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

79 posts / 0 new
Last post
But perhaps I'm missing the bigger picture.




The bigger picture is that this system is a compromise between DMs who think they should be final arbiter of when a character falls, and players who think they should have that power. It sets up a framework within which a DM can be certain he is being fair, while allowing the player to tell their character's story.

I actually fall in the camp of wanting a little more DM power over characters (not much more). I don't think a player is solely responsible for his own character's story any more than I think the DM is solely responsible for the campaign story. Everyone at the table tells everyone's story cooperatively. While I think that this system allows for players to be in control of their character's destiny, I also think that if the individual concordance rules (or religious dogma) are sufficiently well defined the DM can craft truly maddening conundrums for the player to face, perhaps forcing them, or tricking them into falling.

Would you have anything to add that would make the system more relevant to conflict resolution?

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.

Would you have anything to add that would make the system more relevant to conflict resolution?


Basically, this.

I actually fall in the camp of wanting a little more DM power over characters (not much more)....While I think that this system allows for players to be in control of their character's destiny, I also think that if the individual concordance rules (or religious dogma) are sufficiently well defined the DM can craft truly maddening conundrums for the player to face, perhaps forcing them, or tricking them into falling.


Which contradicts your initially stated goal of making "Falls being entirely by player choice".  Which was the basis of my original objection.  The system is superfluous to this goal and fails to meet it.  If falls are entirely by choice, you don't need mechanics for something that can't happen - namely, falling for reasons other than the player's choice.  Which is precisely what your system facilitates.

However, if the DM can force or trick a character into falling, then falling does not necessarily happen due to the player's choice, but can also happen by "failing" an ethical dilemma the DM has put in front of you.   The DM can present scenarios that can fool the player or force the character's hand by making them choose between the deity's dogma and their personal needs, wants, and principles. 

So if encouraging DM-vs-Player ethical conflict is your goal, then then your proposed system makes much more sense.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.

In one of my 4e campaigns, I had a Lawful Good Paladin of Pelor, and a Good aligned dwarven of Moradin conspire, and then murder their own patron and steal his wealth. Neither players saw this as conflicting with their alignment, okay, I'm sure they did, but they didn't care because there wasn't anything in the book that said they couldn't murder someone and still be the good aligned.

I'm all for the concordence system. If players don't want to face ethical dilemma, be held to a higher standard conduct, and follow their deity's dogma, then they should play a rogue, or an evil Paladin.

Either ditch alignments and divine PC's altogether or have a code of conduct for them to aspire to.



making them choose between the deity's dogma and their personal needs, wants, and principles.

Isn't this the most common religious theme ever? The testing of ones faith, through sacrifice.

In one of my 4e campaigns, I had a Lawful Good Paladin of Pelor, and a Good aligned dwarven of Moradin conspire, and then murder their own patron and steal his wealth. Neither players saw this as conflicting with their alignment, okay, I'm sure they did, but they didn't care because there wasn't anything in the book that said they couldn't murder someone and still be the good aligned.

I'm all for the concordence system. If players don't want to face ethical dilemma, be held to a higher standard conduct, and follow their deity's dogma, then they should play a rogue, or an evil Paladin.


Meh.  You don't need an alignment system to hold yourself to a higher standard and face ethical dilemmas, regardless of class.  My last character was a stauchly heroic paladin with no faith in the gods.  I didn't bother writing an alignment down, and his moral code was his own.  But all together, he would have fit the LG Paladin sterotype pretty closely.

It seems your players had no intention of playing the alignments written on their character sheet in the first place, nor play up the religious aspects of their classes default flavor.  Which is perfectly fine.  They don't have to.  But if their disparity between their stated allegiance and their alignment was lessening the enjoyment of the game for you and the rest of the group, then the problem could easily be solved with an OOG comprise.  You could have, for example, convinced them to change their alignment to Evil and the diety to Tiamat.  Now their actions match their patron, and the game could continue exactly as it would have otherwise.  Or you could have done what the PH suggests, and have the receive retaliation from their church if word gets back to them.  Or you could have rolled with the corrupted church trope and see what direction that could take the game.

Either ditch alignments and divine PC's altogether or have a code of conduct for them to aspire to.



Personally, I'd prefer the former. 

making them choose between the deity's dogma and their personal needs, wants, and principles.

Isn't this the most common religious theme ever? The testing of ones faith, through sacrifice.


Yes it is.  But there is a difference between having such conflicts evolve naturally and having the DM construct scenarios to specifically push those decisions.  Edit: Namely that the DM has greater power to put the player in no-win scenarios.

Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
[Double Post]
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
I think the goal of this system is to try to find a balance between player and DM control of the character's relationship with his church (or other organization) and his god.  I hear a lot of people I suspect are mainly players saying things like, "a player should tell their character's story."  And to the extent that they control his reactions this is true, but I believe this has evolved to a dangerous level where these players view the DM as merely a facilitator of their fun and nothing more.  I have had players around my own table who I would describe this way.

You may know the type.  They show up at the table with nothing but their character and their own drinks and snacks.  They sit back while everyone else helps to set up, and then during play say things like, "but that is what my character would do," when ruining you plot, or disagreeing with the rest of the party.  I had at least one player over the years who additionally had mapped out his character's entire progression in a plot vacuum, and was pissed when my campaign messed up his hard work.  These same kinds of players often will not play any alignment or code of ethics that they choose.

The truth is that part of the DMs job is to challenge the players and their characters.  To the extent that a DM must be prepared and willing to accept a player's input or outright mangling of their campaign story arc, players must be prepared and willing to accept the character changing plot devices that a DM may throw at them.  If you choose a class that comes with an alignment restriction, or code that would signify to me that you want to be bound by those rules, otherwise you would pick something else.  Furthermore your character doesn't develop in a vacuum.  There are NPCs in the form of enemies, friends, associates, superiors and gods who he must interact with, and those are entirely the purview of the DM.  If I choose to have a powerful NPC within the character's church decide to make life for the character a living hell, that is up to me to decide and the player to react to.  The player continues to tell his character's story within the framework I set up.

Now there are bad DMs, just as there are bad players (as in my example above).  In those cases players are encouraged to remove themselves from his game, just as DMs are within their rights to remove bad players from their game.  However an alignment system, or one of concordance to codify a framework for the relationship I describe in the first sentence of this post is not at fault.  As a DM I would try to limit the times I mess with an individual character's ch'i, but it is my job to mess with the characters in general. 

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.

Very good idea, as long as any character can be on the path why should only clerics and paladins benifit from faith.  Any character can have a strong connection to a diety from fighter to rogue.  I also like the idea of the same type of thing for thieves' guild membership, wizard orders, druid circles, martial arts schools, ect.....

Remember this is a public forum where people express their opinions assume there is a “In my humble opinion” in front of every post especially mine.  

 

Things you should check out because they are cool, like bow-ties and fezzes.

https://app.roll20.net/home  Roll20 great free virtual table top so you can play with old friends who are far away.

http://donjon.bin.sh/  Donjon has random treasure, maps, pick pocket results, etc.. for every edition of D&D.

Very good idea, as long as any character can be on the path why should only clerics and paladins benifit from faith.  Any character can have a strong connection to a diety from fighter to rogue.



Except that there is generally not a mechanical benefit for being devout unless you are a divine character class.  This system is about providing benefit or punishment to classes as appropriate.  While I am not opposed to Divine Defenders and Strikers, I don't think martial characters should be able to heal wounds, or generate divine radiance because they are devout followers of their god.  Paladins and clerics are the earthly representatives of their gods, and gain the vast majority of their powers from the gods.  It is far more appropriate that they are rewarded or punished for how closely they follow the dogma of their religion.

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.

Very good idea, as long as any character can be on the path why should only clerics and paladins benifit from faith.  Any character can have a strong connection to a diety from fighter to rogue.



Except that there is generally not a mechanical benefit for being devout unless you are a divine character class.  



See Pendragon for a game where anyone might gain benefits from faith.. and different faiths confer different benefits.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

See Pendragon for a game where anyone might gain benefits from faith.. and different faiths confer different benefits.



D&D has never worked this way, but if people wanted to take the concordance system and apply it that way I don't see why it would be difficult to do.  However, I do think the default application of it should be divine concordance for divine classes, and other types of concordance as appropriate for other classes.  Thieves' Guild for rogues, Wizards' Guild, or Arcane College for wizards, etc.

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 the goal of this system is to try to find a balance between player and DM control of the character's relationship with his church (or other organization) and his god.


If there was any doubt, that is what I already assumed your goal to be.

I hear a lot of people I suspect are mainly players saying things like, "a player should tell their character's story."  And to the extent that they control his reactions this is true, but I believe this has evolved to a dangerous level where these players view the DM as merely a facilitator of their fun and nothing more.  I have had players around my own table who I would describe this way.

You may know the type.  They show up at the table with nothing but their character and their own drinks and snacks.  They sit back while everyone else helps to set up, and then during play say things like, "but that is what my character would do," when ruining you plot, or disagreeing with the rest of the party.  I had at least one player over the years who additionally had mapped out his character's entire progression in a plot vacuum, and was pissed when my campaign messed up his hard work.  These same kinds of players often will not play any alignment or code of ethics that they choose.



That's an entirely different problem than making Fall From Grace mechanics less arbitrary.  Jerk players are going to be jerk players, whether or not they play divine characters.  A disruptive player is an OOG problem that requires an OOG solution.  That's not a problem your concordance system can solve.

The truth is that part of the DMs job is to challenge the players and their characters.  To the extent that a DM must be prepared and willing to accept a player's input or outright mangling of their campaign story arc, players must be prepared and willing to accept the character changing plot devices that a DM may throw at them.



Few people would argue otherwise.  But that does not mean that Fall From Grace must be one of those challenges presented to divine character.  It's a challenge, yes.  But it is certainly not the only type of challenge, nor the most interesting, or appropriate, or novel.  As well, it's a challenge that only makes sense in a cosmology that supports it, and not all of them do. 

Nor do I think that losing class abilities needs to be the eventual consequence of resolving a plot. 

If you choose a class that comes with an alignment restriction, or code that would signify to me that you want to be bound by those rules, otherwise you would pick something else.


Or that you like the concept or mechanics of the class, but disagree with the philosophies of the class, the justifications used to alignment-restrict the class, or find either of those conflictory with the class's own flavor.  Paladins aren't the only example.  For example, ask some 3e players if it made sense that the Barbarian should be restricted to Chaotic-only, and why (not).  Or that Monks be Lawful-only.

Another example.  In my opinion, the 4e paladin is an mechanically interesting class that could be tied to a lot of different concepts even before you add reflavoring into the mix.  And all-in-all, its a fun class with a unique playstyle and a lot of interesting things going for it.  Had 4e carried over 3e alignment mechanics to the paladin, I, and I would assume many others, would have been far more hesitant to try the class simply due to all the argumental baggage from the previous edition.  Which would have been unfortunate, because I'm definitely having fun with my alignment-less, godless, heroic paladin of goodness.

A 3rd example.  One of the potential transgressions you gave for your own system was that Pelorites could not cast spells with the Darkness keyword, which doesn't make sense at all to me.  AFAIK Pelor is all about goodness and compassion, and opposes evil and undead.  I've never heard or read anything that Pelor is an enemy of the lack-of-light.  It would make more sense that Pelor would punish casting spells with the Evil or Undead keywords, assuming such keywords will exist in the next edition.

Furthermore your character doesn't develop in a vacuum.  There are NPCs in the form of enemies, friends, associates, superiors and gods who he must interact with, and those are entirely the purview of the DM.  If I choose to have a powerful NPC within the character's church decide to make life for the character a living hell, that is up to me to decide and the player to react to.  The player continues to tell his character's story within the framework I set up.



And those things have absolutely nothing to do with alignment mechanics.  You can have a colorful and flavorful cast just as easily without Fall From Grace mechanics, and the presence of those mechanics does not make it any easier to create such a cast.

However an alignment system, or one of concordance to codify a framework for the relationship I describe in the first sentence of this post is not at fault.


Assuming it works as intended.  It works in theory.  But then, everything works in theory Tongue Out


But I fear we are digressing from the original point of your thread.  Back to mechanics-crafting.

Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
One of the potential transgressions you gave for your own system was that Pelorites could not cast spells with the Darkness keyword, which doesn't make sense at all to me.  AFAIK Pelor is all about goodness and compassion, and opposes evil and undead.  I've never heard or read anything that Pelor is an enemy of the lack-of-light.  It would make more sense that Pelor would punish casting spells with the Evil or Undead keywords, assuming such keywords will exist in the next edition.



Pelor is god of the Sun, and Light as well as good and strength.  It makes perfect sense for him to be opposed to the creation of magical darkness for many reasons.  First and foremost is that darkness is the lack of light as you pointed out.  Second evil often uses darkness to obscure its activities and growth.  I can easily see Pelor's dogma having restrictions against darkness as I believe Lathander's church did in earlier editions of the game.

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.

As a purely optional rule this is fine, but I can't see myself ever using it.  Purely as a gaming decision, I don't see any reason to burden divine classes alone with a behavior mechanic.  If players are making an honest effort at roleplaying, they probably don't need system-based punishments and rewards for their general character behavior.  And if they're not inclined to make an honest effort, then they could easily game any kind of structured 'concordance' system.  You could say that the DM should step in at that point and say "No, donating money to 10 beggars doesn't undo one cold-blooded murder," but then we're falling back on the DM as ultimate behavior arbiter--and isn't the point of a 'concordance' system that the DM doesn't have to make those calls?
As a strictly Divine Concordance mechanic, I think it could work for every PC.  You would have to keep it simple.  I have two PCs with artifacts and it's not high on my list of beans to count, but they are doing a great job with it.  There should be greater benefits and penalties for divine characters. 

But I think Divine Concordance as an Optional Rule works for every PC when it comes to death.  Maybe it's my Roman Catholic upbrining, but one of the selling points of doing good was going to heaven.  The negative reinforcement approach is do good or your going to hell.  Mechanically, what if your PC's god of choice doesn't want you for it's heaven, then you would go to a hell.  The Divine Concordance penalty for going to hell would be... you could not be Raised!


One of the potential transgressions you gave for your own system was that Pelorites could not cast spells with the Darkness keyword, which doesn't make sense at all to me.  AFAIK Pelor is all about goodness and compassion, and opposes evil and undead.  I've never heard or read anything that Pelor is an enemy of the lack-of-light.  It would make more sense that Pelor would punish casting spells with the Evil or Undead keywords, assuming such keywords will exist in the next edition.



Pelor is god of the Sun, and Light as well as good and strength.  It makes perfect sense for him to be opposed to the creation of magical darkness for many reasons.  First and foremost is that darkness is the lack of light as you pointed out.  Second evil often uses darkness to obscure its activities and growth.  I can easily see Pelor's dogma having restrictions against darkness as I believe Lathander's church did in earlier editions of the game.



It also makes perfect sense for him to not be opposed to the creation of magical darkness for many reasons.

Darkness may be the lack of light, but there's nothing inherently wrong with darkness.  And I would imagine that Pelor, being the good god of the sun, would be extra okay with the existence of darkness, at the very least from a cosmological-balance perspective.  The world would be a very different and much more inhospitable place if it were bathed constantly in the sun's light.  And that probably would not be a capital "G" Good thing.

As for the second reasoning, if taken to its logical conclusion, would mean that Pelor should oppose lots of other things too. Evil also uses fire to burn down orphanages.  But Pelor doesn't oppose fire.  Evil often uses weapons to do evil, yet Pelor doesn't oppose weapons.  And many of the worse evils don't hide in the darkness, but instead wields the light against the forces of good.  But, strangely, Pelor doesn't oppose light for some reason...

Which is all moot since, again, Pelor has never been opposed to the creation of magical darkness.  And unless the designers decide to (re)define Pelor's stance on the issue, punishing Pelorites with divine retribution for producing a bit of shade would be ill-fitting at best.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
So...any constructive comments? 

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.

You don't have to personally agree with the tenets of the imaginary religion.  As long as it is well written and clear you can play a character who personally agrees with the tenets of the imaginary religion.  I wouldn't begin flipping through the 5e Divine Concordance rules looking for a religion that matches my own personal beliefs, but instead I would look for one that looks interesting to play, or one that fits the personality and beliefs of the character I am trying to create.  Living up to crunchy and precise rules at that point becomes largely a matter of choice.  Do I have to agree that using darkness would be against the rules of a god of the sun, and light?  No.  It is enough for me that the game designers thought it made sense and wrote clear and precise rules governing it.  At that point it is my job, and pleasure to play a role that follows those tenets.

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.

You don't have to personally agree with the tenets of the imaginary religion.  As long as it is well written and clear you can play a character who personally agrees with the tenets of the imaginary religion.

 

It's not a matter of personally agreeing with the tenets of an imaginary religion.  Rather, it's a matter of the mechanic agreeing with said imaginary religion.  Why go though the trouble of creating a creative solution to merge mechanics with flavor if you're going to drop the ball on the execution by not making the mechanics support the flavor they are suppose to?  And sloppy execution is the only major obstacle I could see for this system, which isn't saying much.

So...any constructive comments? 


I had already said we were digression from the original point of the thread.  But if you, the OP, felt that it was worthwhile digression to continue, should I not oblige?  For all I know, maybe you were going somewhere with the conversation?

As far as the constructive criticism on the mechanics goes, I don't have much else to add that I haven't already said. I feel that the idea is solid and can achieve the stated goals without disrupting the game too much.  Still, I think it would work best as an add-on rather than as part of the core rules, mostly for the same reasons Skeptical Clown gave a few posts up.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
Still, I think it would work best as an add-on rather than as part of the core rules, mostly for the same reasons Skeptical Clown gave a few posts up.



I agree that it should be optional, but I think the system should still appear in the core rules.  It should just be marked as optional.

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.

So...any constructive comments? 



Well, I actually think that a system like this works great if it's being used for organizations instead of alignment.  That makes it much easier to apply equally to every character--anyone might want to be part of a church or guild.  I think that would probably invite less ambiguity about the mechanism of raising and lowering your concordance too, because the strictures would be based on an organization's goals, rather than on abstract (and kind of  fuzzy) cosmological principles.  So there's not much to object to.
Well, I actually think that a system like this works great if it's being used for organizations instead of alignment.  That makes it much easier to apply equally to every character--anyone might want to be part of a church or guild.  I think that would probably invite less ambiguity about the mechanism of raising and lowering your concordance too, because the strictures would be based on an organization's goals, rather than on abstract (and kind of  fuzzy) cosmological principles.  So there's not much to object to.



I imagine that a god's hold over a paladin is something like a church's, or a Thieves' Guild over a rogue.  We ditch the language in the PHB "evil act" and replace it with concrete example of what the cleric, or paladin must not do or risk lower 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.

[Edit: Duplicate post]

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.

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"?

Basically really bad actions would get you a dark side point. I don't remember being able to get light side points. Which lead to an odd mechanic where all players would slowly fall twords the darkside as the game drew on. (there must have been a way to get light side, I just don't remember).

As for the Divine Concordance. How is that really any difference from a point system? For example. Every player has good/evil points and law/chaos points (or just one or the other depending on the DM). Then as you do good action you gain good points/loose evil points, as you do bad you loose good points/gain evil point. Same with the law/chaos axis (if you use it).

You could even give benifits for having over 20 good points if you deity is good, for example.

Divine Concordance does the same thing but with teirs of good/bad instead of points. And with actions that make you more 'in step' or more 'out of step'. How many actions does it take to move up or down a teir?

In short the base Idea is good, but if you going for a system the rewards being like your deity I believe that there are better systems that remove some of the ambiguity. 
Im sorry but ADEU is a French word for goodbye, not a combat system. You say, "Encounter Power" and I stop listening to you. [spoiler Have Played/Run] D&D 1st ed D&D 3.5 ed D&D 4th ed Shadowrun Star Wars SAGA Cyberpunk Interlock Unlimited Run.Net [/spoiler] I know my games, don't try to argue about them. [spoiler Alignment Explained] This is a very simple problem and I will outline it below. Their are two types of people Type 1: a lot of people (not all, but a lot) who play see alignment as "I am lawful good thus I must play lawful good" Type 2: a lot of people (not all, but a lot) who play see alignment as "My previous actions have made people and the gods view me as lawful good. The difference is subtle but it is the source of the misunderstanding. Alignment does not dictate how you play your character. All it does is tell you, the player, how the rest of the world views you, and your previous actions. Any future actions will be judged by their own merits. Say you're a baby eating pyromaniac. You are most likely chaotic evil. But one day you decide, "Hey all I really need is love." So you get a wife, have a kid, and get a kitten named Mr. Snook'ems. You become a member of the PTA and help build houses for the homeless. You are no longer chaotic evil. And just because you were once chaotic evil it does not mean that you have to stay chaotic evil. Alignment never dictates what you can do, it only says what you have done. Now that is cleared up here is a simple test. What is the alignment of... A Police officer: The average Citizen: A Vigilante: The answer is simple. The Police officer is lawful good. He uses the laws of the country and city to arrest people and make them pay their debt to society. The Citizen is Neutral good. He wants to live is a place that is Good and follows moral and ethical principle, but he sometimes finds the laws impedes him, and he wonders why we spend so much on poor people. The Vigilante is Chaotic Good. He wants to uphold the morals and ethics of society but finds that the bad guys often slip through the cracks in the law. He takes it upon himself to protect the people from these criminals. That is the basic breakdown of the good alignment axis. What needs to be remembered is that any one of these people can change alignments, easily. The Police officer could be bought off by a local gang, and suddenly he drops to lawful neutral. The average citizen might find that his neighbors dog is annoying, barking at night and keeping him up. So he poisons its food, now he is no longer good, he is stepping towards true neutral. Maybe the citizen really goes crazy also kills the neighbor, hello neutral evil. It is possible that the Vigilante realizes that the cops are actually doing a pretty good job and decides to become an officer himself, leaving his masked crime fighting days behind him. Now he is Lawful good. Your alignment is not carved in stone, it is malleable and will change to reflect your actions.[/spoiler]
As for the Divine Concordance. How is that really any difference from a point system? For example. Every player has good/evil points and law/chaos points (or just one or the other depending on the DM). Then as you do good action you gain good points/loose evil points, as you do bad you loose good points/gain evil point. Same with the law/chaos axis (if you use it).

You could even give benifits for having over 20 good points if you deity is good, for example.

Divine Concordance does the same thing but with teirs of good/bad instead of points. And with actions that make you more 'in step' or more 'out of step'. How many actions does it take to move up or down a teir?

In short the base Idea is good, but if you going for a system the rewards being like your deity I believe that there are better systems that remove some of the ambiguity. 



The idea is that using such subjective terms as good, evil and bad are part of the entire alignment problem that has existed since 1974.  More concrete terminology is needed to remove ambiguity.

If your paladin gets evil/bad points for doing something evil/bad all that does is cause arguments.  However, if your paladin loses concordance for killing an unarmed opponent, that couldn't be more clear cut.

Are you familiar with the Artifact Concordance system in 4e?  This would be configured in exactly the same way, except that "Moving On" would be "Ex-Paladin" (or "Ex-Cleric", etc.)  There is no answer to how many actions it takes to move up or down a level.  It would depend on the number of point that each level encompasses, and how different actions are weighted.  Killing a baby might do it with one action.  Killing an unarmed opponent might take two or more infractions.  Acting in some other minorly offensive way might take several infractions to cause any significant movement on the scale.

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.

there was an alignment table in 1e DragonLance that looked just like what you are describing for Faith Based Classes with their Gods. The trouble is some gods are all about Alignment, rather than just themselves, so you are going to have to face alignment cross overs with this effect.

You could classify powers as something like favored, lesser, greater, and proxy, and start by snipping the upper ones and working your way down to the lower ones every so many point increments. If you had four categories and 5 points each, you might lose a spell level for every 2 points you lost.

You could even have divine boons or promises that represent a buffer of say 1 - 5 points or whatever where the character can wander slightly because they recently accomplished something super important and difficult. It might also be possible to garner Boons from other deities and change allegiances when you acrew enough points (say 20) to have a secondary chart. In some pantheons this wouldn't even create serious conflict - my hindu friends have all sorts of statues in their house representing different deities and have lengthy prayers to multiple gods.
Options are Liberating
there was an alignment table in 1e DragonLance that looked just like what you are describing for Faith Based Classes with their Gods. The trouble is some gods are all about Alignment, rather than just themselves, so you are going to have to face alignment cross overs with this effect.



The thing is that this system sort of divorces itself from alignment without losing a (subjective) moral basis.  When I say subjective here, I mean subjective to the god or organization creating the morality, but objective in the way it is presented to the players.

If the designers, or a DM decide to build a religion in which giving to the poor, helping the helpless, and slaying all those opposed to their philosophy are the tenets of the religion, then so be it.  It doesn't have to mirror or mimic any real world examples because we are removing subjective terms like good, and evil from the equation.

You could classify powers as something like favored, lesser, greater, and proxy, and start by snipping the upper ones and working your way down to the lower ones every so many point increments. If you had four categories and 5 points each, you might lose a spell level for every 2 points you lost.

You could even have divine boons or promises that represent a buffer of say 1 - 5 points or whatever where the character can wander slightly because they recently accomplished something super important and difficult. It might also be possible to garner Boons from other deities and change allegiances when you acrew enough points (say 20) to have a secondary chart. In some pantheons this wouldn't even create serious conflict - my hindu friends have all sorts of statues in their house representing different deities and have lengthy prayers to multiple gods.



I like some of this.  Perhaps instead of powers or class abilities higher concordance granted boons, and below a par level of concordance the character took on curses.  All of their powers and class abilities remained untouched until they reached the "Ex-class" stage and then all benefits of the class are lost.

What do people think of this?

Not sure if I like the idea of god swapping even within a pantheon such as the hindu.  The idea of most of the classes when this would apply is that they are singularly devoted to a single being who grants them divine powers.  I'm not entirely opposed though.  Maybe someone could come up with some concrete examples of how this could work.

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.

Alignment Concordance...

Alright, I do love this idea.  If it was kept simple, it could definitely be an optional module in the core rules.  If it was highly detailed, it would warrant its own book.  I would choose the latter because I am of the mindset that if you are going to do something, do it right and be thorough.

The way I could see this working is that while any character can choose any deity to worship, there are classes that are more attuned to specific deities.  If the character follows the tenets of the deity, they move up the scale, and they receive divine favor and/or abilities.  Those classes that align can move farther up the scale.  All classes have their limits, however, except priests.

Or if you wanted to get really detailed (my preference), there is a generic scale for all classes which do not align and a unique scale for each class that does align.  This would allow the granted powers and abilities to be flavored for the class.

Like I said, do it right and be thorough.  

Another thing that I like about this is that it could potentially allow for a very diverse party.  We don't absolutely need a priest in the party if the barbarian is highly religious towards a deity which healing is granted as an ability.  Sure, a priest would be a better solution across the board, but a party could handle a lot of situations without one.

Taking it to another level, you could eliminate the priest class entirely, and each deity would have a class that is considered a priest of that class, should that character follow the tenets of the deity.  In essence, a holy (or unholy) version of their class.

I most certainly can see this mechanic work in other facets of the game: organizations, government affiliation, and just about any faction in general.

Reflavoring: the change of flavor without changing any mechanical part of the game, no matter how small, in order to fit the mechanics to an otherwise unsupported concept. Retexturing: the change of flavor (with at most minor mechanical adaptations) in order to effortlessly create support for a concept without inventing anything new. Houseruling: the change, either minor or major, of the mechanics in order to better reflect a certain aspect of the game, including adapting the rules to fit an otherwise unsupported concept. Homebrewing: the complete invention of something new that fits within the system in order to reflect an unsupported concept. Default module =/= Core mechanic.
I like this system.  The behaviors would have to have some sort of crunch tie it.  It would be easy for a player to say "my fighter preforms his strength workout," while it is something completly different to have a resource burned for that workout.  "My fighter/clericmonk preforms his strength workout/daily prayers/meditation, i use a healing surge in doing so."


I also liked the idea that maintaining base line is something easy to do, falling from baseline is easy, and returning to base line easy, but going above baseline difficult, and falling from above baseline easy.     It should cost something, and resources are the most tangible. 
I like some of this.  Perhaps instead of powers or class abilities higher concordance granted boons, and below a par level of concordance the character took on curses.  All of their powers and class abilities remained untouched until they reached the "Ex-class" stage and then all benefits of the class are lost.

What do people think of this?

I don't know about "people", but I'll answer for me!

I think limitations and reductions to effectiveness (loss of riders, maybe) to powers (whatever the equivalent is called) would be better than "curses", as such. Other than that it sounds good.

Not sure if I like the idea of god swapping even within a pantheon such as the hindu.  The idea of most of the classes when this would apply is that they are singularly devoted to a single being who grants them divine powers.  I'm not entirely opposed though.  Maybe someone could come up with some concrete examples of how this could work.

If you want "proper pantheism" I would say that the base set of tenets is laid out for the pantheon, not for a specific god or goddess. Maybe additional powers/abilities would be available (more choices, not higher power, per se) to those who swear vows to a specific deity? No limit to the number of deities you could swear vows to, but all of the vows you took give opportunities for negative concordance, and some vows may give negative concordance for any sort of dealing with another god!
======= Balesir
Performing a little thread necromancy here, since paladins falling from grace was brought up again recently.

]:->

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.

True20 uses Conviction. Each character chooses a Virtue and a Vice. When the player acts in accordance with either Virture or Vice they gain a Conviction point! Conviction points could be used to re-roll a d20, and every character got a Conviction Power at level one. Warriors could use a Conviction to negate conditions, Experts could gain a bonus to any skill roll, Adepts could cast any one spell (even if they did not have it! but a different magic system). There were many more Conviction Powers to choose from, my favorite was increased Ability score (Strength) for a turn.
The neat thing about a system like that is that your Conviction/Virture/Vice does not have to be tied directly to your class. It also encourages a bit more Role-Play, giving in to your Vice does give you a mechanical bonus. 
Keep in mind Villians could have Conviction as well!
I used the term concordance because 4e artifiacts use that term and I envisioned the system working in much the same way.  I shy away from general/generic bonuses for much the same reason I do for generic or non-specific criteria for dogma.  The more specific and clear the wording, the less room there is for disagreement about the true meaning of the rules.

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.

Then  you could use the mechanic I described above to increase the number of Channel Divinity uses. Or even start the day with no Channel Divinity uses and require the player to perform certain tasks to gain them . War Cleric? Participate in a battle. Sun Cleric? Spend an hour in the Sun or Cast a Light Spell in the Darkness.
As long as the system remains simply a measure of one's association with the ousider factions it shouldn't turn into a problem.
Then  you could use the mechanic I described above to increase the number of Channel Divinity uses. Or even start the day with no Channel Divinity uses and require the player to perform certain tasks to gain them . War Cleric? Participate in a battle. Sun Cleric? Spend an hour in the Sun or Cast a Light Spell in the Darkness.



I don't see a problem with this, or to have this a part of the system.  There still needs to be a punishment aspect to the system so players who want to can go down that path.

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.

As long as the system remains simply a measure of one's association with the ousider factions it shouldn't turn into a problem.



I can be a measure of anyone's association with any group, faction, or individual.

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.

My idea is aligment and the allegiance from d20 Modern. For example a chaotic character with Law allegiance would be a cop from TV "the shield".

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius