Divine Concordance - An alignment mechanics suggestion for D&D Next

**THIS IS NOT A THREAD TO DISCUSS ALIGNMENT, OR HAVE EDITION WARS.  IT IS A THREAD TO**
**DISCUSS A SINGLE IDEA PRESENTED BELOW.  PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL**

In this thread someone floated the idea that divine characters could have concordance scores to represent adherence to their god's tenants of faith. And rather than a paladin, or cleric falling from grace precipitously from one, or even several missteps they would gradually move closer to or further from their god.

I suggested that this be handled exactly like 4e artifact concordance.  Each god would have a concordance entry for divine characters that wished, or were required to use this mechanic.  Each character would start with a base concordance score and their actions would raise or lower this total by increments.  Each concordance entry would have a general statement of faith, and list five or more levels of concordance representing divine approval or disapproval.  If a character reached the lowest level of concordance this would be equivalent to being an ex-paladin, or cleric and would require a quest or other re-devotion to the god to reset the concordance score to the level just above the lowest.  In addition each entry would have a concrete list of actions that would either gain, or lose concordance and by how much.  Each level of concordance would have certain abilities or powers associated with it that could be gained or lost based on the concordance score of the character.  That way rather than having a sudden loss of all abilities it is more gradual, and the player is given concrete clues as to which direction they are going without being totally nerfed.  The power of judge is retained by the DM, while making the guidelines much more concrete keeps the DM in check in case you have a bad DM.


I was wondering what people thought of this idea, and I hoped that by calling it out with its own thread WotC might see it more easily.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Interesting idea, seems like a good option to have. Wouldn't really want it in core, as it'd play havoc with balance, but it'd make a cool module for divine classes for those who want a little more of a feel of the interaction with the gods.
Honestly I see the concordance rules being so concrete that characters won't really move around too much unless the player wants to.  The problem a lot of people have with the old alignment and "fall from grace" rules is that they were vaguely defined and had drastic consequences.  With concretely defined codes of conduct it should be an easy thing to find a code that suits you and then follow it to the letter.  It retains the feel of the old rules, but adds a lot of player choice into the equation as well as taking DM fiat out.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

The reason I'd want it non-core (even though I'd likely use it for at least some games) is that I'd want to be able to get bonuses for high concordance, rather than just penalties for low. And those bonuses would make divine classes, slightly, better than any other class as long as you had them.

Which means that, if its core, powergamers are going to abuse it.
Put it in a sidebar/module/whatever, and suddenly the powergamers can't rely on abusing it, because groups where powergaming is acceptable simply won't use the module.
I'm not arguing with it being optional, just saying that I think if designed correctly it will use abilities and powers that classes not using the option get by default (perhaps as they level up), and assume that most players will achieve the highest level of concordance within a certain number of levels and stay there.  Others who want to play a fall from grace will break tenants and slide down the scale because they want to.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Also similar mechanics could be used for characters who join organizations like theives' and wizards' guilds, but I am not as sure I like the idea for those things.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

I'd be down for that kind of system. Especially since I can picture it in my mind as a slide-table on the side of the character sheet that can be marked with a paperclip.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

The reason I'd want it non-core (even though I'd likely use it for at least some games) is that I'd want to be able to get bonuses for high concordance, rather than just penalties for low. And those bonuses would make divine classes, slightly, better than any other class as long as you had them.


The easy solution to that problem is to not make concordence exclussive to divine characters. If you're a sorcerer devoted to a god of destruction, you, too, could benefit from concordence when you collapse a tower to destroy your enemies.
I like the basic concept but I'm not sure about handing extra's for doing what they are "supposed" to do, which is follow the tenants of their diety. I think it would be perfectly fine to have them penalized for not following their dieties wishes, but not gain an advantage for following those same tenants. Holy characters should be held to a higher standard, and they have access to channel divinity powers, healing and the like, which is the advantage confered to them for following the correct path laid out by their diety.
Great idea as an option.  I never played D20 Star Wars.  I curious, as it may provide input to discussion, How did they handle "falling from light into dark side"?
Count the Classes Thread http://community.wizards.com/dndnext/go/thread/view/75882/28900673/?sdb=1&post_num=1#516010531
Thanks for posting my idea    You beat me to making a thread about it, as I was rather disapointed you were the only one that picked up on the idea.

I would take it a step further and suggest that each divine class might have many concordance themes/packages to pick from.  

You might have one knighly order of paladins who have focused on acts of charity and compasion and another with a  focus on justice and valor.     The powers granted by each other might be different.    

You could bring back the atonement spell/ritual as well. 

As for pentalties, I might suggest that the character loses his/her action points until the situation is resolved.  


Which rung on the ladder is balanced with the rest of the game?

Let's assume a 5-step system. If step 3 is balanced with the rest of the game, with each step up or down making the character more or less powerful than average, then by following the tenats of your god, you will become and stay more powerful than all the other characters. A power-gamers dream.

If step 5 is balanced with the rest of the game, then the mechanic does nothing but punish the character if they step out of line. Divine characters would, under this system, be the only characters how have their behaviour dictated to them under punishment of losing ability. You made it less drastic, but it is still there.

As well, if the maximum is the balance point, then the system seems pointless, because it wouldn't serve towards the goal of giving Divine classes an incentive to further the will of their god. As soon as they reach the top, there is no incentive to continue the work of their god beyond not performing actions strictly forbidden to them. This means the only reason left for them to further the wil of their god is that *GASP* the player wants to ROLEPLAY a character who wants to serve their god. Making the system even more pointless.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
I like the idea. My only real concern is how greatly does it affect the character? Will a totally dedicated cleric become overpowered compared to other characters? Is there a point where the character becomes totally cut off.

I wouldn't say it eliminates DM fiat, but I think it does reduce the issues with alignment. For one, this is now based on the deity, which presumably will have a well-defined dogma for the cleric to follow, and not a more general concept like alignment. Even better, degrees of separation is important. In older editions of D&D, alignment was often sudden. You went from LG to being not-LG, because there is no in between. In this system, there is an in-between and so the player will know how close he is to being totally screwed.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
I like the idea. My only real concern is how greatly does it affect the character? Will a totally dedicated cleric become overpowered compared to other characters? Is there a point where the character becomes totally cut off.



My initial thought was that the character would gain abilities and powers that characters not using this system would gain through leveling.  The only difference here would be the mechanic through which they gain them.  The progression by concordance could be constructed in such a way that it mimics the pace of leveling.  I imagine there being a point at the bottom of the scale where the character becomes cut off as in older versions of the game and must atone to regain favored status.  The difference here is that I'd want the dogma to be so clearly defined that it is virtually impossible to slide downward without doing so intentionally, making it a player choice to do so.

I wouldn't say it eliminates DM fiat, but I think it does reduce the issues with alignment. For one, this is now based on the deity, which presumably will have a well-defined dogma for the cleric to follow, and not a more general concept like alignment. Even better, degrees of separation is important. In older editions of D&D, alignment was often sudden. You went from LG to being not-LG, because there is no in between. In this system, there is an in-between and so the player will know how close he is to being totally screwed.



See above regarding DM fiat.  If the list of tenants is concrete enough there are no interpretation arguments.  For instance "Clerics of Pelor may not cast spells with the keyword darkness.  Breaking this tenant incurs a 5 point pentaly to concordance."  There isn't any wiggle room there for either player or DM.  Now because of Role 0 a bad DM could still fiat something, but that is true of anything else in the game, and not due to anything inherently wrong with the concordance system.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Which rung on the ladder is balanced with the rest of the game?



Probably 3, 4 and 5.  See my previous post for clarification. 

Let's assume a 5-step system. If step 3 is balanced with the rest of the game, with each step up or down making the character more or less powerful than average, then by following the tenats of your god, you will become and stay more powerful than all the other characters. A power-gamers dream.



Not if the time it takes to achieve that level of concordance is roughly equal to leveling up for a character who doesn't use the concordance system. 

If step 5 is balanced with the rest of the game, then the mechanic does nothing but punish the character if they step out of line. Divine characters would, under this system, be the only characters how have their behaviour dictated to them under punishment of losing ability. You made it less drastic, but it is still there.



Not true, as I have said in several posts here already the idea is to so clearly define the tenants of the faith as to make falling down the scale a role-playing choice of the player. 

As well, if the maximum is the balance point, then the system seems pointless, because it wouldn't serve towards the goal of giving Divine classes an incentive to further the will of their god. As soon as they reach the top, there is no incentive to continue the work of their god beyond not performing actions strictly forbidden to them. This means the only reason left for them to further the wil of their god is that *GASP* the player wants to ROLEPLAY a character who wants to serve their god. Making the system even more pointless.



The system is not intended to replace roleplaying, only to encourage it and provide a rules framework for certain aspects of character development that in the past have been far too subject to DM fiat.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

This is a great idea.  I think it brings some shades of gray to the Yes my god gives me spells v No my god has cut me off.  I think this would be brilliant for Paladins, both for new players and older ones that would like to pay a price when Lawful Stupid is just that.

I also think this would be helpful for the rest of the party.  I have always been frustrated by PCs that aren't playing divine characters disrespect for the paries divine members.  In most D&D games, the gods make themselves known.  Wether you put the penalty/reward on the divine member or on the individual PCs. 
If these rewards are mostly in the form of access to rituals or speical out of combat powers then it will be balanced.     Abilities like summoning the paladins war horse or casting a remove affliction ritual without the need for components seems resonable.    



 If step 3 is balanced with the rest of the game, with each step up or down making the character more or less powerful than average, then by following the tenats of your god, you will become and stay more powerful than all the other characters. A power-gamers dream.



That's a bit of an oxymoron to suggest that a power-gamer will role play.   


If these rewards are mostly in the form of access to rituals or speical out of combat powers then it will be balanced.     Abilities like summoning the paladins war horse or casting a remove affliction ritual without the need for components seems resonable.    





I like this idea.  While still adding power, out of combat abilities or rituals would not unduly imbalance the game.  Things like the paladin's warhorse I always felt shouldn't be granted by level advancement anyway, but were more like magic items useable by only a very specific class.

By extension all animal companions and familiars could be granted in this way.  I really think I like that! 

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Thanks for posting my idea    You beat me to making a thread about it, as I was rather disapointed you were the only one that picked up on the idea.

Not quite the only one - I mentioned it in a post in that thread, too Wink

I think there is the core of a very nice idea, here. I'm not sure I would treat it purely as the old idea of a "fall from grace", though. Some ideas to build (I hope) on the core:

- Most ideas of divine "classes" that can "fall from grace" posit some sort of relationship with a deity or divine power from which the character's powers flow. How about widening this "concordance" into a generalised system for dealing with important "social game" NPCs. Make NPCs similar to 4E Artifacts, in a sense; including the gods that give out divine powers? Thus we get a social system to shape intrigue/social encounters plus a system to modulate "granted abilities" based on relationship with the grantor.

- As an alternative to that (or if you just don't like it), have specific powers (or character elements - call them what you like) that work that way. This way, a player who doesn't want to deal with such issues can still play a Paladin - just one that does not pick the "Artifact-like powers" that are affected by "Divine Concordance".

Overall - I think there's lots of potential, here.

Finally - as an aside:

A "tenant" is someone who pays you rent.

A "tenet" is a rule, guideline or basis for belief of a religion or faith-based organisation.

Sorry to be fussy, but that one bugs me...
======= Balesir
Thanks for posting my idea    You beat me to making a thread about it, as I was rather disapointed you were the only one that picked up on the idea.

Not quite the only one - I mentioned it in a post in that thread, too Wink

I think there is the core of a very nice idea, here. I'm not sure I would treat it purely as the old idea of a "fall from grace", though. Some ideas to build (I hope) on the core:

- Most ideas of divine "classes" that can "fall from grace" posit some sort of relationship with a deity or divine power from which the character's powers flow. How about widening this "concordance" into a generalised system for dealing with important "social game" NPCs. Make NPCs similar to 4E Artifacts, in a sense; including the gods that give out divine powers? Thus we get a social system to shape intrigue/social encounters plus a system to modulate "granted abilities" based on relationship with the grantor.

- As an alternative to that (or if you just don't like it), have specific powers (or character elements - call them what you like) that work that way. This way, a player who doesn't want to deal with such issues can still play a Paladin - just one that does not pick the "Artifact-like powers" that are affected by "Divine Concordance".

Overall - I think there's lots of potential, here.

Finally - as an aside:

A "tenant" is someone who pays you rent.

A "tenet" is a rule, guideline or basis for belief of a religion or faith-based organisation.

Sorry to be fussy, but that one bugs me...



Warlock Pacts could work the very same way.  I think this system can have broad usage and broad appeal.

Tenant/Tenet - Misspelled as tenat and kept getting corrected to tenant.     

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

hmm I wonder what the implications of this are within the context the dragonlance game, specifically when the priests of krynn lost access to their spells.    With 4e this created a lot of problems, I wonder how 5e will manage it. 


I really like this idea as an optional add-in.  I really like this idea as it could apply to any class for whom a code of conduct might exist.  It fits perfectly for monks and pact-using warlocks, as well as divine and primal classes.  It can also work great for martial classes (for whom some discipline is needed, such as fighters), semi-secret quasi-mystical societies (like assassins, bards, or rangers), and even psions and wizards (related to arcane study and maintaining a strict mental discipline).  heck, any class could potentially have this as an add-on.  I'd only have a problem coing up with a justicifcation for rogues.
It's a crunchy way to measure how well the DM and Player think the character is doing. 

I'd rather know I was at risk and do some catching up then get the lights turned off and have to figure out what happened.
This is a great idea! I also think expanding it for NPCs or organizations is a good idea too.

As for the "rewards" of high concordance, one could use a "boon" vis-a-vis a magic item "slot". So rather than get your expected level 6 magic item, you get a concordance boon. Lose concordance, lose the boon.

Another approach, that I persobally try to incorporate, but is usually much more difficult to balance, is the idea of penalties having an upside and bonuses having a downside. So, in this context, a level 3 concordance might confer some benefit AND some kind of penalty. For the downside of the bonus levels (levels 3+ in a 5 level system), Increasingly difficulty concordance rules might suffice. For example, if killing an Elf whose level is > your level gives you +3 concordance at level 3, it might only give you +1 concordance at level 4, and at level you might need to kill 1 elf a day of the appropriate level or immediately drop to level 4! Thats certainly severe, but it does push the PC either to become an homicidal elf slayer, or to satisfied with level 4 concordance ( or level 3, etc). The idea being that mid-level (a balance point) is easy to maintain, high concordance is difficult to get and difficult to hold, and low concordance is easy to get and easy to leave. Why would a player want to push his concordance low with his deity, for example? While there should be penalties, perhaps such a heretic could be the impetus for a new sect, conversion to a new deity (I am sick of being a priest of Bahamut, I think I like Moradin better), etc. Perhaps access to "vile" abilities from the Book of Vile darkness could be had.

In any event, I feel the double-edged sword is always a better approach. Here's your carrot, please ignore the big stick in my hand...
Isn't this essentially a "Dark Side Points" with the math inverted?

They can take our lives, but the'll never take, our alignment threads! 
Isn't this essentially a "Dark Side Points" with the math inverted?

They can take our lives, but the'll never take, our alignment threads! 


The big difference is that rather than having one solid definition of what the dark side is, it all depends on who you follow.

Pelor would be annoyed if you created magical darkness. Zehir would be happy. Moradin wouldn't really give two hoots.

Melora would be annoyed if you cut down a forest to build a city. Erathis would be happy. Tiamat wouldn't really care.

etc. 
I'd like if this kind of setup instead of alignment had some kind of official support (though I'll admit it would probaly have to  be an an option), I actually played in a game for a while that house ruled somewhat similar mechanics which I liked a lot. It gave a lot more flexibility in how a character view the world beyond just good/evil and lawful/chaotic.
I love this idea. It has the potential to plug in to so many other things - such as the idea of replacing alignment with social concordance (each nation could have a different scale and signifiers for social concordance).

A fantastic idea - following this thread to see where the idea's go. 
I'd only have a problem coing up with a justicifcation for rogues.



Really?    How about status within a Thieves' Guild?

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

I'd rather know I was at risk and do some catching up then get the lights turned off and have to figure out what happened.



I think this is probably the strongest aspect of this idea.  Rather than you DM telling you, "you shouldn't have {insert infraction}.  You aren't a paladin anymore.  You'll have to atone." it is unlikely that all but the worst infractions would even cause a level change in concordance, but you will know that your score has been lowered.  You can then act accordingly (try to regain concordance if you don't want to fall, or continue committing infractions if you do).

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

I like the idea, but yeah in a divine module
I'd only have a problem coing up with a justicifcation for rogues.



Really?    How about status within a Thieves' Guild?


Eh.  That seems forced.  Why should I become worse at stabbing someone in the back because I cheese off the thieves' guild?  Heck, stabbing the guildmaster in the back is what rogues aspire towards!  It's not like the guild has mystic abilities.  They're a glorified street gang.

For fighters, I imagine their martial abilities come from a rigorous discipline, sort of like a monk.  If I add your module, that's what it would mean, anyway.  but rogues?  They are the epitome of undisciplined!  And, unlike spellcasters, their power doesn't derive from any magical source that might require specific behavior.


Eh.  That seems forced.  Why should I become worse at stabbing someone in the back because I cheese off the thieves' guild?  Heck, stabbing the guildmaster in the back is what rogues aspire towards!  It's not like the guild has mystic abilities.  They're a glorified street gang.

For fighters, I imagine their martial abilities come from a rigorous discipline, sort of like a monk.  If I add your module, that's what it would mean, anyway.  but rogues?  They are the epitome of undisciplined!  And, unlike spellcasters, their power doesn't derive from any magical source that might require specific behavior.





No one said anything about stabbing someone.  There was a suggestion a few pages back about out-of-combat advantages granted by this system.  Prestige, contacts or station within the guild could be the rewards granted for gaining concordance.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

By the way, this would be a great way to reward any class for doing the things iconic to their class without rewarding bonus experience as 2e did, and potentially introducing level imbalance to the party.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

By the way, this would be a great way to reward any class for doing the things iconic to their class without rewarding bonus experience as 2e did, and potentially introducing level imbalance to the party.


Yeah, that's how I saw it best used.  You're right that you could use it to designate status in a guild.  but I was hoping for something more code-of-conduct-y
 If step 3 is balanced with the rest of the game, with each step up or down making the character more or less powerful than average, then by following the tenats of your god, you will become and stay more powerful than all the other characters. A power-gamers dream.


That's a bit of an oxymoron to suggest that a power-gamer will role play.  


Not really.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
I do like the idea of expanding the concordance system.  But as presented, it's basically a conflict resolution mechanic with no real conflict.

Since characters using the concordance system gain abilities as fast as non-concordance users and can effectively only fall by the player's choice, I don't see the advantage of this system over standard leveling and self-censuring abilities, which you can already do.  And there would be some non-obvious difficulties with designing such a system.  For example, while obviously you would have to write a separate entry for deity (which I agree is a great feature of this system for reasons already stated by others), you would also have to write them in a way that made them different-but-equal, so that the divine characters of each god could level approximately equal speed with not only one another, but with non divine classes too.  You would also have to include some method that would allow fallen characters to "catch up" without bypassing the rest of the party's level; Something akin to 3e experience bell curve.

The concordance system, in this case, is just a more complicated level system with a bit more flavored moved from the player's choice and baked into the system.  Again, it's not a bad idea.  But from a purely mechanical perspective, it just feels "clunky" for this intended use.

Personally, I'd rather see something like this tied not to necessary mechanics like class progression, but instead to feats, spells, items, (alternate) class features and other bonuses that you could opt in to.  For example, if you had two otherwise identical paladins of Pelor, only the "true" paladin of Pelor (the one with the high concordance) would get access Pelor's Radiance, the ability to shed sunlight at-will (not just bright light, all the better for vampire slaying), the ability to unlock the full radiant potential of a Holy Avenger, the full compliment of domain spells, and so on, just to give some quick examples.  And instead of instead of de-leveling you, an infraction could simply dim or turn off some features.

One of the advantages to this method is that, since you're not trying to balance them against the leveling system, you can make the concordance system likewise simpler and with fewer concordance steps, which in turn would make every instance of infraction or accordance more mechanical and immediately meaningful.  Especially if infractions are suppose to be rare events. 


Also, IIRC, using the concordance system for guilds and such isn't a new idea.  It was either the 3e DMG2 or one of the late 3e urban supplements that introduced organizations using the same basic system .  But I digress.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
I like the idea.  I would suggest having a higher concordance could get more benefits but increasing accordance becomes harder the higher it is.  In order to get the higher levels of accordance you would have to be following your deity's tenants when it is actively not in your best interest (tithing, though disadvantageous, would be quite a low level thing imo)

I don't mind the idea of non-religious class characters using it... but they shouldn't actually benefit from it directly.  It would only be for flavour... and perhaps when deciding how certain abilities affect them.  I could see it being an important part of some campaigns as it could affect NPC clerics (and potentially even deity's) reactions to the PCs.

I would leave it as a module though. 
I do like the idea of expanding the concordance system.  But as presented, it's basically a conflict resolution mechanic with no real conflict.

Since characters using the concordance system gain abilities as fast as non-concordance users and can effectively only fall by the player's choice, I don't see the advantage of this system over standard leveling and self-censuring abilities, which you can already do.  And there would be some non-obvious difficulties with designing such a system.  For example, while obviously you would have to write a separate entry for deity (which I agree is a great feature of this system for reasons already stated by others), you would also have to write them in a way that made them different-but-equal, so that the divine characters of each god could level approximately equal speed with not only one another, but with non divine classes too.  You would also have to include some method that would allow fallen characters to "catch up" without bypassing the rest of the party's level; Something akin to 3e experience bell curve.

The concordance system, in this case, is just a more complicated level system with a bit more flavored moved from the player's choice and baked into the system.  Again, it's not a bad idea.  But from a purely mechanical perspective, it just feels "clunky" for this intended use.

Personally, I'd rather see something like this tied not to necessary mechanics like class progression, but instead to feats, spells, items, (alternate) class features and other bonuses that you could opt in to.  For example, if you had two otherwise identical paladins of Pelor, only the "true" paladin of Pelor (the one with the high concordance) would get access Pelor's Radiance, the ability to shed sunlight at-will (not just bright light, all the better for vampire slaying), the ability to unlock the full radiant potential of a Holy Avenger, the full compliment of domain spells, and so on, just to give some quick examples.  And instead of instead of de-leveling you, an infraction could simply dim or turn off some features.

One of the advantages to this method is that, since you're not trying to balance them against the leveling system, you can make the concordance system likewise simpler and with fewer concordance steps, which in turn would make every instance of infraction or accordance more mechanical and immediately meaningful.  Especially if infractions are suppose to be rare events. 


Also, IIRC, using the concordance system for guilds and such isn't a new idea.  It was either the 3e DMG2 or one of the late 3e urban supplements that introduced organizations using the same basic system .  But I digress.



I think you are missing a lot of what was talked about downstream of my original post.  The idea is to layer this on top of normal characters as an optional module.  As such, maybe instead of using existing abilities and powers normally gained through level progression the idea would be to grant non-combat abilities and rituals outside of the normal level progression.  However there still needs to be a punishment mechanic for those who "willingly" dip below a par level of concordance.

Falls being entirely by player choice there is no need to make it balanced.  Only those players who wish to role-play a fall from grace will actually reach these levels, and with full knowledge of the consequences before hand.  There also doesn't have to be a different, but equal configuration for the dogmas.  One god could have five levels of concordance, one at par, two above par and two below while another could have four (maybe an evil demanding god) with one par level, one above par and two below.  It doesn't matter because the abilities gained wouldn't unduly increase the combat effectiveness of the character and no matter how quick or slow a fall, falls only happen when players want them to.

I think you mistakenly are equating experience with this system.  They are entirely divorced from each other.  There is no need to balance leveling.  If a fallen character performs a quest (or some other atonement ritual) they are immediately set to the concordance level one above the lowest, and then can regain concordance in the usual ways.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

OSR Fan? Our Big Announcement™ is here!

Please join our forums!

Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

I think you mistakenly are equating experience with this system.  They are entirely divorced from each other.  There is no need to balance leveling.  If a fallen character performs a quest (or some other atonement ritual) they are immediately set to the concordance level one above the lowest, and then can regain concordance in the usual ways.



Thanks for the clarification.  That is precisely what I was erroneously doing.  I got confused by this.

My initial thought was that the character would gain abilities and powers that characters not using this system would gain through leveling.  The only difference here would be the mechanic through which they gain them.  The progression by concordance could be constructed in such a way that it mimics the pace of leveling.



But, yeah, that clarification pretty much throws most of what I said out the window.

However, I still stand by my main objection.  The primary purpose of mechanics, in my opinion, is to objectively solve conflicts (or make resolving conflicts easier).  If the player has full control of when or if he falls, then there is no conflict to resolve.  And if there is no conflict, there is no need for a full set of concordance-resolution mechanics.  They're superfluous.

Though the one advantage with this system I do see is that setting aside a set of mechanics that can easily be added for removed without disrupting class balance would make it easier for players and DMs who want to use the Fallen Paladin trope without having to meddle with the mechanics themselves.

Don't get me wrong.  I really like the core idea behind the system, and I think the proposed mechanics would work just fine.  I just don't think they pull their own weight.  If you're just going to have falling dependent entirely to player choice anyway, you could simply cut out the middleman and leave it an entirely flavor choice on the part of the player.  Which, effectively, is what your concordance system does, just with more steps.  A sidebar or mini-chapter covering the concept of losing paladinhood would likely achieve the same effect, be simpler to follow and update, and take up less book space.

But perhaps I'm missing the bigger picture.

Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
Sign In to post comments