Well here we are again, discussing alignment. I’ve tried to give as full a description of what each alignment is as well as representative cultures and individuals of each alignment. Alignment is being interpreted along Christological lines. This brings up the question of killing “evils”. Think of evils (especially neutral and chaotic evil) as each little Hitlers. Now what “good” wouldn’t kill such an individual for just existing? In my game, alignment defines a mentality. As such evils doing evil are fair game in terms of killing (but often the manner of the evil’s death is determined by the flavor of good; be it capture and trial followed by execution or simply killing the individual at the first opportunity). However, some evils might actually be repentant (if for no other reason than to save their own worthless hide) it is dependant on the situation as to whether the character accepts the surrender. Also remember that while individuals do have an alignment this isn’t absolute though violations of the alignment carry severe penalties (King Arthur is perhaps one of the most colorful examples of what can happen as a result of alignment violations).
Lawful Good: Lawful good characters possess a sense of discipline, honor, and community that other good characters do not necessarily share. They believe that moraility can be legislated, and promote the establishment of just societies whose laws and customs inculcate good behavior in their citizens. Because they are lawful they respect legitimate authority (even that of lawful evils) and will not topple, by force of arms, societies which are lawful solely based on alignment perspectives. Lawful goods will: tell the truth, keep their word, help those in need, and speak out against injustice. Lawful good combines honor and compassion. The citizens of lawful good societies are generally honest, law abiding and helpful. The laws favor society over the individual, and broad social programs to address specific ills or situations are common. Strong monarchies, autocracies, or republics guided by a benevolent and compassionate central authority are lawful good lands. The lawful good soldier is an ideal follower. He has probably joined the army of his own volition and committed himself to the cause. He follows orders, risks himself for his comrades, and attempts to serve both leadership and fellows to the best of his ability. He also typically lacks initiative, rarely pursuing any course outside his orders. Similarly lawful good mercenary does not think of himself as a mercenary. The money he accepts for his service he sees as required in order to continue doing good. He considers it beneath himself to ask for payment but accepts it as a form of gratitude. The lawful good mercenary takes on assignments because it is the right thing to do. A lawful good mercenary not only refuses to take on an assignment that violates his moral but actively challenges the villain who asked him to. Paladins deserve some extra treatment here as well. Paladins (because of their high charisma and divine abilities) are seen as the ultimate commanders of men. However a paladin’s code limits his effectiveness in subtle warfare. While paladins recognize such practices as espionage, sabotage and other questionable activities are part of war they never lower themselves to this level and seldom even condone such activities (though they will enable counter measures to protect themselves from these practices).
- Fantasy Figures of this Alignment: King Arthur.
- Historical Figures of this Alignment: Martin Luther King (American 1929-1968), Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) (Albanian 1910-1997).
- Historical Empires of this Alignment: None
Chaotic Good: Chaotic good characters are strong willed individualists who tolerate no oppression, even in the name of the common good. They usually work in or for loose bands rather than some organization or hierarchy. They have no confidence in the ability of laws and social mores to train people in good behavior. In fact, all too often they’ve seen people hide behind laws to excuse evil or irresponsible acts. Chaotic good characters look to other focuses to teach/enforce good behavior (religion, philosophy, or community). Chaotic good characters have little hesitation about overthrowing the existing order if it means eliminating those evils. Chaotic goods follow their own moral compass which dictates doing good without regard for laws and regulations. A chaotic good is a free spirit with a good heart. Chaotic good governments are distrustful of big government and restrictive laws. Although there may be a strong central authority or monarch, most communities prefer to manage their own affairs, and may take the law into their own hands in times of danger. Furthermore, the existing laws tend to protect the rights of the individual “the social contract”. Democracies, republics, and weak monarchies or oligarchies may be chaotic good. The chaotic good soldier rarely finds himself on the battlefield proper. As she is far more concerned with results than methods, the soldier’s leader may view her as a liability or a dangerous commodity. Most chaotic good characters spend the war in protest, in enemy camps, in the front lines, or in jail. Not surprisingly chaotic good characters rarely feel comfortable taking orders and while he may join an army they will do their best not to become a part of the chain of command, though they will accept leadership roles. Of all the good soldiers, the chaotic good soldier is least likely to offer or accept surrender. Like his soldier counter part, the chaotic good mercenary examines the cause more closely than the methods. If his client tries to do what is best for his people, regardless of his means, the chaotic good mercenary helps him. The chaotic good mercenary and soldier recognize the need for ugly ends to accomplish helpful means, and does not hesitate to sabotage, assassinate, or blackmail in pursuit of a worthy cause. However the chaotic good mercenary is also unreliable. If she learns something incriminating about his client he will break the contract without warning. If the chaotic good mercenary finds she is needed more else where or discovers a cause with which she more identifies with she will leave her current employer. In many ways the chaotic good mercenary is the least professional of the good aligned mercenaries.
- Fantasy Figures of this Alignment: Boramir (JRR Tolkien)
- Historical Figures of this Alignment: Chief Sitting Bull (American Indian 1837-1890)
- Historical Empires of this Alignment: Many Native American Tribes
Neutral Good: Neutral goods occupy an indistinct middle ground. They espouse the ideals of good and none other. Neutral good support law when it promotes good, but become impatient when it is law for its own sake. Similarly they support personal freedom but don’t think everyone should have it. Neutral goods will participate in social unrest if laws are deemed unjust. Neutral goods do the best good they can do without bias for or against law. He is an easy going lover, sometimes pursuing casual relationships, sometimes forming lasting commitments. In either case they have a strong desire to leave their partner happier for having been with them. Neutral good societies believe that both the rule of law and the rule of individual liberty must be secondary to the general well-being of people and nation. In essence, both rules and individuals must bow to the weal of all. Constitutional monarchies, republics, and enlightened autocracies are commonly neutral good government types. The neutral good soldier views the chain of command as restrictive and distasteful but necessary. He follows commands but has no qualms about voicing concerns. He knows when he must seize initiative, and a crafty commanding officer knows when to trust him. Like the lawful good, a neutral good soldier believes in the cause for which he is fighting, but might not necessarily believe that it is as cut-and-dry as his associate does. On the battlefield the neutral good soldier is more concerned with the business at hand than any niceties; he’s in the battle and believes in it and that should be the end of it. The neutral good mercenary accepts works as a means of earning a living, but refuses to take jobs that he feels violates his personal code. The neutral good mercenary works for those in need regardless of their ability to pay, but expects gratitude in some form for his services. Ultimately the neutral good mercenary does his best to help the world, while still carving out a place for himself in it.
- Fantasy Figures of this Alignment: Legolas (JRR Tolkien)
- Historical Figures of this Alignment: General Omar Nelson Bradley (American: 1893 – 1981), Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (English: 1874 – 1965).
- Historical Empires of this Alignment: Greek Athens (prior to the death of Socrates).
Chaotic Neutral: Chaotic Neutral characters follow their own whims. She is an individualist first and last. She values her own liberty but doesn’t strive to protect others’ freedom. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. While unpredictable, chaotic neutrals are not random. Chaotic neutrals are truly free from both society’s restrictions and a do-gooder’s zeal. As in life, the Chaotic Neutral character does whatever she pleases with whomever she pleases. She prides herself on spontaneity, enjoying blatant disregard for societal norms. She’ll rarely pause to consider the impact of her actions on other people. Chaotic neutral societies don’t have governments per se. No real central authority exists though small clans, tribes or guilds may form alliances or wage war with each other as they see fit. There is no law enforcement, although there may be accepted standards of behavior or vendetta justice. Countries in the process of disintegration through invasion, civil war, or catastrophe could be called chaotic neutral. Chaotic neutral soldiers join the military for the same reason they do anything else; because they feel like it. The chaotic neutral soldier is unpredictable in battle, acting on whim and impulse rather than strategy. He may have loyalty to his fellows, and fight fanatically for them, but he may also flee when a greater enemy arrives. The chaotic mercenary is no different than his soldier counterpart, if the money is good enough or the job strikes his fancy he’ll sign on for the task. He will also just as easily leave an assignment without any warning or regret.
- Fantasy Figures of this Alignment: JRR Tolkien’s Golem
- Historical Figures of this Alignment: Nero (Roman AD 15 – AD 68)
- Historical Empires of this Alignment: Any empire in the process of disintegration.
Neutral: Neutral characters do what seems to be a good idea. They are the ultimate pragmatists in not feeling or seeing strongly either good vs evil or law vs chaos. Such a character prefers good over evil (after all she’d rather have good neighbors than evil ones). Neutral characters see good, evil, chaos, and law as dangerous extremes. A character may be virtuous or unfaithful, committed or casual; each by turns. When social alignment is so intermixed that no clear trends can be discerned, a neutral kingdom or land emerges. Various blocs or classes within the state may struggle to bring about the conditions they prefer, but the net effect is a national apathy, or a land plagued by inconclusive infighting. A whole range of government types can be found under this alignment. Neutral soldiers only join the military because of their loyalty to a nation’s leader or because they have a personal stake in the outcome of the war. Neutral soldiers have few commitments and give others little reason to trust them. The vast majority of mercenaries are neutral. They do their job solely out of a desire for profit and care little for moral semantics or the cause for which they fight. They are no more callous killers than they are altruistic heroes, and may or may not perform certain tasks regardless of the money offered.
- Fantasy Figures of this Alignment: J.R.R Tolkien’s Ents
- Historical Figures of this Alignment: Most Feudal Kings, the Oracle of Delphi
- Historical Empires of this Alignment: Most Western Feudal societies.
Lawful Neutral: Law, tradition and personal code dictate this character’s actions. Order and organization are paramount to her. A lawful neutral character is a reliable character who can act within the confines of her own code but irrespective of evil or good. Lawful neutrual societies seem obsessed with laws and government organization. Sweeping social programs are conceived to address problems confronting the realm, but they lack compassion and tend to treat everyone the same regardless of circumstances. Complicated bureaucracies and regulations often dominate government. The most common types of governments are Bureaucracies and Dictatorships. Lawful neutral soldiers enter war on orders or not at all. He follows his commands to the last, heedless of himself or others, and demands the same of subordinates. For this reason lawful neutral armies are some of the most terrifying in battle because they do not flee when an evil army would, nor do they aid their fallen fellows. On the battlefield a lawful neutral soldier does exactly what it takes to get the job done. While a lawful neutral mercenary may empathize with the cause of his client he is able to detach himself and serve any cause professionally. This makes the lawful neutral mercenary eminently reliable, competent, and professional.
- Fantasy Figures of this Alignment: Green Knight (Arthurian Legend).
- Historical Figures of this Alignment: Hammurabi (Babylonian 1810 BC – 1750 BC), Julias Caesar (100 BC – 44 BC).
- Historical Empires of this Alignment: Republican/Imperial Rome.
Neutral Evil: Neutral evil characters do whatever they can get away with. The neutral evil character is out for himself and shed no tears for those he kills whether for profit, sport, or convenience. He has no love of order and holds no illusions that following laws, traditions, or codes would make him any better or more noble. But he also doesn’t have a restless/reckless nature that leads to a love of conflict. The neutral evil character is pure unpredictable evil. Lacking honor or principles, the neutral evil character values personal gain above all. Relationships with neutral evil characters tend to be emotionally painful and usually filled with deceit and betrayal. The people of the land are out to get ahead by any means possible. A nation in which mercantile wealth is pursued at the cost of other values might be described as neutral evil. Government types tend to be whatever type of government will support and provide gain to the most powerful social classes. Neutral evil soldiers usually avoid the military because of the long term commitment such service usually entails. While a neutral evil soldier has no problem with power structures (chain of command) he does not care for the obligations such structure usually demands of him. The character has no true loyalty to anyone or anything except himself. A neutral evil mercenary is out to get his cut, no matter what. Unless he stands to make a profit from it, the neutral evil mercenary has no reason to undertake a task. A neutral evil mercenary happily betrays his employer if it is in his own best interests and he believes he can get away with it.
- Fantasy Figures of this Alignment: JRR Tolkien’s Grimer Wormtongue,
- Historical Figures of this Alignment: Ephialtes (betrayed his fellow Spartans at the battle of Thermopylae to the Persian King for wealth 460-ish BC).
- Historical Empires of this Alignment: Democratic Kampuchea (Khmer Rouge Cambodia)
Chaotic Evil: The chaotic evil character does whatever his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. The chaotic evil is a committed destroyer. Chaotic evil peoples are ruled by the adage that “might makes right”. Local government amounts to nothing more than a series of strongman bosses who obey the central government out of fear. Any degree of treachery or violence is accepted as a form of advancement. A feudal system gone bad or a despotic dictatorship or autocracy could be described as chaotic evil. The chaotic evil soldier prefers to work alone, but often finds a love for bloodshed only satisfied with battle. The chaotic evil soldier has little need for orders or superiors, he goes where he wills and kills who he wishes. He is a terrible soldier but a fine storm trooper or saboteur. He follows orders only where they comply with what he is inclined to do, fears retribution, or has sufficient bribes. There are precious few chaotic evil mercenaries because of the above stated inclinations towards soldiery and chain of command. What a chaotic evil mercenary lacks in discipline and professionalism he mistakenly believes he can make up for in brute strength and bloodthirstiness.
- Fantasy Figures of this Alignment: JRR Tolkien’s Orcs.
- Historical Figures of this Alignment: Hitler (German 1889-1945).
- Historical Empires of this Alignment: Nazi Germany.
Lawful Evil: The lawful evil methodically takes what she wants without regard for whom it hurts but within the limits of her personal code of conduct. She plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. Tradition, loyalty, and order are concerns of the Lawful evil, however, freedom, dignity, and life are not. Generally lawful evils do not break their oaths because they realize laws are partly responsible for their own protection and partly because these compunctions put them above unprincipled villains. Lawful evils see intamacy as one of their tools. While most definitely evil, she will play by the rules. Lawful Evil governments are draconian, with severe laws and harsh punishments for transgressions regardless of guilt or innocence. Laws generally maintain the status quo instead of serving justice. Social class or caste may stifle personal advancement; bribery and graft spring up in response. Dictatorial, autocratic, and oligarchic types of government may fall into this category. Lawful evil soldiers enter war to gain power. Once integrated into the chain of command, the lawful evil soldier advances herself at any price, either by ensuring promotion or by seizing the reigns of power for herself. She pays heed to the rules and orders/demands that others do the same, but she exploits any code to her own benefit. The lawful evil soldier simply does whatever is needed to win provided the benefits outweigh the consequences. Lawful evil mercenaries are methodical, thorough, dedicated and ruthless. The lawful evil mercenary covers every possible event in her contract: if the employer wins she gets her cut and if the employer looses she claims professional detachment and cuts a deal with the winner. The lawful evil mercenary is the consummate professional at whatever she does, and has no qualm about the deed she performs in pursuit of her employer’s goal. The cause for which she fights is ultimately irrelevant.
- Fantasy Figures of this Alignment: JRR Tolkien Sauron
- Historical Figures of this Alignment: Heinrich Luitpold Himmler (German 1900-1945).
- Historical Empires of this Alignment: Sparta.