Friday, 17 October 2014
Scheming Dice: Driving Force of Alignments
Last time we talked about the alignments and what kind of influence a perception can have on them. Today, we will examine what I consider the prime motivators of each of the five alignments, and consequentially even the combined alignments. I have come to conclusion that each of the alignments has its prime mover behind it. And by paying attention to this motivator, you get to follow a certain moral alignment. Of course, Neutral alignment is the exception that proves the rule in this case. I have come to conclusion as the original meaning of Neutral means Neither one nor the other, Neutral alignment is not powered by any motivator at all. If we had to find one, we would define Neutral alignment with the lack of internal motivator. There is a word for that, indifference.
Good alignment is tied to the concept of altruism. While others may walk through the thing called life not paying any attention to it, those that are in any way good are usually driven by their sense of altruism. Maybe that is for the best. While others are willing to sacrifice things, people and everything else good individuals are not. They know their conscience would haunt them, and this is one hassle they don't want. This gives them the opportunity to always do the right thing, to be altruistic, in a way no other character could really be.
Next we have lawful characters. These are guided by accountability. They feel a responsibility for their actions, and they expect everyone else to do the same. Laws are there to be followed. Everyone is held accountable for his actions, and thus you cannot simply do as you want when you so desire. I know this sounds a bit murky and unclear. Imagine a set of rules, a lawful character will always have a healthy measure of respect for those rules no matter where he goes, or what he does. Rules are there to make his life easier, and who is he not to abide by those rules?
Chaotic alignment went in the opposite direction. Chaotic characters are driven by impulse. To do as they like is how they operate. Rules are not there to be broken. Rules as a whole are a waste of time, and thus doesn't really matter if they are broken. Chaotic is the alignment that in many ways look like a Neutral taken too far. Chaotic character does as he wishes without any regard to rules. If he feels robbing a bank would help the poor, he will rob the bank. If a clerk in the local office is getting on his nerves, the chaotic character might beat him. Chaotic character does not have any limits. The alignment as a whole is defined with the lack of control. Do as you wish, when, where, and however you want to do.
And then we have the Evil alignment. The prime motivator of Evil alignment is gain. Evil character will always want something more. More power, more money, more food, more misery, more land, more dead. Evil character is in many ways in want of everything that deadly sins represent. An evil character does not have any kind of measure or control over his wants. He does not care for others, he might even hate others, he is the opposite of good. While a character of good alignment would go out of his way to help someone, an evil character would not even think of helping, but of how the misery of other would improve his own situation. If he finds a way, he might even help increase the misery of already miserable wretch. All that character of an evil alignment does, is only for himself.
The last we have Neutral alignment. As said before, trait characteristic for this group is indifference. They do not have opinion on anything, they do not care for anyone, they are their own, and their own alone. And this indifference of theirs can have volumes. In our terms, a neutral individual would be one who just follows already established order and tries to avoid any kind of conflict. What they do, they do just to get by. They don't care for anyone but themselves. In practise that means they are not in the way of any character of other alignment. Because, as neutral character would see it, it does not concern them. In a way apathy goes hand in hand with neutral alignment. That said, neutral character will still prefer good over evil, lawful over chaotic. Simply because it makes live easier for him, not because he has a bone to pick with chaotic and evil characters.
What I described here as individual alignments works even if you apply it to the alignment grid. You can have a lawful-good character that is driven by his sense of accountability and altruism. You can have a chaotic-good character that is driven by his impulse and altruism. A lawful-evil character driven by his need to gain something while also bound by his sense of accountability. That kind of character knows he is not above the law, but he will still try to outplay the law. This shows that this is universally applicable, although I will be the first one to admit, with varying degree of success. In any case, this is my interpretation of how each of the alignments works, not the scripture you should abide by.