Memories of Connor's Adventures

Orlando the Adventurer pulled a Scimitar from beneath his Robes and smiled...

Monday, 15 January 2018

Old School: That first D&D round-table

title: the broadside tapes-alignment in D&D, excerpts from Broadside's first "Dungeon Masters of the Round Table Symposium", aired October 10th, 1977 Featuring Stephen Zahn, Marc Trottier, Albert Hennen, Paul Creelman, and Laurence Gillespie...

LG- My personal opinion is that Alignment should be fairly rigid and that lawfulness should be equated with goodness. I would not agree with those who would rate lawfulness as strictly being a desire for order, even though it might involve quite a bit of evil actions on the part of the players. If you are going to be lawful on my world, you have to follow certain basic moral codes.
MT- And what does that have to do with killing?
LG- Well, of course the great problem in the dungeons is what do you kill? The chaotics of course aren't constrained by any means, they can go off and slaughter everything in sight. But the lawfuls, when they're down there when they're not fighting off attacks from other monsters, are often faced with the moral quandary of when or not to attack. And obviously a key problem for lawfuls is whether they should attack sentient or intelligent creatures who may be posessed of treasures of tremendous value. And there are also the borderline creatures of the monster lists, things like kobolds and goblins and even orcs for that matter, who may not be utterly evil and thus not really excusable for lawfuls to kill, but are hard to imagine as doing mankind any service.
LG- And thus for most lawfuls it is considered propper to launch agression against that sort of thing.
MT- Well perhaps I could generalize more alignment systems. There is a different system using alignment and the two classes, lawful/neutral/chaotic and then there's your good and bad. Perhaps Stephen Zahn can illustrate to us exactly what is the difference in his world?
SZ- On my board, you've got your good, right, and and if a person is good he's benevolent, you know, like the kind army boy scout type who'd help your little old lady across the street. And with that he can be either chaotic or lawful. Right, if he's lawful and good he would... every time he saw a little old lady, ask to help her across the street. If he's chaotic, whenever the whim hit him. And evil, it would still be applied to whether he is going to be whimsical about it or are you going to do it every time the situation arises. Thats the way I differentiate.
MT- And what about neutrals?
SZ- Neutral, well, they're opportunists. If he thinks he can get something out of it, either that or he just minds his own business completely and never bothers anyone.
MT- Now does this work out well with your characters, in that if they are lawful/good, they do tend to be lawful good in actual fact?
SZ- Some characters I find play realy close to their alignment. Others just forget it and play it the way they want to, which basically boils down to being a neutral person.
MT- What could you say about extremists? I've often argued about how lawful or how good are you, and perhaps a scale of 1-10 would be needed in a case like that, where many times its been argued that, well, if you are an extreme lawful, then you shouldnt be down in the dungeon in the first place, you should actually be helping the dungeon and the poor little creatures inside, whereas you can be your low-level lawful which just helps little old ladies across the street.
SZ- Well, something with a 10 for lawful goodness would be something like a paladin, who is almost a saint. He would be the kind that would go down into the dungeon and help out your poor little kobolds and so on and so forth. Same with your good cleric. But as a small fighter, 1st level, 2nd level fighter that'd be good, he would be more like your boy scout type where as if you got a fighter lord, he would be generally benevolent to the kobolds and so on and so forth.
MT- So the higher level you are, the more benevolent you would tend to be.
SZ- Or should be...
MT- Should be...
SZ- Its a role playing game, how well they play their roles…

from Zeppelin #54

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