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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Jul 2008

    Default Accounting for your Alignment.

    Goals:
    These represent personal aims or sources of gratification for a given actor, whether consciously chosen or instinctive, with a degree ranging from 1 (passing) to 5 (paramount). Conscious ambitions can be chosen arbitrarily by the player, but certain instinctive goals or values are universal:

    {table=head]Degree of Value|Typical Values
    Deg. 5 (paramount) | Life or Existence.
    Deg. 4 (major) | Long-term freedom. The development and expression of personal faculties or talents.
    Deg 3. (moderate) | Avoiding physical pain or mental anguish. Aiding a very close or intimate acquaintance.
    Deg. 2 (minor) | Aiding a friend or family. Physical pleasure or mental delight. Status.
    Deg. 1 (passing) | The transmission of ideas. Aesthetic appreciation. Aiding an acquaintance. Wealth.[/table]

    Even inanimate objects, animals and plants are considered to have the 'Goal' of existence. Commensurate sacrifice consists of an overall forfeiture of personal Goals for some higher (or lower) purpose.

    Beliefs:
    These represent abstract statements of general truth as understood by an actor. These can't be furthered in personal terms, but can be phrased as moral or ethical imperatives, and like Goals they range from paramount to passing.

    Beliefs could include a code of laws, traditions, etiquette, deference to ruling authorities or personal discipline, even personal loyalties to individuals or groups. Any accurate assessment of reality or personal plan (within it's circumstantial context) is by default considered a degree 2. Belief.

    Foresight of Consequence:
    Actors are held responsible for the foreseen consequences of their decisions. Even long-term, indirect, or probabilistic consequences fall under this rule, but only so far as such anticipation could be reasonably expected from the actor in question. Mental deficiency or misleading data offers an excuse, wilful blindness does not. Justifications cannot, within fair limits, be illogical, rooted in subjective experience, or otherwise unable to bear rational scrutiny.

    The Significance of an Act:
    Importance of value: The baseline degree of the Goal(s) or Belief(s) affected is taken as a base value.

    -Grace is determined by the degree of Goals furthered, and requires commensurate personal sacrifice of at least half degree.
    -Evil is determined by the degree of Goals hindered.
    -Law is determined by the degree of sacrifice needed to uphold a personal Belief, required either of yourself or others.
    -Chaos is determined by the degree of Belief undermined, either in yourself or others, together with any degree of sacrifice made.

    If a given act has multiple effects along a given axis, the most extreme effect upon overall values is taken.

    -Significant acts of invention, impulse, or creativity are, by default, considered degree 3 Chaotic acts.
    -Changes of moral alignment, and significant change or abandonment of Belief are considered degree 1 Chaotic acts.
    -Introducing a new Belief, either to yourself or others, is by default a degree 2 Lawful act.
    -Going against a subject's express wishes is always at least a degree 2 Evil act.

    Importance of subject:
    -3 for intelligent but not self-aware actors
    -5 for inanimate objects or mindless beings

    Number of subjects:
    +1 for two or more
    +2 for e.g. dozens
    +3 for an entire nation/race/species

    Term, Repetition or Intensity of event or condition:
    -1 for mild, fleeting, or a 'distinct but not outright likely possibility'
    +1 for pronounced, repeated or sustained (days or more)
    +2 for protracted conditions (years or more)
    +3 for functionally irrevocable conditions

    Modifiers for Evil acts:
    -2 if done to self only, or with free and informed consent of subject
    -2 if done by inaction, where action would not require commensurate sacrifice of either yourself or others
    -2 if decision prevents or avoids a Graced event or condition
    +1 if gratuitous, or +2 if done despite requiring commensurate sacrifice

    Means to the End
    Preventing a given Evil act or condition can be used to justify any other Evil act of lesser or equal magnitude, provided this justification springs from one of the actor's Beliefs. This can even be considered a Graced act matching the difference in degree, provided commensurate sacrifice is made. It is always considered a Chaotic act matching half the degree of harm done (rounded up.)

    No Exceptions
    A Belief with consequences that, if applied consistently, is generally beneficial to society or the group as a whole, may be used to reduce the degree of an Evil act or condition by the degree of that Belief, or that actor's Lawful alignment, whichever is greater.
    Beliefs with No Exceptions have their degree doubled for purposes of violation as a Chaotic act, and must be cleared for use before entering play.

    Note that justifications for Means to the End and No Exceptions are both subject to the same conditions as Foresight.
    Determining Your Alignment:
    At the end of a particular session, take the single greatest degree of Grace, Evil, Law or Chaos (whichever is greatest along a particular axis,) and subtract the greatest Act of Opposite Alignment (AOA) multiplied by a factor dependent on your current alignment. If this is negative, take it as a balance of opposite alignment- i.e. negative Grace is Evil, negative Law is Chaos, and vice versa.
    Provided this is greater than the degree of alignment in question, your character moves one step further along the alignment spectrum (e.g, to become Fallen, your balance of Evil must be 4 or greater.)

    If your character committed multiple acts of a particular degree and alignment, you can combine them using the general 'Number of Subjects' rules- +1 for 2 or more, +2 for e.g., dozens.

    If the difference between the balance of your actions and your current alignment is 5 points or greater, you shift 2 full alignment steps (e.g, an Adamant character committing a balance of Chaos of degree 2 will shift to Stubborn.)

    Requirements are as follows:
    {table=head]Degree of Alignment|Law|Grace|Chaos|Evil|AOA X
    Deg. 5 (paragon) | Adamant | Beatific | Possessed | Diabolic | x3
    Deg. 4 (exemplar) | Lawful | Graced | Chaotic | Evil | x2
    Deg. 3 (adept) | Stubborn | Noble | Wild | Fallen | x2
    Deg. 2 (practiced) | Steadfast | Virtuous | Unruly | Corrupt | x1
    Deg. 1 (novice) | Reliable | Decent | Unreliable | Mean | x1 [/table]
    Examples of Grace-
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    1. Sincere praise. Personal comfort. Nurturing a tree or other complex organism.
    2. An engaging conversation. Physical pleasure or mental delight.
    3. The development of talent or pursuit of ambition. Saving a higher animal's life. The defence of dignity.
    4. An outstanding work of uplifting art. The birth or creation of a self-aware creature. The pursuit and dissemination of significant truth. Permanent relief from abject poverty. Freedom.
    5. Saving a self-aware life. A breakthrough positive technology. Individual immortality. Civilisation.
    6. A golden age of science, politics, and the arts. Protecting a village from life-or-death flooding.
    7. Developing a cure for serious disease. Functional democracy.
    8. Terraforming barren worlds to support higher life.


    Examples of Evil-
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    1. Wanton destruction of inanimate objects. Atrocious rudeness. A day wasted.
    2. Hunger or thirst. Isolation.
    3. Gratuitous animal cruelty. Book burnings. Deliberate propagation of provably false Belief. Severe humiliation or physical pain.
    4. Rape. Outright torture. Sterilisation. Brainwashing.
    5. Murder. Severe, irreparable mutilation. Repeated torture. The deliberate extinction of intelligent species. Slavery. Life imprisonment.
    6. Death by starvation or other prolonged and grisly means.
    7. Mass murder. Destroying an entire life-supporting planet. National famine by wilful neglect and mismanagement.
    8. Genocide.


    Examples of Law-
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    The following are associated, but not necessarily synonymous with, Law:

    Consistency, Order and Predictability
    Honesty and Objectivity
    Stasis and Structure, Unity and Simplicity
    Logic, Planning and Control
    Oligarchy and Intolerance
    Society, Codes of Conduct, Tradition and Legality
    Long-term Relationships or Affiliations
    Mathematical truth and the Laws of Physics, Space and Time
    Civilisation and Technology
    Age
    'Left-brain function'


    Examples of Chaos-
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    The following are associated, but not necessarily synonymous with, Chaos:

    Impulsiveness, Disorder and Randomness
    Mutation and Madness
    Division and Complexity
    Unpredictability, Rebellion, and Emotion
    Change and Adaptation
    Invention, Inspiration, Dreams and Creativity
    Solitude
    Short-term Goals and Dishonesty
    The Supernatural or Subjective, Illusion and the Art Magick
    The Elements of Nature
    Youth
    'Right-brain function'



    Optional Rule: Tracking Individual Acts.
    This is a more intensive system that allows you to keep track of every act your character performs. Total Alignment Degree (TAD) is the sum of the degree of all acts according with a given alignment. Acts of opposite alignment similarly reduce it, and so an actor may only have TAD for one each of the moral and ethical alignments. A tally for total acts of specific degree is likewise kept.

    Each alignment has specific TAD requirements, in addition to requiring a number of individual acts of specific degree (or greater) before progression can occur. Acts of Opposite Alignment (AOA) greater than specified, or loss of TAD below minimum requirements, causes the actor's alignment to regress. Alignment regression erases any tally of specific acts in excess of requirements for that alignment.

    Requirements are as follows:
    {table=head]Degree of Alignment|TAD|Deg. 2|Deg. 3|Deg. 4|Deg. 5|AOA
    Deg. 5 (paragon) | 50 | 15 | 12 | 8 | 5 | Any
    Deg. 4 (exemplar) | 35 | 12 | 8 | 5 | 2 | Deg. 2 or more
    Deg. 3 (adept) | 20 | 8 | 5 | 2 | 0 | Deg. 3 or more
    Deg. 2 (practiced) | 10 | 5 | 2 | 0 | 0 | Deg. 4 or more
    Deg. 1 (novice) | 5 | 2 | 0 | 0 | 0 | Deg. 5 or more [/table]
    Optional Rule: Science and Sorcery.
    Various forms of magic and technology might be considered to be intrinsic expressions of Law and Chaos within the world. Technology is by it's nature an extension from fundamental physical principles, while Magic inherently circumvents such laws to serve the imaginative whims of the caster. There is some overlap, since the practical effects of a given art may run counter to the source of it's power, but as a general rule this means the most powerful forms of magic and technology are inimical to eachother- potent magic cannot manifest wherever physical Law is strong, while high technology cannot function outside such areas.

    Magic here may be distinguished from most necromancy, healing spells, and typical blessings or banes- these fall under acts of supernatural, divine intervention depending on Gods' favour, and do not reflect upon the caster's ethical alignment.


    {table=head]Act | Causes and Examples
    Deg. 5 Chaos | Magic concerned with blatant violation of universal physical Law- thermodynamics, time or space, the conservation of mass and energy.
    Deg. 3 Chaos | Magic concerned with temporary Summoning of elements, or fuelled by powerful individual emotion. Shapeshifting. Transmutation. Greater illusion.
    Deg. 1 Chaos | Magic concerned with basic Invocation of natural forces (light, sound, motion.) Thaumaturgy. Lesser illusion. Technology concerned with randomness or scrambling (gene algorithms, heavy encryption.)
    Deg. 2 Law | Magic concerned with Binding, Sending, Divination, True Names, Glyphs and Runes. Abjuration. Any feat of masterwork craftsmanship or large-scale engineering.
    Deg. 4 Law | Deliberate acts of Conditioning or Assimilation. Feats of craftsmanship or engineering concerned with Construct Mentality, Quantum Divination or Mandates of Planarity.
    [/table]
    Last edited by Samurai Jill; 2008-12-17 at 07:45 PM.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Re: Accounting for your Alignment.

    I think I've managed to come up with a significantly simplified version. It requires a bit more reading between the lines, but it's much more concise. I still have to come up with an exact method for plotting your position on the graph, though...

    Goals and Beliefs
    Goals represent what that actor gains personal gratification from, their personal aims, ambitions and dreams. Certain Goals are considered instinctive and can be taken as a given for any actor:

    Paramount (magnitude 5): Life.
    Major (magnitude 4): Giving birth, or any other creation of something unique.
    Moderate (magnitude 3): Avoiding physical pain or mental anguish. Freedom to act.
    Minor (magnitude 2): The development of physical or mental faculties. Aiding a close friend or family.
    Passing (magnitude 1): The transmission of ideas. Aesthetic appreciation. Aiding an acquaintance.

    Sacrifice for that actor consists of forfeiting one or more of their Goals.
    Beliefs represent more abstract statements of truth about the world- they cannot be specifically furthered in personal terms, though they can be phrased as moral/ethical imperatives.

    Graced and Lawful acts only count if they are done with both foresight and intent. Evil and Chaotic acts require only foresight. Foresight requires that the actor have both strong evidence, rooted in objective experience and able to withstand rational scrutiny, to support their belief.

    The Significance of an Act
    Importance of value: How important was the Goal or Belief in question? This determines the baseline magnitude of the act.

    Importance of subject:
    +1 for something that is the last of its physical kind
    -2 for intelligent but not self-aware actors
    -5 for inanimate objects or mindless beings

    Term, Repetition or Intensity of event or condition:
    -1 for mild or fleeting
    +1 for pronounced, repeated or sustained (days or more)
    +2 for protracted conditions (years or more)
    +3 for functionally irrevocable conditions

    Scale of event or condition: How many subjects/items were affected?
    +1 for two or more
    +2 for e.g. dozens
    +3 for an entire nation/race/species
    -1 if considered a distinct, but not outright likely, possibility

    Grace:
    To determine how Graced an act is, take the magnitude of others' Goals furthered, and add appropriate modifiers. Magnitude cannot exceed double the degree of sacrifice made, nor can sacrifice exceed magnitude.

    Means to the End: Preventing a given Evil act or condition can be used to justify any other Evil act of strictly lesser magnitude, provided this justification springs from one of the actor's Beliefs. This can even be considered a Graced act matching the Evil prevented -2, provided commensurate sacrifice was made. It is always considered a Chaotic act of magnitude matching the harm done.

    No Exceptions: (Note: Beliefs with No Exceptions must be cleared as such before being brought into play.) A Belief with consequences that, if applied with No Exceptions, is generally beneficial to society or the group as a whole, may be used to reduce the magnitude of an Evil act or condition by the magnitude of that Belief, or that actor's Lawful alignment, (whichever is lower.)
    Beliefs with No Exceptions have their magnitude doubled for purposes of violation as a Chaotic act.

    Evil:
    To determine how Evil an act is, take the magnitude of Goals hampered among those affected, and add appropriate modifiers.

    -2 if done to self only
    -2 if done through inaction, where action would require sacrifice of less than half magnitude
    -2 if it consists of preventing or avoiding a Graced act
    -1 if done to a non-self-aware, Evil or Demonic actor under either Means to the End or No Exceptions.
    +1 if done to a Graced or Beatific actor, or gratuitous
    +2 if done despite requiring personal sacrifice of half magnitude or more

    Law:
    To determine how Lawful an act is, take the magnitude of the Belief(s) adhered to, add appropriate modifiers, and subtract it from 10. Magnitude cannot exceed double the degree of sacrifice made.

    Loyalties to a particular individual or organisation are considered a form of Belief of appropriate magnitude, and are dealt with as such.

    Plans are considered to be equivalent to minor Beliefs for these purposes, but violating your plans for a compelling reason is not chaotic.

    Introducing new Belief is a minor Lawful act.

    Magic concerned with Bindings, Sendings, Divination, True Names, Runes and Abjuration are considered passing Lawful acts. Technology concerned with Conditioning, Assimilation, Quantum Computation or Construct Intelligence is considered a major Lawful condition.

    Chaos:
    To determine how Chaotic an act is, take the magnitude of Belief violated (or 0 if none was violated,) and add any sacrifice made.

    Successful deception is considered a minor Chaotic act for these purposes.

    Acts of invention, impulse, or creativity are considered moderate Chaotic acts.

    Changes of moral alignment, and change or abandonment of Belief are considered passing Chaotic acts.

    Magic that blatantly violates irrevocable physical law (thermodynamics, space and time, conservation of mass and energy) is considered a paramount Chaotic act. Magic concerned with the summoning of elements or fueled by primal emotion, Shapeshifting or Transmutation is considered a moderate Chaotic act. Magic concerned with basic Invocation of natural forces (light, sound, motion,) Thaumaturgy or Illusion is considered a passing Chaotic act. Technology concerned with randomness (hypothesis generation, genetic algorithms, Schrödinger's Box) is considered a passing chaotic condition.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Nov 2008

    Default Re: Accounting for your Alignment.

    Interesting.

    My only issue with this is that it appears to be very difficult to have a Lawful spellcaster unless they only use spells specifically designated as lawful. It's not impossible, but you'd have to go quite far out of your way. It seems a little strange to me, but I've always viewed magic as being a relatively lawful force as opposed to a chaotic one. Then again, wild magic is about the most chaotic thing next to The Evershifting Chaos of Limbo itself, so you might be on to something there.

    This system also looks like it involves a lot of paperwork. However, in a world with objective good and evil, it's nice to have some actual numbers attached. Overall, I like it and I believe I'll give it a try at some point.
    Good job!
    Just so everybody knows, I'll probably lurk more than I post. Don't be surprised if I one day just vanish off the face of forum...

    My DeviantArt

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Re: Accounting for your Alignment.

    Thank you. Hopefully, the math would be alleviated by only having to perform a 'review' of sorts at the end of each session- it's not really intended that you'd crunch these numbers after every swing of the sword or hurtful remark. And, I mean, feel free to tweak the variables to taste- as long as your players are cool with the conditions, it's all the same.

    Which leads to me to a relatively straightforward method for determining alignment shift.
    Take the 'total' of grace, and subtract the 'total' of evil. If greater than your degree of alignment in a particular direction, and if you have committed no acts of opposite alignment greater than the degree-minus-5, shift alignment in that direction. (Similarly for law/chaos.)

    So, in order to attain Beatific status, you must first be of Graced alignment, then commit a mag 5 Graced act, together with no Evil act, however slight, whatsoever during that time.

    If you exceed requirements in both respects, you can shift up to two alignment steps. e.g. If you start off of neutral alignment, then during a given session commit a mag. 6 chaotic act and only a mag. 2 lawful act, then you'll shift 2 ethical steps toward chaos: (mag. 4 chaos on balance, and only mag 2. law at any point.)
    I'll come up with some other examples and clarifications later, I guess. But yeah, the basic advantage is that it sets up an objective framework for working with alignment issues.

    The magic classification is intentional, though it might be peculiar to my own take on the subject. Since magic consists of an individual's will violating the fundamental laws of physics to a greater or lesser degree, I tend classify it as chaotic. I'm guess it's the influence of Arcanum...
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    hamishspence's Avatar

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    Feb 2007

    Default Re: Accounting for your Alignment.

    D&D has Corrupt and Obesiant acts (Evil, Law), but nothing for Chaos, Good, or Neutrality. maybe this is intentional- being uber-trusting and obediant leads to slide to law, being uber-ruthless- slide to Evil.

    Or at least, Afterlife destination, whatever the alignmnent on character sheet.

    seems a bit number heavy, though it does have mitigating factors.

    Quintessenial Paladin II has Code, and details on what makes a breach really severe, or less severe.
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2008-11-15 at 04:42 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Re: Accounting for your Alignment.

    I still need to put some more work into the examples sections, but an aggregated version of the overall system is up now.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Re: Accounting for your Alignment.

    Also, now would be a good time to throw in any questions, criticisms or caveats about the framework, since, even if it's covered, that'll give me a good range of examples to illustrate the point. (Not that it's unlikely for me to be flat-out wrong here.)

    But... beyond that, I'm more or less done.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Re: Accounting for your Alignment.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    D&D has Corrupt and Obesiant acts (Evil, Law), but nothing for Chaos, Good, or Neutrality. maybe this is intentional- being uber-trusting and obediant leads to slide to law, being uber-ruthless- slide to Evil.

    Or at least, Afterlife destination, whatever the alignmnent on character sheet.

    seems a bit number heavy, though it does have mitigating factors.

    Quintessenial Paladin II has Code, and details on what makes a breach really severe, or less severe.
    Oh, hamish- I'd be interested to know the details of the mechanics you mention, as a rough basis for comparison.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Moff Chumley's Avatar

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    Default Re: Accounting for your Alignment.

    Well, I can imagine that this would be great for some people, but in more free-form games, I think it's a wee cumbersome. You have my respect for making such a thorough system, though.
    Avatar by Kris on a Stick

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Accounting for your Alignment.

    Thanks. Yeah, it's pretty clearly simulationist in emphasis. I should be able to pare it down a bit more, though- the other two posts were shorter.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Accounting for your Alignment.

    Also, I think I'll keep the original post here for safe keeping...

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    This is... sort of a re-implementation of the Alignment system that I've been working on as a pet project of mine. It involves a fair amount of crunch, but hopefully this is only something you'd consider at the end of each session, or something like that.

    A few starting notes before I get stuck in here. Beliefs and Interests are essentially frank declarations of what is important to your character, either in terms of personal goals, pastimes or desires (Interests,) or more generalised statements of fundamental truth (Beliefs.) Each character would come up with 3 or so before play. Beliefs have a magnitude representing their true importance to that character (between 1 and 5, by default 3.) Certain Interests are innate, and represent basic survival instincts or natural urges- these don't have to be chosen. Other Interests and Beliefs can change over time.

    I still have to come up with a precise mechanism for determining the magnitude of a given Lawful/Chaotic act, but that shouldn't be too hard- a more interesting problem, which I'm still working on, is how to tabulate all the Aligned acts over a given period and using it to compute your alignment status, whether dice rolls or some kind of test should be involved, etc. etc. Naturally, any feedback or suggestions will be callowly and promptly ignored given every consideration.

    Note: This is NOT intended to be a rigorous guide to, or comment upon, real-world morality or ethics. It really isn't. It is intended to provide an objective, explicit, and reasonably accommodating framework for making alignment work without interpretative disputes or DM fiat, if for some strange reason you ever felt compelled to do so. These rules may well be flawed, but at least they're CLEAR. You know exactly what you are getting into.

    (Much of this is a direct ripoff of the Burning Wheel system, which- yes- I officially intend to pimp shamelessly at every opportunity, in particular the Belief system and various emotional attributes. It's not really intended for use within D&D itself, where the alignment system essentially exists to slap a 'kill me' sign around the neck of every Orc in the dungeon, but certain games that rely more heavily on Role-play or narrative might be suitable. Anyways-)

    Evil and Grace
    An Evil act is when an actor impedes the Interests of an actor or actors (him/herself included,) without overall benefit to the Interests of those affected. A Graced act is a non-Evil act where an actor makes an overall sacrifice of his or her Interests in favour of overall benefit to the Interests of others.

    Grace:
    5. Lasting liberation from certain death, life imprisonment, debilitating pain or disability. The birth/creation of a self-aware creature.
    4. The permanent relief of hunger, indignity, sickness or some other source of pain.
    3. The preservation of dignity (clothes when naked or defence when shamed.) The pursuit and dissemination of significant knowledge or truth. The creation of an outstanding work of uplifting art. The realisation of talent.
    2. The temporary relief of want: food when hungry, comfort when anguished. Saving an intelligent (but not self-aware) animal's life or relieving it's suffering.
    1. Sincere praise. An engaging conversation. The provision of material wealth or beauty. Nurturing a tree (or other simple organism.)

    Evil:
    1. Wanton destruction or theft of inanimate objects or simple organisms. Truly atrocious, uninvited rudeness. A substantial waste of time, opportunity, or effort.
    2. Killing or cruelty to intelligent (but not self-aware) life-forms. Causing temporary hunger or other significant privation.
    3. Inflicting acute pain or emotional torment. Temporary humilation, debasement or jail time (e.g. between cycles.) Deliberate propagation of provably false and harmful beliefs. Manipulation through blackmail or deceit. Book-burnings.
    4. Prolongued imprisonment (including slavery or any other severe curtailment of free choice and dignity.) Outright torture. Rape.
    5. The permanent killing of a self-aware creature. Debilitating, irreparable physical and/or mental mutilation.

    Grace/Evil modifiers:
    Done in accordance with uncoerced consent or wishes of others affected: Evil -1
    Done without free consent or against wishes of those affected: Grace -2
    Done through 'conspicuous inaction' (see below): Evil/Grace -2
    Not done directly, merely accepted as probable (but not certain/virtually-certain) outcome of actions, eventual or otherwise: Evil/Grace -1
    Not done directly, merely accepted as possible (though unlikely) outcome of actions, eventual or otherwise: Evil/Grace -2
    Done over a prolonged period (e.g, outside cycles): Evil+1
    Done to/for several or more, and/or done repeatedly: Evil/Grace +1
    Done en-masse (e.g. dozens): Evil/Grace +2
    Done to/for an entire nation, race or species: Evil/Grace +3
    Done to something which is unique, is the last of it's kind, or possesses great intrinsic beauty (for objects): Evil +1
    Done to a Graced or Beatific actor: Evil +1
    Done to a non-self-aware, Evil or Diabolic actor as part of The Greater Good (see below): Evil -1
    Sacrifice made is not of an Innate Interest: Evil/Grace -1
    Done to/for a friendly acquaintance: Evil+1/Grace-1
    Done to/for a very intimate acquaintance: Evil+2/Grace-2
    Done to self only: Evil -1
    Done to other(s) despite also harming self: Evil +2

    (Grace modifiers affect Graced acts, and Evil modifiers affect Evil acts- neither can cause an Evil act to become a Graced act, or vice versa, but they can reduce a given act's magnitude to 0.)

    Note that a (superficially) Graced act ONLY counts if some commensurate sacrifice is made by the Actor in question with sole intent to accomplish this goal. The magnitude of true Grace cannot be more than 2 steps above the degree of sacrifice by the actor. (Sacrifice consists of wittingly and voluntarily suffering something which would, in itself, be an Evil. At the same time, the act must be beneficial to those affected as a whole- the sacrifice made cannot equal the magnitude of benefit.)

    Note that events which an actor had no power to ultimately affect (or consequences of whose likelihood they were completely ignorant) do NOT affect alignment. Graced acts require both foresight AND intent- they do NOT count if done as incidental 'side effects'. Evil acts, by contrast, require only foresight- collateral damage still reflects on you, even if you don't care about it.

    Note that it is possible to commit Evil acts simply through inaction, if the actor in question could have prevented such an event(s) through some trivial intervention. In addition, actively preventing or negating a given Evil act or condition is considered an act of Graced alignment and equal significance (see Means to the End, below.) Deliberately preventing or negating a given Graced act or condition is, by default, considered an Evil 2 steps lower in magnitude.

    The Moral Spectrum
    5. Beatific. You gain a +4 bonus on all divine grace checks, and a -4 penalty on all black covenant checks.
    4. Graced. You gain a +2 bonus on all divine grace checks, and a -2 penalty on all black covenant checks.
    3. Saintly.
    2. Virtuous. You gain a +1 bonus on all divine grace checks, and a -1 penalty on all black covenant checks.
    1. Decent.
    0. Normal.
    -1. Nasty.
    -2. Corrupt. You gain a +1 bonus on all black covenant checks, and a -1 penalty on all divine grace checks.
    -3. Depraved.
    -4. Evil. You gain a +2 bonus on all black covenant checks, and a -2 penalty on all divine grace checks.
    -5. Diabolic. You gain a +4 bonus on all black covenant checks, and a -4 penalty on all divine grace checks.

    The Greater Good
    The Greater Good manifests itself in two separate situations- Means to the End, and No Exceptions.

    "Means to the End"

    Sometimes an actor will find themselves faced with a choice between two acts, one of which, considered in isolation, would be considered Evil, but where alternatives entail such appalling risks to others that they, too, could only be reasonably considered an Evil. In such situations, the player may invoke the Means to the End rule- A given Evil act can be justified by the prevention of any Evil act, event or condition of strictly GREATER magnitude, IF that justification reflects one of that actor's Beliefs. (This choice can even be considered a Graced act of magnitude 2 steps lower than the Evil prevented, and subject to normal sacrifice requirements.) Invoking Means to the End is considered a Chaotic act of magnitude matching the Evil absolved.
    If the magnitude of Evil prevented is identical, the Evil committed is reduced in magnitude by 1. There are no other effects.

    "No Exceptions"

    Sometimes an actor may feel themselves compelled to act in accordance with a Belief that, while arguably beneficial in the long term to the group or society as a whole, in the specific case at hand has consequences which would be considered Evil. In such situations, the player may invoke the No Exceptions rule: any Evil act resulting from this Belief, but of magnitude less than that Belief AND the actor's degree of Lawful alignment (see below) may be absolved. The Belief invoked MUST be rooted in objective experience, logically coherent, and otherwise able to weather rational scrutiny (mostly) intact.
    NOTE: Any Belief with No Exceptions must be cleared as such BEFORE being taken or entering play, and counts DOUBLE for purposes of Belief violation as a chaotic act (see below.)

    Only actors who have demonstrated an active commitment to the principles of Grace by maintaining a moral alignment of Virtuous or better can invoke The Greater Good. Note nothing prevents a player from using both Means to the End AND No Exceptions as the situation demands- or even within the same choice.


    Law and Chaos

    Law refers to consistency, order, and predictability. The following are associated, (but not necessarily synonymous with,) Law-
    Honesty and Objectivity
    Stasis and Structure, Unity and Simplicity
    Logic, Planning and Control
    Oligarchy and Intolerance
    Society, Codes of Conduct, Tradition and Legality
    Long-term Relationships or Affiliations
    Mathematical truth and the Laws of Physics, Space and Time
    Civilisation and Technology
    Age
    'Left-brain function'

    Chaos refers to impulsiveness, disorder and randomness. The following are associated, (but not necessarily synonymous with,) Chaos-
    Mutation and Madness
    Division and Complexity
    Unpredictability, Rebellion, and Emotion
    Change and Adaptation
    Invention, Inspiration, Dreams and Creativity
    Solitude
    Short-term Goals and Dishonesty
    The Supernatural or Subjective, Illusion and the Art Magick
    The Elements of Nature
    Youth
    'Right-brain function'

    1. Any violation of an Interest or Belief, abandonment of a relationship or affiliation, or gratuitous change of heart- in short, violating any personal, self-defined constraint- is chaotic. Any adherence is lawful. Changing plans for a compelling reason is NOT chaotic- that's just logical.
    2. Fostering relationships or affiliations among others is lawful. Undermining them is chaotic.
    3. Being disciplined/consistent/logical is lawful. Failing to do so is chaotic.
    4. Telling the truth is lawful. SUCCESS in lying- even by 'conspicuous ommission'- is chaotic. (Illusions often fall under this heading.)
    5. Violating the laws of physics, namely through magic, is chaotic. Feats of technological engineering or construction, conversely, are lawful.
    6. Acts of invention, imagination or creativity are chaotic, as are acts of impulse or personal change (such as shapeshifting, moral alignment drift, or changing Beliefs.)
    7. Voluntarily adhering to (or imposing) local, externally-defined standards of conduct- tradition, protocol and etiquette, codes of law, deference to an authority figure or ruling body- is lawful. Actively working to undermine or supplant such standards is chaotic. Merely ignoring them (if you have the luxury of doing so) is neither chaotic NOR lawful.

    Impulse and Integrity
    The more you sacrifice in order to maintain a particular personal constraint- a Belief, a relationship or affiliation, a plan- and the more minor that constraint is, the more lawful the act. The more you sacrifice in order to violate a similar personal constraint- WITHOUT a compelling reason- and the more important that constraint is, the more chaotic the act.

    The Ethical Spectrum

    5. Possessed. You gain a +4 bonus to all chaotic attributes, and a -4 penalty to all lawful attributes.
    4. Chaotic. You gain a +2 bonus to all chaotic attributes, and a -2 penalty to all lawful attributes.
    3. Wild.
    2. Unruly. You gain a +1 bonus to all chaotic attributes, and a -1 penalty to all lawful attributes.
    1. Impulsive.

    1. Reliable.
    2. Steadfast. You gain a +1 bonus to all lawful attributes, and a -1 penalty to all chaotic attributes.
    3. Stolid.
    4. Lawful. You gain a +2 bonus to all lawful attributes, and a -2 penalty to all chaotic attributes.
    5. Adamant. You gain a +4 bonus to all lawful attributes, and a -4 penalty to all chaotic attributes.


    "Life is not a standing still, but a becoming." -Sparrowhawk, from Ursula leGuin's The Farthest Shore
    "The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order." -Alfred North Whitehead
    "The more discipline you have, the more freedom you have." -Bjork
    Who do I call it 'Grace' instead of 'Good'? I just thought it sounded better. (Actors are characters.) I'd like to add a few extra comments regarding the alignment concept in general:

    Firstly, you will note that this longwinded treatise does NOT state that it's flat-out okay to kill Evil creatures (or even eat animals.) You can use The Greater Good to justify killing Evil creatures if letting them live would endanger you and/or others to such an extent that it's a greater Evil. (Similarly, killing animals is non-Evil if it's to stop you getting hungry. -Yes, even if other food sources are available. Your justification does not have to be optimal.)

    Secondly, in this system, there are no 'primordial' alignments- there is no such thing as 'Pure Law' or 'Evil by nature'. If you don't have the choice- however painful- to do Good, then you're not Evil. Likewise for Grace. You have to volunteer. Law and Chaos, on the other hand(s), are ideals that any creature we could recognise as 'alive' or 'conscious' can approach but never attain: A perfectly Chaotic being would dissolve it's own identity, and a perfectly Lawful creature would be frozen in stasis or have no internal parts. They cannot exist.

    Finally, while Law and Chaos here have equal potential for both Evil and Grace, only by combination of the two can you crest the loftiest summits of virtue or plumb the lowest depths of depravity, simply because moving toward either extreme of the ethical spectrum will eventually flatten your moral profile. Law will diminish your capacity for choice, Chaos your capacity for consistency. In short, the alignments obey something like a true "Great Wheel" arrangement: Neutral Grace is the 'most Graced', Lawful Neutral the 'most Lawful', and so forth- so while it's perfectly possible to be both 'pretty darned Lawful' AND' pretty darned Evil', sooner or later your commitment to one will come at the expense of the other- you cannot easily serve two masters. (I've been giving a little thought to a planescape setting that would reflect this, but, well, we'll see how all this goes down.)

    I might get back with some sundry revisions later, but of course feel free to chip in.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Right. There's a simplified simplified version now, with reverse-Vanceian alignment bookkeeping! Ooo-oooh!!

    I reckon that's the absolute limit of lossless compression, though, so to speak. Again, any examples/comments would be appreciated.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

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    Not much news, I just did some cleanup and added an optional section for magic and technology. You could probably use a simpler system for determining overall alignment, too, but this seemed the most comprehensive.

    Possible revision-
    Examples of Chaos
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    1. A (successful,) minor, lie-by-omission. An original idea.
    2. Deceit. Being illogical. Acting out of love, hatred, grief or some other emotional impulse.
    3. A gross untruth believed by the listener. The creative solution to a pressing problem. Defying tradition. Taking a significant risk without reflection.
    4. Gambling your life savings away. Betraying a lifelong social circle. A musical masterpiece.
    5. Believing something manifestly untrue. Unseating regional government. Macro-mutation.
    6. Wholesale insanity. A compelling, widely-read manifesto of radical philosophy.
    7. A continent embroiled in sociopolitical revolution. Creating a new species.
    8. Overturning the laws of physics as we know them.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    What about gambling and making a huge killing?
    Also, extreme sports? (Tobogganing down a mountainside at a high risk of death, etc.)
    And weird sports... I'd mention some, but I don't want to start anything. Volcano watching? It'd probably go under creative and dangerous.

    I'm pretty sure of the answers to all of these except extreme sports...
    Last edited by Moechi_Vill; 2008-12-11 at 11:28 PM.

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    I don't quite like the Evil/Grace system.

    It seems like the only way to be an evil character is to wantonly destroy/rape/murder everything around you.

    I've always felt that Alignment has more to do with Intent than Consequence.

    -------------

    Say you have a peasant and a nobleman. The nobleman accuses the peasant of stealing food. The peasant retorts that the nobleman has been taking all their money in unfair taxes and he could not buy food.

    A Lawful Good character punishes both the Nobleman and the Peasant.
    A Lawful Evil character also punishes both the Nobleman and the Peasant.

    The Lawful Good character does this because the Peasant did indeed break the law, but the Nobleman incited the crime and is responsible as well. Both should be punished.

    The Lawful Evil character does this because if he only punished one that would give satisfaction to the other and he is a spiteful bastard. By punishing both he can make both their lives just a little bit worse.

    The Lawful Good character acts out of a sense of Justice.
    The Lawful Evil character acts out of a sense of Spite.

    In the end both characters accomplish the same thing, but with different intent. Justice is generally considered a positive motive, so the Lawful Good character commited a Good act by punishing both. Spite is generally considered a negative motive, so the Lawful Evil character commited an Evil act.

    Evil doesn't have to be RAPE/KILL/BURN!! It can be subtle and spiteful and Malevolent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limos View Post
    Evil doesn't have to be RAPE/KILL/BURN!! It can be subtle and spiteful and Malevolent.
    Rape their land and pillage their women!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9000 View Post
    Rape their land and pillage their women!
    And don't forget to break the fancy dinner plates!
    Last edited by Limos; 2008-12-12 at 01:18 AM.

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    Well, it's nice to have feedback, though I'm probably gonna have to revise this system anyway.


    Quote Originally Posted by Limos View Post
    It seems like the only way to be an evil character is to wantonly destroy/rape/murder everything around you.
    Define 'wanton'? If you mean 'as a consequence of deliberate action', then yes. But it might not necessarily be rape/murder- an act of lower degree, done to enough people, might be just as bad.

    For example:

    "Say you have a peasant and a nobleman. The nobleman accuses the peasant of stealing food. The peasant retorts that the nobleman has been taking all their money in unfair taxes and he could not buy food."

    The nobleman is threatening all the local peasantry- which is certainly dozens of people- with the distinct possibility of starvation. This means- at minimum- prolonged and acute physical pain.

    Base degree of evil of 3, +1 for duration/intensity, -1 for uncertainty, +2 for number affected = degree 5 evil. Minimum.

    A Lawful Good character punishes both the Nobleman and the Peasant.
    A Lawful Evil character also punishes both the Nobleman and the Peasant.

    The Lawful Good character does this because the Peasant did indeed break the law, but the Nobleman incited the crime and is responsible as well. Both should be punished.
    That is not consistent. If law should be upheld above people's welfare, then the noble is within his rights to levy whatever taxes he wants. If people's welfare should be upheld above the law, then the peasant is entitled to steal in order to live. Punishing either, as a non-Evil act, will require an appropriate Belief with No Exceptions. Punishing both would require separate Beliefs, which must then be contradicted. Inconsistency is not a Lawful quality.
    The Lawful Evil character does this because if he only punished one that would give satisfaction to the other and he is a spiteful bastard. By punishing both he can make both their lives just a little bit worse.

    The Lawful Good character acts out of a sense of Justice.
    The Lawful Evil character acts out of a sense of Spite.
    It is possible that a Lawful Evil character might do so, but I don't see what that has to do with being Lawful per se. Motive is irrelevant, except insofar as articulated by Belief- all that matters is foreseen consequence. If the character decided to punish both purely out of a sense of duty to authority, or purely because they could profit from doing so, or even out a a misguided sense of retribution, the act would be precisely as evil.

    Again, this system may not precisely accord with your own sense of real-world morality, but at least it gives a reasonably objective framework for settling these matters.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Samurai Jill View Post
    Base degree of evil of 3, +1 for duration/intensity, -1 for uncertainty, +2 for number affected = degree 5 evil. Minimum.
    So, that's in kilonazis, right?

    You've done a good job writing up an concise system, but I'd have to actually use it a few times before I know how I feel about assigning numbers to alignments. 'Could end alot of arguments, I suppose.

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    Default Re: Accounting for your Alignment.

    This whole concept rather reminds me of this talk:

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/j...oral_mind.html

    Obviously, we'd rather not discuss the political implications here, but the idea that pretty much everybody views some things (avoiding harm to others; being fair) as good, but that other things are only viewed by some people as necessarily good (respect of authority, purity, and loyalty to one's country/tribe/city etc.) does fit pretty well with the CG-LG dichotomy imho.

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    I just don't like how you're alignment is determined by actions. That's always felt wrong to me. Two characters can do the same thing, but do it for different reasons. I don't think it should give them both the same effect on Alignment.

    If an Evil character does a good act in order to get in good with the locals so that he can then rob them blind or betray them to something worse, then it should still count as an evil act.

    It seems odd that a Selfish character doing something good for all the wrong reasons will have his alignment shifted against his will. It should take a fundamental switch in motivation to change your alignment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9000 View Post
    So, that's in kilonazis, right?

    You've done a good job writing up an concise system, but I'd have to actually use it a few times before I know how I feel about assigning numbers to alignments. 'Could end alot of arguments, I suppose.
    That's more or less the intention, yeah.
    Quote Originally Posted by paddyfool View Post
    Obviously, we'd rather not discuss the political implications here, but the idea that pretty much everybody views some things (avoiding harm to others; being fair) as good, but that other things are only viewed by some people as necessarily good (respect of authority, purity, and loyalty to one's country/tribe/city etc.) does fit pretty well with the CG-LG dichotomy imho.
    Oh, absolutely. ...Or C/L in general. Interesting talk...
    Quote Originally Posted by Limos View Post
    I just don't like how you're alignment is determined by actions. That's always felt wrong to me. Two characters can do the same thing, but do it for different reasons. I don't think it should give them both the same effect on Alignment.
    There are two factors which make allowance or this- the Beliefs and Goals of your character, which formalise your most important 'reasons' for doing things, and the concept of sacrifice- Graced acts, in particular, require personal sacrifice in order to count.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moechi_Vill View Post
    What about gambling and making a huge killing?
    Also, extreme sports? (Tobogganing down a mountainside at a high risk of death, etc.)
    And weird sports... I'd mention some, but I don't want to start anything. Volcano watching? It'd probably go under creative and dangerous.

    I'm pretty sure of the answers to all of these except extreme sports...
    Hmm... seems reasonable, but I've been thinking I shouldn't really be attaching precise numbers to the law/chaos examples, since they depend a lot on the magnitude of importance the person attached to the Belief. ...I think I'll also try and go back to a simpler alignment bookkeeping system.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

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    Awww... I kinda liked all that math - maybe it just appeals to those fond of details.
    If anything I find it to be a good measuring stick for real life if not games.

    I agree about the example of the noble btw., clearly he would not be punished by a lawful evil character, he has after all not broken the law AND he has been evil, double cream with injustice on!

    I'm not sure if it's specifically a good act to 'go forth and multiply' (civilization, terraforming, etc.), I believe in that, but I also believe we live in an age after a fall. I think it's still a good act, it's just that there's so many negative things with current existence that the good act of creating and thus expanding life comes with a fair amount of lumps. It's not as clear-cut as sustaining it to directly avoid pain and suffering.
    But! I am far from poison-ivy or more radical fatalist philosophy and am myself a great proponent of space colonization.

    So yes, despite my personal feelings I can see that creating a civilization from scratch or terraforming a planet for higher life are clearly good acts.

    I'll have a closer look at the math later, but so far it looks good to me, very creative and mathematical with an all-round intuition towards the state of the world. The tables are a great organizing touch. Excellent piece of work, I hope to aspire to such myself.
    Last edited by Moechi_Vill; 2008-12-14 at 10:56 PM.

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    Looks pretty good. I kinda skimmed it, but it seems like it at least has a bunch of things that I'd use if I ever decided to track alignment... which I probably never will. (It seems like too much work. I'm kinda lazy. Not that I'm likely to ever DM, anyway...)

    But it looks like you've got some good ideas. Maybe I'll come back and take a closer look at it later. No doubt this would prompt much nitpicking.

    At a glance: "Age" is an example of Law, "Youth" of Chaos? I'm not seeing how these directly relate to voluntary behavior, unless the relevant decision is whether to let things age or destroy them.

    Describing inanimate objects as having a "goal" strikes me as an abuse of the word "goal". Placing the word in quote marks doesn't seem to help -- what actual concept is the term being used to stand in for? Tendency? That doesn't seem to be what you're talking about in general here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Samurai Jill View Post
    That is not consistent. If law should be upheld above people's welfare, then the noble is within his rights to levy whatever taxes he wants. If people's welfare should be upheld above the law, then the peasant is entitled to steal in order to live.
    Yeah, this. The first character in Limos's example sounds like Robot Santa on Futurama. "Mobsters beating up a shopkeeper for protection money? Very naughty! Shopkeeper not paying his protection money? EQUALLY naughty!"

    That's not what I'd call Lawful Good. A Good character who saw the noble's taxes as warranting punishment would favor him being punished in a way that made restitution to the wronged party. He'd see the theft as a way more legitimate punishment than, like, beating up the noble himself or something. Unless he believed himself to be specially entitled to mete out punishment.

    A Good character probably wouldn't see the peasant's actions as warranting punishment unless the peasant had some other, more legitimate means of addressing the issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Limos View Post
    If an Evil character does a good act in order to get in good with the locals so that he can then rob them blind or betray them to something worse, then it should still count as an evil act.
    If you judge an act by its expected long-term consequences, it could still count as an Evil act. Being robbed blind and/or betrayed is a bad consequence for other people, and possibly outweighs any help you're giving them.

    Arranging to do Evil deeds is itself Evil. Intended consequences are as a rule also expected consequences, and so count as Evil under both standards.

    It seems odd that a Selfish character doing something good for all the wrong reasons will have his alignment shifted against his will.
    Why would a selfish character want to be Evil or Neutral? Don't Good people tend to get better afterlives? All else being equal, I would think it would be more beneficial to be Good. A selfish person might even work towards becoming Good.
    Last edited by Devils_Advocate; 2008-12-13 at 12:16 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    But it looks like you've got some good ideas. Maybe I'll come back and take a closer look at it later. No doubt this would prompt much nitpicking.
    Hooray!
    At a glance: "Age" is an example of Law, "Youth" of Chaos? I'm not seeing how these directly relate to voluntary behavior, unless the relevant decision is whether to let things age or destroy them.
    It's just a general observation that older people tend to be more sedate, conservative, and traditionalist, whereas younger people are more neophile and willing to take risks.
    Describing inanimate objects as having a "goal" strikes me as an abuse of the word "goal". Placing the word in quote marks doesn't seem to help -- what actual concept is the term being used to stand in for? Tendency? That doesn't seem to be what you're talking about in general here.
    It's partially an animist philosophy, based on the concept of self-reinforcing cause. If it bugs you, call it something else, but the main idea is that even inanimate objects have some form of intrinsic moral value. (Feel free to throw it out.)
    Yeah, this. The first character in Limos's example sounds like Robot Santa on Futurama. "Mobsters beating up a shopkeeper for protection money? Very naughty! Shopkeeper not paying his protection money? EQUALLY naughty!"
    I love that quote.
    Why would a selfish character want to be Evil or Neutral? Don't Good people tend to get better afterlives? All else being equal, I would think it would be more beneficial to be Good. A selfish person might even work towards becoming Good.
    That's an interesting conundrum, actually.
    I think Evil Gods *should* be worshipped because Evil is a bit like a pyramid scheme- a few people at the very top reap inordinate benefits- everyone else gets shafted, but the majority are arrogant or dense enough to assume that they'll naturally come out on top, too short-sighted or ignorant to care about the afterlife, or they're just too far gone to hope for any redemption:

    “I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er..." -Macbeth

    I mean, Good afterlives offer the distant prospect of eternal sort-of-bliss to everyone, at the cost of constant sacrifice in life. Evil afterlives mean that you can live it up now AND live it up indefinitely, as long as you're a winner. You're not a loser, are you? (I mean, look at real-world standards of religious morality, and how well people actually live up to those ideals. Again, not something to discuss, but you know what I mean.)
    Last edited by Samurai Jill; 2008-12-13 at 12:59 PM.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moechi_Vill View Post
    Awww... I kinda liked all that math - maybe it just appeals to those fond of details.
    If anything I find it to be a good measuring stick for real life if not games.
    Ehhhh... I'm not going to go there. Thanks, I think. I should really be running a few case studies vs. Firefly. Finally settle whether Mal Reynolds is CG or not.
    I agree about the example of the noble btw., clearly he would not be punished by a lawful evil character, he has after all not broken the law AND he has been evil, double cream with injustice on!
    True.
    I'm not sure if it's specifically a good act to 'go forth and multiply' (civilization, terraforming, etc.), I believe in that, but I also believe we live in an age after a fall. I think it's still a good act, it's just that there's so many negative things with current existence that the good act of creating and thus expanding life comes with a fair amount of lumps. It's not as clear-cut as sustaining it to directly avoid pain and suffering.
    But! I am far from poison-ivy or more radical fatalist philosophy and am myself a great proponent of space colonization.
    My general stance is to give it the benefit of the doubt. After all, if killing someone is evil, it logically follows that life is on balance supposed to be a good thing...
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

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    Jun 2005

    Default Re: Accounting for your Alignment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Samurai Jill View Post
    It's just a general observation that older people tend to be more sedate, conservative, and traditionalist, whereas younger people are more neophile and willing to take risks.
    Ah, OK. Well, there's a huge damn difference between something correlating with Law and it actually being Lawful, and between something correlating with Chaos and actually being Chaotic. So you should probably make that explicit, so that no one thinks that e.g. Eris should be classified as any more Lawful than she might otherwise be just because she's thousands of years old.

    (My apologies if I skimmed over a part where you already did make this explicit.)

    That's just how things stereotypically work with humans, anyway. I can easily see elves becoming more skeptical and critical of authority and tradition with age. Maybe this is what would eventually happen with humans, too, if they just lived long enough. The longer you've been around, the more grand designs you've seen fail (or just fall), after all. On average.

    Actually, if we're talking about a world where Intelligence and Wisdom actually go up as you age, I can see a lot of people losing a lot of blind faith in both institutions in general and individuals in general over time. Dawning realization that nothing is completely reliable, and there frequently are no easy answers. Which would be, like, jaded Neutrality, I think?

    It's partially an animist philosophy, based on the concept of self-reinforcing cause. If it bugs you, call it something else, but the main idea is that even inanimate objects have some form of intrinsic moral value. (Feel free to throw it out.)
    Ah, OK, so you really did mean to assign rocks goals, basically. That works OK, I suppose. Probably not appropriate to a lot of settings, but that's true of many interesting suggestions.

    I suppose that even if you weren't incorporating the notion into your alignment system itself -- actually, it doesn't seem too incorporated now -- an animistic culture within the game world could still see things that way.

    That's an interesting conundrum, actually.
    I think Evil Gods *should* be worshipped because Evil is a bit like a pyramid scheme- a few people at the very top reap inordinate benefits- everyone else gets shafted, but the majority are arrogant or dense enough to assume that they'll naturally come out on top, too short-sighted or ignorant to care about the afterlife, or they're just too far gone to hope for any redemption:
    Reminds me of what Frank & K had to say on the subject. Basically, in a setting where a powerful spellcaster can actually visit your divine realm and see what conditions are like there, it really is easiest for an evil deity to just offer genuine rewards to potential servants that powerful. Evil people get judged by Evil gods and thus can expect to get better treatment for doing whatever sort of Evil deeds their Evil god commanded. It's traitors and failures who really wind up getting screwed in the afterlife. If you switched sides, you're going to be judged by a god displeased with at least some of the things you did in life no matter which one you wind up going to. As a consequence of this, it's really hard to get people to abandon religious commitments, especially for contrary ones.

    I was speaking more of the default setting, though, where Elysium is a realm of joy and sunshine and Hades is a realm of despair and ick. And in both, the inhabitants tend to just lazily mill about. Which is really dumb.

    If you want afterlives to serve as reward and punishment, segregating them by alignment seems like it should be pretty sufficient for that. The afterlives for evil people should be unpleasant because they're filled with evil people who want to do unpleasant things to you. The afterlives for good people should be pleasant because they're filled with good people who want to be nice to you. The prospect of having to spend eternity with people of your own morality is plenty of incentive and disincentive, plenty of reward and punishment, all on its own. There really is no need for pits of flame or flail-wielding demons or mansions in the sky. It's not the climate, berk, it's the company!

    I mean, Good afterlives offer the distant prospect of eternal sort-of-bliss to everyone, at the cost of constant sacrifice in life. Evil afterlives mean that you can live it up now AND live it up indefinitely, as long as you're a winner. You're not a loser, are you?
    Well, I am. But a lot of people are less self-aware. It's prolly not too hard to find a championship of hundreds with most of the participants each thinking he'll win first prize. And a lot of people do seem to think that avoiding negative consequences for their actions is easier than it really is.

    (I mean, look at real-world standards of religious morality, and how well people actually live up to those ideals. Again, not something to discuss, but you know what I mean.)
    Well, that's always a fair point. It's possible to believe something is the best choice and still not do it. We wouldn't even have the concept of willpower/self-control if it were never found lacking.

    That's different from a deliberate commitment to evil, though. For cases like that, you need different explanations. Really, though, evil cultists of an evil god of evil should be the exception to the rule. A lot of people may propitiate Nerull out of fear, but he probably has few actual followers. Demon and devil worshippers, likewise, aren't gonna be all over the place. PCs are just likely to have to deal with disproportionate numbers of them, because they are Evil Which Must Be Defeated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Samurai Jill View Post
    After all, if killing someone is evil, it logically follows that life is on balance supposed to be a good thing...
    Um, no? It follows from the assumption that life is good that creating life is good and destroying life is bad. It doesn't work the other way around.

    Destroying another being without that being's permission is coercive. Bringing another being into existence without its permission is also coercive. Life gets forced on us without our prior consent. So if you assume that morality is about respecting personal negative freedom, murder and procreation are both morally wrong.

    Obviously if destroying life is bad because life itself is good, then creating life is good by the same standard. But that's not the only possible basis for saying that killing is wrong.

    (Yeah, I know, we haven't invented time travel yet, so it's not really possible to ask for someone's consent to be created until after the fact. Look, no one said that being ethical doesn't prevent you from doing stuff. The normal assumption is that it does, isn't it?)
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  29. - Top - End - #29
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Re: Accounting for your Alignment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Devils_Advocate View Post
    (My apologies if I skimmed over a part where you already did make this explicit.)
    I actually had that caveat in the original draft, but I'd snipped it out at some point... my bad.
    Reminds me of what Frank & K had to say on the subject. Basically, in a setting where a powerful spellcaster can actually visit your divine realm and see what conditions are like there, it really is easiest for an evil deity to just offer genuine rewards to potential servants that powerful. Evil people get judged by Evil gods and thus can expect to get better treatment for doing whatever sort of Evil deeds their Evil god commanded. It's traitors and failures who really wind up getting screwed in the afterlife. If you switched sides, you're going to be judged by a god displeased with at least some of the things you did in life no matter which one you wind up going to. As a consequence of this, it's really hard to get people to abandon religious commitments, especially for contrary ones.
    Something like that, yeah. Of course, the whole point to an Evil society is that genuine winners are very few and far between, since Evil is by definition harmful-on-average to those affected, and a similar principle applies to the afterlife- if ONLY powerful spellcasters were interested in serving evil Gods, they'd have no-one to keep them company apart from other uber-wizards, and hence, no slaves to attend their whims.
    I was speaking more of the default setting, though, where Elysium is a realm of joy and sunshine and Hades is a realm of despair and ick. And in both, the inhabitants tend to just lazily mill about. Which is really dumb.
    Yeah, I've never been entirely happy with how the NG and NE afterlives were depicted. Hades in particular comes off as a letdown.
    The prospect of having to spend eternity with people of your own morality is plenty of incentive and disincentive, plenty of reward and punishment, all on its own. There really is no need for pits of flame or flail-wielding demons or mansions in the sky. It's not the climate, berk, it's the company!
    That's pretty much the idea, yeah.
    Um, no? It follows from the assumption that life is good that creating life is good and destroying life is bad. It doesn't work the other way around.
    Well, I'm pointing out that if life were a morally ambivalent thing, there would logically be nothing inherently wrong with ending it.
    Destroying another being without that being's permission is coercive. Bringing another being into existence without its permission is also coercive. Life gets forced on us without our prior consent. So if you assume that morality is about respecting personal negative freedom, murder and procreation are both morally wrong.
    I would say that the issue of consent simply doesn't come up WRT procreation, since the person in question doesn't exist to have their rights broken. It's like asking 'what caused the universe to exist'- the context of the question denies a rational answer. You might as well argue that failure to procreate violates the rights of all the potential people who don't get to be conceived at that precise time. Of course, you are responsible for the repercussions to living standards that result from procreation- e.g, from overpopulation, financial strain, etc. etc.

    But as for the larger question of consent- while I have modelled consent as a significant modifying factor, there are situations where you could do a good deed for someone that nonetheless 100% violated their express wishes on the subject, since I'm modelling certain 'Goals' as being innate and inviolable, even for conscious individuals.
    The Impossible Thing Before Breakfast- "The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists." Widely repeated across many role-playing texts. Neither sub-clause in the sentence is possible in the presence of the other.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Barbarian in the Playground
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    Default Re: Accounting for your Alignment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Samurai Jill View Post
    My general stance is to give it the benefit of the doubt. After all, if killing someone is evil, it logically follows that life is on balance supposed to be a good thing...
    One could make a case that it is only evil to kill someone who wants to live.
    Of course that would free up active and passive euthanization and would leave a question mark for stuff I'm not allowed to mention.

    So thankfully it's quite clear to most people that life on whole is good 'and he saw that it was good', etc.
    Unfortunately for our conversation, life as a value in itself lies largely within the philosophical and religious realms.
    Last edited by Moechi_Vill; 2008-12-16 at 09:35 AM.

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