|Lawful Good||Neutral Good||Chaotic Good|
|Lawful Neutral||True Neutral||Chaotic Neutral|
|Lawful Evil||Neutral Evil||Chaotic Evil|
(This text was written specificaly for D&D, and may thus need alterations.)
Good vs. Evil
Good implies altruism, respect for life, and a concern for the dignity of sentient beings. Good characters make personal sacrifices to for a greater good than their personal convenience.
Evil implies a concern for one's own ambitions or desires without concern its consequences for others, or an intentional effort to cause pain and suffering for others. Some evil creatures simply have no compassion for others and kill without qualms if doing so is necessary or convenient to their goals. Others are actively malicious, killing for sport or out of duty to some evil deity or master.
Characters who are neutral with respect to good and evil have compunctions against killing the innocent but lack the commitment to make sacrifices to protect or help others. Neutral characters are generally committed to others by personal relationships rather than by a general sense of moral obligation.
Being good or evil can be a conscious choice. For most people, though, being good or evil is an attitude that one recognizes but does not choose. Being neutral on the good/evil axis usually represents a lack of commitment one way or the other, but for some (particularly druids) it represents a positive commitment to a balanced view. While acknowledging that good and evil are objective states, not just opinions, these people maintain that a balance between the two is the proper place — if not for all people, then at least for themselves.
Animals and non-sentient creatures are neither good nor evil. Even man-eating carnivores and animals trained to kill are neutral because they lack the capacity to distinguish between morally right or wrong behaviour.
Law vs. Chaos
Law implies self-discipline, obedience to authority, and a favour of logic and reasoning over emotions. On the downside, lawfulness can include closed-mindedness, reactionary adherence to tradition, judgmentality, and a lack of adaptability. Those who consciously promote lawfulness say that only lawful behavior creates a society in which people can depend on each other and make the right decisions in full confidence that others will act as they should.
Chaos implies personal freedom, self-reliance, and impulsiveness. On the downside, chaos can include recklessness, resentment toward legitimate authority, and arbitrary actions,. Those who promote chaotic behavior say that only unfettered personal freedom allows people to express themselves fully and lets society benefit from the potential that its individuals have within them.
A person who is neutral with respect to law and chaos has a normal respect for authority and is neither driven by emotions nor a strict code of conduct.
Devotion to law or chaos may be a conscious choice, but more often it is a personality trait that is recognized rather than being chosen. Neutrality on the law/chaos axis is usually simply a middle state, a state of not feeling compelled toward one side or the other. Some few such neutrals, however, espouse neutrality as superior to law or chaos, regarding law and chaos each as an extreme with its own blind spots and drawbacks.
Animals and other creatures incapable of ethical action are neutral. Dogs may be obedient and cats free-spirited, but they do not have the ethical capacity to be truly lawful or chaotic.
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