Saturday, July 04, 2009

House rules: alignment change

Alignments should not be chosen lightly; they determine the effects of lots of game mechanics while simultaneously dictating a certain style of play.  Character is everything in role-playing, and sticking to your character makes the game more fun, so to the extent that alignment determines character, it should be stable.

Still, sometimes people decide that they want to play a differently aligned character (or that they have been, all along).  They should be able to do so, but not lightly.  There are two ways to change alignment in the world of the Nest of Candles: By Quest, or By Ability Drain.

By Quest

Changing your alignment By Quest means you arrange with the GM in advance for a solo adventure, the primary outcome of which will be to change your alignment.  If you change your alignment By Quest, the GM will design a quest which has trivial or no benefits whatsoever, other than the alignment change.  It should fall in line with the existing story and make sense in the context of both the character you have been playing and the one you want to change.

By Ability Drain

A character can change alignment at any time by agreeing to an alignment drain.  The penalty is: -2 wisdom, and -2 to ability score of the player's choice, per notch on each axis.  For example, Ferdinand the level 7 Berserker wishes to change from Chaotic Good to Chaotic Evil.  This involves no change in the Ethics axis (Chaotic->Chaotic) but two notches shifted on the Morals axis (Good->Neutral->Evil).  Ferdinand chooses to penalize Charisma, and therefore takes a -4 wisdom penalty and -4 charisma penalty.

The ability drain may not be restored by any spell; it goes away on its own the next time the character gains a level, and prior to applying any other level increase benefits.  At level 8, Ferdinand gains back his charisma and wisdom, and then gains his permanent ability score increase, as usual.

It should be noted that the guaranteed wisdom drain means that clerics will be penalized more heavily for alignment changes than other classes.  This is intentional, as clerics' dieties do not take lightly to alignment changes.  In most  cases a cleric will not need to choose a new diety (as gods of Gabbent are not explicitly aligned), but may choose to do so at the same time as they make the alignment change.

In addition the ability drain, any other penalties related to class or race or special circumstances (such as a paladin losing all class abilities) that accrue due to the alignment change still apply.  Any penalties that accrue due to changing a worshipped diety also apply.