... now with 35% more arrogance!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Amoral Alignment

Everyone's talking about alignment again. Michael Curtis, Michael Shorten (Chgowiz), pulcherius of Dice of Doom. I've already talked about it extensively, but I'll add my own quick thoughts to the current mix.
  • To me, "neutral" isn't an alignment, it's the lack of one.
  • I prefer a two-alignment Law/Chaos system to Good/Evil or a two-axis system, because...
  • I don't interpret Law and Chaos as personality descriptions or moral guidelines, but as factions in cosmic conflict.
  • Aligned people and monsters have a supernatural "taint" (which can be detected) and minor powers granted by this taint, which more powerful alignment leaders can take away at their (dis)pleasure.
Thus, servants of Law can kill people, even Lawful ones, and can spread anarchy, and may or may not get punished for their actions. Servants of Chaos and Law can travel together and aid one another; the powers that be don't care about stuff like that, only whether their servants are helping or hindering their cause.

Protection from Evil, in this interpretation, isn't protection from an alignment, but from evil intent.

I have a swords & sorcery setting with unique alignment rules on the backburner that I'm calling "Malignment" for now, unless I come up with a better name. It has two opposed alignments, locked in a cosmic struggle, but the alignments aren't Good/Evil or Law/Chaos, but Legend/Dream. It's a very Michael Moorcock/Elric-flavored setting. I'm proud of it.


  1. I know this is a super old post but just discovered the blog. Legend/Dream sounds very cool for an alignment system but I’m not sure what exactly it would mean. I assume one is last focused and one is future focused with tradition vs change as elements but (and I don’t know if comments on old posts notify you) anything beyond the one line about Legend and Dream would be super cool to read.

    1. Hi! No, I don't get notified, but I do check the blogger panel once or twice a day for comments that need to be moderated.

      Legend and Dream are still something I'm working on. They aren't past/future or tradition/change. Don't have time to go into it right now, but the short answer is Legend makes things more extreme (the tallest mountain, the strongest man) while Dream combines things (monstrous hybrids, islands in the sky.) So, although the two are opposed, they aren't actually opposites... something can be tainted by both Legend and Dream at the same time.

    2. Okay, so it's been a while, but can't think of another place to ask. Am I hallucinating or did there use to be a post on this blog called Malignment that described these in more details and gave an example of an ox with wings and hairy people living in a jungle. I've looked all over for that post and I'm at a total loss.

    3. I don't remember those specific examples, but it's entirely possible that there was a post like that.

    4. Not usually, but I had an incident a couple years ago where someone was redistributing my material (and material of other bloggers) without permission and possibly charging money for it. I removed a number of "brainstorming" posts for future projects that weren't ready for publication because I didn't want my work misrepresented.

    5. Ah, then the post I'm thinking of was almost certainly one such "brainstorming" post for Malignment.