View Full Version : Devoted/Ruthless Axis

2015-01-26, 11:27 PM
The concept is simple-instead of the Law/Chaos axis (or in addition to), there is an axis that runs Devoted-Neutral-Ruthless. (Devoted could use a better name.) All descriptions based on perfect alignments, actual characters shouldn't really be that extreme.

Devoted-Your morals, good or bad, come before all else. If you are good, you are good in all ways. You will never strike a surrendering foe, you will never lie, you will act good not only in your ends but also in your means. If you are evil, you are evil in all ways. You delight in small cruelties and seek power above all else, especially power over others. Helping another without betrayal in mind or some massive reward is anathema to your nature.

Devoted is about being your Good/Evil alignment to the extreme, never wavering the smallest circumstance. Superman or Michael Carpenter are Devoted Good. The Joker is Devoted Evil.

Neutral-You're in the middle.

Neutral is where most characters will fall. They aren't obsessive about their alignment, but have limits on how far they'll go. Good characters might be willing to lie their way into a ball or assassinate a truly corrupt noble, but won't torture a simple (if nasty) guard even if he has information they need.

Ruthless-Your morals, good or bad, matter only for the end result. Anything can be done for your goal, no matter how questionable. If you are good, you are willing to lie, maim, torture, kill, enslave, anything so long as the end result is more good than the total of your actions. If you are evil, you are willing to do good if it helps yourself, and never commit any cruelty that does not help you. While never flinching from a needed death or other evil, you never seek any more harm than is needed for your own ends.

Ruthless characters do not care about their alignment in their means. The end matters above all. The Punisher or Taylor Hebert are Ruthless Good. Lex Luthor or John Marcone are Ruthless Evil.

2015-01-26, 11:35 PM
I had a similar idea at one point, but it was Zealous/Apathetic, being based on whether they enforce or strive for their morals or not.

2015-01-26, 11:42 PM
Exalted has been replaced with Zealous. I like the sound of that a lot better.

In addition, Wartex, I'm assuming since you had the same idea you have approval for... Well, your idea, just also thought of and written down by someone else.

2015-01-26, 11:46 PM
Similar, but not the same.

Yeah, it looks good.

It would help clear up a lot of confusion on the placement of anti-heroes or anti-villains and such.

I'd use this in a game.

2015-02-08, 01:30 AM
Couple questions/observations...

1) How do you see a Zealous or Ruthless Neutral alignment played out? I would think it would be akin to the old True Neutral fighting for neutrality (balancing an altruistic act with a heinous one, for instance). But was curious on your take. Zealous would be proactive, and Ruthless reactive? I'm a little confused on how that would work exactly.

2) I'd use Wartex1's suggestion and swap the neutral for apathetic (for one, it'd remove the double neutral use on moral and ethical axis.)

So, you'd end up with


Where Apathetic (totally spitballing off the name here) would basically be rooting for their ethical cause, but not promoting it actively. An AG would want good things to happen, but wouldn't orchestrate events to see good happen. An AN would be more akin to the non-activist True Neutral - more like an animals true neutral outlook than not. While an AE would feel schadenfreude at others misery; smile or laugh at hurt, but rarely be the cause of it. It's a very 'not adventurous' alignment, but it's excellent for NPCs and submissive/follower type PCs.

Lord Raziere
2015-02-08, 01:34 AM

I often find that the most ruthless people are also the most zealous in their beliefs that allow them to be ruthless. An extremist may believe in something wholeheartedly and follow it to the letter, but also will pay any cost for it, no matter how morally extreme or wrong.

2015-02-08, 08:03 AM
Feel free to suggest a new name-I understand that those who are ruthless aligned can be zealous. Diero, a character I'm DMing for, is a highly zealous RG character.

I'd agree on the Zealous/Ruthless Neutral fighting for balance, but I'm not sure about apathetic being in the middle.

Lord Raziere
2015-02-08, 03:17 PM
how about for zealous, you go with Devoted instead?

you used Michael Carpenter as example, and I wouldn't call him Zealous at all, I'd call him Devoted Good. as in Devoted to upholding the ideal. zealous makes me think of crazy "ALL WHO STAND AGAINST MY IDEALS MUST DIE!" kind of people, Devoted is more like "I will hold myself to compassion and honesty, even if others don't."

Ruthless however doesn't need changing, since many zealous characters are ruthless.

2015-02-08, 03:42 PM
Devoted does sound better. Thanks Lord Raziere.