View Full Version : Alignment Question
Tue, 3rd Jul '01, 4:53pm
Ok, I've got a question for you. I'm sure all you old-timers ;) have heard it before, but if you could give me your input too, I'd be most appreciative.
My problem is that many people seem to label anyone of Chaotic Neutral alignment as insane. I agree that some types of "insanity" may indeed fall under this category, but I also believe that CN does not automatically = insane. Now, while I've always had a clear idea in my head of how to play CN, it seems lately that I can't put it into words. And when I do, someone will throw back TN at me as a more appropriate alignment. Yet the Middle of the road outlook of a TN is not at all why I'm trying to put across. The PHB gives an example of CN as a wandering bard who is unconstrained by both society's restrictions and the zeal of a do-gooder. Where is the insanity in that? Unpredictable, selfish yes, even extreme, but insane? Not at all.
Anyway, I'm sure this is a debate that's been going on for years, and I'd appreciate some input from all you longtime RPers.
/me shuts up now.
Tue, 3rd Jul '01, 6:38pm
I always pictures a CN character as someone that does not really fit into the other alignments. They act on whims, they usually don't forge alliances, they don't mesh well with society, etc.
Bateluer, the Halfling Ranger, borders between CG and CN. I still developing his character. :)
Tue, 3rd Jul '01, 7:26pm
I beleive that you are correct. Chaotic Neutral does not mean insane. Many players have used this alignment in that way, but they were missing the mark. Someone who is CN would beleive that individuals should be able to do what they feel is best for themselves without social restraints. They would also have a view that the forces of good and evil are necessary to keep each other in check. Individual acts of good or evil are acceptable so long as they serve the needs of the individual. The ends justify the means.
Tue, 3rd Jul '01, 7:34pm
I don't believe that CN people would feel the balance would need to be kept. I always felt that CN people only cared about number 1 and so on. Not insane, just lack of caring. So as long as they're happy then anything is justifiable in their sense.
Wed, 4th Jul '01, 12:38am
Yup, young 'un, this ole timer would agree with Tyresian. IMHO CNs would be much more concerned with the Chaotic side of their personality and would care little about 'minor' issues like right or wrong. They would loathe rules and regulations, fight for the the individual (ie themselves) and be more concerned with tearing down than building. They might be anarchistic but not crazy.
Ohmigod, what have you done with your hair?
[This message has been edited by Erran (edited July 04, 2001).]
Wed, 4th Jul '01, 6:48am
Well I personally see CN people as free spirits looking out for number one, disliking law and regulated life. I think most thiefs should fall in the category. Obviously they are looking out for themselves, and though they aren't really evil or necessarily good, they aren't someone who strives for balance either. In fact, I've always thought that whole balance BS in the neutral alignments is overblown. People don't really care about maintaining a balance in the world or anything like that. It's just they either look our for themselves, or lie somwhere inbetween a regimented, daily rut type lifestyle and a wadering free spirit. A CN person could be as simple as someone who won't go out of his way to help a person in need if he doesn't know them or won't get anything in return, and someone who perfers a free life as opesed to being tied down with jobs or responsibilities.
Edit: Actually, I'd think CE would be closer to insane than CN....just a thought.
[This message has been edited by Crawl (edited July 04, 2001).]
Wed, 4th Jul '01, 8:42am
Since we're already discussing CN, I need your help. My DND3E sorcerer is a guy who don't care about others, only adventures with others so that his powers can grow to the extreme. He loves fire and have currently burned down 2 warehouses, due to a few fireballs vs bad guys, a tavern due to a barfight vs fireball thus killing 10-20 innocent people (In self defence). The other guys in his party consider him as a pyromanic psycho.
He got some evil tendeces, but have been fighting evil with his party. Not that it matters to him. He could just as good have been fighting the local government. Anyway I have taken the online alignment test on the WoT site,came out CN. I also tried a another test there I came out NE. But I will also ask you guys. Does this sound like a CN person or some Evil alignment. I consider him as CN, what do you think?
[This message has been edited by Kerric (edited July 04, 2001).]
Wed, 4th Jul '01, 11:59pm
Hmmm....In my mind, there's always been a fine line between a CN character and a CE character. Neither have any regard for order, and both are clearly self-centred. The distinction I've always used is that a CE character tends to be actively malicious; CN characters are more just anarchists for their own purposes. Sounds like your sorcerer is leaning a wee bit to the CE side -- or he could just be wacked.
[This message has been edited by Gnolyn Lochbreaker (edited July 05, 2001).]
Fri, 6th Jul '01, 5:27pm
As for the balance I'm with Crawl. I think the only character type that would care about balance is the TN. A CN character, by defination, does not think about their actions they simply take them. CN are not actively good or evil, hence they take actions that help them and to hell with the outcome. The choatic part of their nature clearly gives them a tare down vs. build up personality but mostly a someone not involved. CN is the wandering spirit not serving any but themselves. They don't look for trouble like a CE they just look out for their own survival. If burning down a village would help a CN character they would do it, but on the other hand if defending that same village would further their aims they would do that as well.
I view CN as the feeling, intuitive, artistic types that other can't really understand.
Fri, 6th Jul '01, 6:49pm
Hello, I keep hearing about this alignment test, so I'm just wondering where can I find it. Is it posted on an Internet site somewhere or dose it come with the books?
Fri, 6th Jul '01, 7:42pm
Ask and ye shall receive. ;) http://www.wizards.com/dnd/article.asp?x=dnd/dx20001222b
Reeky thestenchful goblin
Fri, 6th Jul '01, 9:20pm
i agree that a cn is not always insane but i usually make them insane because it is fun.
Sat, 7th Jul '01, 2:11am
CN is probably the hardest alignment to play -- the whole point of that alignment is that they are unpredictable. They'll slide back and forth between what seem to be good and evil acts, but it's really about what's best for the character. From a DM's perspective, a CN character who strays too much to the good spectrum may find their alignment changed to CG, and vice-versa for evil.
The insanity bit (my wife pointed this out to me when she read the thread) doesn't necessarily fall into a question of alignment. A character of any alignment could be completely insane -- a LG Paladin who is overly zealous (to the point of being obsessed) in his fight against evil, could be considered insane as much as any CN character.
Sat, 7th Jul '01, 3:33am
Cool avatar, Darien! :cool:
Mon, 9th Jul '01, 3:46am
No. Haven't you ever played Torment Or BG or anything like that? Annah is CN but she's far from insane.
Mon, 9th Jul '01, 7:41am
Well if I remember right, Jan is CN and he's pretty damn nutty ;)
Mon, 9th Jul '01, 8:24am
CN hard to play?
It just comes naturally to me. :D
Yes,alot. Sometimes my charcter can be more bold in combat than our Half-orc Barbarian/Fighter, and two second later Im gone and nowhere to be seen for the next 10 minutes (Imp. Invisibility) :p
Thu, 12th Jul '01, 11:42pm
In my mind CN isnot insane but a pwrson who will fallow there whims never furthering a spisific cause but generally helping good. And not giving a care about what the laws say beliving in the saying of if you gant prove I did it I didn't do it.
Tue, 31st Jul '01, 3:53pm
Isn't acting on a whim...sometimes helping others for no reason, other times looking out for one self, and then another time fireballing the local church...The only definition appliable is that they will do whatever they want and not always in just their own interest....that is bordering on evil.
Wed, 1st Aug '01, 2:30pm
I find CN is easy to play if you have a character that has a low Int as my 1/2 Ogre fighter form The Best Of Dragon #4. (I think that was the #)
He try’s to act like other party members or other NPC’s that impress him i.e. a mage casts a kick ass spell and next thing the 1/2 Ogre is not wearing armour and using a staff but by the same if the mage hurts his feelings like "would you stop taking my regents you stupid muscle bound door opener." and the armour and axe are back.
Laws aren’t a concern to him because he is to slow to understand why he must give up his axe when entering some areas
Guard: “you must take you weapon before see Milord.”
˝ Ogre: “No me axe you get you now!”
Guard: “You will get it back when you leave we don’t want any body hurt.”
˝ ogre: “I no use axe to kill my promise so I keep ok.”
And so on….
Thu, 2nd Aug '01, 6:48am
I always hated that CN is insane thing in AD&D and i'm glad they changed it. I always thought of it as a 'free spirit' or whimsical character alignment. But I've often found the alignments constraining at times.
For example in one game someone was playing a LN cleric (don't remember his patrons name) and was stopping all the party's ways of accquiring somethings the party needed from a merchants house. It was part of the adventure that i had written that the PC's would need to burgle the house to get these things, bu playing his alignment he stalwartly oppossed the illgal acts.
But then was in a system where if you hid behind a huge table it counted as a tower shield because it was abstract, as i think the alignments often were:P.
Wed, 22nd Aug '01, 10:31pm
Hi, I just wanted to share a little wiev on
It seems to me, that almost everyone who has posted, believes CN characters will always look out for themselves.
IMHO you couldn't be much more wrong. If you're always looking out for yourself, your character has shifted further towards CE.
The wandering bard image, IMO shows it clearer. He wanders the earth, not looking for power, glory or wealth, he simply wanders in order to wander. He is only and always looking for new experiences.
One day he might be traveling with a LG paladin and doing good, simply for the new experiences, the he will be with some CE fighter only out to profit himself, or he might be with an insane planetraveller, trekking to the Abyss, just to find out what it's like, down there.
Thu, 23rd Aug '01, 1:11am
In the 2E PHB they flat-out said that CN characters were insane. While the 3E PHB doesn't go that route anymore, the stereotype still lives.
And yes, a character that does nothing but look out for himself would be CE, not CN.
But nothing will change the fact that the alignment system is just whack, and best avoided at all costs.....
Thu, 23rd Aug '01, 2:09am
Actually, a character who does nothing but look out for him/herself is more NE, while selfishness is a general trait of evil.
Thu, 23rd Aug '01, 8:29pm
Okay, I remember some topics from a while back that might be relevant (never thought I'd do this sort of link posting - I'm so proud of my first - and probably only - one) http://www.sorcerers.net/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000463.html - In which the nature of Lawful alignments is discussed. http://www.sorcerers.net/ubb/Forum2/HTML/003137.html - and this is sort of similar, although BG2 related
That's all I can think of, I'm sure there are more. Incidentally, if you want my interpretation of CN, see my RC character, Jakob.
Fri, 24th Aug '01, 1:16am
I think that it depends on the character. A lawful neutral character that zealously seeks order, stamping out chaos of any kind is obviously insane. A CN character that is willful and unrestricted by a moral code may be seen as insane, but in fact have no mental problems, he or she just does not fit society's "norm". Generally people see someone who acts in a radically different way from everyone else as insane, although the "insane" person may be fine mentally.
It really comes down to how strongly the character is aligned to law, chaos, good, evil, etc. and their actions.
I have had many arguments with DMs over the years that used alignments as straight jackets...black and white with no grey. The authors of 3E have written the alignment rules with standard characters being in the grey area of their alignment, leaving it up to the player to determine the strength of their alignment.
Now, not every LG character helps old ladies across tjhe road, not every CN is a absolute maniac with no mental coherence or structure, and not every NE person is a calculating, marauding villain dedicated to the spread of absolute evil.
Wed, 29th Aug '01, 4:17am
My say in this is that INTELLIGENCE and WISDOM also has a say in this. And when they are taken in mention. The BACKGROUNDSTORY can shed new light to the story.
MY POINT? In my many years as GM I have seen both many insane, smart and wise CN. The keyword of CN is "impulsive" in my experience
Wed, 29th Aug '01, 4:22am
I read this once:
The most reliable thing about a chaotic neutral character is that they can't be relied upon. That sets a good image in my mind :D
Wed, 29th Aug '01, 9:26pm
Darien, If we're talking about you as CN...I'd say "insane" would be a good description. ;) :p
I always thought CN was kind of playful and unreliable. CN is generally someone that always does what they want to do...When they want to do it!