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
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.
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