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Triple Advantage
Triple Advantage

Season 2, Episode 21 · 1 year ago

Bonus Action - Alignment Chart

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

On this bonus action we give our two cents on the DnD alignment chart. Although we don't agree on everything we think that it's a good discussion to have given the changes Wizards may be implementing in future editions of the game. Is alignment worth having at all? Find out our take in this bonus action! 

Ladies Gentlemen, None Binary Friends, welcome back to another triple advantage bonus action. My name is Braden. Joined with me as always is Carlos and Jordan from triple advantage, and today we're going to be something talking about, something that we promised to talk about a while back but have kind of been dragging our feed on a little bit. But that is the alignment chart. Jordan, do you want to explain to our listeners that may not be aware of exactly what the alignment chart is for? DDFI V. Sure. So the alignment chart is a way of defining your character a little bit in terms of how they act in most situations and what their general goal will be for their actions. So you have two different portions of that. You have lawful, neutral and chaotic and ways that you act, and then there is towards a good, a neutral or a evil, and so those kind of matchup in different ways and then from there you can kind of see how your character reacts a different situations. So a lawful, good character will follow the law in town, especially when it goes towards the good of the people. A chaotic good person will do what he believes is right in any given situation and will not give a second thought to what the laws are in the town and a neutral person is kind of just following his her own his or her own rules or the laws of nature or something along those lines that kind of fall outside of law and chaos. Yes, perfect. So with that in mind, let's start a discussion that may or may not just turn to a screaming match between the three of us were. Let's talk about the need for the alignment chart. Do either of you have any thoughts you want to open with regarding that? So, as I think I said in our episode originally, or actually I think I answered on the Instagram Post, I think I believe. Yeah, I believe that it's a good tool, especially for new players, to help get them to understand that their character is different from who they are as a person and so will act towards certain goals differently. So if you want to set up your character as a, you know, chaotic evil person,...

...you can look at that and say, Oh, yes, I'm chaotic evil, that means I should act in a certain situation in this kind of way, and it doesn't mean you always have to, but it is a good general tool that that you can use to work towards a particular goal that you set for your character in the beginning. I also think it's important for specific classes like monks and Paladins and maybe a soldier. Paladin's especially, are kind of behold into a particular law that they set for themselves based upon their oaths that they make, and when they're not following those oaths, they need to take a good, hard look at themselves and see whether they're really doing what they're supposed to be doing. As as that Paladin, and maybe that means that they need a change in class or they need to or maybe the DM you know, might have to take away their powers for a while or something like that, just until they can make that character grow to the point where they can say, yeah, I'm back on track here and this is where they're supposed to be and yeah, they stumbled a bit for a while, but now they've learned their lessons, or something like that. That's that's kind of where I stand with it. Okay, if I can, if I can reduce your very eloquent response down to one definitive answer, can I then put you down for being for the inclusion the alignment chart. You think, yeah, it is a thing that we need in this game. I think it is a helpful tool and it can be very useful. So yes, I would say include it. Okay, Carlos thoughts on this with the inclusion of the alignment chart as it stands right now, and it's use from just the data perspective. I don't think most players are following their true alignment that they would have chosen on their character sheets and I think as players get more accustomed to role playing their characters that alignment might fluctuate. So it's odd to have it as a written down statistic on your character sheet. I think it's more so something like, just objectively looking at it, the alignment of a character only matters between the DM and that player. Largely evil characters can play in a campaign and unless other characters that are lawful good you know care,...

...that evil character is going to be doing perhaps evil actions in the game. And that's when we get into like the hairiness of it, right, because I think from the written point of the alignments, player characters shouldn't be evil, right like they shouldn't fall under the evil layer of the alignment chart, because that's where the baddies in the world lie. Right, so you're already kind of limiting it to only six possible alignments. Right. That's what other like, at least like thinking about it. Most players are in the neutral land when they're playing this game anyways. Right, yes, I will say. I'll just throw this out there. I have played with a Paladin that was a lawful evil character. Awesome. This means that he follows the law to the letter and if someone breaks that law, it is within his right to perform evil actions, such as murdering this person for breaking that law. And so I like a capital punishment type thing. Yeah, exactly. So as a Paladin, it is his job to seek out evil and destroy it. So his actions are lawful and evil, but they still are almost considered a heroic thing, which is hard to think about, but it's still follows that heroes line of thinking, I guess. Kind of. I think that lawful evil, that that seems like the extreme end of lawful good, where you're following the law to such a letter that anybody that breaks the law is, you know, some kind of a heathen. So so you're aving the law. So on that right side, the the good side, the neutral and the and the evil side. It actually is about the ends. So are your actions for, you know, the good of people, or is it an evil ish action? Is it a good action or an evil action? And then, I guess the other side is like how are you performing this action? Is it within the law or is it chaotically? It's lawful good? Is Lawful good would be going around stopping bad people, but you would be capturing them or you would be ensuring that the proper authorities are notified and they are brought to just this and and that kind of thing. Lawful evil, you can take things into your own hands and say that you're...

...doing things for the for the greater good by destroying evil. So your focus isn't really on the good, it's on the destroying evil part. Right, right, it's a weird it is like it's a hard line to like differentiate between and just because of that, because it is a hard line, that's it's kind of fuzzy. Interpretations can sway between players. It doesn't make for a good rule and that's why I like I think that in like again, like I think that the alignment chat is great for identifying, you know, evil beings in the world. For sure, right, like if you're telling a player this character is evil. It kind of gives them that well, I'm the hero of the story, therefore I must stop this evil. And there you have your you know, you have your story drive for whatever quest or campaign that you're running. HMM. But outside of that, you know, we've had like the brind side, right, like we've had things were in the game. I think the the amendments that are being made right now with regards to like, for example, ORCs only being evil. Right, that's where you start getting into the limiting aspects of the alignment chart and why it's possibly going to be washed away in like the sixth edition books, at least in my opinion, because like, yeah, sure you can have truly evil monsters, right, like that's easy to conceptualize, right, like a to ask drops down, destroys everything, goes sleep, all right, yeah, you know, it's a thing you need to stop. But you getting into like humanoids and other you know, you want to get into a creative space with vampires and you want to get into a creative space with ORCS, for example, or Ogre's right. I like, I was just rewatching Shrek the other day and there's Shrek Fall into purely evil character. So do I want to like run an ORC campaign or, you know, an ogre campaign and that like what I have? An ogre that's being followed around by a donkey in a game. That sounds really funny, but I don't know if that would be like, you know, an evil character. So that's where like the limiting aspects of you know, sticking like it's like the little the the limitations that, you know, if you stick true to the alignment charts, all of a sudden a lot of creatures, you know, you can't possibly have these fun interactions with. But as soon as I get to that point I realize, well then I can just throw it all out the window.

It doesn't really matter, right like, and we'll make the you know, you'll have your like you can have alignment's per se, right like. You can have evil good characters without, you know, being locked onto one, because you could have a day where an NPC is having a shit mourning, you know, and all of a sudden they're kicking you know whatever. You know they're they're kicking puppies down the street because they had a bad a and yeah, that's an evil action, right, but right not condoning that in any means in the real world. By the way, purely hypothetical scenario here, but you know, it's so weird to be locked into being lawful good, right like. Maybe you have a Pallid and that's lawful good all the time, but then like one moment they like steal something because they need to, and that creates a huge conflict in the game if you're being truly, like pure about the alignment chart, versus being like yeah, you're like mostly lawful all the time, right like, but they have moments where they can step away from being that. They have moments of chaos, they have moments of whatever, and your characters will find these little corners that they'll end up playing in anyways. But as soon as you put I all right, well, therefore your lawful good, your character may go at. I don't want to be locked in this corner right like. I want to have this freedom to play and it might actually like hinder the RP elements of the game if you're just constantly be like, we'll just remember you said you were lawful good, or hey, just remember you said you were chaotic neutral. Therefore you have to be a whack job everywhere right, like it's yeah, it's odd that it's a requirement if you're just going to throw it out the window as soon as you start playing anyways. And therefore I don't think that it should be, you know, it shouldn't have as much I don't think it should go away. Like you said, it's a good barometer in a sense, right, but I don't think it needs to be, you know, part of the character creation process and I don't think it needs to be part of the Gameplay, constant reminder, you know, because if you want to play cleric, all of a sudden I have to play this devout being and be good if I want to be a cleric, right. Well, that seems like a super like type task role already. If I want to play something slightly different, well then I should play cleric, right. You know what I mean? Yeah, I don't know. Allow braided to make his points before I refute you all. We getting into it. Two thoughts. The first is that a completely agree with Carlos in the idea that it should be used, as I'm not advocating for the complete removal of the alignment chart. I think it's a useful tool, especially for reference of kind of like...

...where you land on a spectrum, but I don't think it should be a player stat like I think it should be included up there with like your level, your your race, your class and your alignment. I don't like that. I heard, I I'm going to have to find a source for this, but I heard somebody talking about how it shouldn't be that your choice on the alignment chart reflects indicates what your action should be. It should be that your actions indicate what your choice on the alignment chart should be. So your placed on the alignment chart is a reflection of how you're playing your character. It's not that you pick this and then you have to play your character like you've picked out on the terms, and I like that way of doing it much better. I also think that it's so reductionist as a tool. The spectrum of player actions covers way more than these nine boxes that you're fitting into, and the fact is you're probably going to fit it into three or four of them based on the actions that you take over the course of a campaign. The processional yeah, exactly, like like people in the real world are complex and they build their DD characters a lot of the time to be complex as well. So I don't like it. I would be like a Carlos, like here's a chart. Who which one of these are you as a person? Like? Which one of these nine things indicates what you are? Well, more like what what he is like today, because it could even like what would you be comfortable playing like? Oh, I don't know if I would be comfortable like all ways, like do I have to go any idea right now that I like signing myself up for this one way of playing for the rest of the campaign? Like it's just it takes away, in my mind, when you play it in that manner, where it's like a stat that you have to live buy, it takes away a lot of player agency and situations. Now I think that we do have to make a point that this is largely the case for newer players more so than more experienced players, because in your campaign, for example, for Hoard of the Dragon Queen, I'm playing a good aligned character who, like, I've made the point a couple of times to say, like I'm only knocking out these creatures. Yeah, right, like every time I'm fighting, I just knocked them out, and that's because I've kind of based the character or a little bit. I could kind of want to play it like the Jackie Chan combat scenes, right, and like he and those movies, they never really kill anybody. So now I have killed people in the game because well, and killed beings, right, like when we slayed the Dragon. Is The dragon a purely evil creature that we needed to kill? Could we have talked it out? Does my player alignment mean that if I'm a good character, I should be...

...looking for encounters and approach them on a more social perspective versus a combat perspective? I think that that's a lot of hard and very deep sort of decisions that a newer player probably won't see. And if the players aren't using it and they're not seeing it, then it doesn't exist in my eyes and thinking. Okay, for a few our points, please. My turn. Okay, so, Brandon, you earlier said you like the idea of the actions kind of determining your alignment versus the other way around. Yes, right. So my point is, have you made actions in the past when you're creating a character? What have those actions been in your backstory in general? Then could you potentially create an alignment based on the actions that you think your character has made. Absolutely, but that also goes back to my point about it being a static documents. Like, is every single action so ever made going to fall into one of those boxes as a character back story? Absolutely not. Right. So okay, now now is the alignment static? I don't think that the alignments are static. I think that people can change in especially in this game, and so I kind of like thinking of if you played the game infamous or something along those lines, where you can choose good or evil actions or something in between, then you can start to do that and maybe eventually, if you've made too many choices that were clearly evil as opposed to, you know, clearly good or kind of in between, then maybe your character is no longer considered good. Carlos, with regards to that Dragon, it's not clearly an evil action or clearly a good action. So I wouldn't say that that kind of you know, would affect that your alignment. Nor would I say that you would have to follow something unless you put that restriction on yourself. Right, right. So we're getting down to the alignment. Is largely important. If you, as a player, think it's Portant, yes, but also it is extremely important for Paladins and clerics. And with regards to your point earlier, there are Paladins of the oath of vengeance or of the oath of conquest, or there's clerics of the war domain or of the trickster domain. If you want to be chaotic, and you know you can. Yeah, maybe it's pigeoning, pigeonholing yourself kind of into those kind of alignments. It doesn't mean that you have to play that way.

A life cleric can still be chaotic to a certain point. He can just choose, oh well, I'm just going to go around healing everybody, indiscriminant of you know who, whether they're on my side or not. Maybe that's more of his chaotic side and it is a good action, and so you know, the gods are okay with that kind of action because it's healing and it doesn't matter what side is for or whatever. You know, there's like all sorts of ways that you can kind of play off your alignment. I just think. I just think by nature of it though, like the alignment statistic in your character has little to no effect to the actual game, and we can get into like how much of the alignment you're actually following, but like just a loose thought here. I think that maybe if we were to get rid of the alignment for example, you could replace it with a some sort of robust reputation system that actually has, you know, a driving element within the game mechanic itself. Then right, the alignments do right, because you could start your characters as a clean slate and sure you can perform actions like like destroy and kill half of a village and guess what? That's going to ruin your reputation to them and to them you're going to be an evil character. Into them, you're going to be somebody WHO's dangerous person right, whereas being an evil character, you know, you can still do that and have a good reputation in a good alignment with another group that might think you're the best. And by nature, it really the being evil then doesn't really matter. It's how you're perceived and since there's no real mechanic tying in alignment to you know, Game Interactions, I don't think it's very effective. So he's like that's where I'm thinking, like the alignment chart is meant to be a personal thing, though, like it's not meant to be like, okay, you know, like everyone else can see that they are a evil character. You know it? Yes, they can. Like evil characters can be perceived in all sorts of ways. You know, like just because you're you have a villain character that you've created, doesn't mean that they're going to be going out there doing all these evil actions. In fact, I think some of the best villains are the ones who go and make other people do those evil actions for them and they look like they're the good guy on the outside, but they're they're leer intentions or their goals there, their moral like compass is pointing them in a particular direction. How they go about doing those different actions and things like that is up to them, but like they might be...

...pointed in a particular direction and then, along the lines of alignment, mattering mechanically, it does when it comes to a life cleric who starts refusing to healing, to heal people, or starts killing people and and also refusing to heal anyone or, you know, help people and that kind of thing. Your your life cleric. If they're not, you know, doing what the Gods who give them their power, you know, is, you know, meant to do, then why would that God continue to give them that power. What, like, why? Right, like, if, if the gods, on the other hand, have no say in anything, you know as part of your DD world, then yeah, sure, like your life cleric is just getting power from somewhere else and they're, you know, able to use this this particular ability, and it's innate to them or something, then you can play it off however you want. But in terms of most dand campaigns, they have the gods, they have the you know, the different deities that are able to give people power. And so when you make a pact with that, that being you need to fall in line to a certain extent with what they would want you to do. So if you decide that you want to follow an evil ish, you know, warlock patron kind of person, like a fiend or an art demon or something like that, and you've made a pact with them, they will hold you to certain actions and they will say you need to do these things for me, otherwise I will take your powers away or like there's no reason for me to give you these abilities if all you're going to do is work against me the whole time. It doesn't make sense. Right. Right, it's definitely a communication. That thing that you have to have with your players, right, because if a player saying something like Hey, I'm a cleric and I want to attack this creature that's helpless, and you go well, you know, all of a sudden your radiant spells won't work and the play right where? What do you mean? Like, I think not something that will happen like instantaneously. Obviously, like it's not like a one and done thing. Humans are known to make mistakes and I think the like the the gods and the and the deities understand that, that they are human and that they're going to make mistakes and that they're not going to always do exactly what they want. Well, much more so. Talking about the relationship between DM and player here, right. Yeah, so it involves like again, you as a DM, are you driving the rules for that, or are you letting players play things like clerics and Paladin's and not necessarily follow an oath or not necessarily follow the whatever? Because, all right, new player wants to get into the table, they want they've chosen cleric and they attack people. MMM, and you,...

...as a DM, you say, well, none of your spells are working now, but you're still a cleric, but none of your spells work until you act accordingly to a clerk. Might create a little bit of tension between the player and it's right. Why can't I play my glass that I chose just because of the right? So obviously you have to communicate in some way with the players, like you don't just go and take away their powers for no reason, like there. It needs to be like clearly stated and maybe you talk with about talk about it with them ahead of time or as they perform different actions that you think, okay, Hey, you've done like these three actions and I'm thinking you might be starting to like change as a character, which is totally fine. How can we like change your character now to match something else? So maybe you're no longer a life cleric. Maybe now you become a war cleric and now you're going to follow, you know, a different God. Maybe you have to make that different. Packed you know that changes. You know your your character mechanically, but it's based upon the role playing that you've done or right, and so it depends on the players that you're with. Like maybe your players are more like the Min Maxi type characters who just or people who want to create, you know, a character that has these abilities disability, disability, disability, disability, and then is able to maximize their efforts that way. If that's the case, you should know that ahead of time for sure, and then you can work with them that way and and figure it out with them individually, but but on a general basis at least. This is the way that I would run my campaigns, is I would have Paladins and the clerics and the warlocks kind of understand that they have made some sort of a pact or an oath or something along those lines. There are rules that they have to follow to like most like most of the time, like they can't continue to do cure clearly clearly evil actions or clearly good actions. If you're going the other way. That would, you know, interfere with your ability to use these powers. And I think that again, always say that largely the alignment table and concerning issues around that are predominantly only issues with low level characters and new players. MMM, because, you know, dming, after a while you understand that, yes, warlocks made a pact, and do I role play that packed or am I just playing a spell caster? That's a little edgy, you know. Yeah, because, like, at the end of the day, you can play warlock and be, you know, just that's Spellcaster, with spell slots...

...are a little bit more limited. And Yeah, like, if you're not adding those aspects of like, yeah, you have this evil demon constantly clawing at you for freedom, then you're just playing a sorcer. CONGRATS, but you've chosen warlock. So it gets into the how comfortable you are role playing and whatnot. And I'm, like I said, right, like it's easier to play truly good characters, truly evil characters, once you know a little bit more about the mechanics of the game. But it should it be part of like, you know, you starting out and playing, like making these choices that affect the longevity of your character and how you're going to be running them. The first time that you're, you know, writing on a character sheet, it's a little daunting and like it's not as easy just to say like yeah, I'm like for sure, I'm a good character, right, like I want to be a hero. Well, what does that mean now? Right, like you can't write have these gray areas of action, and then again we're going back into the if you're washing it away. Well, why is it? Why is it? Why do I have to write it down on my character sheet. I don't know. And that's why I said it's a relationship between the DM and the PCs about point and a general, I would say, backstory and moral compass. Potentially it's a it's a compass more so than it is a you know, here's here's the line, don't cross it kind of thing, like here's your box, you're only allowed to be in here now. It's like it's this compass that kind of like goes back and forth all the time. Right. Yeah, for to kind of just put one last point in for like, for me, it's all about from it comes down to enforceability. Like you have this, especially when you're putting that right up next to race, class and name. It looks like it's going to be an important stat having this alignment chart. But in reality, if we're in a fight and my fighter goes I cast Aldridge blast and I go what, and I said doesn't it's a fighter on your sheet. He goes yeah, but I want to cast out Dr Blast, I'm going to be like pick up your sword and go hit that thing like that's that's the end of that discussion. There's there's accountability, there if he goes and goes I want to killed this guy, and I go doesn't it say neutral? Good on your sheet? And it goes, yeah, my response is probably all right then, just checking it's it's one of those things where it's like there's no mechanical penalty, mechanical way of enforcing to a certain extent,...

...and I hear what you're saying about the Paladin, but I feel like you could easily like if the of the Paladin walks up and it's like, I'm going to murder this person, it's not going to be like well, no, your lawful get it's gonna be like well, no, you're a palliative right. It's not necessarily the alignment chart isn't necessarily the x factor in that decision. No, as to as to the fact that, yeah, there probably would be some divine repercussions for that character, but it doesn't come from the alignment chart. It comes from the fact that he's a Palatin Paladin dedicated to a certain God. Yeah, I mean counterpoint here. If, with regards to name, if a character, if a person were to come up to you and say, by the way, I'm going to change my name now, would you I would just I would say the same thing as you did with the alignment stuff. Would yeah, sure, go ahead, you can change your name, and then in game your name gets changed and you know, people might start calling you the other name by accident or something like that, and then you'd say, Oh no, I've changed my name now to this, and you know that's the thing that happens in real life to people change their names. Oh yeah, absolutely. Um, I think that there would actually have to be like a like I mentioned of that in game. Oh by the way, everybody, I'm changing my name to like an in character. Not An explanation, but just right, by the way, my name is now. Yeah, yeah, like you don't. You don't just like walk in and be like, Oh, sory, the way. Ever, all players in the Game Eric is now Jason and Jason has never been Eric. It's always been Jason. Right, exactly. So your alignment chart is kind of the same way. Like your alignment chart, you know, it tells you where you've been and it can change as you go forward. I. I. I. I don't know if it's a onetwe comparison. I think players are a lot more likely to change their alignments than they are to change their name. Sure, Oh, for sure, for sure, it's it's not, but it is like it's also up there on the top and you know it. Kind of just throw it out there. Fair point, but I think that we've been talking about this for probably way too long now. Listeners out there, what do you think? Do you use the alignment chart? Do you think it's necessary? Do you agree with any of our points, for all of our points, or what are you thinking? Let you know. Any counselors. Sure what Jordan said? Let us know. Add Royal City Society on Instagram. Will catch you next time.

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