Replacing Alignment with political leaning

So my ACKS conversion is well under way, and I've agreed various bits with my players. They're fine with me dropping Alignment, which makes even less sense in a historical and non-magical game. However, they like the idea of replacing it with something representing a character's beliefs and views on politics and freedoms, rights and responsibilities.

I should say this is intended to be a descriptive encapsulation of a character's view on what government and rulership is about, not a prescriptive device determining how they should act. What I'd use it for primarily is being able to give the socially-perceptive character an "in" on the mindset of a significant NPC and thus help determine how to handle them.

One model which is thematically appropriate, but I'm not sure if it is easy to use in this way, is Plato's five regimes, from The Republic. Or alternatively, because Plato has his own rather idiosyncratic definitions of each of those, a more usual reading of monarchy, oligarchy, democracy and anarchy. With characters being able to be focused on one, or combining aspects of two or more.

How might this work?

I never really liked alignment systems. They tend to be poor categorizations of individuals. One of the few reasons I tolerated them is that they are so intertwined with specific spells and magical abilities. You could ask players to note their characters values, allegiances, goals, or the like, but I don’t think that it would necessarily add much to your game to make strict categories to rigidly stick to.

Just to be clear here, what I had in mind was something descriptive to help categorise their views, not something prescriptive to tell them how to play their character.

The original alignment was sort of an allegiance thing, so why not make out more of an allegiance thing? I guess this is sort of cribbed from d20 modern, but let them pick a few things that they hold important, like their nation, or a cause, clan, or faith? Thematically, a patron that they are loyal to would also be appropriate.

I think the original mechanic let them assign points to it, reflecting how important out was to them, and those could be used for reaction rolls, or as a bonus if out was threatened (maybe a one time bonus)

Maybe instead of forms of government, you could create categories based on the principals that guide them. I don’t know much about philosophy, but wikipedia says that Plato’s ideal aristocracy is governed based on “wisdom and reason” by a class of “philosopher-kings.”

The five “principals” could be something like:

Valor/Strength (something like the Roman concept of “virtus” and roughly corresponding to the guiding principle of a “timocracy”)

Temperance/Practicality (the principals by which the wealthy rulers in an oligarchy seek to retain and accumulate wealth and thereby satisfy their material needs and desires)

Liberty (the cardinal virtue of a democracy, which, when taken to an extreme, may give rise to the wasteful, hedonistic anarchy of Plato’s “democracy”)

Pleasure (the “virtue” of Plato’s “tyrannical man,” who sees little purpose in that which doesn’t give him the most immediate satisfaction. Plato describes this as the worst sort of man, and this principal could roughly correspond the the “chaotic” alignment. On the other hand, perhaps relatively “good” people, like a peasant farmer who avoids conflict and tries to enjoy the the little that he has, could fall into this category as well)

Alignments in ACKS, as I recall, only really have mechanical effects with regard to a few spells like “Protection from Evil.” Undead and summoned chaotic creatures are automatically treated as “evil” under those spells, so it might be simplest to just say that such beings are fundamentally inhuman and malevolent in a way that no sane person would be.

Other than that, hostile creatures of any alignment different from that of the caster are treated as “evil” as well, so you wouldn’t necessarily need to change that mechanic at all if you change the alignment system.

Oops! I must have somehow deleted the first “virtue” that I meant to propose, which was, of course, Reason, the guiding principal of Plato’s aristocracy.

My basic idea is that a character’s principal encapsulates the virtue they consider most important to being a “good” person. So one character might really look up to bold and assertive warrior-types, while another might think that the wisest men are surely those who live life the the fullest and always follow their bliss.

How about a mix of “civilizational preference” and “government type preference”.