I have been trying to put together an alignment system for my setting. The basic premise, I suppose you could say, is to shift the focus of the alignments from gods and deities to heroes, by which I mean to refer to beings closer to earth yet who remain larger than life figures which, in the setting, are the subject of a great many legends and tales passed down through generations. In my setting the gods are great enigmas whose will and exact nature is practically impossible to determine, and as such the races of the world venerate something more relatable. But there could be any number of reasons to explain this shift in focus. For example, perhaps the real deities of the setting are evil, and the heroes exist as eternal guardians of the common races of the world. I can even see this functioning alongside a typical alignment system of gods and goddesses quite easily.
Regardless, the idea is that you have these five immortal figures who each loosely represent archetypal concepts of heroes. The exact people who fulfill these roles are not so much important as the concepts themselves; should a hero die (which is indeed a distinct possibility, particularly at the hands of another hero), a mortal who particularly embodies the ideas and values of that archetype ascends and takes up the mantel.
So the five roles I’ve thought up run thus: the Knight, the Knave, the Bard, the Scholar, and the Hermit. Note that they are each not given specific names but rather referred to only by their title. This is intentional. As said before, heroes can die and when such an event occurs they are replaced. As such hundreds (possibly thousands) of individuals have filled each of these mantels, thus allowing one to fine tune the characters themselves to fit his setting and campaign.
I've started writing some more in-depth flavor text to help explain the concepts further but as of yet I am more concerned with the mechanics, paths, and general premise of the system then it's flavor—there are still some holes needing to be filled, some other aspects quite open to alteration, and still other aspects that may or may not work at all and thus need general critique.
Each hero opposes two of the other heroes and is are opposed, while those connected by a green line are friendly (or at least they are until I can come up with a more respectable sounding synonym). Opposed alignments operate according to the vanilla rules, while friendly relationships share a path. Knaves and Hermits, for example, share the fortune
path, while the Knave and the Bard share the secrets
Skeletal profiles for each alignment run thus (paths marked * indicate it's found in the Monk supplement or Adventure Companion): KnightAlignment Skills:
Athletics, Tactics, Ride, SurvivalOpposed Alignments:
Hermit, KnaveRitual Weapon:
Long SwordPaths: Heroism
, Righteousness*, War, HonorKnaveAlignment Skills:
Acrobatics, Sneak, Prestidigitation, BluffOpposed Alignments:
Knight, ScholarRitual Weapon:
, Darkness, Travel, ChaosBardAlignment Skills:
Prestidigitation, Blend, Bluff, Disguise Opposed Alignments:
Hermit, ScholarRitual Weapon:
, Beauty, Deceit, Hope
(whatever the final version is) ScholarAlignment Skills:
Investigation, Search, Haggle, CraftingOpposed Alignments:
Bard, KnaveRitual Weapon:
Quarter Staff (?)Paths: Order
, Knowledge, Magic, TruthHermitAlignment Skills:
Search, Survival, Blend, (????)Opposed Alignments:
Bard, KnightRitual Weapon:
, Harmony*, Nature, Spirits
Aside from finishing the basic skeletons, there are some other stuff I also hope to eventually complete as well. Among them:
- Avatars (with stat-blocks) for each alignment
- An artifact associated with each alignment
- Example stat-blocks for each hero
Any comments, critiques, contributions, or suggestions?