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nonsi
2015-01-04, 08:25 AM
.
I just encountered an Alignment System which seems to hold promise, titled "Expanded Alignment System (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=7577205)".

I'm thinking of taking it a step further.


The linked post proposes the following alignment axes: (and provides a solid analysis)


Law-Chaos axis:
===============
- Axiomatic
- Lawful
- Neutral
- Chaotic
- Anarchic

Good-Evil axis:
===============
- Exalted
- Good
- Neutral
- Evil
- Vile



I now propose another axis: Active-Lazy:
=========================================
- Resolute: "Death to the heathens"
- Active: "You WILL comply"
- Neutral: "I do my best to practice my agenda"
- Lazy: "I wish I had a stronger motivation to practice my beliefs"
- Apathetic: "In a perfect world, everybody would be X/Y/Z, but I I'll leave that for others to worry about"
This axis reveals how much "meat on them bones" there is to one's willingness to practice their alignment beyond just declarations and philosophical views.





There are also other issues that seem relevant to me regarding alignments:



Extreme among extreme:
======================
LG/CE/CG/LE characters who are also Resolute are called "Fanatics" (notice that if someone's Exalted, then he's automatically also Good. The same goes for Axiomatic, Anarchic and Vile).
They will go to whatever extreme necessary to enforce their views upon the general public, sometimes to the point of violating their own ethos, under the premise that the end justifies the means.



Alignments as Subtype characteristics:
======================================
Outerplanar creatures with an alignment subtype always have the most extreme version of that alignment (Anarchic, Axiomatic, Exalted and Vile).
Any creature with an alignment subtype also has its attacks count as a weapon of that alignment.



Impossible Alignments:
======================
One can never be Axiomatic-Vile or Anarchic-Exalted.
You cannot be Axiomatic if you care for absolutely nothing but yourself and you cannot stand as the embodiment of good if you value total anarchy.











Any thoughts....... ?





.

Yora
2015-01-04, 08:35 AM
Why?

What in-game effects do you have that require 125 alignments?

nonsi
2015-01-04, 09:06 AM
Why?

What in-game effects do you have that require 125 alignments?

Actually, the 3rd axis has no game mechanics attached to it.
It just serves to better pinpoint a character's personality.

As for the 5x5 I linked to, seems to me like he did a fine job explaining it.


It all boils down to more flexibility in both defining and RPing your character.

Also, I was thinking that alignment extremes could shift a creature's aura power (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/detectEvil.htm) one level up.

The Mentalist
2015-01-04, 10:00 AM
I will be using, not for most games most likely (though I may draft some mechanics as I did with the expanded system.) As a writer I like it though. I draft most of my characters with a sheet attached so I can reference a "how can THEY get out of this" and not pull new stuff out via plot and this will give me some new fuel for it. Clearly not for everyone as for some any alignment syssystem is over-simplifed and for others even 5*5 alignment is too much.

As for the incompatible alignments, I must disagree, Chaos is not evil and one can (conceivably) cause intentionally drastic upheavals on a regular basis for the greater good. I envision something like "every aspect of the world is not good enough and must be radically disrupted for the greater good" and as someone with moderate clinical OCD I could understand an Axiomatic Vile. I can't come up with as simple as justification for it but I can understand it being possible.

Edit: If there were incompatible alignments Apathetic for the moral/ethical extremes and Resolute for the less severe (though not neutral) is one you could make a case for, though I would only make a case for the former myself.

nonsi
2015-01-04, 10:37 AM
As for the incompatible alignments, I must disagree, Chaos is not evil and one can (conceivably) cause intentionally drastic upheavals on a regular basis for the greater good. I envision something like "every aspect of the world is not good enough and must be radically disrupted for the greater good" and as someone with moderate clinical OCD I could understand an Axiomatic Vile. I can't come up with as simple as justification for it but I can understand it being possible.


Axiomatic means that you obay the letter of the law.
Being Vile means that you're constantly driven to break the letter of the law.
I don't see how they can coexist.





Edit: If there were incompatible alignments Apathetic for the moral/ethical extremes and Resolute for the less severe (though not neutral) is one you could make a case for, though I would only make a case for the former myself.


You're right.
Double extreme is incompatible with being Apathetic.
OTOH, Resolute for the less severe is most viable - if your ethos is to be a resolute defender of balance of good vs. evil and law vs. chaos. It's a valid agenda.

Steward
2015-01-04, 10:59 AM
Axiomatic means that you obay the letter of the law.
Being Vile means that you're constantly driven to break the letter of the law.

So in this system "Vile" just means, "Chaotic"?

Where that gets confusing is that in the linked post (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?136358-Zeal-s-Expanded-Alignment-System&p=7577205#post7577205) Vile is portrayed as being the polar opposite of Exalted -- they're obsessed with doing evil, not with just disrespecting the law. It doesn't even really mention laws at all -- they're defined by their opposition to Good and Exalted concepts and beings rather than their opposition to legal authorities.

My go-to- example for an Axiomatic and Vile being might be the oppressive tyrant Asmodeus in Fiendish Codex. He's the ultimate architect of oppressive law and evil and he works to further *both* agendas. In that sourcebook, it talks about how devils actively work to seduce mortals into committing acts of evil (corrupt acts) as well as committing acts of law (obeisant acts).

The war against the demons (Blood War?) is about Law vs. Chaos, not Good vs. Evil, and that's arguably where he spends most of his time in the D & D world; if anything, Asmodeus's evil acts are committed mostly for the purpose of gathering resources (corrupting souls) to help him defeat the demons. But it also says that his ultimate plan is to eventually invade the Heavens and destroy all things good. He's canonically Lawful Evil, but in this system I would argue that he could also be considered Axiomatic and Vile.

The Mentalist
2015-01-04, 11:03 AM
Axiomatic means that you obay the letter of the law.
Being Vile means that you're constantly driven to break the letter of the law.
I don't see how they can coexist.


Like I said, I can't make a good case for it, but with my condition I understand. I may get back to you with a better description of my views but I'm on a cellphone and typing moderately long philosophical essays is harder than its worth. If a good explanation of my point comes I will hijack a computer to send it.


You're right.
Double extreme is incompatible with being Apathetic.
OTOH, Resolute for the less severe is most viable - if your ethos is to be a resolute defender of balance of good vs. evil and law vs. chaos. It's a valid agenda.

I was led to the idea only by your description of them but it occurs to me that you don't have to believe very extremely to believe very strongly.

nonsi
2015-01-04, 12:26 PM
So in this system "Vile" just means, "Chaotic"?


Not exactly.
Genocide, systematic torture, corruption, vivisection, disease spreading etc. are all acts that fall under the category of Vile.
All the above are also nonlawful in all places except evil planes of existence.
Hence the conflict that came to mind.





Where that gets confusing is that in the linked post (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?136358-Zeal-s-Expanded-Alignment-System&p=7577205#post7577205) Vile is portrayed as being the polar opposite of Exalted -- they're obsessed with doing evil, not with just disrespecting the law. It doesn't even really mention laws at all -- they're defined by their opposition to Good and Exalted concepts and beings rather than their opposition to legal authorities.

My go-to- example for an Axiomatic and Vile being might be the oppressive tyrant Asmodeus in Fiendish Codex. He's the ultimate architect of oppressive law and evil and he works to further *both* agendas. In that sourcebook, it talks about how devils actively work to seduce mortals into committing acts of evil (corrupt acts) as well as committing acts of law (obeisant acts).

The war against the demons (Blood War?) is about Law vs. Chaos, not Good vs. Evil, and that's arguably where he spends most of his time in the D & D world; if anything, Asmodeus's evil acts are committed mostly for the purpose of gathering resources (corrupting souls) to help him defeat the demons. But it also says that his ultimate plan is to eventually invade the Heavens and destroy all things good. He's canonically Lawful Evil, but in this system I would argue that he could also be considered Axiomatic and Vile.


Haven't dug deep into Asmodeus, so I might be missing something here, but will he obey the letter of the law even if it would cripple him?
(and remember that following your own written law is not a solid measurement tool to determine that you're lawful to a fault)

nonsi
2015-01-04, 12:28 PM
I was led to the idea only by your description of them but it occurs to me that you don't have to believe very extremely to believe very strongly.

I figured this much.
Actually, the only reason it came to mind for me, is because the subject came up more than once in my groups (twice within a campaign).

AstralFire
2015-01-04, 12:43 PM
TBH, I usually think of 3x3 as too much. I would respectfully suggest you may be better served by using FATE aspects or 5E ideal-goal-flaws or something besides 'alignment' to start representing characters. The more granularity you add, the more a grid has trouble working on the margins. There is often no meaningful difference between NG and CG, for example. You can easily start getting running into issues over whether any given take on a Good character Resolute vs. Active might start veering into being less good via ends justify the means or being more lawful via dogmatic adherence to your philosophical position.

Steward
2015-01-04, 12:46 PM
Haven't dug deep into Asmodeus, so I might be missing something here, but will he obey the letter of the law even if it would cripple him?
(and remember that following your own written law is not a solid measurement tool to determine that you're lawful to a fault)

Well, the law that I was talking about was the Pact Primeval which in the books was agreed upon by all of the lawful deities. It transcends good and evil, and it's adhered to by the lawful evil devils and the lawful good archons, as well as the lawful neutral creatures in the Outer Planes. And in the same book, it talks about how devils try to convince mortals to commit obeisant acts (lawful acts); the examples provided include, "following a rule you consider stupid,", "aiding a superior to your own detriment", "obeying a leader that you do not respect", etc; these examples are placed along side a list of corrupt acts (the usual torture and murder).


Genocide, systematic torture, corruption, vivisection, disease spreading etc. are all acts that fall under the category of Vile.
All the above are also nonlawful in all places except evil planes of existence.

I guess my area of confusion is that in many campaign settings there are evil planes of existence as well as evil nations/dictatorships that condone or require many of those things. If committing vile acts means that you can't be lawful, then doesn't that sort of muddle together those two axes? If law = good and chaos = evil, then why have them as separate concepts?

It might be simpler/clearer to use your Resolute -- Apathetic framework and just have an Exalted -- Vile axis with that, where Exalted is pure law and good and Vile is pure evil and chaos, since that seems to be the way it's treated as right now.

nonsi
2015-01-04, 03:33 PM
I guess my area of confusion is that in many campaign settings there are evil planes of existence as well as evil nations/dictatorships that condone or require many of those things. If committing vile acts means that you can't be lawful, then doesn't that sort of muddle together those two axes? If law = good and chaos = evil, then why have them as separate concepts?


One could commit a vile act while not actually being a Vile person - it all depends on the context under which the act is done.
Therefore, Lawful-Vile is automatically reasonable.
I was just saying that someone that commits vile acts would probably not be the embodiment of lawfulness on earth.
But now I'm not so sure anymore. Maybe certain realities make it possible.





It might be simpler/clearer to use your Resolute -- Apathetic framework and just have an Exalted -- Vile axis with that, where Exalted is pure law and good and Vile is pure evil and chaos, since that seems to be the way it's treated as right now.


1. As stated above, that's not the intent.
2. Out of curiosity, if LG = Exalted and CE = Vile, then what would you call CG & LE?

Steward
2015-01-05, 10:48 AM
One could commit a vile act while not actually being a Vile person - it all depends on the context under which the act is done.

That's a good point.


2. Out of curiosity, if LG = Exalted and CE = Vile, then what would you call CG & LE?

Honestly, I don't know. I prefer the original set up you had where Exalted - Vile are completely separate from Axiomatic - Anarchic. The only reason I had them confused was because I thought that you were saying that it was impossible for someone to be both Axiomatic and Vile, which to me suggests that they're not completely separate.

Kornaki
2015-01-05, 11:12 AM
Couldn't Hitler or Stalin be real world examples of Axiomatic Vile leaders?

jqavins
2015-01-05, 12:50 PM
Couldn't Hitler or Stalin be real world examples of Axiomatic Vile leaders?
I wondered when Hitler would enter the conversation.

But yes. The asertion that vile deeds are illegal everywhere just isn't true. Certainly, they're illegal in most places, but they can be, as pointed out earlier, part of the legal system by which a vile government holds power. And a vile person or being could certainly decide that these things will be legal "when I rule the world. Bwahahaha."

All that said, I favor a continuous alignment system. Just plot any given character's position in either (x,y) or (r; θ) coordinates, where x and y vary from -1 for law or evil to 1 for chaos or good, or r varies from 0 to 1 for neutral to extreme and θ is 0 for CN, 90 for NG, 180 for LN, 270 for NE, 360 is back to CN, and anything in between is fine.

The polar system is based on the notion that, if one is purely (let's say) good, one must always look for the good thing to do no matter whether it is lawful or chaotic, so it's impossible to be both the paragon of good and any shade on the other axis. Being LG, even the absolute epitome of LG, will inevitably require some compromising in real world (or fantasy world) situations, such as when faced with a morally repugnant law, so the most LG you can ever be is (1; 135) polar which is about (-0.707, 0.707) recangular.

I have mixed feelings about the third axis. I usually think of the r coordinate in the polar system as the motivation that is represented on the third axis in the OP, but that has always left a problem with dead center neutral. Does it mean complete apathy or a true belief in balance. So the third axis could offer a solution. On the third hand, I personally can't comprehend devotion to balancing good and evil. Can anyone imagine a TN person thinking "I've done too many good deeds this week, and I'm out of balance; I'd better go punch some random stranger in the face or kill some puppies or something"? It makes no sense.

The bottom line, for me is that alignment, most of the time, is a descriptive thing like height and weight, not a vital stat like ability scores. I have a character in a decades old ongoing game whose alignment is (0.5; 90) (or (0,.5) if you prefer) and I describe him as "Pretty Good" even though those coordinates place him in NG territory.

Eldan
2015-01-06, 05:34 AM
As a real-life chaotic, I've never agreed with the idea that law is good and chaos is evil. I see it differently. Truly good chaotic societies and truly evil lawful societies make much more sense and seem much more likely to arise, to me. Chaotic societies promote freedom and personal relationships over strict authorities and hierarchies. Evil is much simpler when one is following orders, or giving orders on matters regarding people one never encounters, because they are half an empire and seven intermediaries in the chain of command away. The low and the high in a hierarchy both have more reasons to turn to evil than those living in a more egalitarian chaotic society.

There are plenty of things that D&D asserts are evil that are legal in many completely lawful societies. Slavery. Human Sacrifice. Torture. Exploitation and discrimination by age and sex and race. The law (or just a code or creed or ethos, the lawful do not have to follow the law of a nation) can justify them all.