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(Starting the article with a definition (from BioWare), and general restructuring. Added alignment changes and alignment titles. TN-specific note moved to the TN article.)
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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]]. A creature's general moral and personal attitudes are represented by its alignment and it is a tool for developing your character's identity. It is not a straitjacket for restricting your character. Each alignment represents a broad range of personality types or personal philosophies, so two characters of the same alignment can still be quite different from each other. In addition, few people are completely consistent.
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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|NPC]]s 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 roleplaying, 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.
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<!-- The above is BioWare text (talk table entry 458). Please do not edit mercilessly. -->
   
{| border=1 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=4
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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.
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==The nine alignments==
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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.
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{| border=1 cellspacing=0 cellpadding=4 align=center
 
!
 
!
!Lawfull
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!chaotic<br /><small>''0-30''</small>
!Neutral
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!neutral<br /><small>''31-69''</small>
!Chaos
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!lawful<br /><small>''70-100''</small>
 
|-
 
|-
|'''Good'''
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!good<br /><small>''70-100''</small>
|[[lawful good|LG]]
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|[[chaotic good]]
|[[neutral good|NG]]
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|[[neutral good]]
|[[chaotic good|CG]]
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|[[lawful good]]
 
|-
 
|-
|'''Neutral'''
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!neutral<br /><small>''31-69''</small>
|[[lawful neutral|LN]]
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|[[chaotic neutral]]
|[[true neutral|TN]]
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|[[true neutral]]
|[[chaotic neutral|CN]]
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|[[lawful neutral]]
 
|-
 
|-
|'''Evil'''
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!evil<br /><small>''0-30''</small>
|[[lawful evil|LE]]
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|[[chaotic evil]]
|[[neutral evil|NE]]
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|[[neutral evil]]
|[[chaotic evil|CE]]
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|[[lawful evil]]
 
|}
 
|}
   
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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?
   
==The nine alignments==
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===Changing alignment===
Nine distinct alignments define all the possible combinations of the lawful&ndash;chaotic axis with the good&ndash;evil axis. Each alignment description below depicts a typical character of that alignment. Remember that individuals vary from this norm, and that a given character may act more or less in accord with his or her alignment from day to day. Use these descriptions as guidelines, not as scripts.
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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.
 
*[[lawful good]] (LG) (70-100 Law, 70-100 Good)
 
*[[neutral good]] (NG) (30-69 Law, 70-100 Good)
 
*[[chaotic good]] (CG) (0-30 Law, 70-100 Good))
 
*[[lawful neutral]] (LN) (70-100 Law, 30-69 Good)
 
*[[true neutral]] (TN) (30-69 Law, 30-69 Good)
 
*[[chaotic neutral]] (CN) (0-30 Law, 30-69 Good)
 
*[[lawful evil]] (LE) (70-100 Law, 0-30 Good)
 
*[[neutral evil]] (NE) (30-69 Law, 0-30 Good)
 
*[[chaotic evil]] (CE) (0-30 Law, 0-30 Good)
 
 
==Good vs. evil==
 
*Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.
 
*"Good" implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.
 
*"Evil" implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.
 
*Another way of looking at this might be to consider that "good" puts the needs of the many ahead of the needs of the one, whereas "evil" puts personal needs, desires, and goals ahead of the needs of the many.
 
 
 
People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent but lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others. Neutral people are committed to others by personal relationships.
 
Being good or evil can be a conscious choice. For most people, though, being good or evil is an attitude that one recognizes but does not choose. Being neutral on the good&ndash;evil axis usually represents a lack of commitment one way or the other, but for some it represents a positive commitment to a balanced view. While acknowledging that good and evil are objective states, not just opinions, these folk maintain that a balance between the two is the proper place for people, or at least for them.
 
Animals and other creatures incapable of moral action are neutral rather than good or evil. Even deadly vipers and tigers that eat people are neutral because they lack the capacity for morally right or wrong behavior.
 
   
==Law vs. chaos==
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===Alignment titles===
*Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties.
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PCs who manage to reach "purity" within their alignment are rewarded with an alignment title (as indicated in the article for the specific alignment). For this purpose, "purity" means ratings of 0, 50, or 100 in each dimension. (The two dimensions need not have the same rating, though.) 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.)
*Chaotic characters follow their consciences, resent being told what to do, favor new ideas over tradition, and do what they promise if they feel like it.
 
*"Law" implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include close-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, judgmentalness, and a lack of adaptability. Those who consciously promote lawfulness say that only lawful behavior creates 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.
 
*"Chaos" implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility. Those who promote chaotic behavior say that only unfettered personal freedom allows people to express themselves fully and lets society benefit from the potential that its individuals have within them.
 
   
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Alignment titles are just honorifics; they are listed on the [[character sheet]] but have no effect on gameplay.
   
Someone who is neutral with respect to law and chaos has a normal respect for authority and feels neither a compulsion to obey nor a compulsion to rebel. She is honest but can be tempted into lying or deceiving others.
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==The moral dimension==
Devotion to law or chaos may be a conscious choice, but more often it is a personality trait that is recognized rather than being chosen. Neutrality on the lawful&ndash;chaotic axis is usually simply a middle state, a state of not feeling compelled toward one side or the other. Some few such neutrals, however, espouse neutrality as superior to law or chaos, regarding each as an extreme with its own blind spots and drawbacks.
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The moral dimension of alignment reflects a character's position with respect to pre-defined, absolute concepts of "good" and "evil".
Animals and other creatures incapable of moral action are neutral. Dogs may be obedient and cats free-spirited, but they do not have the moral capacity to be truly lawful or chaotic.
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*''"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.
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*''"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.
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*''"Moral neutrality"'' can represent several different positions.
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**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.
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**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.
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**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.
   
==Notes==
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==The ethical dimension==
*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 and ethical neutrality.
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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.
*True neutral&mdash;or "neutral neutral"&mdash;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.
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*''"Law"'' implies duty, honor, honesty, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, this can lead to close-mindedness, adherence to tradition, being judgmental, and failure 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.
*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?
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**"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.)
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*''"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.
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**"Chaos" does not intrinsically mean random actions, nor does it intrinsically mean breaking rules for the sake of breaking rules.
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*''"Ethical neutrality"'' can represent several different positions.
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**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.
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**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.
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**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:alignments]]
 
[[category:alignments]]

Revision as of 15:35, March 22, 2008

Alignment reflects how a character relates to the concepts of good and evil, law and chaos. It can affect how certain 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 roleplaying, 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.

A 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.

The nine alignments

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.

chaotic
0-30
neutral
31-69
lawful
70-100
good
70-100
chaotic good neutral good lawful good
neutral
31-69
chaotic neutral true neutral lawful neutral
evil
0-30
chaotic evil neutral evil lawful 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?

Changing alignment

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.

Alignment titles

PCs who manage to reach "purity" within their alignment are rewarded with an alignment title (as indicated in the article for the specific alignment). For this purpose, "purity" means ratings of 0, 50, or 100 in each dimension. (The two dimensions need not have the same rating, though.) 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 just 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, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, this can lead to close-mindedness, adherence to tradition, being judgmental, and failure 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.)
  • "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.
  • "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.
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