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Alignment Part 1 – A Different Take on Evil.

For the purpose of this series, I’ll explore each of the nine alignments used in D&D, starting with evil, and attempt to show a different take on these alignments. As I think that D&D’s alignment system covers pretty much every aspect of good and evil and all points in between, I’ll be using that as my basis for discussion. However, I see no reason why this won’t work in any other role playing game imaginable. So, without further ado, let’s get to the meat of the subject.

I’m quite sure there are few people in this world who would argue over Adolf Hitler being the most evil man in history. He personally ordered the extermination of millions of people, launched attacks that killed even more people, and had every intent of ruling the entire world. However, if you could have asked him if he were evil, his answer would ave been “no”. In truth, Hitler believed he was doing what was best for Germany, and there in lies the truly scary part of an evil character.

Many DMs have a “no evil PC” rule. Many others are OK with it. However, almost all use evil NPCs in their campaigns. By it’s very nature, evil is a necessary component of any role playing game. Most of the time, evil is colored by it’s portrayal in fiction where the bad guy is evil and knows it! He works toward evil with every ounce of his ability. He will readily admit that he’s evil, and is quite proud of it.

However, rarely in reality does evil take on such a pure and unabashed form. Instead, it usually takes on a form more similar to that I used to describe Hitler. And, what’s worse about this form, is that it’s so much easier to find people who will follow evil in this form. These people can convince ordinarily decent people to follow their evil plots by honestly believing that their ideas are the right path and will be good for themselves and others. Even skills that discern lies will come up short, since the villain honestly things he’s doing good.

Evil is necessary for any campaign. However, by making it an evil that the PC’s can empathize with should make for some interesting moral quandaries down the road.  In Part 2, I’ll begin exploring the “Chaotic Evil” alignment and the nature of what many consider to be the most evil of alignments.


August 17, 2008 - Posted by | RPG |


  1. I recently wrote an article on this topic that you might like.

    Comment by Ripper X | August 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. @Ripper: You’ve got some interesting points, many of which I agree with completely. My hope though is to go into detail with each particular alignment and help people look at each individually and hopefully make it so that law and chaos, as well as good and evil, are more than things that get clicked together like legos 😉

    Comment by Tom | August 17, 2008 | Reply

  3. That sounds awesome! You have me waiting for more!


    Comment by Ripper X | August 17, 2008 | Reply

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