Alignment in Microlite75?

How should I handle alignment in Microlite75? I handled it in Microlite74 by simply ignoring it. While that does work and is how a minority of campaigns handled alignment back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it probably does not represent the old school feel all that well. There are many possible ways to put alignment into M75, here are a few:

1) A Good – Neutral – Evil axis. This is probably the easiest set of alignments to understand although it does lend itself to arguments over what actions are good and what actions are truly evil and whether good is an absolute or only in the eye of the beholder. It probably lends itself best to campaigns with a “high fantasy” good vs evil feel.

2) A Law – Neutral – Chaos axis. This can either be interpreted with law as “civilization” and chaos as “barbarism” which has a sort of swords and sorcery feel or as a conflict between the gods of law who support the world and the gods of chaos who want to destroy it with mortals as their pawns.

3) Use both the Good – Neutral – Evil axis and the Law – Neutral – Chaos axis as most versions of D&D and games based on it did. While this is standard and what many people thing of when they think of alignment, it is fairly complex and can be hard to implement well in play.

4) Replace alignment with a series of different goals and have players select 2 to 4 goals they strongly support. Deities and organizations within the campaign also support some of these goals (and might strongly oppose others). I used something like this to replace alignment in some of BECMI games in the 1980s. It works well for PCs, NPCs, and religions and organizations in the campaign world, but does not make much sense for monsters. As many GMs use monster alignment as a fast guide to how the monster will react, this may not be the best option for “alignment” in a generic set of rules.

Or I could just ignore alignment completely as I did in Microlite74. How would you like to see alignment handled in Microlite75 and why? Options other than those listed in this post are welcome too.

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8 Responses

  1. Miguel Angel says:

    Ignore it, please.

  2. Talysman says:

    My personal preference is for Law/Chaos, no "Neutral" (that's just unaligned,) and alignment isn't a behavior suggestion, but a mark of allegiance to one side or the other. You can do anything you want if you are Lawful or Chaotic, but your boss may have something to say to you later…

    Give a couple examples of definitions of the conflict, but leave it open to individual fiddling.

  3. BlUsKrEEm says:

    I'd vote L/N/C, but to be honest I'd say go with what ever you yourself use. After all this is your project.

  4. Randall says:

    BlUsKrEEm: I've used all of the above (and more at different times). One of the design point of M75 is to emulate the feel and style of early edition games with M20-type mechanics. Unfortunately, different editions were all over the place alignment-wise, although the most familiar is probably the 9 alignment dual axis system.

  5. > different editions were all over the place alignment-wise,

    Well if you're really trying to emulate the feel of early edition then that's what you have to provide. Mention use 9 axis or 3 axis. Leave it up to DM.

  6. I say have the default be "ignore it" but point out that you can easily construct an "are you on the side of the Great Old Ones?" Law-Chaos axis (like _Carcosa_), or a "Church of Righteous Asskicking vs. Stabby McSacrificey The Necromancer" Good-Evil axis, or whatever fits a particular DM's game.

    Myself, I've been going for a Lankhmar sort of feel recently, where the players are definitely not Good Guys, with all the pillaging and murder, but there are definitely Much Worse Guys out there, than whom they are certainly better. No formal alignments, though.

  7. Ditch alignment. While it's definitely old-school, it's not necessary. GMs can add it in if they want to.

  8. Khayman says:

    I've used d20 Modern's allegiances system. It's pretty similar to your fourth idea (Goals) but it really doesn't work well if you don't use skill bonuses.

    I've used Law and Chaos for a Moorcockish campaign but otherwise I've largely ditched alignment. On the other hand, having a patron church or deity has in-game effects. Again, maybe its the secular existentialist in me, but I hate using alignment straightjackets for anything but demons, outsiders, and the like.