NEPA Known World
An alignment is a code of behavior or way of life which guides the actions and thoughts of characters and monsters. Unlike more advanced versions of D&D, there are only three alignments in this game:
Certain characters are bound to their chosen alignment: clerics, druids and high level specialty fighters. Clerics and high level specialty fighters must adhere to the tenants of their chosen alignment or lose the abilities to cast spells and turn undead. Druids must always remain neutral or suffer the same consequences.
Law is the belief that everything should follow an order and that obeying rules is the natural way of life. Lawful creatures will try to tell the truth, obey laws that are fair, keep promises and care for all living things.
If a choice must be made between the benefit of a group or an individual, a Lawful character will usually choose the group. Sometimes individual freedoms must be given up for the good of the group. Lawful characters and monsters often act in predictable ways.
Chaos is the opposite of Law. It is the belief that life is random and that chance and luck rule the world. Laws are made to be broken, as long as a person can get away with it. It is not important to keep promises, and lying and telling the truth are both useful.
To a chaotic creature, the individual is the most important of all things. Selfishness is the normal way of life and the group is not important. Chaotics often act on sudden desires and whims. They have strong belief in the power of luck. They cannot always be trusted. Each individual player must decide if his chaotic character is closer to a mean, selfish ‘evil’ personality or merely a happy-go-lucky, unpredictable personality, or anywhere in between.
Neutrality is the belief that the world is a balance between Law and Chaos. It is important that neither side get too much power and upset this balance. The individual is important, but so is the group; the two sides must work together.
A neutral character is most interested in personal survival. Such characters believe in their own wits and abilities rather than luck. They tend to return the treatment they receive from others. Neutral characters will join a party if they think it is in their own best interest, but will not be overly helpful unless there is some sort of profit in it. Neutral behavior may be considered ‘good’ or ‘evil’ or neither.
It should be remembered that the above alignments are neither good nor evil but may be both. As real people, we have general tendencies towards the big three but may also use behavior that may be seen as good, evil or neutral in support of either chaos, law or neutrality. It could be argued that a dictator is evil but most likely they are also lawful since they believe in structure, order and some semblance of law. However, Batman could be seen as chaotic and he does both evil and good things (rescuing victims – good and lawful, killing people – chaotic and perhaps evil). I will reward proper in character play and penalize those classes for whom alignment is crucial if they do not play their alignment. However, we are here to have fun and stay true to our characters.
As illustration of alignment, take this situation as an example: A group of characters is attacked by a large number of monsters. Escape is not possible unless the monsters are slowed down.
A Lawful character will fight to protect the group, regardless of the danger. The character will not run away unless the whole group does so or is otherwise safe.
A Neutral character will fight to protect the group as long as it is reasonably safe to do so. If the danger is too great, the character will try to save himself, even at the expense of the rest of the party.
A Chaotic character might fight the monsters or he might run away immediately – Chaotics are unpredictable. The character may not even care what happened to the rest of the party.
None of those choices are inherently good or evil but all can be classified in the law vs. neutral vs. chaos scale.
Playing an alignment does not mean a character must do stupid things. A character should always act as intelligently as the Intelligence score indicates, unless there is a reason to act otherwise (such as a magical curse).