Alignment House Rule Perks


Homebrew and House Rules


I'm thinking of introducing an alignment perk system for my home group. My reasoning is that I believe most of my party chooses neutral alignments due to not wanting to make moral choices. I'd like to shake this up a little but make it worth their while to actually choose a good/lawful alignment.

At first I'm only thinking of applying it to the good/evil axis and take it from there.

My first thoughts are to start the (willing) characters with +1 point on the good axis and throw the odd moral dilemma their way. If they choose a good action, I will apply +1 to the score. Maybe capping at +10.

Now, I'm looking for any constructive feedback on the above and maybe some suggestions on how to reward players for advancing along the good axis.

Any thoughts?


I would scale it a little, making each level of goodness harder to achieve. So you can hit the first level (call it Good I) by making a single Good decision. But to hit Good II, you'd have to make two more, making it harder to achieve than Good I.

As for rewards, the first one that pops to mind is to make alignment "more visible." So a character who delves into the depths of Evil is less likely to be targeted by evil opponents, and is more likely to get in with the local crime syndicate, etc. If role-playing makes for a good motivation for your group, that'll be fine.

Otherwise, I'd explore a series of bonuses similar to feats in power level. When you hit Good I, for example, maybe you gain a +4 bonus to stabilizing when below 0 hit points, and a +2 bonus on Heal checks? Evil I lets you use bleed as a supernatural ability three times per day (CL = character level). They get more impressive the more strongly aligned you get.

Good X, for example, might let you use a paladin's smite evil 1/day as a 1st-level paladin, or let a paladin smite evil one additional time per day. It's not a huge enough change to break the game, but it's enough to be motivating.


Also check out this: from Pathfinder Unchained.


Thanks for the suggestions and the link. Both are very interesting. I like the idea of increasing the difficulty as the character advances through the good/evil axis.

My group aren't 'heavy' on the role-playing side of things but also not solely fixed killing and grabbing loot either. Somewhere in the middle. This means the perks need to more tangible.

How does this sound?

Good +1: Choice of +4 to stabilizing checks or +2 Heal skill check
Good +2: Smite evil as level Paladin of half level 1/day or +1 smite if already a Paladin.
Good +3: May use Holy Smite 1/day
Good +4: May use Angelic Aspect 1/day
Good +5: Gains a Guardian Angel of sorts. 1/day may summon a specific good outsider to assist in a task or battle.

These perks would be cumulative. Also, I was thinking that from good +3 onwards, the character would have a good aura detectable by certain creatures or spells.

Obviously a first draft and quite rough. I probably need to split the perks into a different lists depending on the character. i.e. melee combat, spell caster or something else if the character is more of a helping the weak and innocent type and less of a crusader! It's hard to imagine the aged and frail village healer suddenly sprouting wings and smiting the local thugs!


You might want to use a mechanic like the humanity score in Vampire The Masquerade (VTM). Good deeds boost your humanity score and bad deeds reduce it. High humanity grants you free will and the ability to resist evil. Low humanity makes you progressively more bestial until eventually you become a GM controlled NPC. In Pathfinder terms it would be like having a humanity score that is a hard ceiling to your will save regardless of level, magical bonuses and wisdom score. Will saves would also be used for other things besides resisting magic spells like resisting the temptation of a bribe or the pain of torture. It works well in VTM because the premise of the game is playing vampire characters who must resist evil temptations in order to retain their free will. Yielding to bestial urges is like shirking your moral responsibilities and therefore evil. I am not sure how well that concept would work in a D&D/Pathfinder setting. It might work better in a horror themed Ravenloft/Ustalav type game.

Whatever system you come up with I am interested to hear how it goes. Good luck!


That's a nice Idea VTM has. It makes sense if the PCs are vampires clinging to their humanity but I'm not so sure it would translate too well into a D&D / Pathfinder type setting. My PCs are just humans, elves etc.

I am looking for tangible perks that may or may not increase as the character becomes "more" good though. I'm not quite so keen on the perk being a "1/day cast a holy spell" type thing though.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Have you considered having outsiders trying to tempt them from both sides as they gain power?
Devils and Demons might be able to tempt and offer reward but how would they react to finding out one of the men they've been getting fairly frequent work from is a lesser angel and wants them to bat for the winning side on a permanent basis, their jobs being tests to see if they'd do the right thing and if they enjoyed it more than exploiting those that turn to them.

Or they get quietly approached by someone that wants to hire them on to guard a ritual at a temple, only to find out its a cult of the Old Ones, after all they're a known neutral quantity, they get paid, they guard. Do they stop it? do they stand in the way of heroes who are coming to try?
Do they join in and get granted sweet tentacle high fives when the beast appears and offers them the chance to be enforcers?
How do they react when the ritual goes wrong and Shlonkydonk the Eternal sweeps his unknowable gaze their way for a moment, the rest of the cult bursts into squamous writhing masses, but the only effect it has on them is the feeling something beyond logic is mildly pleased with them doing a grade A job, sigils keep turning up and one day a man covered in runes scarred into his skin wanders over to their table at their favorite pub and offers them a job.

Alignment is choice, as much as it is mechanics


LordWolcott wrote:

That's a nice Idea VTM has. It makes sense if the PCs are vampires clinging to their humanity but I'm not so sure it would translate too well into a D&D / Pathfinder type setting. My PCs are just humans, elves etc.

I am looking for tangible perks that may or may not increase as the character becomes "more" good though. I'm not quite so keen on the perk being a "1/day cast a holy spell" type thing though.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Perhaps the PCs could acquire reputation bonuses as word of their goodness spreads. This could perhaps grant a bonus to their diplomacy skill and also grant leadership as a free feat.

You could also give them saving throw bonuses against evil spells and effects.


In terms of making balanced choices for all types of players, you could throw together a large list of powers, each with a level attached. Then the players select appropriate powers, a number of levels worth equal to the level of goodness or evilness they've achieved.

So the stabilizing checks, Heal skill bonus, some other skill bonuses, smite evil use, and maybe a lay on hands use are all 1st level powers. A paladin might take the extra smite evil, while the old healer might take a use of lay on hands.

As for dynamic perks, you need to find things that can shift around a lot. Skills are easy to add scaling bonuses too, as are ability scores, saves, hp, weapon attack and damage rolls, and CMB. Beyond that, things start getting less reliably used, and therefore less ideal.

For casters, add concentration to that list. And checks to beat SR.

Those are all statistics you can add an easy +1 per good or evil level to.


Thanks a lot for all your suggestions!

I really like the idea of good and evil outsiders trying to recruit the players to their team. I'm thinking of throwing these larger moral dilemmas into the mix along with the more common; save the innocent farmer / spare the life of a criminal dilemmas.

I also like the idea of reputation and the suggestions for minor but not insignificant perks for advancing along the good/evil axis.

Much appreciated, guys!


Hmmm... What if, once they are far enough along their chosen alignment, they were constantly under the effects of "Protection From [opposite alignment]" as a (Su) ability?


Lemmy, that sounds pretty good for either a high or the top level perk. Thanks!

I've been thinking of a further refining of the system. It's quite silly for say a neutral rogue to commit one good deed and suddenly become neutral good. Therefore I was thinking of scaling the axis from +1 to +10 with the alignment only changing when you reach +5. Also, to borrow from SanKeshun, each tier along the axis would take longer to achieve. i.e. two good deeds to achieve +2, three for +3 etc. So to achieve +5, you'd have to have carried out 15 good deeds.


Well... It's a first level spell... It isn't all that good, honestly.

IMO, a good/evil deed should only count if it's actually large enough to count... Sure, holding the door open for your neighbor is Good and not returning that extra coin you got with your change is Evil... But are any of those acts enough to actually change that big "N" in your alignment chart?

I think there's a difference between being a generally nice person and being Good with a capital G. One of them is just being an overall pleasant person... The other is being notoriously and consistently Good. Someone obviously "Gooder" than the general population.

In any case... To facilitate your work, since there are no scaling levels of Good in the rules (it's all binary. Either you are good or you aren't), the perks should probably be dependent on level.

The existence of perks should be enough to make the players act out their alignment. Beware, though... This may lead to characters putting exaggerated emphasis on alignment out of fear of the GM taking away their toys (since there's no way to be sure what the GM thinks is "good enough"). That's how we end with Lawful Stupid Paladins.


I think the 2nd and 3rd benefits of protection from evil are by far the best aspects of the spell. I believe they're often overlooked or ignored though. But it is only a 1st level spell after all, although a permanent protection from evil is much better.

I take your point that only large enough good deeds should count. In fact I really mean moral dilemmas. Saving a villager for no personal gain as opposed to opening a door for a woman.

Like you say, it could end up being a min/maxers dream and end up being more trouble than its worth. As a DM, i have enough to do after all.

I think it is worth a trial to see if I can get my lazy ass PCs to be heroes! :-)


IMHO, the best part of Protection From [Alignment] spells is the blanket protection against possession and mind control. And that can be gained with a wayfinder and an ioun stone for mere 4500gp... So it isn't anything too powerful or exotic, IMO.

If you think it's too much... You could split the benefits from the spell and gradually give it to players who have a high enough character level and/or enough alignment points. Like... They get the bonus to AC at 6th level, the immunity to possession/mind control at 12th and the shielding against evil summons at 18th. Or you could base it on your "alignment scale". Or both.

Maybe their attacks could count as their alignment after a while... Almost as if they were slowly turning into creatures with the Good subtype. The advantage of basing it on character level is that it's easier to balance... Sure DR 2/Evil is really good at 5th level... Not so much at 12th. And so on. :)

And of course, you can use that in conjunction with the alignment scale.
e.g.: In order to get permanent Protection From Evil, you must be 6th level and have 7 "ranks" in the Good scale... Or something like that.


Agreed about the blanket protection from possession and mind control.

I do like your other suggested perks too. Thanks man. :-)


I think Lemmy's ideas make the most sense from a Pathfinder perspective.

In addition to looking at this from a mechanical point of view you should also come up with role playing reasons. I remember one campaign I played in years ago where the opening game was the town festival with pie eating contests, archery contests, prize animals, banquet, dancing etc. It gave the PCs a chance to interact with the town in a non-combat setting. Later when trolls attacked the town the PCs became the heroes because they had something to fight for.


Boomerang Nebula wrote:
I think Lemmy's ideas make the most sense from a Pathfinder perspective.

Lemmy is always right... He's just too humble to point it out.


Not Lemmy wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
I think Lemmy's ideas make the most sense from a Pathfinder perspective.
Lemmy is always right... He's just too humble to point it out.

137ben is even more modest than Lemmy.


Sarcasm Dragon wrote:
Not Lemmy wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
I think Lemmy's ideas make the most sense from a Pathfinder perspective.
Lemmy is always right... He's just too humble to point it out.
137ben is even more modest than Lemmy.

Pfff... Lemmy is more modest than modesty itself! He's the most modest being in all of everything!


How about Neutral options? If you resolve a lot of things neutrally, you get protection from extremes.


Not Lemmy wrote:
Sarcasm Dragon wrote:
Not Lemmy wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
I think Lemmy's ideas make the most sense from a Pathfinder perspective.
Lemmy is always right... He's just too humble to point it out.
137ben is even more modest than Lemmy.
Pfff... Lemmy is more modest than modesty itself! He's the most modest being in all of everything!

Donald Trump is even more modest. He can't say so on the forum, since his tiny hands are too small to type, but he can let you know how modest he is on the sides of his HUUUUUUUUGE buildings.


Sarcasm Dragon wrote:
Not Lemmy wrote:
Sarcasm Dragon wrote:
Not Lemmy wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
I think Lemmy's ideas make the most sense from a Pathfinder perspective.
Lemmy is always right... He's just too humble to point it out.
137ben is even more modest than Lemmy.
Pfff... Lemmy is more modest than modesty itself! He's the most modest being in all of everything!
Donald Trump is even more modest. He can't say so on the forum, since his tiny hands are too small to type, but he can let you know how modest he is on the sides of his HUUUUUUUUGE buildings.

Well... He's also orange.


My Self wrote:
How about Neutral options? If you resolve a lot of things neutrally, you get protection from extremes.

You know... Being neutral actually has quite a few perks (can't be detected or smitten as easily, can cast any aligned spell, etc)... But they are probably not as good as getting constant effects...

Hmmm... A less powerful, but more encompassing version of the Protection From [Alignment] spells?

Dark Archive

Sarcasm Dragon wrote:
Not Lemmy wrote:
Sarcasm Dragon wrote:
Not Lemmy wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:
I think Lemmy's ideas make the most sense from a Pathfinder perspective.
Lemmy is always right... He's just too humble to point it out.
137ben is even more modest than Lemmy.
Pfff... Lemmy is more modest than modesty itself! He's the most modest being in all of everything!
Donald Trump is even more modest. He can't say so on the forum, since his tiny hands are too small to type, but he can let you know how modest he is on the sides of his YUUUUUUUUGE buildings.

Fixed that for you.

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