Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Religion, Alignment & Alignment Languages

Ok, just as a warning, this is sort of a stream-of-consciousness post, so I apologise before-hand if it seems a little incoherent or if it just comes off as a ramble.

Right, now that's out of the way, onto the post: I was up thinking about this last night. I had been reading Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy, which is basically a dialogue in the old Greek style. Now, this is mostly irrelevant, except for this one fact that spawned the whole post: You see, in the book, when Boethius is imprisoned, he is consoled by Philosophy in the form of a woman who discusses life, fortune, etc. with him.

So, this struck me as a sudden thought: What if, instead of worshipping the god of writing, and the goddess of magic, the people in my games worshipped Writing and Magic. I then thought, 'well, what about alignment? Do they all worship the same thing?'

After that, I decided to group the various things into Law and Chaos (you see, I tend to lean more towards B/X than other editions of D&D). But then it occured to me: What if it was the entire structure of the world?

Now, I have a feeling other people have posted about this before, but it only recently struck me.

So, with the alignments, they would be where you stand with regards to civilisation. The Lawful characters are the defenders of culture and learning, while the Chaotic characters believe in the 'beautiful savage' and other such things. This would give more of an over-arching, well, plot to the setting.

The orcs destroy libraries and murder scholars, not just because they are evil, but because they are opposed to all that they stand for. The great soldiers of the kingdom who sell their lives dearly, do so not just because they are fighting for their families, but because they believe they are fighting for something greater than themselves.

You can take this even further. Let's say there are two deities, one representing Law, and the other representing Chaos. Now, the Neutral characters are those who do not understand, know, or care about the war being raged in the heavens, nor do they care that it has spilt into the land. They will only fight the orcs to safegaurd themselves and thier families. The Lawful characters could be the educated, whether they are aristocracy, scholars, or priests, who are aware of the great battle being fought for civilisation as a whole.

The Chaotic creatures then, would just have a burning hatred of civilisation, and would serve the deity of Chaos.

This brings us to alignment languages. With this system, these could actually make sense. The Lawful language would be the equivalent of Latin or Greek, as the Lawful characters would be the educated ones, for the most part, while Chaotic could be something analogous to Celtic, having many dialects, but with someone from the South being just able to get along with someone from the North. Neutral could then just be a sort of 'trade tongue' amongst the various neutral creatures and characters, a sort of pidgin common, with bits and pieces of various languages thrown in. Most people would know enough to get along, but not really enough to carry on a proper conversation.

What do you think of this? And again, I apologise if it seems a but unclear.

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