I'm playing D&D 3.5e as a human Ranger. Our party has recently had a couple of wins, resulting in some nice loot. I was lucky and got the pick of the pile both times.

The first time I got a sentient bow with some nice abilities. As I'm pretty low level and the game hasn't been running long, the DM allowed one fudge: he made sure the item would match my alignment, because otherwise it applies a negative level as long as I'm carrying it, and may refuse to help me.

The second time I got a pick from a Deck Of Many Things... and drew an alignment switch. I've gone from Lawful Neutral to Chaotic Neutral, which means my bow now opposes me (the rules state you must match the non-neutral part).

I've not had this bow long, so it seems a shame to have to stop using it already. Also, I'm relatively new to D&D, and while I get the principles I don't have anywhere near the experience of some of the other players, so I'm very aware that other characters in the party are starting to pull ahead in terms of combat effectiveness. I don't mind not being the best, but I'd like to be able to pull my weight, and this bow (and its abilities) was one of the things I was hoping to use to help with that.

What are my options for moving my alignment back to Lawful? I don't mind it taking a little while - it could make for some interesting plot - but I'd rather it didn't take so long that this bow is underpowered by the time I can use it again. The bow has very high Diplomacy (+12) so perhaps it could convince me somehow? Most of the party are Chaotic Something or Neutral Something; the only Lawful character is Evil.


One interesting route back to Lawful

First, you and your DM should agree on some details about your alignment change. The typical way to rule a magical change like this is that:

  • Your personality and values have in fact 100% changed and you love your new perspective. "That old me was deluded to think law and order made the world a better place. They're the real problem in the world. Unfettered personal freedom and unpredictability are what make this world great."

...But as a DM I'd be happy to rule:

  • A sliver of your Lawful Neutral "conscience" remains, but you find yourself overwhelmed with chaotic urges...a bit of an internal Smeagol/Gollum conflict. "I want to get there fast so I'm going to take that horse tied up over there."..."No! It's not mine it wouldn't be right!"

The former character has no incentive to change his alignment. The latter might be more persuadable...especially if he's bonded with a LN bow. (Did your character just use it as a tool? Had the bow expressed any sort of personality? Did the bow grow to respect the character, or visa versa?)

I personally love the roleplay potential of a bow that stays loyal (a Lawful virtue) to the ranger-as-he-was, and nurtures that seed of a conscience. It might aid the character when his actions furthered lawful aims while impeding (and arguing against them) when his actions run counter to law and order. You then get to play a character who slowly overcomes the curse of disorder and unlawfulness, and returns, in steps, to his former self.

As a DM, I could see either letting the player roleplay when she gives in and when she holds firm, or using a mechanic like a Will Save. If using the latter, one mechanical way to help move yourself back to Lawful would be to take Iron Will as your next feat, representing your growing resolve to overcome your chaotic urges.

How long should it take?

There's no concrete timeline. Certainly it shouldn't be as easy as, "Oh nevermind, I've changed my mind." Presumably you would have a conflicted period where you sometimes gave in to the chaotic urges and sometimes staved them off, where you'd be True Neutral...but in the end the DM has plenty of leeway here, and I'd set it based on what made an interesting, satisfying story.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is what I was thinking about. I'd actually prefer something that took a little while; the idea of just waving away something like this seems like a waste of a good opportunity for plot and intrigue. As the change was magically triggered, the idea of internal conflict makes sense. You make a good point about the relationship with the bow; I haven't had it long, but when I got it there was a phase of building respect, so there's good potential for it to want to regain the LN ally it only just found. \$\endgroup\$ – anaximander Dec 13 '13 at 17:10

You don't. You took a chance with a Deck of Many Things, now you have to live with the consequences. That's the very point of those decks. The only way you can change back is if your GM goes soft and allows you to switch back by GM fiat, or perhaps generously provides some means of doing so in game (such as the effects of another item).

Consider what an alignment is. It's your basic outlook on life. It's your very nature. Your character does not want to change alignments because their current one is the 'correct' one. Changing alignments is like trying to convert to a religion without being an actual believer. Or willing the change of your most basic political beliefs. You might go through the motions of the change, but ultimately your deepest instincts stay the same. IMO, it would take many years before such a change could take hold. Your character went through a similar experience to being 'born again'. After that happens, the character would not want to go back to their old ways.

Personally, as a GM, if a player told me they wanted to go from CN to LN for the reason of using a magic item, I'd point out that such selfish thoughts make you even more CN.

What your GM might do, if he feels your character is 'falling behind' the others, is include another magical weapon meant for your PC in treasure at some point... but only after you've suitably learned your lesson about tempting fate by drawing from a Deck.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd honestly be ok with this. It makes things more interesting; if I can build my character's tale without interference from game events, then I'm writing a story, not playing a game with other players. My thinking is that a magical alignment change might feel odd to the character, as their mind is filled with Lawful thoughts up until mere seconds ago. There may be some conflicts, or it may seem like a moment of awakening. Wanting to use the bow is mostly from me, the player, and not the character. I trust my DM to not let the party get unbalanced, but as a player, I like this bow :P \$\endgroup\$ – anaximander Dec 15 '13 at 12:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are for clarification only, @anaximander. Please edit all of your comments into your question to provide additional background and clairty before they are deleted. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Dec 16 '13 at 8:40

Intelligent items differ from regular items in that they have activated abilities in the form of spells that allow them to aid or hinder their wielder. They can also attempt to use their Ego score to take control of their wielder, in order to aid their own design/purpose.

However, your bow might also be Axiomatic, a Magic Weapon Special Ability that means the weapon is aligned with the forces of Law. It applies a Negative Level to any Chaotic creature that tries to wield it, and does extra damage when fired at a Chaotic creature.

The Intelligent Item can't actually control the Negative Level that comes with wielding it, but it might remain loyal to a Lawful character who was changed to Chaotic despite its alignment – Intelligent Items mostly care about their Purpose, rather than their Alignment. If your Purpose and its coincide, as long as you are willing to eat the -1 to everything and the -5 hp, you could still wield it.

And is that a story and a half: a Ranger cursed by a deck of magic cards to be impulsive and carefree struggling against that with his memories of being a careful and plan-oriented person, while his Intelligent bow looks on in horror and shock at these changes and desperately tries not to undermine the Ranger's fragile sense of self in the face of the spiralling (and terrifying) power of magical mind control.

Your Ranger's struggle to be 'true to his self' (impossible, with magical artifact mind control, at least without some kind of crazy Inner Journey sort of stuff) while his bow tries to help him, and he inevitably goes off the rails with chaotic antics, sounds like roleplaying gold.


Pretty simple way, actually. There's a spell, Atonement, which allows an alignment change at no cost to you. However, as many people have pointed out, you probably now love your new alignment. This means that the 500 point XP cost will probably apply to the cleric casting it. You might be able to convince your DM to have a quest in which you relearn the negativity of chaos in order to waive the XP cost, but that's up to you.


I am basing my answer on the entry for Intelligent Items on SRD.

It seems to me that everything is up to your DM. They control the item's personality, which means it may choose to stay with you and thus try to compel your actions while in possession. The higher its Ego, the more likely this is the case given that nobody else matches its alignment (although the LE character is the closest fit), and likely nobody else has the same talent as your character to use it.

Of course your DM may pull a Rule 0 and declare that the shift in your alignment while holding it changes the item's alignment too. If willing to fudge it once, they may be willing to do it again.

Additionally, your only holdout is if there is some kind of Wish you haven't used that can change either yours or the item's alignment. The Atonement spell can restore your alignment to its prior state but would be tricky given that you need to find an LN cleric and your character might not "want" to go back.

Otherwise to dodge the issue you can simply find someone "worth" the item to give it to and hope your DM is benevolent enough to replace it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ To be honest, I'd actually be against a fudge to change the bow's alignment; I like the idea of a little conflict. I think seeing as the change was magical and pretty sudden, it's likely the character would want to talk it over with others, including the bow, and with that high Diplomacy, I think it's not unreasonable to say that the bow would be persuasive enough to cause a slow shift back, which I'd probably RP over several sessions. \$\endgroup\$ – anaximander Dec 13 '13 at 16:00

Committing enough deeds appropriate for the alignment is a good way to go. Doing enough good deeds (acts of charity, heroism, or saving a village from a beast for free, as examples) would make someone good again.

Bringing in a ton of bounties or assisting in holding up the law with a crime ridden village/town could be the ticket to becoming lawful. Maybe ask you DM how you could fix your alignment if it bothers you. He/She could provide role-playing and quest moments where upholding the law could solve the conflict.

A classic example of this is two campaign ago, I played a lawful good fighter that was betrayed many times by evil party members or the main villain. Eventually he became lawful evil and decided if the world was going to screw with him, he would show it no mercy. This dramatic change took about 14 levels to do, or 7 levels per alignment step. At the end my evil fighter was lopping off heads right beside the main villain!


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