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Your Three Favorite Neutrals

   
Your Three Favorite Neutrals

Suppose we should finish off the series. Three favorite characters, one of each neutral. I'm expecting a lot of people to have the same Lawful Neutral guy...

I've often found that Neutral is defined in the eye of the beholder, and can actually be among the most confusing. People can usually only readily agree on what defines Chaotic Neutral (ROCKSTAR) but can debate quite a bit over the rest.

As for me, when it comes to true Neutral, it's an alignment I don't permit in games, mostly because I don't believe it's possible for any sentient being to BE True Neutral. Simply having emotions will cause us to sway one way and favor something over the other for purely emotional reasons, even if it means liking red more than blue. I accept true Neutral as the alignment of Nature, of animals, and of anything that has enough intelligence to merely survive, but I don't think players can BE Neutral. For all the issues with 4th edition, call me someone who thought 'Unaligned' made more sense.

Lawful Neutral to me is any popular robot in a sci fi series, or someone who dedicates every single action to a hard code, which includes people like Sten of Dragon Age (and yes, I know he could be debated; this is just the best fit for him IMHO). Lawful Neutral can also be the Watcher from Marvel (when he stays Neutral).

True Neutral...animals, beasts, Nature, Nature Deities. But as stated earlier, this, more than any other alignment, bothers me because I've seen it screwed up too much. I don't think it's possible and therefore can't place someone here. Even a druid, if you really knew them, would favor something over another, and that makes Hammie call BS

Chaotic Neutral. Come on, this is too easy! We all pick Captain Jack Sparrow!! Rock stars like Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and such also fill this niche pretty easily.

Man, it's really hard for me to put a thumb on different alignments for characters, especially when I so rarely catch a movie or a TV show that isn't a comedy. Still, I think this can be applied to one of my favorite movies, Down Periscope:

Neutral Good: Lieutenant Commander Dodge - "Not a superior officer, merely a higher ranking one!"
True Neutral: Nitro - "Radio's workin' like a swiss... car."
Lawful Neutral: Admiral Winslow - "Oh, stow it, Yancy! He had higher orders. Oh, and you can forget about that third star."

Really couldn't figure out a solid candidate for a Neutral Evil one in this one, so I made a left turn at the middle.

I always consider neutral to be impassioned or world weary.

Only good people are passionate enough to make it their calling to pursue evil or do a good deed and neutral people usually just end up stepping on the plot of other people, ending up doing good deeds by luck or coincidence. Only evil people are angry enough to actively pursue a career of savagely hurting others, using their selfishness to great gain and then burning themselves out like a forest fire (evil is always either defeated or has to retire; when prestented as human). In fact a chaotic evil person might never truly 'win', since there's always something new to hate and destroy - which is another reason why fantasy stories used to probably end with the happy ending and the good guy (just more feeling of closure in the culture).

The difference is that neutral might think 'good is good and all, but I'm not going to waste all of my time and energy just doing good; i need to look out for myself too.' or say 'I'm emotionally damaged and angsty, so I don't want to do any good. I'll just look out for myself and will probably try to avoid doing good at every chance; but I won't be evil either, because that's the exact opposite and removes the whole point of being neutral'. For me, that's where it boils down.

The neutral person doesn't call his mother, while the good person does. The evil person goes by an alias, or prides family honor above all else (to the 'sick and twisted degree').
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Favourite neutral characters? Um. Hum...

Most neutral characters aren't ever presented as very likable, unless the plot is made to revolve around their exploits and your made to get inside their heads. Ie., Some cheesey movies would be like any movie with Van Damm, but he's not a favourite.

Lessee, Cammy White, C. Viper (street fighter on the brain :P ), and um... yeah, that's pretty much it.

Oh yeah, Good Fellas, Ray Liotta's character. :P

Weird examples? Think of weirder! I dare you.

EDIT: I was actually thinking in terms of the ethical axis - Lawful, True and Chaotic Neutral. I prefer the ethical as opposed to moral anyway, there's less diversity and it's easier to cross reference and draw parallels with real life. :P

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Simply having emotions will cause us to sway one way and favor something over the other
Think of it this way - such an NPC merely doesn't ever voice his opinions or act on them. He might be powerful in his own right, but is locked in service to another, either by cultural implication or otherwise.

It's like the samurai and the lord. If the lord is evil, the samurai obeys his commands and then elects to die honorably as justification for the evil he has commited (if he was good on the other hand, he would disobey the evil daimyo). Are good people traitorous? Certainly! It's all about what persuades them and their justifications.

A true neutral is usually a straight arrow - there is no justification. They are the most conservative of the lot. And yes, it's hard to envision them in real life because that's just not how our mainstream culture is (especially with capitalism and democracy - the only constant is change).

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Even a druid, if you really knew them, would favor something over another, and that makes Hammie call BS
The druid that elects to heal everyone and doesn't get involved when there's violence? A bit like the european monk, actually.

I'm actually just going off the celtic druids in 'Eagles' series by Jack Whyte. Supposed to be set around 500 AD, the founding of Britain. :P

Lawful Neutral: Yoda. - Sorry, I don't view him as good. He just adheres to the standards of the Jedi.

True Neutral: ~blink~ I've think of Riddick as neutral. He's not a good guy, he's not an evil dude, he's out for himself. He kills when he has to or lets people die if it's more likely that he'll die. Does he have a moral compass? Yeah. Does he do the good deed? Yeah, but only when his interests are involved.

Someone tries to kill one of his friends, he saves his buddy. Someone tries to kill someone on the street he doesn't know, he drinks his tea.

Chaotic Neutral: Puck - Shakespearian Character.

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Originally Posted by Voxanadu View Post
Lawful Neutral: Yoda. - Sorry, I don't view him as good. He just adheres to the standards of the Jedi.

True Neutral: ~blink~ I've think of Riddick as neutral. He's not a good guy, he's not an evil dude, he's out for himself. He kills when he has to or lets people die if it's more likely that he'll die. Does he have a moral compass? Yeah. Does he do the good deed? Yeah, but only when his interests are involved.

Someone tries to kill one of his friends, he saves his buddy. Someone tries to kill someone on the street he doesn't know, he drinks his tea.

Chaotic Neutral: Puck - Shakespearian Character.
If anything, I'd consider Riddick Neutral or even Lawful Evil(hear me out on the latter). He does certainly do evil acts, we can all agree on that, but he does do the occasional good thing. More than anything else, he focuses on himself, very rarely acting in an altruistic/compassionate manner. This goes with his evil acts as well, he doesn't do bad things just to "watch the world burn"/"save the day" but because they are a means to an end for him (Even if the end is say "avoiding the guilt of letting someone who trusts him die"). Because he does seem to have a sort of code of honor, at least compared to other people in his universe that do bad, I'd say that makes him Lawful, and because his goals are ultimately selfish(again, for the most part), that makes him evil.

As for my favorite neutral character? Definitely Heroic Spirit E.M.I.Y.A. aka Archer.

Huh... let's see...

Lawful Neutral... King Arthur.

And I know, all kinds of people would argue otherwise. I doubt any single one of them actually read the original legends. Arthur was NOT a good man. He was an adulterer, he was a bully, and he was MORE than willing to indulge in unnecessary violence. He never once forgave a single slight against him nor showed any mercy to an opponent. He died (well, technically, was mortally wounded- he died later) trying to kill his own wounded, defeated son.

He also fought- both militarily and diplomatically- to end strife in his homeland. Brought prosperity to a nation. And generally uplifted the people with concepts of justice and honor. And repaid every debt to everyone he ever owed (except Lancelot, who he ordered executed for boinking his wife). So he wasn't evil, he wasn't good, and he absolutely was lawful.


True Neutral... Uh... Doctor House. Guy's a jackass. Breaks any number of laws. But isn't chaotic because, while he's a selfish prick who bucks at authority, he doesn't do it just for the sake of doing it. He's logical, rational, intelligent, and does good things and saves peoples lives. Of course, he does it for his own gain as well. Not so much money (though, being an elite amongst doctors, I'm sure he has plenty), but for the *challenge* of new and completely made up medical conditions.

He lacks conviction on morality. And lacks passion on social issues. And "I'm damn good at what I do, why are you annoying me with crap I don't care about- which is to say everything else".

Chaotic Neutral... Puck, absolutely. Shakespearean version. And, I was a fan of the way the Gargoyles cartoon handled the character as well.

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True Neutral: ~blink~ I've think of Riddick as neutral. He's not a good guy, he's not an evil dude, he's out for himself. He kills when he has to or lets people die if it's more likely that he'll die. Does he have a moral compass? Yeah. Does he do the good deed? Yeah, but only when his interests are involved.

Someone tries to kill one of his friends, he saves his buddy. Someone tries to kill someone on the street he doesn't know, he drinks his tea.
I stand by my opinion that true neutral = impassioned or unwilling to let passions influence them. By that logic, your analysis would be chaotic neutral.

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But isn't chaotic because, while he's a selfish prick who bucks at authority, he doesn't do it just for the sake of doing it.
Still chaotic.

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"I'm damn good at what I do, why are you annoying me with crap I don't care about- which is to say everything else".
That's pretty chaotic, because it goes against societal conceptions of what is acceptable behavior. "Lemme do what I want, which is my job. I enjoy my work and I'm antisocial! Grah!" It's hard to get away with that in real life! He probably doesn't have a good relationship with his parents. :P

I dunno, is that overanalyzing? Chaotic means 'not adhering', so chances are any chaotic person is more likely highly individualistic. Like House.

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Originally Posted by impfireball View Post
I stand by my opinion that true neutral = impassioned or unwilling to let passions influence them. By that logic, your analysis would be chaotic neutral.
...There are two versions of TN according to the book. One version keeps total balance, while the other does what seems like a good idea. From what I've seen of him, Riddick acts naturally without prejudice or
For the most part, which the alignment system allows for some deviation.
compulsion.

He doesn't appear to be committed to anything.

"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 neutrality is 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. The common phrase for neutral is "true neutral." Neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion." -excerpted from the Player’s Handbook, Chapter 6

No. Chaotic means acting in chaotic fashion. And they do it regularly. House is prone to very deliberate planning. He's methodical. He's intellectual. Hell, the only thing he seems to respect is rational intelligence. He goes out of his way to explain why people acting on any emotional or psychological compulsion OTHER than logic are morons.

In practice, he's one of the least impulsive characters out there. He lies his ass off, but he does it in deliberate, planned fashion with a goal in mind.

That. Is. Lawful.


Buuut he's also a lot of arguments in favor of him being chaotic. He doesn't respect authority. He is antisocial (though that doesn't mean chaotic per se). And he's more than willing to ignore the rules to achieve his purposes, whatever they may be at the time.


So, since he combines both chaos and law in fairly equal measure (and, really, leaning toward lawful). That means he's neutral.




 

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