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Alignments: Part 3 of 4, Lawful Neutral,True Neutral and Ch

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Alignments: Part 3 of 4, Lawful Neutral,True Neutral and Ch

PostAuthor: Strangg » Tue Aug 27, 2002 8:38 am

Part 3

Lawful Neutral

In a sense, Lawful Neutral characters can be the most dangerous of all
the character types, especially in large numbers simply because, for the
most part, they are easily controlled. Lawful Neutral characters place order
above all other concerns. To them the presence of a natural order is the way
things must be, and any moral issue stemming from the use of order is
completely irrelevant to them.

Lawful Neutral characters look for patterns in everything. They cannot
accept the world as being chaotic, and they therefore devise systems to
explain away anything chaotic in their lives. It is chaos that they fear
more than anything else, a Lawful Neutral would endure a thousand tyrannies
before living in an anarchistic situation.

The characters of this alignment tend to always follow rather than lead.
Leaders in Lawful Neutral societies are almost always Lawful Good or Lawful
Evil, for rarely does a character gain a position of preeminence without
gaining some moral baggage along the way. Even when Lawful Neutrals do lead,
they follow whatever laws and precedents that preceded them. Lawful Neutrals
are notoriously lacking in initiative, but to say they must have no
willpower or individuality would be a mistake. Although they will fit in
quietly and nicely when the powers that be follow the letter of the law,
they can be a very painful hindrance to those who would try to follow the
spirit of the law (Lawful Good) or twist it to their own ends (Lawful Evil).
Order for its own sake - Lawful Neutral characters will stubbornly defend
this principle to the bitter end. Just as there are few Neutral Good
characters, so too are there few Lawful Neutrals. Most of these characters
fall to the waysides of Good and Evil before holding their alignment long.

Lawful Neutral societies are almost always large, and always come with
large cumbersome (and despite all efforts, usually comically ineffective)
bureaucracies. Everyone in such a society is assigned a place in life. The
goal of a Lawful Neutral society is to achieve perfect harmony, where
everybody has a job, a place to live, and through the benevolence of a well
run government everyone is happy (communism is an example of a Lawful
Neutral governing system). Unfortunately, the willingness of these societies
to follow orders and laws proves to be their undoing, as inevitably a few
evil persons become entrenched at the upper echelons of government and are
virtually invulnerable from removal or attack.

DM's should be wary of Lawful Neutrals. As with Chaotic Neutral it is an
alignment that rarely lasts over a character's career. Lawful Neutrals are
only occasionally interested in self-advancement unless they feel that their
advancement (via their talents) will benefit society as a whole. "The needs
of the many outweigh the needs of the few" is the Lawful Neutral creed, no
character of this alignment will go long without sacrificing material
possessions, themselves, and even their friends for what they perceive to be
for the benefit of their society.


True Neutral

True Neutral is at once the rarest and the most common alignment in the
multiverse. Neutral characters are either incapable of making moral and
ethical decisions or refrain from them actively. "Actively" is the key
phrase here. A character who is incapable of moral and ethical decisions
would have an intelligence and wisdom scores no higher than 6 each. Very few
player characters qualify on that account, therefore the vast majority of PC
Neutrals actively refrain from moral and ethical judgments.

Within this context there are two reasons a character may not actively
pursue ethical and moral thinking. The first, and most storied in the AD&D
tradition, is the druidical "preservation of the balance" mentality.
However, this view, for obvious reasons, is uncannily rare.

The second and most common example is the character who simply doesn't
care. Neutrals of this type aren't concerned for the welfare of anybody
(except themselves), but they aren't willing to advance themselves at any
cost like Neutral Evil characters. They are comparatively lazy and lacking
in drive in this respect, still there are certainly other reasons. The
character may see advancement beyond reasonable comfort through reasonable
risk as pointless. Not surprisingly, these Neutrals have a bleak view on
life. As for the ethical (law vs. chaos) leanings of these characters, they
may follow orders if it serves them, disobey if it doesn't, act on the
occasional whim but otherwise keep to a reasonably predictable life.

True Neutrals are all about reason, and perhaps that's why they are so
few. Everybody seems to get behind some banner or cause, Neutrals couldn't
care less about such trivial matters. Often they have one fascination in
their lives which they are preoccupied with, and everything else doesn't
matter to them. In the case of druids, this is the "preservation of the
balance."

True Neutral societies are very rare, but when they do occur they tend
to be primitive. The concerns of simple survival dominate the daily lives of
such people, and for them further complications aren't worth the effort to
create. In a way, Neutrals are the most peaceful of societies, but they are
also the most infuriating because of the nearly universal lack of a drive
the members of this alignment possess.

DM's running a True Neutral should watch for any consistent behaviors
that lean towards another alignment, but often he will find that there is a
balance between the various aspects of the character's life, whether he
consciously maintains them or not.


Chaotic Neutral

Perhaps the most misunderstood of the nine alignments, many people
believe that all chaotic neutral characters are insane. While it is true
that none of them are very predictable, insanity is not the province of the
members of this alignment alone. Indeed all characters of all alignments are
capable of insane and compulsive behaviors, but Chaotic Neutrals are not
only the most inclined to this type of behavior, they are also the most
famous for it.

Chaotic Neutral characters have little to no discipline. That is perhaps
the only statement that can be made about this alignment that applies to all
the personalities contained within its context. As a rule, the only concern
of Chaotic Neutral characters is themselves. They seek to do what pleases
themselves and don't really care if that pleasure includes anyone else.
Chaotic Neutrals can also be surprisingly snug and unambitious. This lack of
personal greed separates this group from Chaotic Evil characters, who are
often very concerned with getting ahead. Chaotic Neutrals are also
unconcerned with philanthropy in the least. They will help someone that it
pleases them to, or someone who will pay them.

Chaotic Neutrals do not consider morality in their judgments, and about
the only thing they stop to consider is whether or not they have a remote
chance of success. The odds aren't usually considered, but even Chaotic
Neutrals will not attempt the obviously impossible unless desperate (then
watch out, anything could happen). Chaotic Neutrals aren't suicidal, neither
do they shy away from trusting sheer luck, and hence the alignment has
reputation for brash behavior.

Chaotic Neutral societies are anarchies. Everyone does pretty much what
he wants, and therefore Chaotic Neutral societies are either very small, or
do not last long at all. The only real example of such a situation are the
Mad Max movies and others in the post-apocalypse genre. The very lack of
authority invites its institution, usually by force of arms.

Dungeon Master's need to watch this alignment carefully. Unscrupulous
players sometimes play this alignment instead of Chaotic Evil if the DM bans
that alignment from play. Outside of that, there is an oddball balance
between good and evil in the personalities of Chaotic Neutrals. They may
assassinate a good and benevolent ruler for cash, then spend the money on
the poor. Although the contrast is rarely that sharp, it will be there when
the alignment is played right.

It is also necessary to remind all that Chaotic Neutrals aren't insane,
or crazy by definition of alignment. Chaotic Neutral characters as
individuals may not take high risks, especially intelligent ones. However,
they have a tendency to take odd approaches to objectives. Chaotic Neutral
characters also thread intricate plots, but unlike lawful characters these
plans are flexible and can change as whim and situation demand.

Continued...

--
Michael Lloyd Morris
"Advice is one of those rare things that is far easier to give than to
receive." -- Telsindria.
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PostAuthor: robrecht » Wed Sep 04, 2002 6:31 pm

Erhm. About the following statement:

Chaotic Neutral characters have little to no discipline.


I beg to differ: A Githzerai Zerth is an Anarch to the core, however his discipline and persistance in learning and *knowing* the teachings of Zerthamon are formidable at the least.

All of the things you mentioned were examples of Chaotic Neutral alignments, but they're not thw whole thing.

Chaotic Neutral characters (and neutral characters in general) are not devoid of morals, nor do they always refrain from making moral judgements, it is simply so that their morals and ethics do not include the betterment of either others or themselves.

A Chaotic Neutral Anarch, for instance may be just as set against slavery as a Lawfull Good Paladin, however the Paladin is against slavery because it is basically someone, or a small group of people, bettering themselves at the expense of others, Anarch however is against slavery because it's an example of one person dominating another, regardless of wether these slaves are the (more or less) harmless inahbitants of a nearby village or a group of murdering scum who were captured and put to work (the Paladin would classify the latter as a 'just' or even 'light' punishment).

A Chaotic Neutral character may spend years toppling the government of a, by 'good' standards, utopian society, simply because it's inhabitants are not allowed to wear differently colored socks.

On the other hand the same Chaotic Neutral character may do nothing about a government that lets it's people murder other people, simply because he believes this means that the government in question respects the freedom of the people.

To summarize it quite bluntly (and this goes for neutrals generally, but for all alignments if you factor in good and evil too)

A Lawfull character follows rules and laws, made by himself and others.

A Chaotic character follows his/her emotions and instincts.

A Neutral character follows his instincts if the law allows it and the law if his instincts allow it.

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PostAuthor: Strangg » Wed Sep 04, 2002 7:18 pm

Originally posted by robrecht
Erhm. About the following statement:

Chaotic Neutral characters have little to no discipline.


I beg to differ: A Githzerai Zerth is an Anarch to the core, however his discipline and persistance in learning and *knowing* the teachings of Zerthamon are formidable at the least.


And i'll go ahead and differ as well. Knowledge is ~NOT~ discipline. Just because a Githzerai Zerth knows the teachings of Zerthamon does not make him disciplined. It makes him knowledgable a big difference. One does not need to be disciplined nor persistant to gain vast amounts of information on a certain subject.

[/quote]Chaotic Neutral characters (and neutral characters in general) are not devoid of morals, nor do they always refrain from making moral judgements, it is simply so that their morals and ethics do not include the betterment of either others or themselves.[/quote]
No where does it say in the post that they are devoid of morals. They just do not consider them when making decisions. Which you basically prove with your examples. There is no morality considered when toppling a government
based on what color of socks are being allowed to be worn. That's personal preference and has nothign to do with morality. Same with his choice to be against slavery versus a paladans reasoning, while the paladans decision is a moral one the Anarchs is not.

I would also like to state that these are generalizations not absolutes. There are always exceptions to every rule. Especially where Chaotics are concerned, that is the nature of chaos is it not?

~S
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PostAuthor: robrecht » Wed Sep 04, 2002 8:57 pm

And i'll go ahead and differ as well. Knowledge is ~NOT~ discipline. Just because a Githzerai Zerth knows the teachings of Zerthamon does not make him disciplined. It makes him knowledgable a big difference. One does not need to be disciplined nor persistant to gain vast amounts of information on a certain subject.


Becoming a Zerth is like becoming a Zen Monk of the highest level or a Black Belt, the Zerth do not simply know the teachings of Zerthamon, they *know* them. (They understand them right to the deepest core, the truest truth, the most inner message). It also include long periods of Marshal training, long and hard studies of magic and controll of their own bodies. Zerth are essentially monks with Karach blades and magic (and unlike 3rd edition monks, they're not Lawfull). Anyways Zerth are highly disciplined and still Chaotic Neutral.
As you said, there's little bits of law in the minds of chaotics, like the Githzerai cities in Limbo.

I would also like to state that these are generalizations not absolutes. There are always exceptions to every rule. Especially where Chaotics are concerned, that is the nature of chaos is it not?


Maybe, but these aren't really exceptions, they're called Githzerai and they inhabit Limbo by the millions :P Otherwise you're quite right though.

Anways, if I believe that no person should be enslaved, that's a moral I have. Wether this is because I simply hate oppression or because I think it's evil to use others.

Neutrals do let their morals affect their actions and beliefs, they just don't let the fate of others affect their morals.

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PostAuthor: Strangg » Wed Sep 04, 2002 11:29 pm

Originally posted by robrecht

Maybe, but these aren't really exceptions, they're called Githzerai and they inhabit Limbo by the millions :P Otherwise you're quite right though.


It's the Zerth who are the exceptions not your average Githzerai. Only the ones who follow the Zerth religion, and from what i can recall of them their monastaic outlook is as close to being lawful without being lawful, hence the exception. I might be wrong because it has been so long since i have had to deal with either of the Gith types much less the Zerth. The zerth were about the closest thing the Githzerai had to a holy warrior, and they had some pretty strict codes that they followed (which screams lawful). Of course the Githzerai as a society had a few as well but that doesnt' make them lawful.

And as far as neutrals not letting morals affect their beliefs i think we will just have to agree to disagree.

~S
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