Thursday, October 8, 2009

Obligatory Alignment Related Post

Probably not as incendiary as it should be...I'd likely get a few more readers if it were! Oh well, here goes anyway!

My reading over the last few years has been mainly focused on catching up on some of the Appendix N stuff that I'd never read before. I've been reading R.E. Howard (barbarism vs. civilization), Poul Anderson (Order vs. Chaos), some Lovecraft (way out there Chaos), and most recently some Moorcock (Law vs. Chaos) and Zelazny's Amber Chronicles (Pattern/Unicorn/Order vs. Logrus/Serpent/Chaos).

The reading has really been making me happy with my decision not to import the 9-point alignment system from AD&D into my Classic house rules. Law, Neutrality and Chaos are enough.

The way I'm seeing them now, Law is not so much being 'good' as it is being on the general side of progress, stability, and civilization. You stand up for what's good for humanity in general.

Chaos, then, is the opposite of that. They're on the general side of disorder, change, and anti-civilization (kinda hard to put into words--not necessarily anarchy or barbarism, although it could be--more like anti-intellectualism, lowest common denominator stuff). They want to drag humanity down to the level of most humanoids, or lower.

Neutrality isn't some BS "we must balance the forces" schtick (although I suppose it could be if you wanted your character to think that way). Neutrals are more concerned with themselves and their immediate family/community, not with the greater good or greater bad of society.

Your alignment has little to do with your personality, and more to do with what choices you make about who and what to fight against or support. Take the fight to the monsters to protect a village or town, you're being Lawful. Wait until the monsters come knocking, then kick their butts, you're being Neutral. Invite the monsters in to loot, as long as they give you a cut, you're being Chaotic.

1 comment:

  1. I've jettisoned alignments, but the reason was so that it didn't complicate the game for the newbies.

    They're all out-of-work shlubs who have turned to graverobbing to keep food on the table, we will worry about alignment as the game progresses