View Full Version : House rules to get rid of alignment AND divine intervention?

2007-12-29, 12:54 PM
I generally don't like the concept of alignment, and usually I'm just liberal about it. But for a particular setting I have in mind, I want to get rid of it altogether. I want a completely alignment-free world. I also want no divine intervention. Essentially, that means I'm throwing away half the stuff in D&D. :smalltongue: Which I'd rather not, so I'm looking for ways to salvage what I can.

Over the recruiting forum, a very nice person just posted :
Only outsiders have alignment. Divine casters are affected by spells as if they shared the alignment of their deity, but they still don't have an actual alignment. All other mortals are considered true neutral for mechanical purposes.
…which is wonderfully nice and simple and recommended to anyone who wants to get rid of alignment without too much fuss. But my MAIN problem with alignment (besides the “hinders the player” part) is the concept of evil races, and most of all, evil gods. Nowhere, in fact or fiction (serious fiction, at least), did people ever worship a deity perceived as Evil. So, for my campaign, I unfortunately need something much more complicated. Here’s what I've come up with so far.
[Note: this is by no means a complete creation. This is a cry for help. Hope I’m posting in the right section.]


1. Spells
Generalizing is the idea, and banning spells only as a last resort.

Spell Level |
Old name |
Alignment-free |
1 | Detect Evil/Good/ Chaos/Law | Discern Intentions | Personal instead of cone, a sort of magical Sense Motive? Maybe adds a big bonus to skill check..OR Cone, detect hostiles? Meh…
1 | Protection from Evil etc | Protection | Protection, period. It protects you from enemies.
2 | Align Weapon | - | Align Weapon is out, I'm afraid.
2 | Undetectable Alignment | Indiscernible Intentions | Adds bonus to Bluff/Diplomacy check and/or Counters Discern Intentions specifically?
3 | Magic Circle against Evil etc | Magic Circle of Protection | From enemies…
5 | Atonement | Atonement | The Redemption or Temptation part is out, and I'm changing the fluff.
5 | Dispel Evil etc | Spiritual Defense | General. +4AC, dispel one enchantment spell
7 | Blasphemy, Dictum, Holy Word, Word of Chaos | Havoc | Against foes, we covered that, but what about the effects? Weakens or dazes / slows or deafens / blinds or deafens / stuns or deafens.... let’s say caster’s choice.
8 | Cloak of Chaos, Holy Aura, Shield of Law, Unholy Aura | Mantle Of Protection | Defense against all foes.[/Table]

Other Problems |
Evil/Good/ Chaos/Law Domains | But really, what about those domains? Keep them, renamed and unofficial to make things easier for the players? Unify them under some offense/defense category, because they now all have the same spells except one in 6th level? Eliminate them?
Domain spells | Chaos Hammer, Unholy Blight, Holy Smite, Order Wrath become… ughh, find a nice name for me, will you? And again.. sickens, dazes, blinds or staggers - caster’s choice.

Spell Level |
Old name |
Alignment-free |
1 | Bless Weapon | Bless Weapon | You know. Against enemies.
4 | Holy Sword (Batman) | Batman Sword (OK, I’ll find a proper name later...) | Yet again.. against enemies.[/Table]

2. Classes

The Monk, the Samurai, and other “stay lawful at all costs” classes.
Seriously breaching the code of such a class is the equivalent of losing your abilities due to alignment shift.

The Paladin
Oh dear. What am I going to do with this class? I’m this close to banning it and sleeping in peace. I hate Paladins. But enough of whining. Unlike everything mentioned above, how you treat Paladins in an alignment-free environment depends on the setting. And in the particular setting I have in mind, a Paladin could be:

1) A job
Elite troops trained by the establishment to enforce justice. That means they don’t “fall” as such, they lose their abilities if they betray or even displease the establishment – it depends on how strict their boss is. And it means that they don’t get to atone. They have to somehow make their liege lord/ commander/ whatever accept them back. They could trick him for all I care, or cut him to pieces and get re-hired by his heir. Also: they can get the same job with a different employer and regain their abilities. Employer has to be some sort of official authority, though.


2) A state of mind
Elite troops hired by the establishment to enforce justice, but not trained by them. Born special or something. That means they fall if they break their own personal code (which is supposed to include Justice somehow – though this is open to many interpretations and up to them). Atonement applies normally. It also means that they are supposed to disobey their boss if he orders something they can’t accept morally. Which, logically, will get them to all sorts of trouble with said Boss, but that’s what you get for playing a Paladin.

3) Either way, crunch:
Special Ability |
Aura of Good | This should be the equivalent of a badge. Something that perhaps shows with any kind of divination, scrying, detect magic and the like, and reads “Cop”. Let’s call it Aura of Justice.
Detect Evil | Replaced by Discern Intentions, as the spell
Smite Evil | Smite Enemy (of the State – naah, kidding)
Other | Add Knowledge (Local). “Hey, you there! You with the cloak! Weren’t you hanging around the Thieves’ Guild yesterday?”

Final note:
Non-core classes, spells and special abilities get modified accordingly. If there’s something out there completely dependent on alignment fluff-wise – like the Paladin – please remind me.


First, the easy stuff. Renaming. I’m not going to leave the world without healers and the divine casters’ spell lists. Simplest house rule possible: their powers don’t come from above, but spring from within. Don’t think priest, think guru. Don’t say “divine”, “holy”, “sacred”, just say “spiritual”. Don’t say “prayer”, say “meditation”. Easy. We just rename the Cleric, and we’re done.

Non-core. I’m not going to rewrite the whole Complete Divine (and 16 other books). If a class/feat/ whatever can be renamed and the fluff modified to fit the house rule, fine. If not, too bad.

And now the tricky part.
Ummm.. right. To be honest, I … don’t remember what the tricky part was. I need caffeine, apparently. I’ll be back. Until then, if you can deduce what the tricky part could be, please share it. Solutions are also welcome.:smallbiggrin:
*stumbles to the kitchen to make coffee*

2007-12-29, 03:56 PM
You could just leave the alignment based domains in and modify their spells. It could be justified as the characters in your setting might consider people good, evil etc even if alignments don't exist per say.

As for the "tricky part". Perhaps its obtaining something suitable to protect yourself from your players (not their characters, the players themselves when they find out you kept the Paladin ¬_¬).

2007-12-30, 09:40 AM
You needn't even change the names of the divine casters - just state in your setting notes that all "divine" powers are drawn from within.

That way, you can still hang the normal rules on divine casters - if they transgress their religions rules too much, they are losing faith in their ability to cast spells / turn undead / etc, therefore they really lose those abilities - and avoid having actual deities wandering around in your multiverse.

2007-12-30, 02:54 PM
Blasphemy, Dictum, Holy Word, Word of Chaos line of spells is pretty powerful when they can be used against all and only enemies, maybe you should get rid of them entirely.

2007-12-30, 03:46 PM
Protections and Magic Circles, too. I'd suggest ditching anything that originally had alignment specifications or restrictions, or toning them down a bit... or give them new restrictions.