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I am trying to make heads or tails of whether or not my character can remain Lawful Evil under the current rules of Adventure League.

I first scribed the character to be Lawful Evil in Season 7 where the only contingency is that they had to belong to one of two factions: Lords' Alliance or Zhentarim.

Now, with Season 8, there are a bunch of changes. Lets start with the basics, per the ALPG8.2:

Alignment. Evil characters aren't allowed in D&D Adventurers League play unless your character is a member of either the Lords' Alliance or Zhentarim faction. These characters may be lawful evil.

Okay, so far so good. He was part of the Lords' Alliance faction so he's covered. Except:

Step 6: Select a Faction (Optional)

Your character can be a member of a faction if they have the Safe Haven background feature (Faction Agent background, Sword Coast Adventurers Guide).

But my character doesn't have the Safe Haven background. He has the Bad Reputation background from being a pirate (something that plays heavily in how the character is portrayed).

In the ALFAQ8.2:

Is this Guidance Retroactive?

Campaign Documents are effective as of its effective date on the cover page, but aren't retroactive unless an entry states as much. It does, however, supersede previously issued guidance to the same effect.

So he shouldn't have to change retroactively.

But on the official Adventurers League website, it talks about the change to factions and lists the following

So what does this mean for characters that already have a faction? Well, it's pretty easy:

  • you can leave your faction (normal rules apply)

  • you can stay in your faction by exchanging your current background feature with Safe Haven, the feature used by the Faction Agent background (from Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide). You may do this regardless of your level, just as how your alignment might change as your story progresses.

  • factions will no longer be providing magic items, nor will the mentor functions exist

  • remember that characters with a lawful evil alignment are required to be members of either the Zhentarim or the Lords' Alliance, and Adventurers League play does not allow neutral evil or chaotic evil alignments in play

Which would seem to be a required retroactive change. Now, this comes from the website and not the official FAQ, but I would still take it as being authoritative.

So that leaves three possibilities:

  1. Nothing retroactive; character stays as is - a mean and evil pirate.
  2. Retroactively he no longer has a Bad Reputation, but instead has to have the Safe Haven background making still evil, but no longer strikes fear into people when he approaches.
  3. Retroactively he stays a pirate with a Bad Reputation background, but loses his faction affiliation and can no longer be evil.

How does this all shake out?

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Either change your background feature or your alignment

From the rules you have already quoted it seems fairly clear. Options 2 and 3 that you have listed are both possibilities.

You can choose to keep your Bad Reputation feature and lose your faction and therefore your evil alignment.

OR

You can trade your Bad Reputation for Safe Haven and keep your faction and alignment.

Which option you take is up to you.

Note: I am not an AL DM or Admin so my rulings aren't official.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The "you can only be evil if you belong to these factions" does not need to be retroactive because it was always like this, thus your fourth option does not work. (I.e. if he loses the faction affiliation he can no longer be evil, period) \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Nov 20 '18 at 4:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HellSaint apologies, I thought all the quoted rules were part of the new policy. Thanks for the correction. \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin Nov 20 '18 at 4:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Regarding the Note: No AL DM can make official rulings anyway. The AL admins do that, but your understanding of the already published rules is accurate. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Nov 20 '18 at 4:44
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Yeap, you will have to change your character either way

The entire faction system is changing, as mentioned in the website you linked and in the ALPG for Season 8, and it seems that you now can only be part of a faction if you have the Safe Haven background feature. As you pointed out, you either have to leave the faction or get a free-background-change and get the Safe Haven feature. In particular, the website does state

As such, characters that want to be a part of a faction will need to take the Faction Agent background

and later

you will need to have the Safe Haven feature in order to remain a member of your faction (yes, this is the second time we’ve said this in the article; it’s intentional).

Probably because people have asked this more than once already. So yeah, they made it quite clear that you need to change your background or lose your faction affiliation (and consequently lose your evil alignment).

Or you could quit AL and just play house games like everyone is doing because of these changes. Sorry, random rant.

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