2009-08-25 Three Kinds of Alignment

I read a German post on alignment – Gesinnung — Ja, welche denn and liked his approach. He basically postulates three different interpretations:

  1. alignment as faction – one faction honors the gods and civilization, the other wants to destroy and possibly remake the world. On what side are you on? This is what Jeff's Threefold Apocalyptic Alignment System is all about.
  2. alignment as ideal – your aligment is what you are striving for; the key here is your intent – did you try to be good even if you failed?
  3. alignment as measure – no matter what you intentions, the key is your deeds – if innocent people died, then that’s evil.

Up to now I started new campaigns by explaining that I wanted to avoid the discussion of ethics and get on with the game. I’ve also started asking my players Jeff’s question: The end of the world has come – Thor fights the Fenrir wolf! Do you take sides or do you grab the gold and run? It has worked just fine until now, but I see that my players still slip into the other categories – specially if we have paladins in the party. Perhaps I should preface this by alignment by the three categories mentioned above and make it even more explicit.

Also note James Maliszewski’s The Changing Meaning of "Alignment" in OD&D blog post.



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