Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Brand-Spanking New Alignment System Which I Will Never Use...

You could say I believe in a descriptive rather than prescriptive approach to alignment. Or you could say I don't give much of fuck about it unless my players do.

Here are the only observed alignment elements I've ever actually seen in a game:

ADD--PC wants to do things. Fast. NOW. Will totally admit to being willing to do the wrong thing as long as it is something.

Sneaky--PC wants to think of clever things to do, then do them. The end is largely irrelevant, the sneaky means is the end.

Greedy--PC wants to get gold, level up, or whatever s/he thinks is worth doing in this game to make him/her more badass.

--PC is fighty.

Curious--PC wants to find out what the fuck is going on in this dungeon/world/city/city-state.

Righteous--PC wants to Do The Right Thing. (Does not include helping fellow PCs, this is a bolt-on characteristic that anybody of any alignment might do.)

Fancy--Player wants to role-play in the Theatre Club sense of the word and does all kinds of seemingly game-goal-not-achieving stuff. May even go so far as to want to use an alignment system.

Laid Back--PC will pretty much do whatever his/her friends are doing.

PCs can also be--re: their fellow PCs--Disruptive, Helpful, or Apathetic, but since everybody is one of these things and it sometimes depends on which fellow PC they're thinking of, it ruins the elegance of the system and I left it out.

An alignment is a string of these words in order of their priority to the PC:

Fafhrd is Righteous Greedy Curious
The Mouser is Greedy Sneaky Curious
Elric is Fancy
Pippin (in the movie) is Laid Back ADD
Bilbo is Fancy Curious

Kimberly Kane always plays Bloodthirsty ADD
Mandy plays Curious Fancy
Connie plays Sneaky ADD Greedy
Frankie plays Sneaky Greedy
Satine plays Fancy Greedy Sneaky
Caroline Pierce is Laid Back
Cameraman Darren is Laid Back Sneaky
McCormick is Righteous
I play Sneaky ADD Curious


mordicai said...

I guess I am Curious Fancy Sneaky. Though I want to make a case for "Clever" or "Opportunistic" or something compared to Sneaky-- the way I tend to play is to be curious, get invested in the world...& find the right point to apply a lever. You find that the princess doesn't want to marry the evil I decide, heck, WE should get married. Or we discover the secret paradise I decide we need to use it to build an army to conquer the afterlife with. I want to kill the goblin warchief...& declare myself his replacement! An ancient vampire has arisen to threaten the king...maybe the vampire can make me an offer! The oracle is an imprisoned primordial acting as a mystical battery...lets make a deal, I'll free you!

Maybe "Ambitious"? I try not to be "Disruptive" but I know people of that alignment, as well.

Zak Sabbath said...

i thought about "ambitious" but it's really just "greedy" (for power, or status or something). i.e. the desire to make the character powerful.

Every player is either "disruptive" or "loyal" like every one is either male or female so i figured it would ruin the elegance of the system to toss it in.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of Robin's Laws; IIRC he calls 'em power gamer and ass-kicker and method actor. I think I like your Fancy better though. Reminds me of Boss Cat.

Zak Sabbath said...


In my opinion, it's a lot more subtle.

Tom Lando said...

I am definitely fancy... I might say righteous, but I don't think I have enough of a handle on morality to make that call. Also, if the rest of my party is up to no good, I tend to help them anyways.

John Matthew Stater said...

I think my characters sample everything but greedy and laid-back.

Carter Soles said...

I'm Curious Fancy Sneaky.

Anonymous said...

I’ve seen all of these, except possibly Fancy. Oh wait, there was that con dude who was just a little too into role playing his jedi...

Anyway, I’m ADD Bloodthirsty Greedy Curious.

mordicai said...

I'm not sure Greedy for Power is what I mean; more I mean I want it to impact the campaign & the setting. Monkeywrencher is maybe too negative in connotations-- you are right about Loyal & Disruptive, by the way-- but I want to surprise the DM, I guess. Hm.

Zak Sabbath said...


In game, I think the effect is the same. The alignment describes the PC, not necessarily the player.

Knightsky said...

I guess I'm Curious-Laid Back-Sneaky-Fancy.

This is probably the most honest alignment system ever.

Pekka said...

My players' aligments include megalomaniacal (usually hunger for magical power) and secretive (likes to have plots and secrets he won't reveal to others).

Adam Dickstein said...

A little Fancy mixed into my Righteous Curious.

I like this alignment system a lot more than most of the ones I've seen. I may have to use it somewhere.

SirAllen said...

Wow, I have been reading since the beginning and I don't know how I missed the McCormick paladin post. That was a great read.

Unknown said...

I've got to say that I'm ADD, Sneaky, and Curious,

Anonymous said...

I think I'm Laid Back ADD.

Does that work?

It seems wrong.

Are they diametrically opposed?

Anonymous said...

For most of the time I'd say I play Bloodthirsty/Laid Back/Greedy. I follow along with the rest of the group as long as sufficient amounts of fighty/looty happen. Though sometimes I get the urge for something non-fighty and then it'd be Sneaky/Laid Back/Greedy.

Anonymous said...

I am aware that I am adding to this a little late. My mind works a little slowly that way.
One alignment that seems to have been forgotten is Cowardly. That is the player who has character survival as a top priority. The player may create a total armored brick, then spend the adventure hiding behind comrades, or may just be overly cautious. In any event, they mainly want to Please God Let Me Live as a goal.

darren e said...

I've abandoned my fancy ways, as they involve asking KK and Connie to be less ADD... which is just no fun.

Mandy said...

Blixa is pretty damn fancy. I've listened to Blixa go through many dungeons. Blixa is always in character.

Anonymous said...

Dude, this is one of the greatest rando posts about DnD I have ever read. It has inspired me to craft my own para-alignment system ( ).

Until I read this post, I never actually used alignment, ever, as it seemed so far removed from both real life (we are not really "Lawful Good" / "Chaotic Evil" / etc., psychologically speaking, except maybe for psychopaths) and from in-game choices.

This post really moves alignment closer to mattering, in the game. And highlights for me how many PCs are ADD / [anything else].

Also, adding "Cowardly" to the mix is a great suggestion.