Sunday 19 March 2023

Another way to do alignment, colour-coded for your convenience

Based obviously on David Gemmell’s Knights of Dark Renown.

You pick a colour that reflects your passions, goals, and what makes you who you are.

Red is aggression, love, fear, bloodshed and fire. Basically a good fighter has a connection with Red.

Green is healing, peace and nature. Druids dig Green, man.

Yellow is joy, laughter, curiosity and youth. All Kender characters are naturally attuned to Yellow.

Black is strength, earth, moonlight, metal and building things. Blacksmiths and miners are empowered by Black. So are many dwarves. Celebrimbor the Elf? Totally in tune with Black.

Blue is freedom, flight, open skies. Probably the sea, too. Most freedom fighters have a mixture of Red and Blue, depending on whether they prefer the fighting part of the freedom part.

White is poetry, honour, bravery, heroism, that sort of things. A good bard is empowered by White and strengthens White wherever she goes.

Gray is ashes, emptiness, loss, burnout. People connected to Gray are not in a nice place, but they can take a punch and are not impressed by a little suffering.

Some colours are antagonists, like Red and Green – violence and healing don’t go together well. Or heavy grounded Black and light airy Blue. Others can work together okay, like a Black and White noble nice-things-maker.

What does it mean mechanically?

1)      When you do something that goes well with your Colour, you get a bonus to succeed. Feel free to be creative with what goes well with the Colours – creativity is fun.

2)      When you are in a place where your Colour is strong, you get another bonus. Green is strong in the forests, so healers like to work there, Black is strong close to earth and underground, Blue is strong at sea.

3)      It goes both ways, whenever you do something that goes against your Colour you get a disadvantage. Or whenever you are in a place where your Colour is weak. A person attuned to Blue doesn’t feel good in a prison. These things stack, so fighting to free yourself from a prison doesn’t just seem like a good idea – it makes you more effective.

4)      Colours are basically magic, so a magic user can feel them and work with them, specifically for creating magic items. A metal bird infused with Blue can fly, a gauntlet infused with Black can make the wearer stronger, etc.

5)      Feel free to bring in spells and effects like “Protection from Black”, “Detect Red” etc.

6)      People who are tied to different Colours can get in each other’s way, it’s harder for a healer to heal around a dedicated fighter and vice versa. It manifests when people actively do something Colour-related, so “stop doing your thing, you’re not letting me do my thing properly!” happens a lot.

7)      A character can be connected to more than one Colour if it makes sense. A heroic fighter (White+Red) and a crafty healer (Black+Green) can work together more effectively because they’re not completely cancelling each other’s bonuses.

8)      The connection to the Colours can change in time, Yellow of the youth being replaced with Red of vengeance or Blue of freedom, Green or White burned by tragedy into Gray.

Will playtest it when I have a chance. Tell me if you think of something I missed.


  1. This is super awesome!

    Gonna read this a bunch of times and I'll probably going to make a post about this, I would love to have lots of exotic colors or colors that are campaign specific, maybe have only a certain amount of colors or actions that are indicative of colors or oh man

    There's so much to do!!!!

    1. Glad you like it!
      I think it works better than "Lawful-good-neutral-evil-chaotic" thing that I don't remember anyone liking. Raggi's "Lawful-neutral-chaotic" is fine the way it's utilized, but I'd like it to be something better than just defining how the character interacts with magic.

  2. Interesting idea! I like how "Colour" retains clear distinctions without taking on the baggage of traditional alignments. I might have to take something like this up if I go back to using alignment in a game. I was moving toward "dragon", "magic", and "nature" alignments toward the tail end of the last game (current game has no alignment).

    1. Thanks! I think Zak was right when he said about this sort of thing that it probably works better when you start a new campaign, so that you can discuss it in advance with everyone who's playing and know that they're all interested in doing it this way.


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