Player Alignment in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook as Examined through the Frame of the Ethic of Justice. I wrote this small paper for an ethics class I am taking right now for my doctoral program in educational administration. I had to write two summaries of classical ethical essays on ethics. I did one paper on the Bill of Rights. The prof said my choice of Dungeons & Dragons was "unique" but acceptable.
From the site:
There are many ways of looking at ethics in the world. Most people are first exposed to ethical thinking by their parents at an early age. Most of us take this for granted until we are challenged to think about these issues later in life in ways that we are not used to thinking. For many adolescent boys (and some girls), this first exposure to a different ethical perspective comes for the fantasy role playing game Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Playing the game forces many players to rethink their own ethical viewpoints.
The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game is now over 30 years old. It has generated a vast library of hundreds of books and several spin off games. One of the keys to its success is probably due to the complex game play that allows for players to assume the identities of characters in a medieval fantasy setting. This includes the options to play wizards, fighters, and pagan priests. The game rules are complex but once they are mastered it allows for a very elaborate and time consuming game the draws a player into the fantasy world.
One of the most important aspects of the game is use of alignment. Players are required to have their characters follow an ethical code based on the moral outlook of the character. This alignment may be radically different from the one that the player may have in real life. However, to be successful in the game, the player must do his best to play his character to fit the appropriate ethical and moral view of the character.