In Petals and Thorns, I have a knights and priests faction that’s all about law and order, a carnival-themed faction called “the Lunatic Court” who believe in independence, a rangers and druids faction that wants to preserve the peace between the factions instead of going to war, and a vampires faction that’s purely self-interested. Given this, I wouldn’t be surprised if some people eventually started using that adventure or setting in general as an example of how to do alignment well, provided my whole endeavor doesn’t collapse and fade into obscurity before my reach ever expands past a couple hundred readers. Setting aside the pessimistic scenario for now, I want to head off the whole “how to do alignment well” argument off at the pass as much as possible by getting it on record in advance that I don’t think D&D’s 3×3 alignment grid is particularly good for anything but memes. People like to make excuses for alignment, but the fact is everything the existing system does could be done better by another.
Let’s start by looking at the two main factions of Petals and Thorns, that being the Lunatic Court and the Order of the Lion (the knights and priests faction). I anticipate some people will view this as a “Law vs. Chaos” conflict. These people are going to be disappointed by the sequel I’m writing. The Lunatic Court’s disorganized nature is not tied to their ideology of independence and self-governance at all. The Lunatic Court is disorganized because they’re war orphans who grew into criminals who grew into a guerilla army, and their leadership is still mostly making it up as they go along. They have no established traditions not out of opposition to the very concept but because they’re the first generation of their organization and there are no preceding leaders to draw traditions from. Their leader’s title is the Lunatic Queen, and while that was bestowed upon her from below rather than being self-appointed, it signifies that the Lunatic Court is perfectly happy to take orders from an absolute ruler.
Indeed, a major point of the sequel is that Harlequin has extensive control over a large group of violent people and no clear precedent for what the rules are for staying in her faction’s good graces. She can establish whatever traditions and laws she wants (modulo the political maneuvering of intra-faction rivals), and if the party puts in the effort to win her trust, they can have significant input into that. Sure, the Lunatic Court’s current situation is chaotic, but that’s not because they’re opposed to order, it’s because they’re bad at imposing order. It’s a weakness, not a principle, of their faction.