Alignment as a Stat

Woke up this morning with this idea in my head and so I exorcise it here.

I’m not generally one that cares about traditional D&D style alignment that much, and certainly prefer it descriptive rather than prescriptive. But this system might at least make it more interesting? I still don’t know if I’d worry about alignment that much at all but here we go.

Alignment is on two axes: Good/Neutral/Bad and Law/Neutral/Chaos. Let’s call them the Moral axis and Order axis for now. So far so much the same. But, each axis has a score just like an attribute stat, from 3-18 (higher number being good/law, lower evil/chaos). At character creation you can either start at 10 in both or roll 3d6 for each for your alignment.

When you perform an act of significant Good roll a straight d20, trying to roll equal or lower than your Moral stat. If you succeed, bump your stat one point higher, if you fail nothing happens. It is the opposite for an act of Evil: roll d20 and succeed if you roll equal or over. A success lowers the stat by one, and failure again does nothing. 

Make the same tests for Lawful and Chaotic acts, with Lawful being roll under and Chaos being roll over. 

How about neutrality and acts of balance? If you perform an act truly dedicated to balance and neutrality (not just being passive or wishy-washy) roll over or under in whatever way will bring your stat closer to 10. (So if you have 14 in your Moral stat, you’d try to roll over as if you committed an Evil act, lowering that stat on success, and vice-versa if you had a 7 in Moral). If your stat is already 10 there is no need to make a check for such an act.

How can this be used? I dunno how useful it really is. It gives some more nuance to how good, evil, lawful, or chaotic or neutral you are. Its most practical use could be with deities, which would require a certain score in one or both stats to give you the time of day (and benefit of their power) regardless of your dedication to worshiping them. Similarly with magical items that test alignment. 

Maybe spells or other effects can force an alignment test, causing damage or a status effect on a failure instead of changing the stat.

For NPCs, should it be useful to give them this stat, I’d rule Outsiders such as fiends and celestials can break the normal bounds. Demons for example would always be at 1/1 for Moral/Order. Devils might be Moral 1, Order 20. 

Anyway, thought successfully put out there.

June 18, 2023