Another alignment question

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Another alignment question

Postby Billy_Buttcheese » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:58 pm

Am I the only one that has eliminated alignment languages from my gaming? I've come to feel that there is no practical or 'realistic' reason or use for this mechanic and have simply done away with it. How would, for example, a CG brass dragon verbally communicate with a ranger of the same alignment? Or is this only for creatures with the ability to speak? What happens if a PC changes alignment, either on purpose or involuntarily? Do they immediately forget the previous alignment's tongue and are now fluent with their new alignment? Even after rereading the alignment language explanation in the DMG, I simply can't justify its existence. Thoughts?

I am open to fresh interpretations...
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Re: Another alignment question

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:15 pm

I have to admit that after almost half a century :!: of playing the game, I have yet to make any sense out of alignment languages. Add them to spell damage caps and demi-human level limits and you have Holy Trinity of Stupid Rules. :roll:

The rule makes no sense in a real-life logic sense, it makes no sense in a game-mechanic sense, it makes no sense in an in-game logic sense. I've never used them, I've never seen any reason for them, I've never known anyone whose game was bettered for using them, or anyone whose game suffered from going without them. The rule serves no purpose and makes no sense. Over the years, I've seen the topic debated many times. Each time someone has tried to defend/make sense of the rule, they've only ever served to make the rule look even more nonsensical.

I have a new rule I use, borne of 40 years of play and another almost as long debating the rules. It says:

If, after all this time, I have not seen an argument capable of convincing me of the need for a particular rule...if after all these years I've never seen a campaign harmed by the ignoring of a rule...if after all these years I've never seen a campaign enhanced by inclusion of the rule, then the rule is horseshit.

And so it goes. In each case (spell damage caps, demi-human level limits, and alignment languages), no one has ever been able to win a debate with me on these issues, or even make a coherent, logical argument capable of convincing me in the least bit. In each case, I have literally never seen even a single game session - much less an entire campaign - harmed by the discarding of these silly rules. In each case,I have literally never seen a game - much less an entire campaign - improved in any way by the inclusion of these rules. I'm pretty hardcore about seeing objective, definitive proof of something before I agree with or believe in it.

Eh...I'm in rant mode! :twisted: :lol:

Anyway, getting back to your original question, I agree with you. I simply cannot justify the existence of the rule myself. You make one of the most compelling arguments for ignoring the rule - the problem about how someone who changes alignment suddenly, inexplicably, totally forgets one language and just as suddenly and inexplicably, totally masters a new language he's had no exposure to, training in, etc.

If I'm not mistaken, Gygax himself posted something at either ENworld or DF about how he later regretted alignment languages and how they made no sense. I'd have to go see if I could find the quote. But yeah, the rule makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
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Re: Another alignment question

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:02 pm

Here we go, found it!

http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=20641&start=126

Gygax (corrected for spelling/typos):

"As D&D was being quantified and qualified by the publication of the supplemental rules booklets. I decided that Thieves' cant should not be the only secret language. thus alignment languages come into play, the rational being they were akin to Hebrew for Jewish and Latin for Roman Catholic persons.

I have since regretted the addition, as the non-cleric user would have only a limited vocabulary, and little could be conveyed or understood by the use of an alignment language between non-clerical users."


Now, I do think Thieve's Cant works fine, as well as the Druidic language. I recall there being a special language for illusionists. I guess I can accept that. But alignment languages? Silly.
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Re: Another alignment question

Postby Billy_Buttcheese » Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:43 pm

I'm glad to know I'm not the only person that finds this game addition to be worthless but as I said, I am open to other interpretations. After reading your post from EGG, I'm convinced he let too many cooks spoil the soup. It would have been mighty interesting to see what he would have done with 2nd Ed had things worked out differently.

I hope to see more responses to this topic and get differing opinions.
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Re: Another alignment question

Postby garhkal » Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:30 pm

In most every discussion i have had with fellow gamers, AL languages are the most COMMON thing dropped..
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Re: Another alignment question

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:33 pm

Alignment languages seem to be simply a tacked-on device they added, thinking that it would add to the complexity of the game. It seems sort of obvious that they never gave it as much thought as they should have, and it just got "inserted" into the game. But really, they serve no logical, sensible purpose. In all my years of gaming, I'm not sure I can recall anyone ever actually using them. Ever. :?
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Re: Another alignment question

Postby Billy_Buttcheese » Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:22 pm

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:Alignment languages seem to be simply a tacked-on device they added, thinking that it would add to the complexity of the game. It seems sort of obvious that they never gave it as much thought as they should have, and it just got "inserted" into the game. But really, they serve no logical, sensible purpose. In all my years of gaming, I'm not sure I can recall anyone ever actually using them. Ever. :?


I vaguely recall a session from my earliest days of playing AD&D, circa early '82, I was in a group made up almost completely of noobs, including the DM, where we tried to use this in a dungeon setting (Keep on the Borderlands, maybe?). Our DM was so inexperienced that he allowed us to communicate with some group of creatures and avoid combat because one of our fighters was the same alignment. I definitely recall discussing this at length with him years later and freely admitted that he had screwed the pooch on this call. We both had a good laugh over it and that's when I decided to eliminate them from my campaign.
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Re: Another alignment question

Postby Lyrwik » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:44 am

Having never played 1st ed (started playing in 2nd ed days), I had never heard of this rule. This intrigued me to look it up. I now regret that decision.

As someone who enjoys a good, intellectual challenge, I tried to think of some rationale for it (even a weak one), but to no avail. I think all I achieve was suffering a loss to my Int score. I hope it's only temporary...
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Re: Another alignment question

Postby Billy_Buttcheese » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:09 am

In the follow-up post of EGG's response, Stormcrow pontificates: "Even given the inherent limitations of alignment language, I have still always found the concept interesting. Their existence suggests "secret societies" of alignment. Then the multiverse cosmology was built up with the outer planes arranged by alignment, further implying that these secret societies are based on real multiversal Truth, a Truth which governs even the gods."

Secret Societies brings to mind social clubs like the Royal Order of the Buffalo, complete with Grand Poo Bah (with apologies to Fred Flintstone). Secret handshakes, facial expressions, code words, gang signs, if you will. I know these things have a basis in fact but it still supposes a common...., something. Something that would, in essence, supersede a simple language and/or racial difference.

While I agree that the concept is "interesting", it's simply not realistic or even useful in game terms.
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Re: Another alignment question

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:28 pm

Billy_Buttcheese wrote:

In the follow-up post of EGG's response, Stormcrow pontificates: "Even given the inherent limitations of alignment language, I have still always found the concept interesting. Their existence suggests "secret societies" of alignment. Then the multiverse cosmology was built up with the outer planes arranged by alignment, further implying that these secret societies are based on real multiversal Truth, a Truth which governs even the gods."


Well, Stormcrow has always been an argumentative idiot, if I remember correctly. "Inherent limitations"? :roll: The damned rule is utterly nonsensical! I swear, I've never decided just what the worst aspect of foolishness at DF was - the ass-kissery of the clique-ish sycophants, the constant need of some to play devil's advocate in order to try appearing intelligent, the lack of ability to follow even the simplest logic, or the nonsensical excuse making that substitutes for lack of examination. One day, when I have time, I'll think it over and pass judgement. :lol:

Secret Societies brings to mind social clubs like the Royal Order of the Buffalo, complete with Grand Poo Bah (with apologies to Fred Flintstone). Secret handshakes, facial expressions, code words, gang signs, if you will. I know these things have a basis in fact but it still supposes a common...., something. Something that would, in essence, supersede a simple language and/or racial difference.

While I agree that the concept is "interesting", it's simply not realistic or even useful in game terms.


I agree, it sounds cool. It's sorta mysterious and secretive and whatnot. But you're right - it's not realistic. No one has ever explained how a CE umberhulk can speak the same language as a CE human when they have different tongues, brains, vocal cords, lungs, etc. It's simply not possible. Or take two PCs - one an elf, the other a human. Each speaks only his own language. If there were some weird CG alignment tongue (for example), how could they communicate? Elven may have different pronunciation, grammar, syntax, and what not, than human language. Saying "I'd like to speak with you" in one language may come out as garbled nonsense to the other race. And even if the CG alignment tongue were to be considered a third, separate language (to the elf and the human), then that would imply having learned such a language. If the human becomes Lawful Neutral, why would he suddenly lose his ability to speak CG? And how does he suddenly, inexplicably gain the knowledge that enables him to speak LN? It's ridiculous. Arguments of "it's a universal language" or "the gods grant the ability" are just variants of the silly stand-by of poor DMs - "Well...it's magic!". :roll: It destroys in-game logic and suspension of disbelief, thereby breaking the two cardinal rules of good game design.

Yeah, alignment languages are one of those things that on first glance sounds cool, but once looked at closely, elicits a "WTF" response.
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Re: Another alignment question

Postby Billy_Buttcheese » Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:42 pm

Halaster-Blackcloak wrote:Well, Stormcrow has always been an argumentative idiot, if I remember correctly. "Inherent limitations"? :roll: The damned rule is utterly nonsensical! I swear, I've never decided just what the worst aspect of foolishness at DF was - the ass-kissery of the clique-ish sycophants, the constant need of some to play devil's advocate in order to try appearing intelligent, the lack of ability to follow even the simplest logic, or the nonsensical excuse making that substitutes for lack of examination. One day, when I have time, I'll think it over and pass judgement. :lol:


I stopped going to DF last year. Whenever I posted a question there, the responses I got were either snobbish and disinterested. As much as to say,, "How dare you post a question here? You only have 350 posts..."

I've been around online since the mid-90's and even remember the old Greyhawk boards on AOL. The years long feud between Randy Richards who appears to have dropped off the planet and Nitescreed, who also seems to have gone the way of the dodo. For those that have no idea what I'm referring to, Google/Bing "what makes Greyhawk greyt? or just Nitescreed-Grey in the Hawk-For those who like the Greyhawk setting, it makes for a very interesting read. I can't believe it's been 20 years!!!!). A lot of the same folks from there are on DF but have become so much more, to use your word, clique-ish. As if to say, this is a private club, Noobs need not apply. Even though I am not a noob, I just have a life beyond the game and am not online 24/7. One of the things I like so much about this board is the banter and sharing of information. Most are friendly if somewhat passionate (many of your posts fall under this heading, see 3rd Edition emasculation :) ) My point is, this is a GAME, not a life or death situation. No one should feel embarrassed or shy to post a question or input to anyone's post for fear of getting shit on by the old guard. I think it's because it's a much smaller crowd and I feel folks make an effort to be civil, including the Mods.

But back to the topic: I am relieved to find that I am not alone with the deletion of this game piece. :D
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Re: Another alignment question

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:54 pm

Billy_Buttcheese wrote:

I stopped going to DF last year. Whenever I posted a question there, the responses I got were either snobbish and disinterested. As much as to say,, "How dare you post a question here? You only have 350 posts..."


You're not part of the Brit "in" crowd. So of course you have no rights. If you're one of the people they coddle, you can get away with anything. If you bow down to them, they ban you the moment you get fed up and speak out. That's why I was ALWAYS totally outspoken from day one. It takes a lot longer to get banned if you get in the boss's face and tell him to go f*<k himself up front, because the shock paralyzes them.

I always tell people it's a matter of public record, what goes on there. There is a thread buried there somewhere, still publicly accessible, where we debated the merits of the 1E Manual of the Planes. One of their K&K-related sycophants, Blackprinceofmuncie, repeatedly attacked me without provocation. I very politely told him that if all he was going to do was attack me for my opinion, I was not going to carry on a conversation with him. But the attacks persisted and other sycophants jumped in. Fine with me. 10-on-1 odds is the type of fighting I enjoy most! :twisted: However, to prove my point to Steve (the admin), I did not attack back. I simply politely told them that I would only debate the merits of the discussion and not respond to attacks back and forth.

Eventually one of the shit-poor moderators stepped in and yelled at me, as if I had started or even responded with fighting. Then, when that didn't shut me up, the moderators started sending me nasty PMs with all sorts of insults. At one point, one of the power-mad junkie mods (it was either Egg of Coot or Solomoriah - I believe the latter, but they all blur) sent me a hilariously over-the-top PM loaded with insults and threats and condescension. His last words were: "If you respond to this PM in any way, even to say thank you, you're banned." They literally begged me to say something to get banned. They had their sycophants maniacs attack en masse and gang up on my to try provoking me. Steve needed to try making himself look good, so he had his mod-slave-lovers try setting me up and attacking me, in a lame effort to give him the false flag attack he needed to ban me with justification. It didn't work. I denied him that.

Then, one day a week or so later, out of the blue and for no reason at all (remember, not a single word of fighting, insults, or confrontation were coming from me - I played the role of Mother Theresa and acted as the exemplary model of politeness for many long weeks) Steve simply woke up on the wrong side of the bed and banned me. I emailed him back asking "On what grounds? Show me where I broke a rule or stepped out of line even 1mm from the standards you told me you expected". He had no reason. Just a crazy hanging judge who wants to punish someone he doesn't like. I believe that was Ban #16. :roll: I guess Steve needed time to get some testosterone shots in order to finally summon up the nerve to ban me for no reason, which was his intent all along.

But it shows just how pathetic it was there. Bunch of fat, lazy, indulgent narcissists and their sycophant lapdogs who, if they ever met me in person would all collectively piss their pants. And this pattern went on for over a decade. Sometimes with the same account, sometimes with others that were obviously me. Get attacked by the junkies there, get ganged up on, then get banned for fighting back. And no, I'm not bitter, I'm just passionate and colorful and enjoy using shocking language. All in all, it was mainly fun. Like I said, I enjoy a good combat. But it was pretty pathetic and made me look at a lot of people there as pathetic.

Another time, Clangador created a separate forum called The Green Dragon Inn. His secret reason for creating it was to prove that the Bunker Buddies (as I called them) and their fanatic clique could not function without the protection of a moderator who could silence their enemies (i.e. me). So there was no moderation there. No one could get banned for fighting, flaming, etc. I and another old internet friend, Traveler, signed up and I also created several obvious sock-puppet accounts ("Halaster's Apprentice", "Halaster's Vizier", etc.) There was a karma point thing where you could vote someone good or bad karma points and it went towards their reputation score on the site (or against it). These DF idiots went there trolling me, and let me tell you...if there is a heaven, it will include unlimited replays of those months of flame wars. The DF idiots would kick and scream and whine about how I was using "sock puppet accounts" while I denied it (anyone who was either sane or intelligent or both could see the sock puppet accounts were blatantly obviously me posting, and done simply to prove the point). They tried voting my karma down, but with all the sock puppet accounts I made my karma high and theirs low. They went apeshit, and I mean that literally. They cried to Clangador (the admin) who told them "I told you all you were on your own - no moderation here!". They they trolled countless pages of the old Deja News to find ammunition to use against me. They tried to find my real-world ID. Seriously, they made the corrupt Special Counsel Mueller look like a piker! They brought the fighting back over to DF in an attempt to smear me with accusations of racism (that's probably the single least effective way to try intimidating me - I'll just throw out a dozen racial slurs and tell you where to stick them - I don't get intimidated). When that failed and some of them got temp bans for posting shit at DF, they then went to K&K Alehouse and brought the fight there. I kicked ass there as well, and of course they banned me for daring to defend myself and so I hacked into their site and flooded it with spam messages. Still have some hysterical screen caps of that one! :lol: Sometimes bitches need a good slapping down, huh?

Eventually, when they realized that - given free speech and the lack of ability to whine to an authority figure with the power to silence my account - they couldn't beat me down, they lost it. They finally filed complaints with the FCC or whoever manages internet issues, with Clangador's ISP, with the company who made the forum software, etc. Eventually Clangador closed it down, the experiment having proved that these people are literally mentally unstable, fanatical, and hatefully violent.

But man, was it fun! The best part was that they all wrote posts saying I sounded angry and that they hoped I popped a blood vessel and died typing my "angry rants". :roll: I told you, they're unstable! The irony was that while I was supposedly stabbing the keyboard with my bloody fingers, the veins in my temple and neck pulsing from my 200 bpm heart rate and 250/150 blood pressure, what was actually happening was that Traveler and I were on the phone live, laughing to the point were we literally could not speak, watching these idiots wishing me dead and trying to give me negative karma. I swear, they almost got their wish, because there were a few times that Traveler and I were laughing so hard, we almost blacked out. I mean that literally. I remember once seeing stars from laughing with him so hard. I should have recorded it.

Anyway, lots of fun in the past messing with psychos. Call me sadistic or even masochistic, but man it was hysterical! Anyone with even a smidgen of humor would be enjoying it.

I've been around online since the mid-90's and even remember the old Greyhawk boards on AOL. The years long feud between Randy Richards who appears to have dropped off the planet and Nitescreed, who also seems to have gone the way of the dodo. For those that have no idea what I'm referring to, Google/Bing "what makes Greyhawk greyt? or just Nitescreed-Grey in the Hawk-For those who like the Greyhawk setting, it makes for a very interesting read. I can't believe it's been 20 years!!!!)


God, that rings a bell! 8O

Even though I am not a noob, I just have a life beyond the game and am not online 24/7. One of the things I like so much about this board is the banter and sharing of information. Most are friendly if somewhat passionate (many of your posts fall under this heading, see 3rd Edition emasculation :) ) My point is, this is a GAME, not a life or death situation. No one should feel embarrassed or shy to post a question or input to anyone's post for fear of getting shit on by the old guard. I think it's because it's a much smaller crowd and I feel folks make an effort to be civil, including the Mods.


Totally agree! Yeah, passionate is the word. I enjoy it. Even when I seem angry, most of the time I'm just playing a role and having fun.

But back to the topic: I am relieved to find that I am not alone with the deletion of this game piece.


Yeah, I would bet that alignment languages are probably the single most ignored rule in the history of the game.
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