Just as there are many facets to individuals and their personalities, there too are many facets to the personalities we can work with in our Dungeons and Dragons universe. When creating your character, the topic of alignment is crucial in helping to develop not only your backstory, but how your character will handle situations.
There are nine qualified alignments in D&D, and they are as follows: Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, Lawful Neutral, True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, and Chaotic Evil.
A character that is Lawful Good, will act within a defined code, religion, or set of laws. They don’t generally take action outside of that code for fear of the slightest step out of bounds would be a corruption. Compassion would be considered a key trait. Traditionally, Paladins are considered Lawful Good.
A character that is Neutral Good is good at heart, but doesn’t feel the need to necessarily hold themselves to a specific set of rules. These characters are often rule-benders instead of outright rule-breakers, but they act in the interest of what would be the “common good”. Gnomes are often Neutral Good. Aragorn from “The Lord of the Rings” could be considered Neutral Good.
A Chaotic Good alignment generally has no love of bureaucracy or laws. They typically disdain organized religion, and will generally do anything necessary to for the “greater good”. Not really holding to any code except their own. However, their methods are generally frowned upon by society, but they believe the ends justify the means. Many Elves hold this alignment. Not evil, but believe themselves to be above societies laws.
These characters are often upholders of the general law intermixed with their own code. Soldiers, for example, while beholden to the will of their commander, also have their own code of honor, and ethics. This is the first of the “gray” areas of alignment. Often these are seen in the personalities of Monks and Wizards.
Neutral, or True Neutral, characters don’t hold themselves to either side, often seeking a balance between law and chaos. Druids often seek the balance of nature, and in older rules of Dungeons and Dragons, Druids were required to carry this alignment. Others who might would be most humans, and lizardfolk.
A modern idealistic form of this is “freedom fighters”. People who generally fight for what they believe to be the good of those around them, but self-serving first. The opposite of a soldier. Instead Chaotic Neutral characters would ignore their commander’s orders if it did not suit them. They would not allow themselves to be ordered to their own death. This is often a trait of Barbarians, Rogues, and Bards.
Tyrants, demons, corrupted officials, would be under the category of Lawful Evil. They see a system, recognize its laws, and actively pursue ways to manipulate, and modify the system to work for them. Certain types of Dragons, hobgoblins, or mercenaries would be likely to have this alignment.
These are the people who will turn on you as soon as it becomes convenient, or necessary for them to do so. Often making friends, and allies, is more out of using them as their own means to an end. These individuals do not generally play well with others, and do not work in a group capacity. These could be Dark Elves (Drow), or maybe Cloud Giants.
Sociopaths with no regard for other’s lives, safety, or codes. They care little for anything around them outside of what they want. If anyone lacked a conscious, it would be the Chaotic Evil character. Orcs, Liches, Necromancers, and other higher forms of undead often hold this trait.
The alignment of your character will help you determine the choices they make when you roleplay their personality. When starting out, it is easiest to choose the alignment that most closely resembles your own. As you progress, you may choose to challenge your own roleplay skills and pick a personality far from your own. Just as we change, and our mindsets, and beliefs, change, so can your characters. Maybe something really terrible happens to them and they no longer can hold to the righteous code, and fall from grace to a more chaotic alignment. Perhaps they are redeemed and choose to make more lawful choices.
The fun of D&D is to let things happen organically, and in their own time. You are the master of your character’s personality so have fun with it.
Tune into “Dungeon Crawl” next week where I will begin to talk about the various classes that we find in “5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons”. Also, be sure to bookmark the Geek News Now website to not miss any of our coming information, articles, contests, and giveaways. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Twitch. Stay Geeky my friends.