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D&D 3E
Chaotic neutral. 
8th-Nov-2005 09:36 am
fairy
This comes up too often in the group I'm a player in. Comes up in the group I'm a DM in too, but it usually isn't too dramatic in nature.

"I'm chaotic neutral. I think in my best interest."

Translation: "I'm chaotic neutral. All I care about is me. Screw all the other players that are supposed to be having fun. Did I mention I don't care where the groups going, because it's all about me, me, me?"

I loathe chaotic neutral.

Maybe it's because the immature play it a lot, but I find it to be the lazy alignment. It's the offensive alignment, the rude alignment that somehow ends up in a group of good people that should otherwise beat the bastard except for the fact their methods aren't dubbed "evil" (and so, we would likely have "neutral evil.")

When I had a new player add to my group a few weeks back that I'd gamed with in the past, and I knew was nothing but a troublemaker, I said to him, "no evil and no chaotic neutral." He then replied, "Why do you already have a chaotic neutral in the group, then?" and I answered, "Because I'm apparently biased." Not a very good answer from a DM, but I'm fed up to HERE with people that abuse the CN alignment.

I think I'm going to run a game without alignments known, and the characters don't get to pick their alignments. Items and spells that are alignment-based will just work and not work depending on the player's mood, so the players that are self-centered and selfish and eventually screw the group over for it get penalized accordingly.

Anyone else have problems with chaotic neutral??
Comments 
8th-Nov-2005 05:44 pm (UTC)
That could be really interesting, the unknown alignment thing. You could make notes on how a player behaves and then decide later what their alignment really is. I like :)
8th-Nov-2005 05:48 pm (UTC)
That was the plan. That way players play how they want to play and don't try to always try to fit in their alignment. If I'm going to deal with chaotic neutral, best everyone gets a free-for-all. One person acting like a hellion means we're in hell. ^_^
8th-Nov-2005 06:06 pm (UTC)
Punish him accordingly, frankly. If he fucks over the party in a dungeon, the party can fuck him over well within their rights. If, however, he starts crap in a town, bring down the law on him.

I hate, HATE, players that just mess about all the time.
8th-Nov-2005 06:07 pm (UTC)
I like Chaotic Neutral!

But I do think that the alignments should be descriptive rather than prescriptive. It shouldn't ever be a situation where a player looks down at his sheet and chooses the most annoying or ruinous thing based on the fact that he wrote 'chaotic neutral' down.

One thing to watch out for is whether you (as a GM) may unknowingly facilitate this kind of abuse. Certain players left to their own devices without anything to focus on (or given the wrong thing to focus on) can turn on each other or set out to make their own fun in ways that often disrupt the group or the game.

We've probably all seen that one before- the party that spontaneously goes PVP on you. Well, its happened to me anyhow. :)
8th-Nov-2005 06:12 pm (UTC)
usually happens when two players are going for the "badass" motif. That's why my characters are always friendly fun loving team work people, hehe.
8th-Nov-2005 06:14 pm (UTC)
My characters are designed as teamwork/friendly good people too, but what do you do when one of them isn't contributing? Are they still part of your team?
8th-Nov-2005 06:24 pm (UTC)
Sometim3es it's just a bad player or someone who comes from an alien tradition of roleplaying.

Think of it as any other game. Imagine if you had invited some friends over to play basketball. If there's always one guy that punches you in the stomach and steals the ball, because thats how he's always played it before, you have to let this guy know he's doing it wrong. Maybe thats how they did it where he came from, sure, but thats not how your group plays.

Sometimes it's just as easy as talking to that one guy. Sometimes that doesn't work, or that guy takes all offense and you end up with trouble.

8th-Nov-2005 06:38 pm (UTC)
I assumed you've talked to the guy, since you say you've known him to be a problem player before. If you haven't talk it out and be gentle. If you have, iron fist.
8th-Nov-2005 10:14 pm (UTC)
Sure, let him know he's doing it wrong. Don't do it by telling him he can't be chaotic neutral. Do it by ensuring that there are proper consequences for his actions. "Chaotic neutral" isn't synonymous with "immune to repercussions".
8th-Nov-2005 06:19 pm (UTC)
All I care about is me. Screw all the other players that are supposed to be having fun. Did I mention I don't care where the groups going, because it's all about me, me, me?"

That's NE, in my book, not CN.

I love playing the CN alignment, actually-- but it has to be played well. CN means that a player character isn't particularly good or particularly evil-- rather like the vast majority of NPCs one meets (random townsfolk tend to be N in 3.5). They have less respect for authority though, so they'd be more likely to lie to the city guards about what their business is in town, or maybe one day they feel like giving money to the beggar in the street but the next day they ignore him. They would be less likely to hold to the terms of a contract if the situation warrants.

CN isn't about 'me'. It's about freedom. A well-played CN PC realizes that freedom comes with responsibility-- to the party, and to others. It should entail a bit of live and let live-- if you leave me alone, I'll leave you alone, but if you screw me over, watch out! I'm not going to go to the law for help, I'll deal with you on my own.

Course, the sad truth of the matter is that people still try to use the 2nd ed version of CN-- a character is equally as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it. Which is where you get the really irritating annoying CN PCs.

My own little personal rant on the subject. =)

Were I DMing, I'd make that person's alignment become either NE or CE, and be dealt with accordingly.
8th-Nov-2005 06:55 pm (UTC)
Well said. I think all alignments were designed to have realism and depth, but only people of a certain maturity manage not to warp the idea.

However, I haven't done away with conventional alignments in my group yet. What I've done is just tell the players that alignments aren't strict, and that the Player's Handbook isn't running the game, but that I am. I break down the alignments into what they really are and just tell the players that a few infringments are fine, and that a real alignment shift occurs only when shift in the mindset of the character occurs.

Example: To kill or not to kill...

A benevolent cleric who has lived his life by the tenets of his church is finally at the end of a long personal investigation, where he finds that the man who was really behind the abductions and brutal murderings of village children was his bishop, a man whom he had once held highly as a mentor and companion. In his moment of conflict and decision, blade vacillating between taut and slack, death and life, when things come crashing down within and around him--the player consults his character sheet and decides what to do. "Well, hold on, let me see what abilities I'd lose if I kill him, since that would throw my alignment off to chaotic evil or something. Just gimme a couple of minutes, will you?"

No, damnit. Alignment is about roleplaying. In all decency, whether or not the cleric murdered the bishop should depend on the player's understanding of the cleric, not the cleric's alignment. It's likely that whether or not the cleric killed the bishop, he would still suffer such disillusionment that an alignment change would be inevitable.

It takes a certain type (not really level) of player to revel in these ideas, though. Until all players appreciate the alignment system as a learning tool only, we can only strive.
8th-Nov-2005 10:56 pm (UTC)
I agree a good example of CN was Han Solo in Star Wars (the first one after that he went CG). He could care less about other people but he is a free spirit and not tied down. He isnt going to screw anyone over but hes not going to go out of his way to help.

CN is VERY HARD to play right.
9th-Nov-2005 08:34 pm (UTC)
ANd those who like to play CN are usually dipping into CE, in my experience.
8th-Nov-2005 06:23 pm (UTC)
That doesn't really sound like CN to me. That's more a NE outlook if you ask me. CN is the free spirit. The whimsical semi-unpredictable fun-loving sort. CN is an individualist but not a self-centered jerk. NE is the self-centered, every-man-for-himself, honorless pragmatist. Anyone who claimed to be CN and played it like you describe would be declared out of alignment in no time in a campaign of mine.
8th-Nov-2005 06:43 pm (UTC)
I like the unknown alignment thing a lot. It seems like the kind of thing that could make for really good variety in player actions, etc.

Personally, I always play the CN character, but I've never really caused problems. Not for the other players or the DM at least.

Good luck with your new strat. and whatnot. Maybe you could tell us how it works out.
8th-Nov-2005 07:34 pm (UTC)
I would just reward the players that are contributing to the game being fun with experience and let it work itself out.
8th-Nov-2005 07:40 pm (UTC)
Personally I love the "twist" Eberron has made to alignment. With the exception of the "true" evils of the world, aka The Dreaming Dark, The Lords of Dust, etc etc, regardless of someones alignment its a world of grey not black and white.

8th-Nov-2005 10:14 pm (UTC)
My husband and I both DM. Neither of us will allow a Chaotic Neutral character in our games. I might be persuaded to bend if I knew the player well, and he or she gave me a very good reason that the character needed to be Chaotic Neutral. But it seems to me that it's just too open to abuse, and it's easier to say "no Chaotic Neutral" than it is to say "he or she can, but you can't."

I personally find the alignment system a little clunky, but not clunky enough that I've felt motivated to house rule it. It works well enough, and my players mostly seem to take it as a guideline, not an absolute "you must behave this way all the time."
9th-Nov-2005 12:03 am (UTC)
This is the official definition of CN as it applies to my games....

Chaotic Neutral; This is the alignment of a true free spirit. A chaotic neutral person cannot be held down by what others think and do. Society for them is a constantly changing organism, moving and breathing as it evolves. A chaotic neutral person will share their ideas and evoke that change in any way possible. As they develop new ideas, they change themselves, resulting in a constant flux. They set trends, only to abandon them as trendy, or pick up something better. A chaotic neutral character realizes that sometimes you have to use creative means to achieve your goals. Ideas like personal property, curfews, restricted areas, taboos and codes are seen as more guidelines by the chaotic neutral character. Despite this, a chaotic neutral character will not actively harm another, though they may allow a hostage to be harmed to catch the evildoer. The best part about being chaotic neutral is that you can decide what is the best way to speak or live.
9th-Nov-2005 01:02 am (UTC)
I like the CN alignment. If anybody can remember the Conan movie (the first one), Conan was very CN. He didnt go out of his way to harm most of those around him.

CN chars, to me at least, dont create huge waves like your player did. That would bring to much unwanted attention and problems.

I have a CN Human fighter 5th level that I play. I play him as a mercenary, moving from group to group as the pay stays steady. He loves his wine and women and while he doesnt start fights (he stays quiet a fair amount of time), he has no qualms in finishing those that start with him.

I dont see him as evil, he has adventured with people in the past and the gaming groups went off without a flaw. If you dont like it, so be it, but dont cut out another alignment because one of your players has trouble playing it.
9th-Nov-2005 04:34 am (UTC)
I think that the "me me me me" attitude is more TN than CN. He doesn't care for law, or good, or evil, jsut himself. If what I do is evil, that's fine? Good? Fine, too.

CN, to me, is the insane guy. Ever see DS9? There are these Genetically madified people on several episodes, and one guy is really neurotic and crazy. He's CN. The mememe thing isn't necessarily chaotic, unless he does things sut to stir up trouble. There's an alignment test that gives fantastic descriptions out there somehwere.
9th-Nov-2005 07:15 am (UTC)
Chaotic Neutral = Spike Spiegel
13th-Dec-2005 12:56 am (UTC)
i can agree with that, but he has strong good tendencies. he has a good heart in other words, but he lets his sense of self-preservation get in the way of doing good deeds. so yeah, CN with CG tendencies.
9th-Nov-2005 07:16 am (UTC)
Just one thought. For me, the chaotic alignments (all of them) mean, that the character's alignment is not as set in stone as by the lawfuls. A chaotic character can obay rules when they fit him, he may even try and act like a lawful character when dealing with people of great authority. A chaotic evil character may go as far as acting like a lawful good character would while dealing with a paladin in order to make the paladin not use it's detect evil feature on him. A chaotic neutral character would cooperate with his companions because acting without followong the plan would endanger his own health, too. Chaotic doesn't equal stupid. It just means you can act differently when the situation requires it.
9th-Nov-2005 09:40 am (UTC)
CN = Captain Jack Sparrow
9th-Nov-2005 11:24 am (UTC)
I absolutely agreee that CN shuld be played as a free spirit. Chaotic means random and unpredictable and neutral means neither good nor evil, while not necessarily having an issue with either. In my Eberron campaign I'm playing a CN cleric of the Traveller. She has a fair amount of wanderlust and for background moves from city to city, running a bar in one of the seedier areas(which also doubles as a mini shrine to her god) for a while until she gets bored and moves on. She met up with our party during one of her excessively bored moments, had an old friendship with one of the members and decided to hang out. She's not a bad person, prone to mischief and enjoys a good time, definitely a bit of rogue (1st two levels were rogue), but will jump to help a friend and only a friend or maybe another person if there's money involved or if the mood takes her, she might like their shoes and decide its ok she also might pick a fight, blame it on a person with hideous shoes and watch the mayhem unfold from a safe corner. Don't piss her off. Why is she currently helping the party fight evil? 1. it's interesting for the time being 2. if the evil bastards took over it would seriously cramp her style, they have no sense of humor. Background story is almost more important than alignment when deciding how a character should be played. Alignment gives the general idea, background makes it real.

Players who repeatedly attempt to screw over the rest of the group or intentionally create a character with an alignment that won't mesh are just jerks and should not be allowed. period. I've always felt that the whole point was to have an adventuring team, not a random assortment of people that happened to be travelling together.
9th-Nov-2005 11:41 am (UTC)
i used to game with a gm who would just change your alignment on you according to how you acted,,if you were cn, and killed 100 cobald babies,he would just make you evil,,and how you would find out is usually take full damage by holy smite or any of the great hurt evil spells, and when you were like "yo,W.T.F? he would just say oh yea,remember those cobalds,,your evil now,guess you better figure out how to fix that"
11th-Nov-2005 09:00 am (UTC)
I ran a game once where people could be any non-evil alignment and the game was only going to last 4 days. but I told them upfront that I was keeping a tally of good and bad deeds (personal judgement) and if they hit the predetermined point, their alignment would shift, but I might not tell them. No big deal, except their team's view of the person may change and the townsfolk, if they knew the deeds, would also treat them differently. I was trying to base it off of the xbox game Fable.

P.S. Why did you let someone you consider a troublemaker play in your game?
11th-Nov-2005 07:44 pm (UTC)
He's a friend of another player in my group. I told him I would give him a chance and I could ask him to stop playing my game if it didn't work out.

...okay, so I was stupid.
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