Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry part 3

Just a quick one today, as I'm typing this with no copy of the book in my grasp. The next section of Eldritch Wizardry is the ever-present alignment chart, which gives an alignment to each of the new monsters in the book.

This all maps out pretty well, but there's one entry that really highlights how differently Gygax is looking at alignment here as compared to the very early days - the Mind Flayer. In OD&D it would almost certainly have been Chaotic. Here, it's listed as Lawful, but with tendencies for Evil. This ties in nicely with the ideas Gary wrote about in the Strategic Review, which introduced the Good-Evil axis.

Now, if early D&D was built on a foundation of the eternal struggle between Law vs. Chaos, this indicates a really fundamental shift in the structure of the campaign setting. Instead of two monolithic universal forces battling it out, there are smaller groups with more varied agendas, and a much more complex ideological playing field. So, at about this time I'll start introducing a bit more moral ambiguity, and steering away from purely evil monsters, as well as introducing more factions and religious sects.

The question remains - what caused this splintering? I'll probably tie it to the rise (or rebirth maybe) of the Gods as individual powers. Something has happened that caused the gods themselves to fracture alliances. My mind keeps going back to the original Greyhawk campaign, and the time that Robilar released the Nine demigods from their prison.

Next: I'll try to tackle Supplement III's byzantine new initiative system.

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