Monday, 18 May 2015
Real (Gonzo) Alignments for Dungeon Crawl Classics
Or at least, real alignments for how my own "Last Sun" DCC campaign works.
I've come to realize that awesome as the Law-Neutral-Chaos mix goes, its not really complete. There IS very clearly another axis of alignment at play in my campaign. But it's not Good-Neutral-Evil; that just doesn't make a lot of sense in the context of how the world works.
No. Here is the real alignment axis:
Law/Neutral/Chaos: you already know these.
Do-Gooder: Potentially also called "boy scout", "whitebread", "sucker" or "Mormon". The wholesome types that actually believe in trying to save the ruined world. The guys who will stand up to evil because of a set of principles, without there needing to be anything else in it for them. Almost certainly doomed to get eaten by something horrible.
Freak: Potentially also called "weirdo", "maniac", or "hopped up on goofballs". They'd be called 'lunatics' if anyone in the world of the Last Sun knew what a moon was. These guys believe in something, but it sure as hell isn't principles. They want whatever thing they want, whether it's to serve great cthulhu, get high, have interesting conversations, collect hats, reconquer the lost dwarven homeland, punk rock, or eat people's delicious spleens. They don't really care about either saving the world or saving themselves, only about their own particular obsessions. Almost certainly doomed to get eaten by something horrible.
Asshole: Potentially also called "dick", or "Bill the Elf". There are more of these guys than anyone else in the world of the Last Sun, which pretty much explains why things have gotten as bad as they have. These are the people who are in it for the money, the power, and the women (or men, or attractive entities of indeterminate gender, or sex-robots, or whatever). Some of them want to conquer entire dimensions, some want to see the world burn, a few of them just want to get to make other people miserable, and most of them just want to stay alive long enough to get to their next drink. Almost certainly doomed to get eaten by something horrible, after all their former friends have been eaten first.
Here's the detailed breakdown:
Lawful Do-Gooder: these are the guys who want to bring back civilization and heal the world, and will work for it in an organized fashion. They're well-meaning but usually hampered by their own rules, and by a lack of numbers. The only significant groups in the world of the Last Sun that fit this alignment and are still around seem to be the Clerics (who have lost any kind of institutional order at this point, and are consistently undone by virtue of G.O.D. having gone insane). The long-defunct Pythian (Elven) Knights were also Lawful Do-Gooders too, but destroyed themselves in some as-yet unrevealed fashion. Lawful Do-Gooders will tend to put procedure over the actual doing of good, which can mean slaughtering people who don't fit the plan for saving the world, or not really helping out of bureaucratic inertia when the shit is hitting the fan. The Time Dinosaurs may also be Lawful Do-gooders, what with their being highly religiously devout, but if so are apparently extremely constrained by rules against most kinds of temporal interference.
Neutral Do-Gooder: The guys who want to help everyone as best as possible. Represented by a variety of individuals, and as a group by the Azure Order of Wizards, who are the nicest people seen in the setting thus far. Usually overwhelmed by the overall shittiness of the world but they can often make little gains at helping small groups and local areas to be more tolerable.
Chaotic Do-Gooder: They generally want to help everyone, one person at a time. Have no tolerance for group work beyond an immediate circle of friends, or for any rules that get in the way of doing what they personally define as good. Arguably, Anthraz the Destroyer (the greatest adventurer there ever was, now in his dotage) could be a Chaotic Do-Gooder, because he usually only slaughtered Assholes and tried to help people, sort of. So is Doctor Theobald, the Ape-man intellectual.
Lawful Freak: Cultists of organized pseudo-religious sects and gangs like the Halcon Lords; or groups that follow some single cause that isn't actually going to make the world any better but that's important to them. Note that they sometimes THINK that whatever they're doing is going to somehow 'fix everything' but this claim never stands up to reason. The Dwarves as a culture have mostly become Lawful Freaks at this point, obsessed with avenging their various grievances from the Book of Grievances and with the (seemingly impossible) task of reclaiming their ancient homelands in the deep Machine Levels under the earth. The NecroTreant was also an example of a lawful freak: he wanted to abolish all life as an "abomination" and leave the world an irradiated wasteland where only his seed-children would thrive. The Eco-Ogres were another good example. Likewise, the Daemon(s?) known as the Three Fates. As individuals, they have their own set of Crazy Rules and they won't break them.
Neutral Freak: these guys really don't care about anything except their Thing. They'll display an almost catatonic level of disinterest in whatever isn't related to that Thing. They'll try to make everything about that Thing. They can otherwise be nice, or terrible, or just bland, but will inevitably end up being annoying. Bolt-O the Robot, the King of Elfland, Frenchy the Gold Mutant Gold-miner, the Hipster Elves, and any number of mutant tribes (who have often elevated their particular Thing into taboos or fetishes) are the prime examples from the campaign.
Chaotic Freak: the guys who have just spent way too long staring into the Eye of the Void. Their "thing" is usually to up the level of Chaos itself wherever they go. The weaker adherents of this alignment will usually meet a quick death for being insufferable gits; while the more powerful ones are the crazy motherfuckers that you most want to stay away from, because you can't reason with them, can't offer them anything (except maybe by random chance), and you never know what they'll do to you. The Wizard Nikos is the best example of this alignment in the campaign, followed closely by the Daemon Azi-Dahaka.
Lawful Asshole: These are the guys who use rules to rule. They are the evil overlords, the gang leaders, the tribal chiefs, or the Collective Assholes who don't give a fuck about anything other than things being done their way. Also, rules-lawyers. The campaign is so full of these guys that it would be hard to list them all: the Smug Elves, The Assassin King, The Snake Witch, Goldeater, and many more.
Neutral Asshole: this is your standard run-of-the-mill Asshole. The default alignment for most people in the setting. Not devoted enough to anything to stand out, for the most part, but definitely in it for themselves. If they end up getting power of a personal or political variety they'll mostly use it to engage in wanton hedonism. Priscilla the Queen of the Grey People is a Neutral Asshole (a particularly annoying one), as is the Jade Empire Games Controller (now the new King of the Grey People), the Jade Empress, the now-deceased Dragon-Daemon Tiamat, and various others. Most of the non-cleric PCs we've had over the years of the campaign have been Neutral Assholes.
Chaotic Asshole: these are the assholes who are all about themselves, just about all the time. They can work with others (they're not nuts) but when they want something they won't hesitate to knife their grandmother in the back to get it. They'd gladly save the world if you paid them enough or gave them right magic item, but would just as gladly betray you after. They can end up with temporal power as well, but unlike Lawful Assholes won't really see that as an end, just a means to an end; they don't usually care about ruling over others. Most Halflings in the setting are Chaotic Assholes. So was the late sloth/crime-lord Slothy-Rodriguez. Likewise, the Daemons Sezrekan and the Lord of All Flesh, and of course Bill the Elf.
Anyways, that's it. I think this new Alignment model could work really well not just for my DCC game, but probably for quite a few gonzo OSR-campaigns out there. Feel free to use them!
Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Solitario Oversize + H&H's Beverwyck