Thanks for all the great comments!
I take from many posters that they actually do not really use alignment within their games, or rather that they might use it, but to a very limited extent, leaving concrete PC penalties for behaving out of alignment out of the game.
Here are a few questions or comments regarding some posts.
Even "mostly" selfish characters, let alone predominately selfish characters, will have a very hard time sticking around in a group for very long.
So, what do you make of elves in your PC groups? I believe, per the book, that elves are mostly chaotic. Do you suggest to your elf-playing players to all move away from the natural tendency of their race?
Remember that in the early days, "law versus chaos" essentially was a way to distinguish "us versus them" and the good guys were "law" while the bad guys represented "chaos."
This has the advantage of being simple and straightforward, but then, what do you make of hobgoblins being lawful, are they then in the "us" camp? And the elves (as in the entire elven society, not necessarily the elven PCs), are they in the "them" camp?
I think there's more to alignment in DCC than us/lawful vs. them/chaotic, no?
Basically, you can make alignment as much or as little of the campaign as you like. Conan never bothered with alignment, and there's no reason why you have to either.
Sure. I mentioned that I'm familliar with the alignment question. My premise here is that I wish to try playing with it, i.e. to give it some measure of importance, and not simply have it fade to the background.
No penalty for behaving out of alignment?
There is probably no situation that you can present, other than forming an actual bond or allegiance with a being/patron of opposed alignment, in which there is not a perfectly reasonable way in which any alignment could perform any action... so no, I don't believe penalty for behaving out of alignment is really needed - you either are acting within your alignment, or you have changed alignment in the above mentioned situation.
The rulebook suggests penalties for behaving out of alignment, as far as I can recall my reading of that behemoth. And I'm not only talking about the penalties to cure die, I'm referring to actual luck penalties for behaving out of alignment. Now of course we are free to play as we wish, but my impression is that the core rules suggest that path, isn't that your impression?
I really hassle players when it is obvious that they are playing out of alignment. Maybe it is assumed that the chaotic PCs are still the good guys and the NPCs are just plain chaotic evil. Having a party of chaotics to me is fun. You should have seen the idiots fighting when someone found the ring of Sezrekan in the Starless Sea! I wish I had a tape recorder of the player, who pocketed the gems earlier, lecture the ring finder that he is getting greedy and is gonna die soon unless he starts sharing treasure. I love chaotic players.
Interesting take, if only because it strays away from the usual group cohesion approach.
Now I understand that a chaotic party is fun for you as DM; do you have the impression that it's fun for the players also? (Or are you
) Is this group ongoing? My impression is that players in groups that have little PC cohesion will end up being annoyed at others and the campaign will die. Like in D&D: evil groups might be fun for short adventures, but didn't seem to work for ongoing campaigns. What's your impression on this?
I plan on having Patrons having alignment, of the Law, Neutral, Chaos type that TheNobleDrake mentioned but not so much PCs. PCs won't have alignment per se, as I see human nature on the order of "we all have some good and some bad" in all of us.
But clerics heal others depending on their alignments, so you'll be asking players to put an alignment on each PC sheet, won't you? Will that then simply be a tag with no in-game influence except to influence the cleric's healing die? (This is what we did in D&D 3E to some extent, the alignment was mostly a meaningless tag on the PC sheets.)
I separate morality from them. Good and evil are up to the subjective moral codes of the character, kingdom, or deity they follow. I explain it like this to my players:
Lawful means you support and uphold the way the world is organized.
Chaotic means you are seeking to actively undermine that order.
Neutral means you are outside of it, or at least indifferent.
Great stuff, that's also my general understanding of how the alignment should work. Now, how do you integrate the chaotic alignment for PCs into the game? Do you have elves or other chaotic PCs in your group? If so, do they try to "undermine the world order" all the time? If so, how does that work and how well does that mesh with your campaign? Or have all players picked the lawful or neutral alignments?
This hearkens back to the initial question.
I see that there are lawful creatures that are most obviously evil per old D&D precepts (e.g. devils, hobgoblins). There is a (great) drawing in the book about a wizard that appears to conjure an devil in the streets of a city entitled "XYZ the Lawful" (can't remember his name). And on the other hand I see that some PCs may well be chaotic: the book suggests that most elves would be chaotic. So the game per the core rules appears to stear away from the chaotic=evil/them and lawful=good/us precept. In D&D, they eventually became pretty blunt about it: evil is not for PCs. It won't work well. Here, I don't get that impression about chaos.
At the same time, how do you use the chaotic alignment with PCs within a functional, long(er) winded campaign?
And for gods: can you have a chaotic god of love? A chaotic god of freedom ? E.g. which comes back to the stereotypical "chaotic good = robin hood" analogy. Would a Robin Hood divinity be chaotic? Is that not a good divinity?