Player Diary One: A Deck of Many Things and alignment changes

Pile of Dust

I haven’t kept this blog since the beginning of the current game I am in, but I am still going to jump in and create monthly reflections on my experience as a player. This is not a campaign diary – I’m not attempting to monologue the experiences of my character. Rather I want to comment on my pleasures and frustrations of being in the game. Often I will tie these into thoughts as a DM on how to build my own game, or as a writer and the inspiration that arose out of the session.

Session 11: 24th September 2018

So today our DM gave us a Deck of Many Things (have a look at the generator also), so for many the next notes will come as no surprise. Firstly, our DM has actually already set us up with random magical encounters that have had various impacts, the main one being a fountain that granted boons and banes, and the side effects of which killed a character in our last game. So we were well forewarned of the dangers. Now, admittedly that player that was previously killed did not rush in and do this, instead the player who has watched Critical Role and KNOWS WHAT THIS WAS! rushed in, picked up the cards and exclaimed FOUR! Not one card to draw...but four. Suffice to say that character died and we spent a large chunk of our game rolling up a new character. Now I'm going somewhere with this...

Later then we arrive back at base to find all our allies have vanished and instead are a number of little crabs scuttling around. So the character who died previously and is currently shadow-forged rushed in and as a tiny crab ran excitedly towards him, he smashed madly at it (rolling a natural 20), it then - of course - morphed into one of our NPCs and died. I am going somewhere with this...

So, my character, who has PTSD from a previous death experience, is the mum of the group, has dream prophecies, is a wizard and is Lawful Good, just watched yesterday one character die, return as a shadow version, and today another character vanish, then a beloved NPC be smashed to death by another character. She now is no longer feeling that the world is a good place, that good will triumph or that "people" are inherently going to do the right thing. Instead she has decided that no, "people" cannot be trusted to act correctly by their own volition and rather the law (as she perceives it) must be enforced. My character is making an alignment shift.

For those less familiar with this, or those who don't play with consideration to alignment check out the information here on alignments in 5e.

When role playing alignment can be an important aspect of your character, and one that a DM may choose to control as you act in particular manners. However, as a player if you can see a particular shift occurring in your character's demeanor and outlook in life this could be connected to a shift in alignment. It is often a gradual process and one that needs to be discussed with your DM, and needs to be backed up by in-game role playing. So my character is going to move from Good into Neutral, which does not really sound like a huge shift, but will actually begin to be reflected in the choices she makes in her interactions with the other characters, especially the one who condemned a NPC to brutal death. A continuation on this path and some further darker choices could eventually push her into Evil even. However, even the short term shift will be interesting to see, as you see - my character is our only real Cleric, and Lawful Neutral means she is going to become rather judgy about who deserves healing and for what actions, and who simply has received a justifiable ending, since she also follows the gods of Life and Death.

As a DM this has also made me consider the use of alignments, which I have not been using in my own game really. One way I have seen this done well was in Critical Roll where the character Pike's icon for her god cracked to reflect her shift away from her god and a shift in alignment. As a character directly related to serving a god the purpose of alignment also could matter more than for other characters. I am considering how in the next game I run the use of alignment could be useful in positioning the moral choices of the characters, which they will be making in a more active way than previously...

Stay tuned to see how this shift in alignment works out.