Tuesday, September 6, 2011

No Alignments

So the countdown the to new AD&D campaign is started.  All the players have their concepts, Rob created his so I am waiting on Brian and Rusty to finish theirs.  Rusty is thinking of doing a cleric or cleric/magic-user.  I finished the pantheon over the weekend, I think it ended up being 13 gods, two of which are dead and one that in a catatonic state. 

When I finished the pantheon I decided not to use alignments.  I just feel they won't fit in with the world I'm building.  I want players to have the freedom to slide a little up and down the good, evil or neutral scale.  A cleric will of course need to play within the philosophy of their god to have their spells granted. 

A paladin is just a title for one god's champions.  Each god will have their version of a champion that will have special abilities as long as they adhere to their god's will.  I have most of those figured out.

Working on the background now and a map.  I wish I knew how to use those mapping programs, but I'll be drawing this one by hand.  Which I like, but i have a lousy scanner and sometimes it doesn't come out.  Anyway, it's Tuesday (blah), lunch is over and I'm looking forward to doing more work on the campaign when I get home.


  1. Good luck on playing without an alignment, as an outsider to the greater world of D & D I found the alignment system both fascinating and frustrating. I do like The Secret Fire's take on character motivation.

  2. You can always interpret "Detect Good/Evil" and "Protection from..." spells from the POV of the PCs. In other words, if someone intends to do evil to you, you can detect it. If that same (equally nefarious) character does not personally wish *you* harm, then the detection/protection isn't triggered. Or perhaps they simply detect aggressive thoughts and show which way they're directed.

    In any case, a lot of magic has to be reconsidered when you ditch alignment in AD&D.

  3. A few years ago I posted an article discussing how, as gods grow in power, they might lose attachment to any particular alignment (or even mortal interest). The God of Magic cannot be any alignment because in mastering the portfolio he has to incorporate all aspects of the portfolio, good, bad, and indifferent. Similarly, the God of Death is not good or evil, he just is.

    You can read the article at http://www.kjd-imc.org/2008/08/01/gods-and-alignment/.

    I have also explored holy warriors as a more generic replacement for paladins(short form: like fighters, but swap out combat feats for divine feats). I have also looked at replacing paladin casting with cleric casting at half rate, including domain access. At the time I originally wrote that (it's not on my blog) clerics had only a very small core spell list, plus access to the spells of all their god's domains (two of which they could cast from spontaneously). I don't remember if paladins also got the spontaneous casting (it never came up) but it seems to me a paladin of Fire and Destruction should always have the option of burnination, so I suspect I would have allowed it.

    ... I should see if I can dig up that post to RGFD, this is the second time in a week I've referred to it.


  4. Thanks Padre. And I agree about the alignment system being fascinating and frustrating. After I did the pantheon I decided that trying to fit them into a definted alignment was too restrictive.

    amp108 > What do with that usually is Detect Enemy. And I usually just drop the good/evil and just call it Protect. And it's not too difficult to make adjustments to the magic. Takes a small amount of time, but its fun.

  5. Keith > Thanks, I'll give it to look over.

  6. Hexographer is very, very easy to use and the free version rocks! I mean very, very easy to use.

    Personally, I like GIMP. Not easy to use, but still free. :) Worth the time investment.

  7. Also, regarding detect evil, you might be interested in FantasyCraft alignments. Some examples they give are of specific powers (gods); each is functionally its own alignment. Each has allies (which would presumably ping as 'good') and opponents or adversaries (which would ping as 'evil'). So, each god (or group of related and allied gods) is an alignment unto itself.

    Sure, it's an "us vs. them" kind of alignment, but it lets you have your cosmic team jersey without having to try to fit other peoples' conceptions of "Lawful Good".

  8. @James: GIMP's not that hard to use, really... once you know how to do it. The learning curve for overland maps isn't too, too harsh, I think.

    RobA did a very good tutorial for regional maps at the Cartographer's Guild. I can find a link to the tutorial later (lunch break is just about over).

  9. Tim, I recommend Hexographer. If I can use it trained monkeys can use it!