I own a Zodiac die, that looks like one of these here. I’ve never used it, because I couldn’t ever really find a use for it. You can find a whole host of them on Etsy. For a few years I’ve had the idea to use them to determine the personality of characters you encounter. As I began looking into it more, I realized how elaborate and detailed your characters can be, and how they can interact with your players.
The Wikipedia article on the Astrological signs has a really good and detailed information on the Astrological signs. Using this die, I realized how much it can provide information on character or monster.
There are, of course, your twelve basic astrological signs, each with general personality traits. (Grabbed from here.)
Ares: Bold and ambitious
Taurus: Relaxed but bullheaded
Gemini: A bit of a split personality, very motivated
Cancer: Highly intuitive
Leo: Vivacious, theatrical, and passionate
Virgo: Logical, practical, and systematic
Libra: Obsessed with equilibrium
Scorpio: Strength from emotion
Sagittarius: Chasing after geographical, intellectual, and spiritual adventures
Capricorn: Navigate both the emotional and material realms
Aquarius: Very humanitarian
Pisces: Divided between reality and fantasy
Beyond that, each astrological sign corresponds with an element: Fire, Air, Earth, or Water, which also means each sign is aligned to one of the Elemental planes, so if you want to connect certain characters to the planes:
Each sign is also linked to various modalities: Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable. In other words: Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic.
Each of those Modalities are linked to one of the elements as well:
So, as you can see, through the rolling of a single die (you can use a D12 if you don’t have a zodiac die), you can determine both a character’s personality as well as half their alignment. Let’s try this now.
You’ve got a king the players are going to visit. You roll the die, and come up with Cancer. This king is highly intuitive. That’s a water sign, which is linked to empathy and emotion, so he has a lot of personality, and cares for his people. Cancer is also a Cardinal element, so he’s Lawful.
His wife, on the other hand, is a Virgo. She’s practical and logical. She’s an earth sign, and Virgos are mutable, which means she’s chaotic. Her practicality means she’s willing to bend the rules when she thinks it’s right.
This isn’t something that needs to be done on the fly, either. You can roll this up before the session, in order to get into the characters’ heads. The Wikipedia article I linked to also shows how the various signs oppose one another, so you can easily have characters come into conflict with one another simply by having opposing personalities. You know how sometimes when you meet someone, and you just CAN’T hit it off? Play that up in your games using the zodiac.
Have you done anything like this in the past? How do you think this can be handled practically in-game?