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  #201  
Old 05-20-2014, 02:24 PM
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More like informed evil at this point. When was the last truly overt evil act that Belkar has committed?
  #202  
Old 05-20-2014, 07:08 PM
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Well he's been a team player since the Mark of Justice was removed, so I'd say Episode 567, when he shish-kebabed the Oracle.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:10 PM
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Eh, even after that, he was a dick to Jenny, and has taken sadistic glee in a number of situations where he really didn't have to. Remember, he set himself up as the bully of the gladiator pens, and killed Evisceratus, with whom he didn't have any legitimate quarrel.
  #204  
Old 05-20-2014, 09:12 PM
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It'll be interesting to see if Belkar stays CE for the whole run of the comic. It'd be interested if he died and ended up in the Neutral afterlife, with the appropriate afterlife critter noting that his last few months of life got him darn close to a Chaotic Good ending.

Clearly, he was still evil as of the pyramid, since the Holy Word affected him, but since then? Hmm
  #205  
Old 05-20-2014, 09:12 PM
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and killed Evisceratus, with whom he didn't have any legitimate quarrel.
Correction: Belkar's cat killed Evisceratus while Belkar was still trying to figure out the ethics of killing the guy himself.

Last edited by squeegee; 05-20-2014 at 09:13 PM.
  #206  
Old 05-20-2014, 09:17 PM
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The cat is one of Belkar's class features. He's still responsible for that. And he had no qualms about doing it himself; he was just worried that he'd get in trouble for it.
  #207  
Old 05-20-2014, 10:14 PM
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Thor's actually paying attention to downstairs? Huh. That's never happened before.
I guess that's what happens when you take His Nuts in vain.
  #208  
Old 05-20-2014, 11:57 PM
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Clearly, he was still evil as of the pyramid, since the Holy Word affected him, but since then? Hmm
Holy Word affects non-good characters. The flying kobold guy - can't remember the name - is a Neutral.

But for what's it's worth, yeah I think Belkar's still evil.
  #209  
Old 05-21-2014, 03:24 AM
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More like informed evil at this point. When was the last truly overt evil act that Belkar has committed?
Exactly. Belkar is still evil but now he's figured out how to be evil in a socially acceptable manner. I think his alignment shift, if any, has been from chaotic evil to lawful evil.

The only genuine good in Belkar is his feelings for Mr Scruffy and Bloodfeast the Extreme-inator.
  #210  
Old 05-21-2014, 04:10 AM
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I think the whole point, thematically speaking, is that evil is as evil does. Or to quote a different movie, it's not what's inside that's important - it's what you do that counts. A Belkar who does not do evil acts is a de facto non-evil Belkar.
  #211  
Old 05-21-2014, 08:20 AM
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Well, he's been hanging around with a mostly good PC party, and has not hindered their mission one whit, in the main, and even called out the potential hindering evil in the party awhile back (Durkula), and even used a phrase such as "He stands against all that we stand for!"-doesn't that count?
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Old 05-21-2014, 08:22 AM
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I'm wondering, does Belkar get to have two animal companions now? I thought it was supposed to be a unique kind of thing.
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  #213  
Old 05-21-2014, 08:28 AM
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Mr. Scruffy is his animal companion, who shares a special bond with him and increases in power as he does. Bloodfeast the Extreminator is just a pet, who sticks around with Belkar because he feeds him well.

And even at his worst, Belkar almost never went around murdering his party-mates (they're too convenient to him alive). Almost everyone else he's been interacting with lately has been evil and acceptable for him to kill. And the last time he was in the presence of non-evil people he didn't need, he was evil to them, too. What more evil do you expect from him?
  #214  
Old 05-22-2014, 05:36 PM
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Correction: Belkar's cat killed Evisceratus while Belkar was still trying to figure out the ethics of killing the guy himself.
Yes, but, OTOH, Belkar has recently shown signs of real, ranger-ish, sincere sentimental affection for . . . for Bloodfeast the Extreme-Inator . . . all right, but he still showed concern for the tyrannosaur even after it was turned into a lizard, so that's something in the way of character development . . . I think . . .
  #215  
Old 05-22-2014, 05:40 PM
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He'll talk his way out of it, for the moment. It wouldn't make narrative sense to fail so quickly. Belkar already suspects, and he'll be the one who finds positive proof of the deception.
Come to think of it . . . how did they not realize already that an Evil Durkon is driving the Durkon they know around like a carriage? If vampirization in the OOTS universe involves a new, evil spirit taking over the vampire's body while the old mortal spirit remains trapped and helpless inside . . . well, wouldn't everybody know that? It is not the sort of thing that ever seems to take anybody by surprise, it would seem to be more of an everybody-knows thing, like what hit points are or what plane sylphs come from.
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Old 05-22-2014, 06:32 PM
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We have no reason to believe that this is a standard vampirization.

Last edited by ultrafilter; 05-22-2014 at 06:32 PM.
  #217  
Old 05-22-2014, 07:13 PM
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We have no reason to believe that this is a standard vampirization.
Durkon got bitten, he turned -- what's non-standard?
  #218  
Old 05-22-2014, 07:19 PM
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The goddess Hel sent a spirit of some kind to take over his body. That might be a standard part of the vampirization process, or it might not be. There's no evidence either way.
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Old 05-22-2014, 07:38 PM
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The vast majority of people in OOTS land probably never encounter vampires outside of scary stories swapped as kids. Even if knowledge of vampires was widespread, the vamp spirit has no reason to let the world know it's hiding a soul inside the mind. Every vampire could be like that, but nobody but the vampirized are aware.
  #220  
Old 05-22-2014, 07:52 PM
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Besides which, who in the Order knows about undead? Elan has Knowledge (Religion) as a class skill, but do you really trust him to know anything? Vaarsuvius does too, but e probably left that one for the party cleric to focus on. Which means that the only person who would have a chance of knowing such things would be... Wait, uh-oh.
  #221  
Old 05-22-2014, 10:19 PM
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Well, he's been hanging around with a mostly good PC party, and has not hindered their mission one whit, in the main, and even called out the potential hindering evil in the party awhile back (Durkula), and even used a phrase such as "He stands against all that we stand for!"-doesn't that count?
Belkar has decided it suits his purposes to act like he's grown into a better person. That's not the same as actually growing.

It surprises me that some people take Belkar's change of heart at face value when we've explicitly been told he's faking it.
  #222  
Old 05-22-2014, 10:20 PM
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The vast majority of people in OOTS land probably never encounter vampires outside of scary stories swapped as kids. Even if knowledge of vampires was widespread, the vamp spirit has no reason to let the world know it's hiding a soul inside the mind. Every vampire could be like that, but nobody but the vampirized are aware.
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Besides which, who in the Order knows about undead? Elan has Knowledge (Religion) as a class skill, but do you really trust him to know anything? Vaarsuvius does too, but e probably left that one for the party cleric to focus on. Which means that the only person who would have a chance of knowing such things would be... Wait, uh-oh.
Burlew has always been fair to his readers on things like this. When the characters lack some information that a reader would know about through the manuals, he's always lampshaded their ignorance.
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Old 05-22-2014, 10:40 PM
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We have no reason to believe that this is a standard vampirization.
Rich Burlew himself has stated this is how vampires work in OOTS-verse.
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Old 05-22-2014, 11:15 PM
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Rich Burlew himself has stated this is how vampires work in OOTS-verse.
Where?
  #225  
Old 05-22-2014, 11:34 PM
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If he did it would be in a post in the giantitp forums which are even more of a bitch to search than the dope.
  #226  
Old 05-22-2014, 11:52 PM
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Rich Burlew spake thus :

There is absolutely zero difference between Malack and Durkon's vampirizations .... Hel is able to put that spirit into Durkon's body because of the physical vampirization process that Malack enacts on Durkon's corpse, which opens a door to Negative Energy and traps Durkon's spirit inside it. Which would also be true of any other vampire created from a person who fell under the Northern Pantheon's domain... There is only one way that vampirization works
  #227  
Old 05-23-2014, 12:00 AM
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Belkar has decided it suits his purposes to act like he's grown into a better person. That's not the same as actually growing.

It surprises me that some people take Belkar's change of heart at face value when we've explicitly been told he's faking it.
We've also seen him do an arguably good act by saving Enor and whathisname. Why deny that?
  #228  
Old 05-23-2014, 02:29 AM
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Rich Burlew spake thus :

There is absolutely zero difference between Malack and Durkon's vampirizations .... Hel is able to put that spirit into Durkon's body because of the physical vampirization process that Malack enacts on Durkon's corpse, which opens a door to Negative Energy and traps Durkon's spirit inside it. Which would also be true of any other vampire created from a person who fell under the Northern Pantheon's domain... There is only one way that vampirization works
There's more:
Likewise, any assumptions that characters in the comic know or understand the details of how this process occurs on a detailed internal level should be thrown out the window. They don't. Being a vampire is super-rare; being returned to life after being a vampire so you can share the logistics of how it worked from your point of view in such a way that it entered a general body of knowledge that people would have learned about in the course of their education is simply not something that has ever occurred.

I'm sure there are more byzantine arguments going around that I'm missing, but really, this isn't as complicated as most of you are making it. There is only one way that vampirization works, and it overrides the natural order of things, including where souls go. That's why everyone says things like, "That's against the natural order of things!" about it.
Frankly, even if Oots figures out that something is up, the simplest explanation probably involves a corrupted dwarf not a trapped soul.
  #229  
Old 05-23-2014, 08:49 AM
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Belkar has decided it suits his purposes to act like he's grown into a better person. That's not the same as actually growing.

It surprises me that some people take Belkar's change of heart at face value when we've explicitly been told he's faking it.
Cite?

Informed Evil. Gotcha.
  #230  
Old 05-23-2014, 09:12 AM
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It surprises me that some people take Belkar's change of heart at face value when we've explicitly been told he's faking it.
There's the rub: he was told by Shojo to fake it, but has he stopped faking and started being? Only time will tell.
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Old 05-23-2014, 10:43 AM
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There's the rub: he was told by Shojo to fake it, but has he stopped faking and started being? Only time will tell.
Exactly. It's hard to act one way and not begin to think another. The change in alignment may well surprise even the Belkster himself.
  #232  
Old 05-23-2014, 11:18 AM
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I wonder what would (will) happen if Belkar ended up in the Chaotic Good afterlife? Could he get kicked out for unruly behavior?
  #233  
Old 05-23-2014, 11:29 AM
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There's the rub: he was told by Shojo to fake it, but has he stopped faking and started being? Only time will tell.
But Shojo advised him on how he could be effectively chaotic in a lawful world, and didn't advise him to be less evil. He still enjoys killing and mayhem, he's just trying to be more selective about indulging himself in situations where people won't get on his back about it. If his alignment is shifting, I'd expect him to be neutral evil, not chaotic good/neutral.

Also, somewhat off topic, shouldn't there be a "Word of 'Meh'" spell that neutral clerics can cast in place of Holy Word/Blasphemy and which will whammy good and evil alike?
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Old 05-23-2014, 12:01 PM
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There is; it's called Word of Balance (though I like "Word of Meh" better). It's just not in the core rules.

And of course Shojo didn't tell Belkar that he was trying to make him more good. But that's the intent, anyway, and appears to also be the effect. Yes, it probably still "averages out to somewhere south of Neutral", but he's definitely significantly less evil than he was pre-Mark.
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Old 05-23-2014, 12:03 PM
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Also, somewhat off topic, shouldn't there be a "Word of 'Meh'" spell that neutral clerics can cast in place of Holy Word/Blasphemy and which will whammy good and evil alike?
Hey, you left off Dictum and Word of Chaos!

I sometimes feel like the DnD authors were hoping for paragons of a particular side, so even though 90% of sentient beings in a DnD world should be Neutral Neutral (as opposed to the True Neutral Druids aspire to), they didn't leave a lot for Neutral characters since characters shouldn't spend a lot of time there (unless they are the aforementioned True Neutral druid).
  #236  
Old 05-23-2014, 01:21 PM
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I've never seen a distinction between "True Neutral" and "Neutral Neutral" before. What's the difference, and where is it described?
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Old 05-23-2014, 01:56 PM
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I've never seen a distinction between "True Neutral" and "Neutral Neutral" before. What's the difference, and where is it described?
True Neutral is all about maintaining the balance (the old Planescape Rilmani (the Outland equivalent of fiends and celestials) were this). Neutral Neutral is basically the kind of neutral that the MM entries for plain old animals usually meant when they were "neutral"...it's kind of a null alignment.

I don't know that it was ever official, but it was always how I considered it, since animals obviously didn't really HAVE an alignment, not having the equipment to moralize about their actions, usually.

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  #238  
Old 05-23-2014, 02:04 PM
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So is Neutral Neutral basically "will perform acts of law or chaos, good or evil as suits their need?" More like a "don't care." Julia Greenhilt comes to mind, as she seems to just do whatever she wants without regard to ethos or alignment.

And True Neutral more like "will perform actions so as to actively seek a balance between law and chaos and good and evil?" This makes me think of John Constantine, who I believe exerted effort to prevent either Heaven or Hell from getting an advantage over the other.

Last edited by oft wears hats; 05-23-2014 at 02:06 PM. Reason: Added context
  #239  
Old 05-23-2014, 02:26 PM
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But Shojo advised him on how he could be effectively chaotic in a lawful world, and didn't advise him to be less evil. He still enjoys killing and mayhem, he's just trying to be more selective about indulging himself in situations where people won't get on his back about it. If his alignment is shifting, I'd expect him to be neutral evil, not chaotic good/neutral.
An when has Shojo ever told the truth? You're treating him as if he's the Word of Wisdom, when in fact, it a well-established fact that he's the Word of Bullshit.

Look at it this way - wouldn't it be right in character for the world's greatest Good con artist to trick an Evil person into changing alignment?

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Old 05-23-2014, 03:04 PM
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An when has Shojo ever told the truth? You're treating him as if he's the Word of Wisdom, when in fact, it a well-established fact that he's the Word of Bullshit.

Look at it this way - wouldn't it be right in character for the world's greatest Good con artist to trick an Evil person into changing alignment?
It's plausible. But what has it been, maybe two in-comic months at most since the conversation? Much of that time has been spent in a trackless desert, in transport, or in jail, none of which gave Belkar a lot of opportunity for evil even if he'd wanted to. He was willing to let the slave-trading bug guys go until they messed with his personal property, and his behavior toward the other gladiators was pretty atrocious too. Mostly, it seems to me like Belkar has not considered the fact that any of his previous behavior was wrong or why (compare V), except insofar as it made his personal life more difficult. It is true that he might finally be getting some measure of empathy (e.g., the bounty hunters, his cat, his tyrannosaur), but even evil people can have friends or standards.
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Old 05-23-2014, 03:54 PM
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So is Neutral Neutral basically "will perform acts of law or chaos, good or evil as suits their need?" More like a "don't care." Julia Greenhilt comes to mind, as she seems to just do whatever she wants without regard to ethos or alignment.

And True Neutral more like "will perform actions so as to actively seek a balance between law and chaos and good and evil?" This makes me think of John Constantine, who I believe exerted effort to prevent either Heaven or Hell from getting an advantage over the other.
That's a pretty good summary.

Basically only druids are True Neutral, and they're all about maintaining balance and the natural order of things.

Most peasant are just plain Neutral, because they could give a damn as long as they have food on the table at the end of the day.
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Old 05-23-2014, 04:47 PM
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An when has Shojo ever told the truth? You're treating him as if he's the Word of Wisdom, when in fact, it a well-established fact that he's the Word of Bullshit.

Look at it this way - wouldn't it be right in character for the world's greatest Good con artist to trick an Evil person into changing alignment?
That's assuming Belkar had that conversation with Shojo. It may have been some remnant of Shojo, it may have been some other entity appearing as Shojo, or it may have been Belkar talking to himself.
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Old 05-23-2014, 05:00 PM
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Holy Word affects non-good characters. The flying kobold guy - can't remember the name - is a Neutral.
Haley is Chaotic Neutral though (isn't she?) and it didn't affect her.
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Old 05-23-2014, 05:24 PM
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Haley is Chaotic Neutral though (isn't she?) and it didn't affect her.
Chaotic Good.
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Old 05-23-2014, 05:58 PM
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I thought Elan was CG and Haley CN but it wouldn't be the first time I was wrong about anything.
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Old 05-23-2014, 05:59 PM
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I wonder what would (will) happen if Belkar ended up in the Chaotic Good afterlife? Could he get kicked out for unruly behavior?
Too chaotic for Chaos?
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Old 05-23-2014, 06:05 PM
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I've never seen a distinction between "True Neutral" and "Neutral Neutral" before. What's the difference, and where is it described?
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True Neutral is all about maintaining the balance (the old Planescape Rilmani (the Outland equivalent of fiends and celestials) were this). Neutral Neutral is basically the kind of neutral that the MM entries for plain old animals usually meant when they were "neutral"...it's kind of a null alignment.

I don't know that it was ever official, but it was always how I considered it, since animals obviously didn't really HAVE an alignment, not having the equipment to moralize about their actions, usually.
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TRUE NEUTRAL: Sometimes known as just Neutral, or even Neutral Neutral. Comes in two flavors: Keeping the Balance and Just Doesn't Care. Druids are canonically the former sort, on the same side as the animals. The balance-happy sort may sometimes be characters just too dumb to know the difference, but may also be a Wild Card. It's not uncommon to see True Neutral monks, for instance; not to mention ordinary folks who just want to be left alone. Most Punch Clock Villains fit under this alignment. Your average citizen of Libria (in Equilibrium) is an example of the "Just Doesn't Care" version of neutrality, without necessarily being stupid — the government would probably be Lawful Evil. Druids in D&D were required to be True Neutral until the 3rd Edition of the game, and even then had to maintain "some of nature's neutrality". Mordenkainen, from the Dungeons & Dragons Greyhawk setting, a very powerful wizard who actively tries to keep any major power from getting the upper hand, is an example of the "Balance Keeping" version. Animals, meanwhile, are considered to lack any sort of moral capacity; since moral judgments can't be placed on them, they are canonically True Neutral in Dungeons & Dragons. Rilmani, metallic-skinned humanoids from the Outlands, are the True Neutral archetype, maintaining the balance between all the other planes. If True Neutrals include the kind with a head for things, then they most likely typically do not care for idealist virtues and/or politics. Intelligent true neutrals are quite logical in how they go about things, including morals. Employers fire and hire employees in equal measure, etc.

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  #248  
Old 05-23-2014, 06:07 PM
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Chaotic Good.
-ish.
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Old 05-23-2014, 06:12 PM
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Believe it or not, I didn't even know that entry existed over there.
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Old 05-23-2014, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jayjay View Post
True Neutral is all about maintaining the balance (the old Planescape Rilmani (the Outland equivalent of fiends and celestials) were this). Neutral Neutral is basically the kind of neutral that the MM entries for plain old animals usually meant when they were "neutral"...it's kind of a null alignment.

I don't know that it was ever official, but it was always how I considered it, since animals obviously didn't really HAVE an alignment, not having the equipment to moralize about their actions, usually.
But alignments aren't absolute, they're sliding scales. Sometimes, a Neutral person is simply someone who isn't quite good and isn't quite evil, isn't quite lawful and isn't quite chaotic. Sometimes they're all of these things, and sometimes they're none. They're... complicated. Maybe they want to be good, but can't quite make it, or maybe they think they're evil, but actually have some unexpected empathy. Some of the most complex, interesting characters are True Neutral be default, if only because they can't be pinned down anywhere else.
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