpse of a once-living being and raised in not in ressurection, but in an abominable form that he can bend to his will. That's the sort of activity condoned by Evil gods such as Nerull. One who does such things is aligning himself to Evil with a capital E.

    A Good character will rectify this situation, put an end to his crimes, and see that the bodies of the people he defiled are given proper rest. That's the sort of diligence that a Good god like Pelor demands of his followers. One who acts in such a way is aligning himself to Good with a captial G.

    You're looking at the situation as a Neutral person would in DnD. "He's not harming anyone right now, so leave him alone. No sense in me risking my neck."

    Horseshoe on
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  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I should've mentioned this at the beginning:

    The Elric books by Moorcock were the inspiration for having the two "alignments." I used them because neither had a particularly perjorative connotation. As "chaos" became more closely linked to "evil" in the minds of D&D enthusiasts I devised to separate ethical bents into the nine alignments used in original AD&D. -- Gary Gygax

    Anyone who has problems differentiating Alignment from real-world morals or ethics would do well to read Michael Moorcock's "Elric of Melnibone" books... and also "Three Hearts and Three Lions" by Poul Anderson (who Moorcock might have gotten the idea from in the first place).

    Gary Gygax, quoted above, specifically acknowledges Moorcock's work for his inclusion of the Alignment system in 1st Edition D&D. In fact, the earliest versions had only a single alignment axis, which was identical to that of the "Elric of Melnibone" books: Law vs. Chaos.

    Elric finds himself as a player in a cosmic game between Law and Chaos. As a Melnibonean, he is aligned with the Lords of Chaos by his heritage, and by his posession of the powerful chaotic sword, Stormbringer. However, as the story progresses, Elric embraces his destiny as an "Eternal Champion" and begins to turn his allegiance (his alignment) toward the White Lords of Law. He, like any mortal, is of free will, and his actions align him with the different powers and play a part in their deific struggle.

    If Alignment continues to be a problem in your games, I strongly suggest going back to its roots and seeing why that box on your character sheet is labeled "Alignment" and not "Moral/Ethical Compass".

    Horseshoe on
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  • MajidahMajidah Registered User
    edited February 2007
    I move to divide the question:

    Of the First part:
    Argument over the nature of good and evil

    Of the Second part:
    Role of alignment in D&D.

    Part 1.
    I refer audience to previous works by Kant, Sarte, Aquinas, Marx, DeCarte, Aristotle, Plato, Hume and others. Enjoy your reading!

    Part 2.

    Alexan Dria and Horseshoe have with uncommon clairty identified the real issues.

    Alignment in D&D mechanically serves as a tag by which to identify which abilities work on which targets. I don't think this is nessecarily a bad handling. Vampire a good-evil continuum mechanic in it's humanity system, which is deeply, deeply fucked. The higher your humanity the more human (read: good) you're supposed to act and the easier it is to keep your humanity high. The lower your humanity the more evilly you act and the tougher it is to build your way back up to being a nice guy. Functionally this means that there are less negative consequences (no shift in humanity) for a GOOD person commiting and act of great evil than it is for an EVIL person to commit the same act. At least alignment pretty much lets characters choose their actions.

    From a story persepective (which is almost nevery addressed by D&D), alignment is meant to inform morality play-format stories that underline the dichotomy of good and evil, law and chaos, as a certain pirate might put it. This really comes up only in Planescape games, where D&D's alignment system lacks mechanical support for these questions.

    Frankly I don't think that any of this matters much to salty. He seems to be more interested in the Lumpley principle aspects of alignment. He wants the credability in a D&D game to assign alignment changes when a player acts in a manner that violates his idea of their current alignment. Well, D&D apportions every possible power to the DM--complete control over setting, story and even the players' characters. In D&D the DM plays the game, and the players watch him play it. Thus there is no need to aquire additional ammo for your conception of alignment., that's the one that's going in the game--player's opinions and grand cosmic justifications be damned.

    Majidah on
  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Majidah wrote:
    Frankly I don't think that any of this matters much to salty. He seems to be more interested in the Lumpley principle aspects of alignment. He wants the credability in a D&D game to assign alignment changes when a player acts in a manner that violates his idea of their current alignment. Well, D&D apportions every possible power to the DM--complete control over setting, story and even the players' characters. In D&D the DM plays the game, and the players watch him play it. Thus there is no need to aquire additional ammo for your conception of alignment., that's the one that's going in the game--player's opinions and grand cosmic justifications be damned.

    Your post was pretty cool until you went ahead and implied that I'm a railroading DM who doesn't give a shit about my players. I made the thread to spur a discussion; I never said I was asking anyone to convince me of anything or that I was looking for 'ammunition'; and yeah, if a player's opinion is 'My character was taught that it's okay to kill elven babies, so it's not an evil act!', tough luck. The version of Alignment I'm going to use in any of my games is the one presented in the Player's Handbook. And yes, if I'm the DM, it's my call, it's my world, and this is how that specific game mechanic is going to work.

    You also seem to misunderstand the (quite basic) system of Humanity given in Vampire, where it takes acts of increasing severity to lower your Humanity as you drop down the chart (or decreasing severity, as you move up); murdering someone in self-defense will provoke a Humanity check at around Humanity 8, while gorging yourself on that old homeless guy and leaving him dead in an alley won't mean anything to you at Humanity 3. (None of this is relevant at all, but if you're going to rant about it, might as well rant correctly.)

    INeedNoSalt on
  • MajidahMajidah Registered User
    edited February 2007
    I'm certainly not implying your a railroading DM who doesnt give a shit about your players. I'm saying that in D&D all power flows from the DM. There is a premise, usually on page one that the DM gets final say in anything and can override any rule "for the sake of the game." In D&D, the DM is a king, and while he may be a good king, and care about his subjects concerns (say concerns over the proper application of alignment), he's still a king, and dictates what actually happens. How would D&D's rules handle the following:

    DM: I'm sorry Mike, you've run out of hit points, your character is dead.
    Mike: No he's not. Let's put it to a vote.
    (all players vote that mike's not dead, DM votes he is.)
    Mike: Looks like the players carried it. See I'm not out of hitpoints, I live and I kill the naughty monster.
    DM: Wait? How you didn't roll anything!
    Mike: Lets vote. Hey guys how about it, do we win?
    (players all vote for victory, DM votes against it).

    D&D would say that it doesn't matter what the players decide. How about this situation.

    Mike: We walk into the tavern and see an old man with a staff who offers us a thousand pieces of silver to kill a naughty ogre.
    DM: Wait, what tavern? You're in the forest.
    Mike: Duh the forest tavern.

    DM get's exclusive use of director's stance. That means he can narrate what's happening in the world, and the players can't. The players can only dictate their players actions,, and need approval from the DM (and often reference to rules to improve their credability further) for those actions to occur.

    These are all examples of the Impossible thing to do before breakfast in gaming:

    http://ptgptb.org/0027/theory101-02.html

    I'm sorry if I offended. I wasn't trying to judge you, I was just pointing out that D&D is a monarchy, and that's fine most PnPRPGs are monarchies. In a monarchy, the monarch's subjective understanding of the law is the law, so whatever you decide about alignment is how it's going to be. Making this thread to ask other's opinions is like a king reading Kant, which is great! You might also try reading Kant =D.

    Oh and you're right about the humanity system, but I would add that while a humanity 8 character might have to check humanity after mudering a serial killer and a humanity 3 might only have to check after a child, there's nothing stopping an H8 from murdering a child, and he'll be better feeling guilty about it and thus less likely to make an important drop.

    Majidah on
  • laughingfuzzballlaughingfuzzball Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Majidah wrote:
    Part 1.
    I refer audience to previous works by Kant, Sarte, Aquinas, Marx, DeCarte, Aristotle, Plato, Hume and others. Enjoy your reading!

    If you wish to do this, start with the first section of Lewis' Mere Christianity and the first part of Sartre's Essays in Existentialism. Neither is the most complex you'll find, and both have an outline and brief defense of their moral ideologies right on the surface. They also contrast one another rather well. You'll find that not all philosophers are kind enough to do this- many bury it in implied assumptions and the like. Sartre was much more typical of philosophers as far as language goes, whereas Lewis was fond of plainer language. Some of this may be due to the fact that any English readers will be reading Sartre in translation.

    laughingfuzzball on
  • ArdentArdent extra Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    Why would you even begin recommending reading on morality without referencing John Locke?

    Hoping for clarification.

    Ardent on
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  • laughingfuzzballlaughingfuzzball Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I think providing variety is important when you're trying to introduce someone to a new topic of study, and his ideaology and Lewis' are similar in a more than superficial way. I chose Lewis over Locke because Lewis wrote in plain modern English, providing another contrast to Sartre. Plus, Lewis killed, like, fifty Nazis.* Locke is important, especially to American thought, but not necesarily the best choice as a first read.

    *They weren't Nazis and there probably weren't fifty of them.

    edit- Yay Wikisource! http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/An_Essay_Concerning_Human_Understanding

    laughingfuzzball on
  • ArdentArdent extra Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I agree that Locke isn't a great first read, but I'm pretty well staggered that two people failed to raise his compiled essays as worthwhile reading.

    I agree that many of the important philosophers were hit on (Marx, Plato, Des Carte) but there were enough that weren't that the debate that would follow would seem absent some integral piece.

    Furthermore, recommending reading on immorality is really quite trite without studying Freud and being at least aware of how Jung's archetypes define social interaction in the human specie.

    S'all I'm sayin'.

    Ardent on
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  • laughingfuzzballlaughingfuzzball Registered User regular
    edited February 2007
    I'm just trying to get people started. I wouldn't want to try to compile a complete list of vital reading, because it would take a great deal of work to make sure the list was complete and to explain why each individual is in there.

    Also, synopsis are handy if you have a short attention span or little patience for the specific author, but are never nearly as thorough in defense or description as the original work.

    laughingfuzzball on
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