Character Alignment

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Character Alignment

Post by AdreannaDeStella on Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:04 pm

Alignment


A creature's general moral and personal attitudes are represented by its alignment: lawful good, neutral good, chaotic good, lawful neutral, neutral, chaotic neutral, lawful evil, neutral evil, or chaotic evil.

Alignment is a tool for developing your character's identity. It is not a straitjacket for restricting your character. Each alignment represents a broad range of personality types or personal philosophies, so two characters of the same alignment can still be quite different from each other. In addition, few people are completely consistent.



Good vs. Evil

Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.

"Good" implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

"Evil" implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.

People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent but lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others. Neutral people are committed to others by personal relationships.

Being good or evil can be a conscious choice. For most people, though, being good or evil is an attitude that one recognizes but does not choose. Being neutral on the good-evil axis usually represents a lack of commitment one way or the other, but for some it represents a positive commitment to a balanced view. While acknowledging that good and evil are objective states, not just opinions, these folk maintain that a balance between the two is the proper place for people, or at least for them.

Animals and other creatures incapable of moral action are neutral rather than good or evil. Even deadly vipers and tigers that eat people are neutral because they lack the capacity for morally right or wrong behavior.

Law vs. Chaos


Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties.

Chaotic characters follow their consciences, resent being told what to do, favor new ideas over tradition, and do what they promise if they feel like it.

"Law" implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include close-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, judgmentalness, and a lack of adaptability. Those who consciously promote lawfulness say that only lawful behavior creates a society in which people can depend on each other and make the right decisions in full confidence that others will act as they should.

"Chaos" implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility. Those who promote chaotic behavior say that only unfettered personal freedom allows people to express themselves fully and lets society benefit from the potential that its individuals have within them.

Someone who is neutral with respect to law and chaos has a normal respect for authority and feels neither a compulsion to obey nor a compulsion to rebel. She is honest but can be tempted into lying or deceiving others.

Devotion to law or chaos may be a conscious choice, but more often it is a personality trait that is recognized rather than being chosen. Neutrality on the lawful-chaotic axis is usually simply a middle state, a state of not feeling compelled toward one side or the other. Some few such neutrals, however, espouse neutrality as superior to law or chaos, regarding each as an extreme with its own blind spots and drawbacks.

Animals and other creatures incapable of moral action are neutral. Dogs may be obedient and cats free-spirited, but they do not have the moral capacity to be truly lawful or chaotic.
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Re: Character Alignment

Post by AdreannaDeStella on Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:07 pm

The Nine Alignments


Nine distinct alignments define all the possible combinations of the lawful-chaotic axis with the good-evil axis. Each alignment description below depicts a typical character of that alignment. Remember that individuals vary from this norm, and that a given character may act more or less in accord with his or her alignment from day to day. Use these descriptions as guidelines, not as scripts.

The first six alignments, lawful good through chaotic neutral, are the standard alignments for player characters. The three evil alignments are for monsters and villains.

Lawful Good, "Crusader"

A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished.

Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion.

Lawful good can be a dangerous alignment when it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest.

Neutral Good, "Benefactor"

A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them.

Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order.

Neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Chaotic Good, "Rebel"

A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he's kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society.

Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit.

Chaotic good can be a dangerous alignment when it disrupts the order of society and punishes those who do well for themselves.

Lawful Neutral, "Judge"


A lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition, or a personal code directs her. Order and organization are paramount to her. She may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or she may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government.

Lawful neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot.

Lawful neutral can be a dangerous alignment when it seeks to eliminate all freedom, choice, and diversity in society.

Neutral, "Undecided"

A neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. She doesn't feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil-after all, she would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, she's not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way.

Some neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run.

Neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion.

Neutral can be a dangerous alignment when it represents apathy, indifference, and a lack of conviction.

Chaotic Neutral, "Free Spirit"

A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn't strive to protect others' freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it.

Chaotic neutral is the best alignment you can be because it represents true freedom from both society's restrictions and a do-gooder's zeal.

Chaotic neutral can be a dangerous alignment when it seeks to eliminate all authority, harmony, and order in society.

Lawful Evil, "Dominator"

A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank. He is loath to break laws or promises.

This reluctance comes partly from his nature and partly because he depends on order to protect himself from those who oppose him on moral grounds. Some lawful evil villains have particular taboos, such as not killing in cold blood (but having underlings do it) or not letting children come to harm (if it can be helped). They imagine that these compunctions put them above unprincipled villains.

Some lawful evil people and creatures commit themselves to evil with a zeal like that of a crusader committed to good. Beyond being willing to hurt others for their own ends, they take pleasure in spreading evil as an end unto itself. They may also see doing evil as part of a duty to an evil deity or master.

Lawful evil is sometimes called "diabolical," because devils are the epitome of lawful evil.

Lawful evil creatures consider their alignment to be the best because it combines honor with a dedicated self-interest.

Lawful evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents methodical, intentional, and frequently successful evil.

Neutral Evil, "Malefactor"

A neutral evil villain does whatever she can get away with. She is out for herself, pure and simple. She sheds no tears for those she kills, whether for profit, sport, or convenience. She has no love of order and holds no illusion that following laws, traditions, or codes would make her any better or more noble. On the other hand, she doesn't have the restless nature or love of conflict that a chaotic evil villain has.

Some neutral evil villains hold up evil as an ideal, committing evil for its own sake. Most often, such villains are devoted to evil deities or secret societies.

Neutral evil beings consider their alignment to be the best because they can advance themselves without regard for others.

Neutral evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents pure evil without honor and without variation.

Chaotic Evil, "Destroyer"

A chaotic evil character does whatever his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is hot-tempered, vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. If he is simply out for whatever he can get, he is ruthless and brutal. If he is committed to the spread of evil and chaos, he is even worse. Thankfully, his plans are haphazard, and any groups he joins or forms are poorly organized. Typically, chaotic evil people can be made to work together only by force, and their leader lasts only as long as he can thwart attempts to topple or assassinate him.

Chaotic evil is sometimes called "demonic" because demons are the epitome of chaotic evil.

Chaotic evil beings believe their alignment is the best because it combines self-interest and pure freedom.

Chaotic evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents the destruction not only of beauty and life but also of the order on which beauty and life depend.
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Re: Character Alignment

Post by AdreannaDeStella on Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:18 pm

Lawful Good


A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished.

Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion.

Lawful good can be a dangerous alignment when it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest.

While strict in their prosecution of law and order, characters of lawful good alignment follow these precepts to improve the common weal. Certain freedoms must, of course, be sacrificed in order to bring order; but truth is of highest value, and life and beauty of great importance. The benefits of this society are to be brought to all. Creatures of lawful good alignment view the cosmos with varying degrees of lawfulness or desire for good. The are convinced that order and law are absolutely necessary to assure good, and that good is best defined as whatever brings the most benefit to the greater number of decent, thinking creatures and the least woe to the rest. (1)

Characters of this alignment believe that an orderly, strong society with a well-organized government can work to make life better for the majority of the people. To ensure the quality of life, laws must be created and obeyed. When people respect the laws and try to help one another, society as a whole prospers. These characters strive for those things that will bring the greatest benefit to the most people and cause the least harm. (2)

These characters have a strong moral character. Truth, honor, and the welfare of others is all-important. They are convinced that order and laws are absolutely necessary to assure that goodness prevails. Lawful good beings will not want to lie or cheat anyone, good or evil. They will not stand for treachery and will not let obviously dishonorable people use their own honor against them, if they can help it. They will obey the laws and customs of the area that they are in, but will attempt to find legal loopholes to disobey a law which is clearly evil or unjust. (3)

Lawful good characters are group and order oriented, and will cooperate with authority in all cases to promote the common weal. Not all lawful good beings view the cosmos with an equal desire for lawfulness and goodness, so there is no such thing as a perfectly balanced "lawful good" attitude (nor a perfectly balanced attitude for any other alignment, for that matter). In general, however, a lawful good character promotes the ideals and rights of the majority over those of the individual (and this includes himself as well as others) and upholds the rights of the weak and oppressed members of society, who should be allowed to reap society's benefits with equanimity. The lawful good being feels this is the best way that all members of society can enjoy the rights of existence together. Life is important to the lawful good being, but life is not exclusive of order, and vice versa. (4)

Lawful good can appear to be a difficult alignment to uphold, but it must be remembered that lawful good characters are not necessarily naive or unrealistic. At the heart of a lawful good alignment is the belief in a system of laws that promotes the welfare of all members of a society, ensures their safety, and guarantees justice. So long as the laws are just and applied fairly to all people, it doesn't matter to the lawful good character whether they originate from a democracy or a dictator. Though all lawful good systems adhere to the same general principles, specific laws may be different. One society may allow a wife to have two husbands, another may enforce strict monogamy. Gambling may be tolerated in one system, forbidden in another. A lawful good character respects the laws of other lawful good cultures and will not seek to impose his own values on their citizens. (5)

However, a lawful good character will not honor a law that runs contrary to his alignment. A government may believe that unregulated gambling provides a harmless diversion, but a lawful good character may determine that the policy has resulted in devastating poverty and despair. In this character's mind, the government is guilty of a lawless act by promoting an exploitative and destructive enterprise. In response, he may encourage citizens to refrain from gambling, or he may work to change the law. Particularly abhorrent practices, such as slavery and torture, may force the lawful good character to take direct action. It doesn't matter if these practices are culturally acceptable or sanctioned by well-meaning officials. The lawful good character's sense of justice compels him to intervene and alleviate as much suffering as he can. Note, though, that time constraints, inadequate resources, and other commitments may limit his involvement. While a lawful good character might wish for a cultural revolution in a society that tolerates cannibalism, he may have to content himself with rescuing a few victims before circumstances force him to leave the area. (5)

When will a lawful good character take a life? A lawful good being kills whenever necessary to promote the greater good, or to protect himself, his companions, or anyone whom he's vowed to defend. In times of war, he strikes down the enemies of his nation. He does not interfere with a legal execution, so long as the punishment fits the crime. Otherwise, a lawful good character avoids killing whenever possible. He does not kill a person who is merely suspected of a crime, nor does this character necessarily kill someone he perceives to be a threat unless he has tangible evidence or certain knowledge of evildoing. He never kills for treasure or personal gain. He never knowingly kills an innocent being. (5)

A lawful good character will keep his word if he gives it and will never lie. He will never attack an unarmed foe and will never harm an innocent. He will not use torture to extract information or for pleasure. He will never kill for pleasure, only in self-defense or in the defense of others. A lawful good character will never use poison. He will help those in need and he prefers to work with others. He responds well to higher authority, is trustful of organizations, and will always follow the law. He will never betray a family member, comrade, or friend (though he will attempt to bring an immoral or law-breaking friend to justice, in order to rehabilitate that person). Lawful good characters respect the concepts of self-discipline and honor. (6)

Here are some possible adjectives describing lawful good characters: friendly, courteous, sensitive to the feelings of others, scrupulous, honorable, trustworthy, reliable, helpful, loyal, and respectful of "life, love, and the pursuit of happiness."

Well known lawful good characters from film or literature include: Luke Skywalker (Star Wars), Mister Spock (Star Trek), Hermione Granger (Harry Potter), and Superman (DC Comics).

Equivalent alignment in other game systems: Principled (Palladium), Road of Heaven (Vampire), Light Side (Star Wars), Law (Warhammer), Virtuous and Ethical (Alternity).

The Ten Lawful Good Commandments

A list of Ten Commandments for a lawful good religion may look like this:

1. You shall not lie.
2. You shall not harm the innocent.
3. You shall not murder.
4. You shall help the needy.
5. You shall honor legitimate authority that promotes goodness.
6. You shall follow the law.
7. You shall not betray others.
8. You shall bring criminals and evil-doers to justice.
9. You shall not steal.
10. You shall seek unlimited good for others and unlimited order in society.

Ten Lawful Good Sins

Likewise, a lawful good religion may list the following as sins. This list is given in the order of least severe infraction to most severe.

1. Failing to show respect to lawful good churches, governments, and/or beings.
2. Failing to speak out against corruption, sin, greed, pride, etc.
3. Being motivated by pride, avarice, gluttony, or some other sinful impulse.
4. Theft, robbery, or willful vandalism.
5. Causing harm to a pious or virtuous being.
6. Failing to assist or aid good beings when in need.
7. Blasphemous or heretical acts.
8. Allowing a crime or major act of evil to go unpunished.
9. The murder of an innocent.
10. Aiding the servants of Chaos and Evil.

The Lawful Good Adventurer

The following two lists detail common actions undertaken during "adventuring" that are considered honorable and dishonorable for the lawful good alignment. An honorable action is one that is in keeping with the spirit of this alignment, while dishonorable actions tend to be those which bring shame to the character in the eyes of his or her alignment peers. Note that an action which is considered honorable by one alignment may be considered dishonorable by another alignment and vice versa.

The following actions are honorable for this alignment:

Allowing a disarmed enemy to pick up his weapon

Allowing the enemy to attack first

Allowing the enemy to remove their dead/wounded from the field

Defeating a superior opponent

Picking up the funeral expenses of someone you slew in combat

Refusing medical treatment for the good of the party

Reporting illegal and immoral actions to the authorities

Saving the life of another at great risk to own self

Taking an arrow or hit for someone else

Taking prisoners

The following actions are dishonorable for this alignment:

Accused of crime (innocent or not)

Attacking an unarmed or obviously inferior opponent

Being taken prisoner

Convicted of a crime

Defeated by an inferior opponent

Delivering death blow to a helpless opponent

Desecrating an enemy's corpse

Dirty fighting

Falsely claiming the 'bragging rights' that belong to another or outright lying

Fleeing a battle that's obviously going poorly

Fleeing a fight with a superior opponent

Fleeing a fight with an equal opponent

Gloating over a victory

Killing a host who has provided you food or shelter

Neglecting to properly bury a member of one's own race

Paying off an extortionist or shake-down

Perpetrate humiliating prank on enemy

Rash or improper social behavior

Refusing a fair contest/challenge

Surrendering

Taking a bribe

Taunting an enemy into fighting

Treason

Unjustly slaying a prisoner or unarmed opponent who has yielded

Walking away from a challenge

Lawful Good and Society

A lawful good being...

Respects the authority figures in his family and obeys their mandates.

Values lifelong commitment to a romantic partner.

Obeys all personal contracts.

Respects the laws and authority figures of the community and nation.

Considers public service in a leadership role an honor.

Supports the legal procedures of the nation, without regard to their own discomfort.

Seeks secure employment, believing hard work will pay off in the end.

Will not want to disappoint his family.

Will support their family even if it means personal discomfort.

Will never betray a friend and enjoys having close friends.

Considers the needs of the community in personal life.

Will give his life in defense of his community.

Will take actions to aid others during times of crisis, even if unprofitable to do so.

Believes everyone should be treated fairly and kindly.

Feels guilt when he commits a wrongdoing and will seek to right his wrong.

Uses wealth to help others who are less fortunate.

A community with a lawful good government usually has a codified set of laws, and most people willingly obey those laws. In a lawful good society, the people are generally honest, law-abiding, and helpful. They mean well (at least most of them do). They respect the law. As a rule, people don't walk around wearing armor and carrying weapons. Those who do are viewed with suspicion or as trouble-makers. Some societies tend to dislike adventurers, since they often bring trouble.

Lawful Good and Other Alignments

Lawful Good vs. Lawful Neutral

Conflict between lawful neutral and lawful good characters will center around the nature of laws. Lawful good characters want laws to protect the weak and punish the wicked, while lawful neutral characters are only interested in maintaining or expanding laws to cover every foreseeable problem within society without compassion or moral judgment. Lawful neutral characters will apply laws in a rigid manner, not worrying about whether the spirit of the law is upheld. It is the letter that is important to them. The language of the social compact and the wording of laws are all they are interested in, since that is all that is apparent from written documents. A lawful good character will be just as offended by a lawful neutral character's preference of letter over spirit as they are contemptuous of the neutral good character's insistence that the spirit is more important. The lawful good character will question the utility of laws that do not take into account all circumstances to provide a just and equitable settlement that coincides with their moral beliefs. The lawful neutral character does not consider morality when applying laws, only the effectiveness of the law to keep society stable.

Lawful Good vs. Neutral Good


Since neutral good characters see no inherent worth in laws, other than how well they provide for the common good, they may disagree with lawful good characters on a number of issues. Conflicts between characters of these types will center around the lawful good character always wanting to work within the law to accomplish good, even if breaking the law might result in more good for people. They will not accept the neutral good character's argument that working around the law is sometimes a better way to accomplish the spirit of the law. To lawful good characters, the letter and spirit of good laws should not be violated. They see a legal system as something that should be followed, as long as it is good, even if an illegal, or shady way might accomplish better results. Neutral good characters will be disgusted by their lawful good allies' adherence to laws, when the path is clear for them--break the law. Lawful good characters will contend that if they do not follow the law to accomplish what is right, how are they different from criminals? Their ethical sensibilities will be offended by the way that a neutral good character might do things.

Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral, and Lawful Evil

When operating as leaders within society, this is how characters of these three alignments may behave. The lawful neutral character will advance the aims of society and apply the law impartially to all citizens. He will follow laws and fight to ensure that all citizens follow laws. He will use legitimate means to change to social order if the state would benefit more from the change. He will promote fairness, using the law to reward those who act in accordance with the social order and punish those who act to the detriment of the state. He will tolerate corruption as long as the strength of the state is not jeopardized. The lawful neutral character will enjoy his position and its perks, but will not abuse his authority. The lawful good character will view his position as an opportunity to selflessly serve his fellow citizens. He will work to increase weal throughout society through the apparatus of the state. He will tirelessly fight corruption and work to eliminate social ills such as poverty, uneven wealth distribution, abuse by the state, and other problems. The lawful evil character will use his position of power over others to ruthlessly pursue his own agenda using the apparatus of the state. He will follow laws and encourage all citizens to follow laws by severely punishing criminals. He will increase his own wealth and power at the expense of the population as long as he can use legal means. The lawful evil character views his position as proof of his superiority over the common rabble.
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Re: Character Alignment

Post by AdreannaDeStella on Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:35 pm

Lawful Good, Neutral Good, and Chaotic Good

In situations where goodness must be advanced in society, this is how characters of these different alignments may respond. The lawful good character will promote weal throughout society through increased legislation or a more powerful government. They will work to provide laws and procedures to protect the population against every foreseeable ill in society. They will protect citizens against abuse from unscrupulous individuals. They will advocate and construct power structures and economic systems that provide the most benefit for the population as a whole. Lawful good characters will provide equality of result. The chaotic good character will promote happiness in society by increasing freedom and allowing its citizens to decide the best way to increase prosperity for all. They will promote systems which give maximum freedom and opportunity for citizens to increase their own happiness and the happiness of others. They will ensure that the population is protected against every possible abuse by the governing system. Chaotic good characters will provide equality of opportunity. Neutral good character will build a system that promotes both harmony and freedom. They will attempt to balance opportunity and results. They will use only enough laws and order to protect the freedom of its citizens to promote prosperity and happiness for all. They will guard the population against abuses from within the power structure, but also against abuses from individuals. Neutral good characters will build a flexible social order that allows both public and private action to increase goodness in society.

How Lawful Good Views the Other Alignments

The chart below shows how Lawful Good views itself and the other eight alignments.

Lawful Good


Honorable and Humane Neutral Good
Humane but Unreliable Chaotic Good
Humane but Dishonorable

Lawful Neutral

Honorable but Apathetic True

Neutral

Unreliable and Apathetic Chaotic Neutral
Dishonorable and Apathetic

Lawful Evil

Honorable but Ruthless Neutral Evil
Unreliable and Ruthless Chaotic Evil
Dishonorable and Ruthless

Lawfuls tend to view actions on a scale ranging from honorable to dishonorable. They hold themselves honorable while chaotics are seen as dishonorable in their eyes. Lawfuls view ethical neutrals as unreliable as they are concerned with doing the right thing some of the time whereas other times they seem to disregard society's expectations.

Characters of good alignment wish to advance altruism, compassion, and mercy. They view themselves as humane. At the opposite end of this spectrum is ruthlessness, while moral neutrals are seen as indifferent and apathetic.

The Philosophy of Lawful Good


Lawful good is the philosophy that goodness is best achieved through law and order. It is a philosophy of altruistic collectivism. This philosophy holds that people should behave altruistically and put the needs of the group ahead of individual desires. Lawful good can also be associated with rule utilitarianism and ethical altruism.

Lawful good philosophers generally maintain that there is metaphysical order in the multiverse and thus may support doctrines of hard determinism, predeterminism, fatalism, predestination, and/or necessitarianism. They may believe in fate or destiny. They tend to be moral objectivists, holding that values exist in the external world independently of and external to our comprehension of them; that they can be found and known; and that they must be used as principles for human judgments and conduct.

The ideal government for this alignment is an authoritarian state with codified laws supporting a social order in which altruism is rewarded and radical egoism is punished. Lawful good beings want the power of the state to be used for the benefit of all. Rehabilitative justice is used to reform criminals and evil-doers.


Neutral Good


A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them.

Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order.

Neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Creatures of neutral good alignment believe that there must be some regulation in combination with freedoms if the best is to be brought to the world--the most beneficial conditions for living things in general and intelligent creatures in particular. Creatures of this alignments see the cosmos as a place where law and chaos are merely tools to use in bringing life, happiness, and prosperity to all deserving creatures. Order is not good unless it brings this to all; neither is randomness and total freedom desirable if it does not bring such good. (1)

Neutral goods value both personal freedom and adherence to laws. They feel that too many laws may unnecessarily restrict the freedom of good beings. They also believe that too much freedom may not protect society as a whole and encourage counterproductive divisions and in-fighting. They promote governments which hold broad powers, but do not interfere in the day-to-day lives of their citizens. (2)

These characters value life and freedom above all else, and despise those who would deprive others of them. Neutral good characters sometimes find themselves forced to work beyond the law, yet for the law, and the greater good of the people. They are not vicious or vindictive, but are people driven to right injustice. Neutral good characters always attempt to work within the law whenever possible, however. (3)

To a neutral good being, life and the assurance of other creatures' rights take precedence over all else. This is not to say that this character will have an aversion to taking another's life when faced with a choice between an attacker's and his own, however. Neutral good beings also believe that law and chaos are merely tools to use in bringing life, prosperity, and happiness to all deserving creatures. Neither numbers nor individual concerns have any bearing on decisions regarding the needs and rights of any given creature. In other words, in the view of a neutral good being, rarely will either the needs of the many or the personal desires of an individual outweigh the needs of any other creature. All life is given even-handed treatment. As with all alignments neutral with respect to law and chaos, self-reliance is a cornerstone of a neutral good being's personality. In a crunch, neutral good characters trust in themselves and in no other individual or group. This doesn't mean they can't make friends and develop trusting relationships with others, however. Neutral good beings aren't normally as independent as chaotic good beings, and they can cooperate in groups. But they won't always trust a group to be more effective than they could be themselves. (4)

A neutral good character will keep his word to those who are not evil and will lie only to evil-doers. He will never attack an unarmed foe and will never harm an innocent. He will not use torture to extract information or for pleasure. He will never kill for pleasure, only in self-defense or in the defense of others. A neutral good character will never use poison. He will help those in need and works well alone or in a group. He responds well to higher authority until that authority attempts to use the law to hamper his ability to do good. He is trustful of organizations as long as they serve his utilitarian purpose. He will follow the law unless more good can come from breaking the law. He will never betray a family member, comrade, or friend. Neutral good characters are indifferent to the concepts of self-discipline and honor, finding them useful only if they promote goodness. (5)

Here are some possible adjectives describing neutral good characters: self-reliant, helpful, courteous, kind, respectful, sensitive, friendly, loving, merciful, gracious, humane, altruistic, giving, respectful, and protective of life.

Well known neutral good characters from film or literature include: Captain James T. Kirk (Star Trek), Gandalf the Grey (Lord of the Rings), Harry Potter (Harry Potter), and Spiderman (Marvel Comics).

Equivalent alignment in other game systems: Scrupulous (Palladium), Road of Humanity (Vampire), Light Side (Star Wars), Good (Warhammer), Gallant and Ethical (Alternity).
The Ten Neutral Good Commandments


A list of Ten Commandments for a neutral good religion may look like this:
1. You shall lie only to evil-doers.
2. You shall not harm the innocent.
3. You shall not murder.
4. You shall help the needy.
5. You shall honor those who promote goodness.
6. You shall follow the law unless breaking the law results in more good.
7. You shall not betray others.
8. You shall bring evil-doers to justice.
9. You shall steal only to promote goodness.
10. You shall seek unlimited good for others.

Ten Neutral Good Sins


Likewise, a neutral good religion may list the following as sins. This list is given in the order of least severe infraction to most severe.

1. Refusing to defy authority to perform a good act.
2. Failing to speak out against an evil act.
3. Following a law or keeping your word when you feel that breaking the law would result in more good.
4. Theft, robbery, or willful vandalism unless it harms an evil being or cause.
5. Willful causing of harm to a good being.
6. Failing to assist good beings when they are in need.
7. Turning down a chance to destroy or bring to justice an evil being.
8. Allowing major act of evil to go unavenged. Betraying a friend or ally for evil reason.
9. The murder of an innocent.
10. Aiding the servants of Evil. Committing a heinous or demented act.

The Neutral Good Adventurer

The following two lists detail common actions undertaken during "adventuring" that are considered honorable and dishonorable for the neutral good alignment. An honorable action is one that is in keeping with the spirit of this alignment, while dishonorable actions tend to be those which bring shame to the character in the eyes of his or her alignment peers. Note that an action which is considered honorable by one alignment may be considered dishonorable by another alignment and vice versa.
The following actions are honorable for this alignment:

Allowing a disarmed enemy to pick up his weapon

Allowing the enemy to attack first

Defeating a superior opponent

Perpetrate humiliating prank on enemy

Picking up the funeral expenses of someone you slew in combat

Refusing medical treatment for the good of the party

Saving the life of another at great risk to own self

Taking an arrow or hit for someone else

Taking prisoners

The following actions are dishonorable for this alignment:

Accused of crime (innocent or not)

Attacking an unarmed or obviously inferior opponent

Being taken prisoner

Convicted of a crime

Defeated by an inferior opponent

Delivering death blow to a helpless opponent

Desecrating an enemy's corpse

Dirty fighting

Falsely claiming the 'bragging rights' that belong to another or outright lying

Fleeing a battle that's obviously going poorly

Fleeing a fight with a superior opponent

Fleeing a fight with an equal opponent

Killing a host who has provided you food or shelter

Neglecting to properly bury a member of one's own race

Rash or improper social behavior

Refusing a fair contest/challenge

Surrendering

Taunting an enemy into fighting

Treason

Unjustly slaying a prisoner or unarmed opponent who has yielded

Walking away from a challenge

Neutral Good and Society

A neutral good being...

Values his family, but will not heed their requests necessarily.

Will provide for friends, and expects to be repaid in some manner.

Does not seek positions of authority over others.

Fits in with their society.

Supports their nation.

Supports the law when advantageous to do so.

Is not concerned with politics, most likely.

Will keep his word.

Will take risks if the benefits are great.

Will not want to disappoint his family.

Will support their family even if it means personal discomfort.

Will never betray a friend and enjoys having close friends.

Considers the needs of the community in personal life.

Will give his life in defense of his community.

Will take actions to aid others during times of crisis, even if unprofitable to do so.

Believes everyone should be treated fairly and kindly.

Feels guilt when he commits a wrongdoing and will seek to right his wrong.

Uses wealth to help others who are less fortunate.

A neutral good government rarely influences the residents of the community other than to help them when they are in need. Neutral good societies tend to adopt whatever government seems most expedient at the moment. A particular form of government lasts as long as the ruler or dynasty in power can maintain it. Transfers of power are usually marked by shifts in government, though these are often bloodless coups. There is a certain apathy about politics and government. Adventurers are treated the same as everyone else.

Neutral Good and Other Alignments


Neutral Good vs. Lawful Good

Since neutral good characters see no inherent worth in laws, other than how well they provide for the common good, they may disagree with lawful good characters on a number of issues. Conflicts between characters of these types will center around the lawful good character always wanting to work within the law to accomplish good, even if breaking the law might result in more good for people. They will not accept the neutral good character's argument that working around the law is sometimes a better way to accomplish the spirit of the law. To lawful good characters, the letter and spirit of good laws should not be violated. They see a legal system as something that should be followed, as long as it is good, even if an illegal, or shady way might accomplish better results. Neutral good characters will be disgusted by their lawful good allies' adherence to laws, when the path is clear for them--break the law. Lawful good characters will contend that if they do not follow the law to accomplish what is right, how are they different from criminals? Their ethical sensibilities will be offended by the way that a neutral good character might do things.

Neutral Good vs. Chaotic Good

Neutral good characters will always attempt to work within the law, but sometimes recognize the need to disobey laws for the greater good. Chaotic good characters will never consider the law in any of their decisions. If they happen to work within the law, it isn't because they made a decision to do so. Chaotic good characters feel that they know what good is, so they don't need laws to force themselves to be good. Chaotic good characters are also individualists. They will find their own way in the world and live the way they want to. Neutral good characters will avoid lies, but the chaotic good character has no aversion. The neutral good character will try to keep his word once given, but the chaotic good character will discard an oath when it no longer is useful to him in doing what is right. The chaotic good character isn't primarily concerned with providing the greatest good for the greatest number of beings. He will always behave in a manner that is considered good, but he may only be interested in a select group of beings, or he may perform acts of goodness when the mood strikes him. You never know when a chaotic good character will take up a cause, but you can be fairly certain of when a neutral good character will.

Neutral Good vs. True Neutral

Neutral good and true neutral characters both believe that any means should be used to achieve desirable outcomes, but they disagree on exactly what types of outcomes are desirable. The neutral good character uses a variety of means to promote and further the cause of goodness, but true neutral characters are not interested in a selfless pursuit of beneficial results for others. Where neutral good characters are altruistic, true neutral characters are interested in their own affairs. True neutral characters will behave altruistically when it comes to friends, relatives, and allies, but for the most part will return the kind of treatment they receive from others. Neutral good characters, on the other hand, will behave altruistically even when dealing with others who are not friends or relatives, and may even forgive enemies that have done them grievous harm in the past (provided their enemy has truly mended his ways). True neutral characters will not extend the olive branch in such situations and may take advantage of their enemy's weakness to protect themselves from further machinations. True neutral characters follow a morality of reciprocity. Neutral good characters follow the Golden Rule.

Neutral Good, Lawful Good, and Chaotic Good

In situations where goodness must be advanced in society, this is how characters of these different alignments may respond. The lawful good character will promote weal throughout society through increased legislation or a more powerful government. They will work to provide laws and procedures to protect the population against every foreseeable ill in society. They will protect citizens against abuse from unscrupulous individuals. They will advocate and construct power structures and economic systems that provide the most benefit for the population as a whole. Lawful good characters will provide equality of result. The chaotic good character will promote happiness in society by increasing freedom and allowing its citizens to decide the best way to increase prosperity for all. They will promote systems which give maximum freedom and opportunity for citizens to increase their own happiness and the happiness of others. They will ensure that the population is protected against every possible abuse by the governing system. Chaotic good characters will provide equality of opportunity. Neutral good character will build a system that promotes both harmony and freedom. They will attempt to balance opportunity and results. They will use only enough laws and order to protect the freedom of its citizens to promote prosperity and happiness for all. They will guard the population against abuses from within the power structure, but also against abuses from individuals. Neutral good characters will build a flexible social order that allows both public and private action to increase gHow Neutral Good Views the Other Alignments

The chart below shows how Neutral Good views itself and the other eight alignments.

Lawful Good


Humane but Strict Neutral Good
Practical and Humane Chaotic Good
Humane but Lax

Lawful Neutral

Strict and Apathetic True

Neutral

Practical but Apathetic Chaotic Neutral
Lax and Apathetic

Lawful Evil

Strict and Ruthless Neutral Evil
Practical but Ruthless Chaotic Eviloodness in society.
Lax and Ruthless

Ethical neutrals view both lawfuls and chaotics as extreme. They see lawfuls as overly strict and rigid while chaotics are viewed as overly lax and inconsistent. Ethical neutrals feel that they take a practical approach to matters involving rules and regulations.

Characters of good alignment wish to advance altruism, compassion, and mercy. They view themselves as humane. At the opposite end of this spectrum is ruthlessness, while moral neutrals are seen as indifferent and apathetic.

The Philosophy of Neutral Good

Neutral good is the philosophy that goodness should be advanced by using whatever means provide the most benefit. It is a philosophy of altruistic consequentialism. This philosophy holds that people should behave altruistically and balance the needs of the collective as a whole and the needs of the individuals making up the collective. Neutral good can also be associated with act utilitarianism and ethical altruism.

Neutral good philosophers generally maintain that there is metaphysical balance in the multiverse and thus may support doctrines of soft determinism, pragmatism, conventionalism, and/or instrumentalism. They may believe in free will or choice. They could also embrace skepticism or suspend judgment on philosophical issues. They tend to be moral relativists, holding that values differ from society to society, from person to person; that they are conditioned by the peculiarities of the society in which they arise; that they are not universally applicable at all times or in all places; and that they are correct or incorrect, desirable or undesirable only relative to whether or not they conform to a common norm or to common acceptance.

The ideal government for this alignment is any social order in which altruism is rewarded and radical egoism is punished. Neutral good beings want the power of the state to be used for the benefit of all without sacrificing individual freedom. Rehabilitative justice is used to reform criminals and evil-doers.
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