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Chaotic Good Is The Most Popular Alignment!

D&D Beyond has provided yet another of it's data dumps of 12 million characters -- this time telling us character alignments are most popular in D&D. Chaotic Good wins, followed by my least favourite as a DM, Chaotic Neutral. Chaotic Evil is the least popular.

Screenshot 2019-06-13 at 23.14.00.png



The developer does say that this does not count the percentage of characters with no alignment selected. You can see the original video here.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Russ Morrissey

Comments

5ekyu

Explorer
The problem is, we're not mind readers. We don't know why this character did X. All we know is that he did X. And, really, while there might be all sorts of reasons, reliability isn't one of them. :D



Ok, now, let's use Jayne. Would you consider Jayne to be reliable? Is loyal, reliable, or anything similar be a proper descriptor of that character?



I'd probably put Han Solo as just neutral. He's not actively opposing the empire, after all. He might not like it, but, he's also not going to do anything about it. That's about as neutral as it gets.
Would I consider Jayne to be reliable? Yes. Is he perfect? No. He makes mistakes and sometimes gets stupid but if you look at the series and movie on the whole he was there for them, alongside them, doing his job even whrn it sucked the vast majority of the time.

"He did his job almost always" would be considered reliable by most.

Did he sometimes give in to his own desires and ideas - sure - went after River himself, tried to sell them out once, etc... yup... again, not perfect and definitely puts himself number one.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
So, to amend my question slightly:

Can you come up with an example of a chaotic neutral character that is trustworthy and responsible?

So far, the examples have been Q from Star Trek and Jayne from Firefly. Neither would be described as trustworthy or responsible I think. If CN is entirely plausible to be trustworthy and responsible, then there should be many examples we can point to where obviously CN characters are trustworthy and responsible. Seems a fairly easy task given how everyone keeps telling me how it's perfectly normal for CN characters to be trustworthy and responsible.

I'll be over here at the bar waiting if you need me.

I take it my PC, Ulkar the Barbarian doesn't count? I'm also assuming you'll just say "Han Solo wasn't really CN". Which is the problem. We don't always know what motivates fictional characters, and you've decided that CN means someone who is irresponsible, unreliable, lazy, has no friends or loved ones they'd sacrifice for, etc.

So there's no point.
 

doctorbadwolf

Explorer
Who said anything about "intentionally"? The character is unreliable. Falling asleep on watch is pretty much textbook unreliable.
You literally repeatedly described a character deciding to sleep instead of keeping watch. Not trying but failing to stay awake, you explicitly described a decision.
 
Current American culture is heavily skewed to individualism. Since ~80% of players can only play themselves, this means most players will only play a character that is highly individualistic, which means in practice not only do they tend to pick CG/CN but as a DM I prefer that they do so, since most will find the precepts of being lawful baffling and won't be able to play the character.

In my experience, most CG characters tend to be in practice CN, while most CN characters tend to be in practice CE. CE is rarely played, but when it is played it is played as a gross caricature of the ideology, and for that matter LG tends to be played that way as well. In 30 years of gaming, I can't recall one PC choosing to play LE or NE except in a 'evil campaign'. However, while the vast majority of players choose "Good" of some sort, only a fraction of players actually play that way. The majority are good only in so far as it gives them some advantage, and will justify acting in an evil and ruthless manner whenever that gives them some perceived advantage. I've found that majority which play this way can be easily tempted to change alignment to evil if you suggest some minor reward for doing so instead of a penalty.

I've never really decided if this accurately reflects peoples morality, or whether it is the nature of it being a game that encourages a ruthlessness dog-eat-dog mentality in most people.

I really curious to see how this would vary by culture. When I was working as a research assistant, there was a grad student from Korea in the lab. One day at lunch I was talking with her, and she confessed to me that she was lonely and wanted to go back to Korea. She wanted her parents to pick out a good Korean boy for her to marry, and then return to the states. This struck me at the time as both incomprehensible to the average American, and the very essence of being "Lawful" in the D&D sense - you trust someone else's judgment concerning your own life more than you trust your own. To her this was a quite natural and logical arrangement, but almost every American I've described this to finds it unfathomable.
 

Staffan

Explorer
I thought of another representative of Chaotic Good: the Philantropist.

This is a person that has a lot of power. In the real world, this is usually financial power, but in an RPG it could refer to some form of personal power instead (mighty warrior, great wizard, etc.). They use this power to help people. But they strongly resist any attempt at having others control their power - they believe that they themself knows best how to use that power. They might even be right in their own case, though those restrictions on their own power would also bind others that are similarly powerful and less beneficient.

In the real world, this would mean things like taxing that wealth and putting it to use for the public good. In a more fantastic context, it could refer to the Super-Hero Registration Act in Marvel Comics, or the Chantry overseeing the Circle of Magi in Dragon Age.
 

coolAlias

Explorer
Would I consider Jayne to be reliable? Yes. Is he perfect? No. He makes mistakes and sometimes gets stupid but if you look at the series and movie on the whole he was there for them, alongside them, doing his job even whrn it sucked the vast majority of the time.

"He did his job almost always" would be considered reliable by most.

Did he sometimes give in to his own desires and ideas - sure - went after River himself, tried to sell them out once, etc... yup... again, not perfect and definitely puts himself number one.
I think Jayne is probably the best example of how I would play a CN character in D&D.

However, while I firmly believe CN is maligned, it seems to always be the go-to alignment for people that tend to be more disruptive than the average player.

On another note, someone mentioned demons earlier - I think they actually provide a great example of how Chaotic is NOT random, but instead describes the dichotomy between collectivism and individualism.

The Abyss is ruled by demon lords with literally armies of demonic followers. Each individual demon is a scheming, back-stabbing embodiment of CE, and yet they still are able to form armies, follow orders, etc. - when it suits them. If they think a different course of action is more likely to provide a bigger benefit (or lesser consequence) to themselves, they have no problem disobeying whatever orders they may have had.

The key here is that they are not acting randomly - if one had access to all the same information and insight into their situation that the demon did, one might be able to imagine a scenario from their point of view, weigh the options and figure out what that demon might decide to do, assuming one also understood the demon-in-question's individual motivations.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Would I consider Jayne to be reliable? Yes. Is he perfect? No. He makes mistakes and sometimes gets stupid but if you look at the series and movie on the whole he was there for them, alongside them, doing his job even whrn it sucked the vast majority of the time.

"He did his job almost always" would be considered reliable by most.

Did he sometimes give in to his own desires and ideas - sure - went after River himself, tried to sell them out once, etc... yup... again, not perfect and definitely puts himself number one.
Um. Sometimes giving in to your own desires to the detriment of your comrades and selling them out is the definition of unreliable. Even if he did one single time, they could never trust him again.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
The Abyss is ruled by demon lords with literally armies of demonic followers. Each individual demon is a scheming, back-stabbing embodiment of CE, and yet they still are able to form armies, follow orders, etc. - when it suits them.
This is a very bad example. It only suits demons to do so because they'll be destroyed if they don't. They aren't choosing to be in an army. They are forced to by fear of death. CE, "Might makes right."
 

coolAlias

Explorer
This is a very bad example. It only suits demons to do so because they'll be destroyed if they don't. They aren't choosing to be in an army. They are forced to by fear of death. CE, "Might makes right."
Just like it only suits a Chaotic character to not break laws or betray their friends, either of which might very well result in a death sentence?
 

Hussar

Legend
Just like it only suits a Chaotic character to not break laws or betray their friends, either of which might very well result in a death sentence?
Well. That’s fair I suppose. If the group is allowed to execute your character for stepping out of line, then your alignment doesn’t matter too much.
 

5ekyu

Explorer
Um. Sometimes giving in to your own desires to the detriment of your comrades and selling them out is the definition of unreliable. Even if he did one single time, they could never trust him again.
No, it's the definition of not perfect. In fact, they did trust him after. Malcolm did specifically when he realized Jayne was actually ashamed of what he had done, not just upset he got caught.

This is why alignments tend to not be extremes - all or nothing one-slip changes.
 

5ekyu

Explorer
I think Jayne is probably the best example of how I would play a CN character in D&D.

However, while I firmly believe CN is maligned, it seems to always be the go-to alignment for people that tend to be more disruptive than the average player.

On another note, someone mentioned demons earlier - I think they actually provide a great example of how Chaotic is NOT random, but instead describes the dichotomy between collectivism and individualism.

The Abyss is ruled by demon lords with literally armies of demonic followers. Each individual demon is a scheming, back-stabbing embodiment of CE, and yet they still are able to form armies, follow orders, etc. - when it suits them. If they think a different course of action is more likely to provide a bigger benefit (or lesser consequence) to themselves, they have no problem disobeying whatever orders they may have had.

The key here is that they are not acting randomly - if one had access to all the same information and insight into their situation that the demon did, one might be able to imagine a scenario from their point of view, weigh the options and figure out what that demon might decide to do, assuming one also understood the demon-in-question's individual motivations.
Agreed.

I think someone else pointed to the reason CN attracts the disruptors. It's the one seen as most do what you want that is approved in non-evil campaigns
 

Hussar

Legend
No, it's the definition of not perfect. In fact, they did trust him after. Malcolm did specifically when he realized Jayne was actually ashamed of what he had done, not just upset he got caught.

This is why alignments tend to not be extremes - all or nothing one-slip changes.
But none of this changes the fact that Jayne was untrustworthy.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Just like it only suits a Chaotic character to not break laws or betray their friends, either of which might very well result in a death sentence?
No. Not like that at all. There's a difference between actively being forced to do something under penalty of death, and passively deciding not to do something, because it's possible that you might get caught.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
No, it's the definition of not perfect. In fact, they did trust him after. Malcolm did specifically when he realized Jayne was actually ashamed of what he had done, not just upset he got caught.

This is why alignments tend to not be extremes - all or nothing one-slip changes.

No. Oversleeping and showing up late for your shift is "not perfect." Deciding to betray your companions is freaking unreliable and untrustworthy.
 

Hussar

Legend
See, I'm a little confused. We all agree that Jayne is chaotic neutral because he betrays the group. Yes? Does anyone disagree with that? Would anyone put Jayne's alignment as something else?

So, what about Han Solo says Chaotic Neutral? He doesn't betray anyone. He's self interested, sure, but, that's just neutral. He doesn't do anything on a whim that I can think of.

I can at least present pretty solid evidence for my alignment interpretation. Other than, "Cos I said so" I'm not seeing much reasoning going on here.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
See, I'm a little confused. We all agree that Jayne is chaotic neutral because he betrays the group. Yes? Does anyone disagree with that? Would anyone put Jayne's alignment as something else?

So, what about Han Solo says Chaotic Neutral? He doesn't betray anyone. He's self interested, sure, but, that's just neutral. He doesn't do anything on a whim that I can think of.

I can at least present pretty solid evidence for my alignment interpretation. Other than, "Cos I said so" I'm not seeing much reasoning going on here.
I see Han as solidly neutral. No law, chaos, good or evil there.
 

Hussar

Legend
I would rather favor Conan as a model, myself.
Ok. Let's use Conan then. I might quibble that Conan is CG, but, fair enough, let's go with CN.

Now, when you describe Conan, do the words, reliable, trustworthy or responsible immediately spring to mind? Not to me they don't. This is a character that gets blind, stinking drunk and captured on more than one occasion. His companions get kidnapped (repeatedly) due to his irresponsibility. He blows all his ill gotten gains immediately on wine, women and song. Yup, sounds CN to me.

Put it this way. Would you loan Conan 20 bucks? Would you give him the keys to your car (willingly anyway)? Would you leave him alone with your wife/sister for a prolonged period of time?

So, those would be my reasons for making Conan CN. What are yours?
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
See, I'm a little confused. We all agree that Jayne is chaotic neutral because he betrays the group. Yes? Does anyone disagree with that? Would anyone put Jayne's alignment as something else?

So, what about Han Solo says Chaotic Neutral? He doesn't betray anyone. He's self interested, sure, but, that's just neutral. He doesn't do anything on a whim that I can think of.

I can at least present pretty solid evidence for my alignment interpretation. Other than, "Cos I said so" I'm not seeing much reasoning going on here.
No, Jayne isn't CN because he betrays the group. If he had been an Alliance agent in deep cover who betrayed the group, he could easily be LN rather than CN. It's not that he betrayed the group - it's because of his motivations in betraying the group. He does what he wants and is fairly mean about it. He's motivated just by cash, not friendship or personal bonds of respect (unlike someone like Conan, who would also likely be CN).

Han's probably more CG than CN or N, though I can see him on the edge between CG and CN. He's a bit of a loner - Chewie being his only major companion. He doesn't mesh well with groups or group values which he largely scoffs at. He's idiosyncratic rather than conventional. He isn't necessarily going to stick around once the crisis is over. But when the chips are down - he's more reliable than not.
 

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