Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see why NPCs need two alignments.

Like, this.

PCs have two components to their alignment. That’s cool. They’re uh, whatchacallit, multifaceted. It’s how we can all waste so much time arguing about what “good” means in the context of “order.” NPCs don’t need that.

I spend a lot of time dissecting game mechanics.

One of those mechanics I was recently dissecting was alignment. What I was trying to do was randomly determine NPC alignments en masse.

It seemed like a good cause.

But if you’re using a two-axis, nine- or ten-alignment system (3e uses nine alignments, 5e uses the same but includes “unaligned” for non-sentient creatures), how do you figure the most common alignments?

Sure, you could make them all even, but how much sense does that make? Are there really as many Chaotic-Goods as there are Chaotic-Evils?

I reflected back on how I was generating NPCs using components from my own system (which is starting to look like a gutted desktop computer these days).

What I figured was, a PC was like an NPC with more complex parts.

And that’s when I kind of realized that alignment was too complicated for the MAJORITY of NPCs. Neutral Good is too much for most NPCs to process.

So why use both?

People (even demihumans) have this tendency to polarize, and even the moderates (let’s call ’em Neutrals in this case) treat their side like it’s the only one that matters. Can you imagine mashing up political views?

I’m going to stop before I make any bad jokes and peg myself as a political commentator — but my point is this: Chaotic, Evil, Good, Lawful, or Neutral probably ought to be enough alignment for most NPCs.

And five choices is easy.

If you want even chances for any of the five, use a d10 or d20. If you want a bell curve, you can spread them across 2d6 like a Reaction roll.

I’m going to see about incorporating this into my next faction.