Alignment and religion in Telengard


Alignment does not indicate a particular ethical code or dictate conduct. Alignment in Telengard describes a creature’s relationship to the cosmic forces of Order and Disorder, or Law and Chaos. Law is understood as the motive force behind order, permanence, and reason, as well the impulse to impose civilization and order on the world. Chaos is the motive force behind change, entropy, and magic, as well as the impulse to stop the march of “progress” and civilization.  Those unaligned to either are Neutral.  Neutral creatures are not interested in these abstract cosmic struggles and just want to get on with their lives.

Aligning with Law or Chaos indicates that the creature is dedicated to a purpose beyond their own interests, or those of their community, kingdom, or race.  Aligning with Law means the creature actively seeks to preserve the order of the world, including defending  civilization as such against the forces of Chaos.  Aligning with Chaos means the creature actively seeks to overthrow order and preserve the wilds against civilization and the forces of Law.

Non-sentient creatures, including plants and animals, are generally Neutral, apart from certain otherworldly servants of Law or Chaos. The sentient races in and around Telengard are generally Neutral as well. However, some are aligned with Law or Chaos. All elves, as far as it is known, are Chaotic, as are many magical beings and monsters.

Elf and Magic-user characters must begin the game aligned with Chaos. Clerics must align themselves with Law or Chaos before they can advance to 4th level.

Fighters who align themselves with Law may, at 4th level, become Champions of Law (“Paladins”). Fighters who align themselves with Chaos may, at 4th level, become Champions of Chaos (“Berserkers”).  Champions get special bonuses when fighting those aligned to the opposite power, and a handful of other powers.  They must uphold their alignment or face dire consequences.

Religion in Telengard

The religions of Telengard center on the worship or service of several major deities, as well as cults specifically dedicated to the impersonal forces Law and Chaos.  The deities are listed below.

Thunar the Protector. Alignment: Law (worshipers: Lawful). Thunar the thunderer is widely sorshiped as a protector of mankind against the forces of Chaos, especially monsters and giants. He is very similar to Thor.

The Great God Pan. Alignment: Chaos (worshipers: Neutral or Chaotic) Pan, the horned god, is a god nature and wilderness. He is considered the oldest of the gods, and is incomprehensible to all but his worshipers.

Wotan. Alignment: Lawful (worshipers: any) Wotan is the god of wisdom, battle, poetry, and generally seen as the chief among the Lawful gods (he is the father of Thunar and other minor gods as well).  Some worshipers also refer to him as “Jupiter.”

Kraken (the Sleeping God). Alignment: Chaos (worshippers: Any). Kraken is an ancient deity credited with destroying many terrible world-threatening monsters, such as the Primordial Dragon and the giant Gard. After these threats were defeated, the other gods, especially the Lawful ones, grew alarmed by Kraken’s continued destructiveness. As he strode the earth, he trampled cities and overturned mountains, scorched fertile valleys into deserts, and so on. Thus Kraken was imprisoned by the gods deep inside the earth (or perhaps under the sea), should he ever be needed again. His worshipers try to ensure that he continues his deep sleep and does not awaken. Clerics of Kraken do not pray to him, but rather chant lullabies and try to extend his slumber. They are granted spells and powers by the dead hierophants of the cult, whose spirits are kept jarred in Kraken’s temples.  Note that speaking his name aloud is considered very unlucky and it is even feared that he will hear and awaken should his name be spoken loudly.  For this reason he is usually just called “The Sleeping God” or “The Sleeper”.

Freya. Alignment: Neutral (worshipers: any) Goddess of fertility and beauty. The goddess Freya is perhaps the most popular of the deities among humans, as agriculture is dependent on her. She is said to be wed to the Elf-King, a demigod.

There are many other gods and goddesses, but these are the most important in Telengard as their temples and worshipers are widespread throughout the city-state. Neighboring kingdoms and city-states worship these and other gods. There are rumors of hidden cults of alien gods as well.

The Cults of Law and Chaos each have their own temples as well.  Worshipers of Lawful deities may worship their gods at the Temple of Law, and likewise Chaotic gods at the Temple of Chaos.  (The temple of Law is near the center of the city Skara Brae; the Temple of Chaos lies outside the city’s walls in a sacred grotto.)  Worshipers of Neutral deities may worship at either temple.  But the main focus of each temple is the impersonal force they are dedicated to (i.e. Law or Chaos) and special ceremonies are performed that are thought to bolster the force.

Published in: on September 24, 2010 at 9:19 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I think the way you have alignment defined above most humans would be Lawful (barbarian being choatic). I don’t think that their is a strong arugment that most people don’t care about the cosmic forces around them. Sure most people are trying to get by but I think that the default condition, is to think that unseen forces control one’s life. People who build cities towns etc would be by your definition Lawful. and the vast majortiy of people who live in them are also Lawful, that is why civilization works. This is also why our volunteer army works. Most people do see the greater good as important.

    All alignements come down to defining words but I think you transfered the ambiguity of the arguement to the word Order. I think maybe Lawful might better be defined as cooperation for the greater good and Choas as survival of the fitest.

    In the system you have outlined I think very few intelligent creature would be neutral. In fact I can’t think of Neutral example since law and choas seem like a perfered way to live. Everyone has a preferance.

    • Well, I think the real issue is what it means to be “aligned” with those forces. Obeying the laws of the land is lawful, sure. But I see it as being the difference between belonging to a party or religion and actually being an “activist”. Lawful (or Chaotic) aligned characters spend a lot of time promoting Law (or Chaos). Neutral characters may be very sympathetic to one or the other but they are not manning the barricades etc. Alignment is more like a calling than a party registration.
      That’s why Clerics, paladins, etc. need to be Lawful but regular joes are mostly unaligned. A shopkeeper, farmer, or artisan is NOT aligned, or else he’d be a full time crusader.

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