These Gentle Flickering Candles
Alignment and Trappings
There is no such thing as Alignment in this game. Abilities such as "Detect Evil", "Smite Good" and other alignment-specific powers and things that require alignment will be phased out for this campaign in favor of alternatives to be determined later.
As this is a game where player's choices are supposed to be highly important in determining the final outcome of the story, having an alignment system that penalizes you if your Lawful Good character chooses to kill someone who is begging them for mercy, for example, defeats part of the point. This is not to say there are not forces of Utmost Good and Utter Evil in the world, just that players are not required thematically or mechanically to select one of the 9 DnD alignments, and will neither be rewarded or penalized for doing so.
However, as this game IS meant to analyze the choices that players make, the individual stories that they tell, and the repercussions of such, there are two other things being implemented in Alignment's Place: The Karma System and a character's Trappings.
Trappings are things that your character cares about in this world beyond themselves. Each player must select 5 Trappings at character creation, one of which must be a NPC that the player character has a connection with. This can be anyone from one of the Player Character's children, to another member of their family, or even just a childhood friend or a rival. Another of the players 5 trappings must be a Concept they keep close to their hearts, such as Duty, Mercy, Service, Schadenfreude, Courage, Cowardice, or something along those lines. This Concept is meant to reflect an aspect of the character's personality that they value highly. For example, a person with the concept of Cowardice as a trapping might be someone who values keeping their own skin undamaged over most other things. A third trapping must be a physical object of some significance to the character, such as a sword that was a family heirloom, a journal that the PC writes in as a form of relieving stress and organizing their thoughts, a necklace that the character keeps as a sentimental gift from a deceased friend, a symbol of a secret society that the player character is loyal to, or something like that. Please note that you cannot use Trappings as a way of getting an expensive item that your character would not otherwise be able to afford. These are not free gifts, but rather a way of making something your character carries on them have some more flavor and significance. The last 2 Trappings can be almost anything as long as it is something your character cares about, believes in, or is loyal to BEYOND THE PLAYER CHARACTER THEMSELVES. You can use your last 2 Trappings to establish a bond with other player characters (even if it's one-sided and the other player character doesn't take a matching trapping back), but only if the player running the other PC agrees to allow it. If one of the two thus-connected player characters dies or in some way acts to sunder the significance behind the Trapping, the player(s) involved must replace it with a new one.
The purpose of Trappings is to encourage more depth of roleplaying and to make the story more interesting for everyone. Players who use their Trappings as a way of expanding the worldsetting may be given bonus experience or other rewards to start the game with. Players who try to build their Trappings as a way of making their character have as few emotional or social connections to the world around them as possible will be politely asked by the DM to review and alter their character. It may also be possible for player characters to gain or lose Trappings in game, to a upwards Maximum of 10 Trappings and a Minimum of 1 Trapping. A player character who has NO Trappings whatsoever has no ties to the world around them and becomes an NPC under the DM's control.
When your character interacts with events in the game that somehow relate to their Trappings, they will be rewarded with points of Karma. Karma is essentially a reward for good roleplaying that can be translated into benefits for your current character, a protoge that your character takes on, or the next character you create. Some examples of how to use your characters trappings to earn Karma are listed below:
- If your character charges into a battle to save the life of an NPC that reminds them of a beloved younger sibling they have a Trapping for, they can earn a Karma Point.
- If your character gathers the people of a poor town together and teaches them how to become expert blacksmiths, and the player has the Trapping of "Teacher", they can earn a point of Karma.
- If the player character allows another PC that they have a Trapping with to die because they ALSO have a Trapping of Cowardice and interceding means that they may die instead, they can earn a point of Karma.
- If your character spends a whole day trying to knock up women because the have the concept of Fertility as one of their Trappings, they may be able to earn a point of Karma.
- If a player character tries desperately to hold a strategic bridge from falling to an enemy army, risking their own life and the lives of others, even when logic dictates victory is unlikely, they can earn a point of Karma if they've got the Trapping of Duty.
- If a player character spends a night taking care of a sick friend whom they have a Trapping towards, they can earn a point of Karma.
Although I have not yet divulged what Karma can be used for, know that the more points of Karma you have, the better off you'll be in general.
Again, remember that the Karma system and the Trappings system are meant to enable deeper, more interesting roleplay and motivate characters to take actions that don't just benefit themselves. Trying to do things JUST for the reason of earning Karma is not frowned upon, but Karma will be primarily rewarded by the DM on a case-by-case basis. The general rule is that if your character taking an action makes the story more interesting, entertaining, hilarious, compelling, or awesome (and if it is keeping in line with your Trappings) you will receive a Karma point for it. If the actions you are taking do nothing to benefit the overall story and are just being done because you want to earn Karma for it, then it's much MUCH less likely you'll earn a Karma point for it.
Players can choose to give their own Karma points to other player's characters as kudos for doing something awesome in game as well, at their own discretion. The DM may also allow players to suggest that they give a player a Karma point for some action the DM wasn't initially convinced would merit one; an appeals process is in place for fairness sake and to allow the DM to reconsider their actions if someone makes a good point.