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Adventurers League Player's Guide says, that we may not play characters with the neutral evil alignment:

we’ve decided to restrict alignment choices to keep groups from becoming too self-destructive. You may not play characters with either the neutral evil or chaotic evil alignments in the D&D Adventurers League.

Does it concern only newly-created characters, or is it true for the rest of the game? What if alignment was changed by the DM? Could it be?

Example 1. I've created a neutral character. Later in the game he killed someone, and the DM considered this act as "evil" one. Let's say there were several such acts. Should the DM forcefully shift my alignment to "neutral evil", effectively turning it into an inappropriate one (hence, kick the character out of the campaign)? Or how is this alignment rule supposed to work?

Example 2. A lawful neutral character committed several "evil" acts, and the DM shifted their alignment to "lawful evil" accordingly. However, ALPG says "you may play a character with the lawful evil alignment, but only if you are a member of either the Lords’ Alliance or Zhentarim factions". The character isn't a member of Alliance nor Zhentarim for now. As the result, should they be kicked from the campaign indefinitely? Or how this situation should be resolved?

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The 7.0 version of the AL Player's Guide has a slightly different wording:

As D&D Adventurers League play focuses on creating a welcoming, fun environment, neutral evil and chaotic evil characters aren’t allowed.

As an Adventurer's League player, I'm hugely in favor of this. I'm giving up my Saturday or weekday evening to join together and go on an adventure.

The nature of the structured, drop-in format means that these sessions are generally "go through and solve a pre-written module" rather than "it's the DM's world — or the table's world — and any module content is simply a behind-the-screen aid to reduce prep time". This means there's less latitude to explore alternate paths and still, you know, get through to a satisfying end. Adventurer's League modules aren't written with evil characters in mind, and by going against that, you're wasting everyone else's time.

Additionally, unlike a home (or school or workplace or whatever) gaming group, you're not necessarily my friend. In a gaming group, it's important for everyone to be on the same page, but since in public play there's no preexisting social dynamics to work that out, cooperation with the alignment rule is much more important. In Adventurer's League, it's expected that as a team, we're the good guys.

So, if you show up and act out of coordination with that, you're hurting the fun for other people at the table. And since they don't necessarily know you well enough to feel comfortable objecting, they may just have their fun ruined without any real recourse.

In a home game, you might accept the alignment change and then ask for some way to find atonement. In AL, ain't nobody else got time to make this thing all about you.

So, yeah, the appropriate thing to do in example 1 is retire that character from play. Make a new one, and make her or him a hero like Adventurer's League asks for. (Or, as the exception lists, be lawful evil but with a bond which ties you to getting along nicely with others and doing the adventure.)

In example 2 — lawful evil — you could have the added option of switching factions. I don't see any reason why the DM wouldn't allow this. You loose all existing renown and benefits from your current faction, and starting with no reputation or rank it's probably fair for you to not get any in-game faction benefits this session.

The section of the guide on Factions has this further guidance, which underscores my basic point and should definitely be kept in mind if you decide that a faction switch is the way to go:

No Undermining Other Characters. Adventurers are brought together by common cause, and they’re expected to work together to overcome challenges. Though certain factions might find others distasteful, the characters must put that aside and work as a team.

The only exception to retiring or changing the character would be if you feel the alignment change is unfair — you weren't acting out of an evil impulse, but an accident happened, or something. In that case, talk to the DM and ask to a) not have an alignment change after all or b) accept it for the session, but promise to actually behave and cooperate, and figure out what to do next when the session is done. If you can't work something out with the DM, talk to the organizer.

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The AL Rules:

AL Player's Guide: as you've noted, alignment is covered in the section character creation; the notion that one's alignment might change isn't really contemplated.

AL Dungeon Master's Guide: doesn't even mention alignment.

AL FAQ: only mentions alignment in a clarification on Hazirawn, a magical item found in one of the hardcover adventures.

So there's almost nothing to go on here. But the top-matter of the "Alignment" section of "Character Creation" explicitly spells out the intent:

As D&D Adventurers League play focuses on creating a welcoming, fun environment, neutral evil and chaotic evil characters aren't allowed in the D&D Adventurers League.

Analysis

  • You may not create a CE or NE character, and LE only if associated with Lords' Alliance or Zhentarim.
  • The intent-phrasing makes it pretty clear that you cannot play a CE or NE character, and may only play LE if associated with Lords' Alliance or Zhentarim. (Which restrictions are put in place to give a GM a bit of arm-twisting ability to rein in un-welcoming and -fun behavior.)

But now we're at the sticky point as to whether the GM may declare your character's revealed alignment, or whether that's a decision for you, the player, to make.* It doesn't matter.

You and your GM need to work together on this. Talk to them, not us.

You're clearly at odds in terms of expected gameplay and style. You are playing the way you want, and the GM is using in-game methods to signal that what you're doing is not acceptable to them. They may be acting reasonably, they may not. We can't know.

If you can't talk to your GM about this, involve your site coordinator--that's exactly the job they signed up for. (Speaking as a site coordinator.)


* - Note: this is a really sticky point. Enough that we have a meta on what types of alignment questions can even be asked here, the (full) DMG says nothing about it, and Angry GM went ahead and devoted a whole post to using it well or not at all. And a separate Angry rant

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm pretty sure someone in charge of AL has an account here. Does anyone remember their name? \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Rose Nov 22 '17 at 21:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RobRose it's @ raddu, who says they're Robert Adducci whose name you'll recognize from various AL documents. (I have no reason to doubt him, but have in no way independently verified their identity, either.) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Nov 23 '17 at 1:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @raddu has moved to another position, I think, based on a tweet I saw a couple of months ago. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 21 '18 at 13:03
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Well, that should probably be a clue, if the DM wasn't being unreasonable in his judgments about the acts. The prohibition isn't there to make sure that no character sheets have the letters "NE" of "CE" written on them. The prohibition is to exclude disruptively evil behaviors. If you want to play AL, you should refrain from behaving in an NE or CE manner, so as to foster cooperative play; that's the point.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The allowance for certain types of evil seems to suggest otherwise. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 22 '17 at 13:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I don't think it does, given the restrictions on that allowance. In fact, that backs up this point even more. \$\endgroup\$ – mattdm Nov 22 '17 at 13:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm It does not do so unless his answer spells out how it does so. I am unfamiliar with both organizations and do not know how those restrictions counter my point—and it is the answer’s responsibility to tell me. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 22 '17 at 13:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I have no idea, and am not disputing, whether or not that restriction eliminates the “problem” of evil alignment—but that is precisely my point, the answer has to back up its statements and right now those statements focus on evil as a problem, which contradicts the fact that evil can be allowed. Clearly, the AL is taking a (slightly) more nuanced position than evil PCs = bad for the game, and the answer needs to address that. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Nov 22 '17 at 14:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't see that any elaboration is needed, or any splitting of hairs for the benefit of those who want to subvert the intent or the point. It's just like I said: The prohibition is to exclude disruptively evil behaviors. If you want to play AL, you should refrain from behaving in an NE or CE manner, so as to foster cooperative play; that's the point. \$\endgroup\$ – Phil Boncer Nov 22 '17 at 15:42

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