Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Alignment on leafworld: The four poles

Not so long ago, I talked about a strange flat world floating through infinite air.  The idea is still roaming around my head along with thoughts about alignment. Inevitably, that leads to thinking about how people align on leaf-world.

I don't want to use the alignment poles of Law, Chaos, Good, and Evil.  It strikes me that these terms come laden with baggage about "what a good person is" and other such notions that sometimes make me regret studying philosophy.


Instead of morality, I'm going to use geography.  Leaf-world has four identifiable poles.  In the east and west, the land is scorched by the close approach of the sun.  In the north and south, great caps of ice somewhat familiar to us have formed (although these caps weirdly wrap around the great cliffs at the edge of the world, rather than sitting evenly on a globe).  I sketched out the character of these poles as follows:

  • North, also known as The Dooming Hall for the dwarf-built seat of its rulers.  The High Lords of the North see themselves as the great judges of existence and often dispatch their agents into warmer lands to pass sentence.  Those who align with the North are conservative in their outlook and prize the certainty of things remaining the same more than empty promises about wonderful changes.
  • East, also known as The Redrose Warding after the court of the Dawn King who roams the lands around the pole.  The Zanthi of the East style themselves as guardians of the world but demand tribute to offer up to the spirits of the pole.  East alignment indicates the willingness to do what is right for those around oneself, regardless of whether they understand it or not.
  • West, also known as The Halfgold Warding.  Mirror image to the Zanthi of the East, the court of the Dusk King brooks neither rival nor law within its realm.  What the Dusk King desires, he takes with force.  Those who align with the West resent burdensome restrictions on their actions, knowing that the strong must prosper if the weak are to survive at all.
  • South, known as The Ending Hall for the lost realm of the dwarfs.  The Death Lords of the South seek only to obliterate the blasphemy that is life.  Their direct minions are most often animate corpses, but those among the living who align with the South are motivated by the need to tear down the old so that something new might take its place.
Now, these aren't meant to be all that creative and map pretty close to the four morally-laden terms.  Some degree of ambiguity is inevitable and maybe even desirable, though even if my description is lacking North and South clearly oppose one another, as do East and West.  I think that two more poles, Above and Below, would be helpful to round this out, but those ideas are still gestating.