Anonymous's picture
November 18, 2007 - 12:09am
I'm personally opposed to the inclusion of alignment in Star Frontiers mechanics, so I'd like to give my thoughts on how to avoid the use of alignment in a spell-casting game.

You can use descriptions to overcome the absence of alignment:

Detect/Deport (Dispel)/Protection/Magic Circle:
Chaos -> Lawless Being
Evil -> Malevolent Being
Good -> Benevolent Being
Law -> Lawful Being

However, I'd prefer something more subtle, as it pretty much covers the gammut:

Detect/Deport/Protection/Magic Circle:
- Etherial Beings (Plains-summoned)
- Demons
- Angels
- Opponents

As far as summoning, you could call it "Summon Ally", "Summon Creature", "Summon Plant". The level of the ally or monster that can be summoned from another plane or demon or angel depends on the level of the spell, and the caster must be familiar with the realm from which they come (that is, using magic dependent on them). The ally must have a vested interest in either backing the caster or fulfilling the particular request. Gods cannot be summoned, but can be entreated, but whether they respond is based upon their own whims.

SmootRK's picture
November 18, 2007 - 7:49am
Agreed.  Alignment is not necessary except possibly in some sort of consideration for divine.  I wrote a little about this in my notes; something that says some 'beings' might have certain tenets that must be followed, but otherwise I would prefer to leave out any alignment stuff.

I prefer to think of the spells as tools or weapons... can be used by 'good folks' or by the 'bad folks', and sometimes even 'good guys' opt for questionable tactics and errors in judgement.  Likewise, Evil bad guys can have moments of compassion without losing their BBEG status (big bad evil guy).  I have always thought that it was too bad that alignment was so ingrained into games, as it really is more of a limitation factor... especially when those very games hype the concept of 'options, not limits'.
<insert witty comment here>

CleanCutRogue's picture
November 18, 2007 - 10:00am
I really enjoyed Palladium's portrayal of alignments.  It wasn't really an alignment so much as a breakdown of role-playing guidelines, and how certain archetypes fit into one of several categories.  It worked quite well for those games.  Just a random comment :)
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Anonymous's picture
Corjay (not verified)
November 18, 2007 - 1:08pm
CleanCutRogue wrote:
I really enjoyed Palladium's portrayal of alignments. It wasn't really an alignment so much as a breakdown of role-playing guidelines, and how certain archetypes fit into one of several categories. It worked quite well for those games. Just a random comment :)
Isn't that how 3.0, 3.5 works?

I just prefer not to polarize and compartmentalize by outlining such things, whether as guides or as rules. I say let one's deeds and actions through roleplay and the background paragraphs define what sort of character they are and establish their reputation.

To me, there is no dividing line between lawful and chaotic or between good and evil. Some people can be complete bad apples, others can be bad apples with a good core, and still others can good apples with bruised spots that have the potential to turn the apple bad. It just seems that no matter what kind of "guide" used for alignment, it still ends up being a restriction. Saying that such-and-such defines an evil person and that to veer from that deviates out of that category, even if you say it's okay to deviate, just doesn't sit well with me.

Besides that, philosophers have been discussing the nature of good and evil, right and wrong, and of ethics for millennia now with no solid answer. It's clear that there can be no dividing line.