Monday, June 24, 2013

Family & Alignment

A quick thought spurred by the Voriskoghn post earlier.

In the Voriskoghn, family is the unit of society.  There is no feudal order, no obligations to anyone outside of your blood relatives.

So maybe alignment only applies to family.  A Lawful person acts in accord with their family, a Neutral person usually does, and a Chaotic person is, well, chaotic.  There is no allegiance to anyone outside the family, so behaving badly does not make someone Chaotic.

Where this gets interesting is with religion.  If family is the primary allegiance, faith must be secondary.  The relationship between a priest and her deity is personal, but between the priest and the church organization?  Not so much.  So family trumps church.

Which means, if you want healing, you're better off with your cousin Foul Phil, who slaughters kittens and worships the Lord of Disease in his basement, than you are with Holy Howard, the Helpful Healer, whose family is at war with yours.

Foul Phil may be a wicked bastard, but he's YOUR wicked bastard.

Edit: To clarify, both Phil and Howard are Lawful.  Neither will kill, maim, or seriously harm members of their family.  Phil, however, is Lawful (evil), and Howard is Lawful (good).  Howard's family is at war with yours, though, so Howard is perfectly justified in taking advantage of your wounded condition and finishing you off, and he'll still sleep well and be Lawful (good) afterwards. (On the bright side, he will probably kill you cleanly and quickly. No such luck if you run into his brother, Horrible Harry, the Lawful (evil) cleric of disease (and Foul Phil's archenemy and rival since seminary school.)


  1. Family trumps Church? The Church is a family. I get where you're going though. Perhaps you could have 'church' as an option when choosing your 'family'. For my campaigns I like the idea of Lawful and Chaotic being cosmic entities and I would think the Church would be aligning with Law. Those tree-hugging druids in the woods could be anything...

  2. The church organization (other priests) isn't automatically family. I don't think it makes sense that all the priests of the god of murder are automatically going to get along. And there's no reason that a deity can't promote an individual/personal relationship over a dogmatic, organizational relationship.

    In other campaigns I would, and have, cosmic entities, but that's not what I'm going for here. The idea of setting up something like this is to establish a certain feel in a campaign. You don't get to choose family. Giving the players an easy out undercuts that.

    Just to be clear, I'm not talking about the Catholic Church or Eastern Orthodox Church. Fantasy game, fantasy deities, fantasy church.

  3. You present similar ideas to my own regarding Paladins, only you've extend the concept.

    Interesting. Should make for some intriguing game play.