FrankenFourth: Alignments

I'd been considering for awhile now whether I even wanted to bother with alignment in FrankenFourth. Sure, on forums it's a never-ending bitch-fest about what alignment means, but in-game it almost never comes up except maybe as a way for the DM to threaten or punish you (ie, if you do that thing you'll become Evil and/or I'll dock XP), or maybe the occasional spell or ability (ie, protection from good/evil).

I'd heard a looong time ago that alignment was originally derived in some form or other from Michael Moorcock's Elric novels, but I'd only fairly recently gotten around to reading Stormbringer. From what I recall Elric was actually aligned with the forces of Chaos, and could try calling on them for aid with varying degrees of success.

That sounds way more interesting than providing personality guidelines for gamers to argue and complain about, or perhaps rendering you susceptible/immune to a handful of magical abilities. Under this system, you actually swear fealty to the forces of Law or Chaos (and maybe Good or Evil, or individual entities in some campaigns), and in exchange for doing things for them (or doing things they'd at least agree with), you'd gradually gain additional abilities and benefits (similar to the warlock in A Sundered World).

For example, if you're aligned with the forces of Law and do enough Law-things, you could become resistant/immune to harmful polymorph/transmutation effects and insanity, restore reality if it gets too warped (or dispel things like transmute rock to mud), and deal bonus damage to agents of Chaos (or maybe keep them at bay or outright banish them). Conversely, if you refuse to help your patron or do things that anger them, they could at the least revoke some or all of your powers, but depending on who you serve they might do worse.

A good example of this in action would be affiliations from 3rd Edition (Player's Handbook 2) and artifacts from 4th Edition (Dungeon Master's Guide): in both cases you got a score, and when you did certain things it went up or down, and the higher it was the better stuff you got. The main difference is that I'm considering letting you choose from various abilities instead of ascending on a set track. This way you could better ensure that you gain things that you'll actually use. I could also see separate tables for the generic forces of Whatever, or individual entities.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

Hot on the heels of The Blackguard, The Troll is out! The Rogue is up next: we should have an alpha draft ready soon.

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

3 comments:

  1. My personal experience is that alignments are a way for a DM to justify dictating your actions to you. I've never understood alignments or claimed to to, but I also never played with anyone who did. I've seen everything justified under every alignment. Sorry for the rant, but your idea sounds intriguing. I'm not sure how this would work for other class archetypes (fighter, cleric etc.) but it sounds like a cool set of options for warlocks. Thank you.

    -G

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    Replies
    1. @Anon/G: If you've read 3E's Player's Handbook 2 or 4E's Dungeon Master's Guide, the affiliation and/or artifact system is what I'm looking at.

      Warlock's would actually be a bit trickier to figure out: you've already got a patron, so you'd at best be able to ally with other things that aren't opposed by your patron.

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    2. Sounds good.

      -G

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