New System of Allegiances
A character may have many allegiances, listed in order from most important to least important. The top three allegiances of a character are their primary allegiances. The distinction is important. Most decisions a character makes should be covered by their first three allegiances. If a character is constantly faced with situations to which their primary allegiances do not apply, then it is probably time to re-prioritize what they value. These allegiances are indications of what the character values in life, and may encompass people, organizations, or ideals.
If the character acts in a way that is detrimental to his or her allegiance, the GM may choose to strip the character of that allegiance (and all its benefits) and assign an allegiance more suitable to those actions.
Allegiances can change. A king dies is replaced by a ruthless tyrant that the player character opposes and their character's allegiance to king is replaced with a lesser allegiance, or perhaps redefined as an allegiance to their country instead. A characters primary allegiances should change only rarely, but their other allegiances may change over time, even dramatically.
Nature/ Forest/ Animals
Church/ Temple/ Organization Guild
Powerful Entity/ Outsider
Fey/ Fey Wilde
Elementals/ Primal Forces
The nine alignments formed by the axioms of Good versus Evil, and Chaos versus Law, crossing at the point of neutrality, do not handle well. There's no room to define how important these philosophies are compared to other things which a character is personally invested in. Is a particular character more Lawful than Good or more Good than Lawful? Which laws does a character abide by when traveling in the wilderness or foreign lands? What if the laws of their guild conflict with the laws of the land that they live in?
In a situation we might be deciding whether we value our community more than our job. We might ask ourselves whether we value our own well being over that of someone else. In the last we may ask ourselves if we would trade our ethics for leadership and prestige. Each of these situations ask us to decide what is more important to us. Each situation might be resolved if we knew ahead of time where our allegiances lay. If our allegiance to our family, friends, and community are more important than our job then we won't move to another region. A strong allegiance to lawfulness or goodness might give us enough bravery to intervene and risk injury to ourselves when we see someone being harmed by a villain, rather than remain safely distant from the crime. If our allegiance to our ethics is greater than our desire for promotion then we choose not to lie and discredit our team member. Alignment cannot answer all of these questions; where does law, chaos, good, and evil factor into a decision to leave a community for job opportunities? Some allegiances are stronger than others. A person with great religious strength may consider what their faith asks them to do before they consider whether it is good for their country or even their friends. Conversely, a military leader might make concessions which will cause in the deaths of his unit, because he values his country more than the lives of his soldiers. His country and the lives of his soldiers are both important, but one is clearly more valuable to him. It's a tough decision, but these situations do occur. Correspondingly, a character in a role-playing game has a hierarchy of values which guide how they make day to day and even difficult decisions. Alignments do not entirely disappear, but instead they become philosophies which a character values. These philosophies might be more, or less, important than other things which the character values: their church, their country, their self, their companions, their family, or many other institutions, recreations, and beliefs. Allegiances, thus, are an active system for making decisions, rather than a passive and abstract system like alignment. It is a super-system which encompasses and improves upon the old alignment system.
Types of Allegiance
A hero’s allegiance can take the form of loyalty to a person, to an organization, to a belief system, to a nation, or to an ethical or moral philosophy. In general, a character can discard an allegiance at any time, but may only gain a new allegiance after attaining a new level.
Having an allegiance implies having sufficient intelligence and wisdom to make a moral or ethical choice. As a result, a character must have Intelligence and Wisdom scores of 3 or higher in order to select allegiances.
Allegiances include, but are not limited to, the following examples
Person or Group: This includes a leader or superior, a family, a group of linked individuals (such as a band of adventurers or a cell of secret agents), or a discrete unit within a larger organization (such as members of the character’s squad or platoon, or individuals whose safety the character is responsible for).
Organization: This may be a company or corporation, a gathering of like-minded individuals, a fraternal brotherhood, a secret society, a branch of the armed forces, a local, state, or national government, a university, an employer, or an otherwise established authority.
Nation: This may or may not be the nation that the hero currently resides in. It may be where the individual was born, or where the hero resides after emigrating to a new home.
Belief System: This is usually a particular faith or religion, but can also be a specific philosophy or school of thought. Belief systems could also include political beliefs or philosophical outlooks.
Ethical Philosophy: This describes how one feels about order, as represented by law and chaos. An individual with a lawful outlook tends to tell the truth, keep his or her word, respect authority, and honor tradition, and he or she expects others to do likewise. An individual with a chaotic outlook tends to follow his or her instincts and whims, favor new ideas and experiences, and behave in a subjective and open manner in dealings with others.
Moral Philosophy: This describes one’s attitude toward others, as represented by good and evil. An individual with a good allegiance tends to protect innocent life. This belief implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of other creatures. An evil allegiance shows a willingness to hurt, oppress, and kill others, and to debase or destroy innocent life.
Allegiances and Influence
An allegiance can create an empathic bond with others of the same allegiance. With the GM’s permission, the character gains a +2 circumstance bonus on Charisma-based skill checks when dealing with someone of the same allegiance—as long as the character has had some interaction with the other character to discover the connections and bring the bonus into play.
NPC's, Allegiance, Monsters, Detect Spells
As you adventure you will find that most humanoids tend be Neutral and their Allegiance can lean slightly towards good or evil. Detection spells will no longer tell you if Biff the bartender is an evil guy or a good guy. You will have to relay on Sense Motive and your perceptions of his actions and words. Detect Spells will still pick up on focused concentrations of Good or Evil. Clerics, Paladins, Demons, Devils etc will have a distinct alignment aura of good or evil and can be detected as usual.