[RPG] How to effectively track changes in alignment


In my game, I have decided that alignment will play a larger role than it does in most others. Players declare their 'intended alignment' at character creation by writing it in their alignment box. Throughout the campaign, I think about their actions, and make necessary adjustments to their alignment. However, they are not told if their alignment changes, or at least, not directly. For example, I recently had my paladin of Torm attempt to pass a trap which read, 'Only those of Torm's mind may pass'. I had determined that the paladin had not previously acted in a manner that was in keeping with his alignment, and thus the trap triggered, despite his alignment being listed as 'lawful good'.

However, although I am happy with the system in principle, in practice, I am struggling to find an effective method by which I might determine changes in alignment. I'm looking for a method that is not too complicated or time consuming, but which can fairly accurately map actions to alignment consequences.

How can I effectively track the effect of characters' actions on their alignment?

Best Answer

Don't know if what we have is fancy or not.

My group uses a simple grid system. Each player gets some standard graph paper, marked with zones boundaries at \$x\$ = −15/+15 and \$y\$ = −15/+15. In between those are Neutral zones. Going up the \$y\$ axis is good; down is evil. Right on the \$x\$ axis is lawful; left is chaotic.

During play as we progress and perform actions the DM may call for a change in alignment. We then move out the dot of our current alignment the number of points he said. This gives us the ability to track our characters' alignments pretty well.

If we disagree with his decision this is the only time in the game we stop the game to calmly and enjoyable debate with the disagreeing person, getting 5 minutes to convince everyone vs. 5 minutes for DM to plead his case.

After each has spoken the group votes. This vote supersedes the DM's ruling.

We do this because we decided that none among us can honestly say that we have a perfect moral compass. So the decision is left in the end to a group morality decision.

You could incorporate the graph system into your game for each person and keep it hidden, but as others have said I think hiding it is a bad idea. Someone wanting to hold to their alignment needs to know when it might change, especially if that change may have negative consequences on his class.