A Dungeon World Wiki

Every sentient creature in classic DW beas an alignment whether they are an elf, dwarf, human or some other stranger thing.  

Alignment is your character's way of thinking and moral compass.  This can center on an ethical ideal, religious strictures or early life events.  It reflects what your character values and aspires to protect or create.  

{Suggestion: In the fantastical, magical, mystical worlds where Dungeon World campaigns take place, alignment is more than psychological conditioning.  There are planar, cosmic, divine, infernal forces beyond mortal kenning that certain spells and abilities recognize and tap into when detecting someone's alignment. These Good, Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic and Evil forces might personify themselves as gods or pantheons as gods.  Or those gods might simply be avatars, constructs, through which the ineffable Powers That Be interact with the physical universe.  What players (and usually characters too) can be sure of is that there is a cosmic conflict between good and evil, law and chaos, that has very much shaped the game world and influences everything, even your character's fate. -LAS}

  • Good creatures seek to put others before themselves. They:
    • ignore danger to aid another
    • Lead others into righteous battle
    • Give up powers or riches for the greater good
    • Reveal a dangerous lie
    • Show mercy
  • Evil creatures put themselves first at the expense of others. They:
    • Take advantage of someone's trust
    • Cause suffering for its own sake
    • Destroy something beautiful
    • Upset the rightful order
    • Harm an innocent
  • Lawful creatures aspire to impose justice and order on the world either of their own benefit or for "the good of world". They:
    • Uphold the letter of the law over the spirit.
    • Fulfill a promise of import
    • Bring someone to justice
    • Choose honor over personal gain
    • Return treasure to its rightful owner
  • Chaotic creatures embrace change and prize freedom above all else, celebrating the messy reality of life. They:
    • reveal corruption
    • break an unjust law to benefit another
    • defeat a tyrant
    • reveal hypocrisy 
  • Neutral creatures look out for their own self interests but don't like to jeopardize the well-being of others.  They are content to live their lives in relative peace, pursuing their own goals and letting others do the same. They:
    • Make an ally of someone powerful
    • Defeat a personally important foe
    • Learn a secret about an enemy
    • Uncover a hidden truth

Most creatures are Neutral.  They take no particular pleasure in harming others but will do so if the situation warrants it.  Those that put an ideal- be it Law, Chaos, Good, or Evil- above themselves are harder to find.  Alignment does not guarantee camaderie; people who share an alignment can easily conflict with each other over precepts and priorities.  

{Suggestion: How much of each will be encountered by the adventurers?  That is something the GM should let develop organically.  Before investing in any world-building, the GM should really look at the races, classes and alignments of the adventurers themselves and use that (along with their bonds and other interesting details that come up when they are asked questions) to tailor what forces of good, evil, chaos, and law are active in the world- especially the same part of the world as the adventurers- LAS}

Alignment Class Moves

In classic DW, most classes have alignment options limited with a very "old school" approach to fantasy tabletop games.   For each alignment available within a core playbook, there is a pre-established alignment move which, if acted upon and fulfilled over the course of the game session can earn the adventurer an XP during End of Session.

Changing Alignment

Over a campaign, characters can change in alignment. Any time a character's world view has fundamentally shifted they can chose a new alignment. Switches of alignment moves reflect a smaller shift of priority versus a complete paradigm shift. The fiction may make this change obvious to the GM and other players but there should still be some explanation, best of all in-character as part of the fiction itself.