On Mon, 8 Sep 2003, Kenneth Gauck wrote:

> There are backround assumptions behind all mechanics. One`s game

> cosmology (the world you want to construct for the purposes of gaming)

> will influence how you interpret rules and which one`s you`ll find

> suitable and unsuitable.

Agreed wholeheartedly. In some sense, I am interested in rules primarily

as a way of learning about the underlying cosmology, and many of my

arguments for why I want to change certain rules are primarily


> Its another indeed to argue that a game that is based on Manichæism,

> Zoroastrianism, or any other good-evil dualism in which I can detect

> the agents, work, and powers of the opposite forces, and have spells

> that reflect my own commitment either to the light or to the dark is

> childish or foolish.

I suppose I had never seen it this way. Indeed, if it had ever been

presented in anything like this manner in the D&D products I`ve read, it

might not have irritated me quite so intensely. That said, while I might

be interested to play in a world with as philosophically sophisticated an

idea of alignment as yours, I have yet to see anyone else in favor of

alignment present so cogent an argument. Would you allow me to rephrase

my statement? Let me then say that if this really is the idea underlying

D&D`s alignment system, that the treatment it has been given over the

years by E. Gary Gygax et al. is so simplistic as to make the whole

concept seem significantly more foolish and childish than it ought to be.

The only unifying theme I had ever been able to detect on my own in D&D`s

alignment system is "we describe these ideas so poorly and in such an

exaggerated fashion that we think the height of roleplaying is to choose

one of these nine grossly stereotyped ways in which to act insane."

> Alignment is not a training wheels for role play, or a bungled

> psychology, it is a lurking cosmology which lays behind D&D as much

> its naturophilia, its planar structure, or its magical system.

Then D&D has bungled *its presentation* of its cosmological ideas (in

fact, it seems to mock them), since so many of us can see in them only

such simplemindedness, not the intriguing system you describe.

Ryan Caveney