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Your Three Favorite Neutrals

   
This is why Hammie tells you that TN is impossible for sentient beings, since our emotions will always pull us one way or the other. That and it's too hard to define.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammerfist View Post
This is why Hammie tells you that TN is impossible for sentient beings, since our emotions will always pull us one way or the other. That and it's too hard to define.
Honestly, I feel like the extremes of any alignment are impossible for sentient beings outside of angels, archons, deities, etc. True True Neutral probably is impossible for a human, sure, but there may very well be humans who seek a balance between good, evil, lawful and chaotic, and while they may trend towards one in particular, that trend may not be strong enough to actually classify them as that alignment.

IMO, alignment shouldn't be seen as nine specific slots, but a spectrum. 'Lawful Neutral' doesn't mean your character never makes a choice not based on logic, order and reason, or that they never do good things for the sake of doing good, it's just exceedingly rare for them. Though I do agree that one of 4E's only good things for the changes to the alignment system (I'm not a fan of alignment systems overall) was adding the Unaligned alignment, to break out the 'just doing their thing' True Neutrals from the 'perfect balance' True Neutrals.

...I'll add a list of Neutral heroes later, I swear!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Little_Rudo View Post
Honestly, I feel like the extremes of any alignment are impossible for sentient beings outside of angels, archons, deities, etc. True True Neutral probably is impossible for a human, sure, but there may very well be humans who seek a balance between good, evil, lawful and chaotic, and while they may trend towards one in particular, that trend may not be strong enough to actually classify them as that alignment.

IMO, alignment shouldn't be seen as nine specific slots, but a spectrum. 'Lawful Neutral' doesn't mean your character never makes a choice not based on logic, order and reason, or that they never do good things for the sake of doing good, it's just exceedingly rare for them. Though I do agree that one of 4E's only good things for the changes to the alignment system (I'm not a fan of alignment systems overall) was adding the Unaligned alignment, to break out the 'just doing their thing' True Neutrals from the 'perfect balance' True Neutrals.

...I'll add a list of Neutral heroes later, I swear!
Until you add he list of heroes, I don't think you have stick your neck out

My issue with TN? It inspires the most debate and has too many 'gotcha' moments (as in, a ha, you made a decision based on something you like better! You are not neutral!) to really work.

While I will accept extremes are rare, it's much easier to describe LE, CN, NG, etc than TN and remain consistent in doing so. In my gaming experience, someone who claims to be TN is just a few sessions away from being proven wrong And extremes are always rare. But LG people can act LG more than 60% of the time. How do you act neutral all the time? Eventually you favor something

Nope, TN is for animals, nature, survival, and non PC characters IMHO

I've seen TN done before. Usually by people who were supposedly playing a NG character but never actually got around to being good in any sense other than "hasn't done anything all that bad".

(But I helped slay that dragon!... Yeah, you were quite quick to volunteer after you found out about the reward money.... Oh, right.)

I'd say at least 80% of real people fall into true neutral. Granted- they're not the most interesting people on the planet- but they don't actually do anything to slip their alignment needle out of "meh, whatever".


And a single act or two doesn't make an alignment. Unless it's a *really big act*. Knowingly sacrificing your life to save someone for no gain what so ever (how many gains can there be when you're dead, anyway?) kicks the needle over toward good pretty easily. Killing your neighbor's toddler pretty much slams your alignment into the ground and leaves no room for negotiation.

But donating a few bucks to the "Orphans with Diseases" charity won't change your alignment. Not unless you do it a lot over a long period of time.

Well said TanaNari just above. I agree. On all counts.
(Coincidentally going to double-check online auto-giving 'bill pay' set up.)

This was tough to come up with for me. Was glad to remember a brief, but interesting character I admired for the first. Took a while after that for me to come up with the others.

LN - Gaul from Wheel of Time. The Aiel unnecessarily kills a Cairhenin. Smacks of some racism and close to murder. Though not unnormal for his time/people. But the dude just asks when his execution will be and shows up for it. Not unnormal for his people, but still remarkable. I'd like to put him as Lawful Good with a mistake. But he really didn't see it as a mistake. And basically freely admitted he would do it again. Respecting/following the law, even when it means your execution. I like that guy. For more than just that.

N - this was kind of tough. For a favorite. I agree with TanaNari above. Most people fall into this. I was trying to stick with Wheel of Time, but this was very tough here. You could put most of the 'common' people who are too afraid to really try to oppose evil, but would rather evil was not in power here.

Was glad to think of who I did even if from another series with a worldview I don't admire near as much as Wheel of Time (though I have only read book 1) - Roose Bolton from Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire. You could also put all the nobles / knights / minor rulers who don't commit and just wait to see who will win out for the throne. Though as few claimants really seem good - you could perhaps just say they are practical. Roose Bolton (sorry if I messed up the name) is interesting. He is over the Dreadfort. He speaks little and softly - but people listen. It seems people are afraid of him. He takes orders. He is 'cold cunning'. He does keep some part of the force he is entrusted with alive to great importance. Certainly not good. Implied he may torture people... scary. smart. cunning. looks out for self, but not directly oppose anyone. Does seem to keep his word.

*Also from same book (again, I've only read the first one) pretty sure I'd put as just plain Neutral the lord of the Twins - old man who only agrees to let Ned Stark's son cross the river from one of his castles to the other across his bridge after concessions for his family's future.

CN - Was also very hard to come up with anyone in Wheel of Time. Shows how light/dark contrasted that is. Matt wishes he was this, rather than CG. Went with Robert Baretheon (sp) - first king of Game of Thrones / Song of Ice and Fire. Really a terrible king. But doesn't mean to hurt people/his kingdom. He's just bored. Irresponsible. Self-centered. Should have never been king. Horrible effects, but not really intent. Definitely individualistic and freedom loving. Hard to say he's my favorite. But as Ned Stark felt, there's just something about him that's hard not to like. He is at least honest and frank. And fun-loving. With a sense of humor. And he tries to be loyal. (All that said, the more I read the first book, the more I disliked him...)

*Remembered my guess of who the original thread starter may have guessed would be a popular CN. Tyrion Lannister - the Imp - from Game of Thrones. Definitely out for himself and 'against the grain.' Much to admire and some to dislike about him. Something of both a tragic and admirable character all in one small, interesting, entertaining man.

Cool exercise and discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammerfist View Post
Until you add he list of heroes, I don't think you have stick your neck out

My issue with TN? It inspires the most debate and has too many 'gotcha' moments (as in, a ha, you made a decision based on something you like better! You are not neutral!) to really work.

While I will accept extremes are rare, it's much easier to describe LE, CN, NG, etc than TN and remain consistent in doing so. In my gaming experience, someone who claims to be TN is just a few sessions away from being proven wrong And extremes are always rare. But LG people can act LG more than 60% of the time. How do you act neutral all the time? Eventually you favor something

Nope, TN is for animals, nature, survival, and non PC characters IMHO
I agree pretty wholeheartedly with TanaNari on this, in that plenty of actions people do don't really correlate to an alignment, at least not strongly enough to tick you significantly along that spectrum. You act neutral at least 60% of the time (what a weird metric...) because, while you might do things that are Good/Evil/Lawful/Chaotic, it's usually just actions taken out of self-interest in the course of daily life. Dropping a few bucks into the charity basket next to the cash register each week doesn't make a Neutral person Neutral Good any more than a TN Druid giving a little charity makes her NG.

But I really don't care for the 'itemized list of alignments for each action' approach to alignment. Trying to evaluate every single action as LG/CG/LE/CG and critiquing every action taken by a PC just feels anal-retentive, and undermines the point that many people have character traits that, in terms of alignment, would be contradictory. It's not a sign of a badly written character, necessarily, just a complex character. Jumping all over a TN character because they've taken a few actions you deem as LG is, to me, the equivalent of nitpicking every single action a Paladin does looking for them to 'fall'. There's a difference between acting out of character and not defining every single one of your characters actions by those two letters in the alignment box.

And I'll post the list later. This is a High Holy Day in Wisconsin, I'm preparing for the sacred rites of a home-stadium Packers game.

I have a great replacement ref video for you, btw. Steelers are on the bye so church has been can Elle's this week

I understand what TaraNari is trying to say, but I disagree. If apathy is TN, I think the definition is poor. Remember that we're taking about adventurers, not average people in life. Average people who have he to make any decision on much of anything a D&D character has. Give them noisy neighbors, someone who bugs their family, or a problem and we will see how neutral they are. Apathetic people don't make choices because they don't really need to. That doesn't make you neutral as much as it makes you non committed. Adventurers aren't the type who stand back and watch the world go by. Point being that the definition of TN is too vast.

Unaligned is a better term. True neutral has no real 'bending' to it; make a decision and you start losin neutrality. I suspect that my definition is much stricter; apathy, to me, is not something possesses by an adventurer. You made a choice when you signed on the dotted line or enters that goblin hole. You can feign apathy, mind you, but given the sun of your actions, you have made a choice.

Even the book's definition to me shows the problem of TN when it implies you favor good over evil (then how are you truly neutral? Etc). It's fine if you want to define TN that way, but to me, it doesn't exist. The given example assumes that lack of participation is an alignment. I just think its poorly handled and I've had a lot of trouble in gaming sessions with players who can't agree on it. So yeah, that's basically it.

Apologies for the

Again, no. That's not how the alignment system works. The books are VERY clear that neutrality is one of THREE things.

FIRST: Behavior that's not especially good or evil because it's not especially much of anything. That, I agree, not an adventurer's trademark. It's neutral, certainly, but the apathetic variety. We can dismiss that as very very boring. And thus not worth playing.

SECOND: Actions that go across the board. Sometimes being selfish, sometimes being selfless. Sometimes following the rules. Sometimes breaking them. The example I gave of House is a good one. MANY adventurers can fit here- I mean, played "as is" without at least minor "house settings", you *are* playing a team of disorganized but efficient murder-hobos.


By *definition* your typical D&D party travels from land to land, rarely having a specific mortal agency to which they lay fealty. Sure, they may have some god(s)... but still. They typically follow a more or less informally democratic process within the ranks- they have a leader, but only due to popular support. This is chaotic behavior. But they generally fight in favor of protecting the land from other, usually chaotic, forces. Supporting the local infrastructure and lords is lawful. So they come to a nice neutral zone.

There's rarely a specific rhyme or reason in this group working together- it's often a matter of convenience or a sense of shared goals. The group rarely shares an alignment, and if they do it's probably "good". And almost all of them tolerate a degree of independence and insubordination that would result in a court martial if tried by a member of any legitimate special forces team. But, still, they protect one another and form senses of obligation and trust with one another. One more chaotic act balanced by one more lawful act.

They may traverse the land aiding the vulnerable against the forces of evil. But they also have every intent to keep the lich-king's vast riches. And for every paladin chasing a holy cause, there's two thrillseekers hunting for new adventures or challenges to test their skills and FIVE mercenaries looking for a huge payday.

As such- True Neutral is almost an inherent default to any adventurer's activities. Though the individual goals of the party members define their own scale on the axis, the fact of the matter is that the group's overall default is almost always TN with an angling toward 'good' that doesn't actually reach the finish line.


THIRD: A true dedication, spiritually, to the concept of balance. This, of course, is the hardest one to adhere to. This is a druid following a razor's edge interpretation of the natural world. And in truth, this is the one that actually roleplaying is the hardest to do correctly. But, seriously, we got Lawful Stupid. We got Chaotic Stupid. We got Evil Stupid. Why can't there be Neutral Stupid?



The first is a lack of Desire. The second is a lack of Preference. The third is a Dedication to a peculiar ideal. Or, to put this in other terms, some people are Asexual, some people are Bisexual, and some people are Pansexual (or at least a good sized sample of them- I'm sure there's a few naturally pansexual people out there, though I've never actually MET one- everyone I've known who called themselves such actually put *effort* into it).


And then there's a question of intent vs practice. That's an issue and a half unto itself.

Sorry. I just completely, flat out disagree. It's ok. I'd tell you why but I will only repeat myself. No lives were lost. I actually think the debate proves my point: loose definitions = bad. But you can think what you will; at the end of the day its all about pretend people with pointy ears




 

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