I've read many articles on alignment in D&D, tracking alignment in D&D, and the equivalent systems in many other RPGs. I've written this article that incorporates all I've learned in over 40 years of play. It:
- * has the players pick objectives for their characters, so they get to say what their alignment means to them,
- * divides the 3x3 alignment grid into finer steps,
- * provides mechanisms for moving among those steps according to how your character behaves,
- * includes a nature component for druids and similar classes, and
- * includes a circumstance bonus to saves and skill checks for playing your character's alignment well.
I'm posting here to share it and get feedback. I don't expect this to end all discussion about alignment, but I hope it'll help some people avoid some arguments.
Thank you, I thought that the 'Get Your Priorities Straight' article you referenced was in a 1980's White Dwarf issue and I've looked for it several times with no success.
I've used something similar to that article in the past and really liked it. I used principles (same as priorities) and superstitions, with characters collecting new superstitions every 2+ number of principles levels. The number of principles selected indicated their place on the law/chaos axis and the ones selected indicated their good/evil axis location.
In your system, how did the PCs actions affect their alignments, Hugo? If a player chose a principle, but then ignored it, what happened?
It didn't really happen as it was a mechanism for one player to play multiple characters comsistently. Theoretically, assuming the player isn't gaming the mechanic, then the dropped principle would be a move towards chaos and depending on the principle it could also entail a movement on the good/evil axis. If it was a player gaming the system then typically a comment and then an XP penalty if it was persistent but 5hat is moving into the nobody is having fun territory so I try and avoid that.
I think we'll always have the "player gaming the system" problem. In an ideal world, the best solution would be to simply not play with them. I tried to design a system that would show the players and GMs how a PC's alignment is shifting, in small steps, so the player could change her character's behavior if the shift was in undesired directions.
As I write in the introduction, I've see so many players who treat alignment as just two letters they have to write on their character sheet so they qualify for a class, feat, or something else. Good character who make sure "they get theirs" no matter how much harm that does to others. Lawful characters who promise to do something then immediately seek ways to not do it. Chaotic characters who demand obedience to the letter of the law.
I was inspired by "Get Your Priorities Straight" but I thought the superstitions for Chaotic were a bit weak. Would you be able to post your system? We might be able to get a better system from the synthesis of both.
Bump, and to protect my work, here's the GPG signature for the "Objective-Driven Quantitative Alignment.pdf" file on the Google drive.
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