As you may have gathered from previous posts. I am all for reality in my games. Mind you, I am not talking about “Mazes and Monsters” game in the real world syndrome. I speak of making aspects of a role-playing game slightly more “real.” Weapons that break when used, lives lost due to a leader’s incompetence and any incarnation of human fraility I find enjoyable. Playing a perfect superhero is tedious. Playing a flawed being with serious problems is far more interesting.
This leads me to the one aspect of gaming that I hate. Hate in this case defined as a level of loathing akin to how you feel towards your dentist after he forgets the anesthesia before slowly removing a tooth…with a rusty spoon.
I plead with you, my reading public, answer a question for me. What is the point of alignment? Using “Dungeons and Dragons” as an example, alignment does the following.
1. Certain classes require specific alignments
2. Choice of gods
3. Character behavior restrictions. Enforced at the whim of the DM.
All of which limit what you can do with your PC. Here is where my desire for reality clashes with the game rules. PCs should make decisions in their own best interests, just like in the real world. Whether those interests are personal gain, saving orphans or slaying the dragon does not matter. The most loyal, honorable and decent paladin PC, famed far and wide for good works, stalks and kills a man the PC “knows” will murder an innocent child, but has no evidence. The victim is unarmed and unaware of the attack. It is an assassination. By the rules, the PC committed an evil act and shoud lose his paladin status.
I say the player has the right to make that decision. If the PC/player can justify the act to himself, then that is all that is required. Alignment be damned. That is not to say that there are not repercussions. Perhaps the PC becomes a wanted criminal. Perhaps his vigilantism earns him honor in the community.
In my mind, alignment’s sole purpose is to allow “Wizards of the Coast” to claim that playing “evil” characters is penalized in the game. I can literally think of no other reason to have alignment. Perhaps it is some twisted attempt to make the players “fight for right.”
In reality, good people sometimes do evil things and bad people do good things. I believe that PCs should have the same options.