D&D alignment, of the SDMB and your own, with polls!

I don’t like rules. Especially rules that don’t make sense. I’m not sure whether that makes me neutral or chaotic. I aim to be good, however. So, NG or CG, depending on the day, maybe.

The Board as a whole? LE. That’s my view of the general alignment of modern Western civilization, anyway, and I’m pretty sure the Dope is a fair approximation of that.

No, the board as a whole being vaguely more liberal than the average doesn’t counter that.

Me, I’m somewhere between CE and CG on any given day (without ever being CN), but today, I’d say CG.

I confess, I never quite understood the D&D alignment system, especially the neutral placement, but I chose neutral evil because of the tolerance for some pretty bigoted behavior.

At its most basic, it’s the belief that the basis for society is structure. You can’t have a working clock unless the gears are in place and doing their job. There might be numerous ways to arrange the gears and have a working clock and you don’t have to agree with every arrangement but you recognize the importance. So a Lawful Good or L. Neutral person doesn’t need to blindly follow or agree with every law or go into some terrible country and say “Guess I need to respect owning slaves and beating my wife now since it’s the law here!” They would instead believe that the solution is replacing the bad laws with a better and more just set of laws and that the answer to stopping slave owning and wife beating is to codify it rather than trusting in any innate human goodness (or even “market forces”) to handle it.

If real people, or fictional characters you’re (maybe) familiar with, were placed into a D&D Alignment chart:

Lawful Good: Fred Rogers
Lawful Neutral: Barack Obama*
Lawful Evil: Mike Pence

Neutral Good: Geralt of Rivia
Neutral Neutral: George Castanza
Neutral Evil: Rudy Giuliani

Chaotic Good: Mister Incredible
Chatoic Neutral: Yennefer of Vengerberg
Chaotic Evil: Charles Manson

*Yes, I believe Barack Obama did (or allowed) some evil things during his presidency. What they are is likely not relevant here.

Thanks this is helpful, the only person on the list I don’t know is Mr. Incredible. Off to google.

2 posts were split to a new topic: General Discussion for D&D and its resurgence

He was Neutral Evil. Yeah, Pol Pot he was not, but these alignments work on continuums. If the Good/Evil axis runs from +10 to -10, I’d peg him as around -4.

True neutral was always hard to get a grip on, which is why almost every description of sentient characters with this alignment would be something like ‘Neutral (with good tendencies)’. The only true neutral entities I felt actually ever met the role in the world or fiction were generally non-living or non-sentient: animals, elementals, golems, etc.

Otherwise the so called True Neutrals tended to have the aforementioned tendencies that otherwise informed them. There were also (mostly in the fiction) quite a few True Neutrals that were following a policy of Balance - they themselves may had a preference, but were actively trying to keep the scales between order and chaos, or good and evil in balance. Which worked well when 90% of the time it was chaos or evil that was upsetting the balance, but was rarely touched on the opposite.

Which actually brings me to a favorite book of mine, which addresses that exact subject, Villains by Necessity. In which it throws a bunch of villains who are left after Good defeats Evil on a quest to save the world from the excess of good. It’s a very typical heroes questing story just with the premise reversed, but also points to the inherent simplicity of the trope, as did I when I started the thread. All these terms are super simplified, and people are complicated.

For a similar take on balance in a magical world, there’s the whole Recluse series of novels, which predominantly deal with conflicts between Order and Chaos magic and those that try to bridge the gap. And there are excesses on both sides.

We always treated “True Neutral” as Na or Nb. Na was a person who just didn’t care, they would take each action on it’s own merits without any regard to how good or evil it was, or whether it was a lawful action or not. Or they weren’t sentient.

Nb was someone who worked at all times to actively balance good and evil, law and chaos. Druids were often of that stripe.

Frankly, either one was a pain in the ass to actually roleplay.

I preferred the alignment system the Palladium books used. Rather than axes, they had descriptors.


Their various alignment types went between good, selfish, and evil. It wasn’t a clean chart but I think it was easier to understand. I always really liked the “Aberrant” alignment, which was an evil person with a strong code of honor. (The closest in D&D is LE, and even that doesn’t quite work, because an Aberrant character obeys their own code and ignores society’s laws.)

Anyone here familiar with Jack Vance’s character Cugel the Clever? If so, where do you think he’d be placed in this system?

Agreed, which is why I mentioned that system in the OP. It’s more intuitive, and less absolute overall. But more people are still familiar with the D&D system. And I also had quite a few Aberrant characters, because they’re fun to play.

When playing games or MMORPG and the like, I have noticed I play Chaotic Neutral.

I would like to think, IRL, that I am Chaotic Good…but if young, healthy and no restraints I fear I would be CN.

You can understand Lawful Neutral or Chaotic Neutral, right? That’s someone who’s neither evil nor good. And you understand Neutral Good and Neutral Evil, right? That’s someone who’s neither chaotic nor lawful. Well, True Neutral just means that you’re both morally neutral and ethically neutral.

He seems like a textbook Chaotic Neutral, to me.

But there are some fictional characters who are much harder to classify. For instance, Jazz Bashir, from Andy Weir’s Artemis. Her general view of society’s laws and conventions is in favor, because it gives her an edge when everyone else is restrained by them and she isn’t, and she makes her living in petty crime. That seems pretty clearly Chaotic… but she also has an ironbound sense of business ethics: If she accepts a contract, then she will carry it out, and if she’s not willing to carry it out, she’ll never accept it. Which is pretty strongly Lawful.

I can imagine it, I just can’t imagine it as an individual who isn’t massively lacking in motivation to the point of disinterest. Which normally fails in an RPG/Fictional story as a character of note. Which is why I gave the examples of the balance seekers and how often even the manuals themselves would have secondary notes.

Eh, player characters in the same party often have the same motivation, even with radically different alignments. In an adventure to save the world, for instance, everyone, good, evil, lawful, or chaotic, wants the world to be saved. Why not neutrals, too? Likewise for smaller stakes: Anyone can want to go after someone who killed their family, for instance.

The difference is often not so much in motivation, but in methods. An evil character might want to blackmail or torture someone to secure their cooperation, while a good character might befriend them or try to appeal to their better nature. And a neutral character might try both, in different situations, or not object too strongly when their party-mates do either.

I like to think I’m chaotic good. I fight for what I believe is right but firmly believe most rules are pointless and stupid.

I’m inclined to regard Western civilization as a whole as more Lawful Neutral - some good, some evil, but always an emphasis on rules and law. Dunno if that makes me less cynical than you or perhaps just less perceptive :wink:. To me the Third Reich was perhaps closer to a true embodiment of LE.

But I’ll add that I used to play AD&D and still do play variant crpgs and I’ve still always regarded LN as a shit alignment.

I saw one of those Facebook t-shirt marketplaces that had witty shirts for every alignment.

I think the one that fits me is stated very nicely. Paraphrasing, it said: Chaotic Good - Best intentions, questionable methods.

I’m inclined to go be ultimate effects in this case, and the ultimate effects of current Western Civ are a nett negative, just for climate change, pollution and habitat destruction. All with their roots in the selfishness that D’nD says is the definer of Evil.
I’m not giving places like China or my own country a pass either (LE/CE respectively, if you were wondering), but this board is hardly representative of either of those.