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Monday, September 28, 2020

Practical, Intellectual, Natural, Supernatural

Previously, I posted about a weird alignment idea based on a compass rose in an xkcd map, involving two axes:

  • Practical vs. Intellectual
  • Focus on Real Life vs. Focus on the Web, which I recharacterized as Real World vs. Dream World

I decided that a better way to explain the second axis would be Natural vs. Supernatural, and then came up with the following crude graphic resembling the alignment chart from Holmes Basic or the PHB.

The PINS Alignment System

You may notice that I’ve included example creatures, professions, and areas of interest.

  • Supernatural Intellectual is the domain of Mysticism spirits, and rakshashas.
  • Natural Intellectual is the domain of both Philosophy (more intellectual than natural) and Science (more natural than intellectual,) as well as titans.
  • Natural Practical is the domain of Art and Craft and various craftspeople like smiths.
  • Supernatural Practical is the domain of Thaumaturgy (practically-oriented magic) and Theurgy (divine magic and worship,) as well as djinni and godlings.

Priests are supernatural, but straddle the line between Intellectual and Practical. Sages are intellectual, but straddle the line between Natural and Supernatural. These are both ranges, with some priests and sages falling more on one side, others falling more on the opposite side.

Dwarves are frequently portrayed in D&D as materialistic and unmagical, so I’ve placed them here straddling the line between Intellectual and Practical, but on the Natural side, in contrast to priests. Obviously, in your own campaign, you could characterize dwarves differently, and could find places for any other monsters and races desired.

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