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  1. #1
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    Feb 2003
    I am posting Geeman's reply here to a topic that started somewhere else (Monks in Cerilia on the BRCS forum, I believe). Somehow his reply ended up in the Birthright Enhancement forum under a totally unrelated thread. So, to keep a good discussion going, here's what he wrote:

    OK, let me try this again. I managed, somehow, to hit that odd combination
    of keys that not only undid several of my points on this subject, but
    actually sent the post.... Sneezing and keyboarding don`t mix.

    At 04:43 PM 9/9/2003 +0200, Osprey wrote:

    > I agree with most of what was said. Myers-Briggs alignments? Now
    > that`s funny!

    I think the D&D alignment is a goofy game mechanical expression of a not
    very clearly defined concept, liberally borrowed from a few fantasy authors
    (and badly misunderstood from those sources at that) and then used as the
    basis of a lot of silly extrapolation into the game. In my experience it
    really does wind up being a sort of short-hand for role-playing. While
    there are many permutations of personality types possible under the banner
    of "lawful good" characters, I`m sure we`ve all seen the stereotypical
    version of that alignment played out with requisite smarm. Similarly, the
    number of "chaotic evil" characters that wind up being played out as
    utterly psychotic, remorseless murderers with a death wish that makes a
    Kamikaze pilot look like Jain monk. That`s not 100% the fault of the
    alignment system, since people have a tendency to go "lowest common
    denominator" when it comes to both good/evil and characterization. It is,
    however, an amazingly simplistic description of morality and IMO lends
    itself to shallow interpretation.

    I haven`t implemented this yet, but I really like the idea of a point based
    "allegiance" system rather than the alignments of D&D. Basically one has a
    point value (based on character level) that one assigns to various
    DM-outlined concepts, organizations, gods, etc. A 10th level character
    might have (if one were playing the Meyer`s/Briggs D20 game) Extrovert 2,
    Feeling 3, Judging 5 as his allegiance values. I like this better than
    alignments for BR in particular since we have all those nice

    1. It provides an answer to the question "how evil?" that is occasionally
    asked in gaming as it is no where else in the omniverse. That is, with a
    point value assigned doing something as ubiquitous as detecting for evil
    can be more intelligently done.

    2. It allows for more areas of morality than law/chaos and good/evil.

    3. It provides a system of loyalty to things like nations, religious
    organizations, etc. Many people view "good" or "evil" as what is good or
    bad for the organization they support which is, in effect, a
    morality. It`s often a twisted and childish morality, but it`s a morality
    nonetheless, and an allegiance system would reflect that kind of person.

    4. It can be used as the basis of prereqs for prestige classes. A
    blackguard might have to have `evil 5` in his allegiances, a "patriarch"
    prestige class might have to have points in allegiance to that organization
    amongst his allegiances, etc.

    5. Using this sort of thing as a shorthand for role-playing is pretty much
    inevitable, so a more articulated system at least gives players a broader
    range of themes to express.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    I'm also importing Lord Rahvin's post on D20 Modern Allegiances as a way to consolidate this discussion into a single thread. Hope you don't mind, milord. I forgot you had started that thread until after I'd already posted this topic.

    The following material is from d20Modern. I have mentioned before that I
    believe a lot of d20modern concepts and rules are more appropriate for
    Birthright then D&D concepts and rules. The recent talks of alignment
    prompted me to post this section on Allegiances. This material is Open Game
    Content, and is licensed for public use under the terms of the Open Game
    License v1.0a.


    The allegiances system is optional.

    A character may have up to three allegiances, listed in order from most
    important to least important. These allegiances are indications of what the
    character values in life, and may encompass people, organizations, or
    ideals. A character may have no allegiances (being either a free spirit or a
    lone wolf) or may change allegiances as he or she goes through life. Also,
    just because the character fits into a certain category of people doesn’t
    mean the character has to have that category as an allegiance.
    If the character acts in a way that is detrimental to his or her allegiance,
    the GM may choose to strip the character of that allegiance (and all its
    benefits) and assign an allegiance more suitable to those actions.

    Pledging Allegiance
    A hero’s allegiance can take the form of loyalty to a person, to an
    organization, to a belief system, to a nation, or to an ethical or moral
    philosophy. In general, a character can discard an allegiance at any time,
    but may only gain a new allegiance after attaining a new level.
    Having an allegiance implies having sufficient intelligence and wisdom to
    make a moral or ethical choice. As a result, a character must have
    Intelligence and Wisdom scores of 3 or higher in order to select

    Allegiances include, but are not limited to, the following examples.
    Person or Group: This includes a leader or superior, a family, a group of
    linked individuals (such as a band of adventurers or a cell of secret
    agents), or a discrete unit within a larger organization (such as members of
    the character’s squad or platoon, or individuals whose safety the character
    is responsible for).
    Organization: This may be a company or corporation, a gathering of
    like-minded individuals, a fraternal brotherhood, a secret society, a branch
    of the armed forces, a local, state, or national government, a university,
    an employer, or an otherwise established authority.
    Nation: This may or may not be the nation that the hero currently resides
    in. It may be where the individual was born, or where the hero resides after
    emigrating to a new home.
    Belief System: This is usually a particular faith or religion, but can also
    be a specific philosophy or school of thought. Belief systems could also
    include political beliefs or philosophical outlooks.
    Ethical Philosophy: This describes how one feels about order, as represented
    by law and chaos. An individual with a lawful outlook tends to tell the
    truth, keep his or her word, respect authority, and honor tradition, and he
    or she expects others to do likewise. An individual with a chaotic outlook
    tends to follow his or her instincts and whims, favor new ideas and
    experiences, and behave in a subjective and open manner in dealings with
    Moral Philosophy: This describes one’s attitude toward others, as
    represented by good and evil. An individual with a good allegiance tends to
    protect innocent life. This belief implies altruism, respect for life, and a
    concern for the dignity of other creatures. An evil allegiance shows a
    willingness to hurt, oppress, and kill others, and to debase or destroy
    innocent life.

    Allegiances and Influence
    An allegiance can create an empathic bond with others of the same
    allegiance. With the GM’s permission, the character gains a +2 circumstance
    bonus on Charisma-based skill checks when dealing with someone of the same
    allegiance—as long as the character has had some interaction with the other
    character to discover the connections and bring the bonus into play.

    -Lord Rahvin

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Interesting. Personally, I don't find the alignments too restrictive, as they are really just frameworks.

    However, I feel that if you're going to drop alignments, then you need to go all the way. No alignments, no point systems, no "allegiances", just the character. You need to have a very good handle on their motivations and beliefs, but it probably would be very liberating.

    As an example, Detect Evil might not pick up that murderer who is returning an orphan's kitten, but the paladin on his way to remorselessly slay an enemy of his faith could register. You could have all sorts of gradations of sensitivity.

    If you're going to drop the alignments, then liberate the characters, don't just give them another set of rules and strange stats to keep track of. That's how I feel anyway.
    I could die, or the king could die, or the horse could learn to sing . . .

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