Alignments in DnD 5e are considered a guideline for how your character will act in certain situations, but most players prefer to not include it in their game.
Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, also referred to as DnD 5e or D&D 5e, is a thrilling, traditional tabletop game. Players form an adventuring party to explore several fantasy worlds together while completing quests and defeating monsters.
The game focuses on storytelling, so every party has a Dungeon Master (DM) who takes on the role of a storyteller. The rest of the party members can create their own characters by selecting a class and race.
In order to progress in the game, you have to solve problems, explore regions, engage in battles, and gain experience points. DnD features an alignment system that can have a significant influence on your campaign.
How to select your DnD class
Before starting your DnD adventure, you have to select a class. There are currently 12 classes in the DnD 5e Player’s Handbook. Each class has unique mechanics and exciting role-playing possibilities, which determine how you progress in your campaign.
Players may have a difficult time deciding which class they want to play in DnD. It is recommended that you base your decisions on your natural playing preferences and strategies that you want to employ.
If you enjoy casting spells, but you are a beginner, Warlocks are the perfect class. However, if you enjoy fighting battles, the Fighter class is a better fit.
Dnd 5e: Alignments
Regardless of the class you selected, your character will be rated based on the alignment system. In DnD 5e, alignments are a general description of a creature’s moral beliefs and attitudes. In other words, it is a set of basic rules that determine how a character interacts with people and their environment.
An alignment combines 2 factors; how good or evil your character is, and how lawful or chaotic they are. There are 9 alignments and choosing 1 can be one of the most important decisions you make in the character creation phase in DnD.
That being said, using alignments is not mandatory, but there are various reasons why the system is a vital component. Firstly, you can use it as a guideline to know how your character may act in the game.
Moreover, certain monsters in the DnD universe are inherently good or evil. Some abilities and spells impact certain alignments.
An alignment should be considered a guideline, instead of a strict rule. Players should thus never feel restricted by their character’s alignment, as it should only be a tool. During character creation, you have to choose between good and evil.
Good characters tend to care about others and try to help those in need. They are often described as self-sacrificing, but evil characters prioritise their own wellbeing. You also have to choose between lawful and chaotic.
Lawful characters naturally follow the roles and typically function within the rules of society. In contrast, chaotic characters value their personal code more than rules.
What are the alignments?
As mentioned before, there are 9 alignments in DnD 5e:
|Lawful Good||These characters generally follow the rules and work within the system to achieve their goals. They also assist those in need and fight evil|
|Chaotic Good||They try to do what is right, but on their own terms|
|Neutral Good||These characters are not attached to order or chaos, but they prefer being nice|
|Lawful Neutral||They value order and authority above all and follow the rules no matter what|
|Chaotic Neutral||These characters are not terrifying agents of chaos, but they are unpredictable|
|True Neutral||They are not dedicated to defeating evil, neither are they diabolical|
|Lawful Evil||These characters do what they want within the bounds of the law|
|Chaotic Evil||They perform evil acts simply for their own enjoyment|
|Neutral Evil||These characters do whatever wrongs they can get away with, without hesitation|
The Unaligned alignment
In addition to the 9 alignments, you can discover the unaligned alignment. These characters lack the mental capacity to make philosophical judgements and, therefore, do not have an alignment. Most animals, plants, fungi, and other creatures are unaligned.
Why has the alignment system received controversies?
The largest controversy in the alignment system is the good versus evil axis, which prevents a gross oversimplification of morality.
In the following example: “A Druid who believes that life is a sacred gift and that anyone who turns forests into farmland should be killed”, it is difficult to distinguish if the druid is good or evil.
The alignment system does not have one correct answer. Various arguments can be made for a multitude of positions, and in the end, the final decision lies with the DM.
Moreover, the system forces certain races to assume specific alignments. This has prevented players from playing the game like they want to. Apparently, Orcs were created to be evil beings, but there are some players that want to follow a different alignment.
Because the system is imperfect, and because it has little mechanical impact, most DnD players do not include it in their gameplay.