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Chaotic Neutral: Roleplaying Intelligently?


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Does anyone have any suggestions on how to play a character with high Int and Wis who is still Chaotic Neutral?

It's easy (VERY easy) to play a CN character who's silly, crazy, psychotic, shortsighted, fractured, fanatical, impetuous, or otherwise mentally impaired... but is there a personality that can be thoughtful and insightful, and yet still manage to be Chaotic Neutral?


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Chaotic is not random, insane or undisciplined. It is a belief in freedom, individuality, personal choice, and self expression.

Does this help?


Perhaps coupled with the idea that "balance" is something that both "good" and "evil" contribute to?


I would take the neutral component to mean that individual choice is more important than how those choices impact others.


Personal freedom without being overly concerned about right or wrong. (Not irrational and Not evil. Just not going out of your way to do the "right" thing and not overly hindered by "the rules.")

Most groups should probably be labeled Chaotic Neutral.

Most of the rest should probably be labeled Chaotic Evil.


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Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

They can be sensible, adaptable, and prepared to take whatever life throws at them and turn it to their advantage. They rely on handling change better than others.


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You could create a chaotic artist. They are thoughtful and insightful, but love to be free and express themselves.

Another possibility is some sort of revolutionary that is trying to bring about some large change in society.

I know it's a little played out, but you can always play the grizzled antihero who "doesn't play by the rules" (or something to that effect).


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Someone who feels that personal freedom and choice are more important than life. Each person is responsible for their own choices and actions. When those choices do no harm to others, no one should try to stop them.

It isn't that they don't value life (that would be evil), just that they don't value it highly enough to qualify as good.


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Lets have a quick go at breaking down what "Chaotic Neutral" means:

Chaotic: Values freedom above order, holds laws in little regard when not forced to. Not highly rigid or disciplined in thought.

Neutral: Self interested, but not malevolently so - will not go out of their way to screw others without good cause, but still put themselves above most others (possibly friends and family aside).

There we go. Those are your boundaries. Note the complete lack of words like "psychotic" and "mentally impaired". Those aren't alignments, they are entries in the DSM-IV.

So, you want someone who is thoughtful and insightful. Ok...forget about alignment for a moment, and think of a personality. Doesn't have to be a particularly chaotic neutral type personality - we will fix that in a sec. OK, got it? OK, now take that personality, and make it ultimately prioritize its own interests, but still be willing to be kind so long as it doesn't seriously put itself out. Whether or not you lump friends, family and/or party members into the "interests" is up to you. Now, also make it view laws in a negative way. Maybe "laws are EVIL", maybe "uhg, who cares if I am littering, there is plenty of junk lying about already, my rubbish isn't making things any worse, and there isn't a bin nearby so CBF". Make it care about being able to do what *it* wants. It doesn't need or want rules to have a say in that. And make it not particularly fixed on any one thing, unless that thing is really important to it - caring about paying off a family member's debts is fine, caring about the house being all tidy tidy tidy clean is...probably not so much, unless you are throwing in lolrandom stuff to make your chaotic character more chaotic (don't do that). Then you should be done - enjoy your authentic chaotic neutral toon that *isn't* the Joker. Nobody likes the joker. Not when they have to work with him. Haley Starshine or Han Solo types are ok, but not the Joker.

Hope this helps.


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I think Sherlock Holmes, the way Mark Gatniss and Steven Moffat envision him, comes pretty close to a chaotic neutral genius.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I aim to misbehave - Captain Malcolm Reynolds.

Pretty much perfect chaotic neutral philosophy.


Yeah, but I wouldn't rank Mal very highly on Intelligence or Wisdom.


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Calybos1 wrote:
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to play a character with high Int and Wis who is still Chaotic Neutral?

High Int can result in high frustration about the stupidity of 'normal people'. You soon figured that you shouldn't care too much about them - otherwise you would be dragged into their pointless problems. And once you saw the flawed patterns behind the rules (supposed to be generally applicable, but fail often enough), you didn't feel obligated to follow them anymore.

High Wis means a keen perception (in the broader sense) of your environment. But noticing all the normal people's flaws so clearly just makes you want to keep distance even more. And while laws make sense for such people (you totally get that), they were clearly not designed with you in mind.

Childhood was a nightmare for you. People noticed quickly you were different, asking too many smart questions and noticing things that were supposed to be private. They tried to turn you into a 'normal child' - and you hated it. A strong desire for freedom was born in these years.


A grognard loaned me some dogeared copies of the Gord the Rogue series several years ago. I got through the first two or three but, relevant to your post, the main character is supposed to be "true neutral" in alignment.

The difficulty with CN (more so with CE) is a proper hook to make your PC play nice with the remainder of the party. Except for nature-based characters I restricted PCs in my games to be some good alignment. The game already revolves naturally around conflict and adding the likelihood of internecine conflict to the game is not something I wanted to arbitrate.

As for Dave Justus's idea to emulate Captain Malcolm Reynolds - might I remind you that whatever that character's alignment is, CN is not an option. Just see this episode; he's clearly CG.

Otherwise, what Snowblind said.


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A mad scientist type might be a good example of a high int,wis,CN character. Lots of ideas and a need to experiment but unconstrained by ethics or peer opinion. Dr Holden Radcliffe from Marvel's agents of shield springs to mind


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Quark Blast wrote:


The difficulty with CN (more so with CE) is a proper hook to make your PC play nice with the remainder of the party.

Like the group has people they know and trust? The chaotic neutral may well scoff at credentials from CypherGate or any of those other egg-head research places. Now when it comes to Ezren, he actually knows how to use those spells rather than arm-chair theory-crafting.

The person has a personal connection, either directly or via recommendation of someone else who has earned their respect.

Linked character backgrounds work great for that and in a campaign can give nice story hooks.

Grand Lodge

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As other people have said, CN is not Lol Random. A few of my characters are CN, but that doesn't mean they're loners. No matter the alignment, people have goals. I often play CN characters as capricious and impulsive, but not stupid. They have some modicum of self discipline and don't have to go with every thought that comes into their head.

SheepishEidolon's post seems like a good place to start, and BretI's suggestion about linked backgrounds is also good. Maybe your character's there because he thinks the poor idiots can't survive without him (and he feels superior by comparison), or maybe he drags the party into plots he thinks will benefit him (and probably his companions), and the party feels like they have to protect him from his own ego.


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Deadpool and captain Jack sparrow are excellent examples.


I immediately thought of Deadpool, but I guess for this particular roleplaying request, you're going to have to come up with some kind of hybrid -- I guess think of a cross between Deadpool and Dr. Frankenstein? Actually, that's probably something like Nethys, except he's supposedly not Chaotic . . . .

Silver Crusade

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I'm curious as to how many people actually have significant trouble with CN characters. I've heard stories of some tables banning it (I heard one DM state that CN by definition are insane and he would make them operate under the effects of the confusion spell to dissuade people from playing the alignment), but I've never personally had any issues with CN. Oh, I've had trouble with players, and some of them were trouble while playing CN, but in my experience problem players will be problem players regardless of the alignment of their character.

Honestly, in most cases, playing a CN character isn't going to differ much from playing any other character unless you're playing a character that is defined by their alignment (like you are dedicated to chaos and moral neutrality as concepts.

@Quark Blast

It's not terribly difficult, even for a CE character to work with a group. All that is necessary is to have similar goals and/or like the other people in the party. There is a misconception about alignment that keeps cropping up. It applies to all alignments, but it's most apparent with evil. People seem to think that an evil person must be evil in all things at all times to all people, that evil characters cannot have relationships, or feel loyalty, or affection. Evil characters can be as fiercely loyal to their compatriots as anyone.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Isonaroc wrote:

I'm curious as to how many people actually have significant trouble with CN characters. I've heard stories of some tables banning it (I heard one DM state that CN by definition are insane and he would make them operate under the effects of the confusion spell to dissuade people from playing the alignment), but I've never personally had any issues with CN. Oh, I've had trouble with players, and some of them were trouble while playing CN, but in my experience problem players will be problem players regardless of the alignment of their character.

Honestly, in most cases, playing a CN character isn't going to differ much from playing any other character unless you're playing a character that is defined by their alignment (like you are dedicated to chaos and moral neutrality as concepts.

@Quark Blast

It's not terribly difficult, even for a CE character to work with a group. All that is necessary is to have similar goals and/or like the other people in the party. There is a misconception about alignment that keeps cropping up. It applies to all alignments, but it's most apparent with evil. People seem to think that an evil person must be evil in all things at all times to all people, that evil characters cannot have relationships, or feel loyalty, or affection. Evil characters can be as fiercely loyal to their compatriots as anyone.

This is a super-important, terribly relevant post.

I'll link my own suggestions for playing a chaotic evil, because many of those same arguments work pretty well for chaotic neutral, as much as chaotic evil.

And ultimately, that's the thing: whether incredibly intelligent or wise or insightful or not, it doesn't matter. So long as the players and/or characters (depending on your group) don't believe you will betray them, and/or you don't harm their general enjoyment of game-time (this includes the GM), playing a chaotic neutral (or chaotic evil) character isn't that hard. You just come up with personal or selfish reasons for taking the otherwise seemingly "heroic" act.

"Yeah, the laws are stupid, and I hate them... but I get a lot more money, fame, and respect, if I take the job, and that let's me get away with really awesome crap!" is a rather chaotic neutral reason to take the job offered by a stern authority figure.

Thoughtful could lead to the concept of a reward deferred - an investment, of sorts, that will permit the character to reap the benefits at a later time.

"The system is broken and I hate everyone, but if I manage to keep my head down juuuuuuuust long enough, I can get out the other side, and will be powerful enough that no one can really stop me from doing what I want!"

Or perhaps, "Once I mange to get that perfect spell, 'the Man' will never be able to keep me down! Surely somewhere around here said spell exists..." and, you know, the highly intelligent wizard (or charismatic sorcerer or whatever) never finds that "one, perfect spell" or whatever it is, but, by the time the adventure is over, he gets to realize how powerful he's become, and can kind of revel in it. This grants him ever-more-personal freedom, and teaches him a tremendously important lesson: "From conflict, comes growth." This message, true as it is, can be phenomenally chaotic neutral, and can give rise to chaotic neutral religions who seek out personal conflict - wherever they can find it - in order to experience change and personal growth.

The nice thing is that not only does this parallel what's happening from a meta-perspective, but it also functions in-character.

Really, the sky is the limit.

Snowblind wrote:

Lets have a quick go at breaking down what "Chaotic Neutral" means:

Chaotic: Values freedom above order, holds laws in little regard when not forced to. Not highly rigid or disciplined in thought.

Neutral: Self interested, but not malevolently so - will not go out of their way to screw others without good cause, but still put themselves above most others (possibly friends and family aside).

There we go. Those are your boundaries. Note the complete lack of words like "psychotic" and "mentally impaired". Those aren't alignments, they are entries in the DSM-IV.

So, you want someone who is thoughtful and insightful. Ok...forget about alignment for a moment, and think of a personality. Doesn't have to be a particularly chaotic neutral type personality - we will fix that in a sec. OK, got it? OK, now take that personality, and make it ultimately prioritize its own interests, but still be willing to be kind so long as it doesn't seriously put itself out. Whether or not you lump friends, family and/or party members into the "interests" is up to you. Now, also make it view laws in a negative way. Maybe "laws are EVIL", maybe "uhg, who cares if I am littering, there is plenty of junk lying about already, my rubbish isn't making things any worse, and there isn't a bin nearby so CBF". Make it care about being able to do what *it* wants. It doesn't need or want rules to have a say in that. And make it not particularly fixed on any one thing, unless that thing is really important to it - caring about paying off a family member's debts is fine, caring about the house being all tidy tidy tidy clean is...probably not so much, unless you are throwing in lolrandom stuff to make your chaotic character more chaotic (don't do that). Then you should be done - enjoy your authentic chaotic neutral toon that *isn't* the Joker. Nobody likes the joker. Not when they have to work with him. Haley Starshine or Han Solo types are ok, but not the Joker.

Hope this helps.

This is also really solid.


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quibblemuch wrote:
I think Sherlock Holmes, the way Mark Gatniss and Steven Moffat envision him, comes pretty close to a chaotic neutral genius.

Seconded.

I would also add Doctor Gregory House from the TV show House (which is loosely inspired by Sherlock Holmes).


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Calybos1 wrote:

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to play a character with high Int and Wis who is still Chaotic Neutral?

It's easy (VERY easy) to play a CN character who's silly, crazy, psychotic, shortsighted, fractured, fanatical, impetuous, or otherwise mentally impaired... but is there a personality that can be thoughtful and insightful, and yet still manage to be Chaotic Neutral?

In the first place, it´s very easy to play in a very disruptive manner and than blame it on just playing your alignment, in this case CN, support this with citing known disruptive character traits and declare all your action as "your character just being so". Bis this doesn´t have anything to do with CN.

CN is about individuality, personal freedom, the insight that personal growth can only be achieved by not being hampered by conformity and the "greater good" is served best by having each and every person decide on what his personal form of "good" actually should be.

Being fickle and erratic can happen when a flash of insight strikes you and you need to act now, debate later, but the same insight also should tell you to let others in on the knowledge and action, else you _do_ look a bit like a madman.

So I´d agree: Sherlock and House are good examples, Deadpool not so very much.


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A lot of us have had bad experiences with players who put Chaotic Neutral on their character sheet and played Chaotic Evil (and as far as I can tell, they were like this in real life) -- if you think Deadpool was bad, you should have seen these people, who make him look like a Desna worshipper. And they weren't even funny.


Calybos1 wrote:

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to play a character with high Int and Wis who is still Chaotic Neutral?

It's easy (VERY easy) to play a CN character who's silly, crazy, psychotic, shortsighted, fractured, fanatical, impetuous, or otherwise mentally impaired... but is there a personality that can be thoughtful and insightful, and yet still manage to be Chaotic Neutral?

The wizard and/or cleric says "Oh, if it isn't a little king? How cute. I'd advise you to get out of my way if you don't want that crown passing onto your son by the morrow.".

Lawful tends to be about the creation of institutions (creation of local armies to protect from bandits, creation of new business alliances, creation of criminal empires that control the kingdom's shadows, etc.).

Chaotic tends to view such institutionalized or traditional authority with less respect. Oh, sure, they might respect some basic formalities (such as a barbarian that flies off the handle if guests don't practice their manners), but generally, they tend to prefer being free to walk their own path without interference. Institutions that get in the way of that are either avoided, circumvented, or put into their place.

So, going with 'high int/wis'.... well, that sounds like a formula for a powerful caster. Ergo, they would be someone that highly enjoys the use of their magical powers (and the assocated perks such as respect and fear) in order to get what they want.

...so a normal high level wizard player, basically. You will be highly comfortable abusing spells to get around minor annoyances like "you need to talk to the ministers if you want to meet with the king" (teleports in during the dead of night and puts all guards to sleep).

You can have perfectly rational goals and act sanely... but you can be chaotic with your utter disregard for authority once you have the magic power to make most humans bow before you.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Treating other people as pawns or obstacles rather than people doesn't sound sane.

Although a chaotic person may not respect hierarchies and institutions, that doesn't mean they can't treat people with respect.


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I think the idea of chaotic neutral / evil seems to differ from people.

Once in a campaign I played a "chaotic neutral" barbarian, but the DM claimed the character was "evil" so the character got banned and I had to reroll a new char.

Why was the character evil? Because he didn't save a dwarf child cased in magical crystal during one quest.

In a magical world with all kind of foul sorcerery, curse, etc., not being paid handsomely to do a quest that may endanger the character's safety seems none persuasive, unless he's aligned toward good. In my opinion, the character I played was chaotic neutral.

But in my DM's eyes, he was chaotic evil. So, maybe communicate with the DM first to get the idea of chaotic neutral/evil in his mind.

To play a witty&smart chaotic neutral character, I would say plot against everyone who seems profitable, but not necessarily trigger it at any chance.

Medieval mercenary might fit the role with them raiding on their ex-employers' land once unemployed, slack off when possible, fought without passion when pitched against fellow mercenaries, Chevauchée on villages, etc.


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BretI wrote:

Treating other people as pawns or obstacles rather than people doesn't sound sane.

Although a chaotic person may not respect hierarchies and institutions, that doesn't mean they can't treat people with respect.

Well, they are coherent and functional, at least. That is better than what could be said about some elected officials.


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A chaotic neutral character's respect for an authority figure would be based on respect for the actual person, rather than the position. (Though the CN character is not naturally self-destructive, and will probably go through the motions if failure to do so will result in personal harm.)

CN NPCs in Paizo APS usually have particular goals they're working towards (vengeance or rescuing a friend or becoming a pirate priest or whatever), and they'll work with anyone to further those goals.


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Dotting.


Isonaroc wrote:

@Quark Blast

It's not terribly difficult, even for a CE character to work with a group. All that is necessary is to have similar goals and/or like the other people in the party. There is a misconception about alignment that keeps cropping up. It applies to all alignments, but it's most apparent with evil. People seem to think that an evil person must be evil in all things at all times to all people, that evil characters cannot have relationships, or feel loyalty, or affection. Evil characters can be as fiercely loyal to their compatriots as anyone.

As I said,
QB wrote:
The difficulty with CN (more so with CE) is a proper hook to make your PC play nice with the remainder of the party.

As for the "fiercely loyal" thing. How can you come up with a hook to make the CE rogue "fiercely loyal" to any good character or cause?

CE and "heroic" are really, really hard to mesh.

PRD wrote:
A chaotic evil character is driven entirely by her own anger and needs. She is thoughtless in her actions and acts on whims, regardless of the suffering it causes others.


UnArcaneElection wrote:

A lot of us have had bad experiences with players who put Chaotic Neutral on their character sheet and played Chaotic Evil (and as far as I can tell, they were like this in real life) -- if you think Deadpool was bad, you should have seen these people, who make him look like a Desna worshipper. And they weren't even funny.

I mean, honestly, sitting at a table with someone who's trying extemporaneously emulate Deadpool sounds like a lesser-known circle of hell to me.

(That character gets old in his own comics, which are written by people who have editors.)

I would consider playing a high INT/WIS CN character as someone with high levels of naïveté, ontological conservatism, and nihilism. That is, they can watch the daily life of a town and can't conceive of society, simply individuals all acting based on their own decision trees, so simply chooses to omit that sort of thing from their ontology. That "morality" as is conceived of is fundamentally nothing more than a tool for people more powerful than you to try to control you. Someone who rejects harmless tradition (e.g. a cake on one's birthday) on principle as something harmful.

Silver Crusade

Quark Blast wrote:
Isonaroc wrote:

@Quark Blast

It's not terribly difficult, even for a CE character to work with a group. All that is necessary is to have similar goals and/or like the other people in the party. There is a misconception about alignment that keeps cropping up. It applies to all alignments, but it's most apparent with evil. People seem to think that an evil person must be evil in all things at all times to all people, that evil characters cannot have relationships, or feel loyalty, or affection. Evil characters can be as fiercely loyal to their compatriots as anyone.

As I said,
QB wrote:
The difficulty with CN (more so with CE) is a proper hook to make your PC play nice with the remainder of the party.

As for the "fiercely loyal" thing. How can you come up with a hook to make the CE rogue "fiercely loyal" to any good character or cause?

CE and "heroic" are really, really hard to mesh.

PRD wrote:
A chaotic evil character is driven entirely by her own anger and needs. She is thoughtless in her actions and acts on whims, regardless of the suffering it causes others.

It can be hard, but it can also be simple. Again, a CE character doesn't have to be CE at all times to all people. A character can be a thieving, cheating, murdering reprobate but never even entertain the idea of screwing over a friend or a partner. It doesn't even need to be out of a sense of loyalty if you can't make that work, it can simply be out of the knowledge that doing so would be more trouble than it's worth. "Sure, I could backstab the party, but that's a lot of work, and we're doing a fine job accumulating wealth and power just doing this...I can stick it out."


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Isonaroc wrote:
A character can be a thieving, cheating, murdering reprobate but never even entertain the idea of screwing over a friend or a partner. It doesn't even need to be out of a sense of loyalty if you can't make that work, it can simply be out of the knowledge that doing so would be more trouble than it's worth.

It can be as easy as them understanding that having a rep as a backstabber makes it harder to get jobs and people will be more likely to backstab THEM. Doing otherwise cuts into their "needs", as a single person rarely has all the needed abilities to take on an 'adventure' and getting people people upset at you doesn't help anything. Being a "a thieving, cheating, murdering reprobate" doesn't mean you're stupid or unable to understand the consequences of your actions.


Quark Blast wrote:
Isonaroc wrote:

@Quark Blast

It's not terribly difficult, even for a CE character to work with a group. All that is necessary is to have similar goals and/or like the other people in the party. There is a misconception about alignment that keeps cropping up. It applies to all alignments, but it's most apparent with evil. People seem to think that an evil person must be evil in all things at all times to all people, that evil characters cannot have relationships, or feel loyalty, or affection. Evil characters can be as fiercely loyal to their compatriots as anyone.

As I said,
QB wrote:
The difficulty with CN (more so with CE) is a proper hook to make your PC play nice with the remainder of the party.

As for the "fiercely loyal" thing. How can you come up with a hook to make the CE rogue "fiercely loyal" to any good character or cause?

CE and "heroic" are really, really hard to mesh.

PRD wrote:
A chaotic evil character is driven entirely by her own anger and needs. She is thoughtless in her actions and acts on whims, regardless of the suffering it causes others.

Severus Snape and Lily Potter is one example of an evil character being loyal to a good one. Arthas is just as loyal to his horse Invincible living as he was as the Lich King (and his horse undead. Handsome Jack and Angel... even though he was abusive towards her, her death... REALLY unhinged him. Azula is fanatically loyal to Fire Lord Ozai, and they're both waaaaay south of neutral. Zaheer and the Red Lotus are a pretty straight example of Chaotic Neutral bordering on CE or vice versa, and they all are very loyal to each other. Mister Freeze and his wife. I'm not sure if I forgot any other popular examples.


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A Chaotic Neutral thinker...

Let's cross Lord Byron with Abe Lincoln. A libertine, hard partying, hedonist who believes in the ideal of freedom above all else. Writing beautifully on the topic, the character advises one to never trade their freedom, not for safety, nor gold, nor approval. Freedom may be cruel, but it is only when a being is free that they can truly say they choose their own path.

This character would oppose both controlling governments and slavers, but not from a desire to help the oppressed, but rather because these forces threaten the ideal of freedom that is sacred. In any case the character would not formally join efforts to oppose these things, rather will stay on the fringes and assist when and how they choose. Additionally the character opposes all forms of taxation, regardless if the taxes are used to prop up a corrupt aristocracy, or if they are used to house, treat, and cure the ill and injured.

On a personal note, the character would likely find Enchantment spells that affect or control behaviour to be the deepest offense possible. They would likely not distinguish at all between using Charm Person to bamboozle a shopkeeper or using Murderous Command to thin an Orc war party. Both are abrogations of free will and thus theft of freedom. Perhaps such vile acts would merit a stern talk, but severe or repeated provocation would likely be met with force.


As I said,

QB wrote:
The difficulty with CN (more so with CE) is a proper hook to make your PC play nice with the remainder of the party.

As for the "fiercely loyal" thing. How can you come up with a hook to make the CE rogue "fiercely loyal" to any good character or cause?

CE and "heroic" are really, really hard to mesh.

It depends on the Heroic act in question, but it is doable; for example The Evil Dark Lord is trying to conquer the kingdom; A CE character is not about to let ANYONE, tell him what he can/cant do, even if they are evil.
Or, if the Cultists of the Elder Gods are trying to destroy the world, you can make a CE character who Likes the world, so many people to kill, so many things to steal.
a Ficticios example of this would be Spike at the end of seasn 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

where he:
Teams up with her to stop the villain from destroying the world for exactly that reason(also said villain is kind of stealing his girlfriend)

A potential third reason might be a personal vendetta, the villain hurt you somehow, and you need these fools to hurt him back.

now some of this is on the GM to be aware that he has a mixed party and either make the ultimate threat apparent really quickly, or give the party nice neutral quests like "go kill that monster"


Just gonna give some examples of things my chaotic neutral mesmerist did that didn't seem to disrupt anything and was quite successful.

In a L/N city being taken over by doppelgangers.

- After having a meeting with the town chief of police went on a rant about how the people that checked for magical foul play were payed for by the city high council members, meaning the dopplegangers would have the people checking for dopplegangers on their pay role. She did not have a rant at the chief of police because she knew that would cause more problems.

- Lied her way into the city sewers (the guards she lied to got the sack)

- found a rebel group in the sewers (they had a dead doppleganger) planning an uprising and riots in the street, promised them her support in the rebellion. They happened to be quite bigoted and anti shifters in general so she wasn't a massive fan. When the party then got captured by the police she gave them up (most got arrested) and used their dead doppleganger and the fact their was a rebel group fighting dopplegangers to convince the chief of police their were dopplegangers. He realised the party after that.

- broke into the high council building posing as cleaners and broke into the council meeting room, after their meeting they had a party, she sneaked into that and after reading proposed legal reform on treatment of shifters started smuggling letters saying we know into the people she suspecteds pockets. The party watched for who freaked out and left and followed them. She lied her way into the noble district of the city and then entered the people who'd freaked outs house. Turns out they were dopplegangers, who'd have thunk.

- chased the anti paladin who was working with the dopplegangers who just happened to run into the pub that had been the front for the rebel alliance set the rebels on him which lead to his and a lot of their deaths.

Not in a lawful neutral town

- got into an argument withe the police because they weren't letting her investigate a crime scene

- got a young officer to give her all the details after she got thrown out of the crime scene by using message to whisper sweet nothings into his ear and seduce him into giving her a tone of information.

- posed as the wife of a party member so that he didn't have to marry into a noble family for an arranged marriage and then actually married him about 3 months later xD

None of this was particularly disruptive to the group, in fact I think she was the most productive member of that party generally.


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Quark Blast wrote:
Isonaroc wrote:

@Quark Blast

It's not terribly difficult, even for a CE character to work with a group. All that is necessary is to have similar goals and/or like the other people in the party. There is a misconception about alignment that keeps cropping up. It applies to all alignments, but it's most apparent with evil. People seem to think that an evil person must be evil in all things at all times to all people, that evil characters cannot have relationships, or feel loyalty, or affection. Evil characters can be as fiercely loyal to their compatriots as anyone.

As I said,
QB wrote:
The difficulty with CN (more so with CE) is a proper hook to make your PC play nice with the remainder of the party.

As for the "fiercely loyal" thing. How can you come up with a hook to make the CE rogue "fiercely loyal" to any good character or cause?

CE and "heroic" are really, really hard to mesh.

PRD wrote:
A chaotic evil character is driven entirely by her own anger and needs. She is thoughtless in her actions and acts on whims, regardless of the suffering it causes others.

A relationship with a specific person can be one of their 'needs'


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

CN is pretty much Libertarianism.

Note that libertarianism is not (necessarily) against (all) laws or social structures. Instead, it emphasizes personal autonomy as well as economic and political freedom.


I've been gaming over twenty years now, and our gaming group has had dozens of players over the years, and I've never had a problem with a CN character.

These issues primarily seem to originate from 2E's depiction of CN as being stupid and random, but that hasn't been the description used for a long time (and even in 2nd we didn't play it that way, probably in large part thanks to the Githzerai showing a "better way" to be CN.)

CN is nothing more than someone that values freedom as the highest moral imperative. What good is Lawful Good's "utopia" without freedom? Where is the value in an oppressive Neutral Evil society that keeps its people underfoot?

It's easier to think of a Neutral character first - one that doesn't care all that much about Good or Evil aside from "preferring Good neighbors to evil ones" - and then just slapping a Freedom over Tradition addendum to it.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

It's not just the 2e description, but also the tendency for a bunch of problem players to use CN as a justification for being disruptive and screwing over other party members while claiming "I'm just playing my alignment".

I second Dragonchess Player's suggestion to look at it as fairly hard core libertarianism. Philosophical individualism while not particularly greedy nor altruistic. Your likelihood of being helped (or hindered) by him probably has a lot to do with your personal relationship with him and almost nothing to do with society's rules... unless it's a rule that personally resonate with him as an individual.


Bill Dunn wrote:
It's not just the 2e description, but also the tendency for a bunch of problem players to use CN as a justification for being disruptive and screwing over other party members while claiming "I'm just playing my alignment".

No, that's "I'm just playing a kender and the whole race is CN-crazy...". Nothing is better at "being disruptive and screwing over other party members" than playing a kender as described under their race. That's how some people see CN: psychotic kleptos with no self control, empathy or conscience and just doing anything 'cuz it looks fun/interesting/dangerous.


RDM42 wrote:
Quark Blast wrote:
Isonaroc wrote:

@Quark Blast

It's not terribly difficult, even for a CE character to work with a group. All that is necessary is to have similar goals and/or like the other people in the party. There is a misconception about alignment that keeps cropping up. It applies to all alignments, but it's most apparent with evil. People seem to think that an evil person must be evil in all things at all times to all people, that evil characters cannot have relationships, or feel loyalty, or affection. Evil characters can be as fiercely loyal to their compatriots as anyone.

As I said,
QB wrote:
The difficulty with CN (more so with CE) is a proper hook to make your PC play nice with the remainder of the party.

As for the "fiercely loyal" thing. How can you come up with a hook to make the CE rogue "fiercely loyal" to any good character or cause?

CE and "heroic" are really, really hard to mesh.

PRD wrote:
A chaotic evil character is driven entirely by her own anger and needs. She is thoughtless in her actions and acts on whims, regardless of the suffering it causes others.
A relationship with a specific person can be one of their 'needs'

Yes but for how long will it meet their "needs"? Not long according to the official alignment descriptions.

CE semi-tangent:

PFSRD wrote:

A chaotic evil character does what his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is 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... <snip>

Chaotic evil represents the destruction not only of beauty and life, but also of the order on which beauty and life depend... <snip>

Chaotic evil characters live at the mercy of their own toxic passions. Their goals and methods may change on a whim, and they often crave novelty and variety in their lives... <snip>

Serial killers, demon cultists, arsonists, dangerous hedonists, and others lured to atrocity by passion are drawn to this alignment... <snip>

Some chaotic evil characters have coherent philosophies or ideas that guide their actions... <snip>

However, some of these partnerships prove surprisingly stable, as the chaotic evil character may want to avoid the inconvenience and frustration of finding new partners.

The parts where CE is described as "coherent" and "surprisingly stable" baffle me. What part of "Serial killers, demon cultists, arsonists, dangerous hedonists, and others lured to atrocity by passion" meshes well with "coherent" and "surprisingly stable"?

Related question:
Can a CE character be wise?

PFSRD wrote:

Intelligence determines how well your character learns and reasons.

Wisdom describes a character’s willpower, common sense, awareness, and intuition.

Given the alignment description and the definition for INT or WIS, these don't have anything in common.

Yeeaaahhhhh, I'll pass on joining the party with the CE rogue. Thanks.

The party with the CN rogue?
Maybe, but I'll want to know what in particular is motivating him to be helpful to the adventuring group as a whole.


Well have you ever watched an interview with a serial killer? were they scatter brained and all over the place? or did they seem calm and calculated?

I have, they were calm, calculated, charming and manipulative, and yes they can be wise. Nocticula has 32 Wis and seems to have a pretty meticulous plan in place given that she seems set on ascending, and its unclear on how she aims to achieve that.


Chromantic Durgon <3 wrote:

Well have you ever watched an interview with a serial killer? were they scatter brained and all over the place? or did they seem calm and calculated?

I have, they were calm, calculated, charming and manipulative, and yes they can be wise. Nocticula has 32 Wis and seems to have a pretty meticulous plan in place given that she seems set on ascending, and its unclear on how she aims to achieve that.

That's a fine answer but it misses some salent descriptors. I'll repeat two here now
PFSRD wrote:

He is vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable... <snip>

Chaotic evil characters live at the mercy of their own toxic passions. Their goals and methods may change on a whim

What you describe sounds more NE/LE to me.

CE as a successful antihero only works in fiction because the author determines everything.


First Thing that came to my mind was someone with an (alternative) political Agenda. Communists maybe, but from a pre-communistic Revolution perspective. Someone fighting against established governments by creating alternative ideals, critizizing the System.

Today you'd find those among students a lot.

Silver Crusade

Quark Blast

Those are generalized descriptions. You're sorta assuming CE is a monolithic block of character traits. Some will be stable, some will be unstable, some will be coherent, some will be incoherent. Alignment is not the end all be all, and doesn't prescribe all actions at all times. CE characters can still treat people decently if it fits their worldview. For example, in the post-apocalyptic comic Crossed there is a schoolteacher who, when the food ran out, trained preteen children to waylay, murder, and eat other survivors. By most objective standards she was CE even though her primary concern was the continued survival of the children. She never would've turned on them, and spent her dying moments begging the people she'd planned on eating to take care of the children.

CE characters can do good things, they can get along with people, they can toe the line. The difference is that they do these things for ultimately selfish reasons. They do good things because in a particular situation it would benefit them more; they get along with people because they like them or they don't want to deal with the fallout; they toe the line because they know they'll get the crap kicked out of them if they don't. Video games fairly often have teammates that could be classified as chaotic evil (HK-47 from KOTOR, Morrigan and Zevran from DA, etc) who can function well enough in teams and all have certain lines or focii they won't transgress. Hell, look at a character like Bender from Futurama; he's lawless, generally takes pleasure in the misery of others (even his friends), is capable of theft and murder, and otherwise displays essentially all the traits of a CE character, but he still has moments where he feels bad about specific people (or tortoises), and is capable of being begrudgingly kind from time to time.


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Quark Blast wrote:


That's a fine answer but it misses some salent descriptors. I'll repeat two here now
PFSRD wrote:

He is vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable... <snip>

Chaotic evil characters live at the mercy of their own toxic passions. Their goals and methods may change on a whim

What you describe sounds more NE/LE to me.

CE as a successful antihero only works in fiction because the author determines everything.

Written down =/= correct

To be chaotic one does not have to act arbitrarily and do "lol random cause chaos" things to be the joker maybe but not simply to be chaotic. Therefore arbitrary random acts of any shade are not a requirement for chaotic evil. Some chaotic evil people will do them, some won't. Nocticula is a demon, she is literally made up of chaotic evil abyss sole energy stuff from what I can tell. She isn't "lol random violence cause chaos". She may occasionally have out bursts of aggression but I'm fairly sure she only ever have those in her own lair amongst her people, not somewhere where said acts could lead to troublesome consequences.

The idea that one alignment forces you to become some kind of psychotic with no control of their own actions who just goes round dealing with the consequences of one random outburst after that next is ridiculous. No other alignment dictates that, that characters must be completely insane, have no self control, and act without any consideration of consequence, chaotic doesn't need this, evil doesn't need this, chaotic evil therefore does not need this.

That version of chaotic evil is basically you're a kender but also evil.


Dave Justus wrote:

I aim to misbehave - Captain Malcolm Reynolds.

Pretty much perfect chaotic neutral philosophy.

A chaotic neutral character wouldn't have returned the stolen medicine in "The Train Job". It would've been something like "Its terrible the way those folks are suffering, but its in my interest to get paid and to not cross Niska."

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