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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Troll in the Playground

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    Jul 2005
    Over there!

    Default Adapting Pendragon Traits to DnD

    Hi all.

    For all that I defend alignment as a mechanism, I agree that it is also very flawed. It works as a general indicator and it also works to allow the kind of broad melodrama morality that works so well for high fantasy, but it wears down a lot when you try and adopt a more grey or complex tone in your morality and then you make the Paladin try and "solve" the trolley problem and everyone gets angry. That said I do feel like abandoning it as more recent editions more or less have was not a good idea.

    I've been playing Pendragon recently, and boy if you want a system with problems that's it. Child death roulette, an utterly broken combat system where the sweet spot between deadly and easy is about 2 points wide and battles that can feel like a checklist. But it is also a lot of fun and its morality system is also interesting.

    In Pendragon characters have a number of personality traits that come in pairs and each of them is rated on a scale of 0-20 (except when they aren't) where the total of both comes to 20. 16 or more is considered "famous", nets you annual glory (a measure of your fame used in part to explain why Lancelot and Arthur are still kicking names in their late 70s) and restricts your behaviour. Famous traits are also required to quality for Religious Knight status and the total of certain traits determines if you are Chivalrous or not. They are also a major clash point for PCs as British Christian values Chastity, whereas a Pagan values Lustfullness.

    Obviously I don't want ALL of that, but I was imagining a system like this:
    1. A chart of available traits is given
    2. Each comes in a pair that you cannot have both of.
    3. Each has both "Principle" and "Devout" levels.
    4. Each has a traditional DnD alignment associated with it.
    5. Players choose the traits they want and then use this to determine what alignments they have, the idea being that, for example, Detect Evil is detecting their greed and cruelty.
    6. Principles are worth 1 alignment point and require you to explain to the DM why you are violating them if you go against them. Doing this repeatedly can cause you to loose the trait.
    7. Devout traits are worth 3 alignment points and your character cannot willingly violate them without loosing them.
    8. Atonement can restore lost Traits, as can consistent and concerted Roleplaying.
    9. Having at least 3 points in an alignment makes you register as that alignment for all magical purposes. This can lead to Lawful Chaotic or Good Evil characters.
    10. Alignment subtypes still exist to denote creatures made of the essence of such moral stances.
    11. Classes that had alignment restrictions instead have trait requirements.
    12. Traits may also have other benefits associated with them.

    I'm looking for a little help as to the fine details however. The Pendragon pairs are:

    Chaste / Lustful
    Energetic / Lazy
    Forgiving / Vengeful
    Generous / Selfish
    Honest / Deceitful
    Just / Arbitrary
    Merciful / Cruel
    Modest / Proud
    Pious / Worldly
    Prudent / Reckless
    Temperate / Indulgent
    Trusting / Suspicious
    Valorous / Cowardly

    I am looking for input as to alignments for the traits, and I am more than happy with them not being traditional opponents (for instance Just is likely Lawful, Arbitrary meanwhile is more likely to be Evil). I have no idea what to do with Pious/Worldly or if there are other trait pairs that should be added, finally I have some ideas as for the alignment classes, but again I am looking for input.

    What to do people think?
    GNU Terry Pratchett

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Composer99's Avatar

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    Sep 2013

    Default Re: Adapting Pendragon Traits to DnD

    Divinity: Original Sin has a similar mechanic, and you could mine it for ideas for additional traits, as well as ideas for mechanical benefits for traits (adapted to the D&D edition of your choice).

    'Fraid that's all I've got for the time being.
    Last edited by Composer99; 2019-09-03 at 06:05 AM.

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    Troll in the Playground
    enderlord99's Avatar

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    Jul 2011
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    Default Re: Adapting Pendragon Traits to DnD

    Pendragon? You mean those books about "Territories" that seem like alternate universes but are actually

    just time-travel?
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Troll in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Over there!

    Default Re: Adapting Pendragon Traits to DnD

    Quote Originally Posted by enderlord99 View Post
    Pendragon? You mean those books about "Territories" that seem like alternate universes but are actually

    just time-travel?
    No, the Roleplaying game about King Arthur with an 80 year long campaign.
    GNU Terry Pratchett

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Re: Adapting Pendragon Traits to DnD

    Huh, if I were porting over Pendragon traits I'd remove alignment entirely. Seems like they're mostly incompatible.

    But that's not what you asked.

    Anyway, were I to do it. I'd try and make things as balanced for each alignment as I could. You'd need some funky math if 8 of the traits correspond with Good and only 3 are Chaotic. So we need the same number of traits for each alignment.

    We have 6-ish alignments. Good, Evil, Lawful, Chaotic, Neutral, other Neutral. I'd remove other Neutral entirely to bring it down to 5.

    What I think would be interesting, if we divide the pairs so that each alignment has one paired trait opposed by another alignment.

    Best I was able to fit it, is this:

    Good/Evil: Merciful/Cruel
    Good/Lawful: Modest/Proud
    Good/Neutral: Chaste/Lustful
    Good/Chaotic: Just/Arbitrary
    Lawful/Evil: Temperate/Indulgent
    Lawful/Chaotic: Honest/Deceitful
    Lawful/Neutral: Pious/Worldly
    Chaotic/Evil: Generous/Selfish
    Neutral/Evil: Valorous/Cowardly
    Neutral/Chaotic: Prudent/Reckless

    Forgiving/Vengeful, Trusting/Suspicious, and Energetic/Lazy were abandoned. Though I'd be the first to admit that some of these only really work if you squint really hard.

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