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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 withme as always is Carlos and Jordan from triple advantage, and today we'regoing to be something talking about, something that we promised to talk about awhile 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 ourlisteners that may not be aware of exactly what the alignment chart is for? DDFI V. Sure. So the alignment chart is a way of definingyour character a little bit in terms of how they act in most situations andwhat their general goal will be for their actions. So you have two differentportions of that. You have lawful, neutral and chaotic and ways that youact, 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 youcan 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 towardsthe good of the people. A chaotic good person will do what he believesis right in any given situation and will not give a second thought to whatthe laws are in the town and a neutral person is kind of just followinghis her own his or her own rules or the laws of nature or somethingalong 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 ormay 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 haveany thoughts you want to open with regarding that? So, as I thinkI said in our episode originally, or actually I think I answered on theInstagram Post, I think I believe. Yeah, I believe that it's agood tool, especially for new players, to help get them to understand thattheir character is different from who they are as a person and so will acttowards certain goals differently. So if you want to set up your character asa, you know, chaotic evil person,...

...you can look at that and say, Oh, yes, I'm chaotic evil, that means I should actin a certain situation in this kind of way, and it doesn't mean youalways have to, but it is a good general tool that that you canuse to work towards a particular goal that you set for your character in thebeginning. I also think it's important for specific classes like monks and Paladins andmaybe a soldier. Paladin's especially, are kind of behold into a particular lawthat they set for themselves based upon their oaths that they make, and whenthey're not following those oaths, they need to take a good, hard lookat 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 inclass or they need to or maybe the DM you know, might have totake away their powers for a while or something like that, just until theycan 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 responsedown to one definitive answer, can I then put you down for being forthe inclusion the alignment chart. You think, yeah, it is a thing thatwe need in this game. I think it is a helpful tool andit can be very useful. So yes, I would say include it. Okay, Carlos thoughts on this with the inclusion of the alignment chart as itstands right now, and it's use from just the data perspective. I don'tthink most players are following their true alignment that they would have chosen on theircharacter sheets and I think as players get more accustomed to role playing their charactersthat alignment might fluctuate. So it's odd to have it as a written downstatistic on your character sheet. I think it's more so something like, justobjectively looking at it, the alignment of a character only matters between the DMand that player. Largely evil characters can play in a campaign and unless othercharacters that are lawful good you know care,...

...that evil character is going to bedoing perhaps evil actions in the game. And that's when we get into likethe hairiness of it, right, because I think from the written pointof the alignments, player characters shouldn't be evil, right like they shouldn't fallunder the evil layer of the alignment chart, because that's where the baddies in theworld lie. Right, so you're already kind of limiting it to onlysix possible alignments. Right. That's what other like, at least like thinkingabout it. Most players are in the neutral land when they're playing this gameanyways. Right, yes, I will say. I'll just throw this outthere. 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 someonebreaks that law, it is within his right to perform evil actions, suchas murdering this person for breaking that law. And so I like a capital punishmenttype thing. Yeah, exactly. So as a Paladin, it ishis job to seek out evil and destroy it. So his actions are lawfuland evil, but they still are almost considered a heroic thing, which ishard to think about, but it's still follows that heroes line of thinking,I guess. Kind of. I think that lawful evil, that that seemslike the extreme end of lawful good, where you're following the law to sucha letter that anybody that breaks the law is, you know, some kindof a heathen. So so you're aving the law. So on that rightside, the the good side, the neutral and the and the evil side. It actually is about the ends. So are your actions for, youknow, the good of people, or is it an evil ish action?Is it a good action or an evil action? And then, I guessthe other side is like how are you performing this action? Is it withinthe law or is it chaotically? It's lawful good? Is Lawful good wouldbe going around stopping bad people, but you would be capturing them or youwould be ensuring that the proper authorities are notified and they are brought to justthis and and that kind of thing. Lawful evil, you can take thingsinto your own hands and say that you're...

...doing things for the for the greatergood by destroying evil. So your focus isn't really on the good, it'son the destroying evil part. Right, right, it's a weird it islike 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 cansway between players. It doesn't make for a good rule and that's why Ilike I think that in like again, like I think that the alignment chatis great for identifying, you know, evil beings in the world. Forsure, 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 thethe 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 thelimiting aspects of the alignment chart and why it's possibly going to be washed awayin like the sixth edition books, at least in my opinion, because like, yeah, sure you can have truly evil monsters, right, like that'seasy to conceptualize, right, like a to ask drops down, destroys everything, goes sleep, all right, yeah, you know, it's a thing youneed 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 toget 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 Fallinto purely evil character. So do I want to like run an ORC campaignor, 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 soundsreally 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 ofcreatures, you know, you can't possibly have these fun interactions with.But as soon as I get to that point I realize, well then Ican 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 havealignment's per se, right like. You can have evil good characters without, you know, being locked onto one, because you could have a day wherean NPC is having a shit mourning, you know, and all of asudden they're kicking you know whatever. You know they're they're kicking puppies downthe 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'sso weird to be locked into being lawful good, right like. Maybe youhave a Pallid and that's lawful good all the time, but then like onemoment they like steal something because they need to, and that creates a hugeconflict 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, rightlike, but they have moments where they can step away from being that.They have moments of chaos, they have moments of whatever, and your characterswill find these little corners that they'll end up playing in anyways. But assoon 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 cornerright like. I want to have this freedom to play and it might actuallylike 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 rememberyou said you were chaotic neutral. Therefore you have to be a whack jobeverywhere right, like it's yeah, it's odd that it's a requirement if you'rejust 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, itshouldn'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 itneeds to be, you know, part of the character creation process andI 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 suddenI have to play this devout being and be good if I want to bea cleric, right. Well, that seems like a super like type taskrole already. If I want to play something slightly different, well then Ishould play cleric, right. You know what I mean? Yeah, Idon'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 agreewith Carlos in the idea that it should be used, as I'm not advocatingfor 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 shouldbe included up there with like your level, your your race, your class andyour alignment. I don't like that. I heard, I I'm going tohave to find a source for this, but I heard somebody talking about howit shouldn't be that your choice on the alignment chart reflects indicates what youraction should be. It should be that your actions indicate what your choice onthe alignment chart should be. So your placed on the alignment chart is areflection of how you're playing your character. It's not that you pick this andthen 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 thatit's so reductionist as a tool. The spectrum of player actions covers way morethan these nine boxes that you're fitting into, and the fact is you're probably goingto fit it into three or four of them based on the actions thatyou take over the course of a campaign. The processional yeah, exactly, likelike people in the real world are complex and they build their DD charactersa lot of the time to be complex as well. So I don't likeit. I would be like a Carlos, like here's a chart. Who whichone of these are you as a person? Like? Which one ofthese nine things indicates what you are? Well, more like what what heis like today, because it could even like what would you be comfortable playinglike? 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 signingmyself 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 itin 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 thinkthat we do have to make a point that this is largely the case fornewer 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 timeI'm fighting, I just knocked them out, and that's because I've kind of basedthe character or a little bit. I could kind of want to playit like the Jackie Chan combat scenes, right, and like he and thosemovies, they never really kill anybody. So now I have killed people inthe game because well, and killed beings, right, like when we slayed theDragon. Is The dragon a purely evil creature that we needed to kill? Could we have talked it out? Does my player alignment mean that ifI'm a good character, I should be...

...looking for encounters and approach them ona more social perspective versus a combat perspective? I think that that's a lot ofhard 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, thenit doesn't exist in my eyes and thinking. Okay, for a few our points, please. My turn. Okay, so, Brandon, you earlier saidyou like the idea of the actions kind of determining your alignment versus theother way around. Yes, right. So my point is, have youmade actions in the past when you're creating a character? What have those actionsbeen in your backstory in general? Then could you potentially create an alignment basedon the actions that you think your character has made. Absolutely, but thatalso 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 boxesas a character back story? Absolutely not. Right. So okay, now nowis 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 Ikind of like thinking of if you played the game infamous or something along thoselines, 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 toomany choices that were clearly evil as opposed to, you know, clearly goodor 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 orclearly a good action. So I wouldn't say that that kind of youknow, would affect that your alignment. Nor would I say that you wouldhave 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 extremelyimportant 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 youwant to be chaotic, and you know you can. Yeah, maybe it'spigeoning, pigeonholing yourself kind of into those kind of alignments. It doesn't meanthat you have to play that way.

A life cleric can still be chaoticto a certain point. He can just choose, oh well, I'm justgoing to go around healing everybody, indiscriminant of you know who, whether they'reon my side or not. Maybe that's more of his chaotic side and itis a good action, and so you know, the gods are okay withthat kind of action because it's healing and it doesn't matter what side is foror whatever. You know, there's like all sorts of ways that you cankind of play off your alignment. I just think. I just think bynature of it though, like the alignment statistic in your character has little tono effect to the actual game, and we can get into like how muchof 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 actuallyhas, you know, a driving element within the game mechanic itself. Thenright, the alignments do right, because you could start your characters as aclean slate and sure you can perform actions like like destroy and kill half ofa village and guess what? That's going to ruin your reputation to them andto them you're going to be an evil character. Into them, you're goingto be somebody WHO's dangerous person right, whereas being an evil character, youknow, you can still do that and have a good reputation in a goodalignment 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 andsince 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, likeit's not meant to be like, okay, you know, like everyone else cansee that they are a evil character. You know it? Yes, theycan. 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 evilactions. In fact, I think some of the best villains are the oneswho go and make other people do those evil actions for them and they looklike they're the good guy on the outside, but they're they're leer intentions or theirgoals 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 upto them, but like they might be...

...pointed in a particular direction and then, along the lines of alignment, mattering mechanically, it does when it comesto a life cleric who starts refusing to healing, to heal people, orstarts 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'renot, you know, doing what the Gods who give them their power,you know, is, you know, meant to do, then why wouldthat 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 somewhereelse 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 howeveryou want. But in terms of most dand campaigns, they have the gods, they have the you know, the different deities that are able to givepeople power. And so when you make a pact with that, that beingyou need to fall in line to a certain extent with what they would wantyou to do. So if you decide that you want to follow an evilish, you know, warlock patron kind of person, like a fiend oran 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 todo these things for me, otherwise I will take your powers away or likethere's no reason for me to give you these abilities if all you're going todo 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 havewith 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 yougo well, you know, all of a sudden your radiant spells won't workand the play right where? What do you mean? Like, I thinknot something that will happen like instantaneously. Obviously, like it's not like aone and done thing. Humans are known to make mistakes and I think thelike the the gods and the and the deities understand that, that they arehuman and that they're going to make mistakes and that they're not going to alwaysdo exactly what they want. Well, much more so. Talking about therelationship 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 followan oath or not necessarily follow the whatever? Because, all right, new playerwants to get into the table, they want they've chosen cleric and theyattack 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. Whycan't I play my glass that I chose just because of the right? Soobviously you have to communicate in some way with the players, like you don'tjust go and take away their powers for no reason, like there. Itneeds to be like clearly stated and maybe you talk with about talk about itwith 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 mightbe starting to like change as a character, which is totally fine. How canwe like change your character now to match something else? So maybe you'reno longer a life cleric. Maybe now you become a war cleric and nowyou're going to follow, you know, a different God. Maybe you haveto make that different. Packed you know that changes. You know your yourcharacter 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 yourplayers are more like the Min Maxi type characters who just or people who wantto 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 outwith them individually, but but on a general basis at least. This isthe way that I would run my campaigns, is I would have Paladins and theclerics and the warlocks kind of understand that they have made some sort ofa pact or an oath or something along those lines. There are rules thatthey have to follow to like most like most of the time, like theycan't continue to do cure clearly clearly evil actions or clearly good actions. Ifyou're going the other way. That would, you know, interfere with your abilityto use these powers. And I think that again, always say thatlargely the alignment table and concerning issues around that are predominantly only issues with lowlevel characters and new players. MMM, because, you know, dming,after a while you understand that, yes, warlocks made a pact, and doI role play that packed or am I just playing a spell caster?That's a little edgy, you know. Yeah, because, like, atthe 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'rejust playing a sorcer. CONGRATS, but you've chosen warlock. So it getsinto the how comfortable you are role playing and whatnot. And I'm, likeI said, right, like it's easier to play truly good characters, trulyevil characters, once you know a little bit more about the mechanics of thegame. But it should it be part of like, you know, youstarting out and playing, like making these choices that affect the longevity of yourcharacter 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 andlike 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 havethese gray areas of action, and then again we're going back into theif you're washing it away. Well, why is it? Why is it? Why do I have to write it down on my character sheet. Idon't know. And that's why I said it's a relationship between the DM andthe PCs about point and a general, I would say, backstory and moralcompass. Potentially it's a it's a compass more so than it is a youknow, here's here's the line, don't cross it kind of thing, likehere's your box, you're only allowed to be in here now. It's likeit'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 forlike, 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 stathaving this alignment chart. But in reality, if we're in a fight and myfighter goes I cast Aldridge blast and I go what, and I saiddoesn't it's a fighter on your sheet. He goes yeah, but I wantto cast out Dr Blast, I'm going to be like pick up your swordand go hit that thing like that's that's the end of that discussion. There'sthere'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 itgoes, yeah, my response is probably all right then, just checkingit's it's one of those things where it's like there's no mechanical penalty, mechanicalway of enforcing to a certain extent,...

...and I hear what you're saying aboutthe Paladin, but I feel like you could easily like if the of thePaladin walks up and it's like, I'm going to murder this person, it'snot going to be like well, no, your lawful get it's gonna be likewell, no, you're a palliative right. It's not necessarily the alignmentchart isn't necessarily the x factor in that decision. No, as to asto the fact that, yeah, there probably would be some divine repercussions forthat character, but it doesn't come from the alignment chart. It comes fromthe 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 theway, I'm going to change my name now, would you I would justI would say the same thing as you did with the alignment stuff. Wouldyeah, sure, go ahead, you can change your name, and thenin game your name gets changed and you know, people might start calling youthe 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'sthe thing that happens in real life to people change their names. Oh yeah, absolutely. Um, I think that there would actually have to be likea 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 GameEric 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 andit can change as you go forward. I. I. I. Idon't know if it's a onetwe comparison. I think players are a lot morelikely to change their alignments than they are to change their name. Sure, Oh, for sure, for sure, it's it's not, but it islike it's also up there on the top and you know it. Kindof just throw it out there. Fair point, but I think that we'vebeen talking about this for probably way too long now. Listeners out there,what do you think? Do you use the alignment chart? Do you thinkit's necessary? Do you agree with any of our points, for all ofour points, or what are you thinking? Let you know. Any counselors.Sure what Jordan said? Let us know. Add Royal City Society onInstagram. Will catch you next time.

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