Monday, June 18, 2018

AD&D Alignment Color Wheel

An alignment color wheel for AD&D. There are many places in AD&D where colors are associated with specific alignments (e.g., 1E Manual of the Planes color pools, or in Gygax's Gord the Rogue novels), but none were systematic in the following sense: I felt that oppositional alignments should be opposite colors (a.k.a. complementary in the traditional RYB model), and that adjacent colors should be close on a color wheel, and smoothly blend with each other (as a corollary: gray must be in the middle). I don't play AD&D anymore with its 2-axis alignment system, but back in 1996 I wrote a very small computer program to smoothly blend from one point to the other, and here was the result:



9 comments:

  1. It took me a while to figure out why this looked so confusing to me. Then I realized: I always imagine Chaos as being on the left.

    I'm curious how you chose the colours. Wouldn't it be more stereotypical to have pure good at the top be white, and pure evil be black? This would also give the hot red-orange-yellow on one side, and the cold green-blue-violet on the other (though again, I'd say chaos is hotter than law, because it's hot-headed).

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    1. Well, that's a pretty good question and there could be a whole "Through the Ages" essay researching that. In short, I was trying to find a closest-regression to stuff that was in various books up to the point.

      Like: The Hells (LE) are fiery and red-based; Elves (CG) are associated with woods, and hence (conveniently) the opposing green color. Sun deities (golden yellow) are usually given NG, while pure-evil deities (NE) are often given purple: see discussion of Gygax's Tharizdun here (4th paragraph). The AD&D LN planes are bronze/mechanistic, and so I don't mind the CN places being wild-ocean blue.

      I think that most (but not all) of these line up with specifications in the 1E Manual of the Planes "color portals", and Gygax's Gord the Rogue novels (latter volumes are mostly about a cosmic-level war around Tharizdun). The one very obvious change is Gygax made True Neutral green (druidic-style), and that's obviously asymmetric unless you make it gray (which is arguably more in tune with Gord himself, often described as gray in appearance and garb).

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    2. Now looking at my 1E Manual of the Planes color pool chart (p. 62): I guess my stuff isn't that close. It does have Hell (LE): Ruby, and Olympus (CG): Sapphire (next door, Happy Hunting Grounds: Emerald), so I must have used that as a basis. Seven Heavens (LG): Gold, with Abyss (CE): Amethyst. Elysium (NG): Opal, Hades (NE): Rust. Nirvana (LN): Diamond, Limbo (CN): Jet. Concordant Opposition (TN): Leather Brown (!?).

      So there's little consistency to the sequencing, and no attempt to make opposite points complimentary, or anything like that; which is what irritated me and motivated something different.

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    3. Wow, that is a lot of research going into this. I didn't even know that Gygax wrote novels.

      I'm thoroughly out of my depth, so I'll just put on my "Technically!" hat and mention that the sun is (off-)white, not gold. And, well, your source for evil purple goes into the exact kind of purple it is, because evil purple is a weird concept.

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    4. I suppose the more I look at it at this late date, and the more willing I am to adjust things off-book, the more I appreciate the idea of the white-black axis running down the vertical center.

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  2. Totally stealing this. Gonna use it to assign an exact color (RGB scale) to Astral pools. The chance of future olayers ever figuring it out... slim to none, unless I tell them, but still worth the effort.

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  3. Useful as
    1) Color of magic used by alignment
    2) Color of robes worn by major NPCs
    3) Color seen by detect alignment or magic spells

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    1. Excellent use-cases. I probably was thinking about that stuff at the time, but have remembered it for quite some time.

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