Thursday, February 25, 2021

Alignments: 2 vs. 4 Trends

I recently updated guidelines to convert Calidar ratings to classic OSR stats. In particular, the issue came up about alignments. The conundrum emerged as follows:

  • Calidar uses 4 trends: Benevolent vs. Malevolent and Rational vs. Instinctive.
  • Classic OSR only recognizes Lawful vs. Chaotic.
How to translate AD&D into basic D&D stats and vice versa has always been the subject of debates. It is "almost" exactly the same here. Calidar has, however, one feature that solves the age-old question.

Calidar assigns numerical values to gauge trends. So if someone is deemed benevolent, the question then becomes: how benevolent? Though values range from 0 to 10 in theory (zero being "neutral"), 0 to 6 is more common. So, if this guy is Benevolent "1," well, he's okay, kinda-sorta. If he's Benevolent "10," put on your sunglasses, 'cuz he's too awesome to contemplate!

There's a bit more to this. Calidar has actually 6 trends. Heart (Benevolent vs. Malevolent), Mind (Rational vs. Instinctive), and Spirit (Lively vs. Stern). Calidar philosophies can be abbreviated as follows: H (for Heart), plus or minus a numeral. "Plus" alludes to Benevolent, "minus" to Malevolent, and * to someone who's neither (basically a Neutral trend). Likewise for Mind, "plus" relates to Rational, "minus" to Instinctive. For Spirit, "plus" relates to Lively, and "minus" to Stern.

So, a paladin might have the following trends: H+5/M+5/S-2. Your basic thief could instead be rated: H*/M-4/S+3. A druid would be H*/M*/S+6, etc. Conversion to the AD&D game, for example, is straightforward: just drop the Spirit trend since it doesn't translate, and you're good to go. The paladin is LG, the thief CN, and the druid just plain N. You're done.

For classic OSR, there is more to this as four trends need to be shoehorned into just two: Lawful or Chaotic (along with Neutral, if neither of the other two applies). It's where numbers become more relevant, aside from the face value of the information they provide to begin with. Three options emerge:

  1. If H and M trends both have numerals 0-2 (regardless of whether they are "pluses" or "minuses"), the classic OSR alignment is Neutral. These are fairly weak trends.
  2. If H and M are 3 or greater (regardless of "pluses" or "minuses") and are equal, then Heart prevails. For example: H+3/M-3 is Lawful, H-3/M+3 is Chaotic. In other words Benevolent is Lawful, Malevolent is Chaotic.
  3. If H and/or M is/are 3 or greater but with different numerals (regardless of "pluses" or "minuses"), the greatest of the two trends prevails. For example H+2/M-3 is Chaotic, H-4/M+5 is Lawful, H+4M* is Lawful, H*/M-3 is Chaotic, etc.

This should solve the issue.

The numerals in "calidarese" relate to actual personality traits, if you really want to go this far to describe the temperament of a character or a monster. Just pick the ones that apply, count them up, and you have your rating.


o   Benevolent: Friendly, altruistic, humble, merciful, considerate, generous, truthful, trusting, tolerant, magnanimous

o   Dispassionate: None

o   Malevolent: Wicked, selfish, insensitive, vengeful, deceitful, unscrupulous, mistrustful, jealous, manipulative, spiteful


o   Rational: Analytical, calculating, patient, straightforward, cautious, stubborn, methodical, conventional, principled, obedient

o   Practical: None

o   Instinctive: Impulsive, hasty, emotional, unpredictable, bold, creative, curious, adventurous, cunning, unruly


o   Lively: Mirthful or sarcastic, cheeky, flamboyant, passionate, outspoken, hedonistic, shameless, feisty, indomitable, eccentric

o   Even-Tempered: None

o   Stern: Ascetic, aloof, brooding, formal, dreamy, haughty, enigmatic, reserved, self-conscious, dour

 Art Credit: The Cycle of Rebirth by Quarter-Virus

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