Alignment in Collapsing Societies

Crime and Punishment

Author Keith Baker

Series Campaign Style

Publisher Atlas Games

Publish date 2003

Typically, this sort of society appears when a formerly lawful society slips into chaos. The power center itself is chaotic, but the populace is largely lawful or neutral; thus they continue to obey the laws of the land even as those laws become increasingly more erratic and illogical. Alternately, the society itself could be lawful, but simply burdened with bizarre laws due to the decrees of past emperors. By tradition, a law cannot be removed or changed once it has been made, so the insane laws have remained even though leveler heads now prevail.

A chaotic good leader may actually be trying to do what’s best for his people – he’s just having trouble determining the proper course of action. Perhaps he’s trying to create the perfect civilization, one law at a time; he has a vision in his mind, and the trip there is just a very strange one. Such a ruler probably won’t condemn people to death for failing to cut their hair or follow the daily dress code, but failure to conform to the current laws could certainly result in fines or public humiliation.

A chaotic evil ruler could be insane, or she could simply be drunk with power; she has no long-term goals, and is simply playing with the laws of her ancient kingdom like a child with blocks. She might sentence people to death for wearing white or speaking elven. Once she tires of playing with her citizens, such a ruler could easily start a war or take other dangerous actions.

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