PDA

View Full Version : Expanded Alignment system



Amphimir Míriel
2007-02-23, 03:14 PM
First of all, two disclaimers:

1- All Real Roleplayers (c) know that the ideal game doesnt concern itself with alignments... All characters should have a well defined personality that is well rounded and credible from day one.

2- Truth is, some players need some help to achieve this and that's the reason for an aligment system. If used correctly, the alignment rules are tools not straightjackets.

Now, I have given some thought to the "tool vs straightjacket" question, and I have come to the conclusion that a more flexible system might be useful for some groups. So I have come up with the following system.

-

Alignment Levels
{table=head]
Alignments|
0 Fiendish|
1 Diabolic|
2 Aberrant|
3 Egoist |
4 Un-concerned|
5 Neutral|
6 Well-Meaning|
7 Dedicated|
8 Devoted|
9 Heroic|
10 Angelic

0[br]Chaotic|CE*|CE*|CE*|CE*|CN*|CN*|CN*|CG*|CG*|CG*|CG *|

1[br]Unpredictable|CE*|CE|CE|CE|CN|CN|CN|CG|CG|CG|CG*|

2[br]Wild|CE*|CE|CE|CE|CN|CN|CN|CG|CG|CG|CG*|

3[br]Disordered|CE*|CE|CE|CE|CN|CN|CN|CG|CG|CG|CG*|

4[br]Independent|NE*|NE|NE|NE|NN|NN|NN|NG|NG|NG|NG*|

5[br]Neutral|NE*|NE|NE|NE|NN|NN*|NN|NG|NG|NG|NG*|

6[br]Dependable|NE*|NE|NE|NE|NN|NN|NN|NG|NG|NG|NG*|

7[br]Ordered|LE*|LE|LE|LE|LN|LN|LN|LG|LG|LG|LG*|

8[br]Strict|LE*|LE|LE|LE|LN|LN|LN|LG|LG|LG|LG*|

9[br]Rigid |LE*|LE|LE|LE|LN|LN|LN|LG|LG|LG|LG*|

10[br]Lawful|LE*|LE*|LE*|LE*|LN*|LN*|LN*|LG*|LG*|LG*|LG* |[/table]
Alignments marked with an asterisk (*) are too extreme for regular characters or monsters and are limited to extraplanar "parangons" of a given alignment.

-

Or perhaps my point is more easily illustrated with some examples:
Alignment Levels
{table=head]
Alignments|
0 Fiendish|
1 Diabolic|
2 Aberrant|
3 Egoist |
4 Un-concerned|
5 Neutral|
6 Well-Meaning|
7 Dedicated|
8 Devoted|
9 Heroic|
10 Angelic

0Chaotic|[B]Tanar'ri|CE*|CE*|CE*|CN*|Slaadi|CN*|CG*|CG*|CG*|El adrins|

1Unpredictable|CE*|CE|CE|[B]Belkar|CN|CN|CN|CG|CG|CG|CG*|

2Wild|CE*|[B]Xykon|CE|CE|Thog|CN|CN|CG|CG|CG|CG*|

3Disordered|CE*|CE|CE|CE|CN|CN|[B]Haley|Elan|CG|CG|CG*|

4Independent|NE*|[B]Hannibal Lecter|NE|NE|NN|NN|NN|NG|NG|NG|NG*|

5Neutral|[B]Yugoloths|NE|NE|NE|NN|NN|NN|NG|NG|NG|Guardinals|

6Dependable|NE*|NE|NE|NE|NN|NN|NN|[B]Durkon|NG|NG|NG*|

7Ordered|LE*|LE|[B]Nale|LE|LN|LN|LN|LG|LG|Roy|LG*|

8Strict|LE*|[B]Darth Vader|LE|LE|LN|LN|Varsuvius|LG|LG|LG|LG*|

9Rigid |LE*|LE|LE|LE|LN|LN|LN|[B]Miko|LG|LG|LG*|

10Lawful|[B]Baatezu|LE*|LE*|LE*|LN*|Modrons|LN*|LG*|LG*|LG*|Ar chons|[/table]


With this new method, a Lawful Good Character could be LG (8/9), LG (9/8) or LG (8/8)... While all 3 characters would be Lawful Good, each would have different outlooks in life and each would have a different idea on how to balance Order and Good.

This also holds true on the other end. For instance, both Belkar and a Balor are technically Chaotic Evil, but Belkar is CE (1/3), while the the Balor is CE (0/0) and the differences should be evident, even to a Miko-type of zealot.

Any comments?

Holocron Coder
2007-02-23, 04:13 PM
So Miko would be right up there.. 10/10?

Haha, anyway, I do like this. Less of a, as you said, straightjacket. Some people are just more EVIL than others. I had thought that Belkar was "evil" but apparently not as evil as Xykon, per se... Although I thought Belkar is more of a "malefactor" :P He's pretty predictable and is more "everyone should die", but he's unlikely to kill a "friend".

Anyway. I like, personally.

Amphimir Míriel
2007-02-23, 04:45 PM
So Miko would be right up there.. 10/10?

Haha, anyway, I do like this. Less of a, as you said, straightjacket. Some people are just more EVIL than others. I had thought that Belkar was "evil" but apparently not as evil as Xykon, per se... Although I thought Belkar is more of a "malefactor" :P He's pretty predictable and is more "everyone should die", but he's unlikely to kill a "friend".


Actually if you see the second table, you'll see that I placed Miko on 9/4, which makes her very strict on the Law-Chaos scale, but more than halfway down the Good-Evil scale

If I were the DM and I was using this system, I would have ruled that she went down like 3 steps when she "lost it" and killed the old guy, instantly turning her from LG to LN (even at the beggining of the story I would have rated her a LG 9/7, right in the edge between LG and LN.


Anyway. I like, personally.

Thank you... I envisoned this as something useful for those who think that D&D is too manichean and Black&White... You can use this to say "yeah, he's evil, but not cthulu-level evil"

Holocron Coder
2007-02-23, 04:56 PM
Actually if you see the second table, you'll see that I placed Miko on 9/4, which makes her very strict on the Law-Chaos scale, but more than halfway down the Good-Evil scale

Ah, I actually missed that :) But it makes sense. She was barely "good". I'd almost argue that she wasn't, but yeah... I guess she was o.O

Deme
2007-02-23, 07:33 PM
Very nifty. I like the idea of having it on different levels -- I've always asked my players thing like "OK, I know your character is chaotic good....but is your character more good or chaotic?"
or "Would your LG paladin put law first, or good?"
This pretty much has that built in, which I like.

Counterpower
2007-02-23, 09:16 PM
I have to admit, that is a neat system. That said, I've never really concerned myself with alignments. I ask my players to put one of the 9 choices in the old system on their character sheet, and then basically forget about it unless they're acting way off their alignment.

Also, I'm not really sure that's necessary. If you feel like making the system more specific, then this revision is excellent. I just don't see the need.......... I guess I'm just fine with "LG, but more Good" as opposed to "9/7".

Copacetic
2007-02-23, 09:43 PM
Very intresting. looks mor elike a scale to me though. I fore see...

"no I'm a 9/4" Right you can't be a 9/4 because you worship a good god!' "yeah I'm a 9 on the good scale and a 4 on the lawful, dumbass"

Priceless

Zeta Kai
2007-02-23, 09:49 PM
Alignments are a nebulous & arbitrary thing, really. Unless, as a DM, you make zealotous paladins materialize from thin air to smite your PCs whenever they stick a toe over the evil line, I fail to see why alignments need be relevent to the flow of the game. Are your players killing their enemies instead of capturing them alive? One should probably expect that, even if there is a reward for mercy. Are they working for themselves, against their benefactor, the king? So what, that can be even more dramatic? Its only when PC have "LG" on the sheet, but the players are portraying them as plot-shredding, genocidal, frothing psychopaths. That's not an alignment issue, that is a player maturity issue, as they are obviously being Stupid Evil.

That said, I do like this system very much; it is much more robust & specific, & I can see this being a great crutch for the player who needs helps defining his/her character. I've had far too many players talk to me far too many times about their characters' alignments, & what they truly mean when they say "Chaotic Good."

magic8BALL
2007-02-23, 10:10 PM
when I first started roleplaying, the DM had a house rule VERY similar to this one: the only difference was that it was a scale of 1 to 100.

That one was not set out on a table (Gaah! 1 000 little squares!), so it was a bit dificult to visualise. I like thelables you have put on the alignment steps too.

Just a few questions: How does this effect spells that deal with alignment? For instance, would a Diabolic (X/1) character show up more strongly in a detect evil than a egotist (x/3)? Would an unholy weapon deal more damage to an angelic being than a heroic figure?

Also, under this system, what would a zombie be? Chaotic Fiendish? They seem more Disordered Unconcerned to me... but whats your spin? What about other mindless undead? Half Fiends? Aasimars?

Love the system though! Good stuff!

PaladinBoy
2007-02-23, 10:49 PM
This system isn't bad, but I fail to see why it's necessary. I am perfectly fine defining all the little nuances of my character's behavior myself, looking at it, and then putting one of the nine labels on it. As a player, if my DM asks me how Lawful or how Good I am, I'll just tell him, I don't feel like I need to bother putting a number to it. As a DM, I'll do the same thing I do with my own characters, look at it, then tell the player if he's fitting his label.

In short, I'd do something like this already, I just don't think it's necessary to make some numbers to define it. I think general alignments work better because there's more room for customization. This system defines what custom choices you can make, I think.


That said, I do like this system very much; it is much more robust & specific, & I can see this being a great crutch for the player who needs helps defining his/her character. I've had far too many players talk to me far too many times about their characters' alignments, & what they truly mean when they say "Chaotic Good."

It would be a crutch for some of the people that need help. Personally, I have more experience than I'd like with the player that needs help because he doesn't care about roleplaying. That type would hate this system, because it's more hard thought about their character. Not saying I agree with that view, just pointing it out.

If a player wanted to talk to me about what his alignment really means, I would listen and tell him whether what his alignment really means actually fits that alignment. I don't mind having such discussions; in fact, I love them.

Peregrine
2007-02-23, 11:04 PM
1- All Real Roleplayers (c) know that the ideal game doesnt concern itself with alignments... All characters should have a well defined personality that is well rounded and credible from day one.

2- Truth is, some players need some help to achieve this and that's the reason for an aligment system. If used correctly, the alignment rules are tools not straightjackets.

I very much disagree. I see the alignment system as, first and foremost, a mechanic to introduce the ability (very widely used in fantasy) to 'sense' good and evil. By making good and evil palpable, objective things recorded on a character sheet, you make it possible to do that in game (without DM fiat, i.e. the DM says 'You get a sense of wrongness' every time it serves the plot as he/she sees it, but otherwise arbitrarily and haphazardly).

Secondarily, yes, it is an aid to roleplaying. But it is, if you'll forgive me for saying so, somewhat arrogant to say 'real roleplayers' dismiss it. (Lest there be any misunderstanding, let me be clear: I'm not saying you are an arrogant person, I'm saying that you're stating a view which comes across as arrogant, and so you may want to reconsider it if you have no wish to appear arrogant to others.)

The alignment system is a descriptor for personalities (or certain facets of them), just like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and its alternatives, or more esoterically, enneagrams or even horoscopes. Although Myers-Briggs et al have many detractors, just like the alignment system, there are many 'real' professionals who do use them. But the best will be aware of their limitations; they won't scrap the whole system because of them, but they will not attempt to stretch the system beyond them.

And so for roleplayers, and roleplaying. The alignment system is a descriptor for personalities which, yes, should be completely well rounded even without it. But as far as it goes, it is a useful guideline, not only for roleplaying one's own character but for broadly guiding interactions with other characters.

Your expanded alignment system is essentially just another system like alignments, giving mostly the same benefits and suffering from mostly the same limitations. It is more useful as a guideline (primarily to DMs) of how close exactly a given character is to changing alignment. As a tradeoff, it is less flexible; many people have bemoaned their difficulties in fitting a particular character into the standard alignment grid, and yours would be even harder -- plus a lot more people would disagree with your labels, their relative positioning, and their mapping to the standard alignments.

That said, I like its potential. But I like the alignment system too, so that was a given. :smallsmile:

Roderick_BR
2007-02-23, 11:20 PM
And real D&D players know that alignment is what makes D&D... D&D, and not just some other medieval fantasy setting.

I kid, I kid.

But seriously, people take alignment too seriously. It's just a very loose guideline. You are either good, evil, or something in the middle. Same for the chaos/law axis.

That table is an interesting way of seeing how a character's actions changes his aligment. I think that NWN has a similar system. I even thought about something like that before 3.0 was released.
Hmm.. do paladins need to be 9/9, or they can loosen up to 7/7?
I noticed that the each aligment has 3 levels, plus the over-extreme ones. Looks cool.

Marcotic
2007-02-23, 11:30 PM
me likey me no usey in me champainy but stilly really goody

TheOOB
2007-02-23, 11:32 PM
The only in game effect alignment has (aside from the odd class prereq) is how alignment based magic affects you, so I don't think you need to expand the alignment concept.

Truth be told, alignment should be largly irrelevent to how you play, in fact I don't even let players choose their own alignments in my campaign. You roleplay your character the way you want, and when that cleric casts unholy blight on you or that priest casts detect law i decide if your actions have been good/evil/lawful/chaotic enough to be effected/detected by the spell.

twitch
2007-02-24, 12:22 AM
I think it's valuable for a reason alluded to by Peregrin. In reality, it's an underused element of the mechanics of fantasy roleplaying. Interactions with others, with equipment and magic and the environment... All of these things can be affected by your alignment.

Now, you don't need alignment to have this work. But, you don't need to have a lot of things to do roleplaying properly. Heck, I've run sessions that never had a pencil touch paper or a dice hit the table (other than in spins... I can't resist.) Ability scores are really the same thing, for me, that alignment is; it's a suggestion on what your character should do, on how they should be acting... and on how the world should react to them.

Phoenix Talion
2007-02-24, 12:39 AM
I did something similar the first time I DM'd- took a sheet of graph paper, made 9 10 x 10 squares. Which of the 9 big squares you fell in determined your general alignment, but it allowed for some wiggle room.

I still use it, but I use it more as a DM tool than a player tool- helps me know when to say "change your listed alignment from CN to CG, because that's how you're playing it." It's most important for the divine casters, since if the CG cleric of an NG deity falls of the wagon and goes CN, it's more of a big deal than if the CG rogue does the same. Whoops, there goes your spellcasting abilities!

Amphimir Míriel
2007-02-24, 08:48 AM
I very much disagree. I see the alignment system as, first and foremost, a mechanic to introduce the ability (very widely used in fantasy) to 'sense' good and evil. By making good and evil palpable, objective things recorded on a character sheet, you make it possible to do that in game (without DM fiat, i.e. the DM says 'You get a sense of wrongness' every time it serves the plot as he/she sees it, but otherwise arbitrarily and haphazardly).

Secondarily, yes, it is an aid to roleplaying. But it is, if you'll forgive me for saying so, somewhat arrogant to say 'real roleplayers' dismiss it. (Lest there be any misunderstanding, let me be clear: I'm not saying you are an arrogant person, I'm saying that you're stating a view which comes across as arrogant, and so you may want to reconsider it if you have no wish to appear arrogant to others.)

The alignment system is a descriptor for personalities (or certain facets of them), just like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and its alternatives, or more esoterically, enneagrams or even horoscopes. Although Myers-Briggs et al have many detractors, just like the alignment system, there are many 'real' professionals who do use them. But the best will be aware of their limitations; they won't scrap the whole system because of them, but they will not attempt to stretch the system beyond them.

And so for roleplayers, and roleplaying. The alignment system is a descriptor for personalities which, yes, should be completely well rounded even without it. But as far as it goes, it is a useful guideline, not only for roleplaying one's own character but for broadly guiding interactions with other characters.

Your expanded alignment system is essentially just another system like alignments, giving mostly the same benefits and suffering from mostly the same limitations. It is more useful as a guideline (primarily to DMs) of how close exactly a given character is to changing alignment. As a tradeoff, it is less flexible; many people have bemoaned their difficulties in fitting a particular character into the standard alignment grid, and yours would be even harder -- plus a lot more people would disagree with your labels, their relative positioning, and their mapping to the standard alignments.

That said, I like its potential. But I like the alignment system too, so that was a given. :smallsmile:

Thanks for your comments Peregrine, I consider you as one of the most mature and intelligent people in this forum, so your opinion means a lot to me.

The "real roleplayer" comment was actually typed "tounge-in-cheek", I did not mean to sound arrogant.

My idea on creating this was to "loosen up" the 9 straightjackets, not to create 100 "smaller and tighter" ones.

Like Roderick mentioned, this is basically meant as a DM tool to help determine things like how close is someone to an alignment change, and to help players describe their character's views on Life, the Universe and Everything.

And this also opens up some story hooks, for example, a Paladin could be 9/9, or 8/8, or even 7/7 (or any combination)... however the 7/7 paladin could be constantly running into trouble with his church's authorities, yet still be keeping his powers.

-

PD: ...and yes, I expect that someone will yell at me any minute now about how Hannibal is more Lawful, or how Miko is still more Good than that.

But all human perceptions are subjective, and that's ok.

Amphimir Míriel
2007-02-24, 08:51 AM
Just a few questions: How does this effect spells that deal with alignment? For instance, would a Diabolic (X/1) character show up more strongly in a detect evil than a egotist (x/3)? Would an unholy weapon deal more damage to an angelic being than a heroic figure?


Yes and No, with this system a detect evil would be able to sense anything with a rating of 4 and below on the Good/Evil scale, but of course that a being with a rating of 1 would register a lot more strongly than someone with a rating of 4.

But holy/unholy weapons and other stuff that affects characters depending on alignment would work the same for all characters that share an alignment...

Edit: Im not sure how to handle a "Helm of Opposite Alignment" though...

Peregrine
2007-02-24, 10:15 AM
Thanks for your comments Peregrine, I consider you as one of the most mature and intelligent people in this forum, so your opinion means a lot to me.

:smallredface:


The "real roleplayer" comment was actually typed "tounge-in-cheek", I did not mean to sound arrogant.

And I was tired, missed the tongue-in-cheekness somewhat, and probably overstated my reply, so I apologise. But still, it read like you were saying using alignment and making a well-rounded character were somewhat incompatible. Which I suppose holds true a lot of the time in practice; people in general have a tendency to let those two letters do their thinking for them. Even good roleplayers get stuck or get lazy sometimes, and falling back on alignment isn't so different to a real person falling back on the familiar when in a difficult situation. Modifying the alignment system won't change that, and I'm hesitant to say that any one system is a 'better' or 'worse' one for someone to fall back on. (I don't think even getting rid of alignments would get rid of that temptation; people would just find some other way to summarise their default behaviour.)


And this also opens up some story hooks, for example, a Paladin could be 9/9, or 8/8, or even 7/7 (or any combination)... however the 7/7 paladin could be constantly running into trouble with his church's authorities, yet still be keeping his powers.

I like, I like...

Flying Elephant
2007-02-24, 10:30 AM
This looks very good. Sometimes I've used an alignment system with 25 squares, kind of like that.

Rumpus
2007-03-11, 11:08 PM
Heh, interesting system. I always visualized alignment more as a clock face than a square grid: while you may be both good and lawful, eventually a situation will arise where you can't be both (one example being a LG individual under an evil government who sees a chance to do something clearly good but illegal). I guess a better way of saying it would be to decide which component is dominant if you fall at any of the four corners.

Indon
2007-03-11, 11:30 PM
While I find this system interesting, it doesn't really serve my purposes overmuch; in my view, alignment exists so that you can build magical items around interacting with alignment, not character concepts.

Still, if I was DM'ing and needed to strictly track my characters' alignments, I would seriously contemplate using an expanded scale such as this (and now that I've seen _this_ expanded scale, I'd probably just steal it for use).

SpartacusThe2nd
2007-03-12, 03:22 PM
dam I need this in my campigan too...so many great things are bein' made in this forum.

kellandros
2007-03-13, 11:20 AM
One quick enhancement- switch either the good-evil or law-chaos axis to use letters instead of numbers. That way every alignment is unique with no confusion of whether good-evil or law-chaos is the first number.

geez3r
2007-03-13, 11:39 AM
I like this system, alot. Good job.

Amphimir Míriel
2007-03-16, 11:02 PM
Still, if I was DM'ing and needed to strictly track my characters' alignments, I would seriously contemplate using an expanded scale such as this (and now that I've seen _this_ expanded scale, I'd probably just steal it for use).

You are welcome to it, my friend...

And thanks to Peregrine, Flying Elephant, Rumpus, Spartacus, Kellandros and Geezer...

Ah, and Kellandros: I kinda dislike letters (they aren't "numbery" enough for me) but I see what you mean...

Ive been using the regular alignment letters plus the numbers as the alignment designation, with the law-chaos part first.... For example: "My Bard is C3G7, while my Paladin is L8G9... and the BBEG is L8E2"

I know it's a bit redundant, but that's how it works for my group... YMMV :smallbiggrin:

Nocte
2007-03-17, 01:49 AM
This can be a good starting point on character or npc personality development.

Good one :D

Peregrine
2007-03-17, 11:28 AM
Ive been using the regular alignment letters plus the numbers as the alignment designation, with the law-chaos part first.... For example: "My Bard is C3G7, while my Paladin is L8G9... and the BBEG is L8E2"

Wait, wait. Your numbers are backwards. You have to have L at the low end and E at the high end.

How else are you meant to make a L3E7 bad guy? :smallbiggrin:

(Yes, I deserve to be shot for that one... :smallfrown:)

Rockphed
2007-04-25, 01:00 AM
How else are you meant to make a L3E7 bad guy? :smallbiggrin:


But then he would be good. And chaotic. Which is neither very bad, nor very chaotic.:wink:

Zeta Kai
2007-04-25, 05:18 AM
It's back! The thread has risen! From beyond the grave!

It's still a nice, albeit more complex system. If your into the whole alignment mechanic, than it may be great. I generally prefer to use alignment as a guideline for character portrayal than as a hard&fast numerical categorization. If you can roleplay your character well, than your alignment won't matter in my game.

Fury1671
2007-04-25, 08:50 AM
Edit: Im not sure how to handle a "Helm of Opposite Alignment" though...

Why not just try for non-neutral alignments:
(AlignmentNumber - 10) * -1

Hmm, that wont work for neutral alignments. Maybe just throw a d6 for every Neutral in their name, 1-3 is Lawful or Good & 4-6 is Chaotic or Evil. If a player is using one of the too extreme alignments, use a d8 and make it 1-4 5-8. For Chaotic/Evil, just use the number it lands on to decide the alignment. For Lawful/Good, make 6 the most extreme value, and then count down.

Im not sure whether or not you want the player to decide which roll goes to which, so either roll them one at a time, or let the player decide.


(Like Chaotic Neutral 2/4, you'd end up with 8 + Result of your d6, or Neutral Neutral, you'd end up with 2d6, and whatever result that brings.)

EDIT:
Neutral Neutral: 2d6 roll a 6 and a 4. 6 on the Lawful/Chaotic Die, 4 on the Good/Evil.

6 being the most extreme and playable alignment, would be chaotic, and 4, being the farthest from the extreme would make you good, but borderline Neutral. CN 9/7

EDIT2:
Gotta fix things up. Bad examples

Amphimir Míriel
2007-04-25, 11:05 AM
It's an interesting idea, thanks Fury.

Traveling_Angel
2007-04-25, 07:19 PM
I actually disagree with your placement of Darth Vader. Evil, Check. Lawful, hold on a sec. People often say Vader is lawful because he's the bad guy with authority. However, he's in authority because his boss is, and he shows not a trace of discipline. When an underling fails, he executes them out of spite, not calculated cruelty. The LE guy says "wow, you screwed up, but your still a good admiral." Vader kills off all his good staff, something no intelligent LE person would do.

Otherwise, useful system do DMs as well as role players.

1dominator
2007-04-25, 08:24 PM
I like it, I belive they have something similar to this installed in NWN, as you do evil acts you gain "evil points". (*Kills Innocent* Wohooooo thats a 20 pointer!)
-Dom

Amphimir Míriel
2007-04-25, 09:41 PM
I actually disagree with your placement of Darth Vader. Evil, Check. Lawful, hold on a sec. People often say Vader is lawful because he's the bad guy with authority. However, he's in authority because his boss is, and he shows not a trace of discipline. When an underling fails, he executes them out of spite, not calculated cruelty. The LE guy says "wow, you screwed up, but your still a good admiral." Vader kills off all his good staff, something no intelligent LE person would do.


Actually he spared Piett at least a couple of times... But I agree that he had a problem with displaced aggression.

The reason why I consider him lawful evil is actually based in the prequels.
Anakin expresses in a number of occasions his frustration about the lack of order and "rule of law" in the Old Republic's administration. He gravitates towards a strict, dependable figure of authority (Palpatine) and starts expressing disrespect for the disperse, apparently chaotic authority of the jedi council... And we all know how that ended.

Anyway, I'm glad for the renewed attention on this idea guys... Even if it can be considered "thread necromancy"

Peregrine
2007-04-26, 11:15 PM
I disagree.

Lawful Evil: "You screwed up, and the penalty is death. Pity... you were a good admiral until this." (To be consistent, you must die, regardless of expediency. Being consistent means your peers and successors will be certain and fearful of the consequences and will do better; breaking the rules in favour of expediency now will jeopardise future efficiency and order.)

Neutral Evil: "You screwed up, but you're too useful to throw away. I'll just have you flogged a bit." (Whatever the rules say, and whatever I may have done in the past, I'm deciding now to spare your life because it seems expedient to do so. I may not be so forgiving next time. Or maybe I will be. It depends on circumstances.)

Chaotic Evil: "What do you think this is, a command hierarchy? I keep you around because you're no threat to me, and because you entertain me. I know you're going to screw things up, but whether I kill you because of it depends on whether your screw-up particularly bugs me or not. It's all down to my mood, really. ...Ah hell, c'mere, I'm gonna kill you anyway."

How these match up to the more expanded alignment grid is probably for Amphimir to judge. :smallsmile:

Khoran
2007-04-26, 11:50 PM
Love it. I was thinking in adition to giving clearer lines of what your characters alignment is, another use for it if you are so inclined would be it would be a good way to track people's alignments in the campaign. Makes an alignment change into a different group seem like a much bigger deal.

Amphimir Míriel
2007-04-27, 10:48 AM
How these match up to the more expanded alignment grid is probably for Amphimir to judge. :smallsmile:

Wow, do I get to decide? Cool! I'll call Lucas...

No seriously, I am not that much of a StarWars fanatic to evaluate Vader correctly. I just placed him as LE because that's how he seemed to me... There is a conversation in Episode II (a godawful dialogue btw) between Anakin and Padme about politics where Anakin says he just wants "someone good and wise who tells people what to do" and Padme is shocked, saying that it would be a dictatorship.

So the fact that Anakin was attracted to a military based dictatorship from the beggining kinda seemed to me as a symptom of Lawful Evil tendencies.

Of course, as always, YMMV (your mileage may vary)

Turcano
2007-04-28, 01:37 PM
Wow, do I get to decide? Cool! I'll call Lucas...

No seriously, I am not that much of a StarWars fanatic to evaluate Vader correctly. I just placed him as LE because that's how he seemed to me... There is a conversation in Episode II (an godawful dialogue btw) between Anakin and Padme about politics where Anakin says he just wants "someone good and wise who tells people what to do" and Padme is shocked, saying that it would be a dictatorship.

So the fact that Anakin was attracted to a military based dictatorship from the beggining kinda seemed to me as a symptom of Lawful Evil tendencies.

Of course, as always, YMMV (your mileage may vary)

And then there's the whole "With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy." Although this does make Vader somewhat unusual, since Sith philosophy is inherently chaotic.

Anyway, I noticed that you have true neutral (5, 5) as a "paragon" alignment. How would animals fit in this scheme, since they're neutral by definition?

Amphimir Míriel
2007-04-28, 08:36 PM
Anyway, I noticed that you have true neutral (5, 5) as a "paragon" alignment. How would animals fit in this scheme, since they're neutral by definition?

Yes, animals with an INT of below 3 are True Neutral, but I don't think sentient humanoids are capable of that. Just like parents cannot help having favorites, despite their trying to love all their children the same (some don't even try, but I digress)

Anyway, I believe that "dispassionate, aloof, every action is taken considering the status of the balance of forces" type of extreme true neutral is not really attainable (or even desirable) for a PC. At least not more that is possible for someone to be "perfectly good" or "perfectly evil".

Now, of course you can have a True Neutral character, but it just wont be "perfectly neutral" in all aspects... I expect the character to gravitate (even despite his best efforts) between the eight allowable TN alignments, depending of his or her actions.

Now, as I told a poster who decided to PM with this same subject, it is perfectly ok to disagree. This is the system that works for me and my party, and if its necessary to adjust it for it to fit your campaign, more power to you! :smallwink:

KingGolem
2007-04-30, 08:05 PM
Excellent system! This is a great solution for the problem I encounter when I play my druid and I want to be Lawful Neutral and Neutral Evil at the same time, so now I can describe my druid's alignment as "N6E3". I think it's a pretty accurate system for determining alignment, even if it's mainly for flavor. :smallcool: However, I was slightly surprised at first to discover that my alignment (in my opinion) is L9N4, right in the same spot as you described Miko. Then I thought about it, and I realized how accurate it was. Once again, excellent system!

Amphimir Míriel
2007-04-30, 10:25 PM
Excellent system! This is a great solution for the problem I encounter when I play my druid and I want to be Lawful Neutral and Neutral Evil at the same time, so now I can describe my druid's alignment as "N6E3". I think it's a pretty accurate system for determining alignment, even if it's mainly for flavor. :smallcool:


Glad to be of service!



However, I was slightly surprised at first to discover that my alignment (in my opinion) is L9N4, right in the same spot as you described Miko. Then I thought about it, and I realized how accurate it was.

I am so very sorry to hear that... (HHOK)

Poppatomus
2007-06-01, 09:24 PM
Fantastic system, maybe the best treatment of the subject of seen, certainly system wise. The one question I have for you is a cosmetic one. You have good-evil seven and eight listed as Dedicated and Devoted. Why did you choose those designations?

It seems to me that rather than being pure good descriptors, they refer more to one's committment to a code of good action. Abberant and egoist describe different types of evil, bizarre evil and selfish respectivly, but Dedicated and devoted don't.

just wondering if you have any thoughts on that. can't at the moment think of any designators that might be better, but i'll try. (Really I'm hoping that you'll think of something better for me.)

Amphimir Míriel
2007-06-01, 09:51 PM
...just wondering if you have any thoughts on that. can't at the moment think of any designators that might be better, but i'll try. (Really I'm hoping that you'll think of something better for me.)

Indeed I was running out of descriptive terms... but I am willing to listen to alternatives!

Poppatomus
2007-06-01, 10:03 PM
well I guess the question becomes, in your mind what distinguishes grades of good? On the evil side it clearly seems to be the extent to which evil is done for evil's sake. fiendish means so evil that the concept of good is entirely gone. diabolical means good is at least considered, but rejected. abberant means evil, but more through madness or the alien nature of the creature than inherent evil. while egoist just sees evil as, to paraphrase belkar's lesser evil, the easiest path in support of "the greater you."

If that is the difference you intended, or close to it, then well meaning is a good first step for good and angelic a good last step. One step up from well meaning.... the first thing that comes to mind is kindness. This is distinguished from well-meaning, which just implies that good is really the default position [the good of a child, or maybe Elan on his bad days] without much considerations. kindness implies not just defaulting to helping others, or helping them because one doesn't know any better, but also an effort to improve the mood or condition of others. (merciful could also fit here, though it might be too strong. perhaps kind/merciful, though that's clunky.)

Beyond that, I would say self sacraficing. this goes beyond mere kindness to show that not only is good being done to improve the other, but also that the character recognizes that the well being of others requires sometimes that they reduce themselves. This is in many ways a mirror of abberent as well, since it means going against what many consider part of human nature, looking out for number one, and putting other's needs ahead of your own. This than leads very well into heroic, which is really just a degree difference with self sacraficing.

so kind(or merciful) and self sacrificing? thoughts?

[side note, what the heck does PEACH mean?]

RyanM
2007-06-02, 10:24 PM
While I agree that alignment should be either expanded or abolished, I don't know if that's the best way to expand it. Personally, I see it as there being different types of each alignment.

Are you chaotic because you're a nut? Because you're a rebellious individualist? Because you live for the moment?

Are you good because you genuinely want to help people? Or because most campaigns are set up so that "good" characters get more loot?

What I'm trying to do to design an alignment system for my homebrew RPG system is come up with personality traits that would be important in this type of setting, many of which fall under one of the D&D alignment types.

For instance, some matched pairs of traits:

Chaotic/Lawful:
impulsive/methodical
individualistic/conformist
erratic/dependable
fluid/rigid
emotional/logical
creative/practical
indirect/forthright
hypothetical/categorical*

Good/Evil:
altruistic/selfish
caring/hateful
humane/sadistic
nurturing/destructive

*Based loosely on Immanual Kant's ideas on types of imperatives (moral guidelines). Categorical imperatives are those from which virtue is derived by following them, regardless of the consequences. For instance, "do not kill," or "always tell the truth" (or for evil morals, "kill everyone you can," or "steal everything that's not nailed down"). Hypothetical imperatives are those from which virtue is derived by the results, and they tend to be much more subjective (but at the same time, more practical). For instance, "you should keep a promise if great harm to an innocent will result if you don't, but you should not keep a promise if great harm will result if you keep it" (or for the evillers, the opposite). Kant valued categorical imperatives and hated hypotheticals, so he was obviously an Awful Lawful weenie.

By those standards, my real self would be something of a "practical chaotic" neutral. Going in order, slightly impulsive, very individualistic, somewhat dependable, sorta fluid, 100% logical, a bit more creative than practical, kinda forthright, and hypothetical all the way. Then on the good/evil ones, slightly selfish, and in between for all the rest.

Duke Malagigi
2007-06-02, 11:50 PM
This is some what similar to the Serge's system. The diferences are the numbers (which in the Serge's system go from -5 to 5) and use different titles. This includes titles such as Neutral with tendancies toward Good, Evil, Law or Chaos to Pure Good, Evil, Law or Chaos. And according to the Serge's system you can be both Pure Lawful and Pure Evil or Pure any two non-conflicting alignment extremes.

P.S. Vile, Exalted and equivalents for other alignments are listed at 4 or -4.

Shades of Gray
2007-06-20, 03:21 PM
Actually if you see the second table, you'll see that I placed Miko on 9/4,"

I'd say she is 9/6 Well meaning. She means well, however she's more good than evil.

Delaney Gale
2007-06-21, 04:26 PM
I may just be linking this to my DM. ^^ The entire group has had an ongoing discussion about the alignment of my namesake, which I wouldn't be concerned about if he wasn't wearing Robes of the Evil Archmagi, so it becomes the difference between SR 20 and negative levels. The cleric was trying to make the argument that he wasn't acting EVIL... but then again he just doomed an entire city (including the swashbuckler's family and friends) to magical chaos because the other two hereditary leaders traumatized him as a child. The boy ain't benevolent. I think this system would have him as NE (4/3). Maybe not a good system for wide application, but certainly helpful for close judgement calls!

psychoticbarber
2007-06-21, 09:47 PM
Just a very tiny idea that might help with numerical confusion.

Why not put True Neutral at 0/0, sending evil from -1 to -5, good from 1 to 5, chaos from -1 to -5 (this is not intended to imply that chaos is BAD), and law from 1 to 5? I see this chart centred around the origin.

Feel free to completely ignore me :)

Duke Malagigi
2007-06-21, 09:59 PM
Just a very tiny idea that might help with numerical confusion.

Why not put True Neutral at 0/0, sending evil from -1 to -5, good from 1 to 5, chaos from -1 to -5 (this is not intended to imply that chaos is BAD), and law from 1 to 5? I see this chart centred around the origin.

Feel free to completely ignore me :)

That's basiclly what the Dicefreaks did.

Blackbrrd
2007-06-22, 06:05 AM
Great post, I think it is good enough to be stickied! :)

It makes a lot more sense than the basic 9 alignments to me ;)

Bisected8
2007-06-22, 06:22 AM
I like it. Though isn't having Elan (is that the character or the race?) simultaneously dedicated and independent a bit contradictory.

Delaney Gale
2007-06-22, 10:35 AM
What I find funny is that Elan's said in-character that he's Chaotic Good. He might need to be bumped up to "Disordered". ^^

Amphimir Míriel
2007-06-22, 11:56 AM
Just a very tiny idea that might help with numerical confusion.

Why not put True Neutral at 0/0, sending evil from -1 to -5, good from 1 to 5, chaos from -1 to -5 (this is not intended to imply that chaos is BAD), and law from 1 to 5? I see this chart centred around the origin.

Feel free to completely ignore me :)

That's not a bad idea... I'll have to think about it, since the numbers as they are are already familiar to my gaming group.


What I find funny is that Elan's said in-character that he's Chaotic Good. He might need to be bumped up to "Disordered". ^^

You are right, I just changed it... Also bumped Miko back to a "Lawful and barely-good" LG status... Soon made it clear that she would be allowed into "LG Heaven", yet not as a Paladin

Edivad
2007-06-29, 04:00 PM
Wow, interesting, if somewhat complex at times....
That almost means we have 10 x 10 = 100 instead of 3 x 3 = 9 alignments, which allows us to be much more precise when descriping our character's ethos and personality.

Some notes:

Helm of Opposite Alignment: if your alignment is X/Y, it becomes (9-X) / (9-Y). For example 9/0, that is extremely Lawful and extremely Evil, becomes 0/9, that is extremely Chaotic and extremely Good. If you switch to using a -5 / -5 scale instead of 0/10 one, you just have to reverse the signs instead.

Gradual spell and item effects for alignment
This would require lots of house ruling and specific rules, but it would be interesting if the all alignment-based effect now became more "gradual" and less extreme, since you can now be more or less evil, good, chaotic or lawful. For example, if your weapon is enchanted to do extra damage against evil, the bonus would not be the same against all evil enemies, but would depend on how actually evil they are.
If your opponent is 0(Fiendish) on the Evil/Good scale your weapon might deal +3d6 damage, if he's 1-2(Diabolic or Aberrant)the weapon would deal +2d6, if he's 3(Egoist)the weapon would deal only +1d6. That's a quick example, but I don't think it's a bad one.
Problem is making these distinctions for ALL the alignment based-spells.

A quick rule for save-or-something spells and effects which only target people of a certain alignment, using a spell which only targets Evil as an example:
If you are Fiendish(0 on the scale), you save normally, but if you are less than Fiendish you gain a +2 bonus for every step by which you are so, with "Neutral"already giving you immunity.
Gaming example: Assume your evil- only spell somehow has in it's area of effect a Demon(Fiendish/0), Belkar(Egoist/3), Thog(Un-concerned/4) and a Slaadi(Neutral/5). The demon gets no save bonus, Belkar gets +6, Thog gets +8 and the Slaadi is not affected at all(being not even a bit evil).

Vuzzmop
2007-06-29, 04:22 PM
Vuzzy likes. I'm definately going to subject my players to this, as well as the Ovinomancer class (a wizard did it- (PEACH) thread) just to mix things up. Too much regularity makes Vuzzmop a dull boy.

Joltz
2007-06-29, 08:55 PM
I thought of something like this a while ago that used a 9 point scale. It's pretty much this without the extreme variations for outsiders. I think I'll start using this to determine when someone's alignment changes due to their actions. I wouldn't bother trying to differentiate between the variations of alignments for spells. Just make the 4 extreme points on each axis law/chaos/good/evil respectively and the 3 points in the middle get to be neutral.

I also disagree with the perfect neutrality being unreachable for normal beings. My normal alignment is NN. I just play it that way. I do some things because I feel obligated to (lawful) but sometimes I get bored and mess with people (chaotic). I also do thievery (evil) but can be generous to people who need it (good). If some of my characters aren't perfect neutral, then they constantly dance circles around that middle point.

Kizara
2007-06-30, 01:24 PM
Only thing missing is a definition of the terms used to describe the different alignment steps.

Like, what do you mean by Egoist? For example.


Otherwise, very nice piece of work. *favorited*

Anxe
2007-06-30, 01:39 PM
All my players are Chaotic Neutrual, so I've never had to worry about this, but good system!

Roderick_BR
2007-06-30, 06:59 PM
All my players are Chaotic Neutrual, so I've never had to worry about this, but good system!
You could use it to see how chaotic they are, and if any of them risks getting into another alignment. It's good to give more variations inside the same base alignment.

Duke Malagigi
2007-06-30, 07:02 PM
I found the Dicefreaks system (http://dicefreaks.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2870&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15) if you're curious.

Fishies
2007-06-30, 07:18 PM
Aw sweet, I get to be Chaotic Evil! Unpredictable egoist...

Baru
2007-07-07, 07:53 PM
Durkon should be more lawful than 6.
Well made chart nonetheless. People can find where they stand on the chart.

Amphimir Míriel
2007-07-08, 09:28 PM
Durkon should be more lawful than 6.
Well made chart nonetheless. People can find where they stand on the chart.

You think so? Thor strikes me as a chaotic deity... So I placed Durkon as NG, on the edge of lawful, but still neutral...

TheLightbringer
2007-12-04, 10:36 AM
Oh, I'm so happy. I've had players for ages playing amazingly egoist characters and insisting that they are nevertheless Chaotic Neutral because they're not arbitrarily killing kittens--I insist that they're evil anyway and they disagree. So refreshing to see that someone else thinks that selfish=evil.

Actually, I think this system makes the Detect Good/Evil/Chaos/Law strength-of-aura system make sense. Without it, the strength of an aura is pretty arbitrary.

Also, it allows me to play a druid who is chaotic-ish good-ish and still fulfill the requirement that she be neutral on some axis. Yay! I never really understood the chaos/law axis and this makes it clearer.

I had never considered that the alignment system was a roleplaying crutch; I always thought of it as descriptive. A good roleplayer can either make character choices and then choose alignment based on them, or take a required alignment (gotta be LG to play a pally) and make it interesting--a friend of mine played an alcoholic paladin who was pure of heart but disillusioned and in trouble with his church; still LG, but not quite as lawful. This system illustrates that perfectly, and it gives players playing classes with restricted alignments more roleplaying ideas and options, which is, isn't it, the point of the system.

Chancellor
2007-12-04, 07:54 PM
I like the system, I can see how it could work to really differentiate those little differences (i.e. the Alcoholic Paladin example).

A few minor quibbles:

There are 4 listings for "Evil" Alignments, From Fiendish to Egoist.

There are also 4 listings for "Good" Alignments, From Dedicated to Angelic.

Only 3 for Neutrals though, from Unconcerned to Well-Meaning.

And I don't really understand how "selfish" = Evil. Especially since human beings are (IMO) selfish as a rule rather than as an exception.

But anyway, good stuff!

TheLightbringer
2007-12-04, 10:33 PM
I agree that humans have a tendency to be selfish--but "normal" is not "neutral." A character whose absolute first priority is his or her own comfort and enjoyment and advancement is evil. This conflict occurred in, and is exemplified by, a campaign I played in--the character in question was an adolescent prodigy, a gnome sorcerer/wizard with incredible power. At the beginning of the campaign, the player had "CG" down on his sheet, and he truly believed it; but the rest of the players and the DM looked at his self-serving conduct and knocked it down, over his protests, to CN (he lost a cohort this way, he was unhappy). Throughout the campaign, the player (a really excellent roleplayer--I hated this character) continued holding to the character's ultimate selfishness, and he ended up:
-stealing from his own party
-killing a lot of innocents because it would save him admittedly a bunch of trouble
-attacking the party, and killing most of it--he had stolen a lot of gold and magic items from the party, and it made him much more powerful than the rest of us (I am happy to relate that my NG half-dragon barbarian was able to bring him down at that particular occasion; she, unfortunately as it turns out, did not kill him).
-eventually becoming a lich.
All of this is readily explained by "I did what was best for me." So while it isn't evil for the spellcaster to say to the fighter "hey, I think that ring of protection we just looted is more important for me than for you," a character whose entire motivation is self-interest must be evil.

Chancellor
2007-12-05, 01:19 AM
I agree that humans have a tendency to be selfish--but "normal" is not "neutral." A character whose absolute first priority is his or her own comfort and enjoyment and advancement is evil. This conflict occurred in, and is exemplified by, a campaign I played in--the character in question was an adolescent prodigy, a gnome sorcerer/wizard with incredible power. At the beginning of the campaign, the player had "CG" down on his sheet, and he truly believed it; but the rest of the players and the DM looked at his self-serving conduct and knocked it down, over his protests, to CN (he lost a cohort this way, he was unhappy). Throughout the campaign, the player (a really excellent roleplayer--I hated this character) continued holding to the character's ultimate selfishness, and he ended up:
-stealing from his own party
-killing a lot of innocents because it would save him admittedly a bunch of trouble
-attacking the party, and killing most of it--he had stolen a lot of gold and magic items from the party, and it made him much more powerful than the rest of us (I am happy to relate that my NG half-dragon barbarian was able to bring him down at that particular occasion; she, unfortunately as it turns out, did not kill him).
-eventually becoming a lich.
All of this is readily explained by "I did what was best for me." So while it isn't evil for the spellcaster to say to the fighter "hey, I think that ring of protection we just looted is more important for me than for you," a character whose entire motivation is self-interest must be evil.

A-OK Understood, Ma'am. Although this character seemed more suicidal than selfish, acting like that. My sympathies.