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Monday, August 3, 2009

yet more alignment

Here's a quote from Gygax in Strategic Review. At this point, the system of alignments is beginning to move from the Original D&D (Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic) into that presented in Homes Basic (Lawful Good/Evil, Neutral, Chaotic Good/Evil).

Considering mythical and mythos gods in light of this system, most of the benign ones will tend towards the chaotic/good, and chaotic/evil will typify those gods which were inimical towards humanity. Some few would be completely chaotic, having no predisposition towards either good or evil — REH’s Crom perhaps falls into this category.

I find this interesting on 2 points.
  • Allowing one and two term definitions of alignment to co-exist, and
  • stating that evil is 'inimical towards humanity', placing the interests of humanity as the objective standard (which is probably the safest approach, maybe the only approach...)

Holmes alignment is the one I've felt most comfortable with. Not too esoteric, but of finer resolution. Continuing to use Lawful and Chaotic as independent terms does not seem a serious complication, and one that allows the existence of objective Law and objective Chaos, in the realm of deities and such.

And to maintain the humanocentric interpretation of alignment, the last paragraph of this article says:
As a final note, most of humanity falls into the lawful category, and most of lawful humanity lies near the line between good and evil. With proper leadership the majority will be prone towards lawful/good. Few humans are chaotic, and very few are chaotic and evil.

Perhaps to reinterpret the 1e AD&D alignment, removing the neutrality of each of its variations (and get rid of True, same as adding it implicitly)...nah.

This is the alignment table I use for random determination
d%1e AD&DHolmes Basic
01-05Lawful EvilLawful Evil
06-15Chaotic EvilChaotic Evil
16-20Neutral EvilNeutral (evil tendencies)
21-35Chaotic NeutralNeutral
36-55True NeutralNeutral
56-80Lawful NeutralNeutral
81-85Neutral GoodNeutral (good tendencies)
86-95Chaotic GoodChaotic Good
96-00Lawful GoodLawful Good

So 60-70% of the aligned population falls into neutral territory, with a greater chance of lawful ethos where applicable. Boring? Realistic? Not sure. Somewhat comfortable though.


Timeshadows said...

Have you seen 4e's Alignments?

Ragnorakk said...

no, I haven't. I'll look through the 4e PHB the next time I'm around one.

Sham aka Dave said...

I've been kicking around Alignment a lot of late. It's rarely of great import in my games for obvious reasons, primarily the fact that 35 years later it still confuses many players.

I'm beginning to think I need to ignore it for the most part in so far as individual attitudes are concerned. If I were to make it more important, I'd favor the Holmes treatment over both OD&D and AD&D.

Another quote from the SR article by Gygax:

There is considerable confusion in that most dungeonmasters construe the terms “chaotic” and “evil” to mean the same thing, just as they define “lawful” and “good” to mean the same. This is scarcely surprising considering the wording of the three original volumes of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. When that was written they meant just about the same thing in my mind.

Also, Gary wrote:

Alignment does not preclude actions which typify a different alignment.

Note that selfseeking is neither lawful nor chaotic, good nor evil, except in relation to other sapient creatures.

I've had a post on the subject on the back burner for weeks now, and I'm still not convinced it's worth dissecting. We'll see.

Timeshadows said...

I'll save you the effort (& SAN loss):

* Good: Freedom and kindness.
* Lawful Good: Civilization and order.
* Evil: Tyranny and hatred.
* Chaotic Evil: Entropy and destruction.
* Unaligned: Having no alignment; not taking a stand.

I'm no fan of 4th, but I thought you'd be interested in their paring down choices.