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8BitNinja
2017-04-10, 06:34 PM
So everyone either likes or hates the 3x3 grid, but I had this crazy idea that might work for a non D&D D20 game.

The idea comes from a mobile game (of all things) called Sword and Glory. In the game, there are several causes (For Family, For Compassion, For Religion, For Honor, etc.) to fight for. After a while, the things you fight for the most gives you a title (The Pious, The Honorable, The Family Man, etc.). If you die before receiving a title, you receive one based on your glory amount (Someone who fought for Christianity might receive The Christian for mundane glory, while reviewing The Crusader for extraordinary glory)

So what if in a game, every fight, quest, and/or campaign would have a certain caused attached to it. For example, helping out a farmer clear out pests would be For Compassion. Each task could be worth a different value decided by the DM. Then, instead of the rogue following the party being Chaotic Neutral, he campaigns For Wealth. The paladin isn't Lawful Good, he fights For (deity's name)

So what do you guys think?

Honest Tiefling
2017-04-10, 06:41 PM
So...What happens when two different people campaign for the same god, but take it in completely different ways? Or even the same idea. One family man might be honorable to increase his family's glory, another might brutally and efficiently murder anyone who is a threat to their family.

How would you get everyone onto the same page as to the tone and acceptable actions allowed by the campaign?

Skelechicken
2017-04-10, 07:23 PM
So...What happens when two different people campaign for the same god, but take it in completely different ways? Or even the same idea. One family man might be honorable to increase his family's glory, another might brutally and efficiently murder anyone who is a threat to their family.

How would you get everyone onto the same page as to the tone and acceptable actions allowed by the campaign?

I don't know if this is a problem. That's already an issue brought up in discussions under the current alignment system. It's rare that you get parties that are all the same alignment if you don't pre-roll for everyone or ask them to all build he same alignment. Even if they are the same alignment people tend to play it differently. Lawful good characters will execute a prisoner for their crimes just as often as they'll drop them off at the local authorities.

I like this idea. I think it's a lot more reasonable for someone to base their quest on a cause rather than some nebulous idea of good. It also encourages more balance in terms of party interest in a sandbox campaign. If you have a thief campaigning for gold they may be able to more easily strike a deal with the party about how to spend their time. "Ok I will help you save one more town of starving peasants, but then you're helping me loot the mega dungeon."

S@tanicoaldo
2017-04-10, 07:46 PM
I don't get it. How does making 1000+ alignments going to be easier than the 9 we already have?

Arenít you mixing up alignments with causes and incentives?

Vitruviansquid
2017-04-10, 08:48 PM
Why?

And I'm not saying "why" as an obnoxious way of saying "no."

A major reason the alignment system doesn't work in the first place is because it is fairly meaningless in a large number of contexts. So you were a good fighter, and you did a bunch of crummy things, and now you're an evil fighter. Big whoop. Unless your DM creates rules to penalize alignment switching or you are one of the few cases in the editions that actually care, such as being a 3.5 paladin, alignment doesn't really matter if your table isn't consciously making sure it matters.

So if you repackaged the alignment system to work with titles. Well what do the titles do? How do we make the titles meaningful to players?

veti
2017-04-10, 09:29 PM
I like the basic idea. But I second the "Why?"

What mechanical effects would these alignments have? I find it hard to imagine casting "Protection from People who Fight for Glory".

SirBellias
2017-04-10, 09:58 PM
Pendragon has some of the examples given as stats for the characters. It's probably not the same thing that you're going for, but that may be something to look at to see what it is like to implement such things in a meaningful way.

GPS
2017-04-10, 10:17 PM
I don't know about earlier editions, but in 5e these are character bonds. Separate from initiative for good reason

Thaneus
2017-04-11, 04:27 AM
I see aliments more as a drive, how someone solves problems at hand.

Your suggestion is plain old cause, a cause is never an alignment. People who follow a cause have a lawful tendency though.

erikun
2017-04-11, 07:19 AM
Too much bookkeeping.

Basically, you are asking the GM to not only generate and keep track of "alignments" for nearly every minor thing, but also produce some meaningful consequence for each one. After all, if they don't actually DO anything, then there isn't any point in keeping track - but if they actually do something, then someone needs to come up with what that something is. There are some systems which have a single "honor" metric that applies to everyone (Pendragon, Legend of the Five Rings) and so it is worth getting into how different honor levels affect NPC reactions and such, but it just isn't doing when you need to make lists for dozens of different variables like For Honor, For Glory, For Justice, For ___ Nation, For Revenge...

Heck, that last one is difficult enough by itself, because you could have two completely separate ideas of what "For Revenge" means depending on the character and situation.

There's also the problem with spells, items, and other mechanical parts relating to alignment. "Protection from Evil" would need to become "Protection from For Greed, For Power, For Revenge, For Puppy Kicking, For whatever else I forgot" in order to have the same function.

Logosloki
2017-04-11, 08:21 AM
So everyone either likes or hates the 3x3 grid, but I had this crazy idea that might work for a non D&D D20 game.

The idea comes from a mobile game (of all things) called Sword and Glory. In the game, there are several causes (For Family, For Compassion, For Religion, For Honor, etc.) to fight for. After a while, the things you fight for the most gives you a title (The Pious, The Honorable, The Family Man, etc.). If you die before receiving a title, you receive one based on your glory amount (Someone who fought for Christianity might receive The Christian for mundane glory, while reviewing The Crusader for extraordinary glory)

So what if in a game, every fight, quest, and/or campaign would have a certain caused attached to it. For example, helping out a farmer clear out pests would be For Compassion. Each task could be worth a different value decided by the DM. Then, instead of the rogue following the party being Chaotic Neutral, he campaigns For Wealth. The paladin isn't Lawful Good, he fights For (deity's name)

So what do you guys think?

If you can handle the book keeping side of it then it would a fine idea.

Another app game idea would be game of thrones ascent which has three alignment scales: Tradition (Whether you follow the old ways or the new ways), Duty (Whether your loyalty belongs to yourself and your family or to the realm) and Integrity (the much less inspired and much more frank moral quandary of Truthfulness against Cunning). Each is a sliding scale that is tallied on a reset to award titles.

5th Edition Has Bonds, Flaws and Ideals in the background section which could well just replace alignment altogether. Maybe dish out a few extras on the bonds and ideals to get a bit more flesh.

Fate, from memory, has the player decide on seven traits and then rewards the player for interacting with them.

Millstone85
2017-04-11, 09:09 AM
Replacing LG, NG and CG with "For Justice", "For Love" and "For Liberty" might clear things up.

RazorChain
2017-04-11, 04:15 PM
If this gives you a reason to throw the redundant alignment system into the trash then go for it!

If my group of 12 year olds came to the conclusion that the alignment system was utterly stupid then either the system is utterly brilliant and way beyond 12 year olds comprehension! Or it is utterly, utterly stupid

Cluedrew
2017-04-11, 05:17 PM
In my opinion, it somehow manages to be both.

Depends on what part we are talking about.

Bohandas
2017-04-11, 05:36 PM
Sounds like the alignment system from D20 Modern

8BitNinja
2017-04-11, 08:30 PM
So...What happens when two different people campaign for the same god, but take it in completely different ways? Or even the same idea. One family man might be honorable to increase his family's glory, another might brutally and efficiently murder anyone who is a threat to their family.

How would you get everyone onto the same page as to the tone and acceptable actions allowed by the campaign?

They would both be fighting For Family, just for different families.


I don't get it. How does making 1000+ alignments going to be easier than the 9 we already have?

Arenít you mixing up alignments with causes and incentives?

It's not easier, just a crazy idea I had

Nightcanon
2017-04-11, 10:09 PM
For non-D&D game, why bother with having an alignment mechanic at all? You could certainly encourage players to identify what it is that motivates their characters (I vaguely recall someone positing a system whereby players had to rank various things- faith, lord, family, wealth, personal power etc- in lieu of alignment in Dragon magazine in the later days of 1st ed AD&D) and play to that, but there's no particular reason why it would need to mechanised beyond "you have obeyed your church ahead of your lord, ArchSister Joan is pleased with you, Prince John is angry, GM roleplays church and crown representatives accordingly when you meet them".
Removing alignment from D&D is tricky because it has mechanical effects (who takes extra damage from axiomatic weapons, defining what the protection from evil spell does), and, yes, it can be used (generally problematically) to delineate 'sides'. It seems to me that the snag in removing alignment from D&D is what you do about the mechanical effects, not the role-play aspects (in general I think that alignment is more of a hindrance than a help here).

Joe the Rat
2017-04-12, 09:55 AM
So having a primary Cause or Motive or Ideal to replace... well, a primary Cause or Ideal.

*puts on the tweed jacket with the arm patches* You see, back in the days of old, Alignment was a prerequisite for certain things - limitations on classes, sometimes races... oh, and languages. Everybody spoke their alignment tongue - a secret code/speech/old tongue shared by others of the same ideological letter-code (handy for negotiations!). You were not to use it with outsiders under pain of your DM going "tut, tut" at you. Alignments (all THREE or NINE of them) were cosmic concepts, ideals of the universe which were, 8 times out of 9, some degree of bonkers. You act in accordance with your alignment, good on you. Defy it, you might have to change teams, which may come with an xp penalty (no big, the fighter got wight-drained back down to level 8, so you'll be in the same ballpark again), and the whole brainwashing the old secret cult tongue out of your head thing... somehow.

So alignment was somewhere between a cult and a religion, where "not following the philosophy" is your sin.

Since the game got away from the "Poul Andersen and Micheal Moorcock" philosophic cosmology, Alignment was not your Team any more. Doing away with change penalties (Paladins aside) really drew this into the descriptive focus... which is the bundle of arguments we all know and love/hate/make memes for.


What 8-Bit is suggesting is really going back to the Old Ways, only replacing the dedication to the Cosmic Goal of Universal "Beatific Order and Justice" or "Caffeinated Squirrel Logic" with a set of Ideal (or Virtue) tracks, and focusing positive (following progresses you forward to... something) vs punitive (character setbacks for "falling"). Your goals are prescriptive (and potentially fluid), your actual ratings the descriptive. Valor may be your goal, but you are still very bad at it. Limit yourself to a small number of game/setting/campaign relevant options (like 5), or have your players choose their ideals they wish to pursue (3 out of howevermany), and roll with it.

You can steal be inspired a lot from the Storyteller system for this. And Pendragon (combinations representing specific values. Virtues shift, right?). And Legend of the Five Rings (Honor, baby!)

Segev
2017-04-12, 10:31 AM
Generally speaking, PnP games' alignment works best when the only time it becomes a mechanically-tracked item is when magic enforces it. Otherwise, it should be something we take with the colloquial understanding we as a culture have of the terms, distilled by the specific needs and views of the table it's happening at. DM Allen can tell when PC Barbara is a generally Good and Chaotic person, and when PC Charlie is a more Neutral but Lawful person. And if there is disagreement amongst the players, they can discuss why and how, and DM Allen can lay down some guidelines and advice as to what he sees as "telling" choices when they come up.

As long as Allen isn't trying to create contrived paradoxes, players can either play to demonstrate the alignment as Allen believes in it or allow their alignments to shift. And if class features are on the line, they can discuss more strenuously, or work out an arc where they invent some way to regain lost powers that are more in line with "who they are."

The only time "you need to make this choice because you're Evil" type things should come up is when you've been cursed or otherwise magically forced to be Evil. Which is always its own kettle of fish in terms of what's fun and how to best play it. You need player buy-in for that kind of thing or it's going to amount to a wonky Dominate effect.

There's little reason to formally track alignment shifts on an action-by-action basis. If a questionable action comes up, simply point it out, but then move on. One action won't shift an alignment unless it's incredibly, grotesquely egregious. (e.g. a formerly Good person deciding that mass genocide of innocents is something he's just got to do and follow through on in one fell swoop.)

Video games need to do this kind of thing, because there's no other way to judge. You can't examine purpose, motive, goal, habit, etc.; you can only monitor how actions and choices align with ethoi. The strength of PnP is that you can watch with more nuance and make non-quantitative value judgments. Don't throw that away.

8BitNinja
2017-04-12, 08:04 PM
So having a primary Cause or Motive or Ideal to replace... well, a primary Cause or Ideal.

*puts on the tweed jacket with the arm patches* You see, back in the days of old, Alignment was a prerequisite for certain things - limitations on classes, sometimes races... oh, and languages. Everybody spoke their alignment tongue - a secret code/speech/old tongue shared by others of the same ideological letter-code (handy for negotiations!). You were not to use it with outsiders under pain of your DM going "tut, tut" at you. Alignments (all THREE or NINE of them) were cosmic concepts, ideals of the universe which were, 8 times out of 9, some degree of bonkers. You act in accordance with your alignment, good on you. Defy it, you might have to change teams, which may come with an xp penalty (no big, the fighter got wight-drained back down to level 8, so you'll be in the same ballpark again), and the whole brainwashing the old secret cult tongue out of your head thing... somehow.

So alignment was somewhere between a cult and a religion, where "not following the philosophy" is your sin.

Since the game got away from the "Poul Andersen and Micheal Moorcock" philosophic cosmology, Alignment was not your Team any more. Doing away with change penalties (Paladins aside) really drew this into the descriptive focus... which is the bundle of arguments we all know and love/hate/make memes for.


What 8-Bit is suggesting is really going back to the Old Ways, only replacing the dedication to the Cosmic Goal of Universal "Beatific Order and Justice" or "Caffeinated Squirrel Logic" with a set of Ideal (or Virtue) tracks, and focusing positive (following progresses you forward to... something) vs punitive (character setbacks for "falling"). Your goals are prescriptive (and potentially fluid), your actual ratings the descriptive. Valor may be your goal, but you are still very bad at it. Limit yourself to a small number of game/setting/campaign relevant options (like 5), or have your players choose their ideals they wish to pursue (3 out of howevermany), and roll with it.

You can steal be inspired a lot from the Storyteller system for this. And Pendragon (combinations representing specific values. Virtues shift, right?). And Legend of the Five Rings (Honor, baby!)

Don't get me wrong, I love alignment. But like I said, this was an idea for a non D&D game where alignment isn't a mechanic.

Nightcanon
2017-04-13, 05:59 AM
Don't get me wrong, I love alignment. But like I said, this was an idea for a non D&D game where alignment isn't a mechanic.
Without wanting to appear rude, and in a spirit of genuine curiosity, I'd like to repeat/ rephrase my previous question:
Given that this is non-D&D (so you've successfully separated PC behaviour from game mechanics to do with PCs/NPCs/monsters having alignment-based vulnerabilities or bonuses), why introduce a more complex way of tracking/scoring PC motivations? I can see that a cRPG engine might need you to track brownie-points with a number of factions to give you a reputation and influence how various NPCs and NPC-groups interact with your PCs, but in a ttRPG why not, y'know, just roleplay those interactions based on the party's history (to the extent that it is known to the NPC), the NPC's allegiances and motives (overt or covert), and so on?
If you perform a great service for a king or bishop, either he is going to knight you, grant you land or titles, or bestow the blessing of his god, or he isn't, based on political expediency, nature of service, character background, and so on. What he isn't going to do is grant you 2 chivalry points, 1 religious devotion point, or whatever, to add to your pile of points to be cashed in for a title once you have enough. Surely the realistic thing to do is roleplay it?

Joe the Rat
2017-04-13, 08:31 AM
Don't get me wrong, I love alignment. But like I said, this was an idea for a non D&D game where alignment isn't a mechanic.

So? We assign alignments to tv, film, print media, and occasionally other game system characters - including systems with their own alignment systems. They don't always call them alignments, but they have the descriptive/ideals/motivation functions.


On the scaling: Minutiae of action is not the way to go; you want to operate in broad strokes, particularly if you have more dimensions than one (Vampire's Path system worked act-by-act, but only insofar as "sins" only mattered when you hit a threshold of heinousness). Ideally, I would make alignment scoring a once-per-session, by group determination. Who really deserves to gain (or lose) pips. This does bring up a little bit of concern about scoring collusion, but that says more about Trust being a personal value, but one in which I have mediocre ranking.

Jay R
2017-04-13, 09:32 AM
It's a good idea and similar things have been done in the past, but it does not replace alignment. There still needs to be some understanding of Good and Evil for these passions or goals to be judged by, or there's no reason to think the paladin fighting "For Compassion" or "For Sredni Vashtar" is any better than the warlord fighting "For Power" or "For Myself".


Pendragon has some of the examples given as stats for the characters. It's probably not the same thing that you're going for, but that may be something to look at to see what it is like to implement such things in a meaningful way.

I was going to mention the Pendragon Passions as well. You start with Love of your Family and Loyalty to your Lord, and can pick up Passions along the way.

Also, in the original Chivalry and Sorcery, knights collected Honor Points separate from experience points. Rescuing a princess is worth more honor pints than rescuing a milkmaid, even if they represent the same experience points.


I don't get it. How does making 1000+ alignments going to be easier than the 9 we already have?

Arenít you mixing up alignments with causes and incentives?

To answer the second question first, yes, far too many players assume that their incentives must come from their alignment.

To answer the first question, trying to treat 1000+ incentives as 1000+ incentives is much easier than trying to shoehorn them into 9 ill-fitting boxes. The biggest flaw in the alignment system is that it's trying to model something extremely complex as nine overly simplistic categories.

And 1000+ is a woefully inadequate estimate. Since one possible goal is "For Love of My Lady (or Lord)", or "For Revenge For What That Person Did to Me", there are at least twice as many potential variants as there are people in the world.

Yora
2017-04-13, 02:25 PM
If this gives you a reason to throw the redundant alignment system into the trash then go for it!

If my group of 12 year olds came to the conclusion that the alignment system was utterly stupid then either the system is utterly brilliant and way beyond 12 year olds comprehension! Or it is utterly, utterly stupid

Dave Arneson actually wrote of the intention behind adding alignment (http://www.jovianclouds.com/blackmoor/Archive_OLD/rpg2.html). It didn't work and wasn't fun.

8BitNinja
2017-04-13, 09:10 PM
Without wanting to appear rude, and in a spirit of genuine curiosity, I'd like to repeat/ rephrase my previous question:
Given that this is non-D&D (so you've successfully separated PC behaviour from game mechanics to do with PCs/NPCs/monsters having alignment-based vulnerabilities or bonuses), why introduce a more complex way of tracking/scoring PC motivations? I can see that a cRPG engine might need you to track brownie-points with a number of factions to give you a reputation and influence how various NPCs and NPC-groups interact with your PCs, but in a ttRPG why not, y'know, just roleplay those interactions based on the party's history (to the extent that it is known to the NPC), the NPC's allegiances and motives (overt or covert), and so on?
If you perform a great service for a king or bishop, either he is going to knight you, grant you land or titles, or bestow the blessing of his god, or he isn't, based on political expediency, nature of service, character background, and so on. What he isn't going to do is grant you 2 chivalry points, 1 religious devotion point, or whatever, to add to your pile of points to be cashed in for a title once you have enough. Surely the realistic thing to do is roleplay it?

That's true, but I wasn't trying to go for realistic. I see what you are saying.

The allegiance points could be tied to XP somehow, or it could grant abilities. The idea isn't fully thought out.

Nightcanon
2017-04-14, 12:51 AM
Fair enough. FWIW I really like the notion of asking players to think about what it is that motivates their PCs along the lines of a hierarchy of ideals/values/outside responsibilities, far better than I like 3x3 alignment.

Jay R
2017-04-14, 09:53 AM
Fair enough. FWIW I really like the notion of asking players to think about what it is that motivates their PCs along the lines of a hierarchy of ideals/values/outside responsibilities, far better than I like 3x3 alignment.

Sure- who doesn't? And I like swords far better than I like scabbards. That doesn't mean that one of them replaces the other.

Motivation is not alignment. Alignment is not motivation.

Like swords and scabbards, you need both, and they should fit each other.

S@tanicoaldo
2017-04-14, 10:34 AM
This idea is silly and you should feel ashamed! :smalltongue:

http://i2.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/facebook/000/004/500/zoidberg_bad.jpg

Nightcanon
2017-04-14, 11:58 AM
Sure- who doesn't? And I like swords far better than I like scabbards. That doesn't mean that one of them replaces the other.

Motivation is not alignment. Alignment is not motivation.

Like swords and scabbards, you need both, and they should fit each other.

Philosophically, I'm not sure that this is true. The original post talks about a non-D&D system, which is important. Alignment is hardbaked into D&D because of the mechanical concepts of who takes extra damage from aligned weapons and is susceptable to aligned spells and so on- unravelling it is going to take so much reworking of spells, character classes and so on that yes you could say that you need alignment in D&D, but in a non- D&D game? Not necessarily, in my view. 3x3 Alignment is a poor attempt to create a mechanic for constraining behaviour arising, if the Dave Arneson quotes linked to above are to be believed, from a desire to stop characters murderhoboing each other. Attempts to pigeon-hole non-D&D fictional characters, historical figures, and so on into the 3x3 grid don't work because there is no real-life equivalence. It's tempting to say that there is no interesting fictional character (as opposed to caricature) whose 3x3 alignment can be unequivocally stated, because almost by definition, the interest in the character stems from conflicts between different motivations and tendencies. Alignment is neither necessary nor sufficient to describe a character. Outside of the mechanical necessities in D&D, you don't need it at all.

Jay R
2017-04-14, 12:23 PM
Philosophically, I'm not sure that this is true. The original post talks about a non-D&D system, which is important. Alignment is hardbaked into D&D because of the mechanical concepts of who takes extra damage from aligned weapons and is susceptable to aligned spells and so on- unravelling it is going to take so much reworking of spells, character classes and so on that yes you could say that you need alignment in D&D, but in a non- D&D game? Not necessarily, in my view. 3x3 Alignment is a poor attempt to create a mechanic for constraining behaviour arising, if the Dave Arneson quotes linked to above are to be believed, from a desire to stop characters murderhoboing each other. Attempts to pigeon-hole non-D&D fictional characters, historical figures, and so on into the 3x3 grid don't work because there is no real-life equivalence. It's tempting to say that there is no interesting fictional character (as opposed to caricature) whose 3x3 alignment can be unequivocally stated, because almost by definition, the interest in the character stems from conflicts between different motivations and tendencies. Alignment is neither necessary nor sufficient to describe a character. Outside of the mechanical necessities in D&D, you don't need it at all.

I agree with all your minor points, but I don't think that leads to the conclusion that alignment is not needed in any form.

I don't like the 3x3 matrix, and have no use for the Law/Chaos axis.

However, a fundamental difference between Good and Evil is essential for a simulation of classic fantasy, or of a medieval-based world.

For people with no desire to simulate classic fantasy or a medieval-based world, you may be right that it isn't necessary. But its purpose isn't to fulfill the mechanical necessities of D&D, but to simulate a world.

8BitNinja
2017-04-14, 09:43 PM
I agree with all your minor points, but I don't think that leads to the conclusion that alignment is not needed in any form.

I don't like the 3x3 matrix, and have no use for the Law/Chaos axis.

However, a fundamental difference between Good and Evil is essential for a simulation of classic fantasy, or of a medieval-based world.

For people with no desire to simulate classic fantasy or a medieval-based world, you may be right that it isn't necessary. But its purpose isn't to fulfill the mechanical necessities of D&D, but to simulate a world.

If you want to make it simple, just have good and evil for alignment

Nightcanon
2017-04-15, 02:41 AM
(Snip)
However, a fundamental difference between Good and Evil is essential for a simulation of classic fantasy, or of a medieval-based world.

For people with no desire to simulate classic fantasy or a medieval-based world, you may be right that it isn't necessary. But its purpose isn't to fulfill the mechanical necessities of D&D, but to simulate a world.

In the absence of a mechanical reason to include alignment I don't think you do need it to exist to simulate a world. Concepts of good and evil might exist, and may or may not map to modern concepts of the same (In medieval Western Europe, religious philosophy identified distinct 'good' and 'evil' sides. In fact, it is unlikely that 'evil' had any significant numbers of followers, while huge numbers of evil acts were done in the name of 'good'). In a fantasy setting, one could make an argument that an orc horde, a tyranical human ruler and a red dragon are all 'evil', but the reaction of a 'good' king to each of them is likely to be different, and they aren't automatically on the same side themselves. Tarquin the tyrant could certainly be described as evil, as could warlord Thog and the great wyrm Worldburner, but as adjectives go evil is pretty non-descriptive. Cruel, ruthless, avaricious, murderous are all better. Lawful and chaotic as you note aren't much help when the law is that the ruler can do whatever he likes. Good King Bob might fight any of them if they invade, but he's unlikely to fight against his human tyrant neighbour unless provoked, and he probably has equally cruel or despotic people working for him whom he has to tolerate, at least for now. Elsewhere you might have genuinely good people who will take a degree of risk to shelter others from the worst excesses of wrongdoers, perhaps a majority who are non-malicious but do what they must to survive and protect their families, and others whose self-interest will lead them to harm others for personal gain. In the absence of a game mechanic for alignment, you might still choose to describe the local blacksmith as 'good', 'neutral' and 'evil', but each of those is less meaningful than a proper description of his character. If he beats his wife and children, that doesn't mean he's 'aligned with' the nearby orc invaders or Nerull cultists.

Cluedrew
2017-04-15, 09:47 AM
What exactly do you want to describe and why do you want to describe it? You want to describe motivations, but why? Just because you think it will be an interesting/useful way to talk about characters or do you have some planed mechanical tie ins.

I play a system where you have to pick things that make them more or less comfortable/brave. It has some real descriptive value (compare someone who is uncomfortable dealing with foreigners compared to someone who uncomfortable when they don't have a plan) but they also provide some modifiers to certain types of rolls.

What do you want to do with this system?

veti
2017-04-15, 05:08 PM
I agree with all your minor points, but I don't think that leads to the conclusion that alignment is not needed in any form.

I don't like the 3x3 matrix, and have no use for the Law/Chaos axis.

However, a fundamental difference between Good and Evil is essential for a simulation of classic fantasy, or of a medieval-based world.

I would agree, provided I can stipulate that the Good and Evil are in no way "objective". People see their side as Good and the other as Evil, but that is very much a tribal-identity mindset, not actually the product of anything that could pass for logic or objective judgment.

In a classical fantasy or medieval-based world, "Evil" is a reason to be barbaric to your enemies. Nothing more.

8BitNinja
2017-04-18, 09:10 AM
What exactly do you want to describe and why do you want to describe it? You want to describe motivations, but why? Just because you think it will be an interesting/useful way to talk about characters or do you have some planed mechanical tie ins.

I play a system where you have to pick things that make them more or less comfortable/brave. It has some real descriptive value (compare someone who is uncomfortable dealing with foreigners compared to someone who uncomfortable when they don't have a plan) but they also provide some modifiers to certain types of rolls.

What do you want to do with this system?

I guess the system would be to describe loyalty to a person/place/ideology. I guess D20 Modern has that covered, but like the idea I have here, there are no tie ins to mechanics.

D+1
2017-04-18, 11:15 AM
The only time I've ever had real issues with classic alignment is in conceptual arguments about the system in and of itself on web forums. It's never been a truly significant issue in play. NEVER. Even players who just don't get alignment in its nuanced details have always been intelligent enough to grok the big picture:

A) You can't have your PC do outrageous, despicable or vile acts on a whim unless that is what exemplifies your character's behavior all the time.

B) If your character is going to be given advantages for the cost of being a committed good guy you will be held to being a good guy.

C) Have your character behave reasonably and consistently. If you want that behavior to change - have a PROPER motivation for the change.

If you don't have players that can accept and adhere to those SIMPLE concepts then alignment is almost certainly not your problem no matter what form it's in. Alignment only exists to assist players to follow those concepts when they can't seem to willingly do it on their own in the first place. If following alignment is CAUSING disruption in your game then you're doing it wrong.

Cluedrew
2017-04-18, 09:29 PM
To 8BitNinja: Yeah, I think calling this an alternate alignment system is rough, I would just call it a descriptor at this point. Probably more accurate and less likely to cause controversy. Although why loyalty? Loyalty suggests to someone (could be expanded to something), not a cause for something.

To D+1: I agree with that but I would like to add to A: Or there is a particular reason why they are acting out of character at this moment.

D+1
2017-04-19, 10:20 AM
To D+1: I agree with that but I would like to add to A: Or there is a particular reason why they are acting out of character at this moment.
In which case it's not "on a whim" but actually properly motivated by events in the game.

Rambling on a bit more:
One of the problems that arises with alignment is a notion that seemingly just can't be killed - that alignment forbids you from doing things outside of your alignment; that it tells you what you MUST do. That's not correct. The player can make any choice for their character they wish, whether appropriate for their alignment or not. Alignment is intended to remind them that they should simply have good reasons for doing things NOT appropriate to their alignment. Acting bizarrely and contrary to alignment will both bring up questions of WHY your PC is doing the things he's doing, and dictate that there could and probably should be additional consequences for doing what the PC is doing, whether it's properly motivated action or not. A good aligned PC can be driven to commit murder - but is that REALLY what the player wants the character to do, especially if that affects them being able to remain as a particular class which is required to always be good?

Unfortunately, this is an understanding that alignment rules from AD&D sabotaged irretrievably - mostly just because the usefulness of having alignment in the game, the genuine purpose that it COULD serve was still not understood by the very people writing the rules for it - including Gygax. When alignment was presented in OD&D it had no description at all of what it was for, how to use it, why to use it, etc. Unless you were already familiar with the source material it was inspired by (Moorcock's Elric saga), or were gaming with someone who could explain it to you, you had nothing to go on. It was just THERE. In 1E a lot of rules and guidance was given on what it was for and how to use it, but it wasn't written well. For example, it had outrageous punishments for characters who strayed outside their alignment regardless of how little their actions might impact the game. 2E didn't substantially change anything for the better, being a near-clone of 1E, and in some ways made it worse. 3E finally started to get it right (such as by calling it description and putting it in the chapter that had other descriptive details of PC's like height and weight, age, religion, and so forth), but 3E and every edition since (including clones) still deals with the indelible baggage of its inadequate development to that point. So ONLINE we get endless arguments about what alignment is Batman, can two paladins try to kill each other over differences in their beliefs, or if it is okay to kill orc babies. In actual games, as long as players are trying to keep their characters behavior reasonable and consistent, alignment just isn't a problem, it's not needed as an enforcement stick to whack annoying, disruptive players upside the head with, and games roll on.

2D8HP
2017-04-19, 06:42 PM
Using bluetext means admitting to commiting a vile act of sarcasm! AND THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS!!!
So everyone either likes or hates the 3x3 grid, but I had this crazy idea...


I know!

If it wasn't for those cursed Mind Flayers introduced in Eldrich Wizardry that were specifically aligned with Law but Evil then we could just have Law vs. Chaos like Poul Anderson had it, or Law, Balance, Chaos like Michael Moorcock!

But NOOOOOO!!

Gygax had to go and change his mind

*mumble, grumble rant, rave, fume*

It's like it's all just for fun and ga...

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-orkrl_JCxGo/VKMvSEOdLCI/AAAAAAAAC30/BVIa-CwK4Gg/s1600/531001_400433280025300_1590190270_n.jpg

Anyway 3x3 Alignment is just too complex:

https://1d4chan.org/images/thumb/4/45/Alignment_Demotivational.jpg/350px-Alignment_Demotivational.jpg

See?


Pendragon has some of the examples given as stats for the characters. It's probably not the same thing that you're going for, but that may be something to look at to see what it is like to implement such things in a meaningful way.


Yes.

Even though it's post 1970's (so after the fall), Pendragon was... can an RPG be called sublime?

@8BitNinja,

It's high time you got off your high horse (destrier), and get on a rouncey, or even a palfrey and get medieval, and check out Pendragon:


Well here's a pdf sample (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwj07PStxsnRAhWLqlQKHWzeAQUQFggaMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Flolthefol.jdr.free.fr%2FphpBB2%2F fichiersjdr%2FPendragon%2FPendragon.-.5th.Edition.Core.Rules.pdf&usg=AFQjCNH25RJ2olEXmoRhEW6i9-yKFjBeiQ) of some of the 5th edition rules (the latest I have, a 5.1 is out now).

Note: Like the 1st and 3rd, the 5th edition of Pendragon has rules for Knight (including women Knights), Lady, and Squire PC's, but only the 4th edition had rules for PC Spell Casters, though IIRC correctly the 1st and 3rd editions had the possibility of some "Lady" PC's being able to brew a magic potion (I never saw a "second edition" and I don't think it was ever published).

But really if you want to play a Spell-caster Pendragon probably isn't for you

8BitNinja
2017-04-19, 10:14 PM
@8BitNinja,

It's high time you got off your high horse (destrier), and get on a rouncey, or even a palfrey and get medieval, and check out Pendragon:

You keep bringing up Pendragon, so I feel that I am missing something critical. When I can, I will check it out.

After all, as a wise man once said that there is nothing new under the sun

Said wise man was King Solomon

Malachite
2017-04-20, 12:16 PM
They are related but not the same thing. A cause or ideal describes why you act in a certain way, alignment describes the way you act.

For example: Bob believes that society should protect and support those who can't defend and support themselves. This is his Ideal. He decides to devote himself to a life of facing the enemies that are beyond the common peasant (his Cause), takes the vows of a Paladin and fights increasingly powerful monsters as his skills grow. His urge to help others and place their wellbeing above his own safety maks him as Good for effects that target that, while his belief in society and rules curbing some individual freedoms for the benefit of all mark him as Lawful for effects based on that (hence an alignment of Lawful Good).

Maybe his journey leads him to become disillusioned with his earlier beliefs - the thanklessness of his task makes him start thinking people should just look out for themselves and he starts becoming more concerned with what he can do to advance his own position. Perhaps he starts seeing the laws as just gettig in his way. In either case, his ideals and cause have shifted, resulting in a change in behaviour... which, after progressing to a certain point, is reflected by a change in his alignment descriptor, as he is no longer sufficiently Good and/or Lawful for things that target that to affect him.

8BitNinja
2017-04-20, 10:43 PM
They are related but not the same thing. A cause or ideal describes why you act in a certain way, alignment describes the way you act.

For example: Bob believes that society should protect and support those who can't defend and support themselves. This is his Ideal. He decides to devote himself to a life of facing the enemies that are beyond the common peasant (his Cause), takes the vows of a Paladin and fights increasingly powerful monsters as his skills grow. His urge to help others and place their wellbeing above his own safety maks him as Good for effects that target that, while his belief in society and rules curbing some individual freedoms for the benefit of all mark him as Lawful for effects based on that (hence an alignment of Lawful Good).

Maybe his journey leads him to become disillusioned with his earlier beliefs - the thanklessness of his task makes him start thinking people should just look out for themselves and he starts becoming more concerned with what he can do to advance his own position. Perhaps he starts seeing the laws as just gettig in his way. In either case, his ideals and cause have shifted, resulting in a change in behaviour... which, after progressing to a certain point, is reflected by a change in his alignment descriptor, as he is no longer sufficiently Good and/or Lawful for things that target that to affect him.

That just seems like normal alignment to me