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Unconventional Alignment

Because Dungeons & Dragons is the Trope Codifier and Ur Example of so many Tabletop Game tropes, the two-axis alignment system (Order vs. Chaos and Good vs. Evil) is considered the default, even when it wouldn't make sense. We had The Great Character Alignment Debate over using the traditional system in places where it doesn't work or matter.

Some systems/works subvert our expectations of the alignment system by replacing or adding scales (and not just the same scale by a different name). Perhaps the system cares more about how sane a character is, or how famous they are, instead of how "nice" or "lawful" they are. Another way to subvert the expectations is to replace one or both scales with a single word. This wiki uses the word "stupid", usually, based on how other characters have behaved in stories and Real Life. See Lawful Stupid, Chaotic Stupid.

Sometimes, an exceptional character or two don't conform to the standard alignment scheme and has a unique alignment listed in their stats. Works with unique alignments can add both nuance and often humour to what would otherwise be a dry description of which predefined box someone sits in.

Subtrope of Character Alignment.

Examples:

  • Jade Empire uses 'Open Palm' versus 'Closed Fist'. Open Palm stands for harmony, accepting one's position in life and helping others accept theirs by supporting them, while Closed Fist stands for chaos, seeking to rise above one's station and encouraging others to do the same by teaching them self-sufficiency, harshly if necessary. While the alignments are similar to the basic Good vs. Evil, the Big Bad is an example of how Open Palm can turn someone into a Light Is Not Good Knight Templar.
  • Mass Effect aligns its Karma Meter with the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, respectively called "Paragon" and "Renegade". In theory, Paragons are The Hero while Renegades are the Nineties Anti-Hero. But since "the place of humanity in the galaxy" is a recurring theme, Renegades also tend to stand for shameless anti-alien racism.
  • The Order of the Stick has a tie-in adventure game which lists the main cast's alignments as Beleaguered Good (Roy), Chaotic Greedy (Haley), Foolish Good (Elan), Arrogant Neutral (Vaarsuvius), Selfish Evil (Belkar), and Lawful Bland (Durkon).
  • In Fate/stay night, all the servants have one specific alignment of the regular axis, with the execption of The Berserker Class, which exchanges the sanity of the servant for a Stat Boost, overriding the Morality Axis for the simple "Mad" label, and for example Lancelot, the Berserker servant of the Fourth War was "Lawful Mad" while Herakles, the Berserker servant of the fifth was "Chaotic Mad"
  • On This Very Wiki: The Stupid axis.
  • Seventh Sanctum has a "Realistic Alignment" generator that churns out such things as "Nerdy Evil" and "Frugal Good".
  • Fable II has the standard Good/Evil axis and a not-so-standard Pure/Corrupt one, described by in-game text as essentially "be healthy vs. enjoy yourself". Charging high rent is also corrupt, for some reason.
  • The classic Ultima games from Ultima IV onwards featured an alignment system consisting of eight theoretically independent Virtue scales: Honesty, Compassion, Valor, Justice, Sacrifice, Honor, Spirituality, and Humility. "Theoretically" because in specific situations Virtues contradicted each other, forcing the player to prioritize one over the other, but ultimate achieve perfection in each of them to become the Avatar.
  • Torment: Tides of Numenera features the eponymous five Tides instead of a classical alignment. The Tides represent the inner values less than the outcome and the impact of your actions.
  • Missions in MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries will give you either "nobility" or "infamy". Nobility is usually earned for defense-oriented missions like convoy escorts and reinforcement, letting defeated opponents flee, protecting optional objectives, and also fighting the Clans or Capellans. Infamy is gained for aggressive missions like raids and convoy interception, destroying retreating enemies, and assassinations. The two numbers are measured side-by-side, and usually go exclusively up (and the game notes that it's practically impossible to not get a fair bit of each), but one mission does decrease your infamy - after a mission as honor guard at a peace conference (which get bombed, to nobody's surprise), you have the option to escort the delegates off-planet, provided you do it free of charge.
  • The Warhammer 40,000 is set in the morally gray 41st millenium.
    • Dark Heresy substitutes a system of Insanity and Corruption to determine how crazy or Chaos influenced you are.
    • Meanwhile, spin-off game Black Crusade replaces these with Corruption and Infamy; Corruption is how warped by Chaos you are, while Infamy is a weird combination of how strong your spirit is, how notorious you are, and how much notice the Chaos Gods pay to you. High Infamy is the key to becoming a Daemon Prince, while Corruption maxing out will transform you into a Chaos Spawn.
    • Inquisitor's alignments (for the 'Inquisition' leader characters) are Puritan and Radical. Although it is a very grey area, Puritan generally refers to characters who refuse to use tactics or equipment tainted by Chaos or Xenos, while Radical factions will use techniques further on the edge. The backstory involves Inquisitorial factions that fight over the idea of resurrecting the Emperor. This is not good or evil, but merely the methods that they might use while being good or evil.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne the previous system of alignment is discarded in favour of three specific philosophies: Shijima (a World of Silence), Musabi (everyone is isolated in their own personal Lotus-Eater Machine) and Yosuga (a meritocracy where Might Makes Right). You can also reject this set-up by resetting the world to the way it was, leaving it as the Vortex World forever, or setting your sights on destroying the system itself.
  • Devil Survivor, despite having Multiple Endings, bases your ending on who you ally with to gain control of Babel and end the lockdown.
  • The Four Humors theory of personality.
  • Magic: The Gathering uses a five-colour system. While the five colours have been mapped to the conventional D&D style alignment, it isn't really a 1:1. Intentionally so, alignment to a colour philosophy is the focus of both flavour and mechanical design.
    • Characters who use magic tend to be judged more based on what colour of mana they would prefer to use.
    • Cards are limited to what the colour can do mechanically. Such as the "Flying" ability for Blue, and the "Deathtouch" ability for Black.
    • Alara shows five planes where two allied pairs are missing from each plane, and the effects on the environment.
    • Ravnica features a Guild for each two-colour pair, any two-colour card on that plane is automatically aligned to that guild's philosophies.
  • 7th Sea has alignment as a division between heroes, scoundrels and villains. Every NPC has a line in their stats, listing whether they are heroic or villainous. But not Mad King Jack O'Bannon. He is listed as "The O'Bannon", not "Hero" or "Villain".
  • Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines has a "humanity" gauge, which depends on how humane you are and determines whether you'll become bloodthirsty insane when your blood meter reaches zero and also affects some dialogues.
  • The now-defunct gamerjargon.com website included "Chaotic Hungry" for creatures that aren't evil, but simply view the PCs as a good meal.
  • Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) wrote The Joy of Work, which includes a section on boss alignments: Competent Harmless, Incompetent Harmless, Competent Evil, and Incompetent Evil.
  • Natives of the {{Tabletop Game/TORG}} realm the Star Sphere follow one of three alignments based on whether they are passive, self-seeking, and inwardly-focused (Aka), aggressive, others-centered, and outwardly-focused (Coar), or a balance between those extremes (Zinatt).
  • Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG has several:
    122. The paladin's alignment is not Lawful Anal.
    651. My alignment is not Sarcastic Good.
    742. Apparently Chaotic Angry and Neutral Hungry aren't real alignments either.
  • Palladium roleplaying games, such as Heroes Unlimited, still use Good and Evil, but it removes the idea of a neutral alignmen. Instead of neutral, a character can be Selfish. The seven core alignments are Principled, Scrupulous, Unprincipled, Anarchist, Miscreant, Aberrant, and Diabolic.
  • Dragon Magazine ran a parody of the game's own alignment system with a method of classifying players termed "Front-End Alignments."

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