Alignment is a fundamental aspect of character creation in Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). It serves as a moral compass, guiding the decisions and actions of adventurers throughout their epic journeys. Though D&D is looking to get rid of its alignment system entirely, some players and DM's find value in assigning characters a moral leaning in order to better inform their choices. In this blog post, we will dive into the concept of alignment, exploring its different branches, and shedding light on the moral and ethical frameworks that shape characters in the world of D&D. Since WotC removed the section on alignment, hopefully this can serve as a guide for those who wish to still use it in their games.
WHAT IS ALIGNMENT?
Alignment in D&D is a system that classifies characters based on their moral and ethical beliefs. It consists of two components: moral alignment (Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic) and ethical alignment (Good, Neutral, or Evil). These two dimensions create a grid with nine possible combinations, each representing a distinct alignment. In the photo heading this blog post, you can see these nine alignments in action, represented by the various Game of Thrones characters in each box.
WHAT DO THE ALIGNMENTS SIGNIFY?
Lawful Good: Paragons of justice and righteousness, Lawful Good characters uphold order, champion the greater good, and abide by a strict code of conduct.
Neutral Good: Striking a balance between law and chaos, Neutral Good characters prioritize doing good and helping others, often following their hearts and instincts.
Chaotic Good: Rebels against authority and tradition, Chaotic Good characters fight for freedom, promoting individuality and championing causes they believe in.
Lawful Neutral: Adhering to rules and structure, Lawful Neutral characters prioritize the maintenance of order and law, often without a personal stake in moral questions.
True Neutral: The embodiment of balance, True Neutral characters seek harmony in all things and may shift their actions to maintain equilibrium.
Chaotic Neutral: Embracing unpredictability and freedom, Chaotic Neutral characters prioritize personal whim and individual desires over societal norms.
Lawful Evil: Master manipulators, Lawful Evil characters exploit the system, using laws and regulations to further their own selfish and often malicious goals.
Neutral Evil: Self-serving and opportunistic, Neutral Evil characters care little for morality and ethics, focusing on personal gain and often resorting to immoral means.
Chaotic Evil: Agents of chaos and destruction, Chaotic Evil characters revel in anarchy and sow discord, delighting in the suffering of others.
HOW CAN ALIGNMENT HELP IN CHARACTER CREATION AND ROLEPLAYING?
Alignment serves as a foundation for character development in D&D. It helps players define their character's moral compass, motivations, and the choices they make throughout the game. Alignments can provide a sense of direction, guiding character interactions, and influencing how they respond to dilemmas and conflicts.
Alignment also encourages players to think deeply about their character's beliefs and values, fostering immersive and engaging roleplaying experiences. It allows characters to grapple with moral quandaries, navigate ethical dilemmas, and experience personal growth as they make choices aligned with or against their established alignment.
In a D&D campaign, characters with different alignments may find themselves working together. This can lead to compelling narrative dynamics, as conflicting beliefs and approaches generate tension, cooperation, and character development. Balancing these diverse alignments can create a rich and dynamic group dynamic within the adventuring party. If you've ever played D&D before, it's very entertaining to watch the party Cleric argue with the party Rogue about stealing something or killing someone.
Alignment was a key component of character development in Dungeons & Dragons for years, offering players a framework to explore the moral and ethical complexities of their heroes and villains. By understanding alignment, players can craft multidimensional characters, enrich their roleplaying experiences, and contribute to the immersive world of D&D.
Remember, alignment is a tool to enhance storytelling and character development. It should never restrict players or limit the potential for growth and change whether you agree with getting rid of alignment from games or not. Embrace the moral dilemmas, explore the ethical gray areas, and let alignment be a guide as you navigate the intricate tapestry of D&D adventures.
What do you think about WotC's decision to get rid of alignment? Are you still going to use it? Let us know what you think in the comments below! As always, thanks for reading! - Joe