Alignment is a representation of a creature's general moral and personal attitudes.
The nine alignmentsEdit
|Good||Lawful good||Neutral good||Chaotic good|
|Neutral||Lawful neutral||True neutral||Chaotic neutral|
|Evil||Lawful evil||Neutral evil||Chaotic evil|
Choosing an alignmentEdit
When following an alignment for a character, race and class can be used as a guide. Most player characters are good or neutral rather than evil. In general, evil alignments are for villains and monsters.
Alignment is a tool for developing a character's identity. It is not a straitjacket for restricting a character. Each alignment represents a broad range of personality types or personal philosophies, so two lawful good characters can still be quite different from each other. In addition, few people are completely consistent.
A lawful good character may have a greedy streak that occasionally tempts him to take something or hoard something he has even if that's not lawful or good behavior. People are also not consistent from day to day. A good character can lose his temper, a neutral character can be inspired to perform a noble act, and so on.
An alignment of a character means stating the player's intent to play that character a certain way. If a character acts in a way more appropriate to another alignment, the DM may decide that the character's alignment has changed to match her actions.
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. Being good or evil can be a conscious choice, as with the paladin who attempts to live up to her ideals or the evil cleric who causes pain and terror to emulate his god. For most people, though, being good or evil is an attitude that one recognizes but does not choose.
Being neutral on the good-evil axis usually represents a lack of commitment one way or the other, but for some it represents a positive commitment to a balanced view. While acknowledging that good and evil are objective states, not just opinions, these folk maintain that a balance between the two is the proper place for people, or at least for them.
Animals and other creatures incapable of moral action are neutral rather than good or evil. Even deadly vipers and tigers that eat people are neutral because they lack the capacity for morally right or wrong behavior.
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 closemindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, judgmentalness, and a lack of adaptability. Those who consciously promote lawfulness say that only lawful behavior creates a society in which people can depend on each other and make the right decisions in full confidence that others will act as they should.
Chaos implies freedom, adaptability, and flexibility. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, arbitrary actions, and irresponsibility. Those who promote chaotic behavior say that only unfettered personal freedom allows people to express themselves fully and lets society benefit from the potential that its individuals have within them.
Someone who is neutral with respect to law and chaos has a normal respect for authority and feels neither a compulsion to obey nor a compulsion to rebel. She is honest but can be tempted into lying or deceiving others.
Devotion to law or chaos may be a conscious choice, but more often it is a personality trait that is recognized rather than being chosen. Neutrality on the lawful-chaotic axis is usually simply a middle state, a state of not feeling compelled toward one side or the other. Some few such neutrals, however, espouse neutrality as superior to law or chaos, regarding each as an extreme with its own blind spots and drawbacks.
Animals and other creatures incapable of moral action are neutral. Dogs may be obedient and cats free-spirited, but they do not have the moral capacity to be truly lawful or chaotic.
The 4 corner alignments (lawful good, lawful evil, chaotic good, chaotic evil) are called the extremist alignments since they occupy an end-point on both axis.
Alignment shifts in NWN2Edit
Alignment on the Good-Evil and Lawful-Chaotic axes is treated as bands running from 0 to 30, 31 to 69 and 70 to 100.
|100 ... 70||69 ... 31||30 ... 0|
|100 ... 70||Lawful good||Neutral good||Chaotic good|
|69 ... 31||Lawful neutral||True neutral||Chaotic neutral|
|30 ... 0||Lawful evil||Neutral evil||Chaotic evil|
By doing certain actions ingame (usually during conversations) your alignment is shifted into one direction. When such an action takes you over an alignment-boundary your character's alignment-rating is automatically placed at the middle of the new band (i.e. 15, 50, 85)
- Example: Your character started as Lawful Good with a rating of 85:85 (law-chaos:good-evil) during the game he commited several evil and some lawful acts, so that his alignment-rating is now 90:72. If he now commits another evil act that shifts his alignment by 3 points toward evil (90:69), his alignment will change to Lawful Neutral and the character's alignment rating will be set to 90:50, so that he can't shift back to Lawful Good by doing just one noble deed.
- Unlike NWN, alignment changes due to actions of the main PC don't affect other characters in the party.