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'''Alignment''' reflects how a character relates to the concepts of [[good]] and [[evil]], [[law]] and [[chaos]]. It can affect how certain [[non-player character|NPCs]] react within the game, and will occasionally determine whether an item can be used or not (some items have alignments of their own, and will not allow a conflict with their user). The main purpose of alignment, however, is to act as a guideline for consistent [[roleplay]]ing, though it is not set in stone. The alignment of a character can change to match the style in which they are played, if deviation is consistent and serious. All of the nine alignments listed are viable choices for adventurers, though the "evil" variants are more often the domain of villains and monsters.
<nowiki> Alignment can best be illustrated as a tic-tac-toe board. The top of the board is Good, and the bottom of the board is Evil. The left side of the board is Law, and the right side is Chaos. The middle between Law and Chaos, and between Good and Evil, is Neutral. Thus, alignments combine to form nine combinations: Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, Lawful Neutral, True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, Chaotic Evil.
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A [[player character|PC]]'s alignment is a tool for developing its personality. It is more guideline than restriction. Each alignment represents a broad range of personality types and personal philosophies, so two characters of the same alignment can still be quite different from each other. In addition, occasional deviations are permissible, as few people are completely consistent in their behavior.
Law, generally, holds to the precept that structure is necessary to society, that it must be organized in order to survive. Lawful characters generally reflect the concepts of authority in their own lives. They are organized, capable of establishing and maintaining chains of command, giving and taking orders. They will defend existing governments, even when they are manifestly "wrong" by some other standard. They prefer strong governments such as monarchy over weaker forms such as democracy, and believe that order intrinsically permeates the universe. It is the antithesis of Chaos.
Actions taken while playing may alter alignment. The details depend on the [[module]] (for example, the [[original campaign]] provides no ways to shift along the law/chaos alignment axis), although the default [[script]]s do call for a 5-point shift towards evil for killing a non-evil creature of the [[monster class|commoner class]] (generally, townfolk). This is of particular concern to those playing one of the alignment-restricted classes, such as [[paladin]], [[druid]], [[monk]], [[barbarian]], [[bard]], and several [[prestige class]]es.
Chaos, generally, believes in the rights of individuals. Those who adhere to this belief prefer randomness, and shun order. While some of these presume to give orders, chaotics will rarely take orders except when a) unity is required temporarily to oppose some alternative threat, b) some threat of force sufficient to enforce obedience accompanies the order, or c) the order is something which the chaotic would do anyway, or at least is something which it would not be sensible to disobey (e.g., if the command is issued with the intent that the chaotic will do the opposite). Chaotics prefer anarchy over government, and adhere to the maxim that the government which governs least governs best. Chaos is the antithesis of Law.
== The nine alignments ==
Good, in game terms, is the belief in the promotion of the general well-being of all creatures. It is, at times, necessary that those who oppose this should be forcibly stopped, even killed; but those who are good will avoid causing unnecessary suffering, and will only resort to violence when it is necessary and justifiable. In monetary terms, good characters tend to spread wealth around, and will only hoard money on the justification that the character will ultimately be able to use the money to further good, such as by buying a ship to pursue pirates, or building a keep or fortress to defend the local peasants, or constructing a chapel to further the worship of good deities and provide a focal point for charity. It is the antithesis of Evil.
Alignment has two dimensions, each with three categories. The moral dimension reflects how a character relates to good and evil, consisting of the categories "good", "neutral", and "evil". The ethical dimension reflects how a character relates to law and chaos, consisting of the categories "lawful", "neutral", and "chaotic". Combining these dimensions yields the nine alignments.
Evil is characterized by selfishness of purpose. It maintains that it is both important and correct that those who are worthy should succeed, while the weak and unworthy perish. The efforts of good to distribute wealth generally are viewed as cheating the truly deserving. Evil characters do not regard other characters--not even other evil characters--as worthy of respect. They are always willing to take advantage of another's misfortune. Any generous act, either by giving away treasure or by taking risks on behalf of another, must be justified by some advantage to the character taking the action. Evil characters often believe that good and neutral characters are pretending they are not evil in order to fool others and gain an advantage.
{| align="center" border="1" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0"
Good and Evil are usually referred to as the "moral" dimension or axis of alignment, while Law and Chaos are referred to as the "ethical" dimension or axis. Thus neutralities may be distinguished as Moral Neutrality or Ethical Neutrality.
!lawful<br /><small>''70-100''</small>
!neutral<br /><small>''31-69''</small>
!chaotic<br /><small>''0-30''</small>
!good<br /><small>''70-100''</small>
|[[lawful good]]
|[[neutral good]]
|[[chaotic good]]
!neutral<br /><small>''31-69''</small>
|[[lawful neutral]]
|[[true neutral]]
|[[chaotic neutral]]
!evil<br /><small>''0-30''</small>
|[[lawful evil]]
|[[neutral evil]]
|[[chaotic evil]]
Characters with an alignment that is partially neutral are generally more dedicated to the non-neutral aspect of their alignment; those with a "corner alignment" often face dilemmas in which their moral and ethical stances are at odds with each other. For example, if a character is ordered to kill an innocent, the lawful neutral response is to obey, the neutral good is to refuse, and the lawful good is to evaluate which has priority in the situation: law or good?
Neutral is the denial of the values of Law and Chaos, or Good and Evil. A character may be neutral in the moral dimension or the ethical dimension or both; neutrality in both dimensions is called True Neutral.
=== Changing alignment ===
True Neutral--or "Neutral Neutral"--is a rare and tough alignment to play. It is generally used to describe either those who are ignorant of the part that the forces of Law, Chaos, Good, and Evil play in their lives (i.e. animals and humanoids of very low intelligence) or they actively support the concept of balance between the four.
Every character has a rating, from 0 to 100, in each of the two dimensions of alignment. The ratings that correspond to each category are indicated in the above table. Actions that affect alignment cause these ratings to shift by a specific amount. When one of the ratings crosses a boundary into a new category, two things happen. First, the character's alignment changes to the new category. Second, the rating in question is set to the middle of the new category's range. For example, if a lawful evil character with a moral rating of 30 receives a 1 point shift towards good, the character's alignment will change to lawful-neutral and the character's moral rating will become 50.
Alignments which are part neutral are generally more dedicated to that aspect of the alignment which is not neutral; those which combine one extreme with another (the "corner" alignments on the tic-tac-toe board) constantly play off one value against the other. So for example, if a commander orders the character to kill someone whom the character believes may be innocent, the Lawful Neutral will almost always obey, and the Neutral Good will almost always disobey, but the Lawful Good must answer the moral dilemma: Law or Good? Similarly, if the order is to indefinitely detain and torture an enemy, the Chaotic Neutral will almost always refuse, and the Neutral Evil will almost always comply, but the Chaotic Evil faces the moral dilemma: Evil or Chaos?</nowiki>
[[Category:Game rules]]
=== Alignment titles ===
PCs who manage to reach "purity" within their alignment are rewarded with an alignment title. For this purpose, "purity" means ratings of 0, 50, or 100 in each dimension, as indicated in the table below. (Ratings are listed for the law-chaos axis, then the good-evil axis.)
{| align="center" border="1" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="0"
|Crusader<br /><small>''(100,100)''</small>
|Benefactor<br /><small>''(50,100)''</small>
|Rebel<br /><small>''(0,100)''</small>
|Judge<br /><small>''(100,50)''</small>
|Reconciler<br /><small>''(50,50)''</small>
|Free Spirit<br /><small>''(0,50)''</small>
|Dominator <br /><small>''(100,0)''</small>
|Malefactor<br /><small>''(50,0)''</small>
|Destroyer<br /><small>''(0,0)''</small>
Since PCs begin in the middle of their alignment's rating range, only the true neutral alignment title is obtainable without an alignment shift. On the other hand, the true neutral alignment title is the hardest to maintain, as any alignment shift will strip the title from the PC. (For comparison, a shift towards good will not strip a neutral good PC's alignment title since the good rating cannot go above 100.)
Alignment titles are mere honorifics; they are listed on the [[character sheet]] but have no effect on gameplay.
== The moral dimension ==
The moral dimension of alignment reflects a character's position with respect to pre-defined, absolute concepts of "good" and "evil".
*''"Good"'' implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others and to protect innocent life. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of self.
*''"Evil"'' implies hurting, oppressing, and killing innocents. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient or profitable. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.
*''"Moral neutrality"'' can represent several different positions.
**A neutral character might have compunctions against killing the innocent but lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others. These characters can be committed to some by personal relationships, but they are not committed to others outside these relationships.
**A neutral character might have chosen to actively maintain a balance between the powers of good and evil. These characters do not wish to see the world dominated by evil, nor do they believe that complete eradication of evil is desirable.
**A neutral creature might lack the capacity for moral decision making. Animals and creatures of similar intelligence fall under this category. Even deadly vipers and tigers that eat people are neutral because they lack the capacity for morally right or wrong behavior.
== The ethical dimension ==
The ethical dimension of alignment reflects a character's position with respect to pre-defined concepts of "law" and "chaos". These concepts tend to be different from what most people would infer from their names.
*''"Law"'' implies duty, honor, honesty, trustworthiness, tradition, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside this can lead to close-mindedness and an inability to adapt. Those who consciously promote lawfulness see lawful behavior creating a society in which people can depend on each other and make the right decisions in full confidence that others will act as they should. Correct means will lead to desirable ends.
**"Law" does not intrinsically mean legal behavior; "lawful" and "law-abiding" are distinct concepts. ("Lawful" implies "law-abiding" only after a character accepts the authority of those who made the laws.)
**"Law" embraces hierarchy and stability, and emphasizes responsibility to the group/society.
*''"Chaos"'' implies individuality, freedom, flexibility, adaptability, and openness to new ideas. On the downside, this can lead to recklessness, resentment toward authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility. Those who promote chaotic behavior see personal freedom allowing people to express themselves fully and letting society benefit from the potential that its individuals have within them. The ends justify the means.
**"Chaos" does not intrinsically mean random actions, nor does it intrinsically mean breaking rules for the sake of breaking rules.
**"Chaos" rejects hierarchy, instead promoting either egalitarianism or anarchy depending on the presence or absence of concern for others. Chaos also rejects stability in favour of constant change, being about novelty and "innovation".
*''"Ethical neutrality"'' can represent several different positions.
**A neutral character might have a normal respect for authority, but feels neither a compulsion to obey nor a compulsion to rebel; might be honest, but can be tempted into lying or deceiving others; might appreciate tradition, but does not outright reject new ideas.
**A neutral character might have espoused neutrality as superior to law or chaos, regarding each as an extreme with its own blind spots and drawbacks.
**A neutral creature might lack the capacity for ethical decision making. Animals and creatures of similar intelligence fall under this category. Dogs may be obedient and cats free-spirited, but they do not have the ethical capacity to be truly lawful or chaotic.
[[category:game rules]]
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