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".

Angry

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

Hungry

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

Insane

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

Master race

The schemes and death-dealing of the aboleth, illithid, lich, and dragon. The sinister agenda of the vampire ends when he's enslaved you. The master races wants to enslave your species.

Merry prankster

This is a complex one. Most delight in simply confusing, cheating, or endangering others through lies, pranks, and distortions. They might tell the truth often enough to keep you off balance. The more manipulative ones however will try to get you to deal with their problems: aha, a party of adventurers, maybe they can deal with that awful ogre. Others, like the yhcnurc frogs, aren't so much merry as miserable but they'll still distort and cheat and use fine words to appear what they're not.

Mindless destroyer

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

Noble

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.

Sadist

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 of the yellow tongues, and well whatever the wights are up to.

Survivor

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.

Undead

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

Warrior creed

Once you've stripped away the niceties, you're left with the code of the warrior. Life is a struggle, the code will see you through. The militant, ordered societies of the gnolls, kricklers, and the zerg —I mean ankheg.

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.