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Alignment Part 11 – Chaos Isn’t Always Bad

One of the staple inspiration pieces for fantasy is that of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.  Together, they battled the evil forces of Prince John by robbing from the rich and giving to the poor.  Let’s face it, the story is so awesome that not even Kevin Costner could screw it up completely!  He’s also a prime example of the chaotic good alignment.  However, that’s not the only way to play it (obviously).

Good is the concept that is easy for every role player to grasp.  We almost all know it, and almost all live it daily.  We toddle about in our life being good.  We hold the door open for other people, pick up litter, help little old ladies across the street, etc.  We even pay our taxes, however grudgingly it may be.  We’re not perfect, and no alignment requires perfection…after all, PCs are generally mortal and flawed by design, just like we are.

What get’s people is the chaotic part of chaotic good.  Chaos is often seen as a negative force by many people, the opposite of order which they ultimately think of as good.  To some people, chaotic good is an oxymoron.  The thing is, it’s not.  Chaotic simple means unstructured, unpredictable.  A chaotic good character is one who’s good work can take on many forms.

First, a chaotic good character played correct will, almost invariably, do good.  Where it can get odd is when the character is faced with two good quests needing to be accomplished.  For example, the King’s nephew’s kitten is stuck in a tree while and invading army bears down on the kingdom.  The chaotic good character is just as likely to free the kitten as to fight the invading army.  Both are good works, but which one he chooses is based merely on his whim.

Sometimes, the chaotic good character doesn’t even want to do good, but feels compelled to do it anyways.  In an earlier post, Han Solo is mentioned as Chaotic Neutral.  Due to his actions at the end of the first movie, where he returns to cover Luke’s ass, as an example of why I feel he’s chaotic good.  Sure, he wanted to take his money, pay Jabba off, and go about his way.  He wanted no part of the Rebellion.  And yet, he came back to take part in one of the most important battles in the entire series.  Even his smuggling could be explained away due to the controls the Empire put on things (possibly) as being an act of rebellion against tyranny.

As with any other alignment, there’s layers to this one.  There’s no one way to play any alignment, and chaotic good is a popular one that grants a great deal of role play opportunity for any player.

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August 29, 2008 - Posted by | RPG | ,

2 Comments »

  1. The way I usually play CG is similar to the Robin Hood mentality: going around the conventional means to perform good acts. Because of this, it’s not likely for me personally to play CG unless its in a world that lends itself thusly. If the character is in a kingdom where everybody loves the ruler, kindness and generosity are the norm, and the taxes and laws are fair, there’s not a lot of need for, much less motivation driving, one of my CG characters.

    I’ve also played CG as wanting to take down the establishment because the character doesn’t see it as working for its intended purpose, like a freedom fighter battling for equal rights in this country’s past.

    And like you said Tom, like all alignments there are many many ways to portray this iconic bard and barbarian alignment.

    Comment by Liambic | August 29, 2008 | Reply

  2. The Robin Hood mentality is really the iconic CG alignment portrayal, and really that’s one “stereotype” that I just don’t see a problem with. If it works, it works after all.

    As for CG working to take down “Da Man”, that is very, very true. CG is a great alignment for a rebel. The important thing, I think, is to understand that alignment is very situational. CG in the case of a rebel could become LG or NG after he pulls it off 😉

    Comment by Tom | August 31, 2008 | Reply


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