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Author Topic: Alignment is Being Removed from DnD  (Read 2749 times)

thornad

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Alignment is Being Removed from DnD
« on: June 13, 2022, 09:41:36 PM »
The next edition of DnD will get rid of Alignment.

I don't have any special insider information on this, but judging by the current social climate surrounding the game it is pretty clear this is the direction the game is heading. The idea of characters and creatures being placed on a 9-axis grid of morals and ethics, is too rooted in the traditional values that some in a modern audience find abrasive if not offensive.

Alignment is such a core part of DnD, going all the way back to Chainmail, it is hard to imagine the game without it. The Sword & Sorcery and fantasy genres that inspired the early campaigns in general are rooted in the struggle of good and evil. I'd like to propose an alternate alignment system that will preserve its place for older fans and make room for new generations to embrace the game.

This is a system that preserves the idea of alignment while opening up the system for any ideas to come. This should satisfy established players of the game as well as be welcoming to new players who may not hold the same views.

Devotion

Devotion is your character’s life philosophy, cause, or religious beliefs and how devoted they are to them. Your character’s dedication to their beliefs is their Devotion stat. This may be used to resist temptation, or to disobey mind control if being forced by dark magics to do that which is contrary to their beliefs. If a spell like Command or Mind Control is cast on a player and they are being forced to do something against their Devotion, they may add their Devotion modifier to their Save to resist.
 
Each character starts with a Devotion stat of 10, this may be adjusted by class, ancestry (I'm pretty sure the term "race" is going away), level, and behavior.

3-8:     weakly holds to their ideals
9-11:   moderately holds to their ideals
12-15: strongly holds to their ideals
16-17: very strongly holds to their ideals
18+:    near fanatical devotion to their ideals

There may be temporary modifiers to a character’s devotion score. An influential and charismatic leader can increase devotion or even change beliefs.

There are many philosophies in the world. Law & chaos, good & evil are core elements of the swords & sorcery genre. Some want everything to have an order, to obey the will of the gods or of the king. Others want to indulge in anarchy, unbeholden to any man or god. Your character may hold compassion to be the highest ideal, or may believe that the god of war is the most powerful and the only one worthy of worship who all should bend the knee to. If the character violates his or her devotion then the GM may penalize them or reduce their devotion stat. Characters may also evolve and develop different Devotions through game play.

By default the character is either Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic, but there is no limit to the different possible devotions a character may hold and a player may work with the GM to make one up that fits their character concept. Some example are described here:

Law: the character holds the rule of law to be the highest ideal.

Neutrality: the character does not want to take sides

Anarchy: the character rejects all forms of coercion by force of law, hierarchy, and order.

War: the character believes that conquest and war is the only way to unite the people and bring peace.

Compassion: the character feels deeply for others and wants no harm to come to anyone.

Nihilism: the character rejects all religious and moral principles, in the belief that life is meaningless and there is no point to the world.

Stoicism: the character believes in reigning in passions. “Fear does us more harm than the things of which we’re afraid.”

Good: the character is morally excellent, virtuous, and holds righteousness as the highest ideal.

Pious: the character is devoted to the commandments of his or her deity.

Evil: the character is self centered, immoral, wicked, and of ill nature. Of course no one thinks they are evil so they will call their philosophy by another name such as

Wokeism: the character believes that anyone who has a differing opinion is literally a Nazi and should be excommunicated from society. Wokeism has a fluid definition of what is acceptable to believe and what may be alright today may be unacceptable tomorrow, making those who do not immediately change to the new proper woke-think a literal Nazi.

SJW: usually closely tied to Wokeism. While everyone hates actual Nazi's, SJW's want to be congratulated for it. They specialize at virtue signaling: letting everyone know just how virtuous they are because they support the Current Thing (whatever the cause du jour of the day is).



* * *

I think it is inevitable that Alignment will be removed. I was trying to think of an alternate system that would preserve Alignment and still allow for whatever the changing whims of new players are. And this is also an attempt to turn it into more of a tangible game mechanic.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2022, 02:09:46 AM by thornad »
Gen-Xtra

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Re: Alignment is Being Removed from DnD
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2022, 08:44:10 AM »
Fucking idiots!!!  The whole alignment system is a fucking pillar of DnD, it's in the game's DNA!

This will send more players to pathfinder in droves...
Fuck the fascist right and the fascist left.

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Alignment is Being Removed from DnD
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2022, 09:45:37 AM »
The next edition of DnD will get rid of Alignment.

I don't have any special insider information on this, but judging by the current social climate surrounding the game it is pretty clear this is the direction the game is heading. The idea of characters and creatures being placed on a 9-axis grid of morals and ethics, is too rooted in the traditional values that some in a modern audience find abrasive if not offensive.

Alignment is such a core part of DnD, going all the way back to Chainmail, it is hard to imagine the game without it. The Sword & Sorcery and fantasy genres that inspired the early campaigns in general are rooted in the struggle of good and evil. I'd like to propose an alternate alignment system that will preserve its place for older fans and make room for new generations to embrace the game.

Your recap about the history of alignment is inaccurate. It wasn't the struggle between good and evil, but law and chaos initially. Good and evil were added later and made the mechanic simultaneously stupidly complex and absurdly overly simplistic.

In any case, I never liked alignment and I don't mind if it gets removed. For a while now I've been using a house rule where cleric/paladin's may turn anything their faith considers anathema, regardless of stated alignment.

Fucking idiots!!!  The whole alignment system is a fucking pillar of DnD, it's in the game's DNA!

This will send more players to pathfinder in droves...
Pathfinder is also woke af so I expect Paizo will remove alignment at some point too.

bromides

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Re: Alignment is Being Removed from DnD
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2022, 12:40:45 PM »
Yeah... red box was Lawful vs. Chaotic. The forces of civilization against the dark chaotic masses.

Chaos just struck me as a copy of the Warhamster universe's aversion to all things Chaos.

You might also look at it as "entropy". It's the formless, chaotic Other that overtakes civilization.
I like this approach, but it's 100% against Progressive dogma, so it will never work in the current industry.

Pat

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Re: Alignment is Being Removed from DnD
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2022, 02:22:28 PM »
Yeah... red box was Lawful vs. Chaotic. The forces of civilization against the dark chaotic masses.

Chaos just struck me as a copy of the Warhamster universe's aversion to all things Chaos.

You might also look at it as "entropy". It's the formless, chaotic Other that overtakes civilization.
I like this approach, but it's 100% against Progressive dogma, so it will never work in the current industry.
D&D's alignment predates Warhammer, and was inspired by Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions. Moorcock's version is also derived from this.

Quote from: Poul Anderson, Three Hearts and Three Lions (1953)
Holger got the idea that a perpetual struggle went on between primeval forces of Law and Chaos. No, not forces exactly. Modes of existence? A terrestrial reflection of the spiritual conflict between heaven and hell? In any case, humans were the chief agents on earth of Law, though most of them were so only unconsciously and some, witches and warlocks and evildoers, had sold out to Chaos. A few nonhuman beings also stood for Law. Ranged against them was almost the whole Middle World, which seemed to include realms like Faerie, Trollheim, and the Giants -- an actual creation of Chaos.
Quote from: Poul Anderson, Three Hearts and Three Lions (1953)
This business of Chaos versus Law, for example, turned out to be more than religious dogma. It was a practical fact of existence, here. He was reminded of the second law of thermodynamics, the tendency of the physical universe toward disorder and level entropy.
Holger's an engineer, who fought in WW2 and then was transported to a fantasy realm out of medieval romances. The book also defined D&D's paladin and troll.

thornad

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Re: Alignment is Being Removed from DnD
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2022, 03:02:13 AM »
Your recap about the history of alignment is inaccurate. It wasn't the struggle between good and evil, but law and chaos initially. Good and evil were added later and made the mechanic simultaneously stupidly complex and absurdly overly simplistic.

Where did I explicitly say Chainmail had good and evil? I simply generalized the history of alignment in D&D goes all the way back to Chainmail. That Law/Chaos, Good/Evil came from fantasy literature. You are being pedantic.

In fact Chainmail calls it General Line Up, not Alignment if you want to be extra pedantic about it.
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Re: Alignment is Being Removed from DnD
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2022, 02:23:20 AM »
Yeah... red box was Lawful vs. Chaotic. The forces of civilization against the dark chaotic masses.

Chaos just struck me as a copy of the Warhamster universe's aversion to all things Chaos.

You might also look at it as "entropy". It's the formless, chaotic Other that overtakes civilization.
I like this approach, but it's 100% against Progressive dogma, so it will never work in the current industry.

The aversion to chaos goes back thru human history. The ancient Egyptians depended on order, the annual flooding of the nile delta which Egypt depended on for fertile soil. Chaos, the disruption of order, would cause mass starvation if the flood cycle was affected.
Fuck the fascist right and the fascist left.

thornad

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Re: Alignment is Being Removed from DnD
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2022, 02:36:30 AM »
You could say that a central concept in Norse Mythology is chaos and order. Ginnungagap was the primordial chaos that order emerged from. The Aesir fight to maintain order, but in the end lose to chaos at Ragnarok.
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BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Alignment is Being Removed from DnD
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2022, 10:58:55 AM »
Most mythologies divided the world into order and chaos, usually equating these with good and evil respectively. In Egyptian myth, constructive chaos symbolized by Set was also considered part of Ma'at's order. That was the inspiration for Moorcock's Stormbringer series, but he further explored it by saying that both order and chaos become dangerous at their extremes. D&D's two-axis alignment loses sight of this.

Kahoona

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Re: Alignment is Being Removed from DnD
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2022, 04:48:09 AM »
Personally, I think the "Rigid" 9 Axis Alingnment chart is dated and much prefer the homebrew Circle Axis you see floating around as it's more granular and you just put a dot on the chart where you are at. This said.

The "Alignment Chart" is such a core feature to D&D and games inspired by it. The notion of Fantasy is there are Objectively Good and Objectively Evil entities. Its a staple and even if I feel aspects of it are dated doesn't mean it should be removed. It's like how we still have Skills in D&D when they included Attribute Checks. Why have both of these things? Well because the game had always had skills. A better example is the CR and EXP rules when the CR remains a broken mess that doesn't work and the game encourages you to play by milestone. They keep these "older" aspects around because they are what D&D is.

Overall, I agree they will probably remove alignment because "Ooooh no we can't have Objectively Evil and Good!" Unless they are "Insert Political Group" here.

BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Alignment is Being Removed from DnD
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2022, 09:34:59 AM »
Personally, I think the "Rigid" 9 Axis Alingnment chart is dated and much prefer the homebrew Circle Axis you see floating around as it's more granular and you just put a dot on the chart where you are at. This said.

The "Alignment Chart" is such a core feature to D&D and games inspired by it. The notion of Fantasy is there are Objectively Good and Objectively Evil entities. Its a staple and even if I feel aspects of it are dated doesn't mean it should be removed. It's like how we still have Skills in D&D when they included Attribute Checks. Why have both of these things? Well because the game had always had skills. A better example is the CR and EXP rules when the CR remains a broken mess that doesn't work and the game encourages you to play by milestone. They keep these "older" aspects around because they are what D&D is.

Overall, I agree they will probably remove alignment because "Ooooh no we can't have Objectively Evil and Good!" Unless they are "Insert Political Group" here.
I disagree with keeping things around because tradition. It's moved into cargo culting now. We keep these things because they've always been around since the edition they were introduced, but the context has changed so much from their original introduction that we no longer know why we have them or what purpose they serve.

Pat

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Re: Alignment is Being Removed from DnD
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2022, 10:01:02 AM »
Personally, I think the "Rigid" 9 Axis Alingnment chart is dated and much prefer the homebrew Circle Axis you see floating around as it's more granular and you just put a dot on the chart where you are at. This said.

The "Alignment Chart" is such a core feature to D&D and games inspired by it. The notion of Fantasy is there are Objectively Good and Objectively Evil entities. Its a staple and even if I feel aspects of it are dated doesn't mean it should be removed. It's like how we still have Skills in D&D when they included Attribute Checks. Why have both of these things? Well because the game had always had skills. A better example is the CR and EXP rules when the CR remains a broken mess that doesn't work and the game encourages you to play by milestone. They keep these "older" aspects around because they are what D&D is.

Overall, I agree they will probably remove alignment because "Ooooh no we can't have Objectively Evil and Good!" Unless they are "Insert Political Group" here.
I disagree with keeping things around because tradition. It's moved into cargo culting now. We keep these things because they've always been around since the edition they were introduced, but the context has changed so much from their original introduction that we no longer know why we have them or what purpose they serve.
That's less cargo culting and more Chesterson's fence. Removing something because you don't know why it's there can lead to unexpected consequences. Especially in this case, where it's clear different people use it in different ways, and leaving it in is largely harmless.

HappyDaze

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Re: Alignment is Being Removed from DnD
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2022, 10:36:30 AM »
Fucking idiots!!!  The whole alignment system is a fucking pillar of DnD, it's in the game's DNA!

This will send more players to pathfinder in droves...
Good analogy there with DNA. Not everything in DNA is beneficial. A lot is junk, and some is actively harmful.

thornad

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Re: Alignment is Being Removed from DnD
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2022, 09:08:56 PM »
Fucking idiots!!!  The whole alignment system is a fucking pillar of DnD, it's in the game's DNA!

This will send more players to pathfinder in droves...
Good analogy there with DNA. Not everything in DNA is beneficial. A lot is junk, and some is actively harmful.

So called Junk DNA has turned out to be very important, much like booting an operating system it has an essential role in conducting the production of life.

But you are correct there is a lot of DNA that is not beneficial, we have accumulated a lot of harmful mutations over the generations. And it seems to be only getting worse.
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BoxCrayonTales

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Re: Alignment is Being Removed from DnD
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2022, 02:46:38 PM »
Personally, I think the "Rigid" 9 Axis Alingnment chart is dated and much prefer the homebrew Circle Axis you see floating around as it's more granular and you just put a dot on the chart where you are at. This said.

The "Alignment Chart" is such a core feature to D&D and games inspired by it. The notion of Fantasy is there are Objectively Good and Objectively Evil entities. Its a staple and even if I feel aspects of it are dated doesn't mean it should be removed. It's like how we still have Skills in D&D when they included Attribute Checks. Why have both of these things? Well because the game had always had skills. A better example is the CR and EXP rules when the CR remains a broken mess that doesn't work and the game encourages you to play by milestone. They keep these "older" aspects around because they are what D&D is.

Overall, I agree they will probably remove alignment because "Ooooh no we can't have Objectively Evil and Good!" Unless they are "Insert Political Group" here.
I disagree with keeping things around because tradition. It's moved into cargo culting now. We keep these things because they've always been around since the edition they were introduced, but the context has changed so much from their original introduction that we no longer know why we have them or what purpose they serve.
That's less cargo culting and more Chesterson's fence. Removing something because you don't know why it's there can lead to unexpected consequences. Especially in this case, where it's clear different people use it in different ways, and leaving it in is largely harmless.
5e has already removed alignment from any rules relevance. No more mechanics reference it. It’s vestigial. This hasn’t caused any problems to my knowledge.