Below are the rules for Alignment. The rules are for the most part optional. Choosing an Alignment is one of the first things a Player does when making a Character when following the Character Creation rules.
- A quick summary
- Alignment is optional in Future Path. In some roleplaying games, there are specific rules and actions that can be that will have different outcomes depending on Alignment like a 'Spell' that detects Evil as an example. In Future Path there are no actions that are associated with Alignment. Alignment, however, can be useful for roleplaying and as well as a way for the GM to hold Players accountable for there Characters actions.
- Some people find that this Alignment system is restrictive or that it doesn't accurately represent the murky waters of morality. The GM should determine what sort of story is going to be told and the Players should know what style or type of game they are about to play before determining if using the Alignment system is actually useful. The Players can also just declare their Character is generally good or evil. Or the gaming group could adopt a different Alignment like system that helps Players to roleplay and the GM to hold Character actions accountable.
- Below are the standard Troops and Alignments found commonly in most roleplaying game systems. This is useful mostly for the GM or Players trying to figure out how to roleplay a particular Alignment.
Editing Character Sheet: Alignment can be recorded at the top of the Character sheet to the right of the Future Path logo and the Character Name field.
The Versus Story Tropes
Below are two of the common opposing themes you find in stories, especially with regard to Table Top games.
Good Versus Evil
Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.
Good implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.
Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.
People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent but may lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others.
Law Versus Chaos
Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties. Chaotic characters follow their consciences, resent being told what to do, favor new ideas over tradition, and do what they promise if they feel like it.
Law implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include closed-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, self-righteousness, and a lack of adaptability. Those who consciously promote lawfulness say that only lawful behavior creates a society in which people can depend on each other and make the right decisions in full confidence that others will act as they should.
Chaos implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility. Those who promote chaotic behavior say that only unfettered personal freedom allows people to express themselves fully and lets society benefit from the potential that its individuals have within them.
Someone who is neutral with respect to law and chaos has some respect for authority and feels neither a compulsion to obey nor a compulsion to rebel. She is generally honest but can be tempted into lying or deceiving others.
The Nine Alignments
Below is a table of the Nine Alignments. You have "Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic" on the top row. And in the column, you have "Good, Neutral, Evil". The various combinations are listed.
|Good||Lawful Good||Neutral Good||Chaotic Good|
|Neutral||Lawful Neutral||Neutral||Chaotic Neutral|
|Evil||Lawful Evil||Neutral Evil||Chaotic Evil|
Nine distinct alignments define the possible combinations of the lawful-chaotic axis with the good-evil axis.
The first six alignments, lawful good through chaotic neutral, are standard alignments for player characters. The three evil alignments are usually for monsters and villains. With the GM's permission, a player may assign an evil alignment to his character, but such characters are often a source of disruption and conflict within a party that contains good and neutral members as well. GMs are encouraged to carefully consider how evil characters might affect the campaign before allowing them.
Occasionally the rules refer to “steps” when dealing with alignment. In this case, “steps” refers to the number of alignment shifts between the two alignments, as shown on the following diagram. Note that diagonal “steps” count as two steps. For example, a lawful neutral character is one step away from a lawful good alignment, and three steps away from a chaotic evil alignment.
Alignment is a tool to aid players in creating personalities for their characters. It is a guideline for a character's morality, and Game Masters should not use it to unduly hamper characters, nor should it be used to restrain characters in regard to determining the relationships between them. Just because two characters are of good alignments—possibly the same alignment—does not guarantee they can work well together. Other personality traits affect the type of relationship formed, not just a similarity along the good-evil alignment axis.
Each description below depicts a typical character of that alignment. Remember that individuals vary from this norm and that a given character may act more or less in accord with his alignment from day to day. Use these descriptions as guidelines, not as scripts.
A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. She combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. She tells the truth, keeps her word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished.
Lawful good combines honor with compassion.
Lawful good characters are proficient at understanding bureaucracies, following laws, and cultivating order and structure in their own lives and in others'. They are naturally helpful, and others find them trustworthy, even if they don't share the same alignment. Additionally, lawful good characters are adept at deciding which actions are lawful and benefit society rather than the individual. With their focus on order, they can often build governmental stability where none previously existed. These characters sometimes have problems defying laws, even when the laws are unjust. Instead of disobeying or protesting against such laws, they work within the provided structure or system to change those laws, and they implore others to do so as well. They feel guilty lying to others, even if only asked to fib to provide a ruse for their companions. Similarly, they won't break the law to help good-intentioned party members perform actions that might have beneficial results.
When they're adventuring in urban areas with their companions, lawful good characters may feel compelled to excuse themselves from certain plans or attempt to reason with those more lenient in their interpretation of the law. It's much easier for lawful good characters to ignore the bad behavior of other party members when exploring ruins and wilderness areas outside the direct jurisdiction of a governing body.
Lawful good characters regard the law as necessary for the welfare of society. They fight to abolish or change laws they deem unjust, and they always aid those in need. Lawful good characters strive to be forthright in their words and deeds, refuse to lie to others, and keep their covenants. They oppose evil wherever it is found, and avoid putting the good of the individual ahead of what is good for the masses. For these characters, the end rarely justifies the means. Characters drawn to honor, righting wrongs, or making sacrifices for others might be attracted to this alignment.
A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them.
Neutral good means doing what is good and right without bias for or against the order.
Neutral good characters excel at seeing both sides of a situation, and they use this ability to inform their actions, doing what they believe will produce the best. These characters seek balance and harmony in their dealings with others; they know to avoid conversations leading to heated topics and keep their responses to the middle of the road. They understand the value of nature and realize that expanding civilization into the wilderness is not always the most appropriate thing to do. Because of their ability to see all facets of a situation, neutral good characters can sometimes have difficulty in choosing a side between other good beings. For this reason, others may label them as wishy-washy or not capable of serious conviction.
Dealing with other characters aligned along the lawful-chaotic axis can also be challenging, especially in mixed-alignment adventuring groups. The neutral good characters will not always agree with the lawful good characters' meticulous need to plan their actions, control others, or prevent others from disobeying laws that interfere with the party's goals—sometimes less-than-honest tactics are necessary, after all. Conversely, neutral good characters might find chaotic good characters a little on the uncontrollable side, not liking the wild bent of their ideas or actions. Too much freedom of thought and action, they believe, just makes one irresponsible.
Neutral good characters can see both sides of the lawful-chaotic axis, understanding that some choices are indeed better for all, and others are better for individuals. Because supporting either extreme on the axis does not motivate them, neutral good characters are often considered the “truly good” alignment. They seek to do the most good in the world to make it a better place and to help others when possible. Neither anarchy nor the need for strict order concerns them. Neutral good characters support laws that benefit all but have no qualms about ignoring unjust laws or tyrannical rulers.
Neutral good characters give great consideration to their actions before deeming them correct; some neutral good characters find it unfathomable that others cannot see their viewpoint as the most sensible.
A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he is kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and righteousness but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society.
Chaotic good combines a good heart with a free spirit.
Chaotic good characters follow their consciences and are adaptable, easily rolling with life's punches. They rarely make plans too far in advance, preferring to take a wait-and-see approach to most things, which allows them to adjust their actions or reactions in a single heartbeat. They have no qualms about breaking laws, especially when doing so will save others or protect others' rights from being trampled. Chaotic good characters want freedom for themselves and others and find it difficult to live in societies they deem too restrictive to individuals. They view laws and regulations as unneeded mechanisms of control rather than protection. Deeply ingrained in the chaotic good character's philosophy is the belief that most individuals are good and will do well if given the freedom to act as they please. In this regard, these benevolent, kind-hearted individuals can be viewed as the most idealistic of the good alignments. Other good characters call their live-and-let-live attitude overly idealistic, instead believing that individuals are more selfish than kindhearted and need guidance to become good. The chaotic good philosophy, however, holds that because individuals are not all like-minded persons, imposing such guidance and laws to force them to conform to a single mold deforms their spirits, creating flaws and cracks where evil can more easily find a foothold.
Chaotic good characters are strong-willed and self-directed—masters of their own destiny. They act as their consciences dictate, viewing the plights of the weak and innocent with compassion and correcting injustices when they can. Chaotic good characters disregard others' expectations of their behavior, finding many laws and regulations too limiting to their personal freedom. They resent those who inflict their ideas on others, especially through intimidation, and are often reluctant to conform. Chaotic good characters want the freedom to do as they will and desire others to be free of oppression as well.
While chaotic good characters do not accept that individuals must sacrifice their ideas and follow laws for the good of the whole, they willingly sacrifice themselves (and their individuality) to protect the whole in the name of good.
A lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition, or a personal code directs her. Order and organization are paramount. She may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or she may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government.
Lawful neutral means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot.
A neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. She doesn't feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos (and thus neutral is sometimes called “true neutral”). Most neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character probably thinks of good as better than evil—after all, she would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, she's not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way.
Some neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, the most balanced road in the long run.
Neutral means you act naturally in any situation, without prejudice or compulsion.
A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn't strive to protect others' freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those others suffer). a chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as he is to cross it.
Chaotic neutral represents freedom from both society's restrictions and a do-gooder's zeal.
A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order, but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank. He is loath to break laws or promises.
This reluctance comes partly from his nature and partly because he depends on order to protect himself from those who oppose him on moral grounds. Some lawful evil villains have particular taboos, such as not killing in cold blood (but having underlings do it) or not letting children come to harm (if it can be helped). They imagine that these compunctions put them above unprincipled villains.
Some lawful evil people and creatures commit themselves to evil with a zeal like that of a crusader committed to good. Beyond being willing to hurt others for their own ends, they take pleasure in spreading evil as an end unto itself. They may also see doing evil as part of a duty to an evil deity or master.
Lawful evil represented methodical, intentional, and organized evil.
A neutral evil villain does whatever she can get away with. She is out for herself, pure and simple. She sheds no tears for those she kills, whether for profit, sport, or convenience. She has no love of order and holds no illusions that following laws, traditions, or codes would make her any better or nobler. On the other hand, she doesn't have the restless nature or love of conflict that a chaotic evil villain has.
Some neutral evil villains hold up evil as an ideal, committing evil for its own sake. Most often, such villains are devoted to evil deities or secret societies.
Neutral evil represents pure evil without honor and without variation.
A chaotic evil character does what his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. If he is simply out for whatever he can get, he is ruthless and brutal. If he is committed to the spread of evil and chaos, he is even worse. Thankfully, his plans are haphazard, and any groups he joins or forms are likely to be poorly organized. Typically, chaotic evil people can be made to work together only by force, and their leader lasts only as long as he can thwart attempts to topple or assassinate him.
Chaotic evil represents the destruction not only of beauty and life but also of the order on which beauty and life depend.