Just a quick thought on describing alignment – popped into my noggin last night while watching F Troop and editing Monster Tome (and no, F Troop did not inspire this notion – just a coincidence).
I tend to think that alignment should be kept pretty vague, and should have a little in-game effect to make it worthwhile. I’ve covered the “make alignment count” concept in the past, and even worked it into Bloody Basic.
In the interest of keeping alignment descriptions vague, I thought of some extremely quick (one or two word) descriptions of the alignments that can guide a player without tying them down too tightly. Each one sets up a general goal – the direction they should probably be moving – without dictating how they should behave in every single situation they find themselves.
What does each alignment think is best in life?
Lawful Evil = Power
Neutral Evil = Wealth
Chaotic Evil = Killing
Lawful Good = Virtue (for self and others)
Neutral Good = Charity
Chaotic Good = Happiness (i.e. freedom to pursue)
Lawful Neutral = Organization
Neutral = Self-Interest
Chaotic Neutral = Anarchy
What of “true neutral” – i.e. balance? Don’t ask me. How is an individual supposed to figure out what the multiverse requires to maintain balance. Is the player supposed to take orders from the GM? How about random rolls to determine which alignment is too powerful at the moment, so the true neutral can behave like the opposite alignment for the session? That should go over well …
6 thoughts on “Quicky Alignment Descriptions”
Yeah alignment should be descriptive and enabling, not restrictive.
I think you are being a little too soft on evil.
Lawful Evil = Oppression (Power to limit others access to justice and power.)
Neutral Evil = Avarice (Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie)
Chaotic Evil = Ravage (not just killing, RPG characters kill all the time)
Let it be descriptive rather than proscriptive. We play with four alignments: lawful, chaotic, balanced and unaligned.
I always liked the idea of a Lawful Evil character being honest, fair, reasonable, understanding, un-cruel, and completely driven to attain his/her goals through intimidation, threat, and violent force if necessary.
I use alignment to power SPELL selection
therefore, alignment has real meaning and game application.
…You can cast a spell repeatedly provided you don't exceed level based limits for SPELLS ALLOWED PER DAY if any only if your alignment s congruent with the magic school.
LAWFUL creatures are reliable and dependable. They respect authority and tradition. Lawful characters can be counted on to follow rules and leaders, even when leadership or regulations appear to be inconsistent or erroneous. Lawful civilizations often have a hereditary monarchy whom are limited by feudalism and/ or codified law. The vast majority of property is passed to the oldest son; thereby, insuring the wealth and integrity of familial estates.
Divine spheres or magical schools that are considered Lawful (L) are abjuration, alchemy, EARTH, justice, protection, runes, and strength.
CHAOTIC individuals avoid details, platitudes and commitment. Some may view them as reckless and undependable; however, they tend to be tolerant and accepting of others. They place a great value on liberty and choice. Chaotic societies tend to be organized by clans or tribes with property being inherited by the strongest progeny or the bulk of the estate is buried with the decedent.
Divine spheres or magical schools that are considered Chaotic (C) are AIR, charm, enchantment, illusion, liberation, luck, trickery and wind/ zephyr.
NEUTRAL creatures value their families and personal security over cosmic or moral issues. They will only take a risk if the gains are large or if their family or homes are threatened. Neutral civilizations tend to be ruled by elected officials or guilds. Property is inherited thru adherence to a written will.
There are no ‘neutral’ magical spheres, but Nature has her own adherents (plants, animals, weather). Any caster may use general or unassigned spheres ( – ) of magic such as conjuration, evocation, FIRE, knowledge, transmutation, travel, war and wish.
GOOD creatures revere truth, beauty, charity, chastity, sobriety and the property rights of the weak. Good PCs will pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to defeat tyranny.
Divine spheres or magical schools that are considered Good (G) or white magic are divination, creation, healing, honor, nobility, sun and WATER .
EVIL creatures do not respect the life, liberty or the property rights of others. They are motivated by personal gain and a sense of entitlement. They take, kill or deceive without remorse and follow leaders because of ambition, fear or greed, not adoration.
Divine spheres or magical schools that are considered evil or black magic are curses, darkness, death, destruction, disease and necromancy.
. ..No cleric, priest, agent or mage can know or learn spells that are of opposite alignment than their own, i.e., lawful mages cannot cast charm or illusions; while good priests may cast cure wounds multiple provided they don’t exceed their level based limits or spells allowed per day.
great minds come to similar conclusions
I think you just described most politicians.
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