Saturday 9 March 2019

Head Slapping Time: Alignment Distances

I and, I believe, many others have puzzled over the loyalty chart in the DMG which reads:
Alignment isLiegeAssociated Group
1 place removed0%0%
2 place removed-15%-5%
3 place removed-35%-20%
with the helpful examples
lawful evil - lawful neutral = 1 place removed
lawful evil - lawful good = 2 places removed
lawful evil - Chaotic good = 3 places removed

In what world could CG be 3 steps removed from LE? LE->N->CG is clearly 2, while LE->LN->N->NG->CG is clearly 4.

Well, as it happens, the answer is is clear display on page 119 of the Players Handbook:

Where the path LE->LN->NG->CG is clearly visible across the small bars that connect Neutral to the extreme alignments (LG, CG, CE, and LE):

This obviously also implies that a character can move directly from LN to NG as part of a gradual drift, something I don't think I've ever seen discussed before. It seems odd at first glance but when it comes down to it, neither L->N nor N->G is in itself a particularly big leap. But it does slightly undermine the normal vision of alignment directly mapping onto the Great Wheel of the outer planes, where it is not a simple step to go from Nirvana to Elysium, even using the DDG map.

It's still not perfectly clear: it seems that landing on the bars that connect Neutral with the extremes is not allowed and they simply mark the border, but that aspect of the graph seems a bit iffy to me.