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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Monstrous Alignments

The Defenders encountered their share of monsters. As such, recent posts about the alignment system from Dungeons & Dragons prompted me to look up the alignment of various creatures as described during the formative years of the game. In doing so, I consulted a softcover introductory rulebook for D&D (1974) and the hardcover Monster Manual (1977) for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

Although there was general agreement between the two publications, I was surprised to see different alignments listed for several monsters. With Aragorn in mind, I saw in the introductory rulebook that Pegasi were Lawful Good and served only Lawful Good characters. Meanwhile, the Monster Manual entry for Pegasus listed the winged horses as Chaotic Good and willing to serve characters of any good alignment.

While reflecting on Dracula, I found another example of varying interpretations of alignment. The Vampire entry from the introductory rules listed Lawful Evil as the monster's alignment while the corresponding Monster Manual entry began, "The most dreaded of the chaotic evil undead is the night-prowling vampire." These different perspectives about certain monsters showed the subjective nature of the alignment system, especially when describing those with nuanced or complex behavior. I imagine that I'll revisit the topic of alignment again with respect to the Defenders.

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