Alignment as a World View

In addition to all its other uses, alignment can become the central focus of a campaign. Is the world caught in an unending struggle between the forces of good and evil, law and chaos? The answer affects how the campaign world is created, how the campaign is run, and how adventures are constructed. It also affects players' perspectives on and reactions to various situations and events.

In a typical campaign, the primary conflict in the world is not a struggle between alignments. The campaign world is one in which passion, desire, coincidence, intrigue, and even virtue create events and situations. Things happen for many of the same reasons as in the real world. For this reason, it may be easier to create adventures for this type of campaign. Adventure variety and excitement depend on the DM's sense of drama and his ability as a storyteller. Occasionally player characters discover a grand and hideous plot, but such things are isolated affairs, not part of an overall scheme.

However, for conspiracy-conscious DMs, a different world view might be more suitable, one where the powers of alignment (gods, cults, kingdoms, elemental forces) are actively struggling against each other. the player characters and NPCs may be agents of this struggle. Sometimes, they are aware of their role. At other times, they have no idea of their purpose in the grand scheme of things.

Even rarer are those campaigns where the player characters represent a third force in the battle, ignored or forgotten by the others. In such a world, the actions of adventurers can have surprising effects.

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