View Full Version : You pick your Alignment!

2008-02-06, 11:17 AM
Okay. I'm unusually annoyed about something. I always hear people I game with call Chaotic Neutral "Chaotic Stupid". I found that annoying in the first place, because the only examples they had to back it up are previous groups where there was a new kid and he wanted to play the Elven Ninja Duel-wielding katana demon possessed person, or other anime character, who is supposed to fulfill some big part of some plan, but decides to pick flowers instead.
It isn't "Chaotic Stupid". It's "Player Stupid".

Chaotic Neutral is about looking out for number one, and only number one. Sure, if you're a 20th level Uberclass and your teammates are a bunch offirst level Samurai, yeah...walk away. But, in a normal adventuring party, looking out for yourself usually means looking out for your party, cause they'll save your keester later, and make it a lot easier to get that +1 rapier you're wanting.

And, it's not just chaotic neutral that gets a bad rap. Lawful Good is seen by half the gaming universe as "Stick-Up-Your-Ass Good", which is infuriating because I've seen a paladin played before who's law was natural law, and used lawyering tactics (AKA Diplomacy) to find loopholes in man's law. It was well done, and didn't step on anybody's toes, except the DM sometimes.

Can I get an Amen? Or a Holla Back? Or a What-what?
Any reply would be okay...I don't need those things...:smallsmile:

Hunter Noventa
2008-02-06, 11:21 AM
Just make people use the Realistic Alignment Generator (http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=ralign) til they find something they like. It's got everything from Chaotic Nosy to Neutral Bogus.

2008-02-06, 11:31 AM
Chaotic stupid is that the player is prone to do things that have no usefulness to the campaign and trying to justify it by saying "I'm chaotic".

Lawful stupid is a player being a constant pain in the ass about everything and trying to justify it by saying "I'm Lawful".

Neutral stupid is a player randomly going back and forth between atrociously evil acts and mildly good acts and trying to justify it by saying "I'm neutral".

You might even get a mixture of neutrality and chaos or neutrality and law. Any of those alignments is a bad player.

2008-02-06, 11:34 AM
CN isn't the "self-serving above all else" alignment, that's NE.

The real problem here is that CN does not equate to "mentally unstable" or "unable to focus on any coherent goal." CN applies to anyone who has the free-spirited properties of a CG character, with none of the altruism.

2008-02-06, 11:53 AM
This is the real meat of most alignment-bashing:

Everyone interprets every single alignment differently... and quite often, we see misinterpretations of this (especially regarding Law vs. Chaos and EVIL). And really, most Stupid alignment stories are really, "My player was being stupid, and thought that his alignment justified his stupidity." Which I believe was the OP's point.

So, you might find the occaisional individual who cannot play ANY alignment well... in which case, I might try to force 'em to play NG, as that's probably hardest to mess up too badly...

But I've seen very successfully played CN characters who helped parties... and I've seen players who use it as an excuse to burn down everything (those who started on Second Ed. have a better excuse as Second Ed. CN was not recommended for PC's, IIRC). It really comes down to players being willing to think through their actions and respond reasonably, regardless of alignment.

2008-02-06, 11:58 AM
Many people choose personality first, and then pick the alignment they believe will match. Which means when they're picking CN, what's happened is that they *want* to play someone with severe ADD, and they can't think of any other alignment that fits. They *want* to play someone with a flagpole up the arse, and they can't think of any alignment other than LG to go along with it.

It's not the alignment choice that's forcing it, the alignment choice is being used as an excuse to play the personality that they've already chosen.

2008-02-06, 12:19 PM
Oh, this is an alignment argument, as usual. I thought it was a fun discussion of what you think your own RL alignment is (CE).

To generate good characters, it's really better not to care much about the alignment, and just make a convincing person with a personality and goals and such. Only worry about alignment if everyone's picking up holy swords and fighting demons and such, you can save yourself a lot of trouble.

Now if your party has a paladin, of course, you're hosed. Then you have to deal with alignment all the ****** time. I have yet to have a wizard, sorceror, or cleric cast a detect evil spell in any game I've run or been in. (much as it would save them from horrible surprises in the games I've run... I love disguise...)

And considering how uncommon dealing with good and evil are, just imagine how impossibly rare it is to deal with law and chaos. I might just drop in an axiomatic weapon on my party just to see how quickly it's discarded.

2008-02-06, 12:23 PM
I've taken the alignment test and I came out neutral good.

But I like playing neutral alignments best, more versatility.

Alignment should just be a way for you to better roleplay your character.

I try to pick a new one every game, but it is true that certain players enjoy other more.

2008-02-06, 12:34 PM
Alignment should just be a way for you to better roleplay your character.
Hear, hear.

2008-02-06, 12:49 PM
My basic oppinions on alignments:

Law: A lawful person is organised. He is more likely to come up with a good plan or follow orders.

Chaos: A chaotic person is spontanious. He is more likely to react appropriately when surprised or question the provided ideas or information.

Both of these are guidelines, not rules. A lawful person can respond well to the unexpected and a chaotic person can follow orders, but generally speaking, the other will usually be more able and likely to do so.

2008-02-06, 01:35 PM
I had a player, half-orc barbarian, who went charging about, murdering innocents and eating people (the eaten were drow, but still) and justified it by saying "I'm chaotic neutral, I can do whatever I want."

Le humbug.

Duke of URL
2008-02-06, 01:58 PM
CN isn't the "self-serving above all else" alignment, that's NE.

The real problem here is that CN does not equate to "mentally unstable" or "unable to focus on any coherent goal." CN applies to anyone who has the free-spirited properties of a CG character, with none of the altruism.

True, but the OP isn't all that wrong. I view neutral on the good/evil axis as individualistic (as opposed to altruistic or abuser) -- a CN character is going to look out for himself primarily, isn't really fussed about laws and traditions, but does balk at going so far as to intentionally be abusive or cruel.

Their primary motivation in a party is generally making sure that they can survive and accomplish whatever it is they're trying to do.

The exterior motivations for CN and NE are very similar, while the various degrees they will go to to accomplish that are pretty different.

2008-02-06, 02:13 PM
From what I understand from talking with some very very experience gamers, this whole issue stems from a misunderstanding of the lawful and chaotic designations. Lawful does not mean I always follow the rules, and chaotic does not mean I do what I want.

Lawful means I evaluate things morally from a group point of view, like a Lawful Good person can see no problem with slavery if that society allows it because it benefits the whole of society more than it hurt the few slaves (obviously not always true).

Where as a chaotic person is not random or inconsistent, but has a mindset that promotes chaos in society; they view things from a individual point of view. A Chaotic good person would abolish slavery because if hurts those individuals enslaved, even if their labor was required to build a wall to protect the city from invaders.

The words Lawful or Chaotic are not a direct depiction of personal behavior, but a reflection of what larger circumstance ones morals would create in society. A lawful society follows the rules because the rules guide the society that helps everyone. A chaotic society does not follow or brake the rules all the time; they do what they feel helps each individual. The chaotic component enters when things like taxes come up. a chaotic mindset works against taxes as it hurts him and his immediate friends. A Lawful mindset works with taxes as it allows all to contribute to the greater good (assuming it's a Lawful Good person).

This is just the interpretation I prefer to follow. Take it or leave it.

2008-02-06, 02:36 PM
This is just the interpretation I prefer to follow. Take it or leave it.

I think that's a good working definition, but none such will ever be found that can be generally agreed upon, for the simple reason that Wizards themselves are inconsistent and capricious in their use of the "law" and "chaos" labels throughout the game.

RedShift zX
2008-02-07, 03:29 AM
Went to that allignment generator....

Chaotic Erotic
Natural Sexy
Chaotic confused
Chaotic Depressed
Lawful Horny
Lawful Moron
Airhead Evil
Chaotic Couch Potato
Lawful loser

...What is this?

....Some interesting characters come to mind here....

2008-02-07, 03:43 AM
Chaotic Couch Potato? That's interesting, to say the least.

"Dude, we're gonna go kill the lich that wants to harvest the souls of children to resurrect his god. Wanna come?"

"Nah, Oprah's on."

2008-02-07, 04:27 AM
Chaotic Neutral is about looking out for number one, and only number one.

...that has nothing to do with alignment. A chaotic neutral person is someone who is chaotic, and is neither good nor evil. A good person is someone willing to take risks/make sacrifices to help an innocent. An evil person is someone who is willing to harm an innocent to achieve their goals. A neutral person is someone who doesn't fit either of those, as in they don't hurt innocents, but they won't take personal risks or sacrifices to help them either. A lawful person is someone who follows their traditions/ideals without waving a great deal, and thinks on a large/long-term scale. A chaotic person is someone who is willing to break their traditions/ideals, and tends to think in a bit more of a local/short term. A neutral person follows their traditions/ideals, but knows they sometimes need to be broken, and they look ahead and abroad, but still pay mind to the present.

Chaotic Stupid, which usually refers to chaotic neutral/evil, is a term used to refer to people who believe the non-good chaotic ticket on their alignment means their character does whatever the hell they want whenever they want, doing things such as attacking people at the drop of a hat and backstabbing party members for a few coins and over-all acting like an ass. We don't like these people because these are the types of people who don't last through childhood, muchless as adventurers who have to rely on their companions in order to see the light of another day.

In any case, I believe it is a fairly significant mistake to let players choose their characters alignment. Alignment is objective, not subjective, just because lawful good is written on someones character sheet doesn't mean the character is lawful good, it means they think they are lawful good. All that comes from having a player have their alignment written on their character sheet is the potential for them to fall into one of these horrible ill-conceived archtypes because they want to act twords their alignment.

Instead, just let the players say what their characters personality is, and how they think of themselves. Don't even bother with alignment until it becomes relevant, and the only time alignment really becomes relevant is when that cleric throws an unholy blight at the party, or the party is held up by guards because one of them turned up a ringer on the old detect evil dowsing rod. This not only lets characters personalities develop more organically, but it makes it more dramatic when someone's alignment shifts. When the noble knights gets struck by a hold smite spell, the divine energy surging painfully through their body, they come to a realization, maybe they aren't as good as they though they where. Do they reflect upon their past actions, working to improve themselves, or so they justify their actions, believe what they did was right, no matter how their soul is judged. Maybe they even get angry that the gods would harm them in such a way, I mean what gives them the right to judge you and smite you like that, how dare they decide who is "good "and who is "evil", why should that damned rogue gotten away unscathed while you saw all your sins painfully flash before you eyes, this isn't holy retribution, this is heresy, and it's up to you to bring justice to the gods for this transgression(interestingly enough, that was the beginning on a paladins fall to evil in one of my games).

And don't think that all your party members need to be the same alignment. Lawful people and chaotic people work together fine, in fact if they get along they can play to each others strengths(though adventurer's due to their profession, typically experience alignment drift twords chaotic), and an evil person can even get along in a primarily good party, sure he's evil, but so is a good percentage of the people you meet on the street every day, that merchant who raises the interest on his loans to squeeze out every penny from the commoners is evil. He isn't some baby-killing cultist, and he certainly doesn't deserve to die, but he is evil. An evil character isn't obligated to backstab their friends, they can be reliable and trustworthy, they just are willing to harm innocents to achieve their goals while their party-mates are not. Once again, an evil character can even be useful, sometimes a party needs someone who is willing to do things the others will not. In a semi recent campaign my evil wizard was known for disappearing for several hours and coming back with the information we where looking for but couldn't get, just because my character was willing to do things like summon demons, use magical compulsion, and extort information and the other members of my party where not. My character wasn't overt about it, sure the party had their suspicions, but they would never turn on me unless I got too out of hand(though the cleric constantly nagged on me to get me to turn back to the path of righteousness.)

2008-02-07, 04:29 AM
"Natural sexy", now I just got ideas in my head for NPC druids, the female variety.
*Tries to shut down right brain to save me from overclocking imagination*