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Thread: 4th Edition Excerpts: Alignment

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    Post 4th Edition Excerpts: Alignment

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    Check out this new article Wizards of the Coast posted recently:

    4th Edition Excerpts: Alignment

    In today’s final preview article, we look at the nature of good vs. evil – and more importantly, what these terms mean for your character!

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    Not sure about this one ...

    In a way, I like the originally announced system of Good/Unaligned/Evil. Adding "Lawful Good" and "Chaotic Evil" leaves me cold ... especially given the distinctions cited in the article.

    It appears that "Good" now encompasses what was "Neutral Good" and "Chaotic Good" and "Evil" encompasses "Lawful Evil" and "Neutral Evil". Much as I disliked alignment in general, I liked the notion of "Lawful Neutral" -- someone who cared more about law and process than ethics. Similarly, I don't see a place for the classic "Chaotic Neutral" -- someone who acted purely on whim, but wasn't a psychopath a la "Chaotic Evil". But apparently those are now both Unaligned, even though they're both as much a choice as Good or Evil.

    I'd rather they took "Law" and "Chaos" out of the system entirely, though, than have vestigial alignments hanging around.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    I have a more favorable interpretation. It looks like a single-axis system with a bit more meat to it, where Lawful Good is Good with a capital G, only moreso, and likewise for Chaotic Evil. Given how the classic alignments are usually interpreted, I think NG/CG and LE/NE were never strong distinctions.

    A more spartan alignment system focuses attention on character background, motivation, codes of conduct, and (sometimes clashing) systems of ethics, and I'd say that's where the attention should be. Maybe this wasn't the intention, but I see "Unaligned" as a welcome escape hatch, not just for the apathetic characters, but also and especially for those characters with moral frameworks and motivations that fall outside of Good and Evil. An Unaligned character can be good without being Good, or can be focused on upholding the laws of a particular region, following the strict code of behavior of a particular monastery, or being a carefree spirit with no patience for codified rules of behavior or the War between Good and Evil.

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    Almost to the old days

    For those that remember, the ORIGINAL D&D game has a single axis alignment. Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic which ALSO stood for Good/Neutral/Evil in MOST cases... but people complained it wasn't enough and thus the 9 tier system was born.

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    Very nice. It appears to fix things. Less is more in this case. Most people are unaligned, which is not the neutral of old D&D. All the other alignments are just extremes.

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