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Alignment is not so much what the world thinks of you but your motivations for your actions. A character who acts lawful good to the townsfolk but has ulterior motives (like trying to sway opinion to allow him to take over as mayor) is probably lawful neutral or evil. Lawful neutral characters who change rules to fit the situation and forces others to do what he wants is really either chaotic neutral or neutral evil. Generally you should keep a record of transgressions and if a player tallies 10 in any one direction (good - evil - law - chaos) within a short time frame then force an alignment change, as the player is obviously playing a different alignment to the one he is supposed to be playing. It is possible for players to show two different alignments, one towards friends and colleagues and the other toward the world. When this happens, the one shown to the world is the dominate alignment and the one that is on the character sheet. (A player who is generous to his friends but lies and cheats others probably has an evil alignment.) Most often when this happens, it is due to a player trying to "act" as something they cannot. Some players allow their own prejudices and predications to shine through on every character that they play. When a situation like this occurs, be sure to pay close attention to alignment restrictions as the player will undoubtedly have arguments ready for why they are able to take their chosen actions.

Players should not know exactly where they stand on alignment unless it becomes important for game play. Often, players will try to shift their alignment one way or the other. This can only be done through game play and if you tell a character that they have become an undesired alignment, they will often become angry and try to force the desired alignment shift. Unfortunately, when some players are told they have an alignment different than the one they desire, they become difficult to handle and take extreme alignment changes. A Dungeon Master should never allow such changes (even if it means removing the offended player from the gaming table for several adventures). Alignment may only shift one step at a time (i.e. Chaotic Neutral to Chaotic Good, Chaotic Evil, or Neutral). Only magic may shift an alignment more than one step at a time. I have included this handy diagram for reference, Alignment shifts along the lines:

Special Note: If you perceive Lawful Good to be the epitome of goodness and Chaotic evil as the epitome of evil, then the diagram becomes one large shade of gray. Looking at Lawful Neutral as the epitome of law and Chaotic Neutral as the epitome of chaos has the same effect. Most characters will fall between the lines in the "gray area" of the diagram. Approximate alignment when this happens.

A character's or creature's general moral and personal attitudes are represented by its alignment: lawful good, neutral good, chaotic good, lawful neutral, neutral, chaotic neutral, lawful evil, neutral evil, and chaotic evil.

Good vs. Evil

Good characters and creatures protect innocent life. Evil characters and creatures debase or destroy innocent life, whether for fun or profit.

"Good" implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to help others.

"Evil" implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is convenient. Others actively pursue evil, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.

People who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent but lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others. Neutral people are committed to others by personal relationships. A neutral person may sacrifice himself to protect his family or even his homeland, but he would not do so for strangers who are not related to him.

Animals and other creatures incapable of moral action are neutral rather than good or evil.

Law and Chaos

Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties. Chaotic characters follow their consciences, resent being told what to do, favor new ideas over tradition, and do what they promise if they feel like it.

"Law" implies honor, trustworthiness, obedience to authority, and reliability. On the downside, lawfulness can include close-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, and a lack of adaptability.

"Chaos" implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility.

People who are neutral with respect to law and chaos have a normal respect for authority and feel neither a compulsion to obey nor to rebel. They are honest, but can be tempted into lying or deceiving others.

Animals and other creatures incapable of moral action are neutral.

Lawful Good

A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. She combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. She tells the truth, keeps her word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished.

Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion.

Always keeps his word.
Never lies.
Never attacks, harms, or kills an innocent foe.
Never harms an innocent.
Never tortures for any reason. Will not allow torture.
Always helps others, even if it harms him.
Always works within the law.
Respects honor, self-discipline, authority and law.
Works well within a group.
Never betrays a friend. Ever. For ANY reason.

Neutral Good


A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them.

Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order.

Always keeps his word.
Is VERY unlikely to lie, expect perhaps to an evil person.
Never attacks or kills an unarmed foe.
Never harms an innocent
Never tortures for any reason. Is very unlikely to allow torture for any reason.
Never kills for pleasure.
Always tries to help others.
Works well in groups
Never betrays a friend.

Chaotic Good

A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he’s kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society.

Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit.

Keeps his word to any other good person.
Lies only to neutral or evil people.
Never attacks or kills an unarmed foe.
Never harms an innocent.
Never tortures for pleasure or information. Threats may be permissible.
Never kills for pleasure.
Always tries to help others.
Distrusts authority.
Works well in groups, but dislikes confining rules and 'red tape'.
Never betrays a friend.

Lawful Neutral

A lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition, or a personal code directs her. Order and organization are paramount to her. She may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or she may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government. Lawful neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot.

Keeps his word of honor.
Lies and cheats only if very necessary.
Never attacks or harms an unarmed foe.
Never harms an innocent.
Does not use torture unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. (Never for pleasure).
Never kills for pleasure.
Usually helps those in need.
Works in groups well, especially if it suits his needs.
Never betrays a friend.
Has a high regard for life and personal freedom.


A neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. She doesn’t feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil—after all, she would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, she’s not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way.

Some neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run.

Neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion.

Keeps his word of honor
Lies and cheats only if necessary.
Never kills an unarmed foe, but may harm, harrass, or kidnap one.
Never kills an innocent but may harm or kidnap if necessary.
May use torture to extract information but never for pleasure.
Never kills for pleasure
Usually helps those in need.
Will work with others to attain his goals.
Never betrays a friend.
Has a high regard for life and personal freedom.
Respects Honor and self discipline.

Chaotic Neutral

"Free Spirit"
A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn’t strive to protect others’ freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it.

Chaotic neutral is the best alignment you can be because it represents true freedom from both society’s restrictions and a do-gooder’s zeal.

May keep his word.
Lies and cheats if he feels it necessary.
Never kills an unarmed foe, but may knock out or beat one up.
Never kills an innocent but may harm or kidnap.
Will use torture to extract information, but not for pleasure.
Seldom kills for pleasure.
Is not likely to help someone without an ulterior motive. (Even if it's just showing off!).
Has little respect for authority.
Does not work well within groups - tends to do as he pleases, despite orders to the contrary.
Is very unlikely to betray a friend.

Lawful Evil

A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard for whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, religion, homeland, or social rank. He is loath to break laws or promises.

This reluctance comes partly from his nature and partly because he depends on order to protect himself from those who oppose him on moral grounds. Some lawful evil villains have particular taboos, such as not killing in cold blood (but having underlings do it) or not letting children come to harm (if it can be helped). They imagine that these compunctions put them above unprincipled villains.

Some lawful evil people and creatures commit themselves to evil with a zeal like that of a crusader committed to good. Beyond being willing to hurt others for their own ends, they take pleasure in spreading evil as an end unto itself. They may also see doing evil as part of a duty to an evil deity or master.

Lawful evil is sometimes called “diabolical,” because devils are the epitome of lawful evil.

Lawful evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents methodical, intentional, and frequently successful evil.

Always keeps his word of honor
Lies and cheats those not worthy of his respect
May or may not kill an unarmed foe
Never kills an innocent but will harm, harass or kidnap
Never tortures for pleasure, but will to extract information
Never kills for pleasure - always has a reason
May or may not help someone in need - always has a reason
Respects honor and self-discipline.
Has no time for the law - makes his own when allowed
Will work with others to attain his goals.
Never betray a friend.

Neutral Evil

A neutral evil villain does whatever she can get away with. She is out for herself, pure and simple. She sheds no tears for those she kills, whether for profit, sport, or convenience. She has no love of order and holds no illusion that following laws, traditions, or codes would make her any better or more noble. On the other hand, she doesn’t have the restless nature or love of conflict that a chaotic evil villain has.

Some neutral evil villains hold up evil as an ideal, committing evil for its own sake. Most often, such villains are devoted to evil deities or secret societies.

Neutral evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents pure evil without honor and without variation.

Will not necessarily keep his word to anyone
Lies and cheats indiscriminately
Will happily kill an unarmed foe
Will harm and use an innocent, killing if necessary
Uses torture to extract information. (And enjoys it! May torture for pleasure)
May kill for sheer pleasure
Feels no compulsion to help others without some sort of tangible reward
Works with others if it will help achieve his personal goals
Will betray a friend if it serves his needs.
Has little respect for others lives.

'Chaotic Evil

A chaotic evil character does whatever his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is hot-tempered, vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. If he is simply out for whatever he can get, he is ruthless and brutal. If he is committed to the spread of evil and chaos, he is even worse. Thankfully, his plans are haphazard, and any groups he joins or forms are poorly organized. Typically, chaotic evil people can be made to work together only by force, and their leader lasts only as long as he can thwart attempts to topple or assassinate him.

Chaotic evil is sometimes called “demonic” because demons are the epitome of chaotic evil. Chaotic evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents the destruction not only of beauty and life but also of the order on which beauty and life depend.

Rarely keeps his word. Has no honor.
Lies and cheats anyone.
Will most certainly attack and kill an unarmed foe (those are the best kind!).
Will hurt and/or kill an innocent without a second thought. (or for pleasure).
Uses torture to extract information and pleasure.
Will kill for sheer pleasure.
Is likely to help someone only on a whim.
Despises honor and authority and self-discipline.  Views them as weaknesses
Does not work well in a group.
Constantly vying for power and/or command.
Will betray a friend. After all, you can always get another friend.
Associates mostly with other evil alignments.