Medieval Alignment


Homebrew and House Rules


So I was wondering for those who play in run setting do you mostly keep the alignment system.

For example how would Alignment and Alignment based classes (Paladin etc) work in a more traditional Medieval Setting (serfdom, indulgences and routine mass murder).

Would you alter the Alignment system to fit with the values of the setting or would you just remove the alignment system?


I run with no change. I honestly don't see the problem, can you elaborate?

The Exchange

I suppose if you want to pursue a more 'historically accurate' campaign, full of conquistadors who give 10% of the plunder from their latest genocide to the Church and clergy who preach brotherhood one day of the week and beat their slaves the other six, you might make some alterations to the alignment system.

(Or just have three alignments: Hypocritical Evil, Blatant Evil, and Battered Victim.)

However, the existing system can work for most attempts at 'historical accuracy:' it's just that Evil and falling into Evil is going to be depressingly common. Admittedly most of those evil characters won't be, to quote "Screwtape Proposes a Toast", "the great sinners": more of "a sort of mass-produced grubbiness of the soul."


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I always remove it. Always, doesn't matter the setting. It makes life much simpler for me. I have a quiet a few houserules already though, so removing alignment was just a part of a bigger thing.

That said, I'm not sure how I'd rule differently in a medieval setting.


Lincoln Hills wrote:

I suppose if you want to pursue a more 'historically accurate' campaign, full of conquistadors who give 10% of the plunder from their latest genocide to the Church and clergy who preach brotherhood one day of the week and beat their slaves the other six, you might make some alterations to the alignment system.

(Or just have three alignments: Hypocritical Evil, Blatant Evil, and Battered Victim.)

However, the existing system can work for most attempts at 'historical accuracy:' it's just that Evil and falling into Evil is going to be depressingly common. Admittedly most of those evil characters won't be, to quote "Screwtape Proposes a Toast", "the great sinners": more of "a sort of mass-produced grubbiness of the soul."

This is what I meant if you were aiming for the bleakness that was the reality of the era or wanted to allow the players to play the game of houses in all its merciless forms without being "EVIL".

The Exchange

Well, if you're going for a Game of Thrones / Machiavellian feel, then the three-alignment system I already mentioned is probably going to fit like a glove. ;)


Like MrSin, I just simply don't play with alignment. Things like the paladin issue can be resolved simply through codes of conduct.


If you were going for historicly accurate I would allow Paladins to be any Lawful. Historicly the crusaders were probably Lawful Evil, since after sacking towns they would kill, men, women, and children, and would occasionaly take side trips on the way to the holy land to destroy jewish settlements. I would think the knights templar would probaly fit in the Lawful Neutral category, being money lenders and all.

Off course we are taking modern day views on people 800 years ago, the crusaers thougth they were perfectly justified to destroy non-christians and hence would probably consider themselves "Good".

Dark Archive

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Wind Chime wrote:

So I was wondering for those who play in run setting do you mostly keep the alignment system.

For example how would Alignment and Alignment based classes (Paladin etc) work in a more traditional Medieval Setting (serfdom, indulgences and routine mass murder).

Would you alter the Alignment system to fit with the values of the setting or would you just remove the alignment system?

I institute the two alignment system.

Moral Compass
Absolutist Viewpoint

The first is what is necessary for a class, it shows what the character values. Both King Arthur and Pope Alexander VI value Law and Good. They're men of the people in their own mind.
King Arthur however truly was the chivalrous man he thought himself to be while Pope Alexander VI proved to be a manipulative cold-hearted man.

So King Arthur would be Lawful Good (Moral Compass)/Lawful Good (Absolutist)
and Pople Alexander VI would be Lawful Good (moral compass)/Lawful Evil (Absolutism).

The Exchange

Shhhhh!


Silence among Hounds wrote:
Wind Chime wrote:

So I was wondering for those who play in run setting do you mostly keep the alignment system.

For example how would Alignment and Alignment based classes (Paladin etc) work in a more traditional Medieval Setting (serfdom, indulgences and routine mass murder).

Would you alter the Alignment system to fit with the values of the setting or would you just remove the alignment system?

I institute the two alignment system.

Moral Compass
Absolutist Viewpoint

The first is what is necessary for a class, it shows what the character values. Both King Arthur and Pope Alexander VI value Law and Good. They're men of the people in their own mind.
King Arthur however truly was the chivalrous man he thought himself to be while Pope Alexander VI proved to be a manipulative cold-hearted man.

So King Arthur would be Lawful Good (Moral Compass)/Lawful Good (Absolutist)
and Pople Alexander VI would be Lawful Good (moral compass)/Lawful Evil (Absolutism).

Oh man! I believe the scientific term for this is "ballariffic".


I wouldn't use it at all.


One thing not being addressed here yet (from what I see) is what happens to certain alignment-based abilities or effects in an alignment-free game. For example, Paladins can now be whatever. Cool beans! But what happens to that nifty detect evil ability when there is no evil to detect?

I run a Fallout game here on the forums (speaking of, it's on hiatus, I really need to get it back in gear), and due to the setting (post-nuclear apocalypse), there is no real alignment. The Fallout games use a Karma feature that's a basic Good-Neutral-Evil track, but I'm not hugely worrying over that either. So what do I do with the Paladin in my party?

We ruled that his detect evil became an ability to perceive or 'detect' bad intentions. He can sum a person up to get an idea of whether they're a bad person (e.g., raider, bandit, murderer, etc.) within a few seconds (i.e., a round or two). He hasn't used it much thus far, but I think it works well, it's something I'll use in every alignment-free game I run. I think it'd work especially well for the Inquisitor's detect--the ability to 'get a feel' for someone of any type with a few seconds of study fits the flavor of the class well.


GM Armadillephant wrote:
One thing not being addressed here yet (from what I see) is what happens to certain alignment-based abilities or effects in an alignment-free game. For example, Paladins can now be whatever. Cool beans! But what happens to that nifty detect evil ability when there is no evil to detect?

Here's an article that explains how to remove alignment from pathfinder. There are quiet a few ways to do it. I took the extreme and overhauled paladin to be any alignment, but I know that's not everyone's gig.

Your solution works for a narrative, less mechanically. Not a bad thing, but its something to note. I think tis a neat way to handle things, but I've always used sense motive for that. My last fall out game ditched karma, but to be fair, our focus was more on groups than what we were personally.(Brotherhood vs. gangs vs. super mutants!)


GM Armadillephant wrote:

One thing not being addressed here yet (from what I see) is what happens to certain alignment-based abilities or effects in an alignment-free game. For example, Paladins can now be whatever. Cool beans! But what happens to that nifty detect evil ability when there is no evil to detect?

I run a Fallout game here on the forums (speaking of, it's on hiatus, I really need to get it back in gear), and due to the setting (post-nuclear apocalypse), there is no real alignment. The Fallout games use a Karma feature that's a basic Good-Neutral-Evil track, but I'm not hugely worrying over that either. So what do I do with the Paladin in my party?

We ruled that his detect evil became an ability to perceive or 'detect' bad intentions. He can sum a person up to get an idea of whether they're a bad person (e.g., raider, bandit, murderer, etc.) within a few seconds (i.e., a round or two). He hasn't used it much thus far, but I think it works well, it's something I'll use in every alignment-free game I run. I think it'd work especially well for the Inquisitor's detect--the ability to 'get a feel' for someone of any type with a few seconds of study fits the flavor of the class well.

For my games detect evil becomes detect undead.


I drop alignment completely (which includes paladins) and use Allegiance instead.

Strangely, Conan d20 seems to be the only other d20 product I know, that uses it.


Now an interesting question is what would a raw paladin do in a feudal society he would be a knight which would mean he would have rites over a number of serfs who are little better than slaves. Does the paladin try to rule as beneovlently as possible within the system or try to change it.

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Removed inappropriate post. Please keep political baiting out of game discussions.

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