a d20 issue

There seems to be a great disparity among players as to the exact deffinitions of each alignment. In addition, while the Player's Handbook might state one iron-clad deffinition of True Neutral, for example, there are other deffinitions. Some players do not easily fit into the predetermined molds that Dungeons and Dragons tends to impose. Because of this, the following dissertation on each alignment has become necessary -- not only to give veteran players a better scope of alignments, but also to give newer players a better understanding just what alignment is.

Alignments, in general, are world-views. The classic examples are Good and Evil, but there are always varying degrees of Good and Evil, Right and Wrong. Dungeons and Dragons breaks this down further into Good, Evil, Neutral, as well as Lawful and Chaotic. Good aims to make the world a better place, Evil aims to either destroy or corrupt, and Neutral chooses its battles, sometimes on one side and sometimes on the other. Lawful alignments tend to follow certain rules, be they national, political, religious, or personal codes. Chaotic alignments tend to be unpredictable, doing as they please from moment to moment. Displayed below is are two crude breakdowns of the alignments into the classical nine 'true alignments', color-coded by either Nature, or Code.

Alignment by Nature (Good vs Evil)
Lawful Good Lawful Neutral Lawful Evil
Neutral Good True Neutral Neutral Evil
Chaotic Good Chaotic Neutral Chaotic Evil
Alignment by Code (Lawful vs Chaotic)
Lawful Good Lawful Neutral Lawful Evil
Neutral Good True Neutral Neutral Evil
Chaotic Good Chaotic Neutral Chaotic Evil
Clicking on any of the alignments will take you to a more detailed analysis of each

Because of this breakdown, we can also see which of these alignments are in opposition to one another. For instance, Chaotic Evil's antithesis is Lawful Good -- and Chaotic Evil personalities tend to clash with the full spectrum of Lawful codes and Good natures (as shown below), because of the classic Good vs Evil theme, and the Law vs Chaos themes.

Chaotic Evil Oppositions
Lawful Good Lawful Neutral Lawful Evil
Neutral Good True Neutral Neutral Evil
Chaotic Good Chaotic Neutral Chaotic Evil

This opposition rule works well for the four corner alignments: Chaotic Evil, Lawful Good, Chaotic Evil, and Lawful Evil. In the cases of the four cardinal alignments (Chaotic Neutral, Neutral Good, Lawful Neutral, and Neutral Evil), we tend to see a slightly different breakdown of oppositions (as shown below). Neutral Good, for instance, is in direct opposition to all Evil natures.

Neutral Good Oppositions
Lawful Good Lawful Neutral Lawful Evil
Neutral Good True Neutral Neutral Evil
Chaotic Good Chaotic Neutral Chaotic Evil

These opposition studies are important when considering the alignments as a whole. Nations in opposition to one another cannot know peace. Races in opposition to one another know only war. Characters in opposition to one another within the party rarely survive the night.

Alignments as a whole, however, are a matter of personal taste when a player creates a character. It's also a matter of designing a character compatible with that alignment. Good. Bad. Unpredictable. Stoic. Most world-views, or alignments, can be fit into these nine categories. The nine categories are not inflexible, and there are a number of subalignments within each of the primary nine alignments.

It's important to remember that 'lawful' tends to mean a character is predictable in some fashion. Lawful characters tend to follow some sort of code, be it the law of the land, or a personal ethos. Admittedly, some 'lawful' characters only pay lip service to the law, such as the mob or corrupt politicians. Chaotic characters tend to be more unpredictable. They may follow a limited code of sorts, but it tends to be a malleable code, open to interpretation and experience. Chaotic characters do not necessarily sew chaos wherever they go; they just tend to be chaotic, themselves.

Lawful Good
Many veteran players automatically associate the Lawful Good alignment with paladins -- nefarious do-gooders that thwart evil at every turn, whether evil likes it or not. To them, Lawful Good is the sheriff that won't shoot an unarmed man, or the duelist that tosses a weapon to his opponent so that they might 'fight fair'. Veteran players tend to think of Lawful Good as 'Lawful Stupid'.

Quite the contrary. While there are 'lawful stupid' Lawful Good characters, there are alternatives. Lawful Good can exemplify a soulful samurai, a world-wise paladin, or just a regular guard who believes in what he stands for. Most good-aligned nations are actually Lawful Good, such as King Arthur's Camelot, or the modern-day United States.

Lawful Neutral
Lawful Neutral is the classic soldier's code. To the soldier, Good and Evil are things they believe in when they're not on duty. When in uniform, "Orders are orders."

Lawful Neutral personalities tend to follow the letter of the law, rather than the spirit of the law. Because of this, beauracracies often fall into this category. Many Lawful Good societies sometimes degenerate to this, rather than idealizing the original intentions. Lawful Evil societies can also be inhibited by the beauracracy, so it is not necessarily a 'bad' thing.

Monks seeking personal, spiritual enlightment above all else, or individuals who consider themselves above Good and Evil can also fall into this category.

Lawful Evil
The mob has been the most classic example of Lawful Evil, but anyone who twists the law for their own evil ends also qualifies as Lawful Evil. Evil societies that exist within a codified form, such as slave-owners and drug-lords, typify the climate. Individuals with strong personal codes that also think other lives are less significant than their own -- such as evil monks or merecenaries -- also qualify as Lawful Evil.

Neutral Good
People with only a mild bent towards Good, or with a near-obsession towards Good, tend to qualify as Neutral Good. These two extremes are considered 'neutral', because of their extremism in regards to the Good nature -- they are neither Lawful nor Chaotic, neither predictable nor ambiguous. Neutral Good personalities tend to have long-term plans, and pay only nominal care to local worries.

True Neutral
Of all the alignments, True Neutral has perhaps the most subcategories and subalignments.

Some people believe in something beyond Good and Evil. Like Neutral Good, they may be either fanatical or lackadaisical, but the essence of the alignment is a belief in something other than Good or Evil.

Many, like certain druids, believe that there must be a balance between Good and Evil -- that without the balance, neither benefits, to the detriment of all. Some True Neutrals will change sides in the middle of a battle, in order to maintain a balance. Such people are considered 'low balancers', because they change sides so often. Other True Neutrals will change sides only in the long-term, or if titanic forces or involved -- they are known as 'high balancers'.

Another form of True Neutral -- and probably the most common -- is 'coin'. Many people will do anything for money -- Good and Evil mean nothing to them. They follow a personal code of their own, but it if the money dictates Law, then so be it. If the money dictates Chaos, then so be it. True Neutral alignments tend make the perfect assassins, as they follow their orders for whatever pay, no matter the situation.

Neutral Evil
The most vile and insidious of all the alignments is Neutral Evil. Uncaring and callous in its outlook towards all life, Neutral Evil has no problems using anyone and anything for its own personal advantage. A Neutral Evil individual can easily stay best friends with someone until he has gotten whatever it was he came for -- and then callously slit his 'best friend's throat. These individuals are usually driven with an inner thirst for power, or seek a goal at all costs -- including sentient life.

Chaotic Good
In most action movies, the good guys have a trademark 'evil grin' that they give before battling the bad guys. Unpredictable, chaotic, and annoyingly cunning, Chaotic Good typifies the Hollywood wild cards. They will seek Evil out wherever it is, be it a corrupt guard or a mad man bent on world domination. Chaotic Good tends to home in on malevolance, and fight it with a maniacal fury or drive.

Chaotic Neutral
Crazy. Most insane peoples fall into the Chaotic Neutral category, because they are neither predictable, nor Good -- or Evil. They can flicker from one to another, sometimes being one alignment for a moment, and another alignment the next.

Other Chaotic Neutrals are those that must sew chaos, and care not for either Good or Evil. Any kind of status quo is anathema to them, and they may follow the dictates or a given situation as their hearts desire.

Too many players use Chaotic Neutral alignments as an excuse to do whatever they want. These characters tend not to last long, however, as the Dungeon Master must do away with them.

Chaotic Evil
Chaotic Evil is the Evil that cannot be foreseen. Sewing chaos wherever they go, they destroy any structure they find -- be it now, or soon enough. Chaotic Evil is the alignment of the classical destroyers, and classic Evil. Nothing is capable of more damage, or loathes Lawful societies more. Wherever there is Law, or Goodness, Chaotic Evil will be biding its time in the shadows, awaiting to rise with power enough to destroy everything.

| Gaeleth |