Monday 20 March 2023


So recently lots of talk about alignment and species.

I have no problem with giving up victorian race theory and the fantasy genre's obsession with preserving it. Also when you have more and more parties that might not even have humans or even mammals referring to all the furies in with homo sapiens like they can cross breed always creepy. We worked this out as teens in the 80s probably from reading Moorcock essays. And less was said about the Gygax game where he had white and yellow people charted up while this notion was being kicked to the curb by scholars.

So I'm quite happy to make most mortal-born creatures and beings non-aligned or neutral by inclination. I'm fine with lots of monsters being created to be evil but the process doesn't always stick and players can even reform evil or operate monster orphanages without a paladin killing their babies.

In my homebrew having an alignment is a process of choice. Your alignment has a score in which you gain a point for each oath you take to an alignment. Each oath gives you a gift that can even be used to create a personalised magic weapon, gain followers or spells and other nifty stuff. Villains and monsters are all over this stuff. It does tend to impress the state and church if your alignment fits in with current requirements.

Occasionally a player wants nothing to do with this stuff and sometimes they see everyone else powering up and some give in to "free" powers for planar soul pacts.

If you mess up on alignment oaths the dungeon boss might have to decide how great an infringement is. If they break the rule flippantly or thoughtlessly or selfishly they will probably get one of the punishment and redemption arcs. This probably handles the worse sort of oath breakers:

Revising some stuff from here

I made this for lesser cases requiring a warning. Possibly if several conflicting oaths come up as a problem this would be a lesser crime. Perhaps you break an oath in some urgent mission against the enemy or some enemy deceived you into breaking an oath. Maybe you had a close call and need a good warning.

Minor Punishments last 24 hours for cases of near misses, warnings for dangerous conduct, problems from conflicting oaths, being tricked by an enemy or needed for a worthy mission to win. Good aligned people can consider not killing a friend an acceptable case for a minor punishment instead of a major one. Your first broken oath is likely to be minor.

Major Punishments last until the hero has had an atonement with a priest to discover what they need to do and accept the task. The punishment may start again if they stop their task. They cannot resume the task waylaid until they accept an oath spell to continue. This is for knowingly or thoughtlessly breaking your oath for no good reason or deliberately. When you are over 10th level you are more likely to be given a major punishment and the powers expect better of you. 

d12 Broken Oath Punishments 
1 Dream of the displeasure of the powers in your actions, interferes with spell recovery
2 Benefits from oaths don't work, disappear or are lost 
3 Immune to all healing including first aid, natural healing, magical healing or regeneration 
4 Half your total reaction rolls for and others sense you are a deceiver and not to be trusted
5 Any hit roll of one is a fumble d4 1=hit self 2=hit ally 3=break weapon 4=drop weapon
6 Double chance of random encounters
7 Struck Lame d4 1=half Mov 2=blind -4 all sight based rolls 3=attribute drops d4+2 points 4=Incapable of feeling love or pleasure or desire
8 Struck Mad d4 1=paranoid even of loved ones against you 2=narcascist with unbridles sense of superiority and hubris 3=greedy for wealth beyond reason 4=always angry and quick to violence at any continued displeasure or personal sleight
9 An awful creature for follows the oathbreaker and tries to cause suffering by robbing goods, disturbing rest, menacing followers and annoying pranks
10 A monster is sent to lay waste to the oathbreaker's property and menace their followers. With a major oathbreaking the creature if slain is reborn or replaced with a stronger monster
11 Transformed into an animal with fuzzy memories of being human
12 Some accident or agent badly wounds the oathbreaker leaving them with a d4 HP or if a major transgression a divine servant or even the power itself may appear to strike the person dead

Atonement Tasks
1 Pay an additional 10% tithe forevermore
2 Travel on a pilgrimage to a faraway land and protect other pilgrims
3 Establish a mission with a building and personnel d4 1=convert people in far away land 2=healing shrine to aid the sick 3=help end poverty 4=safe shrine for pilgrims to rest in
4 Carry scriptures and relics to a missionary in a far-off land
Convert your own level cubed in HD of new followers (4th =4x4x4=64 or 10x10x10=1000)
Quest to recover d4 1=relic of a saint 2=idol or altarpiece 3=person 4=holy text
7 Aid in the construction of a holy place with money or labour d4 1=shrine 1000gp or a month 2=statue 2d5=1000gp d4 months 3=temple 10000gp one year 4=monument 1000000gp d4x10 years
Search and destroy d4 1=a famous monster 2=heretical sect 3=enemy cult 4=criminals 
9 Raise an army for a crusade equal to your own level cubed in HD of new followers (4th =4x4x4=64 or 10x10x10=1000)
10 Made to serve an important priest or king or agent of the power for d4 years of humiliating and dangerous service
11 Imprisoned for d4 years of torture by enemies in a dungeon or on some other plane
12 A great disaster strikes your land and continues to cause suffering as it struggles to recover. Everyone knows whose fault it was until the hardship is over requiring money and labour for d4 years to return to normal and feel gratitude instead of hate for the oathbreaker 

I'm fine with people using luck points to get better options or oaths or less horrible punishments


  1. I like seeing folks make games systems matter to the campaign and making it better than a GM gotcha moment rarely paid attention to otherwise.

    1. cheers - it works very well in play and players agonise over the cost of more power


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