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General page for character/creature alignment.
Alignments are a broad a categorization of the ethical (Law/Chaos axis) and moral (Good/Evil axis) perspective of people, creatures and societies. Traditionally, there are 9 alignments, which are displayed below.
|Lawful Good||Neutral Good||Chaotic Good|
|Lawful Neutral||True Neutral||Chaotic Neutral|
|Lawful Evil||Neutral Evil||Chaotic Evil|
These are the alignments you are surely most familiar with. Dungeons and Dragons and Neverwinter Nights both use these alignments as a staple. Each specific step represents a set of traits which a character adheres to in their actions. This alignment system is very useful for narrowing things down, and the game world will still utilize this as a tool.
However, we believe that alignments can be limiting for actual gameplay. These alignments are very "fixed", and they make for good guidelines, but often character morality is not as specifically categorized as this. Even 9 alignments is way too few in the scope of actual morality and ethics. We would need potentially dozens of different alignment types to truly suit every individual character. That's why we don't follow this to a T.
The way alignments work on Last Light can be summarized by these three topics:
To make this simple, here's a new chart with the 4 major axes which exist already.
Law/Chaos and Good/Evil, are combined to determine your character's alignment based on intention, action, and means. Wishing ill on another person is not necessarily an evil act on its own. It's when you actually perform those intents upon them that your alignment gets taken into account. If cruel means justify the ends, then the character is either Neutral, or more likely, Evil. Ill-intention made action might imply either Chaos or Evil. Simple action with no ill-intent may mean Chaos or Neutral.
The Law/Chaos alignment axis looks like so:
Law implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include closed-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.
While the Good/Evil alignment axis looks like so:
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 harming, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient or if it can be set up. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some malevolent deity or master.
Neutral is where the line gets blurry. It exists on both axes, but mostly in the ethical field. People who are neutral with respect to law and chaos has a normal respect for authority and feels neither a compulsion to follow rules nor a compulsion to rebel. They are honest but can be tempted into lying or deceiving others if it suits him/her. 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.
- A good page to look at is EasyDamus.com's alignment section. There's a lot of stuff there that really gets pretty indepth. Just hope it never goes down.
- Alignments are hard. Don't feel bad if you aren't playing it perfectly. What matters is that you try.
- Another good reference from TV Tropes: Character Alignment. Take a look at the image especially.