PDA

View Full Version : Failed Prototype (Please Ignore)



DoomHat
2011-06-14, 03:23 AM
{The Original Poster Has Abandoned This Approach. Please Disregard}

Iím a big fan of merging fluff with crunch. As it stands, Alignment is in a pretty odd position. Itís a mechanical decision that only effects some class choices and the results of some magic. There are very few guidelines for actually enforcing/defining your choice. Further more, as it is an issue of morality instead of personality, there are very few legitimate options in most campaigns.
So hereís my quick fix.

-There are 8 months in a year and in each month a different Guiding Star shines brightest in the sky. It is said that almost everyone is effected by one of these Guiding Stars. Most frequently they are born on the month associated with that star, but there are many exceptions.
[Players must choose a Guiding Star or The Void at character creation. That characterís Season of the Soul(Alignment) is determined by that choice]

Summer Heart- The Luck Star
Those born to the Luck Star tend to be reckless. They can not abide inaction and never pass up a chance to accept a dare or attempt something foolhardy.

Summer Fall- The Strange Star
Those born to the Strange Star tend to beÖ creative. They can not abide structure and never pass up an opportunity to shake things up.

Fall Heart- The Wealth Star
Those born to the Wealth Star tend to be ruthless. They can not abide giving something away for nothing and never pass up a chance to make a profit.

Winter Fall- The Glory Star
Those born to the Glory Star tend to be ambitious. They can not abide even the slightest disrespect and never pass up an opportunity to elevate their social status.

Winter Heart- The Knowledge Star
Those born to the Knowledge Star tend to be inquisitive. They can not abide ignorance and never pass up an chance to broaden their understanding.

Winter Spring- The Justice Star
Those born to the Justice Star tend to be righteous. They can not abide misdeeds and never pass up an opportunity to set things right.

Spring Heart- The Compassion Star
Those born to the Compassion Star tend to be kindhearted. They can not abide suffering and never pass up a chance to sacrifice for the sake those in need.

Summer Spring- The Beauty Star
Those born to the Beauty Star tend to be epicures. They can not abide the destruction of beautiful things and never pass up an opportunity to try new things.

Equinox- The Void
Those born without a Guiding Star tend to be followers. The can not abide being alone and never pass up a chance to rally under someone elseís cause.


(Replace any mechanics that call for Evil with Fall, Good with Spring, Chao with Summer, Law with Winter, and Equinox with Neutral. Regardless what month your character was actually born in, their Season of the Soul is determined by their Guiding Star)
PLEASE NOTE: Seasons of the Soul and Guiding Stars have nothing to do with morality. While Fall aligned characters may tend towards malicious deeds, they are not inherently bad people.
[Anytime a PCís actions are strongly influenced by their Guiding Star, reward them with 100exp. If they take action that strongly contradicts their guiding star, the DM receives a Trouble Token. The DM may at any time spend the token to cause some unexpected misfortune to befall the character or something dear to them.]

Saidoro
2011-06-14, 07:02 PM
So you're fixing alignment by giving it new names and saying it's based on when you were born?
I can't speak for anyone else, but the first thing I would do within this system is create a character born in the fall who constantly tried to overcome the cultural preconceptions against people born in the "evil" season, I'd probably act against alignment more with this system than I would with the normal one. But then, that's just me.

DoomHat
2011-06-14, 07:15 PM
Please read a little more carefully. Morality has been taken completely out of the picture.
The important thing is your Guiding Star. Hold on, I'll edit the OP to make that more clear.

Saidoro
2011-06-14, 07:53 PM
Morality may have been taken out of the picture, but that doesn't change the fact that people aligned with the fall tend to have antisocial traits(assuming that you're going with the full description of summer fall and not just the adjective). And stereotypes have certainly formed over less, just look at real life, many people believe that personalities are decided by star sign when there is no evidence whatsoever that that's true, I can't imagine how much a fall birthdate would be stigmatized when there actually is a correlation between being born in the fall and a personality trait generally seen as negative. And if birthdate isn't that important why tie it to date at all?
Also this makes somewhat less mechanical sense than the old version, why does one detect X spell ping for the ambitious, righteous and inquisitive but no one else, what ties those things together in such a way that one spell would select out those qualities?
Finally, this has the same problem as law and chaos in the old system, it's perfectly possible to express almost every trait described as something attributable to law or chaos without contradiction and it's possible to be equally describable by every trait in your list without any sort of contradiction as well. This whole thing seems just as arbitrary as alignment was to me, and possibly more so.

Gideon Falcon
2011-06-14, 08:09 PM
How are there very few legitimate options in most campaigns? I don't know of any campaigns that ban anything but the evil alignments unless they are specifically evil campaigns or something similar. Even without the evil alignments, there are still 6 legitimate options to choose from, 5 if Chaotic Neutral is banned :smalltongue:.

In addition, I don't see any problem with the existing alignment system having limited mechanical effects. Mixing fluff and crunch doesn't mean that everything needs a detailed mechanic, after all. The existing guidelines, which have the DM step in and change your alignment if you act like a different one, seem plenty sufficient to me.

Even with limited alignment choices, you still have a lot of room for different personalities, as you said when you posited that it is morals instead of personality.

Also, I see no reason why an alignment system should encourage you to act out of alignment, when that kind of thing is generally looked down upon.

Epsilon Rose
2011-06-14, 09:10 PM
I'm afraid I must agree with Saidoro and add that the rewards and penalties for following/not following alignment.
The first problem is that it's going to exacerbate alignment arguments. Think about how often people argue about the current alignments that affect almost nothing, with this you'd have the same arguments but with xp and trouble tokens on the line.
The second and significantly worse problem is that it strangles character growth by punishing deviation from starting concept.
Take for instance a character who starts as a shy and in experienced boy who's just starting as an adventurer. It's quite conceivable for said boy to eventually grow into a battle-hardened and charismatic leader over the course of a campaign. Unfortunately since this character started shy and was born under the void the dm's now picking up trouble tokens left and right.

raxies94
2011-06-14, 10:47 PM
I feel like this has the potential to be an interesting new way to look at alignment...eventually. It looks like it needs to be worked on quite a bit more. Add more fluff to each of the options. At the core though, it seems to suffer from the same thing that the core alignment mechanic suffers from, and that is the fact that real people don't fit neatly into tight little boxes. Real people (and characters, theoretically) can't generalize everything they do as good, lawful, etc.

Lord Vukodlak
2011-06-15, 12:00 AM
I have a better fix
Treat Alignments as guidelines and not as strait jackets.

Ashtagon
2011-06-15, 12:23 AM
I just dispose of alignments. Detect good and other effects that interact with alignment simply don't exist. However, characters of a specific religion (in game terms, those who have taken a level of cleric or paladin or similar religiously focused class) will ping on a "detect Pelor follower" spell, and "Word of Pelor" will do a number on followers of deities opposed to Pelor.

Lord_Gareth
2011-06-15, 12:33 AM
If you aren't going to dispose of alignment completely, than any fix is by necessity complex. I mean, look at everything that had to go in my Color Wheel (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=174163), and that wasn't even touching the outer planes and all that.

Lord Vukodlak
2011-06-15, 01:06 AM
D&D is a world where demons, devils and angels exist among other such creatures, eliminating alignments or drastically changing them is NEVER simple. How you fight them is quite wrapped up in alignment. Not just for overcoming there defences but there own attacks. Unholy Blight, Blaspemy, Holy Smite, Holy Aura etc. Those depend on alignment to determine what happens. Get rid of alignment and suddenly those don't function as they should and you can drastically effect how tough the creature is.

Most of the "problems" with alignments are entirely the fault of the players and the DM. They are guidelines it says so in the PHB. If you treat them as guidelines and not as rules only the most ridiculous arguments will remain.
(FYI: The PHB says there guidelines)

Your star system is far more restrictive then the alignment system. The reason there are no guidelines for enforcing alignment is if your one alignment but behave like another alignment you dont get punished for it. Your alignment simply changes which may carry consequences depending on class.

DoomHat
2011-06-15, 01:10 AM
Whoa! I was not expecting fireworks!
More fool me I guess. Well, Iíll start by addressing everyoneís concerns then Iíll move on to how Iíll tweak things in response.



And if birthdate isn't that important why tie it to date at all?
-Saidoro

In short, because I thought it was a clever way to keep the whole two axis thing in spite of the wild change in paradigm I really wanted to implement. Besides, if you think about it for a moment, only people born under the Strange Star would be likely to be stigmatized. Glory Star and Wealth Star people tend be extremely wealthy and influential after all.
Further more, meaningless discrimination of people do to seemingly arbitrary circumstance of birth is a very real medieval thing, just as you said. Soooo, Iíve created rules that take that into consideration?


Finally, this has the same problem as law and chaos in the old system, it's perfectly possible to express almost every trait described as something attributable to law or chaos without contradiction and it's possible to be equally describable by every trait in your list without any sort of contradiction as well. This whole thing seems just as arbitrary as alignment was to me, and possibly more so.
-Saidoro

Mostly because I was trying to leave some last vestment of the old idea. Well, clearly thatís a bust. Thank you. Iíll move forward unburdened.



In addition, I don't see any problem with the existing alignment system having limited mechanical effects. Mixing fluff and crunch doesn't mean that everything needs a detailed mechanic, after all. The existing guidelines, which have the DM step in and change your alignment if you act like a different one, seem plenty sufficient to me.
-Gideon Falcon

Then why is it there? Itís a mechanic that only exists sometimes. I find that endlessly frustrating. The purpose, I am given to understand, is to provide a general guideline for roleplay. But itís poorly defined and provides precious little incentive to pay it any mind at all. I feel there could be something better and as such am not satisfied.


I'm afraid I must agree with Saidoro and add that the rewards and penalties for following/not following alignment.
The first problem is that it's going to exacerbate alignment arguments. Think about how often people argue about the current alignments that affect almost nothing, with this you'd have the same arguments but with xp and trouble tokens on the line.
-Epsilon Rose

Again, I think this is a problem of keeping the old model. Youíll notice the Stars themselves are pretty limited and straightforward in scope. Thereís very little room for debate unless a player is just actively trying to abuse the system, and theirs no accounting for that. Cheaters gonna cheat.


Take for instance a character who starts as a shy and in experienced boy who's just starting as an adventurer. It's quite conceivable for said boy to eventually grow into a battle-hardened and charismatic leader over the course of a campaign. Unfortunately since this character started shy and was born under the void the dm's now picking up trouble tokens left and right.
-Epsilon Rose

And if I unplug negative reinforcement and add a mechanism that allows for that kind of development?


I feel like this has the potential to be an interesting new way to look at alignment...eventually. It looks like it needs to be worked on quite a bit more. Add more fluff to each of the options. At the core though, it seems to suffer from the same thing that the core alignment mechanic suffers from, and that is the fact that real people don't fit neatly into tight little boxes. Real people (and characters, theoretically) can't generalize everything they do as good, lawful, etc.
-raxies94

Thank you. My fix for the time being will be to toss the Season stuff and just stick with that stars. Additionally, in keeping with not boxing people in, Iíll make it so that the Stars listed are just sample Stars, and make Void an option for people who donít want any part of it.


I have a better fix
Treat Alignments as guidelines and not as strait jackets.
-Lord Vukodlak

Iíll pull the negative reinforcement, but Iím keeping the carrot in there or thereís no reason for it to exist at all.

DoomHat
2011-06-15, 01:21 AM
Man, this is a popular thread. I just wish it felt a little less like strangers lining up around the block to kick my teeth in.


I just dispose of alignments. Detect good and other effects that interact with alignment simply don't exist. However, characters of a specific religion (in game terms, those who have taken a level of cleric or paladin or similar religiously focused class) will ping on a "detect Pelor follower" spell, and "Word of Pelor" will do a number on followers of deities opposed to Pelor.
-Ashtagon
My original idea was actually to make it so characters are aligned to gods rather and abstracts. So one of us is reading the others mind. Itís a cool idea. For now Iíll see what I can do with this whole pseudo zodiac thing Iíve got.



If you aren't going to dispose of alignment completely, than any fix is by necessity complex. I mean, look at everything that had to go in my Color Wheel, and that wasn't even touching the outer planes and all that.
-Lord_Gareth
All I want is a strait forward RP guide with some inherent reward system! Is it really so much to ask?!
^Thatís pretty cool what you got there btw.


D&D is a world where demons, devils and angels exist among other such creatures, eliminating alignments or drastically changing them is NEVER simple. How you fight them is quite wrapped up in alignment. Not just for overcoming there defences but there own attacks. Unholy Blight, Blaspemy, Holy Smite, Holy Aura etc. Those depend on alignment to determine what happens. Get rid of alignment and suddenly those don't function as they should and you can drastically effect how tough the creature is.
-Lord Vukodlak

Then what if Evil and Good are things exclusive to the supernatural. More like a positive or negative magnetic field. Iíll see what I can dooooÖÖ..
Wait, also, didnít you already have a go?

Edit: Haha, you know what, at this point I'm re-wirtting the whole OP from scratch!:smalltongue: So forget it. I'm going to take my intent and I'll come at it from a whole different angle in another new thread. Let this thread stand as a monument to stillborn ideas.

Lord Raziere
2011-06-15, 11:37 PM
I have a better fix
Treat Alignments as guidelines and not as strait jackets.

I have a better one: use Exalted's virtue system.

Seriously, morality isn't a sliding scale, its more like heat....you need to work to keep the fire going, need to put more logs on the fire to make it bigger, and if your pessimist, there are entropic laws of the universe constantly making sure that things are always getting colder.

people who are evil, lack morals, they are Cold see? have no heat, no fire of morality. thats why evil is better represented by a complete lack of morality than morality's anti-thesis, cause like morality doesn't have one, it has an absence of morality and thats it. evil is less an active willingness to be evil, and more an absence of trying to be good.

Zeta Kai
2011-06-16, 01:09 PM
{{scrubbed}}

Stubbazubba
2011-06-16, 07:46 PM
Replace Alignment with Personal Motivations. There is no haggling about what counts as good or evil, you can just talk about why your character is doing something. If my character is motivated by a sense of duty or honor or what-not, then I'll get XP for bringing the bad guys to justice, not slaughtering them, unless I have been given express permission to do so by the legal authorities. If I'm motivated by greed, I'll get XP for loot and rewards. If I'm motivated by compassion, I'll get XP for saving the innocents from the bandits/Goblin horde/whatever. Goals and what to accomplish are decided upon beforehand, and the DM announces new ones if they appear unexpectedly. Separate from this are Party Goals, which give everyone XP; Motivations give additional XP to individual players for completing tasks in a certain way.

An interesting mechanic I once designed is related to this, where if the party is engaged in something that is contrary to your motivation, there is a chance that you won't get XP for it, and you have a chance to get double XP for doing something that fulfills your motivation instead. There is a lot of haggle room on this one, of course.

DoomHat
2011-06-16, 09:27 PM
{{scrubbed}}

{{scrubbed}}

To Lord Raziere...
Exalted's virtue system is interesting and has a lot of thematic importance to the setting but mostly exists for it's own sake and from what I can recall, can only be raised via exp. But it's sort of close to what I'm looking for.

To Stubbazubba...
"Replace Alignment with Personal Motivations" is precisely what I was trying to achieve. Problem was I left in something that tangentially related to good/evil/law/chaos metaphorically though abstract with a clearly stated caveat that it didn't ultimately mean anything.{{scrubbed}}

Epsilon Rose
2011-06-16, 09:32 PM
I've been toying with a similar idea (and wondering if I should start a thread on it). It basically goes that the players would choose 2 sets of 2 adjectives to describe there character (one inner one outer) and they'd get a small bonus for achievements inline with their adjectives. There'd also be an inherint understanding that adjectives can be gained and lost and changes to one of the sets of adjectives grants a larger bonus (since it requirers character growth.