In a game centered on mechanics, alignment can be a confusingly abstract concept. It’s a quick-and-dirty way to tell the heroes from the villains, and to provide a vague idea of how characters can be roleplayed, but a lot is left open to interpretation. This Mayday Manual was written to offer up some practical options for getting more out of alignment within your own game. It is not intended to be the definitive resource on the subject. What this book presents is an alternate way to describe alignment, as a means of customizing your character’s personality, goals, and beliefs. There are simple mechanics to reward characters who embody the tenets of their alignment, and penalize those who stray. If it doesn’t answer all of your questions about a character’s stance toward morality, you should at least find enough fodder to continue the conversation.
The Mayday Manual series is for people who need extra help with topics most game books don’t cover. If they do, they gloss over a few basic concepts and leave you to figure out the rest on your own. Whether you’re new to the roleplaying hobby or have years of experience, these books are an attempt to provide some aid. Our hope is to start conversations around subjects we all struggle with, but many of us never talk about.
This book contains the following sections:
- Defining Alignment – The way the elements of good and evil, law and chaos are used throughout this book is explained. The ranking system is detailed, along with how the elements of alignment might be quantified. Various other terms are defined.
- The Nine Alignments – This is an exploration of each permutation of law and chaos, good and evil, and neutrality. It includes explanations of shades and variations available with the alignment, and examples of alignment statements.
- Influences on Alignment – The physical, social, and emotional influences on the character’s alignment are explained. Reasons why the same general alignment can represent different motivations and world views are expounded upon.
- Describing Alignment – How to write an alignment statement that zeroes in on what the character is about. This covers ways that alignment can be customized to reflect the specifics of your campaign world and the nuances of morality and belief.
- Using Alignment – Ways that alignment can be used to enhance roleplaying opportunities. This section also covers how alignment can be enforced by providing bonuses and penalties for adhering to alignment statements and playing in character.