Wednesday, November 22, 2017

D&D Alignments Seen Through a Pseudo-Nolan Matrix

If you've ever played D&D or Pathfinder, you know that sometimes alignments are difficult to wrap one's head around. If you're a Game Master, you've likely had to explain them to a new player, which can be difficult as the explanations are rather longwinded.

Given today's political climate, I thought it would be interesting to define the alignments along David Nolan's political spectrum chart.

Evil: Selfish.
Good: Selfless.
Neutral: I do whatever I need to do.

Chaotic: Individualist.
Lawful: Statist.
Neutral: Stop bothering me.

So put them together and this is what you get:

Lawful Good: The state is more important than any one person, including me. I'll give my life to defend it.
Lawful Neutral: The state IS. It needs no reason to exist other than its existence.
Lawful Evil: The state is more important than anyone except me. I'll use its power to get what I want.

Neutral Good: I'll use whatever means necessary to accomplish the most good.
Neutral: I do whatever I need to do. Stop bothering me.
Neutral Evil: I'll use whatever means necessary to accomplish whatever I want.

Chaotic Good: The individual is more important than the state. If necessary, the state should die to protect the rights of the individual.
Chaotic Neutral: Smash the state! Stasis kills, be dynamic!
Chaotic Evil: State or no state, I am more important than you. You should die to make me happy.

I know that this glosses over lots of fine points and fiddly bits that grognards love, but I really like this simplification for a "root level" of alignment. Everything else is just derived from this.


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