Morality and Chaos: Understanding yourself: Where do *YOU* fit in? by Kenneth Udut 8/19/2014
(As seen through the lens of RPG fiction)
How do you classify morality? Inner drive? How you view society?
It’s a difficult question; some of us wrestle with right and wrong our whole lives; the good of the many vs the good of the few or the good of the self.
Game designers for Dungeons & Dragons faced a similar dilemma as they had to come up with a system that encapsulated, basically *all* inner and outer modes of thinking and behavior in a simple system that was easy to understand and was ”playable” in a game form – and came up with a very interesting solution:
If you look up ”character alignments” on Google images you can find many funny examples of different fictional characters – and ”factual” characters (as much as what we learn in the news/media is fact, but that’s another tale) – all placed within this chart.
Are we fictional characters? Well, the depth of ”what it is to be a person” is far too deep and vast for anyone *outside* of our brains to FULLY comprehend; and most of us barely comprehend ourselves fully; crisis, for example, can unravel the most perfectly put together persona) – and so what we show others or show ourselves may be, in part, a fiction.
I can’t speak for everybody, but as an experiment, I tried it for myself. What would Kenneth Udut be as a fictional character?
Through a process of comparing and contrasting one evening, utilizing the wisdom of the collective knowledge of the Internet, I compared card after card of character alignments made from other fictional characters and compared them to what I know of myself. I was torn between three, but in the end, Neutral Good seemed to fit me best.
But before I embark on a journey and bringing you along, to show you the strange possibility that it might be possible to actually ”understand your nature” through the lens of a roleplaying game, I thought it would be wise to explain Good and Evil in this context; as it may not necessarily mean what you were taught it means.
(yes, words have multiple meanings; and evil in the world of character alignment is not necessarily related to the concepts of Good and Evil that you know of)
So, I thought it best to explain: And thankfully, this part of the job was done for me:
WHERE DO YOU FIT IN?
based on a post by: GeminiX7 on http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/661226-pokemon-black-version-2/64194835?page=1 October 1, 2012
Good: Doing things for the ”good of the whole” even at the expense of oneself
Neutral: Doing what one thinks is right for the current situation
Evil: Doing things for ”the good of the self” even at the expense of the whole
As for Law/Neutral/Chaotic I think it has to do more with willingness to adhere to the laws of society, the land, nature, etc, whereas Chaos focuses more on rebellion, anarchy, freedom of choice, etc. Either of those things could be good or bad depending on the context.
Lawful Good: Follows the letter of the law simply because he believes it’s for the greater good, even if it seems it might step on a few toes.
Lawful Neutral: Follows the law of the land possibly partly because he thinks he wants to avoid getting in trouble and partially because he thinks its the right thing to do in the end. Conversely, its a character that adheres strictly to their belief system, and said belief system is not inherently good or evil, taking a path of balance instead.
Lawful Evil: Follows the law, and more importantly, uses it to get his way, either because he’s using loopholes, or because he’s making the laws himself. Alternately, he might be a character who, say, follows a set of beliefs created by someone most would consider ”evil”.
Chaotic Good: A character that cares about the good of the people, but believes free will and independence is the best way of attaining this, either because they believe their law system is corrupt or because they are a free spirit in general. An example would be Robin Hood, stealing from the rich to give to the poor.
Chaotic Neutral: Does what he feels like, regardless of the law systems in place. Or, it could be one who believes the laws of man should not supercede the random forces of nature/the universe/etc, regardless of whether or not those laws help or hinder the people.
Chaotic Evil: A character who will do whatever it takes to get what they want, with total disregard of laws, the well-being of others, etc. The Joker would be an example of this, killing, stealing, etc, just to mess with Batman. He doesn’t work well with anyone, good or evil, as his goal is the only thing that matters.
If in doubt, do a search for Character Alignment on Google Images and take a look around. You might find yourself surprised to see ”yourself” in more places than you could have imaged.