Friday, July 8, 2016

Alignments of Monvesia 2: Codifying Perception

Last year, I posted an overview of Monvesia's alternate alignment system.  In this setting, alignment is more about public perception than it is about personality or creed--a character is not a good person, but is believed to be a good person.  The actions one chooses to perform and vocations one chooses to pursue will color the way a character is perceived.  Using the Temperaments of Monvesia, I am going to outline how alignment can be treated as a mechanical property of the game, instead of an arbitrary description of character.

As a game mechanic, player characters will earn alignment points (AP).  Characters earn these points in all temperaments simultaneously.  Generally, the temperament with the highest score will be a character's perceived alignment--and this is the alignment that the character is "bound" to when dealing with spells such as detect evil.

The Seal of Mohas
representing the Six Temperaments of his philosophy

Starting Alignment Points

The first APs that a character receives are based on their race, initial ability scores, starting class, and birth season.  These associations are detailed in the previous post about alignment.

  • Race (non-human) grants 3 AP in the associated Temperament; or,
    • Human Culture grants 2 AP in the associated Temperament; or,
    • Genasi Sphere grant 4 AP in the associated Temperament.
  • Starting Class grants 2 AP in the associated Temperament.
  • Highest Ability Score (regardless of the score's actual value) grants 2 AP in the associated Temperament; or,
    • If two or three ability scores are tied for highest, they each grant 1 AP in their associated Temperaments; or,
    • If four or more ability scores are tied for highest, then no ability score grants AP.
  • Birth Date grants AP based on two factors:
    • Season of Birth grants 2 AP to the associates temperament.  Choose, or roll 1d6 -
      • 1, Spring (Idealism)
      • 2, Seelie Time (Altruism)
      • 3, Summer (Vitalism)
      • 4, Autumn (Materialism)
      • 5, Unseelie Time (Nihilism)
      • 6, Winter (Dynamism)
    • Day of Birth ... 
      • Roll 2d8; if both roll an 8, then the character was born during the season's Feast day; add 2 AP to that season's associated Temperament.
      • Otherwise, day of birth grants 1 AP in the associated Temperament.  Choose, or roll 1d6  -
        • Windday (Idealism)
        • Sunday (Altruism)
        • Flameday (Vitalism)
        • Stoneday (Materialism)
        • Starday (Nihilism)
        • Riverday (Dynamism)
Birth date is the first chance players have to guide their characters' perceived Temperament.  A player is welcome to choose a birth date to specifically skew their character's perceived temperament.
For an exact birth date, also roll 1d10 to determine which week during the season that the character was born. 

Earning Alignment Points

AP are also earned in play.  There is no limit to the number of AP that can be earned in any Temperament--so a character's balance of temperaments is constantly evolving.

Level Up

Every time a character gains a level, they earn 1 AP in a Temperament.  In most cases, this is the one that is normally associated with the character's class.  Certain sub-classes (archetypes, schools, oaths, etc.) may change that associated Temperament.

Sub-classes which have a direct elemental connection, or a clear temperamental association, change the class' associated temperament to match that connection.
  • Sorcerers
    • Elemental Nature - by Element
    • Favored Soul - by sphere of favoring presence
      • Arch-saint, by Temperamental Sphere
      • Paragon, Materialism
      • Great Spirit of Light, Idealism
      • Great Spirit of the Sky, Vitalism
      • Great Spirit of the Land, Dynamism
  • Warlocks
    • Archfey - Dynamist
    • Undying Light - Altruist
  • Wizard
    • Schools of Magic - by School 
Sub-classes bound to serve particular orders or traditions, change the class' associated temperament to match the temperament of the order/tradition if the character remains in active service.  Otherwise, the point gained is in the class' core temperament.
  • Temperamental Orders (Clerics, Paladins, some Fighters) - by Temperament
  • Keeperate of Paragons (Clerics, Paladins) - Materialism
Any reference to a sub-class "requiring" a temperament means that this sub-class instead grants an AP in that temperament when the character levels up.

Faction Work

Apply your renown earned with any given faction to the Temperament associated with that Faction:
Also apply any renown gained while working with a Crusader order to the appropriate Temperament.

Acts of Piety / Great Esteem

Here is where things get a bit hazy and hand-wavy.  To make it "fair," an element of democracy is added.  At any point that a player (including the DM) believes that another player's character has performed an act of piety toward or great esteem on behalf of a particular temperament, they may nominate that character to receive an AP in that temperament.
A player cannot nominate their own character to earn an AP.
All the players (including the GM and the character's player) then vote in favor or against the AP.  If a majority of the votes are in favor, the character earns the AP.  In the case of a tie, the vote of the character's own player is counted twice.  If plausible, the GM may give the player a chane to "take back" the action that inspired the AP.

Dominant Alignment

Using these rules, the idea of a character's "own" temperament is discarded.  Instead, based on actions and pursuits, most characters will have a dominant alignment.  Spells that target creatures with a particular temperament will target characters with that dominant alignment.

If one temperament has more APs than any other by 3 or more, that is the character's dominant alignment.  Only spells and abilities targeting this alignment will effect the character.

If two or three temperaments are within 2 APs of each other (and no other temperament has more points), then both (or all three) are considered dominant.  Spells and abilities targeting one of these alignments will effect the character equally.
A character may have multiple dominant alignments even if the elemental spheres associated with them are otherwise in opposition.
If four or more temperaments are within 2 APs of each other (and no other temperament has more points), then the character has no dominant alignment.  Spells and abilities targeting alignments have no effect on this character.

A character is not expected to act in accordance with their dominant alignment, and there is no requirement to ever do so.

Alignment/Temperamental Requirements

Under this system, no sub-class requires any particular Temperament.  As noted above, pursuing such an options instead increases a character's connection to the associated Temperament.  The "requirement" changes to a highly encouraged recommendation to pursue a formal relationship with a faction favoring that temperament (thereby ensuring that is remains a character's dominant alignment).

Achieving Sainthood

The rules governing the pursuit of sainthood are also slightly modified by this.  In this case, a character will need to maintain a particular dominant alignment in order to ascend into one's chosen Sphere.

When choosing a Sphere, your dominant alignment (or one of them) must be the temperament associated with your chosen Sphere from the onset of your pilgrimage through the completion of your saintly path.  Since "associated elements" are already tied to starting AP, they are no longer a consideration when choosing a sphere.  For genasi, dominant alignment is ignored--for a genasi may only ascend into the Sphere of their own origin.
Remember, in all cases a reference to a character's temperament should be understood as the character's dominant alignment.
Edited October 13, 2016 (Faction links); July 7, 2017; July 10, 2017. 

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