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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Alternate "Alignments": Virtues

    While we all know the typical morality system of D&D so much that is is all pervasive, I hereby present this new morality option, eschewing traditional ideas of good and evil, of order and chaos, of even binary morality itself with this new system. One where everything is more in depth and ultimately more complicated.

    I choose to make this because I wanted to see what everyone thought of an outright morality replacement, without good and evil, law or chaos. (Though nothing is stopping a player from using this and traditional morality at the same time, especially once Outsiders get involved). So, I present this to you Playgrounders, Alternate "Alignments": Virtues.

    Tell me if I did this right.




    In this system, there are 8 “Virtues” key expressions that define a character’s mannerisms, inclinations, and beliefs into organized into pairs over what virtues oppose one another, they are:

    Idealism (Id) and Pragmatism (Pr)
    Idealism means that there is an ideal that you strive for or believe is worth following, even if the current situation means that is it not the best choice.

    Pragmatism is the willingness to forgo right or wrong to ensure that whatever happens is that it is in your benefit, even if it means sacrificing others to achieve it.


    Unity (Un) and Individualism (In)
    Unity is about sticking together and thinking for the benefit of the group. Conversely, those who stray from the collective whole should not be permitted to do so.

    Individualism is about focusing on advancing and thinking about one’s self, to the point others may be obstacles in one’s way.


    Materialism (Ma) and Detachment (De)
    Materialism is the connection one holds towards physical, or worldly existence. Taking advantage, prioritising on what happens in the current life. Not always bad, as materialism does also mean one attempts to be smart with what one has.

    Detachment is the measure of one focusing on spiritual truths and existences. Such as honing one’s body, mind, and spirit through the denial of worldly comforts. Not always bad, but it can mean a disregard for the world.

    Activism (Ac) and Traditionalism (Tr)
    Activism is the measure of how one is willing to act to change the status quo, to advance a cause or to act, sometimes disregarding those who might be caught in the fall out.

    Traditionalism is the opposite, focusing on maintain the status quo, including the social order that is held because of it. May be harmful or helpful, depending on one’s point of view, but it does often mean preserving culture in some cases, observing acts because others done it before it.



    “Morality” under this system is less about arbitrary and cosmic intepretations of good versus evil and more about the ethical concerns of mortals. All virtues can be both /good/ and /bad/ when taken into context. For instance, the question of whether or not a Paladin should adopt new and experimental weapons such as guns (Activism) versus tried and true methods (Traditionalism) is not a question of good or bad. Each has merit, but none are objectively better without more information on the subject matter in question.

    Now, unlike older morality systems, it is possible to even normally opposite Virtues, such as being both an Activist and a Traditionalist.

    In the example above, the Paladin might struggle with the question over whether or not the new gunpowder weapon is the right choice because on one hand, he rejects say the holy weapon entrusted to him by his order. At the same time, he hesitates simply retaining the sword because said gun felled a dragon before his eyes. And in his eyes, he sees it as a tool that could be used in the name of his god.

    So, he decides on a third option. He consecrates the gun and keeps both weapons on his person instead, a solution that is arguably both in the realm of Traditionalism and Activism. It is hard to quantify that rationalization without accepting that the Paladin was attempting to balance both choices. At the same time, said choice then starts falling under the realms of other Virtues, like Pragmatism.

    The contradiction exists and is noted, but as humans and other races are prone to have odd beliefs that get down to it seem nonsensical, it isn’t really important until social factors come into play, such as said Paladin above being scolded due to his instructor not being much of an Activist or Pragmatic sort of person.



    The Crunch:

    Spoiler
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    Most of the mechanical assumptions are in Pathfinder, so bear this in mind when reviewing these things. Most of the information is pretty portable, so it shouldn’t a big deal.

    In short, every character possesses up to 3 “Virtues” from the list of 8 given above. He or she may pick any from the list above, including virtues that are opposed in some manner. Neutrality is not an option and a character must always maintain at least 1 Virtue.

    These 3 Virtues are the primary tenants of what leads the character’s actions, with one of them, the Virtue listed out first as the most important trait.

    In the situation above involving the Paladin with a firearm, his Virtues might have been TrAcPr, representing, though he is a Traditionalist at core, he is not above accepting new things when the situation calls for it (Activism and Pragmatism).

    All sentient creatures possess morality, only creatures that are unable to grasp it, such as animals, lack it.


    In this system, there are a couple of changes to spells and classes.

    Classes are not restricted by their old alignment, and instead must have one of their Virtues match the requirement below.


    Barbarian - Individualism
    Cleric - Share one value connected with god, goddess, or other patron.
    Druid - Traditionalism or Unity
    Monk - Detachment or Idealism
    Anti-Paladin/Paladin - Share one value connected with god, goddess, or other patron.

    Detect Good/Evil/Law/Chaos are consolidated into a single spell, Detect Compliance which determines who much and object or person matches up in regards to your own or your deity's values or whims. For example, a Materialistic person might be considered undesirable to a deity that holds Detachment as a Value. Whether or not said deity mandates that person is a wrongdoer and must be punished is another thing entirely.

    Other Alignment determined spells, such as the Magic Circle Against -series changes to follow suit, following a similar method as "Compliance"

    Clerics may opt to select harmful or beneficial Channel Energy, so long as such does not contradict with their deity's mandates and rules.

    Paladins receive additional changes. Instead, their code is more compliant and based on their deity or order than it is about following “general goodness” as under this system there is no such

    Smite Evil and other similar effects are replaced with Smite Anathema. Instead of applying Smite’s targets based on partially arbitirary measurements, Smite Anathema selects its foes who have Virtues that are opposite of the user, such as an Activist Paladin’s Smite applying to a Traditionalist. If said user received that power from a god, goddess, or other patron, use said patron’s Virtues instead.

    Another note about Smite Anathema. A diety’s followers (clerics, paladins, and most lay-people) are immune to the Smite given by a follower of a god they follower (but not other spells, at least in most circumstances), regardless of what their Virtues are. Conversely, those who deliberately blaspheme a given god or actively go out of their way to endanger or destroy said god’s followers are always, regardless of their Virtues.

    Spoiler
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    A deity might also elect certain creatures to be subject to Smite Anathema such as an undead hating god opting for undead to be destroyed. This is hidden because it needs GM approval as I have yet to make a list of sample gods and establish how it works for them.
    Last edited by Almarck; 2015-01-08 at 04:59 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: Alternate "Alignments": Virtues

    This is fascinating. I have always thought that there is no good or evil, just points of view.

    I'll have to show this to my DM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Alternate "Alignments": Virtues

    Heh, it's been a while since I worked on this. But yeah, I always wondered how complex morality would work inside of the context of D&D
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lord Raziere's Avatar

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    Default Re: Alternate "Alignments": Virtues

    I'd probably go for Pragmatism/Individualism/Unity myself. I like this system, really could work.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: Alternate "Alignments": Virtues

    I would probably be Materialism/Idealism/Activism.

    I think that sums me up pretty well.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Octopusapult's Avatar

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    Default Re: Alternate "Alignments": Virtues

    Interesting stuff, but it seems like it'd be a huge hassle to deal with all the spells and effects that used to be "x from Evil/Good/Chaos/etc." I could just be lazy though. XD

    As a side note, this bears some resemblance to the philosophies of color from Magic the Gathering. If you aren't familiar, give this TvTropes page a read.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Alternate "Alignments": Virtues

    Well the point of complex ethics systems as they are complicated. A simple change for the x from x spells is to treat them as 8 spells that protects against the antithesis and a bunch of other unaffiliated things.

    Another consideration is a 9th spell that's diety or Philips ophthalmic specific that's more complicated.

    Either way I do understand it's not a simple system. Which is kinda the point, to make ethics more complicated because that's how they work in the real world. As a game mechanic it's cumbersome, but as a setting and rp tool it's different.

    I do thank you thiugh for giving this project the time of day. Granted I have no idea how to continue off with it.
    Last edited by Almarck; 2015-01-24 at 01:56 PM.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Octopusapult's Avatar

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    Default Re: Alternate "Alignments": Virtues

    Quote Originally Posted by Almarck View Post
    Well the point of complex ethics systems as they are complicated. A simple change for the x from x spells is to treat them as 8 spells that protects against the antithesis and a bunch of other unaffiliated things.

    Another consideration is a 9th spell that's diety or Philips ophthalmic specific that's more complicated.

    Either way I do understand it's not a simple system. Which is kinda the point, to make ethics more complicated because that's how they work in the real world. As a game mechanic it's cumbersome, but as a setting and rp tool it's different.

    I do thank you thiugh for giving this project the time of day. Granted I have no idea how to continue off with it.
    Don't get me wrong, I like it. I'm always interested by alternative "Alignment" systems, even just to see how people interpret the motivations and ethics of other people in a game rule format. It's always fun to read. That being said, I almost never actually use the alternate versions, or even keep track of the standard ones. It's usually superfluous in the games I play.
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Alternate "Alignments": Virtues

    Understandably. Morality is one of those things that the GM is likely to discard or not bring up unless major shifts happen. This creation is simply an alternative I provide, not something mandatory.
    Last edited by Almarck; 2015-01-25 at 01:40 AM.
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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Alternate "Alignments": Virtues

    This could work better as a mechanical system than the blurry Good/Evil thing, I imagine.

    Would it be much easier to base alignment-specific spells/items/etc on this system, since it's not an ambigous and players won't argue as long over it?

    Though, alignment-based mechanics has always... bugged me a little. It feels like being punished for roleplay or something? Or that it mixes roleplay with mechanics, like trying to combine art and science. Not totally incompatible, but they don't really go well together.

    So far, I've played mostly computer games, so only spells and skills (acrobatics, basket-weaving, etc) impact alignment. But having your RP actions not affect your alignment is rather defeating the point of a TTRPG I bet.

    "Another note about Smite Anathema. A diety’s followers are immune to the Smite given by a follower of a god they follow, regardless of what their Virtues are"

    I'm afraid I don't follow (pun not intended). Can you be a follower of a god if you don't stick to the Virtues said god insists on? Since you probably can't/won't want to worship a god with differing Virtues, isn't this rule a bit redundant? How exactly do you become a 'follower' of a god?
    Last edited by goto124; 2015-01-25 at 10:02 AM.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Alternate "Alignments": Virtues

    Well thanks for letting me know then. But yes. Players can no longer argue specifics of what alignments mean. Only where they got in on the alignment chart.

    Well I'd say that to actually worship gods, more merely pay lip service, but on some level pledge yourself to ideals of said diety you would have to arguably share one virtue with said god. I mean let's be frank here, gods in many sources want more than simplest having someone say their name over and over again once every few weeks. Devotion.

    Plus as an added benefit, it makes sense mechanically to prevent ambiguity or " conversion" midfight by the pragmatically minded for some fleeting advantage. It is required to share a virtue t o worship said god.

    Conversely defacing or being the enemy of a God is also unambiguous, so therefore that part isn't in question.
    Last edited by Almarck; 2015-01-25 at 01:34 PM.
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