Thursday, March 19, 2015

Is there a consumer demand for Death to Alignment for the OSR?

I've never been a fan of alignment in general for various reasons.  First, the changing definitions over the years mean that descriptions such as Chaotic Neutral in 1st Edition mean something entirely different in 3rd Edition, confusing already contentious online arguments when nobody's on the same page for definitions.  Second, it is not a very well-fleshed out or consistent morality system, as most game designers aren't professional philosophers or theologians and go more by "feel" than a solid framework.  One only has to see what elves get away with in settings, which would land other races firmly outside the Chaotic Good camp.

It's rather common for gaming groups to house-rule away alignment, but the rules-heavy pecularities of Pathfinder meant that simply removing it meant that entire classes, spells, magic items, etc become gimped or useless.  So I wrote Death to Alignment, a series of rules changes, alternate morality systems, and mini-essays discussing how to alter or remove alignment in Pathfinder in a consistent, thoughtful way.

I often considered making an OSR version for Death to Alignment, like I did with Playable Monsters Volume 1.  But in comparison to Pathfinder most OSR games do not devote a lot of rules to it.  You might have some fluff personality descriptions, or whether the Cleric harms or enslaves undead, but aside from this there isn't really much ground to cover.  I considered focusing on the retroclones which do have rules beyond this simplistic framework, such as Dungeon Crawl Classics, but overall it seems that a simple house-ruling isn't going to have a lot of ripple effects in a game such as Labyrinth Lord.

If I do an OSR Edition of Death to Alignment, I might try incorporating system-neutral things, such as Corruption Points to represent the taint of supernatural evil warping those it touches.  I might also have a chapter for popular OGL retroclones and view how alignment interacts with their framework.

But more than that, I want to see how much enthusiasm there is among OSR gamers for such a book.

What do you think?  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!