A Roleplayer's Guide to Alignments

By Zed



When creating your character in both pen and paper Dungeons &
Dragons (PnP) or Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO) it is easy to
gloss over a very important aspect of your character's being; their
alignment.  We often only think of alignment if a character class
has an alignment restriction associated with it--bards being non-lawful
or paladins being Lawful Good, for instance. Yet alignment can tell
others a great deal about your character. 



An alignment represents moral and personal attitudes, it's important to
realize though that alignment isn't meant to be a restriction on your
character, a straight jacket if you like, but rather a tool for you to
individualize and define how your character reacts to the world around
him.  Its not expected that a character be totally consistent or
be rigidly within the bounds of their alignment and this is reflected
even more within the world of Eberron, where a group of characters
could actually find themselves working for a lawful evil lich, trying
to overthrow a chaotic evil demon prince, while the group themselves
could be neutral or even lawful good.



Alignments fall into nine categories within two basic tenets: Good vs.
Evil and Law vs. Chaos. Right at the offset it's worth stating that
evil alignments are not available to players in DDO; these are reserved
for ‘villains and monsters', and even the Players Handbook (PHB) states
that in most cases evil alignments are reserved for the bad guys.



Good vs. Evil



Good implies altruism, respect for life and a concern for the wellbeing
and dignity of other sentient beings.  Good characters will make
sacrifices for others even if it causes them hurt.



Evil on the other hand is about pain--hurting, oppressing and killing
others; whether for sport or simply a lack of compassion.



Neutral characters, on the other hand, have some doubts about killing
the innocent but often lack the convictions needed to make sacrifices
to protect those around them, unless that someone is a person the
individual has a close relationship with--friend, family member, love.



Law vs. Chaos



A character who is lawful by nature tells the truth, keeping his word,
honoring tradition and respecting authority.  Lawful characters
also judge those who fall short of their duties.  Lawfulness
includes such things as being honorable, trustworthy, obedient toward
authority, and reliable.  But it can also include
close-mindedness, reactionary adherence to traditions, a judgmental
attitude and rigidity or a lack of adaptability.



Chaos on the other hand is about following one's conscience, resenting
authority, entertaining new ideas over traditions. Chaotic characters
do what they promise, only on their time-table. Chaos implies freedom,
adaptability and flexibility as well as a reckless streak,
irresponsibility and a disdain for authority.



Neutral to law or chaos reflects a respect for authority but no real
compulsion to obey or rebel against authority.  The neutral
character is an honest person, but can be tempted into lying or
deceiving those around them. Neutrality to law or chaos really is a
middle ground.



The Nine Alignments



We will examine the nine alignments – including those not available to
DDO players to get a feel for what they imply from a role-playing
perspective.



Lawful Good – The “Crusader”



Lawful good combines compassion and honor and represents the most
virtuous alignment one can select.  It is the mandatory alignment
for those wishing to follow the way of the Paladin.  It represents
a commitment to oppose evil, and the discipline to fight relentlessly.
A lawful good character keeps her word and helps all those in need.



Neutral Good – The “Benefactor”



A neutral good person is all about helping others, doing the best that
a good person can do.  It represents doing good deeds for others
with no bias for good or evil, nor any expectations of reward.



Chaotic Good – The “Rebel”



A chaotic good person acts as his conscience directs him, regardless of
what others might expect. The chaotic good follows his own convictions
and moral standings even if they do not agree with those of the society
around him.  This alignment combines a good heart with a free
spirit.



Lawful Neutral – The “Judge”



The lawful neutral character acts as law and tradition dictate, and
lives by those codes, be they actual laws or a personal code she
believes in. She follows strong standards and codes and believes in
order for all, or backing a strong and organized governmental
structure.  Lawful neutral combines reliability and honor without
implying being a zealot.



 Neutral – “Undecided”



If it seems like a good idea, then to a neutral person, it probably
is.  He has no real feelings either one way or another, and he
often shows a lack of convictions.  He often views good as better
than evil, though he is not committed in any way to upholding
good.  Neutral characters act naturally with no compulsions or
prejudice.



Chaotic Neutral – the “Free Spirit”



A chaotic neutral person follows her whims.  She values personal
liberties and freedoms, but doesn't take pains to protect those rights
for others. Avoiding authority or restrictions, and challenging
traditions is her hallmark.  While unpredictable, her behavior
isn't totally random--she's still more likely to cross a bridge than
jump off it.  Being chaotic neutral represents true freedom from
society's restrictions without a do-gooder's zeal.



The Unplayable Alignments



DDO doesn't permit players to select the following alignments however
they are included for completeness.



Lawful Evil – the “Dominator”



A lawful evil person is methodical in their actions, bound by her own
code of conduct, without thought or compulsion for the wellbeing of
anyone around her.  She cares not about the hurt she may cause,
nor about the freedoms or dignities of those about her.  She does
care about, and is bound by, traditions, loyalty and order. 
Lawful evil alignment represents methodical, intentional and successful
acts of evil toward others.



Neutral Evil – the “Malefactor”



A neutral evil villain does what ever he can to get away with his
treachery.  Out for himself, he sheds no tears and loses no sleep
over actions that may result in the death of others, as long as he
profits by the deed. He shows no love for order. He represents evil
without honor and without variation



Chaotic Evil – the “Destroyer”



A chaotic evil person does what ever her greed, hatred or lust for
destruction drives her to do. Violent, hot-tempered, vicious and very
unpredictable, she is simply out for herself and what ever she can get,
and she has no compulsions about doing so in a brutal and ruthless
manner.  This alignment represents the destruction of life, beauty
and order.



When you create your DDO character, pause for a moment and think about
the kind of character you want to play and choose an alignment to
match.  Played well, alignments can create some very memorable
experiences throughout a PnP campaign, and there is no reason this
can't be mirrored in DDO. 



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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Karen 1
Karen is H.D.i.C. (Head Druid in Charge) at EQHammer. She likes chocolate chip pancakes, warm hugs, gaming so late that it's early, and rooting things and covering them with bees. Don't read her Ten Ton Hammer column every Tuesday. Or the EQHammer one every Thursday, either.

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