Society Alignment

Player characters, NPCs, and monsters are not alone in having alignment. Since a kingdom is nothing but a collection of people, united in some fashion (by language, common interest, or fear, for example), it can have an overall alignment. The alignment of a barony, principality, or other small body is based on the attitude of the ruler and the alignment of the majority of the population.

The alignment of the ruler determines the nature of many of the laws of the land. Lawful good rulers usually try to protect their territory and do what's best for their subjects. Chaotic good rulers try to help people, but irregularly, being unwilling to enact sweeping legislation to correct a social ill.

At the same time, the enforcement of the laws and the attitudes found in the country come not from the ruler but the subjects. While a lawful good king issues decrees for the good of all, his lawful evil subjects could consider them inconveniences to work around. Bribery might become a standard method for doing business.

If the situation is reversed (a lawful evil king with mostly lawful good subjects), the kingdom becomes an unhappy place, filled with grumbling about the evil reign that plagues it. The king, in turn, resorts to severe measures to silence his critics, creating even more grumbling. The situation is similar to romantic portrayals of Norman England, with the good and true peasants struggling under the evil yoke of Prince John (as in Robin Hood and Ivanhoe).

The general alignment of an area is determined by the interaction between ruler and ruled. Where the ruler and the population are in harmony, the alignment tendency of the region is strong. When the two conflict, the attitudes of the people have the strongest effect, since the player characters most often deal with people at this level. However, the conflict between the two groups--subjects and lord--over alignment differences can create adventure.

Table of Contents