Dungeons & Dragons (various editions) feature the alignments axes of Law and Chaos, and Good and Evil. From the very first Greek campaign I ran, I threw out the alignment system. I’d had problems with alignment before — which is what sparked my desire to dispose of it — and it only made more sense with time.

The more I researched the beliefs of the ancient people of Greece and the Near East, the less sense that concepts like Good, Evil, Law, or Chaos made. And yet, there are alignments of a sort you can see when gods and heroes collide.

The idea I’m playing with is that prophesy tropes achieved “dead horse status” by the time other philosophical concepts emerged — this plays a role in the horribly straight portrayal of fate in ancient mythology, compared to everywhere else.

This suggests to me that there’s another axis which hasn’t been accounted for — prophesy doesn’t play well with “choose-able” alignments. You’re either on the side of prophesy or not. You either prescribe to destiny or your don’t.

I can’t think of another narrative work that portrays the conflict of destiny and agency better than the Legacy of Kain series, where destiny is a force of nature unto itself. The futility of challenging destiny is the very premise of the series.

Something tells me that fate and destiny tropes — when not being subverted or badly used, were rebuilt into an “invisible unicorn” trope. Which is to say allusions to fate and destiny exist but are called something else, perhaps narrative device.

Divination and prophesy have always posed a problem in tabletop roleplaying games where the players are able to make choices — but what if divination could be incorporated into the game like any other encounter? I’m still working out the implications, but this stands to be awesome when I finally figure it all out.