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I would like to have a campaign where key battles between Good and Evil are fought over which key heroes change from/to one alignment set to another (one 'team' or cult is NE/CE/LE vs. another group is NG/LG/CG). In D&D, alignment changes can happen swiftly, especially with magic. Are there ANY hard-set rules on which alterations are stronger and dominate a mind more effectively over time? Are there any rules stating that any of these forces dominate above and beyond 'freewill' or individual choice?

Example of alignment shifting in game play:

A frog (CR 0 / 'neutral'... sort of) gains a True Polymorph and becomes an Elf commoner (CR 0 / some alignment and it suddenly MUST choose now - presumably CG?). This commoner is then soaked in a 'Red Dragon blood ritual' (DMG suggestion) and transforms (well, half transforms... technically) accordingly (now CE?). While in this state it is bitten by a wererat and, over the next full moon, gains a new alignment we think (LE maybe?). Confused, this creature visits Bitopia for a few weeks and becomes some version of 'lawfully goody neutral-ish' or something else entirely. Later on, whilst down a street on the Prime Material this guy is hit by Dispel Magic and is now back to being a simple frog (stupid & neutral... but 'still in character' apparently?). Fortunately someone nearby has both a Headband of Intellect and Speak with Animals handy and do Sentient First Aid® on this poor frog-guy-dragon-rat-thing from heaven. They can now ask this suddenly-genius creature what alignments it liked (assuming it can remember) and what it thinks is now. With 19 intelligence it answers with great clarity. Imagine how interviewing reporters are rapt with anticipation.

Please consider these points of interest:

  • Mr. Crawford pointed out in some tweet (cannot find this) that a demon or devil that is not of its proper alignment is no longer a creature of that type. This means that he gets that alignments are essential. That said, Fallen Angel is clearly something that exists in 5e (and is discussed somewhere in the various books / cannot remember where on this either).

  • Some external alignment change devices clearly have more pull than others. Going to various planes can shift an alignment but it reverts back with a spell. The pull of lycanthropy seems to be more of an instinctive-reactive approach and not a full requirement for being any specific were-creature.

  • Many spells that modify behaviour can be long-lasting or even permanent yet have utterly no impact on alignment. Note that Mass Suggestion and Geas-Quest can be really pervasive for any (N)PC and cause them to act in ways radically different from their origin-alignment. There does not seem to be any writeup in any canon or follow-up books (Yolo / Xanathar) that suggests this is of any concern other than a paladin would need to get the requisite Atone checkup after a few thousand of miles.

  • It is not clear what alignments are even relative to or what or why. For example, Mind Flayers / Illithids are listed as evil. Yet to one another they are kind, peaceful and very decent. They eat the brains of much more stupid creatures but humans do this with pigs and it is a non-issue. If a Mind Flayer were involved with some kind a humanitarian-PETA project would they be considered good now? Or possibly Evil for reducing the logical supply of food for her own kind?

  • There are many spells, magical items and situations that concern alignment. A relatively well-written guide can be found here.

Things to consider as a DM:

  • 5E has relatively weak demands and distinctions as to what qualifies as an alignment or what is a 'change' thereof. Discussion of this in The Angry DM can be found here.

  • As a DM i fathom that this could entail Player Character Agency Problems (PCAP): it is game-suicide to tell players how to think, feel, act &/or otherwise control their choices. These good-evil transformation mechanics would work most strongly on NPCs. On players ('PCs') these alignment modifiers would be gentle 'role play suggestions' at best.

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closed as too broad by MikeQ, NautArch, V2Blast, Purple Monkey, Wibbs Nov 15 '18 at 21:53

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Related Question: What happens to a Devil when its alignment is forcibly changed? \$\endgroup\$ – Daniel Zastoupil Nov 15 '18 at 22:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ The key / top answer on 'changing the alignment of a fiend' (posted above) does a great job of fusing game mechanics with Socratic-Platonic philosophy. It is brilliant. This seems to answer the above question (even though this change is fairly easily dispelled). Alignments re-created by visiting planes have the most 'substantial' effect. On the four specific planes listed as altering alignment, any and all creatures become whatever key-attuned alignment for THAT locale - right down to their core & atomic structure. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim of Time Nov 15 '18 at 22:37
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Alignment in 5e is descriptive. It shouldn't limit player agency and should be a reflection of the actions and intentions of the player. The DM, I believe, should be able to change the character sheet to match what the player has done/is doing. Matt Mercer (Critical Role DM, and author of the Tal'dorei Campaign Setting book) and Jeremy Crawford say alignment is descriptive:

Alignment is descriptive, not prescriptive. The alignment of a creature "broadly describes its moral and personal attitudes" (PH, 122). #DnD

It is important to note before we go further that, according to the DMG and/or MM, the alignment in the stat block is for the common alignment a creature has -- what you're most likely to encounter (Demons, Devils, and Angels being the exception, as they are defined by their alignment).

The alignment specified in a monster's stat block is the default. Feel free to depart from it and change a monster's alignment to suit the needs of your campaign. If you want a good-aligned green dragon or an evil storm giant, there's nothing stopping you.

And spells like True Polymorph, etc., don't affect alignment. For example, True Polymorph reads:

It retains its alignment and personality.

Your example is needlessly convoluted and is part of the reason why this question is likely to close. I was going to run through it and point out that the creature is the alignment of the moral code and conduct it chooses to act. However, instead, I'll just ask the two questions you posed.

Are there ANY hard-set rules on which alterations are stronger and dominate a mind more effectively over time? Are there any rules stating that any of these forces dominate above and beyond 'freewill' or individual choice?

No. There are not.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Please source any perspective not based on opinion. This means virtually any source, in game or outside of it. You could quote Crawford tweets, official modules, game canon from present or previous editions, philosophy or even personal experience. Instead you quote your feelings and some figurative 'group'. This doesn't seem useful. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim of Time Nov 15 '18 at 22:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ The bit about alignment from the intro to the MM (and the DM's basic rules): "The alignment specified in a monster's stat block is the default. Feel free to depart from it and change a monster's alignment to suit the needs of your campaign. If you want a good-aligned green dragon or an evil storm giant, there's nothing stopping you." \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Nov 15 '18 at 23:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TimofTime - The important part is the last bold line. I can't quote what doesn't exist. I've backed up the other stuff a little. Sorta the black swan problem. ;) \$\endgroup\$ – J. A. Streich Nov 15 '18 at 23:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough. And downvoted to oblivion at that. Should i delete this? \$\endgroup\$ – Tim of Time Nov 15 '18 at 23:23

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