----- Original Message -----

From: "Osprey" <brnetboard@BIRTHRIGHT.NET>

Sent: Thursday, September 11, 2003 10:52 AM

> Alignments, for most player-characters, are general guidelines or

> natures, which I think works fine. If they are dogma for the fanatics

> and zealots, that`s OK, because they are a minority. The shades of

> gray are essential to believable characters with depth and internal

> conflicts, and thus "guidelines" becomes far more appropriate for a

> mature game than strict definitions of personality and behavior.

I don`t think the alignment system was every very strict. The only

penalties that ever accrued was from acting contrary to one`s alignment to a

significant degree. Clear definitions are easier to use than vague ones.

That doesn`t mean that the crisp definition means everyone needs to have

stereotypcal behavior. Alignments are a lable of behavior, not a prior

guide to behavior.

> I like to have players develop individual character histories,

> backgrounds, and personalities, and then see how alignment

> overlaps with that.

I rather think good players have always done this. This fits the "lable

of", rathern than the "guide to" model of alignments. What I think has

often confused players is that alignment is both a description of one`s

place in the cosmos and a description of the cosmos itself, in terms as I

have described dualistically. The cosmological implications of alignment

(as opposed to the personal) are only manifest in extra-planar beings,

spells, and forces. Just as Soloman can be wise, but his god is wiser,

Nichaleir can be just, but his god is more just. Nichaleir chooses to be

just because it satisfies his personal wants and needs (which have become

tied up ideologically with Haelyn, but are still only choices, he could

become apostate) justice is integral to the being of Haelyn. Haelyn can no

more be unjust than the XP god can create a stone he cannot lift.

> The result is very often some sort of neutral alignment, which allows

> those shades of gray more easily than the extreme ones (LG, CG,

> CE, LE). But the extremes can be fun for extreme characters, so

> I`m glad they`re there.

As I see it, LN, NG, CN, and NE are the extream alignments, and LG, CG, CE,

and LE are more neutral because the recognize two virtues. True neutral

recognzies four. LN only recognizes one virtue: order. It is moderated and

constrained by no competing virtue. LG constrains its admiration for order

by its compassion, and its compassion by order. It provides many more

choices for the moral quandry. Its easy to play a LN character, all you

have to do is pick the pro-order position. Nothing else need burden you.

Use compassion or cruelty, it doesn`t matter. The LG character can easily

find compassion and order in conflict. The LG character might favor the

needs of the good one time and the needs of the law at another. All that is

requried is that he honors both. The true neutral has the hardest role to

play, since he can favor none, and must honor all.

Kenneth Gauck