- Oct 29, 2009
The agency issue was really just an aside anyway, so i'll concede it. Alignment can be used like a club to dictate players' actions but it is not necessarily and unavoidably so.Archon said:I think Scow2 and I both subscribe to the negative view of liberty. So if a person who has voluntarily chosen to be a Paladin chooses to act in evil ways, and loses his Paladinhood for it, that's not a loss of agency. If a person chooses to do evil deeds, and then begins to radiate evil under Detect Evil spells, again that's not a loss of agency.
The real argument is that alignment is a weak, fuzzy mechanic, and brings no substantive benefit to the game. The original article does a good job of refining the fuzzy definitions that the system is based on, but it's not going to turn a bad system into a good one - it's just going to make it slightly less bad.
1) Alignment has almost no consequences for the vast majority of characters and actions.
2) To the extent that it does provide consequences, they are already entirely adjudicated by the GM.
3)You can have consequences for behavior without alignment.
In light of these three facts and the fact that even after 30-odd years of using alignment, it still leads to long, rambling arguments on the nature of good, evil, law, chaos, and neutrality, i ask again, why use it at all?
After you have dealt with effects keyed off of alignment, adjudicating the consequences of moral actions becomes relatively simple. Is this action in keeping with the moral code the character must follow? How significant is the action? Is this action part of larger pattern of behavior or is it a one-time thing? Assign consequences as appropriate.