Three Dimensional Alignment


#1

So most people are aware of the Lawful-Chaotic/Good-Evil Alignment system coined by Dungeons and Dragons, but I was thinking… “That’s only two dimensions. We can totally create a third axis.”

My idea:
Self-Worldly Concerns
(e.g. Lawful-Good-Self concerned with controlling the world for himself, whereas Neutral-Lawful-Worldly might be a monk concerned with the preservation of the world’s ordered balance.)

If you were to create that third scale, Z, what do you see as fitting?


#2

Forgive my slow processing brain, but I was never 100% sure on 2 axis thing can you describe the two axises for me and give me examples, I think I have a small concept of it but I wanna be 100% sure.


#3

Includes basic explanations, plus examples from several media.


#4

Okay I think I see the layout of your idea

so its like this?

Lawful/Nuetral/Chaotic
+
Good/Nuetral/Bad
+
Self/Homeland/World(im guessing it’s the level of how far you wanna bring your influence?)

and Id be a True Nuetral that’s how I am in rl


#5

The standard D&D personality model has always been criticised for creating what are fundamentally unrealistic personalities. For whilst it is possible to take someone and say “Are they more inclined to benevolence or malevolence?”, or “Are they principled or arbitrary?”, and then put them neatly into one of the 9 categories (there are many tests for this and lists of examples of people and their alignment available online), when you try to proceed in reverse, saying “I want to create a lawful good character” you get… what? Sweet bugger all. This filing system is totally infertile when it comes to actually creating a character, i.e. being useful.

My concern here is that the addition of how a persons morals conform to the Principle of Individuation, viz. its strength or weakness, is simply an attempt to strengthen a flawed system by diversifying it further. Sure, that could give you 27 boxes instead of 9, and that might allow you to classify someone with more accuracy, but it is still motivated by the sorting-into-boxes mentality which restricts character development.

I’d say it’s better to get rid of the grid totally than to try and repair it.


#6

While I think doing away with boxes would be totally feasible in other platforms, if I were trying to develop a CS game, I would wager that it’s difficult. So wouldn’t the next logical solution in trying to create a unique character be to try to create better fitting boxes?

I’m looking at some of the opening scenes for some of the WIPs in the forum, and while I feel like there are plenty of character choices, I can kinda see where many of them would lead, at least character wise. Of course, I’m sure during full playthroughs there will be chances to change your personality with choices, but even then you’ll be switching from one preset to another.

Then again, I might really just like the idea of an ordered system.


#7

I think it would be cool to be presented with options from good and evil to lawful and chaotic and stuff I wanna be a Stupid good, bad, or chaotic


#8

Certainly, this is a medium which needs some amount of box-ticking, since the routes are limited and consequences are delayed. But when it comes to the quantity of axes available, I can’t think of a game with only 3, nor can I think of one where the stats available are mapped out relative to one another. Each stat is recorded as a personality trait, and it’s not deemed necessary to display how a persons honour looks relative to their intelligence, for example, since those are wholly separate aspects.


#9

@Drazen: The thing is, in that case, intelligence isn’t so much of a personality trait as it is a skill. “Are you intelligent? Yes or no?”

I’m not saying the axes and alignment box is the basis of your character’s creation, hell, I’m not even saying you’d be able to see it or where you are on it, but I would say is that using it would help me personally plan the trajectory of a character’s personality and reaction, as well as subtle changes to tone.

Example:
You’re a Good, but Lawless guy, a proletariat-rebel about to destroy a nobles’ base. Backstory, you’ve joined the rebels after your sister was taken into slavery and died at their hands. Pose the question, why are you doing this? Avenging her death or rearranging the imbalanced order of things?

It’s become a Self-Worldly Concern branching and how the next scene is written might have minute differences, though those minute differences might make it all the more poignant with the player-reader.

Now, seeing as I’ve never seen anyone’s else coding for their game, I don’t know how they handle PC dialogue and personality reflections. I, however, would like certain dialogue and situation descriptions to match the correct mood/preference of the player, so the three axes might be a good step to start from.

I would like to ask how is starting from the end and going back, “I want to make a Lawful-Good Character,” difficult? I would figure it’s easy to create a character you want to fit into that box, seeing as you know how they should fit into it.


#10

“You’re a Good, but Lawless guy, a proletariat-rebel about to destroy a nobles’ base.” - Well that sentence is contradictory.

Aaaanyway, if this approach helps your design, then by all means go ahead. But I do find it strange that someone would say “I’m designing a good but lawless person” rather than “I’m designing a proletariat-rebel” - since the latter says so much more, contains a human element, and better represents a players frame of mind. Someone might say “I want to play a character who’s a hot-tempered brick shithouse”, but I doubt they’d find it useful to say “I want to play as a chaotic neutral fighter”.

In choices, likewise, someone wouldn’t look for the “What’s the chaotic thing to do, here?” option. They’d look for the honourable, or the self-interested, or the compassionate, or whatever option. Whether or not ‘honourable’ is more lawful is accidental and irrelevant to a PC’s decision making.


#11

I would say, at least if you’re making a system for a specific game and not as part of a larger role-playing system, that it might be better to make the alignment a function of the characters stances on the in-game issues rather than on morals and worldview, and pitch the grid if you’ve got more stances than fits on it

That said, if I had to have a third axis on a traditional DnD style alignment grid, I think I’d go with Idealism-Pragmatism. Definitely going to be some head-scratching and hand-waving involved no matter what’s picked though


#12

This is basically why I decided to go with Idealism/Cynicism and Mercy/Ruthlessness as my moral axes for Sabres of Infinity, because they consist less of “good” or “evil”. I don’t know about you, but I find it *really* hard to play “puppy-kicker” characters in any kind of game with moral choice, although if I go by personal morality, I *will* make choices a game might arbitrarily consider evil. I don’t want that, I want the player to decide whether their actions are good or evil themselves. As opposed to a moral choice, I’ve given the player the tools to construct a basic outlook on life.

A Idealist/Ruthless character might be seen as a zealot with no concept of restraint, or someone who believes that a bit of blood now is worth a better world later. A Cynic/Merciful character, on the other hand, might be portrayed as too soft-hearted to touch anything lest it fall apart, or a cautious individual with respect for all life.

My “third axis” is reputation: how your society sees you. A high reputation will reward your ability to meet and exceed your superiors’ demands, a low one might not bear immediate rewards, but I certainly have certain interesting plans in store for the Tierran Army’s “black sheep”.


#13

I recognize D&D moral system are arbitrary and not realist but I love it.
Because is almost the only way someone could role-play with a set story. If not I have to play like good characters always think that I seldom want to do. I use role play to fun and go away the stress and kill a king and burning cities could be fun to forget real life annoying thinks. But sadly 99 % of every thing are pure good hero options if not where for that classification I never could enjoy rogue and thieves class so remember you could be a charismatic assassin or a butterface fanatic paladin the classes are more open that people think you only have to see things with a free mind.