Get Your Priorities Straight (Alignment and You :) )   Posted by DM.Group: 0
 GM, 67 posts
Thu 27 Jul 2017
at 14:23
Get Your Priorities Straight (Alignment and You :) )
Okay I'd like some idea of what your alignments mean :), so I dug back to a favorite article all the way back from 2nd edition.

This is from Dragon Magazine Issue 173. Page pp 50-53. If you have that Dragon you can go back and read the whole article. I'll provide what you need here though :)

Lawfulness is next to...
All lawful alignments base their loyalty on seven hierarchal elements. In the order required of the lawful-good paladin, they are: Deity, Sovereign, Homeland, Comrades (the adventuring party), Race, Family (or clan), and Self.

Suborders exist within several of these.

The Deity has servants of various ranks, as does the Sovereign (a beginning paladin is normally ignorant of all the political subdivisions that will eventually make demands on his services). Guildmasters, mages, and high priests also may fall under the general category of Sovereign. Simply because a character has risen in level above a former guildmaster does not cancel his social obligation to him; those obligations accumulate. Homeland represents a character's home terrain and its boundaries. A mountain peak, river, or species of animal or flora may require the character’s attention, protection, or preservation. Homeland boundaries change, too, as the character ventures through the world and sees the arbitrary lines one society uses to wall off another. Neither do Comrades receive equal attention. Within an adventuring party, affection and concern wax and wane for all sorts of reasons. Race and Family will develop similar affections or disaffections.

Other lawful alignments also have these seven elements in their loyalty hierarchy, but the player is allowed to reorder some elements. Lawful-good characters are required to keep Sovereign, Comrades, Race, and Self in the above order, but must slot other elements like this: Deity above Comrades, Family below Comrades, and Homeland anywhere. Thus, in a party of nothing but lawfulgood characters, those characters might resolve moral dilemmas according to at least 42 moral priorities! All depends on
the expression of those priorities, but let's continue with the loyalty hierarchy.

Lawful-evil characters order these four elements top to bottom: Self, Sovereign, Race, Family. Then they must slot Comrades above Race, Homeland below Sovereign, and Deity anywhere.

The lawful-neutral character must slot Comrades in the middle position and may slot the other six elements as he pleases, so long as it does not create an alignment that could be construed as lawful good or lawful evil. The easiest way for the DM to begin checking for a false hierarchy here is by comparing the four required elements in lawful-good and lawful-evil alignments to the player's selection. Similarly, the player can save the DM the trouble by creating a lawful-neutral alignment by altering the four elements at the outset.

Neutrality is fun

The beloved neutral alignments are so loved because players traditionally perform nearly any reprehensible moral action they please with these characters.

However, neutrality under these new rules requires neutral characters to take action rather than avoid it. No more follow the leader for these troops. The general rule is that the neutral good, true neutral, and neutral evil beings differ from their lawful counterparts only in that they observe at least three but not more than four of the hierarchy's elements.

A neutral-good character thus begins with a lawful-good arrangement but moves three or four of the elements to the bottom of the priorities list as equally unimportant (they effectively fall off the list). Some enormously diverse characters might emerge from the neutral-good characters you now know. Brutus the warrior might see his priorities as Comrades, Race, and Self (ignoring the rest); Sasha the cleric sees hers as Sovereign, Homeland, Deity, and Family. Most of us would have trouble with Sasha since she has no consideration for the party; still, no one could deny that there is something good about her. Self, if present, always comes last in any arrangement.

The true-neutral character places Self at the center of his hierarchy and observes at least two but not more than three additional elements above or below Self, in keeping with the general rule on the neutral alignments mentioned before. Other elements are equally unimportant. How does this effect my druid, you ask? Most druids are played as nothing more than medieval environmentalists, and repeated playing of the characters in this way is quite frankly a bore. Druids are nature priests. Their intelligence and wisdom give them a special relationship to the world around them; nonetheless, their priestly roles might be seen as ministering in some biased order to a social hierarchy. And don't misread the first sentence here: Self is only at the middle of the hierarchy; the character is not self-centered.

The neutral-evil character evolves as the neutral-good character does. Thus, the
neutral-evil character is simply a lawful evil character who ignores three or four of the social hierarchy's elements. Self is always present and always comes first. Sir Grinkle the paladin may decide that Angus the rogue, with a loyalty order of Sovereign, Comrades, and Race, is not much different than many of the lawful-good personalities he knows. Perhaps he thinks Angus is merely careless or lacking the knowledge, training, and personal charm that only a paladin could have. That is the way naive paladins think, isn't it? Clever Angus, however, has merely disguised his ultimate motivation to give himself power; Self actually came in first.

Anarchy rules

Let's take a look at the chaotics. Chaotic personalities view other hierarchal elements
as unnecessary social contrivances, thinking that no one is better than anyone else. They therefore have no social hierarthy. Deity, Sovereign, Homeland, Comrades,
Race, and Family are either coequally important or unimportant; Self goes either above, on the same level as, or below these factors.

The chaotic-good character places Self one slot below these other elements present, which all become important but in no particular order. Though he likes Comrades, this character is likely to ignore every request his friends make once he returns to his farm (Homeland) or encounters his long-lost sister (Family). His sister might tell him that his friends need him more, but the only way you'll get him out of his home is to gag and tie him.

The chaotic-neutral being is particularly careless. He may be of some help to the party, but he shifts his loyalty between Self and the other elements. If he is sometimes good to his friends, he may appear to be chaotic good. But the chaotic-neutral being wants a little something for himself that nobody else has. Turning your back on him only reminds him of this.

The chaotic-evil personality assumes only one element: Self. The other elements are unimportant and are used only to gratify the Self. The wily chaotic-evil character might fool some of the party some of the time by appearing to be some other personality. Before long, however, anyone can see this character seeks only self gratification.

Obviously, this whole setup looks more problematic for the lawful beings. It's not.Here is the flip side.

This message was last edited by the GM at 06:29, Fri 28 July 2017.

 GM, 68 posts
Thu 27 Jul 2017
at 14:45
Get Your Priorities Straight (Alignment and You :) )
Truth or superstition?

Chaotic and neutral beings, unlike lawful ones, have principles or superstitions. (One man's principle is another's superstition.) There are seven categories of superstitions
that regard:

1. the actions and responses of the deities;
2. the movements of the land, heaven, or seas;
3. the ingestion of (or abstinence from) certain foods or drink;
4. the adornment of armor or apparel;
5. the association with a particular race, class, or sex;
6. the favored (or unfavored) use of a weapon or spell; and
7. any mystical symbol, color, number, shape, plant, mineral, or spell.

Beings of chaotic alignments have one principle/superstition from each of these categories. Those who are neutral have three or four, such that the number of lawful elements plus the number of chaotic principles/superstitions equals seven.

What distinguishes chaotic-good beings from chaotic-evil ones is that the formers believe their superstitions/principles ensure them of good luck; they live charmed lives. Those who are evil believe they live cursed lives, so most of their superstitions/principles are meant to prevent bad fortune. However, a chaotic-good character always begins with one superstition/principle that prevents bad luck. Conversely,the chaotic-evil character has one that he believes brings him good luck. (A chaotic-neutral being believes that roughly half of his beliefs bring him good luck and the others prevent bad.) Unfortunately for the chaotic character, luck is not guaranteed by these often nonsensical and arbitrary beliefs. Principles held through many battles over many years may not hold up, and his value system may create its own moral dilemmas.

The neutral characters can be handled in much the same way. Neutral-good beings with four superstitions/principles have a three-for-one split regarding good and bad fortune; neutral-evil beings have just the opposite. The true neutral will see it equally. Those who must add three superstitions/principles have a two-for-one split, with the true neutral getting a choice on his viewpoint.

Your new objectives

This part of these rules concerns the creed's expression as character objectives. The principles and superstitions work as effective character objectives on their own. Principles ordinarily become a part of a character's daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly routine. Superstitions arise spontaneously according to the encounter and the deviousness of the DM.

The lawful loyalties, however, require demonstration by promise or oath. Tributes, sacrifices, quests, services, taxes, and time obligations are the usual demonstrations
of loyalty. In return, the character expects to profit with protection, training,
comfort, collegiality, rank, honor, and wealth. Thus, the character must state
how his loyalty is expressed. Let's make an example. Dwinmar, a dwarven thief, is neutral evil. He observes four loyalties and three superstitions. He orders his four loyalties as: Self, Deity,Race, Family. He expresses his loyalties by: 1) acquiring one handcrafted item of jewelry each month; 2) invoking his deity's name whenever slaying orcs; 3) compulsively spitting on all half-orcs he encounters;and 4) feasting with his clan for three days whenever he's in town. His principles lead him to believe that 5) circles bring good fortune, 6) the gods disfavor animal sacrifice, and 7) adventuring during a full moon is bad luck.

Each character, growing in power and experience, inevitably has new honors heaped upon him and new insights to use against foes, and perhaps new fears as well. With each rise in character level, a chaotic character acquires a new obligation; neutral characters gain a new obligation every odd-numbered character level.

The obligation gained should come naturally out of the game's events. Special attachments may form for a dagger because it saved the character's life. Being overrun by hobgoblins wearing red helms might create a character's fear for that color. The honor heaped upon an elven warrior by his chieftain may require seasonal visits to his homeland. To maintain her new clerical spell power, a priestess level, may be required to fast every five days,causing her to be weaker or slower on those days.

Continuing our earlier example, by the time Dwinmar the dwarf reaches eleventh  he: 8) requires a seasonal boar hunt for personal relaxation; 9) learns that a  nonmagical weapon in any backstab attempt will be unlucky; 10) pays a semi  annual honorarium to an order of dwarven clerics that raised him from the dead; 11) believes circles with jewels encrusted inside are unlucky; and 12) thinks eating fish brings good luck. Note again that as Dwinmar rose in level, the ratio of bad-luck to good-luck tenets remains
roughly the same as he began with. Furthermore, his social obligations at #8 and #10 are extensions of Self and Deity, not inclusions of social orders he doesn't recognize.

Obviously, each additional tenet added to a character's value system creates new obligations-sometimes conflicting ones. Experience becomes no longer the acquisition
of new power alone, but of new responsibilities. A 10th-level chaotic character will be saddled with 16 obligations pulling him this way and that (he'd have seven or eight if he were neutral). A neutral 10th-level fighter/9th-level cleric would have 12 or 13 tenets, but a chaotic one would face 25! The poor fellow will have to retire just to keep his sanity creeds to begin each new character. However, some tenets can be mere exceptions to originally held beliefs, to avoid unnecessary complications.

The DM is advised to have a few stock creeds to begin each new character. Thereafter, each new tenet will most likely arise  in  play  during  crisis  situations. It is more helpful in this way for the player to retain the character's history. Taking on a new tenet need not be tied with a rise in class level, but the player might be given additional experience points for taking on new restrictions before his character's level changes.

Both the DM and the player should agree on the nature of each new tenet. Above all, it should be playable. If a fighter agrees to train cadets for his liege in the winter months, but the party never goes adventuring in the winter, he has no real obligation. On the other hand, if the same fighter accepts betrothal to his sovereign's niece when she comes of age in five years, this single promise creates a constant pressure on the character toward his future in-laws.

This message was last edited by the GM at 06:22, Fri 28 July 2017.