In certain games (most famously role-playing games, though TradeWars 2002 uses it as well), a representation of a character's ideology. Can be as simple as just "good" or "evil", but, at least in role-playing games, is usually more complex.

The alignment system in AD&D is relatively well-known; it has two axes (Law/Chaos and Good/Evil), yielding nine alignments:

In Nethack, alignment is a numerical measure of how lawful, neutral or chaotic you are. You cannot determine the exact value of your alignment unless you are in wizard mode, but you can tell what range it's in from a stethoscope or a wand or potion of enlightenment. For example, if you are "piously aligned", that means that your alignment is at least 20.

Generally you don't need to worry about alignment. It goes up as you kill hostile monsters, and if you are piously aligned, it makes no difference exactly how piously aligned you are. You need to be piously aligned in order to go on the quest, but this is only likely to be a problem for pacifists, who cannot kill monsters and must find another way to improve their alignment.

If your alignment is negative, you cannot safely pray, and you will convert yourself if you try to convert an altar. The in-game terms for negative alignment are that you are "insufficiently neutral" (or lawful or chaotic) and that you have "strayed", "sinned" or "transgressed" in order of increasing seriousness. The commonest cause of bad alignment is excessive killing of pets and peaceful creatures.

The following are the attitudes of those who roleplay the alignments in Dungeons & Dragons:
  • Lawful Good: A Lawful Good person believes in strict law and order for the greater good. They believe conformity and structure breeds good and such should be implemented everywhere. They often go out of their way to aid those in need, stop lawbreakers and usurp evil-doers. Ex. A paladin.

  • Neutral Good: A Neutral Good person is commited to good, but is commited to neither law nor chaos. A Neutral Good person judges the situation and acts accordingly; if law is favourable it shall be chosen, if chaos is favourable it shall be chosen. Neutral good people still endeavour to help others, but perhaps not as much as a lawful good person. Ex. A social worker

  • Chaotic Good: A Chaotic Good person believes strongly in creativity, personal freedom and change. They despise being ordered and dislike law and structure. They believe that chaos is for the greater good, and try to help others any way they can. Ex. An upstanding democrat

  • Lawful Neutral: While they prefer the company of good over evil, Lawful Neutral people are not commited to good nor evil for themselves. They do, however, believe that law is an important aspect in life, and prefer to live in structure and conformity to further their own agenda. While they will not intervene in most cases, they cannot tolerate lawlessness and as such despise thieves and criminals. Ex. Police

  • True Neutral: A Neutral person does not believe that law, chaos, good nor evil will further their agenda in any way, and as such they commit to neutrality itself rather than to any aspect. Some who do so are simply tired od the politics in law, chaos, good and evil, while others take a more philosophical approach to the alignment. Ex. A Philosopher

  • Chaotic Neutral: These people are completely free-willed, doing whatever they please. They do not commit to good nor evil, but strongly believe in personal freedom, and are often anti-law, despising law officers and structure. These people are basically out to get their own. Ex. A common thief

  • Lawful Evil: These people adhere by tradition and law but would much sooner walk over a weak pauper than give him any money or heed him any attention, and will kill law breakers, or people that get in their way, without a second thought. Not as dangerous as the other Evil alignments, however, as they are somewhat open to good acts. e.g. Might rescue a person from death should they have a 3 lb. diamond on a necklace. Ex. The Mafia.

  • Neutral Evil: This is a dangerous alignment, generally reserved for NPC's due to the fact they cannot work in a party easily (although I avidly enjoy playing the alignment for both the freedom of activity and the challenge of making it work in a party). These people will ignore laws, if it suits them, or use law if it is to their advantage. They kill freely if there is personal gain involved, but do not share the lust for murder that Chaotic Evil alignments have. Ex. A ruthless Criminal

  • Chaotic Evil: The most dangerous alignment, also generally reserved for NPC's (I really don't see how this alignment could work at all in a party, as the character would be too tempted to murder the party). These people just kill, and kill and kill some more. Then they'll go and spread a plague, curse a kingdom, then kill some more. Ex. A psychopathic murderer, or Demon.
The disturbing thing (from my liberal, British perspective) about the original D&D alignment system is that there were only three alignments (lawful, neutral and chaotic), and that Lawful alignment was understood to mean 'morally good' - or rather, that Lawful was defined the way you'd expect, and then stated to be morally good. This rattled me. I'd never encountered the idea of Law and Chaos as major issues before, and seeing the definitions didn't exactly make me believe the assertion about the moral value of the two extreme alignments.

In his book Role Playing Mastery, Gary Gygax asserts that AD&D's Lawful Good are the very best. This view is not consistently expressed in TSR or WotC publications, thankfully. It may be that the 'law=good' idea comes from growing up in a country where swearing an oath of allegiance to a flag is considered a good idea.

Take the Everything2 Alignment quiz!

Here's the rules:

  • Don't you dare node your results. I don't want to be responsible for a GTKY node. If you must share your results, /MSG me. Maybe I can turn my homenode into a list of noder's alignments.
  • If no answer is totally correct for you, pick the nearest analogue.
  • Don't insert information that isn't there. For example, for the family portion of the quiz, assume a typical family, even if yours is dysfunctional/abusive.
  • The author is not responsible for your actions, and does not neccesarily agree with the agenda of the quiz. If you go on a killing spree because you found out you are evil, don't blame me!
  • Scoring: Make 6 columns on a peice of paper, labeled A,B,C,D,E and F. After each possible answer, there will be a score. Add or subtract this number, as indicated, from the column. Results are given below.

The quiz!

Part 1:Family

Family leaders are expressing dissaproval of you to the family. do you:

  • Accept their criticism and change your ways:(D+2)
  • Seek compromise with the elders:(D+1)
  • Attack their reputation, and ignore their criticism:(F+1)
  • Silence the old idiots any way you can:(F+2)

Would you give up a promising career to aid the family when they need help?

  • Without hesitation:(D+2)
  • Yes, but with reluctance:(D+1)
  • Only if I could return to my career soon:(E+1)
  • No:(E+2)

Would you betray a family member to advance your career?

  • Without hesitation:(F+2)
  • Yes, if It could be done secretly(F+1)
  • I'd resist the temptation:(E+1)
  • The very idea is abhorent:(E+2)

Do you respect the leaders of your family?

  • Their words guide my actions:(A+2)
  • They are my role models:(A+1)
  • They are often out of touch with my life:(C+1)
  • They are out of touch with reality(C+2)

If your family set up an arranged marriage to someone you detest. do you:

  • Go through with it, proud to serve your family:(A+2)
  • Agree, Hiding your reluctance:(A+1)
  • Work against the union:(B+1)
  • Run away:(B+2)

You are estranged from another family member. He seeks reconciliation on his deathbed. Do you:

  • Speak to him, but hold your ground:(C+1)
  • Refuse to speak to him:(C+2)
  • Discuss your estrangement openly and without rancor:(B+1)
  • Actively seek reconciliation, and heed his dying words:(B+2)

Part 2:Friends

A powerful and corrupt judge offers you money if you will testify against a friend. Do you:

  • Take the money and condemn your friend:(F+2)
  • Take the money, Testify against your friend, but make your testimony useless:(F+1)
  • Do not take the money and do not testify:(D+1)
  • Do not take the money and testify on your friend's behalf, no matter the consequence:(D+2)

Do you become close to friends, or hold people at a distance?

  • I have many close friends:(D+2)
  • I have some close friends:(D+1)
  • I have few close friends:(E+1)
  • I keep people at a distance:(E+2)

Have you ever betrayed a friend?

  • Several times, and sometimes I get away with it:(F+2)
  • Yes, once(F+1)
  • I've been tempted, but no(E+1)
  • I'd never do such a thing(E+2)

How do you feel about lifelong commitment to a single lover?

  • I am waiting to find such a romance:(A+2)
  • Such romance would be ideal, if it is acheiveable:(A+1)
  • I worry I would miss out on what others have to offer:(C+1)
  • Tie yourself down to one person? Big mistake:(C+2)

Do you insist on repayment when lending money to friends?

  • Yes, and I write a contract to avoid any misunderstanding:(A+2)
  • Yes, but I will be flexible about repayment:(A+1)
  • No, but it is nice to be paid back:(B+1)
  • No, they just owe me a favor:(B+2)

Are you still in touch with childhood friends?

  • Yes, and we coorespond regularly:(B+2)
  • Yes, we try to keep in touch:(B+1)
  • No, I move around too much:(C+1)
  • No, I have nothing in common with them anymore:(C+2)

Part 3:community

Do you donate time and money to improve your community?

  • Yes, the needs of the community are my top priority:(D+2)
  • Yes, I donate what I can, when my needs are met:(D+1)
  • No, I have no time or money to spare:(E+1)
  • No, it is a waste of time:(E+2)

Your community is going to be invaded! Will you:

  • Defend it to your last breath:(D+2)
  • Man the barricades alongside everyone else:(D+1)
  • Flee when things look bad:(F+1)
  • Deal with the invaders, and spy for them:(F+2)

If you were hurt and needed help, would your community do so?

  • Yes, they know I would do the same for them:(E+2)
  • Yes, I am generally well liked:(E+1)
  • Probably not, since I am distrusted by the powers that be:(F+1)
  • Never. I have enemies here:(F+2)

Do you respect the authorities, and the law of the land?

  • Yes, without question:(A+2)
  • Yes. That is how our society operates:(A+1)
  • When it suits me; there are laws I do not approve of:(C+1)
  • I pay them no heed, they have no authority over me:(C+2)

Do members of your community shun, mock, or avoid you?

  • Yes. They are small minded and cant handle anyone outside the norm:(C+2)
  • Some do. I don't always fit in:(C+1)
  • No, I am generally seen as normal:(B+1)
  • No, I set the standard for what is normal in the community:(B+2)

Would you run for office, or otherwise seek to publically represent your community?

  • It would be an honor!:(A+2)
  • Of course, it is everyone's duty to do so:(A+1)
  • Only if no one else would do the job:(B+1)
  • No, I do not want that kind of responsibility:(B+2)

Part 4:The Nation

Your country is suffering from famine. Do you:

  • Share what food you have with others:(D+2)
  • Eat as little as you can, and share what you have left:(D+1)
  • Steal what food you need to survive:(F+1)
  • Steal what food you can, and sell it at inflated prices:(F+2)

If offered enough money, would you slip poision into the king's/president's drink?

  • Yes, and I've done similar things before:(F+2)
  • Yes, if I could get away with it(F+1)
  • No, though it would be tempting(E+1)
  • No, and I would warn the authorities of the plot:(E+2)

A plague is sweeping the nation. Do you:

  • Undertake a dangerous mission to find a cure:(D+2)
  • Heal the sick as best you can:(D+1)
  • Avoid contact with the ill:(E+1)
  • Run away:(E+2)

Do you respect the rulers of the nation?

  • Absolutely!(begin humming 'Hail to the Chief'/'god save the queen'):(A+2)
  • Yes, our rulers are generally fair and just:(A+1)
  • No, a ruler is no bettter than everyone else:(C+1)
  • No, rulers are inevetably corrupted by power:(C+2)

If you were offered a lucrative deal, would you spy on your nation for a hostile forign power?

  • Yes. My nation could stand to be knoked down a peg:(C+2)
  • Yes, my nation's secrets mean nothing to me:(C+1)
  • No, I might get caught(B+1)
  • No, I would never violate my nation's trust:(B+2)

Do you rely on the government to enforce contracts and property rights?

  • Yes, maintaining rule of law is more important than an individual dispute:(A+2)
  • Yes, the courts are best equipped to handle these disputes:(A+1)
  • Are you kidding me? the government can't even keep the roads paved(B+1)
  • Absolutely not. if I cannot defend it myself, I do not deserve to have it(B+2)

Part 5:crime and punishment

If imprisoned, unjustly or otherwise, would you injure or kill others to escape?

  • Yes. Serves 'em right for locking me up:(F+2)
  • Yes. They knew the risks when they took the job:(F+1)(
  • Maybe, if I only inflicted minor injuries(E+1)
  • No, the guards are only doing their jobs(E+2)

Do you accept an employer's right to treat his employees as he pleases?

  • Yes. They are lucky they arent't slaves:(E+2)
  • Yes, they need some fear to make them productive:(E+1)
  • No, People should treat each other as kindly as possible:(D+1)
  • No one has any right to treat others badly, period:(D+2)

You accidentally committed a crime. Do you:

  • Confess, and do your best to make restitution:(D+2)
  • Confess, and throw yourself on the mercy of the court:(D+1)
  • Hide any wrongdoing, lying if you have to:(F+1)
  • Pin the crime on another(F+2)

If you were guilty, would you confess to a crime?

  • Yes. It is my duty to do so:(A+2)
  • Yes. It could get me a light sentence:(A+1)
  • No. The magistrate/prosecutor must prove my guilt:(B+1)
  • No, and I would try to 'prove' my innocence:(B+2)

Would you express a political opinion if such expression was a crime?

  • Yes! I would rather be punished than remain silent! Revolution!:(C+2)
  • Yes, someone must speak the truth:(C+1)
  • No, but I might express it to close friends in private:(B+1)
  • No. Politics isn't worth fighting over:(B+2)

You are travelling on urgent business. You see an assault, and, being the only witness, you are called to testify. This will delay you. Do you:

  • Slip out of town late at night and get on your way:(C+2)
  • Deny seeing anything:(C+1)
  • Remain reluctantly, testify, and leave:(A+1)
  • Remain until the trial's conclusion, in case you are needed again:(A+2)

Part 6:Economics

What is the best use of wealth?

  • To help the less fortunate:(D+2)
  • To provide for friends and family:(D+1)
  • To stay on top of the heap:(F+1)
  • To stay on top of the heap, and keep others down:(F+2)

When you see beggars, do you:

  • Give generously:(D+2)
  • Give modestly:(D+1)
  • Give only what I wouldn't miss anyway:(E+1)
  • Ignore them(E+2)

You have discovered a way to forge money! Do you use it?

  • Yes! I buy as much as I can!(F+2)
  • Yes, but only in the ritzy shops(F+1)
  • No! its too risky!(E+1)
  • No, these people have families to feed(E+2)

you are given 2 job offers. A Dot com job has higher pay, but the government job is steadier and more secure. Which do you take?

  • The dot com; The government job sounds like drudgery:(B+2)
  • Probably the dot com, but I'd look at the government job:(B+1)
  • The government job, unless the dot com was rediculously lucrative:(A+1)
  • The government job; i plan for the long term:(A+2)

What is the best path to wealth?

  • It's a matter of luck, being in the right place at the right time:(C+2)
  • Staying flexible so you can take advantage of opportunities:(C+1)
  • Following a long term plan that incorporates a comfortable level of risk:(A+1)
  • Hard work and perseverance:(A+2)

If you accepted a contract for a job, and it suddenly got much more dangerous than when you accepted, would you complete it?

  • Yes. My word is my bond:(B+2)
  • Yes, it is good to have a reputation for dependability:(B+1)
  • You can bet I would renegotiate:(C+1)
  • If it is no longer a good deal, the deal is off(C+2)

Add your scores in all columns. If you haven't guessed already, A, B and C are where you stand on the scale of law and chaos: if A is largest, you are lawful; if C is largest, you are chaotic; if B is largest, or there is a tie, you are ambivalent, wavering, or neutral between law and chaos. D, E and F are good, neutrality and evil, respectively. If D is bigger, you are good; if E is bigger, you are ambivalent, wavering, or neutral as far as good and evil are concerned: I shudder to think if F is your strong suit. Combine them to get your complete alignment: Lawful good, Neutral good, chaotic good, lawful neutral, true neutral, chaotic neutral, lawful evil, neutral evil, chaotic evil.

Again, do not post your results here. If you must talk about your alignment, /msg me.

Automobile Alignment consists of adjusting the camber, caster, and toe to ensure that your car will handle properly and consistently. Alignment is also changed for racing purposes, and is the largest component of suspension tuning, the others being adjustment of ride height, spring rate, and damping. One typically does a "front-end alignment" only. You could also adjust the rear alignment as part of the process, but most stock cars have only a camber adjustment in the rear, if that.

Alignment is usually fairly straightforward, with the caveat that on some vehicles, some aspects of the alignment cannot be modified via simple methods. For more on modifying camber, caster, and toe, see their nodes.

Alignment is carried out with the aid of an alignment gauge. This simple device is essentially identical to a level used for construction. It has a curved ampule of liquid (typically colored water) with a bubble of air inside of it. The ampule is graduated with markings for degrees off true. It will also have at least one indicator to ensure that you can level the gauge itself. The gauge is attached to the hub of the car's wheel, or to the wheel itself, and alignment progresses. One first adjusts the caster, then the camber, and finally the toe.

Camber affects traction more than the other two characteristics. Especially in vehicles with body roll, the fact that the outside of the tire normally sits higher means that when you roll onto the tire you will gain traction rather than losing it. If camber is uneven the vehicle will pull toward the side with more positive camber and there will be uneven tire wear across the tread, although the tire wear corresponds roughly with an increase in tire pressure. Heavy steering response and a tendency of the wheels to hop over bumps are signs of too much positive caster, and light steering which tends to wander are clues of too much negative caster. Caster also causes the wheels to gain negative camber during body roll. Finally, toe-in keeps you going straight; the two wheels pointing at one another mean that slight changes in steering wheel position do not change the overall direction in which the car is being pushed (or pulled, if it's front wheel drive.) Excessive toe causes significant inner tire wear. The front wheels are always toed in (1/8 inch difference or so in the front for the average auto) but the rear wheels are sometimes toed out in the back in some types of auto racing in order to make the vehicle turn more easily.

The notion that a computer memory location has an address which is a multiple of some value.

This notion is used in a variety of ways:

  • the "aligned" form is used to refer to a location which has a particular "alignment".

  • "n-byte alignment" refers to the notion of placing memory locations at addresses which are multiples of n. For example, a "4-byte aligned" location has an address which is a multiple of 4.

  • data type alignment" refers to the notion of placing memory locations at addresses which are multiples of the size of data type entities.
Some examples are probably in order:
  • "4-byte aligned" refers to a memory location which has an address which is a multiple of 4.
  • "word aligned" refers to a memory location which has an address which is a multiple of the size of a "word" (note that the size of a "word" varies from architecture to architecture).
  • "integer aligned" which refers to a memory location which has an address which is a multiple of the size of an "integer" (again, the size of an "integer" varies from architecture to architecture).
Data types which are often used in "data type aligned" or "data type alignment" are (in alphabetical order):
  • byte
  • double precision - a floating point entity which is the size of a C programming language "double" (usually but not always 8 bytes long)
  • double word - double the size of a "word"
  • full word - synonym for "word" when clarity is important
  • half word - half the size of a "word"
  • int - refers to the C "int" data type
  • integer - a synonym for "int"
  • long - refer's to the C "long" data type
  • page - refers to a virtual memory page (usually 4K these days but other powers of two like 512, 1024, 2048 and 8192 are not unheard of)
  • quad - a synonym for "quad precision"
  • quad precision - a floating point entity which is the size of a C "long double" (usually but not always 16 bytes long)
  • short - refers to the C "short" datatype
  • single precision - a floating point entity which is the size of a C "float" (usually but not always 4 bytes long)
  • word - the 'natural' word size on the machine (typically the size of an "int")
The above list uses C data types to avoid having to define terms like "int" in architecture-neutral ways.

This writeup makes a critical and subtle assumption - that we're dealing with machine architectures that have byte-addressable memory which means that each byte has a unique address. Some machines are word-addressable which means that each word has a unique address and the way to get at a byte is to fetch the word and then use a combination of shift and mask operations to extract the byte from the word (word-addressable machines are pretty rare these days).

If I recall correctly, the old Cray vector-style supercomputers were word-addressable and not byte-addressable.

To follow on from dabcanboulet's excellent writeup on computer memory boundary alignment, I feel there are a couple of points that need clarifying:

Data type of an object may determine its alignment

This depends on the instruction set and underlying implementation of data types in the compiler. For example, a long may need to be long aligned, but a short only needs to be short aligned, on the same machine. There also might need to be special requirements for arrays of objects, especially the Pascal concept of packed arrays.

Why is alignment important?

Alignment is high on the list of potential issues when it comes to programming language portability. Different machine architectures have different alignments, often related to the byte addressing scheme of the hardware.

Consider the following C structure:

struct foo {
    char blah;
    short bar;
    long quux;

If we have a struct foo at address 0x00054168, then on a byte aligned machine, such as the VAX, this is represented as 7 bytes long, with .bar at 0x00054169 and .quux at 0x0005416b.

Whereas, on a machine where shorts are aligned to shorts, and longs to longs, the structure is 8 bytes long, .bar is at 0x0005416a and .quux at 0x0005416c.

Consider an RPC transport, sending a struct foo between these machines, or a database storing it as a blob. The two machines will not be able to read correctly each other's structures.

Unaligned data does have a speed penalty, as it takes more instructions and CPU cycles to use the unaligned form. This is because the memory access takes place using the full width of the bus (32 bits or 64 bits), and this operation is by its very nature aligned to this size, owing to the way that memory works. If an unaligned data item spans more than one bus-sized memory location, this will require two fetch or store operations.

In some cases, the machine architecture can offer a choice of different alignment schemes. For example, the DEC Alpha natively has instructions that work on aligned data types, but can also work on byte aligned (unaligned) data for compatibility with the VAX. This was very important for the porting of VMS to the Alpha platform, as many of VMS's internal data structures and control blocks contain unaligned data. The DECC compiler has a pragma to control this.

#pragma  nomember_alignment

struct foo {
    char blah;
    short bar;
    long quux;

#pragma  member_alignment

is how you would code a struct foo to behave like a VAX.

The problems of alignment can be exacerbated by bad programming practices which rely on structures being implemented in particular ways.

To write portable C code, you must stick to the rules - breaking which C may let you get away with on a particular platform. Many other programming languages do not allow you to take any liberties in the first place.

The notion of alignment in RPG's and Fantasy fiction seems to refer back to the works of Michael Moorcock, particularly his Elric stories. The elric stories date back to the 70's, and were very well known at the time. The real evidence that they influenced Gygax comes from the fact that in the Elric stories the Lords of Chaos happened to be evil, although the good could serve them, such as Elric (The Man-of-Sorrows moral ambiguity of this character is for another node), or Rackhir the Red Archer. All the characters of any worth had explicit alignments, usually with an explanation for that alignment, usually to do with group affiliation of some sort.

Lest anyone think that Moorcock is entirely to blame for being a running-dog lackey of authoritarianism, note that he plays with the concepts of alignment throughout his huge body of work, so in his Blood trilogy, the Devil is the head of the Lords of Law.

This worked all very well in Elric, and in Moorcock's writing generally, as it served as a metaphor for extremism, and a backdrop for good, escapist dramatic conflict. Also, as characters had alignments for a reason, they didn't work as pure stereotypes: could be a source of angst and drama in characters' lives. In D&D, etc. it just seemed to me to suck. It didn't add anything. It just seemed to encourage gaming-by-numbers, as players could just do something "chaotic" or "anal""lawful" to give themselves a sense of roleplaying.

This is why new language features should not be included in production languages.

While the system of alignment in Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is outlined and discussed in both the Player’s Handbook (PHB) and the Dungeon Masters Guide (DMG), I’ve found that new players and veterans alike occasionally have a hard time fully understanding the intricacies of the system. I will discuss each point on the axis and each combination individually. I’ll do my best to provide complete information, however, I still suggest you take a peak at the descriptions in either the PHB or DMG. Keep in mind while reading these descriptions of alignment that they refer only to the tendencies of the character. A normally good person may, for example, accidentally steal a pack of gum but not return and pay for it when they realize it.

Lawful: A character of this alignment follows the laws of their society by default. Two important points should be made about my first statement. First, they follow the laws of their society, and thus are not always acting in what would be considered a lawful manner. For example, Shirley is a Lawful aligned American that travels to Iran and wears shorts. She is considered to be acting unlawfully to the society she is currently in, but remains true to her societies laws and morés. Secondly, Lawful refers to the social beliefs and morés of a society just as much as it does to actual law. Most people are Lawful.

Neutral (law-chaos axis): A character of this alignment has a balance between lawful and chaotic behavior and opinions. They probably think approximately half of the laws and moirés in their society are wrong and do not follow them. For example, they don’t think marijuana should be illegal (chaotic), but they think you should have to be 18 to smoke cigarettes (lawful). Neutral is the exception to the rule of alignment indicating tendencies, not a rigid box that you can’t leave. While your actions don’t have to balance perfectly between law and chaos, it should be pretty close. The degree of freedom one gets from a Neutral alignment actually tends to impose more rigid behavior. Many players will keep a running tally of lawful and chaotic acts and will make decisions to keep them in balance.

Chaotic: A character of this alignment doesn’t agree with a majority of their societies laws and morés. This does not mean though that they are always breaking the law. For example a man believes you should be able to drink alcohol at the age of 16, however, he didn’t drink at the age of 16 and he does not permit is 16-year-old son to drink. An important distinction to make here is the difference between laws and morés, and morals.

Good: A character of this alignment generally acts in a manner that is considered morally upstanding. There is a difference between social beliefs and morés, and morals. For example, moirés in American state that homeless are to be ignored and are not important. However, murdering a homeless man is still morally repugnant (at least to most people). Most people are good.

Neutral (good-evil axis): A character of this alignment has a balance between good and evil actions and opinions. Approximately half of their actions are morally good and half are evil. For example, Randy saves a child from the middle of a raging river (good), and then sells the kid crack (evil). Neutral is the exception to the rule of alignment indicating tendencies, not a rigid box one can’t escape. While the balance between good and evil doesn’t have to be perfect to remain Neutral, it should be pretty close. The degree of freedom one gets from a Neutral alignment often ends up being more rigid than the ends of the spectrum. Many players will keep a running tally of their good and evil acts. They use this to influence the decisions they make in an attempt to remain balanced.

Evil: A character of this alignment goes against what most people would consider morally correct. I’d like to note again here that alignment are tendencies, and thus to be Evil a majority of a characters actions and opinions must go against common morals. For example Fiona routinely robs her local supermarket, however, she is in all other actions and beliefs good. Thus, Fiona is not Evil. Fred, enjoys torturing girl scouts, injection babies with Meth, robbing the elderly, and spying on women in the dressing room, however, Fred thinks murder is sickening and would never commit one. Fred is still Evil.

Lawful Good (LG): Characters of this alignment are generally altruistic; doing what’s right (and lawful) for the greater good of people. They fight for good, but only in ways that the law allows. Superman is Lawful Good.

Lawful Neutral (LN): Characters of this alignment are normally the most adherent to their laws. While lawful good characters will occasionally do unlawful things in pursuit of justice, lawful neutral characters tend to place greater importance on the law then morals. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is Lawful Neutral.

Lawful Evil (LE): Characters of this alignment commit evil acts through structure and the law. For example, a police chief hates gay people so he uses his influence to have anti-gay legislation passed and has his officers target them for random stops and searches. Hitler is Lawful Evil.

Neutral Good (NG): Characters of this alignment are concerned with helping people and serving the greater good by any means necessary. They volunteer at soup kitchens and break into labs that test on animals and release them. Gandhi is Neutral Good.

True Neutral (NN): Characters of this alignment are mostly concerned with the balance of life. They tend to not view evil as bad, or good as good, they are merely diametrically opposed decisions. Nor do they view law or chaos as being superior to the other. This is arguably the most difficult alignment to play since it is difficult to justify actions that have a profound impact of the scales of life, such as adventuring. While it can be done, it’s not for the faint of heart. No one (that I can think of) is True Neutral, it goes against our nature.

Neutral Evil (NE): Characters of this alignment are most concerned with carrying out their evil deeds, not how it’s done. They will use both lawful and unlawful means to achieve their goals. If they want a rival farmer to sell his farm to him, he’ll sue him just to exhaust the rival’s funds so he can’t afford his farm and kidnap his wife to intimidate the rival. The Mafia is Neutral Evil.

Chaotic Good (CG): Characters of this alignment want to help people but believe the laws are unjust or prevent them from acting in peoples best interest. They are often found in Lawful Evil run societies. Malcolm Reynolds is Chaotic Good.

Chaotic Neutral (CN): Characters of this alignment are mostly concerned with their own interests. It doesn’t matter if it’s good or evil, lawful or not chaotic as long as they come out ahead. Capt. Jack Sparrow is Chaotic Neutral.

Chaotic Evil (CE): Characters of this alignment are mostly concerned with their impulses. They are the sociopaths of the world; committing evil acts without reason or provocation. Buffalo Bill is Chaotic Evil.

A*lign"ment (#), n. [F. alignement.]


The act of adjusting to a line; arrangement in a line or lines; the state of being so adjusted; a formation in a straight line; also, the line of adjustment; esp., an imaginary line to regulate the formation of troops or of a squadron.

2. Engin.

The ground-plan of a railway or other road, in distinction from the grades or profile.


© Webster 1913.

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