This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
NOTICE: Some online security services are reporting that information for a limited number of users from this site is for sale on the "dark web." As of right now, there is no direct evidence of this, but change your password just to be safe.

Recent Posts

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10
1
Greetings!

Hmmm...I think it is possible to think about "Alignments" and the traditional D&D Alignment System in a way that is entirely too serious, too philosophical, and embracing far too much intellectual baggage.

For many years, I have played with gamers that do just fine with the simple, traditional D&D Alignment System. There's no need to take the system too seriously, or attempt to map it somehow to real-world religious philosophy. It is of course fine to have some interesting and appropriate symmetries--but the analogy or the system is never going to be a perfect fit. In fact, it can never be so, and was never meant to be so. It is purposely straightforward and simplistic, for game purposes.

That's all it is. Like some have mentioned, the alignment system is a kind of shorthand, and a role-playing tool to assist the Player in playing their character, or the DM in playing various non-player characters. The system is a tool in which to assist the DM in thinking about a particular character's thinking, responses, or values at-a-glance.

That's what I have generally embraced and used the traditional D&D Alignment System for, and in my experience, it has done so well. The various cosmic forces, empowered spells, weird magic items and such other esoteric properties are simply stylistic flourishes and spiritual expressions of the larger alignment system in the game campaign in some limited, mechanical way. A Sword that has a specific alignment and some tendencies and goals, for example. Spells and effects that cause extra damage against the opposing alignment, and such like. Cool. It all works just fine.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
2
Quote
As I mentioned before, in my games, be it a standard Dungeons and Dragons game or any if-it-ever-happens Ayundell game efforts, or even writing, the concepts of good and evil are absolutely included.

Now, there are limits since the game is meant to be viewed by both adults and youngsters. For example while there may be scantily-clad slave girls (humans, elves, vulpinish, etc.) sex and rape are never even mentioned, if seen they are simply going about mundane tasks- there is no need to go into detail about what else may be happening, and even evil societies may impose limits on what one can do with them (on Ayundell females are generally non-combatants). Torture may be mentioned of course but there aren't any detailed descriptions about what is happening.

This is simply because it once was not considered necessary for good storytelling. Smeagol/Gollum was clearly tortured in Mordor; during the First Age some of the elves may have been tormented Dr. Moreau-style into orcs by Morgoth (see "The Silmarillion"), but Tolkein never gave any details because it was obvious what must have happened. Even H.P. Lovecraft never gave any real details (e.g. the creature in the pit in "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward").

In other words, everyone knows about evil and gets it.

The obvious advantage to alignments with characters and races, be it a story or game, is set boundaries are established. If someone wants to play an evil character I discourage it, but if he insists then so be it- but I expect him to play like one and to accept the consequences: for example it is unlikely any good-aligned character will even want to associate with him except under certain specific circumstances. Likewise good ones (no you can't steal those gems just because they're pretty). Of course evil can pretend to be good or neutral for a time but sooner or later it must be detected. If good and stealing those gems would feed a starving village might that not create a moral problem, even if you would compensate the victim later on?

If a game is all relative than anything goes while at the same time nothing goes. The sadistic and corrupt shadow elves cannot be called "evil?" Slavers attacking a roofolk tribe, killing all the adults and leading the cubs away for a life of toil and misery are not evil? The Peaceful Realm and The Gloomlands are really no different? Sorry, but...no. As an artist and a writer myself that is absurd, had Tolkien tried that then "The Lord of the Rings" would have been complete and total garbage. Frodo and to a lesser extent Bilbo and Sam all went through The Hero's Journey just as Luke Skywalker did in a galaxy far, far away. The entire argument against alignment is just another facet of a corrupt philosophy meant to undermine society and turn us into hedonistic savages. Without the notion of good and evil civilization, be it fantasy, science fiction, or real must collapse because what is there to build it upon? Chaos?

Fables, fairy tales, sagas like "Star Wars," the "Atlanton Earth" series, and "The Lord of the Rings," they all dealt with this struggle. In Dungeons and Dragons it was the same, heroes battling evil. How could Darth Vader have redeemed himself in the end if he was not evil before? What if soldiers of an evil overlord's army are there by threat, their wives and young hostages? Do you destroy them before they can do evil even though they themselves are not evil? Do you try to find another way, like killing the overlord? What if there is no time, either kill those soldiers (bad thing) or allow a town to be butchered (bad thing)? Without alignments, without solid good and evil, what is left? Where is the deeper conflict?

Alignments applied to societies also allow logical subcreations. On Ayundell the shadow elves (drow equivalents) once lived within The Nine Caverns of Tyranny and Torment, but being chaotic evil rather than lawful evil they were always a problem- then, long ago, they tried to usurp the ruling Archduke of that time. The Archduke and his forces proved too well-organized and powerful, so the shadow elves were almost entirely destroyed except for some that escaped to the Endless Caves of Chaos and Savagery, there establishing their own civilization deep down.

See how alignments already provided a logical basis? The shadow elves are chaotic evil so in the regimented Caverns they were always misfits. Even if they were all total more powerful their chaotic behavior proved to be a weakness as they could not organize for any length of time. Evil may consume itself but with CHAOTIC evil it does so constantly, recklessly. This prevents shadow elf society from becoming even stronger and makes their desire for revenge against the current Archduke and the Caverns an impossibility. It is even rumored that the Archdukes send agents into the Caverns to further disrupt shadow elf society, which is not overly-difficult to do.

With chaotic evil anything goes, savagery; only powerful leaders can command and organize anything for any length of time and even then it is shaky. Lawful evil would approach life in a much more logical fashion: a lesser Duke may desire the Archduke's position but since the realm is well-run and he prospers and already has great power (a smart Archduke cuts nobility some slack) he will instead support him. Lawful evil is much more likely to take the long view and resist immediate gratification for something more in the future (the idea of high and low time preferences). A lawful evil ruler is less likely to kill a subordinate for failure if that subordinate still has uses in the future, especially if unexpected circumstances (e.g. the appearance of azuralupins) caused the failure or doing so would cause terrible unrest or disruption. How well would a partnership among lawful and chaotic evil characters work- and for how long?

Lawful and chaotic good is a different story yet the basics apply. Essentially both want the same things, they just don't agree on how to go about it. Chaotics believe the best way to achieve good is through individual freedom; lawfuls believe it comes from benevolent regulation. If executing a villain should be done lawfuls insist it be done through due process; chaotics would prefer to handle it then and there- but both want the villain stopped for the same reasons. Nuances, how would a copper dragon and a bronze dragon working together want to handle something? Keeping a promise to return stolen money is good, but what if that money will be used for evil purposes?

The ironic part about relativism is that it deprives stories and games of any grey areas. Thanos could be considered evil based on what he was doing, but there was no doubt he did it because he wanted to avert greater misery and death. How would gamers react if they discovered the tyrant they had been hired to help overthrow was in fact keeping a kingdom that would quickly revert to savagery and brutal conquest under control? A stereotypical hero defeating lawful evil Lord Nastynaughty and freeing his hapless prisoners sounds good- until you realize that even a dark lord could have legitimate reasons to put someone in prison (rapists, murderers, bandits, etc.), so if that hero isn't careful his good deed may in fact make things worse, making him an unintentional villain and peasants nostalgic for Lord Nastynaughty!

It is only because of strongly defined good and evil that grey areas and questionable characters can exist at all. That now-infamous "good guy" drow was made all the more interesting and unusual precisely because the drow ARE an evil race- what made him turn to good? What was his backstory? Why was he so different? But by making the drow no longer evil he was robbed of the very thing that made him such an interesting character. A few good exceptions out of an entire race of evil beings become tragic outcasts: hated by their own kind but not welcomed or trusted by other races- but without good and evil? Eh, so what?

Small, weak, good creatures trying to escape a terrible evil destructive force that devastated their beautiful homeland and is now hunting the survivors has an emotional impact that cannot exist in a relativistic world. Imagine a hero among them dying as he held it off just long enough for the others to escape again (but now they are deprived of his protection). You can add dimension by making it so the force can only survive by consuming or absorbing those creatures, but while that may be understandable on the surface what if it is later revealed that by its own greed and arrogance that force became vampiric and so it became necessary to do that deed in the first place; but rather than accepting the fate it created for itself it chose to make innocents suffer.

The concept of good and evil, of alignments, add dimension and definite goals to gaming. It gives advantages and disadvantages to a character, it imposes limits, just like chess pieces- the queen can be removed by a knight she can't take but she can do things he can't. Even debating about what is good and evil must have a basis in what is considered good and evil for such a debate to exist in the first place!

The definitions can be blurred at the edges, but the basics should always apply. This is why alignments were included in Dungeons and Dragons, not just for heroic fantasy but so the game would be more multi-layered and require more thoughtful, intelligent choices.



OK that's bit of over-exaggeration, but srsly dude. There's a lot of wrong here.

So first and foremost - alignement =/= objective morality. That's one thing all people screeching about how removing it leads to grey moral nihilism has to get. Tolkien has not alignment, alas he has Good and evil. So does "Wheel of Time" (though it's not my fav) and many others. Real life religions and philosophies has usually quite clear notions of right and wrong, but rarely something that would fit alignment for various reasons. First and foremost because Good-Evil/Law-Chaos cosmology of Great Wheel is utter bullshit. It's like morality chart by highly authistic kid, who tried to put all his favourite toys in afterlife. It's just against any serious philosophical and religious intuitions humanity ever discovered/created maybe aside American Moral Therapeutic Deism in the end (ergo bullshit).

So we have boring unispired cosmology that removes some serious dimensions, rather than enhancing it. Another simplificaton is on personal morality scale - most religions and believes has differentiation between good and evil, but also quite vast scope of various sins and virtues, and it's I think quite common for people to be virtuous in one area while still weak in others (then of course in D&D it's hard to treat Evil as weakness, it's perfectly acceptable moral choice of 1/4 of cosmic ultimate powers). You want interesting moral systems while keeping objective morality on level of gameplay - virtue/vice systems are way better than alignments, precisely by pinpointing characters good and bad sides, rather than trying to push them into one box. Because this box is fucking boring. But then I talk to a man who consider The Nine Caverns of Tyranny and Torment to be inspired worldbuilding choice, and apparently loves alignment so much he inflated Prime Material with Outer Planes. Yeah, very inspiring. Very meaningful. Aha.

The point is precisely real life is not like this. And vast majority of fantasy is not like this, because dividing people into clear black and whiteshirts, end usually in a procession of forgettable redshirts. The systems of psychology, personal believes, vice and virtue are way better to simulate in gameplay various moral aspects with or without objective morality (and let's remember the oldest fantasy books - whole sword and sorcery stuff was rather immoral thing, without objective outsiders to go and tell Conan robbing tombs is Chaotic Neutral behaviour) and yet Conan is still awesome rounded character, with quite clear moral code.

And third aspect close aligned to second - generally in real life and most stories we do not have AL detectors, AL spells, the gods coming to judge are rare either in real and fantasy religions. So aside of being utterly simplistic, it's also twisting gameplay into something quite utterly alien to real experience. You can do it in some specific systems - like I said IIRC there was this Arthurian game with vice and virtues (which was awesome because you can get well complicated characters without foolish discussion how to push them to alignment chart, and yet objective morality was still in place).

And Drizzt is not really interesting character. He's just good drow. Father of all snowflakes, of all wicked flumphs and tyrannical blink dogs, and lawful succubi. You don't need OBJECTIVE ABSOLUTE COSMIC EVIL OF SPIDER QUEEN to create cultural strife between mainstream and dissidents who consider such culture either immoral, or overly rigid or whatever. It happens all the time in real life - you have people abandoning their people's ways for good or bad to seek something else. Usually in much more interesting fashion than Drizzt. Give me Amishes turned technocrates, Hindus turned into judaism, Seattle SJWs turning salafite Muslims. That's cool stuff.

Quote
But by making the drow no longer evil he was robbed of the very thing that made him such an interesting character. A few good exceptions out of an entire race of evil beings become tragic outcasts: hated by their own kind but not welcomed or trusted by other races- but without good and evil? Eh, so what?

Of course you don't need objective Good and Evil, not even talking about OBJECTIVELY DETECTED AND COMMONLY KNOWN Good and Evil to write such story.
You just need few cultures hating each other - like you know human cultures in real life. Like Rohingya Muslim turning Buddhist and wanting to assimilate into Burman society, or Serbian Orthodox converting to Lutheranism and embracing German culture, or like any situation when Culture A and Culture B basically hates each other, and someone from A wanna join B, or B-side at least.
Situation will be the same - A will hate you for abandoning your people and their believes, B won't trust you because you came from wicked and godless A people.

Quote
The ironic part about relativism is that it deprives stories and games of any grey areas. Thanos could be considered evil based on what he was doing, but there was no doubt he did it because he wanted to avert greater misery and death. How would gamers react if they discovered the tyrant they had been hired to help overthrow was in fact keeping a kingdom that would quickly revert to savagery and brutal conquest under control? A stereotypical hero defeating lawful evil Lord Nastynaughty and freeing his hapless prisoners sounds good- until you realize that even a dark lord could have legitimate reasons to put someone in prison (rapists, murderers, bandits, etc.), so if that hero isn't careful his good deed may in fact make things worse, making him an unintentional villain and peasants nostalgic for Lord Nastynaughty!

I don't even know what are you talking about. That's perfectly scenario that does not need objective alignment. It just needs dissidents against authoritarian government who overthrows it just to makes things worse. Thing is in D&D absolute Wheel morality it does not matter - utilitarian consequences bear no value for judgement of Good, Evil, Law, Chaos. If your Good action cause tragedy, or Lawful actions cause spread of anarchy - well that's just nature of things - you still did right according to your absolute deontological alignment.

TL;DR Alignment is stupid, and every single idea you discuss here works equally fine OR BETTER, without D&D like cosmological alignment. Duh.

Quote
Because as I mentioned the force was was evil and actively hunting them. Why would your version be hunting them? If a natural phenomenon it would be no different than a tornado and is just a force. But my version has malevolence and was deliberately hunting them for evil reasons. My version also has intelligence and is hunting them because of its own self-destructive actions but is making others pay.

The thing is for our small creatures this force will be evil whether it's willing or blind, whethers it's malevelont or cosmically uncaring. From their perspective it does not matter, and as long as story is about them - what reader care is their survival, not nature of catastrophe endangering them. That's why horror with good leads works just as well with CE slasher murderer, TN mutated bloodthirtsty dog-bears and LE demonic entity.
3
The largest online group of RPG gamers in my area requires you to -
That's the thing: people online insist on all sorts of stupid shit they never would in person, whether it be racist nonsense, or nonbinary pronouns in 1776 nonsense. The bravery of being behind a keyboard brings them to all sorts of retardation.

Where possible, play in person.
The nonsense was for in-person play. They have a form to fill out the specifics of your in-person game to advertise it online with them, and you must check a box affirming that you will provide several safety tools.

It makes it harder to find players or games, but the ones you can find using other means are thankfully free of that crap.
4
Media and Inspiration / Re: Dune
« Last post by HappyDaze on Today at 09:07:42 AM »
Quote
The Tolkien Estate is sabotaging LotR,

Is it?
Look at the recent video games and upcoming TV show where the contractors clearly don't care to adhere to the lore. They're just using the brand name for clout, and the Estate doesn't care to maintain the lore.
So the whole Star Wars sequel trilogy tragedy replayed?
5
This is a situation that is handled better in the two-axis, non-standard dice system of FFG Star Wars/Genesys. Basically a miss (lack of sufficient successes) is a miss, but a miss with sufficient Threat or a Despair result can hit a friendly target if the GM determines that it's possible. I suppose a miss with sufficient Advantage or a Triumph might hit an enemy other than the intended target if the GM feels that's possible. The system gets a lot of shade for being narrative, but it actually has mechanics to guide what are often "just make it up" situations in other more traditional rulesets.
6
I'm playing mostly off the grid but occasionally on it.  So whatever I do has to work equally well on both.  In the past, that's been what others here have done of "no change" to "small penalty for firing into melee".  For my current game, I specifically wanted to discourage firing into melee but not prohibit it, which meant that I needed some kind of rule to get that outcome.

That said, I will certainly override that with GM adjudication when the situation warrants.  If some warrior is holding a narrow, low tunnel against a group of enemies, you can darn well bet I'll use some kind of cover rules, where if the miss is by the amount of cover it hits the ally in the back.  It's merely that most of the situations I have are more ambiguous, with room for the melee combatants to be in constant motion, making a long-range shot practically impossible.  Short of a sufficient rule, I'd simply not allow the shot at all, with situational exceptions for when someone thought the odds of a hitting a random target in the mix was worth the risk.
7
Media and Inspiration / Re: Dune
« Last post by BoxCrayonTales on Today at 08:46:10 AM »
Quote
The Tolkien Estate is sabotaging LotR,

Is it?
Look at the recent video games and upcoming TV show where the contractors clearly don't care to adhere to the lore. They're just using the brand name for clout, and the Estate doesn't care to maintain the lore.
8
The biggie for me is generally fig-to-base ratio. A lot of newer figs seem to love poses or designs that significantly overlap their 1" bases... which means you can't always run another fig up base to base because parts overlap.

Yeah. Bases have gotten a bit out of control lately ...






For me, these are display models, not TTRPG minis. Great for showing off your painting skills, but not for gaming.
9
The biggie for me is generally fig-to-base ratio. A lot of newer figs seem to love poses or designs that significantly overlap their 1" bases... which means you can't always run another fig up base to base because parts overlap.

Yeah. Bases have gotten a bit out of control lately ...




10
A to-hit penalty.  And if the to-hit penalty changes the result from a hit to a miss, then roll an attack on the ally.

That sort of rule is exactly what Godfather Punk was talking about.

Depending upon the #s, it can easily be more likely to hit your ally than your target. Which is kinda silly IMO.

Not silly IMO.  Then near-miss in the initial roll means you were really close, which means the bullet was really close to the ally.  The second roll checks checks armor vs penetration, luck, etc.  I suppose it would be worthwhile to subtract skill from the second roll, but that seems more trouble than it's worth

It's not silly IN THEORY.

But in practice, there would be points in the math where you are more likely to hit who you're not aiming at. Which is a silly result.

Ex: If you hit a foe on a d20 15+ normally but being in melee is a -4 so you hit on a 19+. Then if you're within that 4 points you hit your ally instead. So 10% of hitting foe and 20% of hitting ally.

You could add on additional rule complexity and rolls to limit that chance (though it's hard to do so for every potential combination) but that starts to slow down gameplay substantially and makes then entire system more complex.

Hence my preference for KISS rules where such results aren't possible even on the edges.
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 10