Monday, November 19, 2007

Wishlist, part 3

Continuing the series (and my train of thought)...

3. Get rid of Alignment.

At best it's a clumsy mechanic that serves no real purpose in game. At worst, it's a set of handcuffs we don't need.

Okay. It defines things for clerics. Gives the paladin class a prerequisite and something to detect. And adds all those nice Protection from Evil type spells or effects.

None of that is reason enough to carry on with the alignment system. Not when it could be so easily dropped or replaced.

Think about it. How often do you stop and wonder if your Neutral Good rogue would really be okay with stealing? Never? Yeah. Same here.

In fact the only time I ever pause to consider alignment is at character creation, and even then only if it's applicable to the class I want or a Prestige that's down the road. Once in a while I even try to match up with a god's alignment. Otherwise it's only use in game is to rationalize my selfishness and greed. "Sorry I left you guys to die to that dragon while I ran in, grabbed that badass sword, bag full of jewels, and fled. But my character is chaotic neutral."

Besides being a handy tool for rationalization, every other redeeming quality for alignment can easily be replaced.

That sword of good that gives a +2 to hit and extra damage vs evil? Um. Have you heard of Bane weapons?

The Protection from Evil spell? Change it to Protection from Outsiders. Or undead. Or giants. Etc...

The paladin and monk? Make 'em stick to a code or philosophy instead. Chivalry or Buddhism or whatever.

Detect Evil? That spell/ability is a thorn in the side of any DM. Think they'll miss it? Guess again. Better yet, use roleplaying to figure out if something or someone is evil. "So Mr. Ogre. Would you rather help build an orphanage or eat the orphans?"

Easy peasy. No more alignment. No major changes to the game. We can even keep the cosmology as it is with Lawful vs Chaotic being just a concept as opposed to a hard and fast set of rules. As an added bonus it also eliminates one of the hardest concepts for new players to grasp. And best of all, it makes a certain dual wielding ranger Drow almost believable.

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