Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Shifting Orcish Alignments
A brief history of Orcish Alignments I just posted in response to the query,
"Shouldn't orcs be chaotic evil?":
"They were Chaotic Evil before they were Lawful Evil.
In the beginning (OD&D, 1974), when there were only three alignments, they were Neutral or Chaotic. This lasted for three years, until Holmes Basic (mid-1977), where they are Chaotic Evil. The Holmes Basic set uses the then-new five-point alignment system, and Holmes the editor may have just appended an "evil" on to the Chaotic from OD&D. By later that year (Monster Manual, Dec 1977), Gygax had changed them to Lawful Evil, possibly because they are tribal and will follow a strong leader, as mentioned above."
See also: Neutral Orcs in OD&D.
Update: In the DF thread, Matthew looked up the alignment table from Strategic Review #6 (1976), and Orcs are listed as Chaotic Evil. I'd guess that Holmes went by this table, because other monsters in the Blue Book seem to follow this table. For example, monsters that were Chaotic in OD&D such as Goblins, Minotaur and Spectres are listed as Lawful Evil on both the SR table and in Holmes.