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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.
 
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Russ Morrissey

Comments

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Chaotic Neutral is the Gnome of Alignments.

Whereas Chaotic Good is the Dex rapier-build. Super popular because it sucks.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
But, if you ALWAYS do what you agree to do, that makes you lawful. If your whims are to always be trustworthy, then, well, that's not chaotic anymore. That's lawful. While, sure, you can do one or the other from time to time, my point is, if you follow your whims and your personal freedom is paramount to you, is the highest priority to you, then you are inherently untrustworthy.

I've run into this argument from players before. "Oh, I AM Chaotic Neutral, I just CHOOSE to be 100% reliable, always accomodating, completely willing to compromise for the good of the group and never act in a selfish or impulsive manner. Since I CHOOSE that, it makes me chaotic."

Nope, it makes you lawful with some definitional issues.
"But, if you ALWAYS do what you agree to do, that makes you lawful. If your whims are to always be trustworthy, then, well, that's not chaotic anymore. That's lawful. While, sure, you can do one or the other from time to time, my point is, if you follow your whims and your personal freedom is paramount to you, is the highest priority to you, then you are inherently untrustworthy. "

Even when I ran alignment this was not true in my games.

"Being" an alignment foes not mesn adopting every aspect of it. A chaotic character could be chaotic in a lot of different ways but still keep to his own code in some respects.

"Your whims" does not mean random acts. Thsts more a form of insanity. That means what you want to do and that can include not crapping on beneficial agreements.

I think perhaps this exemplifies some of the issues that use of alignment tends to create - the driving to extremes and express lane ftom "must" to "always" or suddenly "you are honor thst alignment."

For too many folks, it's like alignment is used as a trap or an excuse.
 

Gradine

Archivist
I'd honestly like to see how "decline to state" stacks up with the other alignments on this list. I know they have to have some way to control for incomplete character projects and the like, but I'm curious to see how many games out there simply ignore alignment altogether.

The biggest problem with CN as an alignment is that the core rulebooks eventually leaned into the whole "Chaotic Wacky/Stupid/Insane" archetype when describing the alignment. The whole thing with the CN character deciding to charge the Gorgon just because. Ugh.

The bigger problem with the alignment system is that peoples' alignment, especially along the law-chaos spectrum, depends more on context than inner ethics. My current campaign features characters who are leaders of a small independent community. They are literal community leaders, which speaks to a lawful attitude. But when the big bully neighbors come to try to annex them, they decided that the community should remain independent. Which is more clearly chaotic.
 

MGibster

Explorer
A whim is a sudden desire or change of mind that typically doesn't have an explanation. I imagine all characters regardless of their alignment have whims but a LG character won't typically allow that to interfere with their duties or goals. A CN person follows their whims which can change every time the wind blows another direction. If someone typically keeps their word and is reliable they are not CN.
 
As with many things in D&D, I think of alignment in terms of pro wrestling: some people stay heels forever (Jessie the Body, Bobby the Brain), some stay faces forever (Ricky the Dragon Steamboat), but most people make face/heel turns. I figure if you are lawful, you don't make a lot of turns, and if you are chaotic, even the most dedicated fan has a hard time remembering if you are good or bad when you come down to the ring, since you change so frequently. Of yeah, TN=jobber, because no one cares if you are a face or a heel.
 

Stalker0

Adventurer
Another debate that proves the alignment debate is pointless.

It’s just way too vague a concept to be truly useful. I also think 5e bond, flaws, and motivation notes are way more useful to helping a player figure out their character than alignment ever did.

Unaligned ftw!!
 
I prefer alignment as an actual Alignment with a real fundamental force of the multiverse -- and not necessarily by choice. You were born in Deep Winter? Sorry, your alignment is Neutral Evil. It's built into your DNA. No matter how much good you do in the world, your ka belongs to Gehenna. Good luck.
 

FitzTheRuke

Adventurer
I think Lawful Good is one of the most misunderstood alignments. Most people think of it (and play it) as Lawful Obsessive. There's nothing inherent in Lawful Good that should make anyone inflexible. A lot of people play, for example, Lawful Good Paladins as total zealots. Hence, why people who *don't* play LG shy away from it.

I mean, I'm probably LG in RL and it doesn't mean that I don't Speed or Jaywalk. People tend to bend rules, even ones they make for themselves. Characters should be like that, within reason. You shouldn't have to pick "Unaligned" or "Chaotic" to act like a real, flawed person.
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
In my experience Chaotic Neutral is the evilest evil but your DM said you weren't allowed to be evil. I usually ban it in my games, as well as evil, unless I'm deliberately accommodating evil characters.
I've rarely ever seen the "evil" side of CN, and only ever from players that were disruptive no matter what they played. The CN characters I've seen have tended to just be motivated by people and what they want in life, without directly thinking or caring much about broad morality or cosmic scales.

Not surprise. CB is flexible morality. You wanna be good, but still able to kill that dude you do not like.
Sometimes it's that. Usually it's a morality that is based on something like "hurting people for selfish reasons is bad, as has to be opposed", rather than "XYZ specific actions are Evil". That is, violence isn't good or evil, the results of violence are good or evil. If the result of me killing the dragon is that it stops killing villagers because they can't afford to bring it as many cows as it wants, then killing the dragon is Good, while the violence of the dragon themselves was Evil.

That isn't flexible, it just isn't a specific action based metric of determination, it's a results based determination. Killing the guy you don't like is still evil if you're just doing it because you don't like or trust him.

Sorry, but, if your chaotic neutral character is 100% responsible and trustworthy, he's not actually CN.
Why? The character values the bonds they have with the group, and cares about the success and failure potential of the group.

Well, the whole "follows their whims" right there makes them untrustworthy. Particularly when combined with putting their personal freedom above all else. Basically becomes, "you can't tell me what to do, I'll do whatever I feel like, which, right now, means that I'm going to sleep on watch because, well, I'm tired and you can't tell me what to do."

If you follow your whims, that makes you untrustworthy.
They aren't bound by their every impulse. That isn't what that means. They decide their own actions, based on their own priorities and desires. Not getting ambushed in the night will generally match their own priorities and desires, unless they're literally a comic book style lunatic.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
By a natural language definition, you’d be right. But by D&D’s definitions, where chaotic seems to mean not caring about the rules, rather than being actively opposed to rules, chaos is just more extreme neutrality.
No, not by natural language. By D&D definitions it's not more neutral than neutral. Below are some of the definitions.

5e: CN: creatures follow their whims, holding their personal freedom above all else.

N: is the alignment of those w ho prefer to steer clear of moral questions and don’t take sides, doing what seems best at the time.

Whims are chaotic and impulsive, not neutral in any way. Steering clear of moral questions and not taking any sides, even chaotic and impulsive ones is more neutral.

3e: CN: chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn’t strive to protect others’ freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random.

N: A neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. She doesn’t feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil—after all, she would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, she’s not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way.

Again, CN is more dedicated to an idea, in this case individualism and the challenge against restriction, traditions and authority, something a neutral character doesn't do, because neutral is more neutral.

The prior editions are the same. At no point has any edition which had both CN and N as alignments, had CN as more neutral than neutral.
 

WaterRabbit

Villager
I have to agree with Morrus here. There is a lot white room discussion about CN, but from my observations, the players that pick it tend to be the most disruptive. They take it as a license to be douchebags. These are the players that steal from the party, get other party members killed, etc. When called on it they claim they were just playing their alignment. IRL (as opposed to the white room), there is generally no difference between CE and CN when played.

5e should have ditched the alignment system. For the most part in 5e it doesn't make much difference (mechanically) what alignment a player picks because almost no spells or items are tied to alignment -- at least to the extent in previous versions. Alignment might be useful for character creation to help a pick traits, ideals, bonds, flaws and then ignored afterward.

It is either used to justify punishing a player or used by a player to torture their group. It can lead to tedious in game discussion as well. Not a fan of it at all.

IMHO, the best way to deal with alignment is to simply ignore. Substituting the optional Honor/Sanity stats would be much more meaningful. Or the Taint stat from Heroes of Horror.

Back in AD&D days, we had a large group of players -- like 15. Our main fighting character was a LE fighter that had an intelligent, powerful LE aligned flail. We were fighting tons of undead and he was the powerhouse of the group. A character dies and has to roll up a new 1st level character. He chooses a paladin and as his first act detects evil on the fighter. The game then devolved into a 2 hour alignment discussion among the players. Eventually, we booted the paladin player because 1st level vs 7th level fighting hordes of mummies and because he wouldn't let it go. We chose survival as a group.

After playing many different RPGs since then, none of which have anything like alignment in them, it became clear to me that alignment just needs to be thrown in the ash heap of RPG history.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
No, not by natural language. By D&D definitions it's not more neutral than neutral. Below are some of the definitions.

5e: CN: creatures follow their whims, holding their personal freedom above all else.

N: is the alignment of those w ho prefer to steer clear of moral questions and don’t take sides, doing what seems best at the time.

Whims are chaotic and impulsive, not neutral in any way. Steering clear of moral questions and not taking any sides, even chaotic and impulsive ones is more neutral.
In other words, neutral doesn’t commit to any side, chaotic neutral is committed to not taking a side. It is, functionally, a more committed form of neutrality.

3e: CN: chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn’t strive to protect others’ freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random.

N: A neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. She doesn’t feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil—after all, she would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, she’s not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way.[/quote]
Same story told with more words. Chaotic Neutral is “f**^ you, I’ll do what I want!”, Neutral is “eh, I’ll do what I want.” The only functional difference between chaos and neutrality on the law/chaos spectrum by D&D’s standards is their level of commitment to not caring about the rules.

Again, CN is more dedicated to an idea, in this case individualism and the challenge against restriction, traditions and authority, something a neutral character doesn't do, because neutral is more neutral.
Except that the idea Chaotic Neutral is committed to is noncommitment to anything but one’s self. It’s just Neutral with attitude.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
No, not by natural language. By D&D definitions it's not more neutral than neutral. Below are some of the definitions.

5e: CN: creatures follow their whims, holding their personal freedom above all else.

N: is the alignment of those w ho prefer to steer clear of moral questions and don’t take sides, doing what seems best at the time.

Whims are chaotic and impulsive, not neutral in any way. Steering clear of moral questions and not taking any sides, even chaotic and impulsive ones is more neutral.
In other words, neutral doesn’t commit to any side, chaotic neutral is committed to not taking a side. It is, functionally, a more committed form of neutrality.

3e: CN: chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn’t strive to protect others’ freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random.

N: A neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. She doesn’t feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil—after all, she would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, she’s not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way.
Same story told with more words. Chaotic Neutral is “f*** you, I’ll do what I want!”, Neutral is “eh, I’ll do what I want.” The only functional difference between chaos and neutrality on the law/chaos spectrum by D&D’s standards is their level of commitment to not caring about the rules.

Again, CN is more dedicated to an idea, in this case individualism and the challenge against restriction, traditions and authority, something a neutral character doesn't do, because neutral is more neutral.
Except that the idea Chaotic Neutral is committed to is noncommitment to anything but one’s self. It’s just Neutral with attitude.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
In other words, neutral doesn’t commit to any side, chaotic neutral is committed to not taking a side. It is, functionally, a more committed form of neutrality.


Same story told with more words. Chaotic Neutral is “f*** you, I’ll do what I want!”, Neutral is “eh, I’ll do what I want.” The only functional difference between chaos and neutrality on the law/chaos spectrum by D&D’s standards is their level of commitment to not caring about the rules.


Except that the idea Chaotic Neutral is committed to is noncommitment to anything but one’s self. It’s just Neutral with attitude.
That's not conceptually correct. CN does pick a side more than Neutrality does - it picks the side of individualism rather than the pragmatic approach between social expectations and individual choices a Neutral might take. It is not more neutral between social/order and personal/disorder than Neutral. It definitely favors a side.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
In other words, neutral doesn’t commit to any side, chaotic neutral is committed to not taking a side. It is, functionally, a more committed form of neutrality.
Admittedly, when I think of Chaotic Neutral, I think of committed.

In game, "My goodness, Uruk the Flighty should be committed."

Out of game, "I swear ... I will need to be committed if Charlaquin makes another friggin' CN Character."



Same story told with more words. Chaotic Neutral is “f*** you, I’ll do what I want!”,
Q. What is the definition of irony?

A. 10,000 people at a Rage Against the Machine concert, chanting in unison, "Eff you, I won't do what you tell me!"

Neutral is “eh, I’ll do what I want.” The only functional difference between chaos and neutrality on the law/chaos spectrum by D&D’s standards is their level of commitment to not caring about the rules.


Except that the idea Chaotic Neutral is committed to is noncommitment to anything but one’s self. It’s just Neutral with attitude.
As I always suspected ...




Chaotic Neutral is the Poochie of Alignments.
 

Psyzhran2357

Villager
But what else are you supposed to put down as the alignment of a petty criminal or gentleman thief who pisses on the law, but neither gives back to the poor or slits the throats of innocents in the night? They ain't good, they ain't evil, but they're definitely chaotic, sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...
 

R_J_K75

Explorer
I didnt read every post but the ones I read are discussing neutrality and the consensus seems to be that neutral characters dont care one way or the other. I disagree. The common man or woman might have this attitude, but most likely not an adventurer because depending on their personal goals theyre probably looking to establish or maintain some form of balance. For example, embarking on and completing quest "A" will bring balance to "B". Or faction "X" is growing too large and powerful wouldnt a neutral character or group try and intervene to restore balance in civilization? I think they would. Too many players play True Neutral for two reasons, 1) Im just along for the ride, and 2) My character does whatever he/she wants because they dont perceive their actions as lawful, chaotic, good or evil. Lastly most people fail to realize that a TN character will act in accordance of one of the other alignments until some important situation/decision presents itself and thats when their TN convictions will force them to act according to their alignment.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I'll try one more time.

In other words, neutral doesn’t commit to any side, chaotic neutral is committed to not taking a side. It is, functionally, a more committed form of neutrality.
No. Chaotici Neutral is not committed to not taking a side. In fact, it emphatically DOES take a side. It's committed to the side of the desires of the individual who is Chaotic Neutral. It is committed to whim and flights of fancy. And in 3e, it's also committed to resisting authority, tradition and restrictions. Those are all things that the more neutral True Neutral does not commit to.
 

MGibster

Explorer
It is interesting how alignment comes up in games. I was playing a LG paladin in a game and another was a CG bard. We came across a town where most of the population had fled or were captured by another force. The bard decided to help himself to to some chainmail we found in someone's home which had only been abandoned for a day or two at most. My character argued that he was stealing, his character argued that the place was abandoned and the owner forfeited any right to it, and we went round and round like this for a few minutes.

I let it go for the sake of maintaining a pleasant atmosphere in the game but for me it does illustrate how differently people interpret alignment. I wouldn't have a CG character of mine take the chainmail unless there was an immediate need for it. i.e. An emergency situation of some kind. But "I'm just playing my character" wasn't a good enough reason for me to be disruptive.

I know people often complain about paladins being Lawful Stupid and that's certainly true at times. On the other hand I've seen many groups treat the paladin as if he's an utter moron and try to engage in thievery, torture, or murder right under his nose.
 

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