Alignment

All players must choose an alignment for their character. This defines a character’s attitudes and provides a moral center. There are three basic alignment categories: Good, Selfish and Evil.

Alignments play a vital role in developing a character’s personality and are a key element of “role” playing. Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, every person has his or her own moral compass to guide him. Whether one calls it a code of ethics and morals, or justice and honor, or religious values, alignments define what the character sees as right and wrong, good and evil, acceptable behavior and what is not acceptable. It is this sense of right and wrong that helps build moral fiber, mold one’s behavior, and dictate how a character treats others and how he should react when faced with a moral choice.

Alignments should be seen as a guideline for each character that indicates how he or she is likely to react to any given situation. Try to have your character stay true to his alignment and act accordingly, even if it goes against the grain. In fact, battling to stay true to one’s alignment replicates the conscience and realistic moral dilemmas, i.e., being emotionally torn to do the right thing, or what feels good at the moment. An act of cruelty out of revenge or hate, for example, might sound good in the heat of the moment, but is not the good or right thing to do. A player struggling with such a decision for his character emulates that emotional gut process.

Good Alignments

Good aligned characters (Principled and Scrupulous) are the straight-up heroes of this world. They generally place a high value on life and liberty, as well as law and order. Just because a character is of a good alignment, however, does not mean he’s a saint or without bad habits. Good characters can be irritating, obnoxious and arrogant, even prejudiced and full of annoying quirks. Likewise, they may find themselves stepping outside the boundaries of the law in their quest to combat evil and injustice, but when push comes to shove, these characters can always be trusted to do the right thing, especially in a life and death situation.

Principled (Good)

Principled characters are upright “boy scout” or “do-gooder” types who put others before themselves. This is the knight in shining armor, with the highest regard for the lives and well-being of others, freedom, truth, honor and justice. Principled characters will always attempt to work with and within the law. and have a high regard for (and trust of) authority, as well as for life and freedom. They are usually compassionate, merciful, cooperative and sincere.

A Principled character will . . .

  • Always keep his word.
  • Avoid lies.
  • Never kill or attack an unarmed/untrained foe.
  • Never harm an innocent.
  • Never torture for any reason.
  • Never kill for pleasure.
  • Always help others.
  • Always work within the law whenever possible.
  • Never break the law unless conditions are desperate.
  • Respect authority, law, self-discipline and honor.
  • Work well in a group.
  • Never take “dirty” money, or ill-gotten valuables or goods.
  • Never betray a friend.

Scrupulous (Good)

Scrupulous characters value life and freedom above all else and despise those who would deprive others of them. This type of hero is typically portrayed in many movies as the cop who plays by his own rules, forced to work beyond the law for justice (or retribution) and the greater good of the people. They are not vicious or vindictive characters, but are individuals driven by their sense of justice to right a wrong or take a (bloody) stand. These characters will always attempt to work with or within the law whenever possible.

A Scrupulous character will .. .

  • Keep his word to any other good person.
  • Lie only to people of selfish or evil alignments.
  • Never attack or kill an unarmed/untrained foe.
  • Never harm an innocent.
  • Never torture for pleasure, but may use muscle to extract information from criminals or evil characters.
  • Never kill for pleasure, will always attempt to bring the villain to justice alive, no matter how vile he may find him.
  • Always try to help others.
  • Attempt to work within the law whenever possible.
  • Bend and, occasionally, break the law when deemed necessary, but only against the bad guys.
  • Distrust authority; fears the law and government may not be an effective weapon against injustice and crime. However, he will try not to flagrantly disregard the law.
  • Work with groups, but dislike confining laws and bureaucracy (red tape).
  • Never take “dirty” money or items.
  • Never betray a friend.

Selfish Alignments

Selfish characters (Unprincipled and Anarchist) are not necessarily evil, but they always have their own best interests at heart and their opinions in mind above all others. These are the mercenaries, rogues, vigilantes and anti-heroes of the world.

Unprincipled (Selfish)

This basically good person tends to be selfish, greedy, and holds his personal freedom and welfare above almost everything else. He dislikes confining laws and self-discipline and distrusts authority. He views the law and government as well-intentioned, but clumsy and ineffective. Keeping his best interests in mind, the character will always look out for himself. This character is also likely to take “dirty” money and items, with the concept that it will help him in his crusade against evil. He may also destroy the property of known criminals. He will not deal in illegal wares, drugs, or take money from innocent or good people. The Unprincipled character may associate with both good and evil characters, and often has paid informants, spies and stoolies. This is the noble scoundrel, the guy who is always looking for the best deal, associates with good and evil characters, is continually tempted to lie and cheat, and hates himself for being loyal, helping others and ultimately doing the “right thing.”

An Unprincipled character will .. .

  • Keep his word of honor.
  • lie and cheat if necessary.
  • Not kill an unarmed/untrained foe (but will take advantage of one).
  • Never harm an innocent.
  • Not use torture unless absolutely necessary.
  • Never kill for pleasure; will attempt to bring the villain to justice alive and ruin him rather than simply kill him.
  • Usually help those in need.
  • Rarely attempt to work within the law.
  • Blatantly break the law to achieve his (usually good-intentioned) goals.
  • Dislike and distrust authority, the law and bureaucracy. Feels they have been corrupted and abused.
  • Work with groups, especially if it serves his needs, is profitable, and/or he is in the limelight.
  • Take “dirty” money.
  • Never betray a friend.
  • Have a high regard for life and freedom.

Anarchist (Selfish)

This type of character likes to indulge himself in everything. He is the insurgent, con-artist, gambler and uncommitted freebooter who adventures because he enjoys the thrill, fame and fortune it brings, rather than for any cause (like defending humanity). This character will at least consider doing anything if the price is right or the challenge is alluring enough. Laws and rules infringe on personal freedom and were meant to be broken. He will not hesitate at using strong-arm techniques, breaking and entering, theft, harassment, destruction of private property, and so on. This can also include acting as judge, jury, and executioner. These characters are usually the daring anti-heroes who feel the end justifies the means. The Anarchist-aligned person is always looking for the best deal and self-gratification. He will work with good, selfish and evil characters to attain his goals. The Anarchist is continually teetering between good and evil, rebelling against and bending the law to fit his needs. Mercenaries and thieves often fall into this category.

An Anarchist character will .. .

  • Keep his word, but only if it suits or pleases him.
  • Lie and cheat if he feels it necessary.
  • Not be likely to kill an unarmed/untrained foe, but certainly will knock out, attack or beat up one.
  • Never kill an innocent, although his rash or self-serving actions may injure or kill bystanders by accident.
  • Use torture to extract information, but is not likely to do so for pleasure.
  • Seldom kill for pleasure.
  • Not be likely to help someone without some ulterior motive (even if it’s only to show off).
  • Rarely work within the law unless it serves his purpose.
  • Constantly break the law to achieve his goals.
  • Have little respect for authority, the law, or self-discipline.
  • Not work well within groups; tends to do as he pleases, despite orders to the contrary.
  • Take “dirty” money without hesitation.
  • Possibly betray a friend. Sorry, pal.

Evil Alignments

All evil characters (Aberrant, Miscreant and Diabolic) are not necessarily bent on universal genocide or dominating all other living creatures. Nor are all evil characters sadistic, cruel, ugly or untrustworthy. Many evil characters may actually seem kind or likeable. Evil alignments are a step beyond the self-gratification of the selfish alignments. Evil characters are ruthless individuals who are willing to say or do anything to achieve their goals. Most commonly, evil characters have goals that either entail making people suffer or cause suffering as a side effect (a side effect the evil character knowingly and callously disregards). Human life has little meaning to them, and friends tend to be (but not always) people to use and discard when they are no longer of value. Evil-aligned characters do not automatically slay any good-aligned person because of different ethics and philosophy. All the better to use good to achieve their own goals, for the end always justifies the means.

Aberrant (Evil)

The cliche that there is “no honor among thieves” is false when dealing with the Aberrant character. This is an individual who is driven to attain his goals though force, power, and intimidation. Yet the Aberrant character stands apart from the norm with his own personal (and twisted) code of ethics. He expects loyalty from his minions, punishing disloyalty and treachery with a swift, merciful death or banishment. An Aberrant character will always keep his word of honor and uphold any bargains. He will define his terms and live by them, whether anyone else likes them or not. If an anti-hero, he will completely disregard the law and deal out justice as he deems fit. He will never be cruel or vindictive, and will always be absolutely positive that the person is guilty before he deals out his brand of justice. However, once he condemns a character, he will see to it that he is destroyed. Whether a villain or a corrupt or extreme anti-hero, the Aberrant character looks upon people without honor or a sense of loyalty as worthless and disgusting lowlifes. Do not think of the Aberrant character as a misguided good guy. He or she will break all laws with impunity, harass victims, destroy property, assault, blackmail, torture and murder. Only their methods and degree of violence may vary.

An Aberrant character will . . .

  • Always keep his word of honor (at least to those he deems worthy of it).
  • Lie and cheat to those not worthy of his respect; good, selfish or evil.
  • May or may not kill an unarmed foe.
  • Never kill an innocent, particularly a child, but may harm, harass or kidnap.
  • Never torture for pleasure, but will use it to extract information and intimidate others.
  • Never kill for pleasure, will always have a reason.
  • May or may not help someone in need.
  • Rarely attempt to work within the law.
  • Break the law without hesitation.
  • Have no use for the law or bureaucracy, but respects honor, self-discipline and the “concept” of laws and order.
  • Work with others to attain his goals.
  • Usually take “dirty” money, although his twisted code of ethics may prevent him from doing so in some instances.
  • Never betray a friend. Never.

Miscreant (Evil)

This self-serving, unscrupulous character is out only for himself. Power, glory, wealth, position, and anything that will make his life more comfortable or pleasurable is his goal. It doesn’t matter who gets caught in the middle, as long as he comes out smelling like a rose. The character will lie, cheat, hurt, and kill anyone to attain his personal goals. If a Miscreant character becomes a vigilante, mercenary, or bounty hunter, it will be for some personal reason, a vendetta, money, glory or a love for danger and challenge. This character is a savage misanthrope out for himself.

A Miscreant character will . . .

  • Not necessarily keep his word to anyone.
  • Lie and cheat indiscriminately (good, evil, selfish).
  • Kill an unarmed/untrained foe as readily as he would a potential threat or competition.
  • Use or harm an innocent.
  • Use torture for extracting information and pleasure.
  • May kill for sheer pleasure.
  • Feel no compulsion to help without some sort of tangible reward for him.
  • Have no deference to the law, but will work within the law if he must.
  • Blatantly break the law for his own goals and pleasure.
  • Dislike and distrust authority and the law.
  • Work with others if it will help him attain his personal goals.
  • Take “dirty” money, stolen goods, and illegal items (as well as steal valuables for himself whenever the opportunity arises).
  • Betray a friend if it serves his needs.
  • Have no respect or concern for the lives or welfare of others.

Diabolic (Evil)

This is the category that most megalomaniacs, psychopaths, and violent and despicable characters fall into. This is the cruel, brutal killer who trusts no one and has no value for any life other than his own. A Diabolic character will crush anyone who gets in his way. The lowlife will lie, cheat, con, abuse and kill anyone less powerful than he is. Aberrant characters find these dishonorable people more revolting than a good-aligned character.

A Diabolic character will . . .

  • Rarely keep his word, and has no honor.
  • Lie to and cheat anyone.
  • Most certainly attack and kill an unarmed foe.
  • Hurt and kill an innocent without a second thought and for pleasure.
  • Use torture for pleasure and information, regularly.
  • Kill for sheer pleasure.
  • Be likely to help someone only on a whim (or to set them up for some evil deed later).
  • Rarely attempt to work within the law.
  • Blatantly break the law and mock authority.
  • Despise honor, authority and self-discipline. Views them as weaknesses.
  • Not work well within a group; constantly disregarding orders and vying for power/command.
  • Always take “dirty” money, drugs, stolen goods, etc., as well as steal from others.
  • Betray a friend without hesitation; after all, you can always find new friends.
  • Associate mostly with other evil alignments.

Alignment

Peril on Gideon E ChaosEarthGM