In part one of this series, we presented a guest article by Garry Stahl, “The Conundrum Of Alignment”. Part two discussed the justification for alignment being part of the rules, looked at the arguement against oversimplified moral arguements, and concluded that the real problem with alignment was misuse attributable to the judgemental and morally-extremist labels that had been used. Part three offered a counterpoint to those arguements before returning to the central statement of Garry’s article and reexamining whether or not alignment really should be part of the game. It then described an alternative use of the Game Mechanics of Alignment that satisfies both sides of the question. In parts 4 and 5, I’m going to offer some practical examples from my own campaigns of ways to use these techniques to enhance your games, and generate the kind of complex moralities that Garry contended were not possible using Alignment.
Flavours Of Neutral
One of the subtexts of The Lord Of The Rings examines the conflict between a naturalistic world, in harmony with nature, and an industrialised world. This is very much a debate of our time; concerns over global warming are shaping policy decisions at the highest level (rightly or wrongly); industrial pollution has been a popular issue for activists since the 1970s (and can be viewed as a lasting outgrowth of the hippy subculture from the late 60s, if you care to); and we have been subject to repeated environmental scare campaigns of various sorts (overpopulation; the world running out of oil; the ecosystem in danger of collapse through loss of species; the ecosystem in danger of collapse from the destruction of the brazillian rainforest; the world running out of oil (again); the hole in the ozone layer; and so on and so forth) for so long that environmentalists have passed the point of being chicken little and now threaten to become the boy who cried ‘wolf’.
These issues could not be better-suited to being a source of friction and plotlines in an RPG if they were tailor-made for the purpose. There are so many possible perspectives to adopt that make for excellent sources of conflict and drama, it’s hard to know where to start; in fact, there are so many that it would be easy to go too far and overuse the theme.
In my “Fumanor: One Faith” campaign, like most D&D campaigns, questions of nature are the province of Druids, which are defined as being Neutral of alignment. Simplistic campaigns interpret this as meaning that they are colourless, with no strong opinions on anything, and are largely interchangeable in personality as a result. It was my contention that, like any organisation, the Druids would have a variety of perspectives on the great issues of the day, that they would have a variety of perspectives on the specific questions that fall within their province, and that they would have a variety of senses of urgancy about resolving those questions; as a result, they would have as many factions and unique perspectives as any other group or elected body. Those of similar perspective would tend to ally with each other, and you would get robust internal politics in the same way that you do in any Government.
In order to define those factions, and their common perspectives and plans of action and points of both agreement and conflict, I needed to be have a systematic means of examining the points of view on the subjects. For the solution, I turned to the mechanics of Alignment.
In order to understand some of the differences between factions, you will need to appreciate a little of the campaign backstory.
In the “Fumanor: The Last Deity” campaign that preceeded “One Faith”, one of the PCs was a druid named Ceriseth, who was deeply concerned that the trend toward industrialisation would result in untold harm to nature. Ceriseth sought to turn aside the trend towards a confrontation between the Guardians Of Nature and human civilisation, before it turned violent; attempting through education and political reform to defuse the issues before antagonism became conflict. In the course of the campaign, he was responsible for releasing a diffusion of inteligence, awakening many semi-sentient species and giving those on the lower levels of awareness (like goblins) a step up relative to Elves, Humans, and Dwarves, the dominant species of the world. He also came into posession of an ancient artifact, the Helm Of Oak, which enabled any stand of trees (of specified minimum size) to serve as an extension of his personal Grove, animating and obeying his instructions, and allowing near-instantanious transport from one to another, abilities that proved critical in the epic conclusion to that campaign. As a reward for his service to the throne, his personal Grove was deemed to be a religious sanctuary, in effect a noble’s private estate.
In the interrim between campaigns, Ceriseth was killed under mysterious circumstances and his apprentice, a Verdonne (a more intelligent, more humanoid, type of Treant) named Briteoak, claimed the Helm Of Oak. Where Ceriseth had been a diplomat and conciliator, Briteoak was an impassioned zealot who led attacks on trading caravans and isolated farmsteads and villagers and became, effectively, an eco-terrorist. This was largely in response to a move by the government to end the tax-exempt status of the church, forgetting that the Druids were now covered by the same umbrella. Since Druids don’t take up collections, don’t ‘own’ businesses etc, they had no prospect of ever being able to pay the taxes that were imposed; what was to an organised religion merely an inconvenience was percieved as a direct attack on the Druidic Orders and their way of life.
There are a number of other threats and problems for the PCs to interact with – Church Corruption, an invading Empire Of Undead, Elvish Dragonriders (now that they have taken up the worship of Lolth), assimilation of Orcs, Ogres, and Drow into a society that was thier sworn enemies not so long ago, and the continuing conflict between the Chaos Powers and the Gods. The Goblins, meanwhile, have employed their greater intelligence to become a serious threat, mastering coordinated military actions to a far greater degree than any other sentient species. Recently, they have also begun mastering Arcane Magic – to a degree that’s impossible without tuition from someone who already knows it. The PCs have discovered that the Goblins are “collecting” Dragon Eggs for the Elves, and there is almost certainly an alliance of sorts between the two forces. These, and their implications, are the major plot threads running at this time in the campaign world.
== Campaign Side-note: In the Fumanor campaigns, every species has one knack at which they are naturally better than anyone else of equal intelligence. For Humans, its farming, which supports a greater population; for Elves, it’s a natural rapport with Life; for Drow, political intrigue; for Dwarves, mining; Orcs, survival; Halflings, handicrafts; Ogres, seige weaponry. Giving the Goblins a natural gift for military field tactics elevated the level of threat they posed and fitted with their past appearances in the Campaign, while being consistant with a naturally warlike tendancy.==
I should also explain that everything presented below was needed because the PCs, who are investigating the death Of Ceriseth, would be ‘unofficially’ present at a gathering of the Druidic Orders and would overhear the debate, and certain revelations of who had been doing what to whom – tying many campaign plot threads together. The PCs were of the opinion that the Druidic problem is a minor distraction – what they will learn in the course of the debates is that many of their bigger problems are of the size and scope that they are, because of Druidic involvement.
Definition Of Attitudes
I started the process of generating the different factions by looking at the range of issues that would matter to Druids as a whole, given the campaign world and its history. Since I knew that I was going to be applying the Mechanics of Alignment, I defined these in terms of the extremes of the perspectives.
Primary Attitudes: Pacifists Vs Militants
- Pacifist: favour negotiation, consider humans to be a part of nature. Identify with plants.
- Militant: favour violent destruction of humans; consider humans to have forfeighted any place in nature. Identify with animals.
Primary Attitudes: Populists Vs Elitists
- Populist: believe action must be achieved by targetting the ordinary citizen. Identify with grasses and herd animals.
- Elitist: believe action must be achieved by targetting the politically and socially affluant. Identify with Vines, Creepers, and Carnivores.
Primary Attitudes: Centrists
As always, two extremely divergant perspectives imply a middle ground, which I labelled “Centrists” after examining what the middle ground between these extreme primary attitudes looked like:
- Centrist: believe that it is not the place of the Druidic Orders to enforce Nature; nature will tend to it’s own. Identify with trees and other long-lived creatures.
Secondary Attitudes: Trendors vs Accusers
The dominant theological issue of the campaign; even within an alignment of neutrality, this would divide the Druidic Orders.
- Trendors: believe that the supplantation of the Chaos Powers by the Gods was a part of the natural cycle, and should not be resisted, but also believe that the Gods have been or should be supplanted in turn. Also tend to believe that the ends justify the means.
- Accusers: believe that the supplantation of the Chaos Powers by the Gods was a violation of the natural order, and the direct inspiration for the human willingness to violate the natural order. Also tend to believe that the ends can never justify the means.
Secondary Attitudes: Dominators vs Anarchists
Another divisive issue would be the role that the Druidic Orders should have – what they are, fundamentally.
- Dominators: believe that the Orders are the Stewards of nature, and are entitled to control and dominate it and its creatures. Consider the “Natural Order” to be an abstract theory.
- Anarchists: believe that the Orders are the Guardians of nature, and are required to destroy anything that seeks to harm it, however regretfully. Consider the “Natural Order” to be a manifest reality.
Secondary Attidudes: Philosophers
Once again, there is a middle ground between these extremes.
- Philosophers: believe that the Orders are the Spokesmen of nature, and are required only to enunciate and educate and advise. Consider the “Natural Order” to be an Abstract concept made manifest.
81 Flavours Of Neutral
Putting these together on a pair of familiar alignment charts gave 9 combinations of primary attitudes and 9 of secondary attitudes. By combining the descriptions of each attitude, an overall description of the ‘alignment’ resulted. Nine primary attitudes and nine secondary attitudes give 81 combinations – so the result was 81 ‘flavours of neutral’ within the Druidic Orders.
For example, for “Pacifist Populist Trendor Philosophers” I had: Believe action must be achieved by targetting the ordinary citizen. Identify with grasses and herd animals.favour negotiation, consider humans to be a part of nature. Identify with plants. believe that the supplantation of the Chaos Powers by the Gods was a part of the natural cycle, and should not be resisted, but also believe that the Gods have been or should be supplanted in turn. Also tend to believe that the ends justify the means. believe that the Orders are the Spokesmen of nature, and are required only to enunciate and educate and advise. Consider the “Natural Order” to be an Abstract concept made manifest.
This is as sophisticated a definition of a political position as you will find anywhere. More, because all possible attitudes within the target questions were considered, every possible result is listed – a systematic approach that yields comprehensive results.
Of course, the results were not very practical for use; they needed to be individually analysed and rationalised and rendered into coherant factions within the internal Politics of the Druidic Orders. More, because the questions represented by the different ‘alignment’ axes are not entirely unrelated, it was likely that some of the combinations would be incompatable.
I needed to look at what each faction would do about their beliefs, at what they might already have done, at how each faction would contribute to the debate, and so on. I wanted coalitions to come together organically from the different flavours of Neutral that I had defined.
I was greatly helped in that I knew that Ceriseth had formed the centre of a pro-diplomacy faction, while Briteoak was at the heart of a more activist faction, and I had some idea of what the members of that faction had already done within the campaign – I just needed to find the right ‘justification’ for those decisions. I also knew that for a significant change of direction such as had occurred, I needed a group of moderates holding the balance of power who could be swayed one way or the other.
As I analysed each ‘flavour of neutral’, I first tried to synthesize a coherant and consistant philosophy from the attitudes, then I looked for who they would agree with. The factions quickly took shape. Below are the results.
Factions Within The Druidic Orders of Fumanor
The Alliance Of Oak:
Patient, coalition builders. Want to reform humanity, which they believe worth saving. The Alliance Of Oak comprises 5 Druidic Orders.
- The Order Of The Scythe – Nature decreed that the Gods supplanting of the Chaos Powers was part of the natural cycle, and that the Gods will in turn be supplanted. As such, Nature is superior to the Gods, and Druids are her spokesmen. They favour negotiating with the authorities for the right to educate the common citizens in this philosophy in the same way that the Churches educate in the nature of the Divine, and believe that any means used to drive negotiations to a positive result are justified. (Pacifist Populist Trendor Philosophers)
- The Order of Honeysuckle – agree with the Scythes on every point save one: the specifically want to educate the elite, believing that meaningful change in human society can only come from the top down. While they occasionally lose patience with the Scythes, who are more patient and deliberate, the two are strong allies. (Pacifist Elitist Trendor Philosophers)
- The Order Of Oaks – also part of the Scythe/Honeysuckle coalition, they are moderates and believe that no plan that only targets one level of society can be successful; they favour a more complex approach in which a grassroots ‘revolution’ empowers selected nobles who have been specifically chosen as spokesmen within the inner circles. They also serve as the peacemakers between the other members of the Alliance. Ceriseth was an Oak. (Pacifist Centrist Trendor Philosophers)
- The Order Of The Sparrow – Agree with the Oaks but like to pretend to an independance. Oaks tolerate this because ‘persuading’ the Sparrows permits them to expound and pontificate their points repeatedly. (True Populist Trendor Philosophers)
- The Order Of The Willow – Agree with the coalition in general, but feel that no action is necessary; nature will tend to its own. The role of the orders (in their view) is to understand nature, and to preserve the truth of nature, passing it on to all who wish to learn. Swing votes within the Alliance Of Oak, these will support the more moderate Hawks if convinced that the Orders themselves are under direct threat, or that inaction is no longer a viable option, but only to the point of restoring the previous status quo – short-term engagements with defined and practical objectives. Swinging this Order into agreement with the Hawks is amongs the primary goals of Briteoak’s Moot. If he succeeds, they may even split from the Alliance Of Oak and realign – temporarily – with the Hawk Faction. (Populist Centrist Trendor Philosophers)
The Hawk Coalition
The Hawk Coalition are Impatient, sometimes impetuous, and fairly independant. They will persue their own agenda regardless of the outcome of the Moot, but want a consensus in order to gain the support of the Orders in escelating their campaign. There are eight large Orders within the Coalition at this time.
- The Order Of The Hawk – Agree with just about everything in the Oaken Coalition’s perspective, the one exception being what should be done about it. The Hawks favor an aggressive policy of containment and eventual extermination of humans, believing that it is too late for them to be saved; they have started over by educating and nurturing a favoured race to supplant humans, the Goblins, and have forged an alliance with the Elves under Lolth, who agree with this philosophy. Responsible for persuading the Goblins to aggressively target human leaders and political targets, and want the remaining orders to stay out of their way. (Militant Populist Trendor Philosophers, Militant Elitist High Philosophers, and Militant Centrist High Philosophers)
- The Order Of The Wolverine – Agree with the Hawks, but maintain a semblance of independance to serve the same function within the Coalition as the Sparrows do for the Oaken Alliance. Occasionally oppose the Hawks to maintain this ‘independance’, usually on matters on which the Hawk Coalition have sufficient consensus that their votes are unneccessary. (Militant Populist Trendor Anarchist)
- The Order Of Ivy – Agree with the Hawks. They want to persuade the moot to attack humans openly and directly so that their Goblin Tribes are not forced down the path of trying to compete with Humans in military strength, which can only lead to the spread of the “human contamination” into the Goblin culture. The leaders of the Coalition, despite the name. They especially want to target the Churches, believing that if they can be forced into line, both the Gods (by virtue of their natures) and the human political leaders will have no choice but to follow. (Militant Elitist Trendor Philosophers, Militant Elitist Philosopher Dominators)
- The Order Of The Thistle – Agree with the Hawks and Ivys, but believe that a direct threat to leading humans is not going to be enough to achieve the Coalition’s goals; they favour coordinated strikes against both the human leaders and the agricultural and natural resources that give those leaders their power. Briteoak is a Thistle. (Militant Centrist Trendor Philosophers)
- The “Baby Hawks” (Populist Elitist Trendor Philosophers) – these are incompatable beliefs. Subsumed into Hawks & Ivys, but are less prone to violent reactions within those factions. Believe in action tomorrow, not today. Known deprecatingly as the “Baby Hawks”, because they back the Hawks until the time comes to do something, then procrastinate and waver.
- The Order Of The Bear – consists predominantly of non-humans. Most rabid members of the Hawk Coalition, they favour an even more agressive all-out-war of conquest against humans. Only when humans are completely dominated by the Druidic Orders can they be rendered impotent to interfere. Responsible for directing Goblin attacks on trade routes, farmsteads, and isolated villages.
- Militant Elitist Trendor Dominators – mostly elves, some Ogre Magi. Favour a bottom-to-top approach to the human problem, focussing on the farmsteads and villages.
- Militant Elitist Accuser Dominators – mostly elves, some Ogre Magi. Favour a top-down approach to the human problem, focussing on the trade routes.
- Militant Elitist Trendor Anarchists – even more extremist sub-order who don’t want to stop with conquest, the demand total annihilation of the human race. Gnolls, Bugbears, Some traditionalist/hardline Drow, some Elves.
- Militant Centrist Accuser Anarchist – Minotaurs, Halflings & Gnomes.
- The Order Of The Wildfire – Agree with the Crickets and Wasps (below) about the Heavenly Rebellion and its relationship to the human attitude. They favour the violent destruction of humans by using their own weapons against them, finding ways to concentrate the consequences of their “unnatural perversions” apon the common citizens so that crops will not grow, and the corrupters cannot breathe, so that humans alone will suffer the consequences of their actions; want to wall off the rest of nature against them. Many Goblin druids populate this faction. Close allies of the Bears, they tend to be heard carefully as their goals are more specific and less abstract than the Bears, who are less focussed and more indiscriminate in their violent opposition to humans. (Militant Populist Accuser Dominators, Militant Centrist Accuser Dominators, True Populist Accuser Dominators, Populist Centrist Accuser Dominators, and Militant Centrist Philosopher Dominators).
- The Order Of The Cougar – A splinter faction of the order of the Wildcat, formerly members of the Arbitrationalists, they believe that Ceriseth’s envoy to human society represented the one chance that humans are entitled to, and that their betrayal of the agreements with him means that they have failed to heed the message; they have had their last chance, and to have forfeighted any place within nature and should now be crushed. Now close allies with the Order Of The Bear. (Militant Populist Accuser Anarchist, Militant Elitist Accuser Anarchist, True Populist Accuser Anarchist).
The Arbitrationalist Coalition:
Favour forcing humans into negotiation. Swing voters who have supported the Hawks in recent times. Four Orders make up this faction, which is very much a marraige of convenience.
- The Order Of The Badger – Agree with the Hawk Coalition to a limited extent, in that they believe in forcing Humans to the negotiating table by targetting the source of their livelyhoods. They desire equal status with the Churches, right up to and including an Advisor to the Court. They believe that the “Natural Order” is an artificially-imposed heirarchy, and that all nature is equal. Swing votes that currently side with the Hawk Coalition but can join with the “Baby Hawks” at any time to bring an end to the violence. Keeping the Badgers on-side is an ongoing effort for the Hawk Coalition, and much of Briteoak’s address will be directed at them. (Pacifist Populist Trendor Dominators, Pacifist Centrist Trendor Anarchist, Pacifist Populist High Philosophers, Pacifist Populist Philosopher Dominators, True Populist Philosopher Dominators; also
Militant Populist Trendor Dominators, who have incompatable beliefs and have been subsumed into the Badgers, where they form the most vitriolic supporters of Briteoak within the Coalition).
- The Order Of The Bee – Agree with the Badgers, but want to target the elite directly. Less likely to waver until Briteoak achieves equality with the Church – which, to their minds, includes a Druidic Grove, sponsored by the Crown, in every community where there is a church, chapel, shrine, or temple. This objective is completely impractical and unrealistic. (Pacifist Elitist Trendor Dominators, Pacifist Elitist High Philosophers, and Pacifist Elitist Philosopher Dominators).
- The Order Of The Wildcat – blame the troubles on the superior position of the Gods over nature in human society, and believe the Orders should be the Guardians of nature, charged with pruning those that seek to harm it. While they favour forced negotiations like the other Arbitrationalists, they also consider this to be humanaity’s only chance; unless progress is achieved quickly, they will drift further toward the Hawks in allegiance. Briteoak’s revelations during the moot will prompt an attempted resolution to issue an ultimatum; if negotiations do not begin immediatly, they will ally with the Wildfires and demand immediate action. There are two significant subfactions within the Order: Pacifist Elitist Accuser Anarchist and Pacifist Elitist Anarchist Philosophers want to specifically target the nobles and then negotiate with the commons from a position of dominance, while the Pacifist Centrist Accuser Anarchists want to target all levels of human society, no second chances.
- The Order Of The Goat – Agree with the objectives of the Bees and with the Badgers about everything else, which makes them more practical in objectives. If they were to merge with the Bees, they would bring that Order some much-needed perspective, but they find the constant drone of arguement in favour of something they consider unrealistic, unfeasable, and quite ridiculous, to be quite irritating. The friction between these two groups ensure that the Arbitrationalists are actually one of the most arguementative and fractious factions. (Pacifist Centrist Trendor Dominators, Pacifist Elitist Trendor Anarchists, Pacifist Centrist Philosopher Dominators)
The Humanitarian Accord:
A loose alliance of pro-human orders, currently form a voting bloc with the Alliance Of Oak with whom several member orders have close associations. Most humans would be surprised and a little disturbed by the opinions of their strongest advocates.
- The Order Of The Sky – Believe that the Druidic Orders should replace the Church, and that since Humans and their Gods will never accept this, they must be destroyed before they do incalculable harm to the natural world. Extremist Hard-line Environmentalists. However, they also believe that this can never be achieved until the Gods have destroyed (or at least dominate utterly) the Chaos Powers, so these are currently pro-human pro-church. Allied with the Order of Honeysuckle in particular, and are utterly reliable members of that alliance. They are amongst the most fervant opposition to the Hawk Coalition, and (politically) are used as attack dogs when the two major coalitions collide. (Militant Centrist Trendor Dominators and Populist Centrist Trendor Dominators).
- The Order Of Earth – Agree with the Sky Order in most respects, but believe that the Gods can never succeed in destroying the Chaos powers while they are constrained by the human church.. They want to tear down the churches and ‘free’ the gods to follow their natures. As such, they are considered unreliable by the Coalition of Oak. (True Populist Trendor Dominators).
- The Order Of The Cricket – A very large group within the Accord, this Order believes that the supplantation of the Chaos Powers by the Gods was a violation of the natural order, and the direct inspiration for the human willingness to violate nature. Pacifists, they believe that the ends can never justify the means. The Orders should the Spokesmen of nature, and are required only to enunciate and educate and advise, and want to proselytise the ordinary citizen relentlessly, with or without the permission of the human authorities. (Pacifist Populist Accuser Philosophers, True Populist Accuser Philosophers, Populist Centrist Accuser Philosophers, Militant Populist High Philosophers, True Populist High Philosophers, and Populist Centrist Philosopher Dominators)
- The Order Of The Cicada – Agree with the Crickets but believe that the political and social elite will not permit the common citizens to listen or act unless they are convinced first. Favour negotiations to obtain formal permission and an immediate cessation of all hostilities. Aurella’s Brother is a Cicada. (Pacifist Elitist Accuser Philosophers, Pacifist Centrist Accuser Philosophers, and Pacifist Centrist High Philosophers).
- The Order Of The Ant – The Ants believe that it was the act of rebellion against the chaos powers by the Gods that is responsible for human society’s rebellion against a harmony with nature, a very similar perspective to that of the Sky Order. They feel that it is not too late for the Human Race, but they can only be saved if they are released from the domination of the Gods and their church. They want the Orders to be the stewards of Nature, but fear that a direct confrontation with the Gods over the primacy of Nature will corrupt the Orders to such an extent that they will no longer be worthy of their lofty position, as the ends do not justify the means; their solution is to assist the Chaos Powers in their battle against the Gods to a limited and sharply-defined victory, and that the best way to achieve this is to enlighten the common citizens of the cause of ‘all their problems’. Responsible for establishing more pro-Chaos cults than any other single organisation. The Ants will be energised by Briteoak’s revelations which they consider tangible evidence of the ‘corruption’ of the Druidic Orders that they fear, and will blame the Hawks and their ill-advised campaign of agression for the results; their opposition to the Hawks will stiffen as a result. (Pacifist Populist Accuser Dominators)
- The Order Of The Mammoth – agree with the Ants on virtually everything but see the ‘enlightenment’ of the common citizen by the ants as just a stepping-stone to enacting “true reform” – a Chaos Cult within the ranks of the nobility. (Pacifist Elitist Accuser Dominators)
- The Order of the Reed – agree with the Sky Order about just about everything but believe that the hard-liners are impatient; time, and nature itself, will achieve these ends. Do-nothing moderates, they block most calls for action on the part of the Sky Order. While Briteoak hopes that his revelations at the moot will force this order to reappraise their stance and realign them with the Hawks, they will instead seize on his revelations as proof that they were right all along, and the battle will continue. However, they will strengthen their ties with the Ants as a result of the revelations. (Pacifist Elitist Accuser Dominators, Populist Centrist Accuser Anarchist, and Populist Centrist High Philosophers).
The Independant Orders:
A hodge-podge of Druidic Orders who currently belong to no particular faction. Swinging voters.
- The Order Of The Basilisk – believe that the conflict between Gods and Chaos powers is a reflection of the conflict of fang and claw, and a part of nature. As such, they want two things: For the chaos powers to have their own, officially-sanctioned churches and church hierarchy, and for both church organisations to be subordinate to the Druidic Orders. Former members of the Arbitrationalists, with whom they generally agree, but who also support Briteoak’s current campaign of human subjugation. They tend to ignore agreements and understandings and do what they want; it was for breaking ranks with the other Arbitrationalists that they were expelled. Fervently opposed to any level of ‘deification’ of Ceriseth, who they consider to have been biased and unworthy of his place in history. (Pacifist Populist Trendor Anarchist)
- The Order Of The Scorpion – Former members of the Hawk Coalition who were expelled for arguing their point of view in Moot after the Coalition had heard all member Orders privately and negotiated a united front. Believe that the supplantation of the Chaos Powers by the Gods was a part of the natural cycle, and should not be resisted, but also believe that the Gods will be supplanted in turn by the Druidic Orders; the Orders are the Guardians of nature, and are required to destroy anything that seeks to harm it, however regretfully; the ends justify ANY means. The scorpions favour the violent destruction of humans; consider humans to have forfeighted any place in nature. However, they also believe that humans could not have caused so much trouble without the implicit blessings of the Gods, and it is they who the Scorpions hold ultimately responsible. It is their contention that the Gods oppose the Chaos Powers because the Gods want to deny the Chaos Powers their fundamental natures and make them ‘just like them’, and it is this conflict with reality that has engendered the “perverse abberations fostered by humans.” The Scorpions choose vitriolic but erudite speakers to represent them, who will rail against anyone who disagrees with the Scorpion Philosophy. They don’t expect converts, they do expect their views to be given equal time to that of any Faction. Usually vote with the Hawks because the Hawks favour aggressive action against ‘the perversions of humans’. The order is divided into three subfactions: Populist Elitist Trendor Anarchists, who want to start with the common citizens as it’s they who are doing the damage; True Populist Trendor Anarchists, who want to start with the common citizens and believe that will be enough; and Militant Centrist Trendor Anarchists – who don’t care but want to start now!
- The Order Of the Wasp – Agree with the Crickets about the Chaos Powers vs Gods conflict and its relationship to the human attitude. However, they want to proselytise every human and immediatly destroy any who do not reform then and there. This makes their agenda too extreme for the Humanitarians and too radical for the Oaks and Arbitrationalists. The Hawks think the Wasp’s plan to be naive and simplistic. Since no-one takes their proposal or point of view seriously, they tend to sit around in a huff and glower. (Militant Populist Accuser Philosophers, Populist Elitist Accuser Philosophers, and Militant Elitist Accuser Philosophers – the latter want to target the social and political elite, who should already know better, and that the nobles will force the commons to follow.)
There are a number of philosophies that are utterly incompatable and irreconcilable. No Orders subscribe to these attitudes, though lone (and confused) Druids may do so:
Populist Elitist Trendor Dominators, Populist Centrist Trendor Anarchist, Militant Centrist Accuser Philosophers, Populist Elitist Accuser Dominators, Pacifist Populist Accuser Anarchist, Populist Elitist Accuser Anarchist, Populist Elitist High Philosophers, Populist Elitist Philosopher Dominators, Pacifist Populist Anarchist Philosophers, Pacifist Centrist Anarchist Philosophers, Militant Populist Anarchist Philosophers, Militant Elitist Anarchist Philosophers, Militant Centrist Anarchist Philosophers, Populist Elitist Anarchist Philosophers, True Populist Anarchist Philosophers, and Populist Centrist Anarchist Philosophers.
It can be argued that any political question can be simplified down to two opposing extreme perspectives, around which factions coalesce, whose members may disagree vehemently on lesser issues. When these primary political questions cease to be dominant or relevant, political alliances break up, discover new central questions, and recombine to form new political factions.
The alignment mechanism is an ideal way to comprehensively analyse party positions to guage the constituants of any political faction and contrast them with their opposition. But it works equally well in reverse – to generate political factions and opinions on the most vexing issues of the day. It might be that existing political factions appear too entrenched to divide and recombine into new parties, but it could happen at any time. All you need is an issue so divisive as to split both parties, and a weakening of their differences in other areas.
In the final part of the series, I will offer an opposing perspective to the traditional D&D labels in “Dark Shadows”.
- An Unneccessary Evil? – Focussing On Alignment, Part 1 of 5
- A Neccessary Evil? – Focussing On Alignment, Part 2 of 5
- An Unneccessary Evil? – Focussing On Alignment, Part 3 of 5
- Flavours Of Neutral – Focussing On Alignment, Part 4 of 5
- Dark Shadows – Focussing On Alignment, Part 5 of 5