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Alignment and Codes 
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Post Alignment and Codes D&D (depending on the edition) you had these alignments. The traditional 1e 9 alignment set is probably the most well known (at least in my limited anecdotal experience). But one of the knocks on it was how it seemed an odd fit. Alignment languages? Why did some classes have alignment requirements and others did not?

So this post (and the one preceding it) about Paladins and their alignment got me thinking about it and in particular by something in Roma Imerpious called Codes. (For those heathens not familiar with core Iridium rules of the guy who is nice enough to host this site you slackers). Codes are a way to describe what is important to a character. From the first version of the Iridium core:
Codes are really a very simple concept to embrace. They are the most important things, beliefs or people in your character’s life. For a thief they may be money, then family, then the bandits. What this means is that the thief would sell out her family for enough gold but would defy the bandits to save her family. These are not meant to be shackles to bind play but more something to add to the definition of a character.

So then from the aforementioned post you get the "rules" by which a paladin lives - complete with ranking:
So let's say that instead of having to maintain a Lawful Good alignment, the paladin must abide by these rules and goals - and importantly, when two of these conflict, to follow the one higher up (lower numbered) in the list.

1. To fight against the forces of Evil and/or Chaos (Good and Law)
2. To aid and protect the weak and oppressed (Good)
3. To show mercy to the vanquished and the weak (Good)
4. To fight fairly and without ruses in personal combat (Law)
5. To tell no lies (Law)
6. To betray no oaths (Law)
7. To promote and uphold the religion of your deity (Law & Good)
8. To avoid indulging carnal lusts (Law)
9. To avoid excesses of drink or feasting (Law)
10. To respect and obey the clergy of your faith (Law & Good)
11. To obey and serve your feudal superiors (Law)
12. To hold no wealth that cannot be carried on a mount until you become the lord of a castle (Good?)

I'm thinking that somewhere in here is a good way to link the old/"traditional" alignment with a set of codes or rules. The question for me is - is it worth it? I mean, if you're going to go through all that trouble, I would assume some sort of mechanical repercussion for not adhering to the Code. At the very least, there should be some consequence - god doesn't answer you , the family is not there to protect you, something. If you go the no-mechanical route (there are just some consequences defined by the GM/Group as things occur, is there a reason to bother at all?

Rambling a bit, I know, but this tends to come up when you start looking at alignment based spells/information/etc and I'd like to kind of hash out my own approach for future use...

The rules are my slave, not my master. - Old Geezer

I'm reaching out for something, touching nothing's all I ever do.

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Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:55 pm
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Post Re: Alignment and Codes
I really prefer Codes to Alignment. For my purposes, some Codes - like your paladin's - are oaths administered, and sworn to by the postulant. To be known as an oathbreaker would be a huge penalty in most societies. Other Codes - like your thief's - are personal, and enforcement should come through roleplaying. Dreams, visions, and portents should reinforce the consequences of guilt for not living up to one's own ideals - whatever they are - until that guilt is expiated. Such folk would be haunted by the choices they made. Sleeplessness, loss of stamina, poor and slow healing, illnesses, twitches, etc. would show what the problem is. this is a lot less black and white than alignment penalties, but that's why I like them.


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Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:13 pm
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