Alignment Heresy and A Reformation: Pruning the Nine Alignments
by, 04-07-2012 at 07:53 AM (952 Views)
D&D 4th Edition assumes that the most important distinctions are between Good and Evil, for some definition of Good and Evil. What if we consider Law and Chaos as primary? Three of our alignments then become Lawful, Unaligned, and Chaos.
Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil could round out the set ... but really, people follow the Law always think of themselves as doing so for the Greater Good, and there's little difference between capricious and malevolent. Let's try something interesting.
Using the LotFP/Carcosa versions of alignment (again), here are our five alignments:
Lawful: The Powers that Be have chosen you for a great destiny. What that destiny is, you don't know, but you have faith they will lead you to it. It's all part of the Divine Plan. (Examples: Luke Skywalker, King Arthur, Buffy Summers.)
Lawful Evil: The Powers that Be have chosen you for a destiny ... as a monster, an object of terror, a warning to others. You are the Left Hand of the Gods, but nevertheless you do Their will. (Examples: The Operative from Serenity, Leto II from God-Emperor of Dune, the Angel of Death)
Unaligned: Sometimes you believe someone is watching over you, and sometimes you think it's all random. But you don't know, really, and the answer doesn't really matter in your daily life.
Chaotic: We live in a huge, uncaring universe, where incomprehensible powers could extinguish what we call "reality" at any moment. All one can do is gather power and survive as long as possible. (Examples: almost every H. P. Lovecraft character, Elric of Melnibone, Roy Batty.)
Chaotic Good: In an uncaring universe, nobody will save us but ourselves. As the vampire said, "If nothing we do matters, all that matters is what we do." Justice, peace, and happiness are all the more precious for being transitory, so preserving a small portion even one day is a victory. (Examples: Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, practically all hard boiled detectives, agents of Delta Green.)