Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Adjusting Alignment

While alignments for monsters and non-player-characters makes sense to me, I’ve never really understood the relevance of player alignment in D&D. It just seems to be a tool to set conflicts. As Assif said, it’s usually the cause of party destabilisation once we get to double figure levels.

Law vs. Chaos and Good vs Evil.

Saying that, I’m wondering how well each of us is adhering to our initial choice.

Chosen alignment: Chaotic Good.
Although I like the idea of being free spirited, I don’t really play it. Other than the ‘off screen’ gambling and womanising.
He happily goes along with Eolar and enjoys the safety of Lawful communities. True Chaos is scary.
True alignment: Neutral Good.

Chosen alignment: Chaotic Good. (Recently changed to Chaotic Neutral.)
While Thesis is certainly Chaotic, the Good part concerns me. He seems to have no interest in anything other than killing. Whenever given the opportunity for kindness, he usually rejects it if it has a personal cost.
True alignment: Chaotic Neutral.

Chosen alignment: Chaotic Good.
Actually I think this is fair. Although wild and unruly, Durin always tries to help others.
True alignment: Chaotic Good.

Chosen alignment: Lawful Neutral.
This Monk seems in a quandary to me. He is certainly disciplined and he respects authority, so the Lawful aspect is true. It’s the Neutrality... Intellectually he tries to maintain a balance but when forced to make a snap choice always seems to pick the good one. Why?
True alignment: Lawful Good.

Chosen alignment: Lawful Neutral.
The true role player in the group. Annoying as it is, no one can deny that Eolar’s Lawful Neutral.
True alignment: Lawful Neutral.

Chosen alignment: Lawful Good.
Despite causing Sven potentially serious schizophrenia issues later in life and causing headaches around the gaming table, Elogyn is a zealot of Good cohorting for the bureaucratic Eolar.
True alignment: Lawful Good.

Chosen alignment: True Neutral.
True alignment: Neutral Evil.

Chosen alignment: True Neutral (I think.)
I’m unsure, due to Moritz never giving me a proper character sheet. Being a Druid however, she has to be at least partially Neutral. I think she is True Neutral. She helps others for the sake of adventure and fun rather than being committed to any particular cause.
True alignment: True Neutral.

Chosen alignment: True Neutral (I think.)
Again I’m unsure, again due to never seeing a proper character sheet. A Druid has to be at least partially Neutral. I think she is also True Neutral. She wanders around helping our party for purposes of self preservation, rather than to help or hinder anyone or anything she encounters.
True alignment: True Neutral.

As for our fallen fellows:

Chosen alignment: Chaotic Neutral.
A liar and a schemer true, but Chaotic Neutral? Nah. He heroically gave his life for the Druidic lady.
True alignment: Chaotic Good.

Chosen alignment: Chaotic Neutral.
He seemed too organised and too much of a team player to be Chaotic.
True alignment: Lawful Neutral.

As a party we seem to lean towards Good, but are quiet evenly split in regards to Law and Chaos. Will this eventually lead to dissolution or conflict within the group?

These are just my opinions. They hold no weight. I’m just curious to know what you all think?


Insanodag said...

Bodush is not Neutral Evil. The primary reason he is seen as less than savoury is the genocide event which occured right after the derro-incident and was motivated by the torture of Shen-shen and Grimes' part in the derros' atrocities. In fact if anything, that particular act was Lawful Neutral in nature rather than Neutral Evil, as he did not act out of self-interest, but rather out of a sense of moral outrage. While this was a deviation from Bodush' normal laissez faire approach to life, the torture visited on Shenshen was a stark reminder that orcs remain orcs, and orcs cause pain.

To leave Grimes' village would be to let others suffer a similar fate as that Bodush suffered. While Bodush normally wouldn't care, his shock at the evils of the derro(as detailed in

made him decide to actually do something to make the world a better place.

The rest of the party, however, with the exception of Eolar, did not really have any clear motivations for aiding and abetting Bodush in this particular endeavour, and were more than happy to come to his aid and do some pillaging after the slaughter was over.

Apart from that, Bodush has not actually gone out of his way to instigate death and destruction. That has been left to the other characters.

Now, if anyone can actually make the case for Bodush actually doing something evil at any other time, I will be happy to listen.

Joebroesel said...

Some characters definitely don't play their alignment very well. We all had to choose one in the beginning and as the characters developed the alignment turned out to be a good choice or in some cases false.

After a while of playing it is perhaps necessary to adjust the alignments. I disagree with Kirk that it is only way to make playing more interesting later on. Every character has an alignment which is defined by the way they play. If you don't show any clear direction you are neutral. If the written one is not what the other party members can see, then it has to be adjusted.

Took me a long time to know how to play LN but one should remember that every label has different shades. Lawful doesn't mean I automatically follow every law. It can also mean traditionalist, konservative and in Eolars case a belief that only a ordered society/world is a viable one. The same applies for every alignment.

And I also wouldn't call Bodush evil. I think he has the same tendency towards evil as Eolar has towards good. Neutral in the heart but from time to time the tendency is slightly visible ;-)

ScottW said...

I'd agree with Sven on the Lawful front. You don't have to follow the law of the land - rather Chen is Lawful as he follows the doctrines of his monastery (conveniently not written down!).

But then I'd agree with Kirk on the Neutral/Good front. Chen should try to maintain Neutrality between Good and Evil - but does tend toward Good on a personal level.

Neutrality just isn't heroic...!

Mendez said...

How does the D&D alignment system account for things like the 'Thieves guild'?
They have to be both highly organised and yet self serving and disrespectful of reasonable laws.

Insanodag said...

Essentially, the 'Thieves Guild' phenomenon is an example of an emergent collaborative system which becomes a self-serving entity in its own right.

They start off by being ad-hoc organisations, i.e. "I'll climb in the window while you keep watch"; then they become more sophisticated "Right, we have a cat burglar, a look-out, someone to drive the getaway cart, now all we need is someone who can defuse all those nasty traps."

At this stage, the Thieves' Guild is an informal network of contacts. Then some evil bastard appears(SSEB1) who already has some sort of scheme that requires coordinating a bunch of people, like a racketeer or a smuggler, and uses their organisational skills to better facilitate this networking, for a fee. At this stage, other evil self-serving bastards(SSEBx) may decide to try to organise things on their own, to either get their own fee or to bypass self-serving evil bastard 1's fees. This requires SSEB1 to take measures to prevent SSEBx to step out of line.

A few smashed kneecaps later, and ,voila, you have a working thieves' guild. The interesting thing about them is that the structure of such a guild will be quite stable, however, which individual is occupying SSEB1's position is not. All the other SSEBx will try to put themselves in his position, but since the only way they can exert control over the criminal element in a given city is to emulate SSEB1, the thieves' guild remains.

Mendez said...

So fear of injury is key to maintaining order within a chaotic (evil) group.

(Mendez finds himself leaning further towards Eolar.)

Joebroesel said...

Eolar says: Only older can maintain older! :)