Of Magic and the Machine
Each character will have an alignment based along three axes – Morality (Good/Evil), Ethicality (Law/Chaos), and Ideology (Technocrat/Magister). Good/Evil axis and the Law/Chaos axis are described in the Player’s Handbook (PHB). The Technocrat/Magister axis, however, is described here.
Each character’s alignment towards Magic (Magister) or the Machine (Technocrat) represents his or her worldview on the nature of reality itself. This means more than just “I want the forces of Magic to win the war of reality” – rather, it has repercussions on how belief directly affects what happens to the character. This means that each character’s alignment directly affects his or her day-to-day reality, including the ability to use certain types of items, cast magic, or take levels in certain classes. The following headings will outline what each alignment represents, and will have the restrictions placed on that alignment at the bottom of the heading.
A character that is a Technocrat believes that technology and science hold the solutions to all the problems of society. They believe that it is the only thing that can truly empower individuals, the “common masses”, and give them the ability to affect meaningful change throughout the world. They tend to espouse a sort of “enlightenment” philosophy, whereby things are done rationally and within the counsel of reason, and many of these ideals clash heavily with established principles of society, aristocracy, and religion. More than anything, though, Technocrats tend to be independent idealists, and they see their ideals of technology, reason, and science as being the things that can propel civilized society into a new utopia, unfettered by a connection to the problems of the past.
1.) Technocrats may learn both the Engineering and Alchemy Skills, if they so desire.
2.) Technocrats may use any item of High Technology without any issues.
3.) Technocrats may not cast magic, nor may they benefit from any magic items.
4.) Technocrats may not begin as a member of any spell-casting class (Bard, Cleric, Warlock, or Wizard), nor may they take levels in one of these classes. They may not choose a spell-casting archetype (such as Eldritch Knight or Arcane Trickster). If a class they belong to provides them with spells or supernatural abilities, they are not able to use them.
A character that is Uncommitted doesn’t hold any real allegiance to either of the two social Ideologies, either Magic or Machine. Alternatively, he or she is a person that sees either as dangerous extremes, and actively works to balance the two. Still yet another belief is that both idealogies are not truly in conflict with one another, and both are necessary and even intertwined within one another in order to exist. Regardless, the Uncommitted do not support a side the current social struggles of Magic versus Machine, and prefer to relegate themselves to a third way. The only weakness in this position is that it prevents the person from truly appreciating or focusing upon the benefits that either position offers. The Uncommitted thus cannot become strong mages, nor are they very talented with technology.
1.) Uncommitted may choose one aspect of High Technology, either Engineering or Alchemy, that they believe works. This aspect so chosen works without issue for the character, and the character may obtain proficiency in the associated Skill (either Engineering or Alchemy) if he or she so desires. The other aspect of High Technology does not work for the character, nor may the character obtain proficiency in the associated Skill. For example, then, an Uncommitted character that has chosen Alchemy as his or her aspect would be able to benefit from a Potion of Healing (an item of Alchemical High Technology), but would not be able to use a Heavy Rifle (an item of Engineering High Technology).
2.) Uncommitted may cast magic, and they can benefit from magic items.
3.) Uncommitted may belong to any of the weaker spell-casting classes (Paladins and Rangers), and they may take levels in those classes or may choose a spell-casting archetype (such as Eldritch Knight or Arcane Trickster). They may use any of the supernatural abilities provided by those classes as well.
4.) Uncommitted may not begin as a member of any of the stronger spell-casting classes (Bard, Cleric, Warlock, or Wizard), nor may they take levels in one of these classes.
A player that is a Magister believes that magic is the paragon of civilized society. It is the most powerful force in the universe, capable of reshaping reality. There are many thoughts on who can use magic, but it is a common belief that only those for whom the gift is given, or that have trained for its use, should be the ones that cast magic. For Magisters, magic is one with faith and propriety, for clergy and cloistered noblemen alike are usually those that can cast spells, and someone that seeks to change that order is usurping all the fundamental aspects of society. Because it is inherently stronger than technology, Magisters see magic as the quintessence of the universe that has the power to end all ills, provide the solutions for all problems, and ascend civilized society to a new plane of existence.
1.) Magisters may not learn either the Engineering and Alchemy Skills.
2.) Magisters may not use any item of High Technology, nor may they benefit from equipping any item of High Technology. Items of High Technology that provide a positive benefit (such as Potions) automatically fail when used by a Magister.
3.) Magisters may cast magic, and they can benefit from magic items.
4.) Magisters may begin as a member of any spell-casting class, and they may take levels in any spell-casting class.
The Technocrat/Magister alignment is as difficult to change as any other type of alignment in D&D. In essence, it may only be changed through some earth-shattering, life-altering experience that reforms the character’s view of reality. When and if a character’s Technocrat/Magister alignment changes, that character must then abide by the alignment restrictions provided by the new alignment.