Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Hybrid Stat Block: Alignment

Today we continue taking a look at my ideas for a classic edition/4th edition stat block for my upcoming 4e Forever project. We are getting very close to the end of the series. I have found it helpful to talk about my ideas here, and I feel it has been a good way to not only show some of the stats that will be listed, but also the philosophy behind including/excluding things. Today we tackle alignment.

Lots of folks love the way 1e did alignment, and lots of folks hate it. 9 alignments always felt like a lot to me, and I was never completely sold on the whole punishment thing for PCs that deviated from alignment. 4e simplified it considerably, but still ended up feeling a bit like "damaged goods" to me. For creature alignment in 4e Forever, my choice was easy: take it back to OD&D.

In the Men and Magic book in the OD&D set, alignment is handled in a pure, straightforward, non-mechanical manner. "It is...necessary to determine the stance the character will take: Law, Neutrality, or Chaos." Me likey. There is no other explanation, no in-depth analysis, no forced punishments. Just Law, Neutrality, and Chaos. It seems to me so much more grand to think in terms of law and order, entropy and chaos, rather than tired old good and evil. If you go back to Chainmail, Gygax states that, "It is impossible to draw a distinct line between 'good' and 'evil' fantastic figures." I wholeheartedly agree. I could speculate on why this later changed; maybe people playing supposedly chivalric knights that steal from the poor? Who knows? All I know is that it eventually went sour, at least in my opinion. By Eldritch Wizardry, Gygax was already showing signs of the (needless) complications to come.

Anyways, in Men and Magic it was pure. That is what I want. At first, I was tempted to not provide alignments at all, but I actually quite like the OD&D alignments, and they help provide a little old-school flavor. So there we have it!

Love it? Hate it? Please share any thoughts!

1 comment:

  1. Love it. Good and evil are such relative terms. Order and chaos, however, are not, and a meeting of people on opposite sides of this scale can be way more interesting than a meeting of people on opposite sides of the overdone good-evil scale.