Is a Character's Personality effected or separate from there alignment?


Rules Questions


So not sure if rules can even answer this one, alignment being what it is.

but anyway i've been thinking lately ''So what if had a character who was a good person, strives to do good and all. But does consistently one evil thing to help with that good like raise the dead or some other spell with the evil descriptor. Would the whole evil in the alignment thing change that character? would the good balance the evil?''

p.s. not for any current games, just a thought.


Its a facet. like any character trait. You could say that their personality affect their alignment to some degree or vice versa.


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Good and evil are things on golarion. A balor is evil because it is a balor, not because of what it does. Outsiders in general have a set alignment which is prescriptive.

Characters, on the other hand, have descriptive alignments, which best describe the character's actions without forcing them to do things a particular way.

Still, good and evil are things. A person on golarion has alignment, it is a possession.

I'd be inclined to say that you'd have an evil alignment if you cast raise dead a lot, but you could still have personality traits that make you a functional and well adapted member of society who mostly benefits others. The gods might hate you, but your friends probably wouldn't.


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Here's the only rules answer I can manage, and it's not much.

Alignment wrote:
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.

Silver Crusade

I'd consider a character who uses evil ways to achieve good goals, or the other way around, to be neutral. The character might view itself as good, and congratulate itself on their accomplishments, but their actual methods are bringing them down from that lofty position.

Whether these evil ways are the torturing of enemies, the slaughtering of children of evil races or the casting of spells with the evil descriptor, doesn't really matter. Good folk should not use such methods. Those who do, burden their soul as to be no longer good.


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Like most of alignment discussions, it depends. IMO it would depend on what that "consistently one evil thing to help with that good" was. If it was "raise the dead", which I assume means create undead like zombies and skeletons, I would say neutral. If you didn't do it often I could even see good. If you started creating free willed evil undead, that will lead to the dark side...evil.

Scarab Sages

It's a bit of column A, a bit of column B. You choose your actions, but your actions also define who you are. You may be a good guy, but doing evil is going to set a trend for you that will be difficult to break. The same can be said for doing Good if you have evil inclinations.


The simple answer is simple: if it was you doing these things, could you justify calling yourself good? If yes, then the alignment is good. If I was creating zombies and skeletons to fight an evil army that is invading a town, not only am I allowing the weak civilians to not being forced to fight and die themselves, but I am saving an entire town’s worth of people. Doesn’t matter that the spell is evil. There is no possible way you can justify that as evil.

Think of it like this: In the anime/manga Bleach, Ichigo uses the evil powers of Hollows to fight Hollows. In the video game series Final Fantasy VII, Cloud uses the evil power of materia (their use literally harms the planet) to stop Sephiroth. In the video game series Soul Calibur, Seigfried uses the evil weapon Soul Calibur to fight the evil weapon Soul Edge. In the Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Link uses several evil masks, one of them being a literal torture device that prevents sleep, in order to save an entire kingdom from destruction. In the video game series Kingdom Hearts, Riku uses the evil powers of darkness to fight the evil creatures known as Heartless. I think I’ve given enough examples. These characters are not evil. Not even close to it. Some of them were evil at one point, but aren’t now.

The point is that just because something is labeled evil, doesn’t mean using it is evil. Intent is what determines alignment. Raise an army of zombies to drive back the Tarrasque? Good alignment. Raise an army of zombies to prevent people from stopping you summoning the Tarrasque? Evil Alignment. Raise some skeletons to enter a burning orphanage to save the children because you are vulnerable to fire and can’t enter it yourself? Good alignment. Raise some skeletons to mass start fires at orphanages? Evil alignment.

Scarab Sages

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Reksew_Trebla wrote:
Stuff.

All this talk of subjective morality and means to an end is nice, but in Pathfinder casting an evil spell is evil, regardless of what you use it for.

Summon an army of skeletons to fight the Tarrasque? If it kills you, there's now a Tarrasque AND an army of skeletons to fight. There are always consequences to creating evil creatures, even if you have control over them, because that control can be wrested.


aren't the 'create undead' line of spells evil because they disrupt the whole transmigration of souls thing that is the afterlife and cause the souls of the dead to suffer?

I do interpret alignment as a subjective moral code for mortals to follow, which means its more loose and is subject to change, but for outsiders its more hardcoded accordingly. IE, alignment for mortals (and even, arguably, for Deities) is a lifestyle choice; for outsiders its part of their DNA (so to speak, outsiders probably don't have DNA).

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

IMO, a Good person is, broadly speaking, someone who seeks to perform Good acts and eschews Evil acts.

That doesn’t mean they can’t do something Evil to accomplish an especially Good end, but that shouldn’t be something they want to do. That choice should be hard for a Good person to make, and they should probably feel bad about it afterwards. Even though they accomplished something Good, they had to sacrifice their ideals to do so, and that torments them.

If you consistently use an Evil spell, that tells me that you have no compunctions against performing that Evil act, which to me means you’re not Good. Even if you make a show of wringing your hands or atoning each time you hit the “undead horde” button, at some point that starts to feel disingenuous.


djdust wrote:
aren't the 'create undead' line of spells evil because they disrupt the whole transmigration of souls thing that is the afterlife and cause the souls of the dead to suffer?

Maybe. Maybe not. There's not really a reason. Creating (permanent) undead is Evil, that's just part of the fabric of reality.


djdust wrote:
aren't the 'create undead' line of spells evil because they disrupt the whole transmigration of souls thing that is the afterlife and cause the souls of the dead to suffer?

In Golarion, yes, that's how it works. In Pathfinder in general, it's not defined in detail how the afterlife works or why undead-creating spells are evil.


Looking into it more, Necromancy and the Undead in general are powered by the Negative Energy Plane, which is an unaligned plane. Seems like animating a corpse with negative energy actually has little to do with the soul that once inhabited it. Acknowledging this is all setting determinate, seems like there's some confusion/contradiction.

Silver Crusade

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This is an ethical question of intention vs result. In AD&D/D&D/Pathfinder, good, evil, lawful, and chaotic alignments are based on results, not intention. And if you inadvertently did something you didn't want to do, you seek atonement, as per the spell, to clear your soul of the stain of your actions.

The negative energy plane, by its very nature, destroys life. The plane itself might be unaligned, but if you create undead, you're creating a creature with an aversion to life. The nature of undead, when left uncontrolled, is to attack and kill the living.

This makes undead evil in nature. At least in Pathfinder. Even if you control undead to save innocents, you're still creating an evil force upon the world. If you die or otherwise lose control, the innocents have the undead as one more problem in their lives. So, you're doing both good and evil, which means you're neutral.

Your intentions might be good, but your actions aren't. And actions are what count in Pathfinder. You should seek an atonement spell for your evil deeds and not do it again. If you keep doing it, atonement will stop working, and you'll shift alignment to neutral.

Not that it's a problem to be neutral, mind you. It's very easy going and pragmatic. Lots of very fine folks are neutral. Usually the neutrals are much more widely agreeable people than the good...


Looking at things i think i like neutral as an alignment explaination a lot here.

It explains the good guy using dark powers thing well. A greater good, save innocents, save the day, damn the rules any anything that would interfere.

as a quick aside, this has also helped me develop the character better.

I guess this is really a can something evil be used for good situation. Answer definitely yes, but it's still an evil object.

if it matters i'm not planning for permanent undead, hoping to go with more temporary undead. hoping but not sure it's really possible. if not, then he won't create more or something he can't handle himself.

Thanks for the help i think i got my answer


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Reksew_Trebla wrote:
The simple answer is simple: if it was you doing these things, could you justify calling yourself good?

I cannot agree with this. It is well-understood that a rationalizing mind rationalizes absolutely. There is a difference between being rational and rationalizing. In fact, rationalizing often results in something that most people would not consider rational. You are the worst person to justify your actions. Certainly other people (or maybe even no one) can know or understand your motives or reasons, but that does not make you the best judge of what's rational/good/acceptable (in a society/alignment sense)/etc. for your actions. The minute you even try to start justifying your actions, you are no longer being objective. It certainly might let you sleep better at night or be able to look yourself in the mirror, but your justification has no bearing on right or wrong or good or bad in the alignment system sense.

Ammon Knight of Ragathiel wrote:
''So what if had a character who was a good person, strives to do good and all. But does consistently one evil thing to help with that good like raise the dead or some other spell with the evil descriptor. Would the whole evil in the alignment thing change that character? would the good balance the evil?''

The problem is that in these examples, they keep getting linked. "I do this evil thing to do this good thing, so it's not an evil thing." but that isn't it. Those are two separate things one is an evil thing with a rationalized justification.

  • You kill a man for his money or even just steal his money. Evil thing. / You give the money to an orphanage. Good thing.
    The good thing doesn't make the evil thing good. Justifying it to say that the money is better used by the orphanage or that the man was old and gonna die (or maybe he was leaving it to the orphanage anyway, so it's not even like you were stealing it, since the orphans were going to get it anyway) doesn't make the evil action good or neutral.
  • You animate corpses to create undead (against the wishes of the dead or their family.) Evil thing. / You have the undead kill a bad guy. Good thing.
    That's just an evil thing and a good thing. That's not a neutral thing. How the actions balance out as a whole is debatable.
  • You do something really, really bad to the child of an evil person (not gonna go into what kind of act it may be). Evil thing. / You cause such emotional distress to a bad guy that they kill themselves in grief (possibly stopping a legitimately evil scheme from occurring.) Good thing.

    You are ultimately just a person doing bad things and doing good things. It can be up for debate if your good actions outweigh your bad ones. The truth is you're probably acting more chaotic, since you can't pick a side, but that's your GM's call. You don't get to say, "****ing a child of an evil person (let's saying 'killing') is a good or even neutral act because it makes the bad guy suffer or even gets them so furious they can't accomplish their goals." (Well, you can say it, but that doesn't make it so, just like you can wake up and say "I am Lawful Good today.) It's bad, really bad. Evil. You are an evil person for what you did (whether that is enough to shift your alignment to a quantifiable definition, like Neutral Good or Neutral Evil or whatever notwithstanding). You've put your own desires and goals over those of others. Not just in a selfish way, but in a hurtful, damaging way. Animating the dead (as opposed to raising the dead, which is voluntary) is not only desecrating the dead but likely violating their wishes and those of their families and is also an evil spell (which I tend to care about less, but it is).

    Is it possible for you to perform good deeds with the undead you raised that will outweigh your evil ones? Yes, of course, but the intent, motives, and justification don't change the action. Your actions do, but they are still separate actions. So... yeah, your character should be neutral if you are legitimately doing good things, but the good things have to heavily outweigh the evil things, not just be balanced. Until you are actually not doing evil things, would I let you be considered 'good'.

Silver Crusade

Ammon, glad to be of help :)

Pizza Lord, I agree with your post in general, but I'd like to reply to this part.

Pizza Lord wrote:


  • You kill a man for his money or even just steal his money. Evil thing. / You give the money to an orphanage. Good thing.

Hurting people is definitely evil, but not all stealing is hurting. Someone who has wealth in such abundance that they are no longer making other people's, or even their own, lives any more beautiful through said wealth, is not being hurt if their money gets stolen.

In such a case, stealing said person's money is certainly not an evil act. It is, however, unlawful, and as such it is a chaotic act. Stealing from the very rich and giving to the very poor would as such clearly fall into the chaotic good alignment.

Right?

In law vs chaos, the same happens as in good vs evil.

If you take matters into your own hands, because you feel the law is unjust, that's a chaotic act. Like the above steal from rich to give to poor.
If you do something unlawful to achieve something lawful, that's neutral. Like if you steal from the greedy baron, and then pretend to be a legal clerk, giving the baron's money to one of his captains, so that the soldiers get paid as the baron should have done in the first place.
If you take lawful action against said baron, such as invoking a higher law (religious law, for example) to judge, condemn, and assassinate the baron for his unlawful behaviour, then you're being lawful (even though assassination would seem to be unlawful on its own, it is lawful in this case).


Think of Dirty Harry. He was a jerk, but he worked to stop evil. In doing so, he did some questionable things. But, we view him as one of the good guys.


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Chuck Mount wrote:
Think of Dirty Harry. He was a jerk, but he worked to stop evil. In doing so, he did some questionable things. But, we view him as one of the good guys.

I am sure I can't remember every action Dirty Harry did. However, being a 'jerk' isn't evil. 'Questionable' actions aren't evil actions. Casting an evil spell is most definitely an evil action. Dirty Harry insulting other ethnicities and alienating his partners is certainly questionable behavior, but not evil in the way we're talking about (an evil spell, which is an action that is unquestionably evil, though its scale or magnitude may not be overwhelmingly so). Maybe he drank and got behind the wheel, but that's not evil, certainly questionable. In fact, he always acted towards a code of good even when he could have justifiably blown people to bits ("Do you feel lucky?", though I believe it was actually "Do I feel lucky?" in the context of the punk asking himself the question.) He could likely have easily gotten away with killing the robber in that first scene who had been shooting at him and was reaching for a gun. He didn't (his gun was ultimately empty, but I am almost positive if he wanted to he could have killed the man anytime he wanted to). He took the man into custody. It didn't matter to him that the man was, without a doubt, not only a criminal, but a dangerous criminal. Nor did it matter that the man was black and Dirty Harry was thought to be racist (whether that was a cultivated facade or partly true I am still hazy on).

He also could have justifiably gotten away with killing Scorpio while he was reaching for his gun and we would have cheered and called him a good guy, but still he gave him a chance. The evil guy went for his gun and he shot him. Dirty Harry didn't do an evil act, even one which we would have considered justified. Is it possible I am missing a blatantly and unmitigated evil act? Possibly, haven't seen it a long time. What evil act are you thinking of?


It is part of a character's personality, but not all of it. Nothing stopping there from being a cheerful, bubbly lich or a humorless, angry paladin.


Chuck Mount wrote:
Think of Dirty Harry. He was a jerk, but he worked to stop evil. In doing so, he did some questionable things. But, we view him as one of the good guys.

Do we? I've always thought of him as contributing to and reinforcing the cycle of violence that he was trying to stop. While he may have stopped specific criminals, he legitimized extra-legal violence as a solution to social problems.

I know I sound way too pompous here. It's early, and I haven't had enough coffee so that I can write more like a normal person and less like a wordy academic.


In addition to alignment, characters have lots of other motivations. I have two chaotic neutral characters who are totally different in their beliefs and values. One is Pazuzu-worshipping warpriest from Cheliax who lives on the Sargavan frontier doing his colonial "heart of darkness" thing. The other is sandkin half-orc druid from Katapesh who worships Bastet and wants to kick all Avistanis (aka "Avi-trash") out of the continent of Garund. They would totally true to kill each other if they ever met in person.


RealAlchemy wrote:
cheerful, bubbly lich

I'm stealing this idea and am thinking about maybe Martha Stewart as a lich.


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Viondar wrote:
Hurting people is definitely evil, but not all stealing is hurting.

I can certainly agree that not all theft is 'evil' but where are you also getting the definitive statement that hurting people is definitely evil? Certainly beating someone up for selfish reasons or torturing them is evil. People hurt each other all the time, and I'm not talking about emotionally or accidentally hitting someone with a door. If hurting people were definitely an evil act that would be spelled out clearly, because I would say that over 50% of the game involves mechanics for hurting people when other (non-evil, by your standards) options can be taken (and that's taking into account people actively trying to hurt you and 'monsters' as being exempt or permitted to be harmed).

Quote:
Someone who has wealth in such abundance that they are no longer making other people's, or even their own, lives any more beautiful through said wealth, is not being hurt if their money gets stolen.

Now you're rationalizing. You are trying to justify stealing something from someone. Where does anyone have to use their money to make your life better? Maybe they were just keeping it in their safe and not spending their money because they want to leave it to their heirs, who maybe could have used it. Are you saying that it's okay because they have more money? That the sensation of vulnerability, having their home invaded, and their private lives laid open is not harmful? I have no problem with you justifying that, but you're purposefully trying to rationalize why you could do something that is clearly wrong and harmful (though maybe not physically).

Quote:

In such a case, stealing said person's money is certainly not an evil act. It is, however, unlawful, and as such it is a chaotic act. Stealing from the very rich and giving to the very poor would as such clearly fall into the chaotic good alignment.

...
If you take matters into your own hands, because you feel the law is unjust, that's a chaotic act. Like the above steal from rich to give to poor.
...
Right?

Wrong. While it's definitely unlawful, the fact that someone is very rich does not entitle you to take their money and give it to someone else. That's like claiming because someone has 4 children (or 10 or 20) that you should be able to take one because you can't have children (or lost a child, or just don't have one yet.) Even if you could provide a better life for the child.

It sounds like you're trying to form a connection here with Robin Hood, a good man who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. He didn't just rob rich people (meaning his targets weren't rich people, if he did they were direct recipients of stolen money or goods from their support of King John). He actually robbed money that was being stolen, extorted, and illegally taxed by criminals (or at least unlawful rulers and their agents... ie. criminals). He wasn't going and robbing the tombs of kings and nobles. He wasn't rolling random drunks who staggered out of the inn or gambling hall after a lucky night of dice rolling because they were rich and probably just going to drink, gamble, or squander it away on a night of wenches.

Quote:
In law vs chaos, the same happens as in good vs evil.

Yes, but they are two separate axis. You can be lawful and be good or lawful and be evil.

Quote:
If you do something unlawful to achieve something lawful, that's neutral.

No, that's unlawful.

Quote:
Like if you steal from the greedy baron, and then pretend to be a legal clerk, giving the baron's money to one of his captains, so that the soldiers get paid as the baron should have done in the first place.

No, that's unlawful and then that's you pretending to be a legal officer... which is another unlawful thing. You might be trying to do the 'right' thing, or the 'good' thing. But that doesn't make the unlawful act, followed by a second unlawful act, into a neutral act. You've really just committed two unlawful acts to accomplish something that you (and maybe others) feel is the right thing.

Quote:
If you take lawful action against said baron, such as invoking a higher law (religious law, for example) to judge, condemn, and assassinate the baron for his unlawful behaviour, then you're being lawful (even though assassination would seem to be unlawful on its own, it is lawful in this case).

If you take proper legal action, then you are taking a lawful action. If you are doing it for an evil purpose (to assassinate him or to take his land), ie. using the law to declare him a witch so you can take his property, even if you're planning to give money to his guards, then you are still taking a lawful action (assuming he really is a witch and you aren't filing false reports), but that is an evil action, which is separate from the lawful aspect and would be what we would consider a 'lawful evil action'. It wouldn't be neutral or chaotic because you are using the law for evil purposes.

For purposes of the OP, he's doing evil actions and then doing good actions using the results of the evil actions (which is fine), but that doesn't make the actions neutral, though his ultimate alignment will likely be that way (but only because the example he is giving us is that he is otherwise overwhelmingly good in deed). He's still taking evil actions. His evil actions don't get mitigated to the status of 'neutral actions' just because he's managing to stay on one side of the scale. An evil person who does something good and charitable has performed a good action the equal of any righteous paladin, that doesn't make them neutral or a righteous paladin. The action itself has its own merits and value.


pjrogers wrote:
RealAlchemy wrote:
cheerful, bubbly lich
I'm stealing this idea and am thinking about maybe Martha Stewart as a lich.

"And that's a good thing!"(tm)

Silver Crusade

Pizza Lord,

I do have the feeling that we're kind of on the same page, but that we're reading too much into each other's posts and have begun to argue for argument's sake.

Probably, if we'd talk in person or would play a game together, we'd agree on each other's judgement.

As it is, I see no things in your reasoning that I'd like to refute out of hand, but it's the way you put it and the way you put things from my message in a different context and/or light, that makes me want to argue with you.

I won't, though.

As far as I can tell, we're both agreeing at least that Pathfinder judges good, evil, law, and chaos on actions, not intentions.


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pjrogers wrote:
Chuck Mount wrote:
Think of Dirty Harry. He was a jerk, but he worked to stop evil. In doing so, he did some questionable things. But, we view him as one of the good guys.

Do we? I've always thought of him as contributing to and reinforcing the cycle of violence that he was trying to stop. While he may have stopped specific criminals, he legitimized extra-legal violence as a solution to social problems.

I know I sound way too pompous here. It's early, and I haven't had enough coffee so that I can write more like a normal person and less like a wordy academic.

Dirty Harry often raises his head in alignment discussions.

You may be right about him contributing to and reinforcing the cycle of violence, but that's a little deep for most RPGs. He brought justice to criminals when the legal system failed to do so, and so is generally considered to be good aligned.

Whereas Judge Dredd was a parody of Dirty Harry. He championed the law, even when it was unjust. He is generally considered to be Lawful Neutral.


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this person wrote:
The negative energy plane, by its very nature, destroys life. The plane itself might be unaligned, but if you create undead, you're creating a creature with an aversion to life.

Funny, by that logic, all 100% of life is also evil, since the positive energy plane, also by its very nature, destroys all life and unlife. This means undead are less evil than living creatures, since the negative energy plane only kills living creatures.

Silver Crusade

Well, no... Because if you put a creature with a link to the positive elemental plane on the prime material plane, that creature would not be able to give enough energy to explode prime material creatures.

It would instead just heal them and maybe encourage plant life a bit.

Putting living innocents on the positive elemental plane without protection, though... Yeah, that would be evil.

Dark Archive

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One of the oddities about alignment is that it sometimes doesn't take into account the differences between what kind of person you are (or think yourself to be), and what kind of impact you are choosing to have on the world and other people around you.

There are terribly self-serving people who are running charities or doing other good works because it makes them look good (or is part of an attempt to repair damage to their reputation they've done previously, or even part of a public service requirement imposed upon them by the law, for their previous misdeeds). They are objectively doing good things, but not necessarily good people.

There are people who mean so terribly well, and feel bad for poor hungry people and whatnot, but don't do a darn thing about these situations. No time volunteered, no money donated, no Toys For Tots or whatever. They may think of themselves as good people, they may even be good people, at heart, but they aren't doing a darn thing to help anyone, or make the world a better place.

Game alignment scores don't really account for those sorts of situations, the 'bad person doing good things for bad reasons' (like Queen Margery in Game of Thrones, distributing food to the poor to bolster her reputation as a 'good person' and build up a support base against that of Cersei in a city otherwise under Cersei's thumb) or 'good person doing bad things with the best of intentions' (like the Operative in Serenity thought himself to be, a monster protecting civilization from a worse fate, convincing himself that he was doing horrible things to help create a world that wouldn't need hard, cruel people like himself) or whatever.

Being a big fan of comic book superheroes, in which the 'heroes' are vigilantes and lawbreakers who defy authority, and yet also enforce justice, at the same time 'chaotic' and 'lawful,' I've always kind of shrugged at the concept.

In the end, people are people. In the real world, it's been determined that the part of our brain that makes a decision to act goes off a half-second *before* the part of our brain that connects to ethical or moral decision making, and suggests that we spend our entire lives just *doing stuff* and then desperately scrambling after the fact to rationalize how that action was consistent with our so-called beliefs.

Fictional characters may have a consistent characterization or 'alignment' (or not...), but *people* sure as heck don't.

We're all exception-based design.

"I am X, except that one time I Y'd, because... uh, I was drunk? Really angry? Confused? Feeling down? Being written really out of character?" :)


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Personality should create your alignment, not the other way around.

Not to say you can't do things that are sometimes contradictory to your "normal personality" but they should represent either character growth/change or a new facet of your personality that hadn't been explored before.

Maybe the Lawful Good was always on the up and up...before Lawful Evil Baron von Bad used some obscure laws to steal his land and wife. Now our fighter wants to kill him. Clearly against the law (though not necessarily chaotic) but probably out of character for this person.


Humans too aren't creatures of perfect alignment like celestials. They can fluctuate maybe one week their a bit more lawful maybe the next a bit more chaotic. but they always end up averaging somewhere about their alignment.


Set wrote:

One of the oddities about alignment is that it sometimes doesn't take into account the differences between what kind of person you are (or think yourself to be), and what kind of impact you are choosing to have on the world and other people around you.

There are terribly self-serving people who are running charities or doing other good works because it makes them look good (or is part of an attempt to repair damage to their reputation they've done previously, or even part of a public service requirement imposed upon them by the law, for their previous misdeeds). They are objectively doing good things, but not necessarily good people.

There are people who mean so terribly well, and feel bad for poor hungry people and whatnot, but don't do a darn thing about these situations. No time volunteered, no money donated, no Toys For Tots or whatever. They may think of themselves as good people, they may even be good people, at heart, but they aren't doing a darn thing to help anyone, or make the world a better place.

Game alignment scores don't really account for those sorts of situations, the 'bad person doing good things for bad reasons' (like Queen Margery in Game of Thrones, distributing food to the poor to bolster her reputation as a 'good person' and build up a support base against that of Cersei in a city otherwise under Cersei's thumb) or 'good person doing bad things with the best of intentions' (like the Operative in Serenity thought himself to be, a monster protecting civilization from a worse fate, convincing himself that he was doing horrible things to help create a world that wouldn't need hard, cruel people like himself) or whatever.

I think alignment covers these situations quite well. All you need to remember is that the good/evil axis is the selfless/selfish axis. So someone who only does good deeds for selfish reasons is not good, and someone who feels for the needy but can't be bothered to do anything about it isn't good either. Most such people are probably neutral.


Going off of the old fantasy empires rpg, raising a lot of undead was technically a chaotic action, not necessarily an evil one. Good/evil would be a matter of intent.

Silver Crusade

There is plenty of confusion in alignment systems, simply because there are multiple.

In Order vs Chaos (Warhammer), you should view order as good. And the good guys are just slightly less a-holes as the bad guys.

In Light side vs Dark side (Starwars), it's all about intention and the way a character deals with their emotions. While Dark side might lead to evil and the other way around, they are certainly not the same thing.

In Vampire we have humanity vs bestiality, but having high humanity as a vampire doesn't make you a good guy.

Now, D&D (and PF) has the 9 alignments system.

Does the 9 alignments system allow for all human actions to fall into their categories? No, of course not. But it does allow us to categorise quite well. You could probably find yourself in the alignment system.

As a small test, I'll categorise myself.

test:

I'm considered a generally friendly guy - no alignment value.
I'm a nurse - no value, but easier to do for altruistic (good) people.
I like when things are fair for everyone and will act accordingly - lawful good trait.
I take matters into my own hands if I consider them unfair or stupid, and have no qualms about breaking rule or law to 'fix' things to my own vision - chaotic trait.
I usually help people, even if it is of no benefit to me - good trait.
If people seem intent on destroying themselves, I might ask questions and offer insight (especially when working), but I'll totally let them - chaotic neutral trait.
I detest lying, and refuse to do it (unless I'm in a game) - lawful trait.
I'm thoroughly pragmatic when it comes to reaching goals - neutral trait.
I sometimes feel a grim satisfaction at seeing certain people fail - evil trait.

So generally, I'm probably neutral good, with true neutral tendencies.

In no way would that mean that my personality is about the same as other NG people. Personality is not alignment at all. Alignment is mostly important for gods, priests, and magic. Personality is what matters in roleplaying.


Set wrote:
In the real world, it's been determined that the part of our brain that makes a decision to act goes off a half-second *before* the part of our brain that connects to ethical or moral decision making, and suggests that we spend our entire lives just *doing stuff* and then desperately scrambling after the fact to rationalize how that action was consistent with our so-called beliefs.

We know it is the case that humans possess machinery for rationalizing actions after the fact, and we have reliable results indicating that actions which may feel concious occur before conscious decision making. We also know that out conscious minds definitively do affect decision making.

What consciousness is is a hotly debated topic.

Sovereign Court

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You can be a pyromaniac of any alignment.

LG - I shall smite the Demon with FIRE!!
NG - Sarenrae
CG - Sarenrae with ADHD

LN - BURN THE HERETIC!!
N - Fire is one of the four elements
CN - Sings songs about fire while burning random non-orphanage stuff down

LE - Your Honor, I did not burn down the orphanage. I simply put the flammables by the orphanage, in a line to the abandoned house next door, and set THAT house on fire. The orphanage burned itself down and the kids were just too dumb to unlock the door.
NE - Burning people's homes down isn't my only tool, just one of my favorites.
CE - Burn. Burn! BURN! BURN!! BUUURN!!

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