Alignment

Overview

There are twelve alignments, encompassing the dichotomy of good versus evil, and four different philosophies. They can be arranged as such:

Lawful Good LG
"The Protector"
Rational Good RG
"The Counsellor"
Social Good SG
"The Nurturer"
Chaotic Good CG
"The Vigilante"
Lawful Neutral LN
"The Judge"
Rational Neutral RN
"The Philosopher"
Social Neutral SN
"The Socialite"
Chaotic Neutral CN
"The Free Spirit"
Lawful Evil LE
"The Bully"
Rational Evil RE
"The Schemer"
Social Evil SE
"The Sociopath"
Chaotic Evil CE
"The Anarchist"

The Philosophical Alignments

The following table may serve a diagnostic (I know how I want to play my character; what philosophical alignment suits him or her best?) or a prescritive (I know what my character's philosophical alignment is, but I'm not quite sure how he or she should react in every situation) function.

Lawful Rational Social Chaotic
Characteristics Responsible, Predictable, Patient, Organised, Punctual Intellectual, Strategic, Theoretical, Controlled, Persistent Cooperative, Dramatic, Sensitive, Inspirational, Romantic Competetive, Decisive, Courageous, Spontaneous, Impetuous
Values Tradition, Family, Loyalty, Order, Stability Logic, Objectivity, Creativity, Efficiency, Truth Love, Relationships, Integrity, Teamwork, Trust Freedom, Variety, Skill, Performance, Resourcefulness
Timeframe of Focus Past Future All Present
Gratifications Institutions, Scheduling, Organisation, Security, Rules Innovations, Philosophy, Debate, Good Ideas, Quiet Time Social Settings, Music, Drama, Affection, Popularity Adventure, Sport, Challenge, Fun, Getting Results
Aggravations Ambiguity, Disobedience, Incompletion, Waste, Surprises Incompetence, Oversight, Unclear Expectations, Tradition, Restrictions Conflict, Rejection, Competition, Criticism, Isolation Authority, Waiting, Poverty, Repetition, Supervision
Misbehaviours Depression, Authoritarianism, Uncooperativity, Anxiety, Phobias Indeciciveness, Aloofness, Sarcasm, Critical, Refusal to comply Emotional Outburts, Seeking Attention, Passive Resistance, Fantasising, Lying Defiance, Flight, Fight, Substance abuse, Cheating

Characteristics: Some traits others might see in your character, or how your character might describe or think of himself or herself. Note, a character well may be self-delusional. A rational character with low intelligence may mistakenly think of himself as a genius.
Values: Values your character may champion or be drawn to.
Timeframe of Focus: Where your character may look for inspiration, solutions. Whether your cahracter is concerned with how things were, how they will be, or what's going on now.
Gratifications: Those things that might excite or please your character, or serve as rewards. Things your character might seek in his or her spare time.
Aggravations: Those things that cause your character grief, possibly leading to misbehaviours.
Misbehaviours: Things your character might do or ways your character might react when having a bad day, or faced with a situation beyond their normal means of coping.

Why Rational and Social?

While many fantasy role-playing games have favoured a simplistic order-versus-chaos philosophical dichotomy, there are many fairly canonical fantasy and science fiction works where many central sources of conflict are more closely approximated by a logic-versus-society paradigm (Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy from Star Trek, for example). Many people have expressed dissatisfaction with the simplistic law-neutrality-chaos paradigm for various reasons, mainly that it limits characters motivations, and elevates the motivations of some characters (e.g. a paladin or a barbarian) as being more pertinent to the story above those of others (e.g. a wizard or a druid). Also, neutral on the L-N-C scale encompasses a much wider possible set of personalities, motivations, and priorities than either law or chaos, as "neutral" has sometimes been used to mean not very strongly lawful, or not very strongly chaotic, to impassionned, seeking balance or reason, or being concerned with nature, society, or romance. In addition, law and chaos are not always at odds. A society that has rich traditions of festivals can be considered both lawful and chaotic. Many thieves' guilds have strict codes of behaviour. Including four philosohpies, some which may tend to conflict more than others, but do not diametrically oppose can make for more interesting social settings and interactions. Players may also consider their characters to have a secondary philosophical alignment, if they wish to have a richer more complex personality to their characters.

The Good Alignments

Lawful Good

Laws and traditions are important to this character.
This character first considers the past when making important decisions.
This character values respect and justice; rules are made to protect and bring order to the universe, and must be upheld at all times. Legislated punishments may hurt others, but it is either for their own good or the good of others.
Famous quotes:

Rational Good

Logic and wisdom are important to this character.
This character first considers future consequences when making important decisions.
This character values thoughtfulness and fairness; working within the rules is preferable, but laws that are nonsensical, unfair or opressive ought to be changed or eliminated. This character usually prefers to work within the system to make changes if possible, but acknowleges that at times, other courses of action must be taken.
Famous quotes: "The needs of the many outweigh my own."

Social Good

Social interactions and community are important to this character.
This character has a strong need to belong to a supportive and loving community, and fosters these types of relationships as much as possible.
Famous quotes: "Why can't we all just get along?"

Chaotic Good

Chaos and freedom are important to this character.
This character first considers the present and immediate results when making important decisions.
This character is quick to take action to rescue those in trouble, with little thought to the long-term consequences.
Famous quotes:

The Neutral Alignments

Lawful Neutral

Laws and traditions are important to this character.
This character first considers the past when making important decisions.
Famous quotes:

Rational Neutral

Logic and wisdom are important to this character.
This character first considers future consequences when making important decisions.
Famous quotes:

Social Neutral

Social interactions and community are important to this character.
This character will go to great lengths to fit in with others. This character will take any action, even those that harm others, in order to secure their own social status, or just simply to belong to a group.
Famous quotes: "Appearance is everything." "I just want to fit in."

Chaotic Neutral

Chaos and freedom are important to this character.
This character first considers the present and immediate results when making important decisions.
Famous quotes:

The Evil Alignments

Lawful Evil

Laws and traditions are important to this character.
This character first considers the past when making important decisions.
Famous quotes:

Rational Evil

Logic and wisdom are important to this character.
This character first considers future consequences when making important decisions.
This character is the source of the most devious of evil plots.
This character despises the irrational, and in extremes, may seek to eliminate that which is unpredictable or unreasonable. This character may believe that the victory of evil is inevitable because of the inherent power available to dark forces.
Famous quotes:

Social Evil

Social interactions and community are important to this character.
This character may be preoccupied with their own fame to the extent that all else is expendable, or obsessed with posessing others
Famous quotes: "If I can't have you, nobody can!"

Chaotic Evil

Chaos and freedom are important to this character.
This character first considers the present and immediate results when making important decisions.
Famous quotes:

Interactions between the alignments.

Lawful characters often make strong alliances with rational characters, because the rational character's adherence to the laws of logic are often compatible with the lawful character's efforts. Rational characters make valuable advisors to rulers and lawkeepers. Rational characters may be attracted to those in power because they have the ability to affect the change that they deem are necessary. Conflict can arise when laws conflict with reason, and the lawful character will feel terribly betrayed and consider the rational character disrespectful at the least and treacherous at worst. Rational characters may be terribly dissapointed when their lawful allies seem to suddenly abandon reason for tradition.

Social characters often make their homes with lawful characters, because the lawful characters' respect for traditions creates a sense of community and culture that attracts the social character. Conflict can arise when a lawful character takes action that harms interpersonal relations, particularly disciplinary action. Lawful characters may see social characters as weak when they seem to ignore justice and forgive for the sake of relationships.

Chaotic characters can get along well with social characters, because chaotic characters often know how to have a good time. Celebrations and festivals are where social and chaotic characters interact at their best. Conflict can arise when chaotic characters take actions that are rash or disrespectful of others, but even at these times, the social character may try to act as mediator.

Chaotic and lawful characters are most often at odds. Only in places where the law guarantees personal freedoms can there be peace between the two. At best, these characters agree that they do not understand each other.

Rational characters work well with social characters in times of problem-solving. The social character appreciates the abilities of rational characters to help resolve conflict analytically, and will seek them out when conflicts prove to be too difficult for the social character to resolve on their own.

Rational and chaotic characters are often at odds. To the rational, the chaotic character seems terribly short-sighted and reckless. To the chaotic, the rational character seems overly cautious and hesitant; dangerously so when time is of the essence.


Categories: General Campaign Rules, Combat and Adventuring

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