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  • I'm slightly bugged by how we use the Character Alignment names given by Dungeons and Dragons, but the descriptions don't match any of the editions I know of. I suppose given the use of the names, changing the descriptions makes sense--after all, nobody would call Scrooge McDuck anything other than Lawful Good by common American standards for "good," but he'd be Lawful Neutral if we went with D&D 3.5. I also suppose it's expectable that we would use the character alignment names from Dungeons and Dragons due to Small Reference Pools. However, it gets irritating when people argue over what alignment somebody fits under and it turns out they're thinking of two very different characterizations that have the same name.
    • I always saw the descriptions both here and especially in the rulebooks as sort of dumbed-down versions trying to introduce the alignments quickly to people who didn't know anything about them. Of course, this raises the question of just where the real definitions are to be found; they seem to be implicit in a lot of places, such as more in-depth discussions in more specialised rulebooks, but short of high-level Word of God, there seems to be no way to prove a particular interpretation "really right". There may be some evidence that people who deal with the concepts and apply them a lot tend to come to the same conclusions about how it makes sense to define tham, but that seems overly optimistic to think.

      That said, I'm not sure where the definitions are all that different from the rulebooks in the first place.
  • One thing that's somewhat bothered me is just how blurred the line between Chaotic Neutral and Neutral Evil tends to be. Most of the others seem to stand up fine on their own, yet these two alignments both seem to do the "self-serving" thing, without much that make them seem distinct.
    • The difference is that Chaotic Neutral characters are willing to do evil as means to an end, Neutral Evil characters do evil for the sake of doing evil.
    • Also, a selfish Chaotic Neutral will generally be amoral, but not actively malevolent- they won't be trying to improve the world unless there's something in it for them, but they generally won't go out of their way to hurt others either. A Neutral Evil, on the other hand, will be more than happy to crush anyone who stands between them and power/money/prestige/whatever.
    • Chaotic Neutral is a selfish bastard with an emphasis on "selfish." Neutral Evil is a selfish bastard with an emphasis on bastard.
        • I would say all of the Evil alignments do evil for the sake of doing evil, with the difference between the Evil alignments being how much they support the existence of law.
      • Absolutely not. That would mean no-one can be "evil" without being For the Evulz. Kill someone for money? Or because you want to be the fairest of them all and she happens to be prettier? Not evil, because it wasn't for the sake of doing evil.
    • This troper reads Chaotic Neutral as being not so much about "selfishness" as about "unpredictability" and that they can act selfless sometimes, only to act selfish other times, just as they can act good sometimes, only to act evil other times.
    • The above sounds more like Neutral Stupid. This troper always saw the difference as being that A: Neutral Evil characters are people who find evil acts appealing, and B: Chaotic Neutral characters actively resent authority, whereas Neutral Evil characters only mind it if it interferes with what they want to do.
    • Or: Chaotic Neutral characters are especially inconsistent, but their impulses are neither predominantly good nor evil. Neutral Evils have some small commonsensical amount of consistency (which Chaotics are much more lacking in, and which Lawfuls care about more for its own sake), but they can do whatever they like in the different sense that they don't care about whether it hurts others (whereas Chaotic Neutrals have to cringe a bit from hurting others much of the time, or in unlikely extreme cases just be so crazy as to be unable to comprehend the concept, in order to avoid being Chaotic Evil).
    • ...Lets just say a CN character is the same as a NE character except he doesn't get put into situations where he'd be provoked to be evil.
    • Um... No. Cn characters are definetly not the same as NE characters. comparing Cn characters to NE characters is like comparing LN characters to NG ones.
  • The thing that bugs me about character alignments is that people don't tend to realize that it's only very slightly less limited than a standard good/evil dichotomy. Its fun to argue about, sure, but realize you're trying to fit the gamut of human actions and expressions into 9 categories.
    • But that's bull, because a Chaotic Evil character is still capable of love in the normal sense, and anti-heroes are often classified as evil. Evil characters are WILLING to do evil things to accomplish their goals, they don't or shouldn't do things just because they're evil. That's simply a bad character. The difference between Chaotic Neutral and Neutral Evil IS a very fine line, but the main difference is that one is willing to do evil because it's the shortest route, the other will do evil as a last resort because there are other ways.
    • Granted, but, to be fair, it gets really complicated once you start adding Myers-Briggs personality concepts into the equation.
    • Actually, is extremely easy note the difference between Neutral Evil and Chaotic Neutral: one of the requisites to be Neutral Evil is not be chaotic and one of the requisites to be Chaotic Neutral is not be evil. Chaotic Neutral are not "selfish", no more than Lawful Neutral and True Neutral. Chaotic Neutral are not selfish by nature, but yes unruly (the "chaotic" bit).
      • Selfish can perfectly well fit Neutral (towards good and evil). Evil means taking the selfishness even further. If we forget about the alignment terminology, it's easy enough to understand the idea "the difference between being merely selfish and being actually evil." As for chaoticness, it may imply at least a selfishness born out of thoughtlessness. To reliably take other people account in your decisions implies consistently considering factors other than the most obvious ones, and that's moving away from the Chaotic towards the Lawful.
    • Lets just say that character alignments in D&D only work on fictional 2D characters and quit trying to apply logic to it.
      • NEVER!!!!!
      • The limits of the concept are due to the fact that it tries to be logical, and the world isn't.
    • Indeed they are limited. We're all too complex, and even many of our fictional characters are. Mental exercise: Write down the names of three people you see a lot of, who don't regularly exhibit at least 4 alignments.
    • Lets just say the alignment system only works because it's fiction.
  • Can anyone explain to me why, even though it has been proven that Neutral Evil chracters can do evil for the sake of doing evil, people still add in entries to the CE page with the logic that the character does evil for the sake of doing evil?
    • My guess is because nobody got the memo
  • So what is the purpose of using this alignment of all the alignment we could have used on this wiki? Is there really any actual point to say that for example, Character X from Show Y that doesn't use this specific alignment system is Chaotic Evil? I personally don't care but I'm just curious you know.
    • Historical Inertia because it was with D&D, and has more or less continued ever since. Not that it hasn't changed, or that I'm sure if D&D even had it to start, but it pretty much did start the process. And ever since, we've been arguing over what alignment various characters really are.
  • What bugs me is how people will ask on other Just Bugs Me pages why characters who aren't in DnD don't act according to its alignment restrictions. Like on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, someone asked how they could drive a car because they don't have licenses and they're Lawful Good. Not only is TMNT clearly not a DnD setting, but if I had to guess I'd say Ninja would be chaotic anyway. Could we just get a note on the main page that unless the character is in a setting that uses it, DnD Character Alignment doesn't mean a damn thing?
    • No. You see people are using the concept to express an idea, in a relatively succinct way. It's really just an attempt at communication, and it does have a meaning. The notion that there's some outside force enforcing alignment restrictions is not necessary, and is probably arising from the long-standing confusion within the game itself. That happens because well, Good and Evil really do exist in the game, and there's somebody who is supposed to arbitrate disputes. However the concept has developed to the point that it's not necessarily represented in the thinking of the person saying it. I know it wouldn't be for me. It's just easier to say "Lawful Good" instead of a long expression of a particular philosophical bent appropriate to a given character. And before you say "but people argue about what Lawful Good means" I'll note that people also argue about what personality any given character actually has as well. So either way there's an argument. But I hope you see why it does mean something. And really, all you're asking for is for people to say things in a different way. Not for them to say anything different. To put it another way, it's shorthand. Don't like it yourself? Don't use it. But don't expect other people to never use it. For some of us it is an effective way to communicate.
    • What I'm asking for is for people not to apply a gameplay element of a particular game to settings where it isn't used. The TMNT thing aside, there are endless arguments here and other places about what alignment a given character is as if it were some absolute (see the Final Fantasy VI discussion page). It's a useful shorthand, yes for--in broad terms--how a character has acted, but it doesn't have any real impact or significance for any setting that doesn't explicitly use it. And yet people treat it as if it's crucial to characters in any and all media.
      I'm not against people using the alignment tags. I'm against them treating it as if the rules/guidelines of the alignment are supposed to constrain the character in some way (i.e., as I mentioned, asking things like "Leonardo is Lawful Good, how could he break a traffic law?")
      • Well, I don't think people are actually using it all in the way you think, I've certainly never thought of it that way. Beyond that, I think you're wasting time arguing against it. Sort of like fighting the tides. Like it or not, the terms and concepts found in the alignment system have worked their way into the language, becoming a way for people to communicate complicated ideas in a relatively simple way that's generally understood. That there are arguments? Well, go to any political forum, they can argue just as much using other language. I don't think Alignment is the real problem in the discussion. Sometimes people just find disagreement. Take your example. Imagine somebody had asked "Leonardo always follows the rules, how could he break a traffic law?" I bet you could find somebody to argue that he was quite willing to break rules, but that what he really was was loyal to his brothers and master. My best advice? If you don't like alignment discussions then stay out of them, don't try to stop them it'll get you nowhere. If you do want to involve yourself in a discussion where somebody did describe something in alignment terms, then maybe try asking the person to describe what they mean instead of arguing with them over the words they used. Find common ground instead.
      • People do take it seriously, though. Just look at some of the Character Sheets pages, which have whole edit wars about what alignment, say, Shadow is. It's one thing to use the shorthand to briefly say how a character acts, it's another to act like the characters have to be characterized like that and start arguments over it.
        • Seen them back in the 1990s. They're not going away. Hence my recommendation, either find a way to talk with them in other terms, or stay out of the argument.
    • "XY alignment with Z tendencies", where Z is the antithesis of neither X nor Y, solves nearly half of the argument, though relative issues between cosmologies is still a problem. Leonardo is (I guess) Lawful Good with Neutral Good tendencies. Shadow is True or Lawful Neutral with Good tendencies if you're going by D&D Adventurer standards, or Lawful Evil with Neutral tendencies if you're not going by the standards of a setting where nonviolence is a one-way ticket on the Negative HP Express. This does still leave the problem of Mr. Fox being Chaotic Evil in Happy the Lucky Bunny's cardboard picture book but Lawful Neutral in Redwall with exactly the same on-screen characterization, and original-generation problems with distinguishing details such as between Chaotic meaning "Does whatever the character feels like, within reason", "The Loonie", and "disestablishmentarian" (i.e., the old "By whose rules does he/she/it not play? The character is Honor Before Reason, but refuses the laws set before him/her/it" argument, and of course the "How Chaotic do you have to be to avoid Neutrality?" discussion).
  • Why do people call a character that doesn't operate within a DnD context and who has not been confirmed to be any alignments "Alignment X" and acting as if it is their official alignment and not just fandom interpretation that can differ from person to person?
    • It's either the above, using it as a shorthand for observed characteristics, or silliness.
    • Anyway, it's a trope, just like any other trope that wasn't thought about by name by the people whose works we're assigning it to.
  • Okay why isn't stealing for profit considered an Chaotic Evil act?
    • Not sure, but if I had to venture a guess I'd say that it's because the 'for profit' part tips it over into the ultimately self-serving realm of Neutral Evil. It would probably depend on the theft, though.
    • I think it depends on why the person in question is stealing it. If they're stealing it just because they can, and they enjoy the thrill, that comes under Chaotic Evil. If the primary purpose is to actually gain something, it's Neutral Evil.
      • And I think people are arguing the wrong dimension. After all, someone who steals for the good of others, such as your basic Robin Hood type, wouldn't be classified as Lawful Evil. He'd be in the direction of Chaotic Good. (You can argue whether the stealing is good or evil, but it's always against the law and thus chaotic, right?) Thus, wouldn't stealing for one's own gain or survival be Chaotic Neutral rather than Neutral Evil?
      • Stealing to survive opens up a whole can of worms; if desperate enough pretty much any alignment could be pushed towards that. Sticking to personal gain, here's how you can roughly define stealing with regards to alignments more disposed towards it:
    • If they're stealing for the good of other people, rather than themselves, they're Chaotic Good.
    • If they're stealing as a way to assert their own personal freedom, but without directly meaning to cause harm, they're Chaotic Neutral.
    • If they're stealing as a way to assert their own personal freedom AND to fulfill their evil goals and cause harm, they're Chaotic Evil.
    • If they're stealing solely for personal gain, and freedom doesn't come into the equation, they're Neutral Evil.
  • The lawfulness/goodness alignment system has been ruined for me since I started studying ethics in a scholarly manner. It's quite difficult to write a 20-page thesis about how the definition of law is "an ordinance of natural reason for the good of man" and then relax by roleplaying somebody that is designated as "CHAOTIC GOOD."
    • Try reading about the psychology of evil and how most people doing evil deeds are nothing like the stereotype of a villain in fiction, or like the way their victims are bound to view them, but usually just average people having a moral brain fart. And how "justice against evil" is another common cause of evil deeds. It's not really against Good vs. Evil, it's more that even the average person has some tendencies towards Moral Myopia and It's All About Me. I'm not saying the evil alignments aren't as applicable to real life as your average characterisation trope, but the differences between non-extreme good and evil as applied to personalities are in the end much smaller than you'd think.
  • I don't think I understand the difference between Neutral Evil and Neutral Selfish. I mean, both are self-serving in nature, and dismissive of other people as a result, so what's the difference? So far, all I can think of is that Neutral Selfish doesn't actively try to hurt other people whilst fulfilling its desires. Am I on the right lines here?
    • Actually they are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
    • I still don't really understand. So if they're not mutually exclusive, what makes it so that a Neutral Selfish character isn't Neutral Evil, and another one is? Also, Lawful Selfish sounds exactly like Lawful Evil to me...
    • Simple, Neutral selfish characters are simply selfish people. It is not necessary for them to commit evil deeds to satisfy that selfish urge.
    • Neutral selfish characters are those who remain unaligned because it is in their interests to do so. A good example would be a mercenary who maintains a code of professional conduct so that they won't alienate people who might hire them. They could be Neutral Evil as well, if the reason they are a mercenary in the first place is that they enjoy killing, but they could just as easily be a Punch Clock Villain or a Punch Clock Hero, depending on who pays them.
  • If someone has conflicting ideals, such as wishing for Chaotic Good but knows they can only reach at best Chaotic Neutral, would they be Chaotic Good or Chaotic Neutral, and could they change their alignment to it with enough hard work?
    • They would be Chaotic Neutral, and possibly they could change. It would be a question of changing ingrained tendencies or habits that are too strong to constantly defy with a simple act of willing, sort of like overcoming an addiction. Of course, in that case, it would not ultimately be true that they could only reach Chaotic Neutral, that would only have been true in the short term. Also, this would not strictly speaking be a case of conflicting ideals, but of ideals and reality conflicting.
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