new alignments for dungeons & dragons

m. werneburg, 2016.01.27

I've decided to replace the alignment listings in the game. First, I'm doing away with them for player-characters altogether. I've always treated them as descriptions of the character, not a guide for his behavior. But given that they're played by living, changing people and set in circumstances that are always shifting, why even keep a descriptor? Which leaves "monsters" (every else), which certainly need descriptors to tell you how the monster is meant to be played. Here are my ten "alignments".


If provoked, this critter will erupt in violence. And easily provoked.


The ravenous capacity of the wrathtar, the slimes and puddings, grey goo demons, and the worms.


Unstable, unpredictable, and seemingly unconcerned with society or self. Not many things are truly insane. Owlbears and jabbering mouthers are.

Master race

The schemes and death-dealing of the aboleth, illithid, lich, and dragon.

Merry Prankster

Delights in confusing, cheating, or endangering others through lies, pranks, and distortions. Tells the truth often enough to keep you off balance.

Mindless destroyer

The driven urge to unmake, to smash. Embodied in the disrupter and grey goo demons.


Pursuing a mission greater than the creature’s own needs and desires. The griffon’s mission to fight evil. A metal dragon watching over the planet.


A vicious, cruel creature without redeeming qualities.

Sinister agenda

By the time you figure out their intent, it’s usually too late. The seduction and torture of the harpy or gorgon or vampire. The kidnapping by the yellow tongues, and whatever the wights are up to.


Driven to exist in a pitiless world filled with opponents, and disinterested in anything more. Barter, flee, fight, or distract, these are the pech, kobolds, lizardfolk, and greenies.


No agenda, no desire, no plan. We do what we’re told.

Will to power

The main driving force is achievement, ambition, and the striving to reach the highest possible position in life. Or so said a power-mad cripple.