Chaotic Good Is The Most Popular Alignment! - Page 22
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  1. #211
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    Quote Originally Posted by billd91 View Post
    Han's probably more CG than CN or N...
    Which Han? It's like talking about Batman at this point.

    Han starts out the original trilogy as CN, and then has a character arc which goes through a series of changes in his behavior and his moral priorities, so that by the end of the trilogy he is CG.

    Han in the original extended universe starts off as a CG idealist, but is beaten down by the world until he is the jaded CN criminal we see in the beginning of 'A New Hope'

    Han in the recent 'Solo' movie is presented as basically CN from the moment we meet him, with the apparent intention of setting him off on the beginning of the character arc we see in the original trilogy. Han the young idealist who joins the Academy, is on the beginning of a bright career as a pilot, and then throws it all away then he sees the reality of the Empire's treatment of its non-human citizens isn't really present. He ends up helping Chewie out of self-interest, and not out of compassion or other fine feeling. He has no real moral core.

    Han in 'A Force Awakens' is basically unrecognizable as the character we knew at the end of 'Return of the Jedi'. He's even much more of a defeated man than he was at 'A New Hope', having lost all the idealism and maturity that the had gained over the course of the trilogy, and is now acting as an irresponsible man-child who has abandoned his beliefs, his wife, his son, and in many ways is thoroughly wretched. Since we are given little to no explanation of what has happened beyond some vague hints, and because there seems to have been no concrete idea what those events where and the authors seemed to think they'd be fleshed out at some future point if needed, it's really hard to know what Han's alignment is but it's a moral collapse not that far from Anakin's complete moral collapse in 'Revenge of the Sith'. (And as badly explained and rationalized as that was, at least it was better explained and rationalized than Han's moral collapse.) Han is CN, possibly even CE given the depth of his betrayal, selfishness, and irresponsibility, at the time of 'A Force Awakens'.

  2. #212
    Quote Originally Posted by Hussar View Post
    Well. Thats fair I suppose. If the group is allowed to execute your character for stepping out of line, then your alignment doesnt matter too much.
    It's not a matter of being allowed or not - every action has consequences, and in a world like D&D being killed for one's actions is always one of the possible consequences.

    Even in the real world, the ultimate consequence for non-compliance with the law is death, though it doesn't usually escalate to that.

    In the Abyss, whatever your immediate superior says IS the law, and death as a consequence is highly likely.

    As for adventuring groups, how many characters have been killed in D&D history for stealing from the party? Definitely more than a few.

    Death is an extreme example, and in my opinion even the most Chaotic of characters would not need such a strong deterrent to dissuade them from doing a lot of the whacky shenanigans they tend to get up to in D&D except for one small detail: usually the other players at the table do not have their characters react in a realistic fashion because to do so would mean the disruptive character would likely no longer be part of the group (one way or another), something which often means losing an actual player, too. Depending on the players' real-life relationships, that may not be an option, probably a big part of why CN is so hated.

  3. #213
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    Han in 'A Force Awakens' is basically unrecognizable as the character we knew at the end of 'Return of the Jedi'. He's even much more of a defeated man than he was at 'A New Hope', having lost all the idealism and maturity that the had gained over the course of the trilogy, and is now acting as an irresponsible man-child who has abandoned his beliefs, his wife, his son, and in many ways is thoroughly wretched. Since we are given little to no explanation of what has happened beyond some vague hints, and because there seems to have been no concrete idea what those events where and the authors seemed to think they'd be fleshed out at some future point if needed, it's really hard to know what Han's alignment is but it's a moral collapse not that far from Anakin's complete moral collapse in 'Revenge of the Sith'. (And as badly explained and rationalized as that was, at least it was better explained and rationalized than Han's moral collapse.) Han is CN, possibly even CE given the depth of his betrayal, selfishness, and irresponsibility, at the time of 'A Force Awakens'.
    Are we watching the same movies?!? There's a vast gulf between Han's moral collapse between the movies and Anakin's. We certainly don't get the impression that Han is either a mass murderer or serial murder as Anakin/Vader clearly is. Han, as far as we can tell, just abandons his marriage and reverts back to smuggling and dealing with criminals in his own, not obviously vicious, way to get by. I don't know how that's somehow less rationalized than Anakin's fall - one assumes that having their only child turn into a Vader-wannabe and destroy a Jedi school as he falls to the dark side and join the closest thing in-setting to a Nazi state might be a bit disheartening.
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  4. #214
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    Quote Originally Posted by billd91 View Post
    Are we watching the same movies?!?
    I'm pretty sure we are. We both seem to agree as to the gist of the plot.

    Han, as far as we can tell, just abandons his marriage and reverts back to smuggling and dealing with criminals in his own, not obviously vicious, way to get by.
    Just? Just? Rarely in a person's life do they have motive to engage in acts of stereotypical villainy like murdering a bunch of children. Most of the evil of the real world occurs because of more mundane acts undertaken with more mundane motives, but those actions are no less evil for being mundane and ordinary than the ones that are extraordinary. Often we find if we go digging, that the mundane acts are the basis and foundation of the extraordinary acts. For example, if we go digging in the Dominican Republic right now, I bet we would find a simple but sorrid tale of greed, deceit, and bribery around some bottles of fake high end alchohol tainted with some poisonous, colorless, tasteless achohol unfit for human consumption but cheaper than the luxury items that it replaced. But that scheme is for all it's mundaneness no less evil in the appraisal or in results than chopping up children with lightsabers.

    I don't know how that's somehow less rationalized than Anakin's fall - one assumes that having their only child turn into a Vader-wannabe and destroy a Jedi school as he falls to the dark side and join the closest thing in-setting to a Nazi state might be a bit disheartening.
    But Ben Solo's fall is less rationalized than Anakin's as well. We still have no clear idea why it happened, nor did the explanations make any of it make any more sense. While it would certainly be disheartening to have your only child turn into a serial killer and a Neo-Nazi, none of that would excuse his abandoning of his beliefs, his morality, his maturity, or his wife. You don't get a pass on being evil just because you've had a hard time of it. And since we still don't know why Ben Solo fell, we cannot assume as you have generously assumed, that the evil behavior of his father began in response to Ben's evil or was - as is often the case with children - the cause of it. If we knew that Han abandoned is beliefs, his morals, and his wife before Ben went bad, would that instead mean Ben was excused because he was disheartened?

  5. #215
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    Late to the party here I know, but thought Id put in my 2c

    The Good/Evil scale I can wrap my head around pretty easily

    Good = I sacrifice of myself to help others
    Neutral = I help others if it doesnt require sacrifice of myself, I help myself if it doesnt require sacrifice of others
    Evil = I sacrifice others to help myself

    Law/Chaos is a tougher one for me to get my head around, but what Ive settled on is something around the idea of Entropy.

    Law - I expend personal resources (time, money, blood, energy) in the pursuit of changing the state of the world to my liking.

    Neutral - I expend personal resources now to reach my desired personal future state.

    Chaotic - I allow the world and/or my current desires to dictate where I spend my personal resources now, regardless of the effect in the future.
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  6. #216
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxperson View Post
    Turning A PC in for murder is not a betrayal. There can be no expectation that your gaming buddies are going to be okay with you murdering someone and not tell the police. The same goes for adventuring parties.

    It's been years since I watched Firefly, but IIRC Jayne had no connection to the pair and actually thought they were a threat to the ship. Getting money was icing on the cake. That does not mean he would have turned in Mal for a profit, Mal was a friend and someone who had his trust and respect.

    As far as Han Solo ... I'd still say he was CN. After all he did shoot first in my version of the movies. He did what he did for money and then out of friendship and loyalty to Luke and Leia. I'm not convinced he did it for some greater good. After a while he may have shifted alignment somewhat, but how much of that was just because he was caught up in everything is impossible to tell. All we really know is that after the original trilogy and after he and Leia split he went back to being just another smuggler.

    In both cases, the characters show loyalty and friendship even if there's no indication they were motivated by any sense of doing things for the greater good.

  7. #217
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    Quote Originally Posted by OB1 View Post
    Law/Chaos is a tougher one for me to get my head around, but what Ive settled on is something around the idea of Entropy.
    Law/Chaos has always been a little less clear than Good/Evil to the average reader, and while I think entropy has some connection at some philosophical level, at the practical ethical level your interpretation is pretty non-traditional. Additionally, after reading through your list a few times, I feel no closer to understanding what you mean or why they contrast.

    Without going into a long write up, one traditional axiomatic contrast I've heard is, "The needs of the many outweigh the few, or the one." versus "The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many." Or, in somewhat the same vein, "To understand something, you have to see the big picture." versus "There is no big picture: only a lot of little pictures."

    And if you can tell intuitively which end of the spectrum is which, without me labeling them for you, then I think the contrasts do a pretty good job.

    On a very practical level, the way that I judge whether a character in a story is lawful or chaotic is when making a big decision, where do they put their trust? The Chaotic always reserves for themselves the right of appeal. The consider themselves their own highest court, and feel that in so far as decision concerns themselves, they have every right to make a final determination. They believe that they have or ought to have an absolute right to follow the dictates of their own consciousness. This self-centeredness does not necessarily make them selfish - consider the self-centeredness of an axiom like, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.", but it does mean that they believe in the end that they are the highest arbitrator of what is right and wrong, and certainly what is right and wrong for themselves. (We could go further into breaking down how within this framework, CG, CN, and CE differed.)

    By contrast, the nature of being Lawful is to believe that you are always and always ought to be subject to some external review. You are not your own highest court, and your own judgment ought to be subject to the judgment of a wiser higher power. Your highest fealty is not to yourself, and if your own consciousness is prompting you to dispute that higher (or highest) authority you are the one in the wrong. It is ultimately not for you to determine for yourself on your own authority what is right or wrong or how you ought to behave.
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  8. #218
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxperson View Post
    It's worse than that, really. You can have an upstanding citizen who would sacrifice himself to save the community, helps little old ladies across the road, donates money to help orphaned children, but secretly also abuses those children on a regular basis to satisfy his appetites. Is he LG? Is he evil? Is he LG with evil tendencies? Something else?

    Most people don't fall solidly within a single alignment, but rather have multiple personality traits which fall regularly within two, three or even more alignments. That's why I prefer my players just come up with a personality for their PC and then I don't bother to look at their alignment.
    Thats why I prefer to distinguish between a characters ideology and their actions. The above character sounds like he holds Good ideals, but commits Evil actions. Which is fairly typical, to be honest. Most people tend to hold altruistic ideals in theory, but in actual practice behave more egoistically. At my table, that character would have Good written on his character sheet, but would count as Evil for the purposes of any mechanics that care about alignment. But, of course, ignoring alignment completely works just as well. Better for 5e, in fact, since 5e has almost no mechanics that care about alignment anyway.

  9. #219
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oofta View Post
    It's been years since I watched Firefly, but IIRC Jayne had no connection to the pair and actually thought they were a threat to the ship. Getting money was icing on the cake. That does not mean he would have turned in Mal for a profit, Mal was a friend and someone who had his trust and respect.
    Yes, but feeling because he had no connection to the pair that he had no obligation to act in any manner other than for his own benefit, and that he could choose to act in that manner entirely under his own authority is precisely what makes him Chaotic. Being Chaotic doesn't mean you have no loyalty to your friends. On the contrary, it tends to mean you only feel any obligation to be loyal to people you have a personal and emotional attachment to. And despite the fact that he wouldn't have necessarily turned in Mal for a profit - and that's certainly not at all clear - he did go behind Mal's back and betray him.

    The real key in that scene is when Jayne thinks he's about to die, Jayne's last request to Mal is for Mal to not tell the others what he has done. When Jayne says that, Mal realizes that Jayne has formed a personal emotional attachment to the rest of the crew, has realized that he has betrayed his friends, and does not what his friends to know that he has betrayed them. Therefore Mal knows that Jayne is at that moment as loyal and repentant as Jayne is ever likely to be.

    All we really know is that after the original trilogy and after he and Leia split he went back to being just another smuggler.
    The complete character assassination of Luke, Leia, and Han in the sequel trilogy ended my fandom relationship with Star Wars.

    In both cases, the characters show loyalty and friendship even if there's no indication they were motivated by any sense of doing things for the greater good.
    I think we can make an argument that Han's character arc and transformation in the original trilogy is much more complete than Jayne's. There are several really telling moments, but probably the most telling is when he tells Leia that though he loves her, if she wants to be with Luke, then for her happiness he'll get out of the way. That's a declaration totally at odds with the character of Han when we first meet him in a New Hope. He's still obviously Chaotic, and obviously if you are chaotic you are appalled by even the notion of "the greater good" (which if chaotic you think is a euphemism for evil), but the Han of 'Return of the Jedi' is motivated by fine feelings and not baser ones. He's loving and compassionate and he's putting the needs and feelings of others ahead of his own in a non-cynical manner.

  10. #220
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    Quote Originally Posted by OB1 View Post
    Late to the party here I know, but thought Id put in my 2c

    The Good/Evil scale I can wrap my head around pretty easily

    Good = I sacrifice of myself to help others
    Neutral = I help others if it doesnt require sacrifice of myself, I help myself if it doesnt require sacrifice of others
    Evil = I sacrifice others to help myself

    Law/Chaos is a tougher one for me to get my head around, but what Ive settled on is something around the idea of Entropy.

    Law - I expend personal resources (time, money, blood, energy) in the pursuit of changing the state of the world to my liking.

    Neutral - I expend personal resources now to reach my desired personal future state.

    Chaotic - I allow the world and/or my current desires to dictate where I spend my personal resources now, regardless of the effect in the future.
    The Law/Chaos spectrum can be viewed analogously to the Good/Evil spectrum, but with personal wellbeing swapped out for liberty and others wellbeing swapped out for societal order.

    Lawful - I sacrifice my own liberty to benefit society as a whole.
    Neutral - I meet the expectations society places on me, to the extent that thru dont impede on my personal liberty.
    Chaotic - I eschew society in favor of retaining my personal liberty.

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