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 Post subject: Alignment as Political
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:09 am 
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Cold-Blooded Diabolist

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I played in a great C&C campaign online (best fantasy grounds experience ever) that was loosely based in medieval Spain. The DM did an interesting thing with alignment, which was basically do away with the high concepts and bring it down to a more political level. So, in this instances, alignment was Church, State, Outlaw. I'm interested in doing something similar -- even moreso with the way that gods and patrons play such a larger role in the game mechanics of DCC. I've always struggled a bit with the high concepts of Law/Chaos/Good/Evil in the context of real interaction between characters and NPCs of different races, religions and nationalities. Probably nitpicky, but a gaming concept for "motivation" (probably a better word for this) that sets a tone for a given interaction.

This can all be dealt with in roleplaying, but I think the alignment system as a whole had the same goal -- give the *Player* a guideline within the context of the campaign world for his character's disposition. Without writing detailed histories for various countries and races and scriptures for every religion, it's a shorthand for the Player to understand that when his Knight of the Great Kingdom meets a Knight of the Commonwealth on the road, there are conflicting national and possibly religious goals that affect that interaction.

Dunno. Probably overthinking it.

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment as Political
PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:48 pm 
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No, I think that this is a great idea! 8)

Keep in mind that Arneson's original alignment was based on miniatures battles with "us" and "them" with neutrals thrown into the mix. You could do "King John" versus "Robin Hood" as alignments. Or "Fellowship" against "Sauron." There is no reason why you need to follow a Poul Anderson / Michael Moorcock "law/chaos" model or a "good/evil" one. The advantage to using Law/Chaos or Good/Evil is that clerics tend to be more meaningful.

The secret to a good alignment system is to break up the campaign into factions so that folks are going with or against someone else. Your post clearly does this.

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment as Political
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:53 am 
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I think you're on the right track.

I broached the subject in this "Opinions on DCC RPG Alignment" thread I started a while back.

As I mentioned there, I'm a big fan of history, and when I think of the great campaigns (England vs. France, Crusaders vs. Saladin, even Colonial American vs. King George's England), "good vs. evil" really becomes your perspective on those whose ideals conflict with your own ideals. Both sides could be lawful/chaotic or something in-between. I'm going to try to explore things like "Lawful-Kingdom A sympathizer" as an example.

I don't have the book in front of me, but I remember there was a passage in "The Temple of Elemental Evil" where Gygax wrote something to the effect of, "the folks in the temple want to see a world dominated by the elemental gods and therefore, from a humanocentric point of view, are evil." That phrase of a "humanocentric point of view" has always stuck with me.

In the current adventure I'm writing I'm going to be exploring the use of politics in the adventure more-so than I have in any of my past games. I'm hoping briefly describing the motives of characters/critters in any given situation will help make the game play more enjoyable. Worst case scenario, the Judge can ignore all those "Background and Motivations" fluff sections I'm writing :)


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 Post subject: Re: Alignment as Political
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:31 pm 
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finarvyn wrote:
No, I think that this is a great idea! 8)


Thanks!
finarvyn wrote:
The advantage to using Law/Chaos or Good/Evil is that clerics tend to be more meaningful.


Actually, this is the main reason I'm doing this -- to make clerics more meaningful -- One of the passages in the DCC beta actually hearkened me back to that online game: (from the Sinful Use of Divine Power section under Cleric): (a sin includes) healing a character of an opposed alignment, healing or aiding a character of an opposed belief or deity (even if of the same alignment)

So, does that mean that a cleric of God A, that's the national religion of the Great Kingdom, shouldn't heal a subject of the Commonwealth because the two nations are at war? Maybe. Adds some moral tones, sorta. Adds some consequences for doing what the cleric might think is "right" from a human-centric perspective, but "wrong" from the perspective of his religion. Conflict = Win. Priests know the mind of a god only slightly better than the laymen. (and I think that's why I like DCC -- it added a bit of realistic ambiguity and consequences for your seemingly normal RPG choices.)

Anyway, want to figure out a workable religious and political-based alignment system that doesn't get in the way of the game and adds something meaningful. Plus, who knows if my group will even go for it. They're more of a "kill the goblins and take their stuff" style of players.

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 Post subject: Re: Alignment as Political
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:55 pm 
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There was a system or setting from Green Ronin games whose name escapes me that was kind of interesting and probably better for use with DCCRPG. Instead of creating alignments for deities, create religions. Each religion might of itself be mono- or poly-theistic and large enough religions could even have warring sects within the same religion. Religions can be more or less common depending on region and how old or young they are. Large cities might have a temple district where several religions have buildings and where they at least tolerate each other's existence. Villages might be strictly devoted to a specific religion and refuse to trade goods, put up at the inn, etc, non-believers.

Gate Guard: "Ye ain't no Sons of the Seven Wonders. Where's yer Seven Beads of Agony?"
Party Leader: "I lost it out in the wild. We were caught in a mud slide and all the beads broke. We thought we were gonners."
Gate Guard: ***"Well, you seem like decent folk. I have a few spares I can sell you for 10 crowns (gp) each"
Party Cleric: "I think I have an issue with this."

*** Or the guard slams the gates closed and considers the party anathema, abandoned by the gods. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Alignment as Political
PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:14 pm 
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jmucchiello wrote:
Each religion might of itself be mono- or poly-theistic and large enough religions could even have warring sects within the same religion. Religions can be more or less common depending on region and how old or young they are. Large cities might have a temple district where several religions have buildings and where they at least tolerate each other's existence. Villages might be strictly devoted to a specific religion and refuse to trade goods, put up at the inn, etc, non-believers.


This is the approach I'm taking. There's an "official" pantheon for the Imperials (and some legacy/break away nations), a collection of "tribal" gods, and a couple of random ones. And there are rivalries and alliances (both shifting) between and within all of them.

But, overall, I think that the role of religion has been overlooked and/or avoided for much of the RPG world (other than the powers you get from a certain god as a cleric) while religion was (and is) a prime mover in people's lives throughout history, from the peasant in the field to the lord in the castle to the poor sap on the battlefield. You can't point to any major historical period (in any society) without considering the religious implications -- and many of the major events of a period were dominated by religion and religious conflicts. Anyway...trying to construct an interesting take on it from a gaming perspective without overly complicating things.

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The Mystic Bull: Our new publishing website. Have a submission? PM me.
In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer: 12 Short Adventures for DCC!
The God-Seed Awakens: 3rd Level Adventure for DCC. New patron, new spells, lots of new monsters and the living weapons of the Empire of Thal!
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 Post subject: Re: Alignment as Political
PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:08 pm 
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I'd suggest to the OP to find a copy of AD&D Planescape Campaign Setting.

It's all based on factions rather than alignments. I think my first DCC campaign will use that setting for the roleplaying opportunities it presents, and the ease with which you can jump from one environment to a totally different one.

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