Sunday, March 4, 2018

C&S Alignment

A Quick Review of C&S First Edition Alignment

The first edition of Chivalry & Sorcery actually had an Alignment attribute. This meant that it was possible to roll alignment (although most C&S gamemasters would allow a player to pick an alignment for their character). It featured the original Law/Chaos dichotomy of original D&D, but represented this as the Good/Evil morality of the medieval European mindset. As with many attributes in first edition C&S, it was accompanied by a brief description of what the number actually represented (for example a character with a 14 Wisdom was "Discerning," which meant that "the character reads other men’s characters well and tends to make sound decisions").

What I find interesting is comparing it to more modern interpretations of alignment as morality. In particular how selfish behaviour generally is shifted much more to the chaotic end of the spectrum. I mean how many people would classify "law-abiding" as neutral behaviour. But really, it is. Similarly a lot of people would classify the "base" behaviour as being fairly neutral (heavily-weighted self-interest).

Lawful Alignment
1Saintly: The character will take Holy Orders or join a Fighting Order. Wisdom is a predetermined 15+. He is an implacable foe of all Chaotics and “heretics.”
2Devout: The character will take Holy Orders or join a Fighting Order. Wisdom is a predetermined 13+.
3Good: The character chooses the “right” path at all times, eschewing the ways of evil and temptation.
4Virtuous: The character seeks the “best” path and, though he fails at times to do the right thing, he makes restitution afterward and does penance.
5Worthy: The character tries to live by a high standard but slips on occasion.
6Trustworthy: The character has flaws in his moral fibre but attempts to meet his commitments and do his duty out of a firm sense of self-respect.
7Honourable: The character can be counted on to do the honourable thing.
 Neutral Alignment
8-9Law Abiding: The character is tempted by self-interest but does the “socially correct” thing, particularly with respect to all matters governed by custom and legality.
10-13Wordly: The character is knowledgeable in the ways of the world and sees moral issues in the grey half-tones of his self-interest. He will not be a party to truly evil conduct but sees no real impediment to a little larceny or mayhem if it brings a profit.
14-15Corruptible: The character sees his duty as beginning with himself. He is not evil, but he has his price.
 Chaotic Alignment
16Unscrupulous: The character has no real scruples when it comes to his picking a pocket or slitting a throat. If he can he will try to weasel out of any of his obligations or cheat his friends. Yet he also cares about his reputation.
17Base: The character will stoop pretty low on occasion, pays lip service to all of the conventional prattlings about good and decency, and never lets himself be blinded to a profitable deal when he sees it.
18Immoral: The character is corrupt to the core; Capable of great iniquity and depravity, he enjoys every minute of it. This is the character of the true “robber baron.”
19Villainous: The character is capable of real depths of evil and no moral code or conscience worth speaking of. If he has any friends they have learned to count their fingers after shaking hands with him and never leave their backs unguarded in his presence.
20Diabolic: The character is the complete Chaotic — so utterly void of any sense of right and wrong and devoted to hellishness in all its forms that there is no crime, no atrocity, no sacrilege that he will refrain from committing. This malevolent personality is true Evil Incarnate, so fiendishly demoniacal that even the Dark One is ashamed of his excesses at times.

Since this was replaced by the more abstract Piety characteristic in the second edition of C&S, I felt it was worthy of a quick review.

[Aside: My current alignment system uses a Pollution/Corruption mechanic. If you have no Pollution or Corruption you are Holy. However to stay free of spiritual Pollution requires considerable effort (depending on the actual tenets of your faith many things might cause Pollution), but in return you automatically get the status of Blessed. If you have Pollution (the normal random amount is 3d6), you are Worldly, which means you have taken no special efforts to avoid minor spiritual pollution and to cleanse yourself of it. For example as a Christian you might have "coveted your neighbour's ox." Note that if you are not actually trying to purify yourself there is no need to keep track of your spiritual pollution during actual play. A Worldly character can generally pay for a temporary Blessing (and this is commonly done before embarking on a venture, such as travel or childbirth). A character that has even a single point of Corruption is considered Unholy. They have usually made a deal with the demons who are trying to overthrow and replace the gods, or done something equally heinous against the gods. whilst the gods are generally unwilling to help their worshippers (beyond extending a Blessing), the demons are often willing to reward their servants directly.]