5 Ways to Handle Conflicting Alignments in a D&D Party

Before I begin, I just want to say that in the end it doesn't really matter what alignment you chose to make your character. As we looked at two weeks ago there are no longer any alignment restrictions in D&D 5 and that means you can pretty well create whatever character you want featuring whatever personality archetype you see fit. 

Where alignment does become a useful tool is figuring out how this character would react to certain circumstances. Will they help the stranded merchants on the road, ask for a reward in return for their aid, or rob them? Your alignment can help you sort out these questions and a create a character with a personality different from your own. Which is what role playing is all about!

But what do you do when your player party is comprised of many differing and often conflicting alignments? How do you stop what seems like the inevitable infighting that happens between lawful Good and Chaotic Evil Characters? How do you keep them on track and not squabbling with each other over difference of "what their character would do."

1. Make sure there's a spread of alignments in the party.

One of the easiest ways to handle this sort of conflict is to make sure that you have a good spread of alignments present in the party. In the example above using our RPG Character Dice there are too many good/lawful characters. This means the Neutral Evil character will have a hard time "being evil" as the other other characters may feel morally obliged to stop them, making it a difficult Alignment to play in this case.

If facing this circumstance, as a player consider perhaps using a different character or alignment that suits the party. Or even better, make your evil alignment something you are trying to earn redemption from so that you mostly try to be good, but have the occasional lapse as your alignment slowly shifts.

As a dungeon master introduce some NPCs into the party to balance the alignments. Doing this will allow evil aligned characters toplot and scheme among themselves, while the good characters try to keep an eye on them. It makes for a lot of fun and for some good healthy party dynamics as long as everyone isn't trying to hurt one another.

2. Keep them focused on the campaign.

In my Arachnophobia Campaign hordes of giant spiders are flooding into the world from the North. Villages, castles and cities alike are slowly crumbling before the onslaught. Civilization is doomed. Because of this survival situation, the players rarely find they have the time for much squabbling and disagreements over the morality of their actions.

Purely a DM tip, but if you keep the party focused on their own survival and the campaign story, then they simply will not have the time to bicker over conflicting alignments. They will have to focus on the survival of the party, and so what is good and what is evil falls more into a shade of grey rather than the usual black and white of dungeons and dragons. This makes it easier for conflicting alignments to work together: because they must in order to survive.

3. Restrict the available player alignments.

If having characters of varying alignments doesn't work with the nature of the campaign, then as a Dungeon Master I recommended setting some alignment restrictions before you have your players make their characters. So if you intend for everyone to play as part of an order of knights that upholds the laws of the land you might ask everyone to choose a good or lawful alignment.

Personally I like to avoid this as much as possible, but sometimes it is necessary to fit the tone of your campaign. So if you must, let the players know while they are building their characters that this game has alignment restrictions.

4. Remind everyone that it is just a game.

Some people can take the role play a little too far, making it not fun for other players. Constantly messing with other party members, killing NPCs when other's wish to speak with them, etc, etc. This sort of player is usually playing to their alignment, however for some people it is a little much, and it can throw off the flow of the game.

If this is a problem at your table then be sure to remind everyone that this is just a game. Everyone is here to have fun and if someone's character is making it not fun for anyone then that person needs to tone it down. If they don't think the character will work like that, then let them bring in a new character that will.

5. Just let it happen.

My final piece of advice is what I currently do in game: I just let it happen. If a player's character does not work with the party this will quickly become apparent to everyone. I simply ask that all parties involved resolve this sort of issue in game. Tension among the player party can make for some amazing story telling, and usually once you give them the control players will police themselves to make sure the party survives.

These sort of events can make for some hilarious memories around the tabletop. Just make sure everyone is on the same page, and having a good time. Alignment conflicts may come up, but treat them as role play events for the players and story events for the campaign if they become important enough.

Given enough time, most alignment conflicts will eventually resolve themselves. Try not to look at them as dampening the campaign's mood, but rather as role play challenges for you and your party to over come in game. Do this, and your game will run smoothly.

What do you do when your player party breaks down into bickering due to alignment conflicts?

Written by: Andrew Gregory

Image Sources
Chivalric Code - https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/62487513553992292/

It's Just a Game - http://www.o-posts.com/poems/game-dear/

Anarchy - http://pokemonmysteryuniverse.wikia.com/wiki/Anarchy
5 Ways to Handle Conflicting Alignments in a D&D Party 5 Ways to Handle Conflicting Alignments in a D&D Party Reviewed by JADE Gaming on 7/13/2018 02:05:00 pm Rating: 5

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