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As an ex D&D 3.5 and D&D 2 player, I feel bad that 5e don't make spells that about evil and good (like "Protection from Evil and Good" and "Detect Evil and Good") don't actually interact with alignment. For me it was all the flavor of those spells in older editions was the fact that they affect alignment.

Here is the stat block for the spell I'll use as an example:

Protection from Evil and Good

1st-level abjuration

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (holy water or powdered silver and iron, which the spell consumes)
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes

Until the spell ends, one willing creature you touch is protected against certain types of creatures: aberrations, celestials, elementals, fey, fiends, and undead.

The protection grants several benefits. Creatures of those types have disadvantage on attack rolls against the target. The target also can't be charmed, frightened, or possessed by them. If the target is already charmed, frightened, or possessed by such a creature, the target has advantage on any new saving throw against the relevant effect.

Detect Evil and Good

1st-level divination

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self (30 ft around you)
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes

For the duration, you know if there is an aberration, celestial, elemental, fey, fiend, or undead within 30 feet of you, as well as where the creature is located. Similarly, you know if there is a place or object within 30 feet of you that has been magically consecrated or desecrated.

The spell can penetrate most barriers, but it is blocked by 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of wood or dirt.

I think about two possible house-rules to give them back their flavor:

  • Soft modifications: "Protection from Evil and Good" stay the same (because I didn't found a balanced version for the spell), but "Detect Evil and Good" give the alignment of all creatures that are in the area of effect plus all other information the spell already give
  • Hard modifications: Go back to the old version of the spells
    • "Protection from Evil and Good" you choose an alignment (except neutral) and all creature of this alignment are affected like the spell actually does for some creature, but don't target them for what they are
    • "Detect Evil and Good" tell you what is the alignment of all creatures in affected area, but not there nature.

Since I DMing in Eberron (a world were bad guys are not always evil aligned, good guys are not always good, and creature don't follow their "natural" alignment), I think that both houserules are balanced in some way, but I don't know which would be the most balanced, or if those house-ruled spell are balanced enough.

So here I am to ask for help: which one seems to be the most balanced?

For the record, I playtested the soft version, and it end up just adding more roleplay option for the players (e.g. defend themself by explaining that being evil aligned don't always mean that you will stab the paladin in the back if you can). I didn't already tested the hard version because it's a big change in what the spell does, so I preferred to ask if it could be unbalanced in some way before, and find a fix if it is, and then playtest it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It is unclear to me how these spells will work. Can you create full stat blocks? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Dec 16 '19 at 22:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe I'm missing something, but what is your question? I'm having a real hard time seeing what an answer to this is even supposed to address. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Dec 16 '19 at 22:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have two thoughts: First, I think I don't understand the specific question. It seems to be a question of game balance, but I'm not sure what you consider to be out of balance or what kind of balance you're aiming for. \$\endgroup\$ – Novak Dec 16 '19 at 22:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ Second, this depends on how you clarify the question, but I think there is a real chance this is going to bump up against "Alignment questions are often unresolveable questions of opinion." \$\endgroup\$ – Novak Dec 16 '19 at 22:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is perhaps related, or at least explains how few there are: "Is there a spell or effect that reveals or identifies alignment?" \$\endgroup\$ – Medix2 Dec 16 '19 at 22:36
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Both approaches are more powerful than the standard spells.

All of these modifications to the base spells are more powerful and versatile than the base spells, because they add additional features and abilities.

Soft modification

Detect evil and good normally lets you sense the location of six of the fourteen types of creatures, including invisible, hidden, and disguised creatures.

This modification would extend the spell to cover the other eight monster types, including very common categories like humanoid and beast. In Eberron, where extraplanar creatures are rare, and city adventures are more common, this version of the spell would be considerably more useful.

Giving the full alignment of creatures also makes the spell more useful. For example, you can tell a changeling impostor apart from the real person if their alignment doesn't match. You can tell a shapechanged druid apart from an animal because the druid will have an alignment.

Hard modification

Detect evil and good as described is functionally the same as in soft modification.

Protection from evil and good, in combination with detect evil and good or foreknowledge of typical monster stats, opens up that spell to protect against every creature of every type. If it works like the 3.5 version, it affects all creatures of one alignment axis (e.g. "evil"), making it broadly effective.

The modified spell has three main drawbacks:

  • It no longer functions against neutral creatures. However, most of the creatures the standard spell works against are non-neutral, with only twelve such creatures in the Monster Manual having True Neutral alignment, mostly elementals.
  • It only protects against one alignment at a time, meaning that it's of limited use against groups of mixed alignment. However, teams of opposite alignment rarely work together.
  • Since alignments can change arbitrarily in Eberron, this spell can be really unpredictable, which frustrates players. They might cast it to protect against evil when fighting a demon who turns out to be non-evil. It's too easy for this spell to have no effect without any way for the players to know this in advance, unless they pair it with detect evil and good, at which point it becomes trivial.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ "teams of opposite alignment rarely work together" DM is running Ebberon so that seems unlikely, at least to me. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Dec 19 '19 at 7:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well I think you are overestimate Hard mode Detect evil and good, since it would no longer tell what is the creature type. And between knowing that the powerfull innkeeper sorceress is Lawfull Neutral or knowing she is a "redeemed" rakshasa in disguise (long story) I think one info is more valuable than the other. Plus, in Eberron your assomption about "teams of opposite alignment rarely work together" just don't work. Especially if this spell exist, and you know that your ennemy have it. \$\endgroup\$ – Rorp Dec 19 '19 at 7:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rorp The description of standard detect evil only says that it reveals the location of certain types of creatures, not that it reveals their type. \$\endgroup\$ – Quadratic Wizard Dec 19 '19 at 8:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ What I understand from the spell description is that you also know what is the type of the creature. So my exemple was not that good (because ok you don't know that the Rakshasa is a Rakshasa), but you know that the innkeeper is a fiend, not just "their is something wrong about this woman" \$\endgroup\$ – Rorp Dec 19 '19 at 8:35

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