Thursday, February 11, 2010

Scenario from Alignment

I get a lot of thinking done on the way into work.

Today, I was thinking about alignment. (No, I'm not going to try to define it or anything else that might cause controversy. Sorry.)

Alignment in D&D came directly from Chainmail. And there's this one little line in Chainmail that says:

"Neutral figures can be diced for to determine on which side they will fight, with ties meaning they remain neutral."

Keep in mind that this was written for wargames. My assumption is it was for the referee's aid in planning scenarios ("I'll just check and see whose side the elves will fight on ... oh, tough luck, good guys!"), although one could let the players roll for themselves.

But how would that work in a roleplaying game? Instead of a die roll, you'd send a delegation -- and that's where the player character come in.

Now, you'd want to make sure that the party was mostly, if not all, of one alignment. (Some more 'immersion' type roleplayers would probably enjoy having an all-Lawful party with one guy who was secretly Chaotic ... but a lot of groups would find him out and then kill him instantly. You have to know your group.) You could have some neutrals, and it would be good to have a representative if possible (elves, for instance, are in both the Lawful and Neutral columns -- so if going for a neutral tribe of elves, it might help to have an elf in the party.)

If you have a large war, or a lot of little wars, you could build a whole campaign around this idea. And if not, you could still make an adventure out of it.

Anyway, I haven't done much with this idea, but I thought it was too good to just ignore.

Thoughts, comments, suggestions? I'm open.


Unknown said...

That "Know Alignment" spell and other alignment specific things (Languages, Magic Items, etc) can make pretending to be some other Alignment tricky in D&D. :)

Will Douglas said...

Yeah, that's true...if you have that spell handy. I don't see any reference to in in Men & Magic or in Greyhawk (and if it isn't in there, it pretty much doesn't exist in my world) (or you have to research it yourself).

But in AD&D and later, sure. But then, they have more alignments to worry about, so they need that kind of help!