Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Song of Ice and fire and Alignment

In watching and reading the Song of Ice and fire series, I have noticed a much more realistic portrayal of alignment than in the AD&D/Pathfinder system.  Now anyone who has played another role playing game will tell you Alignment is seldom used elsewhere.  But it is a very key component of the most popular game on the market so lets talk about it a bit.

In the song of ice and fire book series, you see characters who's view point shifts based on situation.  Broadly characters without power are often forced to more desperate acts.   You see Tyrion working to make sure justice is carried out in his role as Hand of the King.  Making sure certain character responsible for the fall of the Starks are punished.  After losing power after the battle on the river he is a much more desperate and self focused character.  Similarly the character of Ned Stark perhaps the most honest and straight forward of  characters in the series.  In the north this is a valued quality but in Kings Landing it is the key to his undoing.  You also see Sansa quickly learning discretion is the only way she can survive.

In our games the paladin often detects evil with a simple yes or no response.  This really doesn't get down to the heart of the situation for most of the creatures we deal with.  We ran into a giant who while evil really seemed just to want booze.  He situational alignment may have been thirsty and thinks we were an easy target.  Most bestial monsters would probably fall under the category of Hungry or defending its territory.

Perhaps the paladins auto detect could be changed with a take 20, sense motive check instead.  This would allow for better response from the DM should they be willing to invest the work.  Really i think getting rid of the alignment system would be fine.  But you have a couple of spells that target based off alignment that would become useless.

Having written this i feel a little bit cheap, selling something and not delivering.  I wanted to give something a little more in keeping with the title.   I am adding some of my own thoughts character alignment

Lawful Good Characters: Ned Stark, Davos Seaworth, Jeor Mormont,
Lawful neutral characters: Stannis Baratheon, Baristan Selmy (tends toward good), Kevan Lannister
Lawful Evil Character: Tywin Lannister, Roose Bolton, Little Finger

Neutral Good: John Snow, Robb Stark (tends toward lawful),Catelyn Stark, Bran
Neutral: Tyrion Lannister (tends toward good with power), Sansa Stark, Most Southern lords that turn to house Lannister after Renly's death.
Neutral Evil: Cersi Lannister (tends toward lawful or at least understands the value of it), Vargo Hoat, Walder Frey,

Chaotic Good: Beric Dondarian, Brothers without Banners (early), Lem Lemoncloak, Mance Rayder, Thoros, Danny (Tends toward neutral)
Chaotic Neutral: Jamie Lannister , Arya Stark ( tends toward good), The Hound, Robert Baratheon, ygritte, Oberon Martel
Chaotic Evil: Gregor Clegane, Joffrey, Bloody mummers, Ramsay Snow

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