Generally, alignments represent the basic moral ideas and beliefs of a character. A lawful character believes in law, order, the welfare of the whole community, tradition, peace and happiness. Chaotic characters enjoy change, are creative but also are quite selfish and generally are an unorganized lot. Some of the more extreme chaotic beings are downright evil, many extreme chaotics are quite mad. Lastly, there are neutral beings who apply the best or worst principles of both sides to make up their basic belief system.
All in all, the system is not as "black and white" as it might seem. There are many shades. Nonetheless, the basic axis looks like this:
Chaos <-----------------> Neutrality <-----------------> LawIn ADOM every being has an alignment. Your PC's initial alignment depends on his race: High Elves, Dwarves and Hurthlings are lawful initially, while Trolls, Orcs and Dark Elves are chaotic. All other races are initially neutral. Choosing to be a necromancer also alters your alignment towards Chaos. If your character starts out as a Druid, he will always be neutral.
In ADOM these alignments are divided into seven categories. A shortcut describing the current category your PC belongs to will always be listed on the screen to represent your PC's current position. The following five symbols are possible:
There are also four "in-between" alignments which show your character's tendencies. Generally, the alignment is still rated according to the first letter of the alignment description (L for lawful, N for neutral and C for chaotic). Nonetheless, these in-between alignments indicate that a change to the alignment described by the second letter might be impending due to your PC's actions. The following special alignment descriptions are possible:
Thus the complete range of alignment order from Law to Chaos looks like this:
L+ -- L -- LN --- NL -- N+ -- N= -- N- -- NC --- CN -- C -- C- L A W F U L N E U T R A L C H A O T I CNow the final question: what effect does alignment have upon the game? Depending on alignment, a different deity is worshipped. Some items might be more or less useful for your character depending on his alignment. Other beings might react in a different manner depending on alignment. There are lots of things that can happen... try to find out for yourself.
In the worlds of Ancardia the Gods are a tangible force. Their effects can be seen through ancient artifacts they once created for their worshipers and the miracles their priests perform. They also are known to be fickle and dangerous at times... insult or annoy them and their wrath will be upon you!
Each character in ADOM worships (at least nominally) the deity of his alignment. Throughout the game you have many chances to influence your standing towards your god. You can increase your piety by sacrificing to your god -- but make sure that you are sacrificing at the right altar! This will help you in dire situations, where you might be able to pray for divine intervention and receive some help. But be careful... if you annoy your deity too often, you might incur some serious penalties. It's also said that various miracles can occur at holy sites.
Finally, great piety can bring you the highest honor: your god might declare you to be a champion of his/her religion, endowing you with great powers and the ability to use artifacts with less risk than other mortals.
Nonetheless, remaining in good standing is an impressive feat: you need to sacrifice somewhat regularly lest your god becomes bored and forgets you. The more powerful you become, the better your sacrifices need to be and the more often you ask for help, the faster your god will become annoyed with you.
The gods of the various races enjoy some gifts particularly:
Such gifts are very welcome and will be of higher benefit to your character's piety. On the other hand, gods also dislike certain sacrifices... so be careful with your actions!