Sourced this great definition from: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33802.
The Alignment characteristic is a basic indication of your character’s behavioural tendencies. It is a tool to aid role-playing, not a strait-jacket in which your character will be forever confined. If you create a character with a starting Alignment that does not match the way you end up playing that character, you will be free to change it. Obviously this should be discussed with the DM, as he will definitely want to know.
Keeping your character’s behaviour within the bounds of the Alignment you have given them will obviously gain you experience points for good role-playing. Serious deviation will equally result in EXP penalties.
The following Alignment definitions are used as a common standard within the context of the game. This is necessary to ensure that everyone has the same idea of what constitutes ‘chaotic’ behaviour, for example, thus avoiding any confusion.
These interpretations are intended for game purposes only, not for use in real life.
Before we can get into specific alignments, it is necessary to examine the five underlying concepts behind them.
Good & Evil
In real life ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ are concepts that have no meaning outside of the society that defined them. ‘Good’ acts are simply those of which society approves, while ‘Evil’ acts are those of which it strongly disapproves. A Viking bringing home a vast amount of loot from raiding, for example, would most likely be considered ‘Good’ by his fellows and ‘Evil’ by his victims. Over time, any given society will change its ideas of what constitute ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ according to its current needs. Often, what is considered ‘Good’ by one generation will be considered ‘Evil’ by a later generation, and vice versa.
For the purposes of the game it is necessary to establish a set of absolute standards. Anything else results in total confusion and negates the entire point of having an Alignment system in the first place.
Good: is defined as unselfish and moral: doing things for others with no thought of personal gain, or simply because it is the right thing to do. Placing the welfare of others above your own.
Do as you would be done by
Note: ‘Moral’ is defined as obeying the general rules of personal behaviour layed down by the Judeo-Christian tradition. This is simply for the sake of convenience as everybody knows what these precepts are and they are well defined. Trying to use any other definition of ‘Moral’ is predicated once more upon social convention, hence unworkable.
Evil: is defined as selfish and immoral: doing things for yourself that inflict harm on others, or that you know to be wrong. The pursuit of self-gratification without worrying or caring about the pain you cause. Placing your own welfare above that of others.
Do it to them before they do it to you
Law & Chaos
Are in essence the forces of stability/pattern and change/randomness. Where ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ are social constructs, Law (or ‘Order’) and Chaos are fundamental underpinning parts of the universe. Their natures are eternal and unchanging (which is certainly a paradox in the latter case). As such, definitions are not predicated upon any kind of social bias.
*Law: is the force of stability and pattern (and has nothing to do with criminal law in any way shape or form). Lawful people enjoy working as part of a team, and will often be involved in organising, planning and general preparation. Lawful people generally think before they act..
Without stability there is no true progression
Chaos: is the force of randomness and change. Chaotic people are impulsive, and prefer to work alone rather than as part of a team. They dislike planning, finding it boring, and are always interested in new things. Many are highly creative. Chaotic people usually act before they think.
Without change there is only stagnation
Is not exactly a force, so much as the reconciling of opposites.
One who is Neutral in the ‘Good’-‘Evil’ sense may not be particularly selfish or unselfish, or they may simply be amoral (in other words, they are unable to grasp moral concepts, or come from a society that has none). Others may view ‘Good’ and ‘Evil’ as forces that are both necessary, or simply consider them irrelevant (a Druid, for example, is far more concerned with animals than with people).
One who is Neutral in the Law-Chaos sense may not have a marked preference for either planning or spontaneous action, or they may simply allow others to dictate the course of events by just ‘going with the flow’. Others may see the importance of both forces, and actively work to balance their lives accordingly. Many will be self-centred but not really selfish.
Without light there is no shadow
Specific Alignment Definitions
Lawful Good (LG): The LG character works towards bringing the greatest benefit to the largest number of people. S/he believes that a stable and well ordered society is the best hope of happiness for the majority of people. LG characters tend to become adventurers because they think they can do the most good over the long term by doing so.
Chaotic Good (CG): The CG character wants to help people now. S/he believes that it is up to every individual to do what they can to help others when they can. Individual freedom is the best way of guaranteeing happiness for all. CG people usually become adventurers when they are recruited on the spur of the moment to help destroy a local menace,
Neutral Good (NG): The NG character is not really bothered about the amount of social freedom granted by his government, only whether the people are happy or not. S/he will happily work with other people or alone as the need dictates. NG characters will usually become adventurers in order to protect others.
Lawful Neutral (LN): The LN character wants a nice quiet world in which everybody has the security of knowing their place and nothing ever changes. S/he enjoys routine and dislikes surprises. Those few LN characters who become adventurers usually do so because they feel that they cannot get the quiet life they want as long as outside menaces exist. They tend to be pretty annoyed about it too.
Chaotic Neutral (CN): The CN character craves adventure and excitement – now! Always fascinated by new things, and utterly bored without change, the CN character is the ultimate butterfly. S/he is highly inquisitive and often very quick witted. Most are wanderers who wish to see the world, or exist in a mad social whirl. Those who become adventurers do so for the excitement.
True Neutral (TN): The TN character either believes that Good, Evil, Law and Chaos are all intrinsically necessary to the world and its people – part of a vital balance of forces that should not ever be allowed to tip too far in any direction – or has completely abandoned all interest in human affairs. The majority of TN people are Druids or hermits, who fall into the latter category. TN characters who go adventuring will usually do so in order to preserve the balance or to counteract a threat to nature.
Lawful Evil: The LE character will work to gain the greatest long term benefit to him/herself. If other people get hurt in the process, well, so what. You can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs, right? LE characters dream of a nice ordered society with them on top – or at least pulling the strings behind the scenes. LE characters who go adventuring usually do so in order to gain resources that will allow them to become more powerful or otherwise support their long-term aims.
Neutral Evil: The NE character will certainly accept any reasonable opportunity to gain personal benefits or self gratification, but will tend to weigh the risks before doing so. S/he doesn’t care if other people get hurt, but certainly cares about whether s/he will have to face any consequences as a result. NE characters who go adventuring usually do so because they think that the possible gains outweigh the risks.
Chaotic Evil: The CE person wants self gratification now. If s/he sees something s/he wants and is strong enough to take it, s/he will do so (Note that ‘strong’ is not used here to refer only – or even primarily – to physical strength. Use of superior wit or charm or anything else is also included). There is no point worrying about possible consequences, as they may or may not happen. The strong prey on the weak, and that’s just the way of the world. CE characters who go adventuring will usually do so on impulse and with the promise of easy loot.
End Note: The vast majority of people of all races have no means of identifying alignment, and only work on whether they like someone or not. A Merchant Prince may well be LE, but he may still be a good employer who deals fairly with his customers – both things that will undoubtably benefit him enormously in the long term. He may have a better general reputation than a LG Merchant Prince who is socially inept but secretly sets up a number of charitable foundations. Evil, like good, comes in many degrees, and is not always interested in ruling the world, or even a tiny part of it.
There is however one peculiar aberration common to people of all races: whatever they may do in pursuit of their goals, no sane person ever thinks of themselves as evil. Everyone, without exception, justifies what they do by reference to religion, social injustice or personal circumstance. They often maintain that everyone else would do the same things if they had the courage, the will, or the intelligence to do so. Sometimes they could not help themselves, had no choice or were simply obeying orders. Matters were taken out of their hands. It was a cry for help.