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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.

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

Russ Morrissey

I

Immortal Sun

Guest
Name one thing that at the root, isn't motivated by what the doer wants or how it makes the doer feel. This isn't some nebulous philosophical question.

The problem is that this philosophical belief believes exactly that. It believes it knows the root of what everyone is motivated by. A desire to be happy, a desire not to feel pain, so on and so forth. The problem is you can't know that. You can't know if Joe did a Good Thing because Good Things make Joe happy, or for some other reason. If Joe did the Good Thing for altruistic reasons then your entire philosophy implodes. Because your philosophy is arguing that altruism doesn't exist. And that, my friend is the kind of claim that philosophies make. You can't prove it to be true because you can't collect sufficient data on the subject because you are at best relying on self-selection responses. "Why did you do a Good Thing?" And that is something there is proof that humans rarely answer honestly, which is why self-selection surveys are generally considered poor statistical data gathering methods.

So, you may not like that your philosophy is indeed a philosophy, but it is. And I'm not going to debate that point further. /done
 

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Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
Sauron's motivation to turn to serve Melkor in Tolkien's Legendarium comes primarily from an excessive love of order and keen results that Melkor seemed to accomplish.

Sauron uses the well worn trope of "Only I know what is good for the world" in addition to "Following in the Bosses Footsteps".

For alignment I like comic book characters as examples, they tend to be fairly black and white in that regard. Some are hard to peg for a variety or reasons, but you can always find one solid example of an alignment in comic books. I'll use Marvel because I can think of more characters there that I can explain. DC is way easier with the bad guys (seriously Joker is Chaotic Evil).

LG: Captain America - He's Good, don't argue. Lawful, he thinks the rules and constitution of the United States are it, they define the best way to deal with the world and societies. He'll fight the US government if they're wrong, but he always stands up for The People.
NG: Spider-Man - He's Good, don't argue (or bring up weird one issue examples where Peter's a jerk). Spidey doesn't have any particular attachment to following rules or thinking a particular way of living life is best. He just does what he can to do Good no the cost to himself.
CG: Star-Lord - He's good, don't argue with me. Quill rankles at being told what to do, even if its actually helpful. Rules, order, they get in they way of living freely the way he wants. But he's also prone to letting his feeling take over even when they are going to get in the way. He might have self imposed rules, but they're... flexibile.
LN: Nick Fury - He's all about order - making sure the world keep spinning no matter what the cost. He wont outright kill somebody as more expedient option, but he's not above less than "Good" methods to accomplish his goals.
N: The Watcher - his whole job is to not interfere and just watch (doesn't always work, but on the balance I'd say Neutral)
CN: Domino - She's not a bad guy per se, but also not a good person. As morally flexible mercenary I'm going with Neutral, she has limits and wont go out of her way to hurt people, but also isn't above murder as a way of life. Chaotic is coming from the fact that the whole point is that she just goes and relies on her mutant powers to bend the world the way she needs it to, doesn't do plans as such, doesn't believe in rules, and thinks freedom for all is the way to go.
LE: Doctor Doom - For real, like really. Doom is lawful, he wants order, absolute iron fisted order that he's at the top of, because only he sees what is wrong with the world and only he can fix the world, damn the costs.
NE: Bullseye - he likes killing people. No particular attachment order, rules, or anything that creatures structure, he's willing to work with structure but he's really on interested in payback on Daredevil or getting paid so he can work find without structure and order as well.
CE: Carnage - literally incapable of functioning in any organized way - only goal is murder.
 
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Celebrim

Legend
So, you may not like that your philosophy is indeed a philosophy, but it is. And I'm not going to debate that point further. /done

I'm not going to debate it. I'm not even going to quibble with what you've revealed about your own view of the real world.

However, going back to the fantasy world, one way to define each of the alignments point of view in a rational way is that the adherents to that philosophy do not believe that the other philosophies represent something that is actually real. And, if they are correct in their assessment, then we would have good reason to believe that they are also correct in their philosophy.

For example, good aligned people tend to believe that evil is just the absence of good. And, if good is correct, that evil is simply just unnecessary destructiveness, then Good really is the correct thing to believe in.

Chaotic people tend to believe that order doesn't really exist and doesn't really reflect the nature of the universe, lawful people tend to believe that chaos is simply a flaw in the natural order, and so forth.

Evil for its part naturally believes that Good is not a real thing, that no one is actually good, that all morality is an artificial construct, that people who promote goodness are in some way scamming the credulous, or are in fact not brave enough to face reality, or that they are simply weak people relying on deceitfulness to create a herd mentality to protect from the strong and successful. This is how you rationally justify evil, because if you are right and there really is no good in the universe, then evil is not only justifiable but inevitable.

This framework is a part of how I've started looking at alignment in my own game universe. I don't want to have characters in my game universe that are snarling puppy chewing villains simply because the plot and game mechanics require something for the PC's to kill. I prefer that any reasonably intelligent character have some sort of defensible philosophical viewpoint to say why, of the different tangible forces of the universe why they would choose between them, and that if the PC tries to get in a philosophical debate with them, they'd be able to say why they choose what they choose. If you really believe that Evil most reflects the overall nature of the universe and that Evil is not only going to win in the end, but perhaps should win in the end, then then it's rational - albeit tragic - to believe in Evil.
 

Celebrim

Legend
This is all very useful IRL, but one huge difference between RL and fantasy is that, at least in many (but not all) fantasy games, there are supernatural forces of Good, Evil, Law, Chaos, etc., and, indeed, many characters are servants of these very powers.

This is in fact the intellectual justification for fantasy. In real life, because real evil and real good is often something ordinary and hard to discern and stories about it are often mundane, we can take those ordinary concerns and view them in a more extraordinary framework, and if we do it well then the extraordinary will teach us something about the ordinary, so that we ordinary people encounter ordinary problems we can heroically act like the figures in extraordinary stories.

It's often difficult to talk about good and evil in the real world, but in fantasy we can reify these concepts and make them easier to talk about by embodying them - much as they are embodied in the video game you talk about.

To reference some other arguments going on at EnWorld, humanity and its near human peers represents nothing more than humanity, with its capacity for both good and evil and its capability of reflecting both angles and demons. The other things in a fantasy setting represent reified concepts of evil or violence or justice or compassion or whatever, that must be dealt with externally in the same fashion that humanity must deal with these forces internally. So to face off against an orc externally doesn't necessarily represent some sort of tribal conflict, but resisting our own internal orcish impulses. The fight itself is rarely important. If we take Tolkien as an example, he repeatedly reinforces that the really heroic part is the mental preparation for the fight - the decision to fight - and then how the character deals with the consequence. This is the great moment in the Hobbit where Bilbo has to descend into the dragon's den, that Tolkien treats as somehow more important than the fight with the dragon itself. This is why the violence in Tolkien story always tends to go off stage or become a flashback, because Tolkien's story is ultimately about externalized and reified internal conflicts. The Théoden slays orcs is less important than the fact that he chose to resist, because in doing so he was actually resisting the baser elements of his nature. Denethor in contrast, doesn't choose to resist and is always forever giving up and fleeing.

So, yes, in a fantasy world there are going to be things like orcs, demons, and celestial beings, there are things that are going to be actually physical embodiments of things that are intangible in ordinary life. They are going to be far simpler in their morality than any real world being, and they will have representatives in the mortal population that are perhaps unrealistically pure - or at least closer in nature to some people in this world we'd find uncommonly good or evil. But that is I think OK. It's OK to have a Galahad or a Snidely Whiplash in your fantasy story. That doesn't preclude having more complex characters.
 

Celebrim

Legend
For instance, a Lawful Good society can have the leader go bonkers, much as the Kingpriest of Istar did in Dragonlance.

I wanted to break this out and deal with it separately, because that is not actually what the story claims.

Bizarrely, in the story - and I don't know if Margaret Weiss or Tracy Hickman is responsible for this line - the author has the embodiment of Good in the story claim that Good does not exist and that ultimately Good and Evil are identical. The Chronicles of the Dragonlance doesn't claim that the Kingpriest of Istar went bonkers, which would be reasonable, or that the Kingpriest fell in an act of Hubris, which would also be reasonable.

Instead we have Paladine asserting that the Kingpriest became too good, and that in becoming too good - by becoming too much of an extremist about good - that he become indistinguishable from evil.

This goes back to what I was saying in a post not long before this one about you can tell accurately what a person believes by what they claim is not real. And when you see a writer claim that ultimately extreme good isn't any different than extreme evil, what you are really claiming is that Balance and Moderation ought to always be the order of the day.

So ironically what we have in that scene at the end of Chronicles is an author insertion where the author projects their own beliefs about the universe on to Paladine, because Paladine is the wise mentoring father figure. But ironically the philosophy projects on to Paladine the embodiment of Good is in D&D terms True Neutrality. Paladine doesn't claim that the Priestking was inflicted with self-righteous and hubris, but instead actually defends that moment as Good.... and then goes on essentially to warn against Goodness.
 

I

Immortal Sun

Guest
I'm not going to debate it. I'm not even going to quibble with what you've revealed about your own view of the real world.

However, going back to the fantasy world, one way to define each of the alignments point of view in a rational way is that the adherents to that philosophy do not believe that the other philosophies represent something that is actually real. And, if they are correct in their assessment, then we would have good reason to believe that they are also correct in their philosophy.

For example, good aligned people tend to believe that evil is just the absence of good. And, if good is correct, that evil is simply just unnecessary destructiveness, then Good really is the correct thing to believe in.

Chaotic people tend to believe that order doesn't really exist and doesn't really reflect the nature of the universe, lawful people tend to believe that chaos is simply a flaw in the natural order, and so forth.

Evil for its part naturally believes that Good is not a real thing, that no one is actually good, that all morality is an artificial construct, that people who promote goodness are in some way scamming the credulous, or are in fact not brave enough to face reality, or that they are simply weak people relying on deceitfulness to create a herd mentality to protect from the strong and successful. This is how you rationally justify evil, because if you are right and there really is no good in the universe, then evil is not only justifiable but inevitable.

This framework is a part of how I've started looking at alignment in my own game universe. I don't want to have characters in my game universe that are snarling puppy chewing villains simply because the plot and game mechanics require something for the PC's to kill. I prefer that any reasonably intelligent character have some sort of defensible philosophical viewpoint to say why, of the different tangible forces of the universe why they would choose between them, and that if the PC tries to get in a philosophical debate with them, they'd be able to say why they choose what they choose. If you really believe that Evil most reflects the overall nature of the universe and that Evil is not only going to win in the end, but perhaps should win in the end, then then it's rational - albeit tragic - to believe in Evil.

When I run my "godless" settings, this is generally how I handle alignment, it's a matter of perception. Good people do evil and claim it as good, evil people do good in order to further evil causes, they all think their position is the most reasonable and rational one and everyone else is crazy for not seeing the righteousness of their perspective.

But I don't particularly find this works well in a "alignment is real". Good and evil, chaotic and lawful are all defined by the very reality they exist in. People may still act outside those things and claim they were doing it with greater purpose and attempt to justify themselves, but justified evil is still not good.

Which is one reason I always enjoy playing LE over LG.
 

Celebrim

Legend
When I run my "godless" settings, this is generally how I handle alignment, it's a matter of perception. Good people do evil and claim it as good, evil people do good in order to further evil causes, they all think their position is the most reasonable and rational one and everyone else is crazy for not seeing the righteousness of their perspective.

Wait? What? That's not at all what I said. I didn't in the slightest outline a sort of moral relativism. Each position is one of moral absolutism. All I did was outline a framework under which a rational person might believe that their moral absolutism was correct.

But I don't particularly find this works well in a "alignment is real".

Again, I did not outline a framework where alignment isn't real.

Good and evil, chaotic and lawful are all defined by the very reality they exist in. People may still act outside those things and claim they were doing it with greater purpose and attempt to justify themselves, but justified evil is still not good.

Well, it will probably come as no surprise that I don't believe justified evil is good in the real world either. But I do believe that morality is defined by reality.

Which is one reason I always enjoy playing LE over LG.

I won't comment.
 

RobertBrus

Explorer
No alignment. Which is to say, let the alignment grow organically out of the character's personality (who they are before stats, die rolls, etc.). This will allow for a character with a main theme and nuanced variations. More like you and I. In short, more improv, role-playing, and storytelling.
 

I

Immortal Sun

Guest
Wait? What? That's not at all what I said. I didn't in the slightest outline a sort of moral relativism. Each position is one of moral absolutism. All I did was outline a framework under which a rational person might believe that their moral absolutism was correct.
Then I misunderstood.

Perhaps it was word choice. If fantasy reality defines good and evil, then "belief" isn't necessary. None of what you said would exist at all in an existence where "good" and "evil" are definitive concepts. Whether they think their alignment is the correct one is immaterial. None of them could claim any of the things you outlined, because again, the very fabric of reality outlines what is or isn't good or evil. There's no "evil is just a lack of good" perspective, because there's a literal list, written into reality of what comprises evil.

Also, the best way to not comment is to, ya know, not comment. Just a little FYI I've learned from this very forum.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Then I misunderstood.

Perhaps it was word choice. If fantasy reality defines good and evil, then "belief" isn't necessary. None of what you said would exist at all in an existence where "good" and "evil" are definitive concepts. Whether they think their alignment is the correct one is immaterial. None of them could claim any of the things you outlined, because again, the very fabric of reality outlines what is or isn't good or evil. There's no "evil is just a lack of good" perspective, because there's a literal list, written into reality of what comprises evil.

This assumes omniscience on the part of the participants. Just because the world is or isn't something, doesn't mean that everyone observing it will agree on what it is or isn't.

Everyone in the fantasy setting can agree that there are forces and powers corresponding to the labels Good, Evil, Chaos, and Law. But describing accurately what those forces are and represent is still a considerable challenge. It's not even one that you can resolve by interviewing the forces and powers, because they themselves are obviously going to have biased perspectives and at least some of them are certainly going to lie, or tell half-truths, or perhaps decide that there are things mortals aren't meant to know.

If there is considerable evidence of the reality of forces and powers corresponding to Good or Evil or what have you, belief doesn't become less important. Belief is never only or even mainly about deciding what is real. Belief is about deciding on the basis of the evidence you have what you are going to do about it. And even in an animist world of tangible spirits you can commune with, you still are going to have a ton of questions.

Moreover, if you were to interview agents of Good, Evil, Law, and Chaos and ask them to describe the world, they would each describe something very different. So yes, asked to describe Good, agents of Good would give a very different answer than agents of Evil, and agents of Good could still define evil as an absence of Good. Whereas, agents of Chaotic Evil are very likely to tell you that there is no such thing as Good, and that the agents of Good are at best morally equivalent to themselves but in fact less honest. They would say that everything comes down to a contest of power, and that the forces that call themselves "Good" in fact are simply trying to manipulate the weak into acting against their own interests to further their own at their followers expense.

There is a really good treatment of this in part of the Paizo Adventure Path 'Rise of the Runelords', where the writer takes the Seven Deadly Sins and inverts them and invents a culture that says, "No, these aren't vices, but virtues: self-confidence, ambition, abundance, pleasure, leisure, outrage, sexuality." So, then the question becomes, is it 'good' for something to be decadent? Just because you can agree something is real doesn't mean you can agree whether it is right.

The point is that even in a Planar Wheel cosmology everyone can still differ on what one ought to do. It isn't obvious to everyone that Good is the correct way to behave or has the correct description of the universe.
 

Eltab

Hero
Bouncing into the middle of a long thread straight from the OP:

CG classically is a "Commit random acts of kindness and senseless deeds of beauty" orientation.
PCs like CG because it allows them to commit Evil deeds (kill intelligent beings and/or steal their stuff) while in the service of a good outcome in the end.
As time has gone by, younger generations entering the hobby object more strongly to being told "If your character does X, your character will be Evil" - perhaps because they hear "... you will be Evil". CG alignment then serves as an 'escape hatch'.
 

Jay Verkuilen

Grand Master of Artificial Flowers
I wanted to break this out and deal with it separately, because that is not actually what the story claims.

Bizarrely, in the story - and I don't know if Margaret Weiss or Tracy Hickman is responsible for this line - the author has the embodiment of Good in the story claim that Good does not exist and that ultimately Good and Evil are identical. The Chronicles of the Dragonlance doesn't claim that the Kingpriest of Istar went bonkers, which would be reasonable, or that the Kingpriest fell in an act of Hubris, which would also be reasonable.

Interesting. I haven't read any Dragonlance since the '80s so I was going on memory and Wikipedia, which didn't have a lot of details.

I'm in a campaign where, after winding the Horn of Change, we drove many of the forces of chaos out of the campaign world but this has created a real problem with the White Lords, a super activist Lawful Good group, taking over our characters' home city. They seem to be pretty set up for a fall when they go on the military warpath, though. So it's an intriguing idea that can be explored in a variety of ways.
 

Jay Verkuilen

Grand Master of Artificial Flowers
When I run my "godless" settings, this is generally how I handle alignment, it's a matter of perception. Good people do evil and claim it as good, evil people do good in order to further evil causes, they all think their position is the most reasonable and rational one and everyone else is crazy for not seeing the righteousness of their perspective.

But I don't particularly find this works well in a "alignment is real". Good and evil, chaotic and lawful are all defined by the very reality they exist in. People may still act outside those things and claim they were doing it with greater purpose and attempt to justify themselves, but justified evil is still not good.

Which is one reason I always enjoy playing LE over LG.

I'm running a godless setting at the moment---I seem to gravitate to those---but in this case, Law and Chaos have taken over as the real prime mover forces. As I've said to folks playing in my games, all my games tend to have a hefty dose of Michael Moorcock and Fritz Leiber influence.
 

Jay Verkuilen

Grand Master of Artificial Flowers
Bouncing into the middle of a long thread straight from the OP:

CG classically is a "Commit random acts of kindness and senseless deeds of beauty" orientation.
PCs like CG because it allows them to commit Evil deeds (kill intelligent beings and/or steal their stuff) while in the service of a good outcome in the end.
As time has gone by, younger generations entering the hobby object more strongly to being told "If your character does X, your character will be Evil" - perhaps because they hear "... you will be Evil". CG alignment then serves as an 'escape hatch'.

I don't think it's just younger players. My guess is CG has been popular all the way back.
 

SDN

First Post
CN

There is actually an example of a Chaotic Neutral in Batman. Two-Face. He's a random number generator if he's being written straight. He goes off the rails because his concept of "good" is really closer to Lawful Neutral.

Warning - incoming rant.

I feel like Chaotic Neutral gets a bad rap from players that either misunderstand it or intentionally abuse it.

Yes, Chaotic *can* be a being of pure Chaos, but that's the farthest end of the spectrum that mere mortals can scarcely imagine.

For typical player races, Chaotic doesn't mean "acts completely at random" unless perhaps you are playing someone insane. Even the Joker from Batman does not act completely at random - he has motivations.

Yes, you think for yourself and don't let others tell you what to do, but you are still capable of working in groups and living in society at large, with all the expectations that brings.

Just like any other alignment, you need to use your character's values and motivations to decide whether to go along with the group/social consensus even if you disagree with it; if you decide to go off on your own path, it should be because to do otherwise would violate a deeply held value of your character with the understanding that there will be social consequences.

Sometimes those social consequences are enough to make a character, even a Chaotic one, conform. You still thought for yourself, and when weighing all the outcomes decided it was better to sacrifice your ideals *this time* rather than face the potential consequences, such as going to jail, losing your job, or even just wasting time rehashing a tired argument.

Similarly, Neutral does not typically mean that you swing wildly back and forth between the extremes of Good and Evil (or Law and Chaos) depending on your mood. No, usually it means that you are just an average person, not willing to give up everything to do what is right, and also not intentionally harming others. You do the best you can with the least effort required because you probably do not actually feel that strongly about whatever moral beliefs you hold.

You may lean Good towards certain groups or individuals, you may lean Evil towards others, and with enough incentive you might lean even farther one way or the other - but that's also true for every alignment.

Now, none of that is to say that you can't play a character devoted to the ideas of Chaos and Neutrality, but even such a character will have motivations that guide their decisions.

So yeah, you can play CN as "do whatever the hell I want because Chaos! and Neutral!" - but then it doesn't really matter what you write in the alignment box because you're not role-playing your character anyway - how can you when your character has no motivations?

Anyway, rant over.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Bouncing into the middle of a long thread straight from the OP:

CG classically is a "Commit random acts of kindness and senseless deeds of beauty" orientation.

So far, so good.

PCs like CG because it allows them to commit Evil deeds (kill intelligent beings and/or steal their stuff) while in the service of a good outcome in the end.

This I strongly object to on several grounds. First, it belongs to the hideous bias that chaotic is a conditional that makes something less good, while lawful is something that makes something more good. Thus, in this construction Lawful Good is more good than Chaotic Good, and Lawful Evil is more good than Chaotic Evil. This I reject entirely. Both Chaotic and Lawful are equally concerned with good and evil, and so Lawful Good is all other things being equal no more good or less good than Chaotic Good. Chaotic Good is not a pass that lets you occasionally be evil.

Secondly, by your construction, Chaotic Good is differing from Chaotic Evil only by some relative degree and not some difference in kind. Basically, you've asserted that Chaotic Good gives you a certain number of passes to be evil while Chaotic Evil gives you more passes to be evil. But you haven't really said how much, so you could also argue that as long as you thought you were doing things "for the greater good" that you could do exactly what Chaotic Evil would do and yet on the net you would be Chaotic Good.

And thirdly, perhaps most surprisingly, this justification of "for the greater good" is exactly the same justification that Lawful Evil would make for committing acts of evil. A Lawful Evil PC could (and I will argue would) claim that murder and theft could be justified if the net result of his acts brought success (and weal of some sort) for his people. Thus, for example, a LE character might argue that his theft and murder was justified because in the end it would benefit his family, his community or his nation. And this perspective is actually entirely the opposite of the perspective of CG, because - since Chaotic is all about individualism and freedom - committing evil acts against individuals in the name of "the greater good" is from the perspective of CG exactly what is wrong with the world and exactly what CG will claim is the basis of evil - the dehumanization of individuals by assigning them collective identities.

So, no, that is not what CG is about and indeed in many ways is it's opposite.

Chaotic Good is good where the individual's own conscious and reason, and the circumstances of the moment, and the needs of the individual are allowed to outweigh any set of rigid rules regarding how to behave. In other words, it's a philosophy that bases itself around acts of compassion and mercy between individuals, rather than around a set of defined duties and moral codes. From the perspective of LG, this is dangerous because the individual will be tempted to justify acts of selfishness and self-serving acts of evil as Good - just as you have done when trying to argue that CG allows you to commit murder or theft if it is in a good cause. This shouldn't be surprising, because LG naturally considers both LE and CG to have departed more or less equally from the righteous path. CG on the other hand looking at LG, argues that having a limited and rigid set of duties allows LG to argue its way out of committing acts of goodness because it's already done 'enough' according to its moral code, and further that it has the core philosophy it sees underlying evil, that is the dehumanization of individuals by representing them as members of a collective - whether it be 'citizens', 'fathers', 'soldiers', 'women', 'children' or what not.

So in practice, CG is actually among the least, and perhaps the least likely of any moral philosophy on the great wheel to justify killing an intelligent being and taking their stuff, because they don't see beings according to classifications but as individuals. A CG individual is not going to be inclined to prejudge anything according to appearances or norms, and will require some sort of proof that the individual beings in question have committed crimes worthy of death and are unrepentant about it before exacting any sort of penalty. Indeed, most CG individuals are going to err on the side of only killing in self-defense and will err on the side of assuming that the individuals they are confronting are only violent in self-defense (that is, they will tend to see themselves as trespassers, and the individuals they are facing have the same rights of self-defense that they would have in the same situation).

CG alignment then serves as an 'escape hatch'.

I agree that CG serves as an 'escape hatch', but I don't agree that it is the one you've identified. What CG allows a PC to do is not have any accountability to anyone but themselves. In other words, as a person that is CG, they are not under any obligation to have their actions reviewed by some superior, external judge. They are accountable mostly or entirely to the dictates of their own consciousness. Since most players hate feeling like they are constrained by any sort of rules, being able to decide for yourself what is good and right is liberating (and since freedom and liberation are really CG virtues this is really unsurprising).

Of course, if this self-centeredness in deciding what is right and wrong becomes too self-centered, either by being too passive ("I am not required to make any self-sacrifices to do good.") or too self-centered ("I am not required to consider at all what anyone else considers good, including even the target of my actions"), then that is Chaotic Neutral, since the ultimate end of such a philosophy would be that there is no such thing as right and wrong, only personal codes individuals have constructed on their own authority. And what I find in play is usually that a large percentage of people who write down CG actually want to play CN, while a large percentage of those that write down CN actually want to play CE. That is, they want to play CN as giving them a license to commit evil when it is to their benefit, and typically they'll see it as being to their benefit all the time, and their justification for this being "good" will typically only be that it is for some abstract "greater good" - which will eventually drag them all the way to neutral evil if they aren't careful.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
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.

Exactly. And Jayne is deeply upset by his own actions, not wanting the others to know why he was being shot out the ship like so much space garbage. Where does that fit in describing his alignment?

CN characters can absolutely be reliable and trustworthy to the people they care about. Because being reliable to those people has absolutely frack-all to do with caring about reliability as a Good in itself. The CN doesn’t give a damn about the idea of reliability, and isn’t standing watch to meet some socio-cultural expectation (that would be lawful), or live up to some ethical code. They’re doing it because they care about the people they ride with.

Good doesnt hold any any sort of monopoly on caring about people.
 

Hussar

Legend
Or its a case of a character shifting alignment. would not be the first time in Wheedonverse shows. We won't ever know because the show got cancelled.

Good doesnt hold any any sort of monopoly on caring about people.

Umm, yes it does? Caring about people is the definition of good? If you actually care about people, that makes you good. Now, caring about this group of people once probably doesn't make you good, but, it makes you a bit leaning in that direction. Repeatedly caring about other people does show a pretty strong leaning towards good.

But, yeah, not caring about other people? That's pretty much the heart of what it means to be evil.

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And, [MENTION=4937]Celebrim[/MENTION], LG being the most good has always been the standard in D&D. I'm surprised you'd argue otherwise. There's a reason paladins were restricted to LG, once upon a time. And, every archetype for LG is among the most good of characters - Superman, King Arthur, Gawain, that sort of thing. Chaotic is selfish it its heart. It's all about the self. You can't be as good as the selfless (Lawful) by definition.
 
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billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Umm, yes it does? Caring about people is the definition of good? If you actually care about people, that makes you good. Now, caring about this group of people once probably doesn't make you good, but, it makes you a bit leaning in that direction. Repeatedly caring about other people does show a pretty strong leaning towards good.

But, yeah, not caring about other people? That's pretty much the heart of what it means to be evil.

Too broad. Too absolute. It’s not that evil characters cannot care about other people. They may well care deeply about a select few. LE mobsters may care deeply about their families... but, overall, their behavior in society in general is too violent and predatory to be anything but LE.

Neutral characters may care for a small circle of friends, family, and neighbors and stick up for them. But that would be because they have a close connection. They generally wouldn’t stick their necks out for people they don’t know, not without additional inducement. The difference isn’t that they won’t or can’t, rather, they aren’t strongly committed enough to altruism to do that for just anyone.

So good doesn’t hold a monopoly on caring for people, they just commit to it with a strength other alignments don’t.
 

Hussar

Legend
[MENTION=3400]billd91[/MENTION], I'd agree with that.

I wonder if you were to draw a venn diagram of those who argue that chaotics are trustworthy and responsible and those who personally identify with political ideologies that emphasize personal rights and responsibility and personal liberty, if there wouldn't be a very high degree of overlap. I usually find that folks have a very difficult time separating their personal ideologies from their hobbies and any time one conflicts with the other, it always must be the other people who are wrong and just don't understand. Regardless of the amount of evidence brought forth.

It's no different than when a beloved fictional character is changed and folks lose their cool. That character couldn't possibly change in that way, and it doesn't matter if the change is interesting or cool or even logical. It's not in keeping with their personal vision of that character, therefore everyone else must be wrong.

Or if a beloved author is criticised and shown to be perfectly normally human, with perfectly normal human failings. Again, regardless of any evidence or argument, other people MUST be wrong because if they aren't, then I might like something that isn't perfect. No it cannot possibly be that. It must be everyone else.

The truly funny thing is, twenty pages or so ago, I asked for an example of a reliable CN character. Twenty pages later, I'm still waiting. If CN is so reliable and trustworthy, surely there must be hundreds of examples. After all, I can give you a shopping list of LG characters that are reliable and trustworthy. What's the hold up? Why so shy?
 

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