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Discussion: Alignments - Neutral Evil

Tags: #Alignments  #Zonnonn 
  • Member
    October 5

    Who wants another discussion? I can't hear you! We're leaving the 'Lawful' alignment in the dust now (nobody likes those goody-two-shoes anyway) and moving on to the more neutral persuaded.

    Neutral Evil

    So, why would someone be Evil, but also be pretty meh in terms of rules and regulations (cough cough politicians cough cough). So get discussing! And the usual when you comment your opinion, try to talk to one other person about theirs. We all like discussing after all!

    Some of the more perceptive of you might be wondering why Neutral Evil is out before Good, and it's simply because I saw a few replies straying this way in Lawful Evil, and I wanted to get all your great responses while they were still fresh in you minds!

  • Member
    October 5

    Have I missed my favourite, Chaotic Good? It's proper grand to see another alignment discussion, so I went ahead and looked up its definition thing:

    A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn't strive to protect others' freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it.

    Chaotic neutral is the best alignment you can be because it represents true freedom from both society's restrictions and a do-gooder's zeal.

    Chaotic neutral can be a dangerous alignment when it seeks to eliminate all authority, harmony, and order in society.

    CN sounds like a lazy fat guy who can't be assed :D

  • Member
    October 6
    I'm curious to hear your politician thoughts, Zon :) Or anyone else's too.
  • Member
    October 6

    Paws said:

    Have I missed my favourite, Chaotic Good? It's proper grand to see another alignment discussion, so I went ahead and looked up its definition thing:

    Nope, don't worry, that's coming after we finish off the N_ Family :)

    Paws said: I'm curious to hear your politician thoughts, Zon :) Or anyone else's too.

    Oh well if you insist,

    Neutral Anything is always a bit tricky for me. The main issue I face is 'why would they do/not do something?' and this is especially true for Neutral Evil. I mean th obvious is that they're self motivated to such a degree that they're willing to do whatever's necessary to achieve their goals (hence the 'Evil') and are so self motivated that they aren't restricted by any external forces (hence 'Neutral'). They don't want to watch the world burn or see it prosper, they just want to make sure that whatever they look at they're doing it from the place they want to be.

    But that's a little plain, no? I mean guys guided by greed and grandeur are all well and good, but I can't help but feel like there's more depth to the alignment. So I'd love to see everyone else's answers!

  • Member
    October 6

    I tend to favour the Lawful end of the alignment scale, so I don't particularly have as much to say here. Still...

    Sometimes depth in alignment isn't necessary to be a well-rounded character. I do agree that Neutral ___ can be a little bit shallow in terms of motivations for actions (as opposed to overarching goals) but I don't think it's necessarily bad.

    With that said, I'm going to set aside the Neutrality of this for a moment and take a closer look at the Evil. What is Evil? Such a nebulous concept, even in the black and white morality of a video game (or tabletop RPG) world. In the Lawful Evil discussion I considered Evil means and Evil goals, and I think they're still relevant, but right now I'd like to focus more on what makes an action evil, as opposed to a character. And I have a couple of considerations.

    1) Self-aggrandization. Or, in simpler terms, Power.
    2) Cruelty. Evil looks out for itself, at the expense of those around it. Evil causes pain.

  • Member
    October 6

    This is an alignment that is difficult to describe with my scales. An Evil character is someone who wants power at all costs and neutral is very much like Lawful except they are more inclined to break the law if the matter is in line with their Good/Evil status. I'd guess an LN would be a high-functioning sociopath: someone who is cold, calculating, intelligent, and willing to do anything to get their own way while also maintaining a warm and friendly guise; they aren't Chaotic and definitely aren't Lawful but they are Evil since they're mostly out for themselves.

  • Member
    October 7

    soly said:

    I tend to favour the Lawful end of the alignment scale, so I don't particularly have as much to say here. Still...

    Sometimes depth in alignment isn't necessary to be a well-rounded character. I do agree that Neutral ___ can be a little bit shallow in terms of motivations for actions (as opposed to overarching goals) but I don't think it's necessarily bad.

    With that said, I'm going to set aside the Neutrality of this for a moment and take a closer look at the Evil. What is Evil? Such a nebulous concept, even in the black and white morality of a video game (or tabletop RPG) world. In the Lawful Evil discussion I considered Evil means and Evil goals, and I think they're still relevant, but right now I'd like to focus more on what makes an action evil, as opposed to a character. And I have a couple of considerations.

    1) Self-aggrandization. Or, in simpler terms, Power.
    2) Cruelty. Evil looks out for itself, at the expense of those around it. Evil causes pain.

    Interesting points as always, Soly. I'd like to pose a question based on 1 and 2 if that's alright. Do you think Calixto (the bloke in Windhelm who went a little stab happy trying to resurrect his sister) is Neutral Evil? And if so how does that fit into 1 and 2? I think that as Necromancy is objectively evil, and killing innocents is definitely evil, he could fit into the category. He wasn't particularly Chaotic, but his actions to me are too malicious and not justifiable enough for him to be Good, and there's no way he's Lawful. I dunno, I feel like he's exactly what this alignment is. Selfish and driven by the wrong thing, but not necesarrily a bad guy.

  • Member
    October 7

    Interesting hypothetical, and I agree that Calixto is an excellent example of NE. I also definitely think he's definitely a bad guy, and that Evil people in general are very likely to be bad people.

    I'd say that he does fit into my considered points. Calixto is pursuing his own personal goal (self-aggrandization - I did a disservice when I equated it to power, I think). It does have little to do with power in the strictest sense, but knowledge is power and he's looking to bring someone back from the dead itself. Defying the nature of life and death itself? That takes a serious amount of knowledge, power, or some combination of the two.

    And he sure as heck is pursuing his goal at the expense of those around him. He is not cruel for cruelty's sake, no. His is an unthinking cruelty, almost casual and incidental. And here is the difference between an NE Calixto and a TN Calixto. TN Calixto would pursue the same selfish goal, but with less stabbing. NE Calixto believes that he and his goals are worth more than the lives of the people he stabbed, and that the stabbing, cruelty and death are worth it to bring his goal to fruition. Of course they're worth it. He's not the one paying the price, after all.

  • Member
    October 7

    soly said:

    Interesting hypothetical, and I agree that Calixto is an excellent example of NE. I also definitely think he's definitely a bad guy, and that Evil people in general are very likely to be bad people.

    I'd say that he does fit into my considered points. Calixto is pursuing his own personal goal (self-aggrandization - I did a disservice when I equated it to power, I think). It does have little to do with power in the strictest sense, but knowledge is power and he's looking to bring someone back from the dead itself. Defying the nature of life and death itself? That takes a serious amount of knowledge, power, or some combination of the two.

    And he sure as heck is pursuing his goal at the expense of those around him. He is not cruel for cruelty's sake, no. His is an unthinking cruelty, almost casual and incidental. And here is the difference between an NE Calixto and a TN Calixto. TN Calixto would pursue the same selfish goal, but with less stabbing. NE Calixto believes that he and his goals are worth more than the lives of the people he stabbed, and that the stabbing, cruelty and death are worth it to bring his goal to fruition. Of course they're worth it. He's not the one paying the price, after all.

    Brilliant summary, Soly! You took the words out of my mouth and turned them into something far more eloquent than what I could ever come up with. So do you think there's a certain apathy regarding others for NE? Not always necesarilly malicious, just unconcerned, prioritising themselves over others for that reason rather than hatred.

  • Member
    October 7

    I don't think NE is always necessarily unconcerned as we see with Calixto, but it's definitely a proven possibility. Similarly, it's definitely possible for NE to be malicious rather than merely unconcerned. You probably agree with me, but it's best to have these things aired out clearly.

    I would suggest that Evil might take a primarily calculating view of the world. Lives, for example, would hold no intrinsic value of their own; an Evil character would value a person's life only inasmuch as the person is useful to him or her. Calixto valued the people he stabbed as raw material. They were useful to him, but more useful dead. So he stabbed them.

    The Thieves' Guild is useful to Mercer - they bring in loots - and also importantly, the act of killing them has no value to Mercer. Why would he? A dead thief brings in no money, and if he stabs a thief, the rest the Guild will riot, and his income plunges. He also wants to safeguard the thieves who bring in money, so that they can continue to bring in money (they don't get caught) and so that they don't desert the Guild. As for thieves who don't bring in money? They're useful to him, too. If the town guard catches them and throws them in jail, they might be lulled into a false sense of security ("nah, those Thieves' Guild people are idiots, don't worry about them, they couldn't open a lock if I handed them the key"). In this sense, their continued existence isn't very valuable to Mercer - because they do not bring him money - but the end of their existence (when they get caught) is useful to him.