I’m so relieved Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t have D&D’s alignment system

D&D alignments suck. There, I said it. They yearn for every edition of the tabletop game, but they especially yearn for D&D video games. What a relief to hear that Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t use them at all.

For those unfamiliar, alignment is a sort of objective label for a D&D character’s morality. Different sets have had different alignment categories, but the one that is most widely used in sets ranks characters along a lawful versus chaotic and good versus evil axis. A loyal and good character is kind and just, and always follows the laws of the land as much as possible; a Chaotic Evil character follows his dark heart’s desire, inflicting death and suffering whenever he wishes. Characters can also be neutral on one or both axes. A chaotic neutral character believes in freedom and self-determination above all else; a True Neutral character (neutral to both) seeks balance in all things; a Neutral Good character is dedicated to… uh, get back to me on that.

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

It’s a system that has endured for a long time through nostalgia and tradition, but has always been clumsy and reductive. It’s restrictive enough to stifle nuanced character development, but vague enough that you’re probably already mad at me about my take on one of the above lineups. This led to decades of silly arguments about the ethics of fantasy worlds – D&D’s version of “Would you go back in time and kill Hitler as a baby?” is “Is it legitimate for a Paladin to kill a baby orc Chaotic Evil?”, a hypothesis that is both incredibly boring and, infuriatingly, actually relevant to gameplay.

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