This week's issue of The Escapist provides us with a nostalgic look back at Black Isle Studios' legendary RPG, Planescape: Torment. Fond memories, indeed:
Most RPGs don't respond to your behavior in any serious way, except maybe to give you either a "good" or "evil" ending after you beat the game; while the Dungeons and Dragons rules use an alignment grid that extends from good to evil, and from lawful to chaotic, most dungeon crawls just tack it on as another attribute. But in Planescape, alignment informs every part of the world you're in. Instead of your usual fighters' or thieves' guilds, the factions include the Anarchists, the Godsmen, and a pack of people who roam like wild dogs. Everything, from your gnarled body to the changing city streets to all of the planes around you, shifts and disrupts based on nothing but principles; one city physically drops from its original plane to a more nightmarish one after its people become chaotic. The same conflicts that rack the Nameless One also torment the people you meet, the neighborhoods you walk through, and the world around you all the way up to the endless "Blood War" between law and chaos that rages at the edge of the game's world. Ideas become real, and the conflicts in your head are reflected on gigantic battlefields; like your character, the entirety of the world is in turmoil.