Sunday, 18 October 2015

Personality traits as replacement for alignment

As promised the rulings for personality traits as a replacement for alignment.

In stead of alignment, the following should be recorded on a character sheet:

Trait pairs
Selfless ../.. Selfish
Honest ../.. Untrustworthy
Forgiving ../.. Merciless
Spiritual ../.. Materialistic
Preserving ../.. Destructive
Bold ../.. Cowardly
Cautious ../.. Rash
Protective ../.. Careless
Modest ../.. Unabashed
Believing ../.. Doubtful
Friendly ../.. Aggressive

The traits have values between 1 and 20, and the sum of each pair is always 21. Lowering one trait score automatically means increasing the complementary score.

Actions may require a trait test. In these cases a d20 is rolled and when the result is higher than the trait score in question, the trait is increased by one (and the complementary trait lowered by one).

Trait tests occur when:
- A player's action is in line with a trait having a score of 10 or less (For instance, lying with a low Untrustworthy score).
- A player's action is in line with a trait having a score of 11 or more, but only when it would actually be beneficial to the player to follow the opposing trait. (For instance, being honest when lying would be more beneficial).

Upon character creation a player rolls 3d6 for each trait pair. The result is filled in on either side of a pair. The complementary trait score is set to the value such that the sum is 21. For instance, if you roll 13, then you put 13 on one side and 8 on the other.

Every PC has 5 main traits; these are the traits that characterise their personalities mostly and are marked on the sheet, by underlining the trait or put a mark next to them, or whatever works for you. Some classes have certain requirements as which traits should be marked, for other classes they may be chosen freely.

These main traits have a minimum requirement of 10 + level, but never higher than 18. Whenever too many main traits are below this requirement, the character will gradually experience something resembling an alignment change (see below).

Finally, if an NPC knows or has heard about a character, she will now of all the character's 15+ trait scores and the will act accordingly.

These are the predefined traits I would suggest for the AD&D (2E) classes.
Fighter: None
Ranger: Preserving
Paladin: Selfless, Forgiving, Protective
Cleric: Spiritual and traits in line with deity
Druid: Spiritual, Preserving
Mage: None
Thief: In my campaign this will be none, but I could see people using Untrustworthy and/or Materialistic
Bard: Friendly

Find below a table for the effects of (partially) followed main traits. To find your total personality score consult the following table for each of the main five traits and add these together.
Personality score
Trait score Personality score
10 or less -1
11 up to min. req. 0
min. req. or more +1

Effect of your total personality score
Total personality score Effect
+5 +10% XP
+3 of +4 None (for Paladin: No XP)
+1 or +2 No XP (for Paladin: see next entry)
0 or less Loose one level and the traits with the five highest scores become your new main traits

Since the paladin is a class about morality, the requirements are more stringent than for the other classes.

In case you want to reflect that behaviour of one member of a group can radiate towards all others, you can apply the following optional rule: Whenever a natural 20 is rolled on a trait test, all other party members must roll the same trait test as well.

All dealings with alignment can be evaluated in terms of traits. If a LE magical sword is created with the idea in mind to create large bloodbaths, one could decide to replace the LE requirement with a Merciless and/or Destructive score of at least 15.

Detect or protection magic may be changed in a similar way. Detect personality will return the highest trait score. Protection from evil, can be rewritten as Protection from Merciless, Destructive etc.

If this is too much work, one could rewrite the spells as follows.
Know alignment: Whenever 7 or more traits on the left-hand side are higher, the character will radiate 'Good', on the right-hand side, it wwill be 'Evil'.
Protection from evil: Works only whenever 7 or more traits on the right-hand side are higher.

EDIT: HTML tables included

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