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Alignment Part 3 – Worst of the Worst

Yesterday, I talked a bit about the chaotic evil alignment and my interpretation of it. Today, I’d like to talk about the alignment that I think is the true heart of evil, the worst of the worst, neutral evil. In all honesty, this is the one that is what most people do when trying to play chaotic evil. The neutral evil character is often cunning, manipulative, sociopathic, and an awful lot like Jennifer Lopez on speed. OK, so maybe the last one was a bit much, depending on your perspective. However, the point is that neutral evil characters can be the scariest of all nine alignments (for a good character anyways).

Neutral evil characters are tricky. They are often power hungry, but not for political power. Power takes on different forms and the neutral evil character is often the master of many of them. The are the closest thing to your cheesy saturday morning cartoon villains you’ll find. They do simply because they want to. Of all the evil characters, the neutral evil character is the most likely to understand he’s evil, though generally he won’t.

Neutral evil characters are often the most sadistic. They’re the characters who will kidnap your family and create a situation where you can either save your sister or your mother, but not both. They may or may not be after money, but if so it’s only so the money can be used to further their own goals. Rarely are they greedy, though it can happen as well.

Neutral evil characters are the ones who enjoy making you squirm, and like to toy with people before the kill. They could be the serial killer, or the demon’s faithful servant. They could be the mage who wants to become more powerful than even a god. Really, they could be anything, and none of them are good.

In truth, the neutral evil character is, in my opinion, the scariest of any alignment. They’re the ones who destroy villages and topple kingdoms, but not for fun, but for a purpose that you don’t know yet. That makes them truly terrifying in my book, and a terrifying villain is a great villain in my book!


August 19, 2008 - Posted by | RPG |


  1. A good generalization I remember from my college days:

    LE – The Egomaniac
    NE – The true Sociopath
    CE – The true Psychopath

    The lawful type is more about power, prestige, and his own twisted code of “honor”. Hw would spare women and children if there was any reason to.

    The neutral type (I agree, the scariest) is concerned with himself only. All others are tools or obstacles – no exceptions. The consummate opportunist. He would sell the women and children or use them in some other vile way.

    Chaotic types? Pure chaotic savagery. Evil acts are “generally” committed with glee, in a unfocused, spur of the moment sense. He would kill them all, seeing no use for them beyond the present.

    A bit sparse, but I enjoy evil characters, delving too deeply into their motivations and such can tend to blur the lines a bit. LE villain would kill the women and children as “revenge” for a past slight, etc.

    Evil seems a lot more…dynamic than good in this sense. There was a cool game I played years and years ago, where alignment was defined as degrees of good and evil. The emphasis was on the shades of gray that creep into all actions from tie to time.

    Good post! Keep em coming.

    Comment by Donny_the_DM | August 20, 2008 | Reply

  2. @Donnie: Not a bad way to sum it up. However, for some they need something more concrete. I agree with you though. Where I tend to disagree with a lot of people is that I feel evil characters don’t realize they are evil.

    For example, the neutral evil character you mention who kills the women and children for some past slight feels he is completely in the right for his actions. After all, it is someone else’s fault that he feels he needs to do this. The hero is someone who is misguided in his opinion, and that is where the lines start to blur. For example, he may actually be able to make the hero question his own ideas of right and wrong.

    That is where evil gets truly interesting in my book.

    Comment by Tom | August 20, 2008 | Reply

    • I’ve been lokniog for a post like this for an age

      Comment by Gerry | January 8, 2015 | Reply

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