Could someone give me different scenarios and explain how the different D&D alignments would act in that scenario? I'm retarded and not quite getting how different alignments would act.
If context helps I'm a new DM and want to know the baseline actions of various NPC's/Monsters based on their alignments or punishing players for going outside their alignment/codes (in the case of a paladin or something).
Alignments are almost never agreed upon. But I'll give you how I generally interpret each of them so maybe that will help.
The character is devoted both to doing the right thing and to making sure others do the right thing. Often times, as in the case of the Paladin, the LG character has authority to impose the law onto others, as long as the Law they impose is also Good. For this reason, a paladin can execute an unarmed prisoner rather than send him to the "proper authorities" because the Paladin IS the proper authority by virtue of his alignment.
I always saw this as "character is simply a good guy, and is not interested in causing any real changes to the status quo through either Law or Chaos". Their goals usually go beyond the people immediately around them.
Character wants to do good things but knows the system doesn't work. A CG character is someone who wants to be a Paladin but doesn't have the authority of a Paladin. Think Batman.
Good soldiers follow orders. The character may be pessimistic or an idealist, but he's got a job to do and he's going to do it well.
An odd one. I always saw TN as someone with a sense of morality completely alien to any observer.
Rivals LG as one of the most hot-button alignments. Some people use it as an excuse to exercise pointless acts of destruction or violence. I hate that interpretation. A CN character looks out for number one. That means if anything he'll be adverse to starting shit he can't finish, and is much more likely to run away from a problem than face it. Think ANH Han Solo.
I will get to the top by subjugating others.
I will get to the top by doing whatever I want.
I will do whatever I want.
I disagree with this. A paladin would not kill an unarmed prisoner.
Lawful vs Chaotic is whether you prioritize the system or the individual. Good vs Evil is whether you prioritize yourself or others. Neutral is not having strong convictions one way or the other.
It depends on the edition for the RAW, but my preference is closest to 1E.
Under those rules, alignment is not a matter of "how you react to a situation" - it is NOT personality - but rather the forces with which you are aligned.
Aligned with the Saints. Lawful Good characters act to spread civilisation and the common wealth. This often requires ruthlessness and is compatible with avarice, but a Lawful Good character ought to at least adhere to the philosophy that "a rising tide lifts all boats".
Intermediate between the Saints and the Godlings. A Neutral Good character seeks to avoid or balance the conflicts between civilisation and the wild in the pursuit of the common good. Again, this is not incompatible with "unpleasant" character traits such as deceit, but the character's actions will tend to protect and nurture peoples that can live in peace with one another.
Aligned with the Godlings. Chaotic good characters are enemies of civilisation but devoted to the common good. They are special enemies of tyranny, but will oppose (if patiently) the spread of goodly civilisations.
Aligned with the Law Lords. Such characters are indifferent to or seek a balance between the heavens and the pit, but they work towards the spread of civilisation.
Not, as often thought, "unaligned". A True Neutral works towards balancing the forces of Law and Chaos, Good and Evil. They may do this consciously (perhaps as fighters for the independence of their Prime Plane from extra-planar forces) or by virtue of living day by day.
Aligned with the Wild. Chaotic Neutrals are neither mad nor utterly unpredictable, but they are foes of order in all of its forms. At the most extreme, they even oppose the organising principle of matter - life.
Aligned with the Hells. Such characters work to spread tyrannical order. Whatever their worldview, their actions tend increase the authority and prosperity of the few, while granting the many only enough that they remain fit to serve. Nonetheless, they may be selfless, brave, or otherwise noble.
Intermediate between the Hells and the Abyss. A Neutral Evil character is indifferent to or seeks to balance the struggle between Law and Chaos, but works to further the influence of their dark masters. Neutral Evil would create a world where those who have power wield it as they will.
Aligned to the Abyss. These characters are enemies of civilisation in any form and work to tear down the laws that shackle the strong and nourish the weak. Although their ends are malign, this does not rule out admirable characteristics.
>A paladin would not kill an unarmed prisoner.
Here is a giant page going into depth how the alignments work. Its quite frankly, the best page discussing it for any version of D&D. Previous versions and 5e are to simple in their descriptions, and leave out important nuances.
Here's my oversimplified take.
LG-righteous, values good deeds, orderly good. Think salvation army.
NG- not as dedicated to strict structure, but determined to do good. Think the guy who always gives money to the beggars.
CG-fuck structure I have no need of it and it usually ends up twisted. I want good, but on my terms. Think of the rare lawyer that fights the system, because its right. Not because of law, but because its right.
TN- Eh..whatever dude..I'm not overly concerned with anything. Think of a stoner.
LN-think your basic bueracrat. I don't care, do you have your paperwork? No, then fuck off.
CN- the allingment of madmen. Psychos and lunitics and retarded children.
LE- the FBI is the best example
NE- the average thief stealing TVs to buy drugs
CE-Btk, Bundy, Dahmer....
An orphan needs some bread.
The baker doesn't want to give his bread away.
Lawful Good: Buy the bread. Give it to the orphan.
Neutral Good: Convince the baker to give the bread to the orphan.
Chaotic Good: Steal the bread for the orphan.
Lawful Neutral: Things are progressing lawfully. No problem.
True Neutral: Eh, is this really a problem?
Chaotic Neutral: Steal the bread. Keep it for yourself.
Lawful Evil: Get collection money from the baker. If he refuses to pay, get the kid to smash his stall.
Neutral Evil: Buy the bread. Recruit the orphan into your cult by offering him bread.
Chaotic Evil: Steal the bread. Eat the bread in front of the orphan.
Chaotic Neutral, bad player: Fart on the bread.
I've never seen an alignment chart that does any justice, nor clearly explains how each would interact or what it implies for different characters.
That is, until I came across this one.
Alignment is very subjectively understood, to the point where I actually house rule out anything to do with alignment in most games I run unless I know ahead of time that my players are good role players and they want it. My personal interpretation has looked like this in the past:
>Philosophical idealists, and people who strongly value fairness. Examples include your typical fresh-faced police officer or idealist judge types.
>Most modern people nowadays could reasonably be said to be neutral good. They generally care for people as well as themselves, and while they frequently obey the law, it's less to do with a respect for authority so much as the laws conformity to how they generally live.
>Good people who strongly believe in personal freedoms and the rights of all people, but are typically disenfranchised by laws of the land or are motivated more powerfully by their emotions or whims.
>Arguably this could be the "OCD" alignment. Also includes people who don't bother to take a stance on morality but either conform to the law/personal dictates out of personal obligation, or because they have focused specifically on the fight against entropic forces. Very complicated alignment.
>Sometimes also associated with "unaligned" forces like animals or inanimate objects, true neutrality in a person might include purely circular motivations "I must read because I must learn about the time, I must learn about the tome because I must read it" or people that have somehow dissasociated themselves with personal motivations or ideals. Nihilists may be considered true neural.
>If LN is the obsessive compulsive alignment, Chaotic Neutral is the autistic alignment. CN people may be strongly influenced by their feelings or whims, but have no personal stance on what is good or evil. They may also be pure philosophical contrarians or thrill seekers. The protagonist of "The Hurt Locker" is what I point to when people ask me about CN.
I say it comes down to what the character intends. Intention of the character being more important than their actions. Of course, a deluded and stupid Paladin still may be forced to Fall if committing too many atrocities, but generally if they destroy a town of innocents to prevent all the legions of hell from materializing on the prime material plane as an invasion force, then the Paladin has acted for the greater good and it's all cool.
I also find that it helps to replace good/evil on the alignment table with moral/amoral, respectively.
An Evil character doesn't go around torching ophanages (at least, most of them don't), and a Good character doesn't devote all of his time toward charity work. But a Good character will feel the urge to toss a coin to a blind beggar, while the Evil character will 9 times out of 10 ignore the beggar (the other 1 times he will swipe the beggar's purse).
>I'm going to bring those evil men to justice, and to the full extent of the law. Neither will I tolerate unjust laws.
>I just like to help people.
>I like to help people, but who says who can't have a little fun once in a while?
>I make my own way in the world, and I bow to no party. I follow my own desires.
>I don't care who I work for or what I do, as long as I get to live.
>The law is important, and brings stability; and should be protected for good or ill.
>I will crush all those in my path, but I will do it quickly and easiuly, like a machine. I'm no savage.
>I just really like hurting people.
>This world is my oyster, I will kill and take and eat and fuck as I damn well please.
>It doesn't work when you look too hard.
>Creating a setting from the ground up where morality is as clearly defined, objectively existent, and scientifically measurable as PH-level would result in something MUCH more genuinely alien than medievalnoteurope
However, personally, I like the D&D allignment system from BEFORE they included good and evil. There was just Law and Chaos. Generally speaking, mortals who align themselves with Law seemed to be what most mortals would call "good" and mortals who align themselves with Chaos seem to be what most mortals would call "evil." However, if you go too far down either path, you start to go well beyond the bounds of mortal morality and into the realm of Cthulan alien mindsets that actually aren't that easilly distinguishable relative to the mortal mindset.
Alignment codes are strange.
Also, I imagine true neutral can also be like Buddha, or a Zen master, willingly disconnected. Not necessarily seeking outward balance, but seeking inward balance, which is more attainable, and perhaps required before outward balance.