Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

Revamping alignment - your mission, should you choose to a..

Tags:
  • Games
  • Video Games
Last response: in Video Games
Share
Anonymous
March 28, 2005 12:57:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

I'm turning to the infinite wisdom found here in FRGP for ideas on
revamping the alignment system - house rules that y'all use and such,
looking for something I can pinch.

What I'd like to end up with is a one-page questionnaire - maybe 21
questions? - for players. They'd base the responses on how they
perceive their character would react to certain situations / moral
/ethical dilemmas. (I'd go to some of the online "what's your
alignment" sites, but they're mostly not that great).

I'd like to end up with ratings (e.g., 1-5 or 1-10) along three axes:
good/evil, structured/independent, and honorable/opportunistic.
(breaking out the lawful/chaotic axis into two parts, because there are
free-spirited, independent, rule-breaking heroes and villians, who -
despite all else, you can _always_ count on to live up to their word,
or not turn in their fellow rebels despite the tortures. I get tired
of the "lawful must always be honest, chaotic can't be trusted")

Anyhoo, the idea is that after the group agreed on definitions and
where the questions fell, we'd have agreement on the PC's starting
alignment. The DM would keep the sheet, and make notes based on PC
actions. Basically, we'd have a sliding scale for alignment, which can
change based on actions and most single non-horrific/heroic acts would
not switch a person from Good to Evil (or vice versa) but move them on
the scale.

So - what are about seven questions for each axis that can be asked to
determine a person's alignment? (keep in mind that the answer may need
to provide motive)

More about : revamping alignment mission choose

Anonymous
March 28, 2005 2:37:28 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Michael Scott Brown wrote:
> Why is there this never ending desire to quantify something whose
only
> purpose is to quickly judge qualities that are inherently
unquantifiable?

Agreed. My best advnice? don't do this at all.

That is to say, don't create a list of questions for your characters
with the intent of using it to define their alignments. Why? one
reason: who cares? Just let them pick an alignment. if they have a
good enough understandinf of their character to answer the querstions
this is not nessisary. they will know their alignments. Let them play
it however they want. It matters in less situations than you think and
alignment can be shifted freely durring play for most (non-monk or
paladin) characters anyway. If you want to use a situational analysis
to define their alignments, pay attention to what they DO IN GAME and
assign it based on that. Actions being louder than words and all.

Second reason: such a list will have the fatal flaw of having been put
together by you and it will invariably create biased results. Only
your impressions of the alignments will come through.

Third reason: There are better things to do with lists. Bad idea:
creating a 20-questions style list that shakels your PC's into an
alignment of your choosing. Good idea: coming up with a list of
background and personal quesions for the players to fill in (shadowrun
does a decent job of this). If you want a list, don't ask them if they
follow the law or would steal from a bandit. Ask them what their
favorote game is and whether their parents fought in front of them or
if they've ever seen a gnome before. Those types of questions will go
farther toward fleshing out the characters.

Ignore alignment before gameplay starts. it will sort itself out. You
just have to watch it closely. If you want to grill your players, grill
them in ways that actually benefit them, such as in providing histories
and relationships to their setting.
Anonymous
March 28, 2005 4:01:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Michael Scott Brown wrote:

> Another fine point.
>
> Ani, continue eating whatever you had for breakfast today. It
makes you
> say a lot less silly things.

yeah, i've been doing a startling ammount of agreeing with you lately.
I'm sure it'll pass, though.
Related resources
Anonymous
March 28, 2005 5:00:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

alordofchaos@yahoo.com wrote:

> I'm turning to the infinite wisdom found here in FRGP for ideas on
> revamping the alignment system - house rules that y'all use and such,
> looking for something I can pinch.
>
> What I'd like to end up with is a one-page questionnaire - maybe 21
> questions? - for players. They'd base the responses on how they
> perceive their character would react to certain situations / moral
> /ethical dilemmas. (I'd go to some of the online "what's your
> alignment" sites, but they're mostly not that great).
>
> I'd like to end up with ratings (e.g., 1-5 or 1-10) along three axes:
> good/evil, structured/independent, and honorable/opportunistic.
> (breaking out the lawful/chaotic axis into two parts, because there are
> free-spirited, independent, rule-breaking heroes and villians, who -
> despite all else, you can _always_ count on to live up to their word,
> or not turn in their fellow rebels despite the tortures. I get tired
> of the "lawful must always be honest, chaotic can't be trusted")
>
> Anyhoo, the idea is that after the group agreed on definitions and
> where the questions fell, we'd have agreement on the PC's starting
> alignment. The DM would keep the sheet, and make notes based on PC
> actions. Basically, we'd have a sliding scale for alignment, which can
> change based on actions and most single non-horrific/heroic acts would
> not switch a person from Good to Evil (or vice versa) but move them on
> the scale.
>
> So - what are about seven questions for each axis that can be asked to
> determine a person's alignment? (keep in mind that the answer may need
> to provide motive)
>

Good luck with not causing a flame war.

Which is more important: the law as written or the law as intended?
Which is more important: the welfare of yourself or the welfare of others.
Which are you more likely to do: plan or improvise?

CH
Anonymous
March 28, 2005 7:18:04 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

> Basically, we'd have a sliding scale for alignment, which can
> change based on actions and most single non-horrific/heroic acts would
> not switch a person from Good to Evil (or vice versa) but move them on
> the scale.

Cannot help you with your question/answer ideas but our group uses a system
similar in concept I suppose to what your suggesting. Every character has a
Piety score and possibly an Honor score. The Honor system is based on a
system presented in a Dragon mag a while back, the Piety one we created.

Not going to post them here, as they are lengthy but if you are interested
you can find them linked under the headings "Honor" and "Piety" on the page
below. Also of interest are some of the spells under the heading "Altered
Spells" that speak to how certain spells interact with the modified system.

http://www.korinth.com/ElindraContent/Rulebook.shtml

It isn't perfect, but it works for us.

Miraumar Brightstar
http://www.korinth.com
Anonymous
March 28, 2005 9:54:18 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On 28 Mar 2005 08:57:57 -0800, alordofchaos@yahoo.com wrote:

>I'm turning to the infinite wisdom found here in FRGP for ideas on
>revamping the alignment system - house rules that y'all use and such,
>looking for something I can pinch.
>
>What I'd like to end up with is a one-page questionnaire - maybe 21
>questions? - for players. They'd base the responses on how they
>perceive their character would react to certain situations / moral
>/ethical dilemmas. (I'd go to some of the online "what's your
>alignment" sites, but they're mostly not that great).
>
>I'd like to end up with ratings (e.g., 1-5 or 1-10) along three axes:
>good/evil, structured/independent, and honorable/opportunistic.
>(breaking out the lawful/chaotic axis into two parts, because there are
>free-spirited, independent, rule-breaking heroes and villians, who -
>despite all else, you can _always_ count on to live up to their word,
>or not turn in their fellow rebels despite the tortures. I get tired
>of the "lawful must always be honest, chaotic can't be trusted")
>
>Anyhoo, the idea is that after the group agreed on definitions and
>where the questions fell, we'd have agreement on the PC's starting
>alignment. The DM would keep the sheet, and make notes based on PC
>actions. Basically, we'd have a sliding scale for alignment, which can
>change based on actions and most single non-horrific/heroic acts would
>not switch a person from Good to Evil (or vice versa) but move them on
>the scale.
>
>So - what are about seven questions for each axis that can be asked to
>determine a person's alignment? (keep in mind that the answer may need
>to provide motive)
>

Are you willing to be a member of the PC group? No? Then you are
Independant.
Anonymous
March 28, 2005 10:00:01 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Why is there this never ending desire to quantify something whose only
purpose is to quickly judge qualities that are inherently unquantifiable?

-Michael
Anonymous
March 28, 2005 11:00:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Anivair" <anivair@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1112035048.398853.299050@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> That is to say, don't create a list of questions for your characters
> with the intent of using it to define their alignments. Why? one
> reason: who cares? Just let them pick an alignment. if they have a
> good enough understandinf of their character to answer the querstions
> this is not nessisary. they will know their alignments.

.. and if they don't, by observing their ethical decisionmaking in play
*you* will know them!
Remember, it says rather clearly in the DMG that it's up to the DM to
adjust a character's aligment categorization if the one the player estimated
for his character turned out to be incorrect - or if it changes over time.

> Second reason: such a list will have the fatal flaw of having been put
> together by you and it will invariably create biased results. Only
> your impressions of the alignments will come through.

Another fine point. Note that thinking you need a quiz to learn
alignment in the first place means that you are stupid about alignments and
thus should be thwarted from trying to implement your flawed visions at
every opportunity.

> Third reason: There are better things to do with lists. Bad idea:
> creating a 20-questions style list that shakels your PC's into an
> alignment of your choosing. Good idea: coming up with a list of
> background and personal quesions for the players to fill in (shadowrun
> does a decent job of this).

Another fine point.

Ani, continue eating whatever you had for breakfast today. It makes you
say a lot less silly things.

-Michael
March 29, 2005 12:33:19 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Alien mind control rays made alordofchaos@yahoo.com write:
> What I'd like to end up with is a one-page questionnaire - maybe 21
> questions? - for players.

1) Hi, how are ya?
2) What's your name?
3) A/S/L?
4) H?
5) BDSM?
6) WS?

--
\^\ // drow@bin.sh (CARRIER LOST) <http://www.bin.sh/&gt;
\ // - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
// \ X-Windows: Simplicity made complex.
// \_\ -- Dude from DPAK
Anonymous
March 29, 2005 1:28:25 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

alordofchaos@yahoo.com wrote:
> What I'd like to end up with is a one-page questionnaire - maybe 21
> questions? - for players. They'd base the responses on how they
> perceive their character would react to certain situations / moral
> /ethical dilemmas. (I'd go to some of the online "what's your
> alignment" sites, but they're mostly not that great).

D&D has had a questionnaire like this almost from the beginning. You can
find it in the Hero Builder's Guidebook and on the Wizards Web site.
IIRC, it's 36 multiple-choice questions that result in scores for each
of the six alignment categories (G, N, E, L, N, C). The character's
alignment is the category with the highest score on each axis.

> I'd like to end up with ratings (e.g., 1-5 or 1-10) along three axes:
> good/evil, structured/independent, and honorable/opportunistic.

Spectrum scores like this are not very useful, because most people have
(for example) a combination of good and evil motives. A spectrum
discards the difference between somebody who mostly keeps to himself
versus one who has both altruistic and malicious tendencies. Consider:

1. A mostly-good vigilante with a significant cruel streak.
2. A principled mercenary who does good, but only for pay.
3. A mad scientist who destroys lives to achieve his altruistic goals.

A spectrum score puts all three of these near the middle. The HBG
approach says that the first guy is a (flawed) hero, the third guy is a
villain, and only the second guy is truly neutral.

> (breaking out the lawful/chaotic axis into two parts, because there
> are free-spirited, independent, rule-breaking heroes and villians, who
> - despite all else, you can _always_ count on to live up to their
> word, or not turn in their fellow rebels despite the tortures. I get
> tired of the "lawful must always be honest, chaotic can't be trusted")

This isn't a bad idea, but it doesn't seem particularly useful. It's
easier to use the HBG approach with the understanding that few people
are "purely" lawful or chaotic. For example, your free spirit is chaotic
in general, but with a significant lawful streak.

In other words, just as a generally-good vigilante may have a dark side,
a generally-rebellious hero may have a sense of honor. If you have
players who don't understand that, it's a good idea to adjust their
understanding rather than creating more rules to cater to their
ignorance.
--
Bradd W. Szonye
http://www.szonye.com/bradd
Anonymous
March 29, 2005 4:06:27 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Mart van de Wege wrote:
> Lawful Good characters *can* oppose cruel and evil laws,
> and even break such, *without* losing their Lawfulness.

nitpick: You cannot "lose" alignment.

You can *change* alignment.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque
Anonymous
March 29, 2005 9:50:58 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

David Johnston wrote:
> Well, yes, but why would you assume that someone who doesn't do
> anything more malicious than minor theft has an Evil alignment?

Because minor theft is malicious?

-Michael
Anonymous
March 29, 2005 11:00:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Mart van de Wege" <mvdwege.usenet@wanadoo.nl> wrote in message
news:87r7hz81wi.fsf@angua.ankh-morpork.lan...
> is the law). Lawful Good characters *can* oppose cruel and evil laws,
> and even break such, *without* losing their Lawfulness.

Preferring social harmony doesn't mean you foolishly settle for *any*
incarnation of such!

-Michael
Anonymous
March 29, 2005 11:25:51 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Clawhound" <none@nowhere.com> wrote in message
news:o rh2e.2882$Ny6.5255@mencken.net.nih.gov...
> For instance, in normal D&D, you would have the Celestial, Infernal,
> Nature, Abyssal, and non-aligned alignments. Each effects the world, and
> seeks to further the interests of their group. Most Clerics and Paladins
> would be celestially aligned. Druids would be nature aligned. Most
> characters would be non-aligned.

This is a magical version of the allegiance system in D20 Modern, where
there are no alignments but you do list 1-3 entities to which you are
dedicated (be they organizations or philosophies). In a fundamental way,
it *isn't* alignment anymore, as this system can do none of the things that
alignment can do easily (such as determinine who is "close enough" to a
given philosophy for magic associated with it to operate normally), but it's
certainly a self-consistent way of doing business and the explicit
factionalism adds the kinds of richness we've seen in LOTR or in Planescape.

The revision to Detect Alignment is interesting; roots out sworn
assassins of the death cult but not petty thieves... that's perfectly
playable. Undead would still have their infernal allegiance, presumably,
and so the normal monster-hunting tools would work the same, give or take.

You have an important decision to make: Is Factional Alignment, or the
kinds of things that one can be Factionally Aligned with, supernatural? Or
at least inherently extraplanar? Are they organizations of intelligent
outsiders (the "Celestial team") or are they incarnations of philosophies?
Current rules have Fiends that are also aligned with Lawful and Anarchic
factions; would those allegiances be shared, or just "irrelevant" compared
to the overall Infernal connection? (I don't see any great harm in that;
Slaad and Demon Tanar'ri really aren't terribly similar in their goals;
Demons are fiends that happen to be anarchic, as opposed to principled
advocates of disorder; Axiomatic/Anarchic/Celestial/Infernal factions are
plenty to capture the richness of the multiverse).

This is very flexible - new factions and cults can be added simply by
introduction (taking a page from the last dragon, for instance, there might
be a shift somewhere and Far Realm faction wankers could appear to plague
the world).

There is a balance of power issue with respect to "holy" ([aligned])
magic. Do Holy Smite & Holy Word spells and the like, which used to do
damage based on .. "philosophical distance" and could harm friend and foe
alike in varying degrees .. do they now only damage "enemies".. of the
caster ... how is that defined? Enemies of the moment? Enemies of the
faction? Perhaps the solution is to have the spells do the "one step
removed" (ie; neutral) damage to everything but the single "diametric
opposition" faction, with no effect on same-faction individuals? These are
only relevant to the big four, so that produces reasonable enough results;
Celestials blast Infernals and tickle everyone else; "nice" people who
didn't bother to go Celestial will have to stay out of the way - a change -
but then we stay out of Fireballs, too.

-Michael
Anonymous
March 30, 2005 1:17:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"MisterMichael" <mistermichael@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:1112147458.856656.263890@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>
> David Johnston wrote:
>> Well, yes, but why would you assume that someone who doesn't do
>> anything more malicious than minor theft has an Evil alignment?
>
> Because minor theft is malicious?

That would depend greatly upon the motivation for the theft.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
Anonymous
March 30, 2005 2:06:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Tue, 29 Mar 2005 19:25:51 GMT, "Michael Scott Brown"
<mistermichael@earthlink.net> wrote:

> This is a magical version of the allegiance system in D20 Modern, where
>there are no alignments but you do list 1-3 entities to which you are
>dedicated (be they organizations or philosophies). In a fundamental way,
>it *isn't* alignment anymore, as this system can do none of the things that
>alignment can do easily (such as determinine who is "close enough" to a
>given philosophy for magic associated with it to operate normally), but it's
>certainly a self-consistent way of doing business and the explicit
>factionalism adds the kinds of richness we've seen in LOTR or in Planescape.
>
> The revision to Detect Alignment is interesting; roots out sworn
>assassins of the death cult but not petty thieves...

Then again petty thieves wouldn't register on Detect Evil anyway.
Anonymous
March 30, 2005 2:06:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

rgorman@telusplanet.net (David Johnston) wrote in
news:424977c4.187130063@news.telusplanet.net:

> On Tue, 29 Mar 2005 19:25:51 GMT, "Michael Scott Brown"
> <mistermichael@earthlink.net> wrote:

>> The revision to Detect Alignment is interesting; roots out sworn
>>assassins of the death cult but not petty thieves...
>
> Then again petty thieves wouldn't register on Detect Evil anyway.
>

There's a certain amount of internal disagreement as to whether Detect
Evil should detect a Lvl 1 pickpocket mook. The RAW are pretty explicit
that if your alignment is evil, you show up. (Which in and of itself can
be a cover, for those worried about mystery adventures. If you're trying
to find who murdered the king, but half of the staff pings evil, you've
only made so much progress.)
This isn't always remembered by the designers, though. Book of Vile
Darkness, for example, passingly mentions that you don't ping evil to the
spell just for being evil aligned, and the faq/errata for the book
explain, no really, you do.

And if you just mean sufficiently petty that they only get marked as
neutral, not evil, then this whole post is moot.:) 
Anonymous
March 30, 2005 4:50:22 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Tue, 29 Mar 2005 18:38:05 -0600, Chipacabra <chipb@efn.org> wrote:

>rgorman@telusplanet.net (David Johnston) wrote in
>news:424977c4.187130063@news.telusplanet.net:
>
>> On Tue, 29 Mar 2005 19:25:51 GMT, "Michael Scott Brown"
>> <mistermichael@earthlink.net> wrote:
>
>>> The revision to Detect Alignment is interesting; roots out sworn
>>>assassins of the death cult but not petty thieves...
>>
>> Then again petty thieves wouldn't register on Detect Evil anyway.
>>
>
>There's a certain amount of internal disagreement as to whether Detect
>Evil should detect a Lvl 1 pickpocket mook. The RAW are pretty explicit
>that if your alignment is evil, you show up.

Well, yes, but why would you assume that someone who doesn't do
anything more malicious than minor theft has an Evil alignment?
Still, maybe I was too hasty. Some petty thieves would ping as Evil
because they do things like stealing candy from children just for the
fun of hearing them scream or stealing the boots from people who
obviously can't afford to replace them and therefore must go barefoot
in the winter.
Anonymous
March 30, 2005 7:35:53 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On 29 Mar 2005 17:50:58 -0800, "MisterMichael"
<mistermichael@earthlink.net> wrote:

>
>David Johnston wrote:
>> Well, yes, but why would you assume that someone who doesn't do
>> anything more malicious than minor theft has an Evil alignment?
>
> Because minor theft is malicious?

It isn't. It isn't motivated by the desire to cause harm, nor does it
normally involve a great indifference to incidental harm. It is
self-serving, more than malicious.
Anonymous
March 30, 2005 8:25:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"David Johnston" <rgorman@telusplanet.net> wrote in message
news:4249c4cc.206853416@news.telusplanet.net...
> On 29 Mar 2005 17:50:58 -0800, "MisterMichael"
> >David Johnston wrote:
> >> Well, yes, but why would you assume that someone who doesn't do
> >> anything more malicious than minor theft has an Evil alignment?
> >
> > Because minor theft is malicious?
>
> It isn't. It isn't motivated by the desire to cause harm, nor does it
> normally involve a great indifference to incidental harm.

Bullshit.

-Michael
Anonymous
March 30, 2005 12:39:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

On Wed, 30 Mar 2005 04:25:48 GMT, "Michael Scott Brown"
<mistermichael@earthlink.net> wrote:

>"David Johnston" <rgorman@telusplanet.net> wrote in message
>news:4249c4cc.206853416@news.telusplanet.net...
>> On 29 Mar 2005 17:50:58 -0800, "MisterMichael"
>> >David Johnston wrote:
>> >> Well, yes, but why would you assume that someone who doesn't do
>> >> anything more malicious than minor theft has an Evil alignment?
>> >
>> > Because minor theft is malicious?
>>
>> It isn't. It isn't motivated by the desire to cause harm, nor does it
>> normally involve a great indifference to incidental harm.
>
> Bullshit.

Spinach.
Anonymous
March 31, 2005 9:52:22 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Thanks for the info and link, Brad! That's kinda what I'm looking for,
something that's more of an indication of general attitude.
The current campaign has the character's being nominally evil based on
the way they (all orphans) were raised by a vigilante group, but some
of the character's are already feeling uncomfortable about their
methods. Their teachings tell them it's OK to kill innocents to
prevent greater evil, but it'll be interesting to see what they do when
they are on a time-constrained mission and come (coincidentally - yeah,
this is a somewhat contrived side-quest) to an orphanage where
some/most of the kids are infected with lycanthropy (the kindly old
gent running the place managed to get out and bar the doors/windows
from the outside, but they'll eventually break out and his wife is
trapped inside).

I'll be traveling over the next four days or so, and I plan on bringing
the laptop in case the hotel has broadband access and will check it
out.

Doesn't seem like it would be too hard to borrow/expand the questions
(and to add necessary qualifiers (such as the elder's criticism being
just and fair) as well as motivations for the answers - a critical
piece often missing in these types of questionnaires.

Probably what I'll do is grab the existing questions/answers and go
over it with my players to come up with more answers, questions, and
point values (and to make sure we are all understanding the question
the same way).
Anonymous
April 5, 2005 12:52:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

<alordofchaos@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1112277142.937575.149820@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> Thanks for the info and link, Brad!

Bradd.

--
^v^v^Malachias Invictus^v^v^

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the Master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

from _Invictus_, by William Ernest Henley
!