Roleplaying » Discussions


Discussion: Alignments - True Neutral

Tags: #Alignments  #Zonnonn 
  • Member
    October 13

    Uh oh, seems that I got so caught up in the real world that I forgot to post this yesterday. Sorry everybody! But now I'm sure you're positively shaking with anticipation of our newest alignement

    True Neutral

    Or Neutral Neutral for those who don't know. So what's everyone's verdict on the Switzerland of morality? Are they truly focussed on one goal no matter what, and as such are one of the most driven alignments of the bunch, or are they hippy 'anything goes' folks? Let us all know! And of course the standard rule applies, make sure you reply to someone else's post when you post one yourself to get a lovely conversation going.

  • Member
    October 13

    I feel like a true neutral is one of two things; the boring and overused "I don't care at all" approach and the equally abused "I don't want to be a part of this" *proceeds to become hero later on* archetype. The True Neutral is honestly just one I don't find appealing. I often notice the most boring one-dimensional characters normally start out as a true neutral that don't want to be thrown into some conflict, in order to be seen as more "conflicted". Honestly, the only example I can think of that makes it work is Frodo from "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy; mostly because I'm a Tolkien fanboy and refuse to criticise any of his work.

  • October 13

    The most common misinterpretation by people is that True Neutral is about "I don't care" 'I don't pick sides', or that True Neutral doesn't recognize good and evil. But that ain't true, far from it actually. True Neutral does recognize good and evil but it is actually this alignment that recognizes these two concepts as subjective. What am I saying? Morality is very subjective, right? We kinda talked about that in the previous alignments. It's all about a perspective. Killing a murderer without a trial can be seen by some as a good dead or as evil deed. True Neutral recognizes that and stands in the middle. Balance. It's not what about what is good or evil, it's about balancing those two. 

    A mouse could see an owl as evil for hunting her but does an owl see itself that way? It just doing what is necessary for its survival. True Neutral is somewhat similar to this. They can be both a mouse or an owl. The tusk does that mean, right? 

    Alright, imagine this. You have this nature oriented person, hermit maybe or something like that. Or a ranger. And there's this land and its lord and this land is being plagued by packs of wolves, yeah? There's more wolves than humans now and they get brave enough to hunt down villagers and such, so the lord hires the ranger or the hermit to reduce the numbers. And the ranger will do that, he will reduce the numbers only to a certain degree. But the lord wants all the wolves killed, but the ranger won´t do it, because that would break the balance and so he defends the wolves, even killing some of the lord's men. 

    I know, it's little bit extreme but it's just because finding a good example for this alignment is quite difficult. I never played this kind of character because the mindset is just too difficult to relate to, because of our own moral compass. Not saying that True Neutrals don't have it, but it doesn't play that big role for them. 

     

  • Member
    October 13

    The Lorc of Flowers said:

    The most common misinterpretation by people is that True Neutral is about "I don't care" 'I don't pick sides', or that True Neutral doesn't recognize good and evil. But that ain't true, far from it actually. True Neutral does recognize good and evil but it is actually this alignment that recognizes these two concepts as subjective. What am I saying? Morality is very subjective, right? We kinda talked about that in the previous alignments. It's all about a perspective. Killing a murderer without a trial can be seen by some as a good dead or as evil deed. True Neutral recognizes that and stands in the middle. Balance. It's not what about what is good or evil, it's about balancing those two. 

    A mouse could see an owl as evil for hunting her but does an owl see itself that way? It just doing what is necessary for its survival. True Neutral is somewhat similar to this. They can be both a mouse or an owl. The tusk does that mean, right? 

    Alright, imagine this. You have this nature oriented person, hermit maybe or something like that. Or a ranger. And there's this land and its lord and this land is being plagued by packs of wolves, yeah? There's more wolves than humans now and they get brave enough to hunt down villagers and such, so the lord hires the ranger or the hermit to reduce the numbers. And the ranger will do that, he will reduce the numbers only to a certain degree. But the lord wants all the wolves killed, but the ranger won´t do it, because that would break the balance and so he defends the wolves, even killing some of the lord's men. 

    I know, it's little bit extreme but it's just because finding a good example for this alignment is quite difficult. I never played this kind of character because the mindset is just too difficult to relate to, because of our own moral compass. Not saying that True Neutrals don't have it, but it doesn't play that big role for them. 

     

    You could have quoted me instead of this whole indirect disagreement thing.

    Anyways, you raise a good point regarding the True Neutral. However, the whole "killing wolves and humans" example was quite extreme. You see, if one is to be truly neutral, they would not seek to maintain a balance. A neutral, by definition, is independent of any conflicts. Why would a neutral care about some sort of balance? That's like saying Switzerland would attack the United States for having a better military than some country they went to war with. How can one be neutral if they must directly intervene in a conflict to maintain "balance"? That's more Neutral Evil than anything else. 

    neu·tral
    ˈn(y)o͞otrəl/
    adjective
     
    1. 1.
      not helping or supporting either side in a conflict, disagreement, etc.; impartial.
       
       
  • October 13

    It wasn´t directed at you, Rogue. I was indeed talking in general, because me and my mates were chatting about that and most of them thought it´s the "not choosing sides" thing. And maybe they are right, but maybe not. 

    Yes, the definition of word neutral. I was actually wondering about that. You can easily use it in a normal sentence, but does the adjective really describe Neutral alignements from RPG? :) 

    Most of these days I´m usually trying to tie the True Neutral to Witchers. As I said before, the example I provided is quite extreme, because on the paper True Neutral might work, but in a real situation? Witchers are known to be neutral, right? Because they stay out of the conflicts of men, nations and such, but how many times does that actually work? In reality there are moments when "not choosing a side" is not really an option, is it? Because choosing not to choose is a choice and taking a side. Your side. Which is creating an opposition to the two sides already at play. That´s actually the thing. Your decision to not make a decision can still force other sides into action against you.

    But back to Witchers. Neutral. What does it mean? Witchers are sort of a bridge between the worlds of monsters and worlds of men. Witchers understand the nature of both, and they maintain the balance between them. It´s not always about slaying the monster.

    If we would follow the definition of neutral in terms of gameplay and roleplay in Skyrim, it would mean a character that does nothing. Because there are always two forces colliding with each other in every situation and in every situation you have to take a side, make a choice. This is the reason why I´m trying to draw parallels to the balance rather than neutrality, because the second just seems almost impossible to understand and get into the mindset of it. Pure pacifist could maybe be that kind of neutral. 

    I suddenly can´t get the image out of my head, but I´m thinking about a healer who witnesses a village being hit by plague. And let´s say he´s True Neutral. What would he do? Heal the people? Ease their suffering? Just leave? I mean we are talking about a simplified moral and emotion version of what makes a human a human, and it´s never that simple as that, but let´s say our healer believes with his whole soul into that "not taking any side" thing or that our healer believes into "balance over all" thing. How does he decide? 

    And man, that last sentence. 

    How can one be neutral if they must directly intervene in a conflict to maintain "balance"? 

    That´s the goddamn question I keep asking myself everytime I hear that Jedi fight for the balance of the Force or how they say it. Because if they would fight for balance they would have to buy a beer to the dark side here and there too, right? :D

  • October 13

    Ah, here it is, the description from Forgotten Realms:

    Neutral alignment, also referred to as True Neutral or Neutral Neutral, is called the "Undecided" or "Nature's" alignment. This alignment represents Neutral on both axes, and tends not to feel strongly towards any alignment. A farmer whose primary overriding concern is to feed his family is of this alignment. Most animals, lacking the capacity for moral judgment, are of this alignment since they are guided by instinct rather than conscious decision. Many roguish characters who play all sides to suit themselves are also of this alignment (such as a weapon merchant with no qualms selling his wares to both sides of a war for a profit).

    Some Neutral characters, rather than feeling undecided, are committed to a balance between the alignments. They may see good, evil, law and chaos as simply prejudices and dangerous extremes. Mordenkainen is one such character who takes this concept to the extreme, dedicating himself to a detached philosophy of neutrality to ensure that no one alignment or power takes control of the Flanaess.

    Druids frequently follow this True Neutral dedication to balance, and under Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules were required to be this alignment. In an example given in the 2nd Edition Player's Handbook, a typical druid might fight against a band of marauding gnolls, only to switch sides to save the gnolls' clan from being totally exterminated.

    Completely forgot about it. It does prove you are right about the Neutral "Undecided" thing. For some reason I had it all connected with Balance and Nature. But I have to say I dig the thing about weapon merchant selling to both sides of a war.

    It is actually funny, back when I was playing DaD with friends we had one guy playing a druid and druids always had to be neutral. And he was playing this nature fanatic of sort, always protecting nature, saving ants and freeing butterflies and we had quite few arguments about him not being really neutral because he was picking a side, the side of Nature against everyone else. 

    As I said, it´s an alignment that I never really got the hold of the most, because who can be really neutral in everything, right? 

  • Member
    October 13

    The Lorc of Flowers said:

    And man, that last sentence. 

    How can one be neutral if they must directly intervene in a conflict to maintain "balance"? 

    That´s the goddamn question I keep asking myself everytime I hear that Jedi fight for the balance of the Force or how they say it. Because if they would fight for balance they would have to buy a beer to the dark side here and there too, right? :D

    I think that's correct; a true neutral, for example, would probably be willing to make concessions or compromises toward evil ends if it meant lessening the effects of evil. I also think a true neutral would be a bit concerned about overly good aligned characters getting too much say on a particular issue as well--ultimately we are talking about a balance of power, and a tipping point is still a tipping point no matter what side of the scale it's on. Good with too much power could easily become evil.

    I know the Thalmor are everybody's favorite whipping post, but I think the analogy fits (maybe--my knowledge of the Thalmor is based largely on hearsay xD) I was under the impression that the Thalmor were rather instrumental in staving off the Oblivion Crisis in the Summerset Ilses... a noble enough cause. Through this they garnered more and more power until they became the political entity that so many of us love to hate. I don't want this to derail into another discussion of the Thalmor, so if I'm incorrect just supply us with a more accurate analogy and I'll call it good ;D

    I do think that a true neutral can be neutral because she or he just doesn't care, but I also think it would be a mistake to limit the definition to a sense of apathy alone. It could be a hakuna matata type attitude, but could equally be a philosophical ideal as suggested earlier by a Jedi turning a blind eye toward evil in order to re-establish balance (I still have trouble picturing Yoda tripping an old lady with a cane because the forces of good have risen too high, thus offsetting the balance of the force, though xD).

    I think what makes true neutrals so hard to pin down is that there are so many different ways to be one.

  • October 13

    Resoning beings cannot be true neutral.  As soon as you have the ability to reason, to know the why of something, you loose that instinctualness of true neutrality.  Show me a character that is true neutral and I'll show you a character that is actually all the other alignments except true neutral. 

    The ranger Karver described is what I would call Lawful Neutral they hold order as paramount in this case that order is described as balance.   Your ranger is willing to fight on both sides (wolves and men) in order to maintain that order/balance this is the same with the "classic" D&D definition of Neutral Druids, they are LN not TN by the definitoin provided. 

    The wepons merchant who sells to both sides of a war for profit is not TN they're Evil, they are knowingly consigning hundreds maybe thousands of people to death for their own benefit (a few more coins) this is selfishness on a evil scale NE, LE, or CE.

    Really only animals and creature of only animal levels of intelligence are True Neutral.  They exist simply in the now without thought of the implications, indeed they are incapable of thinking about the implications because they are not reasoning beings.  Animals function purely on instinct, they follow their urges to fulfill basic needs not out of selfishness but simply because that's what animals do. 

  • Member
    October 13

    So by D&D standards Neutral or True Neutral is a person who isn't commited towards good vs evil or law vs chaos. There are those who truly seek balance in all things  in the way they act or those who just show a cold apathy in almost everything that happens around them. A prime example of the Neutral alignment are the druids, you might see them defend man and then you might see them be against man and defend forests, animals, spirits etc.

    Out of D&D standards. Out of the D&D model all alignments are subjective. A True Neutral character would still be one of the two things I said above someone that truly seeks balance in his decisions or someone cold and distant showing apathy at almost (key word - almost) everything. I don't think there is someone that can keep being True Neutral at all times unless he can cut off all of his emotions and truly has the intellect to discern what is the middle way or the way. I can imagine someone though trying to be Neutral in most types of circumstances he comes across but not someone being able to remain Neutral 100% of the time.

    So, just go chaotic neutral to be done with it! :D

  • October 13

    ShinJin said:

     (I still have trouble picturing Yoda tripping an old lady with a cane because the forces of good have risen too high, thus offsetting the balance of the force, though xD).

    ShinJin said:

    Just imagined it...