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09-08-2003, 10:19 PM #1
On Mon, 8 Sep 2003, Airgedok wrote:
> alignment as a concept is childish.
> Lawful and chaotic are foolish concepts.
The problem is not so much that they are foolish as that they are
presented overly simplistically. Certainly the idea that some people have
a much greater fondness for societal rules than other people do is
unarguable. The trouble with D&D alignment is not that such preferences
aren`t real, it`s that they`re nowhere near as rigid or forceful or easy
to interpret and detect as the rules would claim. The set of nine
descriptions, if viewed only metaphorically and illustratively as
exaggerated myths about certain kinds of fuzzy, permeable categories of
personal preferences, is not really that bad as an introductory
descriptive theory of personality. The real problem is that they are all
written with such mindless rigidity that all nine descriptions of how such
a person would act could be accurate only for idiots and the insane. (As
an aside, given that the traditional hack and slash D&D campaign is best
described as "sneak around in the homes of strangers, kill them and take
their belongings", I can`t see how any standard adventuring party isn`t
really acting Chaotic Evil most of the time. :)
> The point being that alignemt is a early through back from 1st
> generation games that should have been dropped from 3e. People dont
> follow alignment codes of conduct and dont act in such manners.
I agree it should never have existed in any way as a rules construct. As
a kind of shorthand roleplaying aid, it can be useful for beginners or DMs
without enough time to flesh out every cameo NPC. It should certainly not
in any way have spells or magic items or suchlike which depend upon it as
part of the rules.
> Psycology laughs at such definitions used to explaign human actions.
> We are far more complex that 9 different alignments.
Yes and no. =) Psychological personality theory is a hobby of mine, and
current research describes people eerily well with four or five binary
variables for which we have pretty good experimental evidence. For
roleplaying shorthand, I like to assign MBTI types to my (N)PCs. =)
> In almost every experienced adult group I`ve talked to they all seem
> to agree that alignment and alignment restiictions and spell dont work
> and are childish gaming aids for newbie players. That are not even
> used by most other roleplaying games.
I certainly agree with this assessment. They may begin as training
wheels, and can remain useful as such when limited to the proper
circumstances and when taken with a sufficiently large grain of salt, but
taken literally they do indeed become a very uncomfortable straitjacket.
09-09-2003, 02:43 PM #2
I agree with most of what was said. Myers-Briggs alignments? Now that's funny! In D&D terms, I tend to assume most humans are simply Neutral - in other words, they slide around (some good stuff, some bad stuff, some tendency to uphold order and stability mixed with a degree of individualism). I have ONLY ever thought of alignments as generalized descriptors of tendencies. The only exception is with those paths (classes) where morality is central, such as palidins and clerics whose alignments really do represent a more dogmatic scheme. But it's ridiculous to treat alignments as if they are metaphysical Truths and divisions of the multiverse from which all things are ordered and classified. Thanks, GG.
The thing is, many of us roleplayers have become far more interested in a "realistic" fantasy setting in which we can understand and identify with the humans and near-humans of the world, and where the rules of the cosmos make sense relative to our own. What other frame of reference do we really have?
D&D has NEVER been a realistic gaming platform. It is a fantasy world of the nth degree, with a fantastical cosmology, combat system, magic system, monsters that are biologically impossible, etc. etc....
If you want a believable RPG setting, D&D is the last place you should be looking. I hardly consider it the best game out there, but it's the one more folks know and play than any other, and besides, it's got Birthright. B)
So I play and run D&D with a healthy suspension of disbelief, a fair number of tweaks and house rules, and not too much seriousness concerning the rules. 'Cause, hey, it's just a game!
09-09-2003, 08:12 PM #3
----- Original Message -----
From: "Osprey" <brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET>
Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2003 9:43 AM
> But it`s ridiculous to treat alignments as if they are metaphysical
> Truths and divisions of the multiverse from which all things are
> ordered and classified. Thanks, GG.
Blame Zoroaster and Manichaeus.
> The thing is, many of us roleplayers have become far more
> interested in a "realistic" fantasy setting in which
> we can understand and identify with the humans and near-humans
> of the world, and where the rules of the cosmos make sense relative
> to our own. What other frame of reference do we really have?
All of the other frames of reference created by humans and described for us
writting. If I want to game with a modern world view, I`ll play d20 Modern.
One of the attractions of a fantasy setting is that the world is pre-modern.
Furthermore, since humans actually did construct dualist metaphysics, they
are just as real (if less accurate) as one`s current models for reality.
Given that Zoroasterism influenced Judaism and Manichæism influenced
Christianity, those who in a contemporary world see a struggle between God
and Satan as portrayed in films like the Excercist are empoying a dualist
> D&D has NEVER been a realistic gaming platform. It is a
> fantasy world of the nth degree, with a fantastical cosmology, combat
> system, magic system, monsters that are biologically impossible, etc.
Then why not an alternative metaphysics? Why use the player`s world view as
the gaming enviroment?
09-11-2003, 03:59 PM #4Then why not an alternative metaphysics? Why use the player`s world view as
the gaming enviroment?
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