Sunday, May 15, 2011

Alignments In All Their Glory

            Greetings!  This week I have bad news and I have good news.  Bad news is that our DM has gone home for the summer and we will not be able to continue with our current campaign until the end of the summer.  The good news though, is that I will be starting a new campaign with some other friends of mine.  This campaign will actually be using the “Oriental Adventure” 3rd edition book that is basically the Asian culture version of D&D.  This is my first time playing an “Oriental Adventures” campaign so it should be interesting to say the least.  I’ll post updates on the campaign as we progress.
            But for the mean time, let’s talk alignment.  While we have been posting tons of alignment charts, I feel like I should give the criteria that we generally use to determine each character for their alignment.  Granted, not all of these criteria are perfectly met, but the goal is to make it as close as possible.  Also, for some alignments there are multiple interpretations so we take that into account as well.  So without further ado, here they are:

Lawful Good:  One interpretation of this is a character that will do the right thing simply because it’s the right thing to do even if there is no benefit whatsoever to the character.  Another, darker, interpretation is a character that will slay all evil in the world and is for absolute justice.  If a person steps out of line, the Lawful Good character will be the first to throw them in jail or kill them.

Neutral Good: This is the overall good guy.  Sure, he’ll help you move your furniture, and then afterward will go have a few beers with ya.  He’s not going to out of his way to uphold the law but he’ll definitely follow it to the best of his ability.

Chaotic Good: Basically Robin Hood; a character that does what he feels is right, without regard to whether the action is legal. A Chaotic Good character follows their own conscience and tries to uphold the ideals of justice, even if they feel the law gets in the way of it.

Lawful Neutral:  A character that is devoted to the law to the extent that the morality of an issue is not even considered.  Typically, a Lawful Neutral character will not make judgements on matters of right or wrong, but simply whether it is against the law or not.  This is a more "diplomatic" and slightly passive alignment.

True Neutral: There are quite a few interpretations to True Neutral, but the most basic one is apathy for almost everything.  A second interpretation is one of a person that is motivated by nothing but what immediately benefit him/herself; frequently a backstabber where the character is the first to switch sides. Another is the single goal-driven character, pursuing his aspiration above all else, no matter what it takes. There are a few other interpretations out there, but these are the main ones.

Chaotic Neutral:  Generally a wild card, a Chaotic Neutral character can both be willing to help others or hurt them all in the same day.  A character of this nature is hard to read, but easy to play.  They value personal freedom above all else, and hate the restrictions of rules or even morality. Basically, they do what they want because they can.

Lawful Evil:  This is the corrupt politician, the crooked lawyer, the mafia boss, or a general bad guy that has some sort of personal code of conduct.  Lawful evil is more difficult than other evil because it has a standard to uphold, while doing evil things.  Basically, think evil with a structure.

Neutral Evil:  This is the calm, collected, stealthy, and merciless evil that is characteristic of a person that does evil for personal benefit.  They may be willing to work with others, but the goals are mostly self-centered. They murder when convenient, and cannot be trusted to keep their word.

Chaotic Evil:  Basically a character that does evil for evil’s sake.  This character acts almost completely randomly and likes to just destroy things.  A Chaotic Evil Character would push over barrels just for being there, kill someone because they looked at him wrong, or burn down a town because he could.

For an ample amount of examples of these characteristics, just look at the Alignment Charts section of the site and see for yourself.

Until next week!


Quote of the Week

Raz: Something’s not right here…
Alexander: I don’t care.

Player Tip of the Week

Don’t fight your own party members unless it’s by DM request.  While this doesn’t usually happen, if you have characters of vastly different alignment sometimes fights can break out between players in game.   This can have potentially disastrous effects on party synergy and can even affect how the players treat each other in real life.
For instance, in one of the campaigns that I was DMing, we had a Lawful Good Paladin and a Neutral Evil Rogue in the same party.  After rescuing a poor village from a curse that had befallen it, the Rogue demanded payment of some sort while the Paladin didn’t want anything.  Well, one thing led to another and the Rogue ended up threatening the townsfolk with his sword, but the Paladin wouldn’t allow it.  So they fought, the Paladin killed the Rogue, and I had to hit the rewind button on the scenario and just tell them what happened so that they wouldn’t attack each other again.
Long story short, don’t attack your party members.  If you are evil, avoid doing evil in front of your good friend and if you are good let some of the smaller stuff slide with your evil ally.  In the long run this will save the party much grief and all will be peaceful.

Courtesy of Colin-Ashcroft
DM Tip of the Week

Be careful when incorporating dragons.  While I suppose it is understood that Dragons are a big part of D&D, often times it is not fully understood, especially by new DMs, just how powerful they really are.  Dragons, unless dumbed down considerably, can be a huge challenge for characters that are level 10 or less.  Even some of the younger dragons can be a big challenge if not executed in just the right fashion.
For instance, just recently in our current campaign (the one with Zedd), we had an encounter that involved us fighting a Green Dragon that we had just tried to warn of Darken Rahl’s plan to drain the life force of dragons.  We were roughly level 7 or 8 at this point and this Green Dragon kicked the crap out of us and we only just barely beat it.  Luckily for us, our DM had made severe adjustments to its abilities and stats so that it couldn’t one hit KO us.
Zedd did a good job, and has continued to do a good job, at making dragons beatable for us, but even at level 10 (where we are now) we still probably could not beat a full fledged adult dragon with no changes to its stats or abilities.  Point is, if you are going to incorporate dragons, do it very carefully.


  1. My group and I had an interesting way of using alignments on the law-chaos scale. We figured even the most law-abiding hero is still prone to moments of aberrant behavior, so if we as the player were EVER torn on how the character should act, we performed a Chaos Roll (d100) for them. This was roughly figuring 10% chance of acting aberrant for a lawful character, 25% for neutral, and 50% chaotic.

    My wizard and his ranger were constantly provided with options and excuses to act in random fashion, and most of the time they did so, lol. From his deciding to shoot an orc while we attempted to convince them we were the new leaders of their squad (military campaign) to my wizard shrugging and igniting a nobleman's sitting room to clear the house, they were constantly under watch by the paladin (even more than the rogue was).

    Chaos Rolls made the decision making so much simpler. It's chaos, let the dice decide! If we had more than two thoughts on what to do, we'd roll whether or not they deviated from the original (or most sensible) plan, then which alternate idea they pursued.

  2. I actually really like that idea. I might switch up the percentages to match the people playing but that is a legit idea. Thanks for mentioning it!

  3. As much for the dragons,i use a tactic that is very old ,but succesful:present really hard monsters....'handicaped'.The idea is simple:yes ,it might be a powerful full-grown black dragon,but what if he is blind or under a magical curse that gives him incredible stupidity?Not only it gives an entetairning battle , but gives to the low-level characters a chance to fight something bigger than an orc