Created By: fishsiclesNovember 24, 2009
Nuked

Selfish Good Selfish Evil

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Trope
Some characters are righteous and upstanding human beings who always look out for others. Others are so insane that their very existence distorts the universe around them. And still others just want to watch the world burn. But, there are those select few who don't think that being a moral crusader or a schizophrenic elf who wears potato sacks are good ideas. They only burn the world if it helps them achieve some ulterior objective.

A Selfish Good character appears just as self-righteous and moral as a Lawful Good, Neutral Good, or Chaotic Good character. But their reasons are different: They are one of the good guys, or maybe even The Hero, because of the reputation and prestige it gives them. If everyone thinks you're the infallible hero (or at least one of his friends), will they ever suspect that YOU are the one who plundered all of their worldly possessions? Of course not. This alignment is more closely related to Lawful Neutral than anything Good-based, and with a few Face Heel Turns a Lawful Evil version can be pulled off as well.

Contrast the Knight Templar, where the character does not know that what they are doing is not necessarily 'good'.

A Lawful Selfish character abides by society's rules and regulations, often rising to a position of power, but does so in order to accumulate enough power to make himself the supreme ruler of everything. Can be The Chessmaster.

A Neutral Selfish character has no friends and no enemies. After all, a friend is someone who asks for a discount and an enemy is someone you aren't paid to fight. They're generally Private Military Contractors or plain old Hired Guns, frequently overlapping with Heroic Sociopath.

A Chaotic Selfish character is the one who seems to be totally unpredictable, maybe even insane, but in the end there is a method to his madness. He helps and hinders the protagonists and the villains to help his own agenda, and doesn't even bother with the Face Heel Revolving Door: he just sits on top and leans a bit to either side. Most non-evil Chessmasters and Magnificent Bastards are of this alignment.

A Selfish Evil character may well say "in the land of the blinded, the one-eyed man is king". They push everyone around them, possibly the whole world, down just to lift themselves up.

This overlaps with Mr Vice Guy, especially in the non-Evil cases. Its All About Me and Pragmatic Villainy can apply to Selfish Evil. The Ubermensch can run the spectrum of Selfish alignments depending on the position of the Sliding Scale Of Idealism Vs Cynicism.

Selfish Good

  • Robert Hawkins from Jericho. He's partially responsible for the nuclear weapons, but despite his manipulations he is only trying to rise in the community for his family's sake. Could also be Lawful Selfish.
  • Simon Tam from Firefly is a twist on this subtrope: He's not acting for his own interest, but to protect River. Although, she doesn't really need that much protection... at least not from Reavers!
    • Most of Firefly's characters except Jayne (see below) and maybe Book.
  • Good Cole from In FAMOUS. It's implied that the only reason he's good is so that the entire city isn't trying to kill him.
  • Link of The Legend Of Zelda is frequently played as Selfish Good with a chaotic bent.
  • Ciaphas Cain switches between this and Lawful Selfish.
  • Captain Amazing of Mystery Men is responsible for Casanova Frankenstein's release to keep his backers happy, despite being the city's only Big Good.

Lawful Selfish

Neutral Selfish:

  • Lyranna from Beastmaster II might count
    Jackie: "Aren't you on Arklon's side?"
    Lyranna: "I'm on my own side"

Neutral Selfish

  • Firefly's Jayne Cobb, most assuredly.
  • The player in Fable... only NS because there's no accurate prediction of player behavior. Can be many Selfishs.

Chaotic Selfish

Selfish Evil

Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • October 20, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Asuka Langley Soryu from Neon Genesis Evangelion is probably a good example of lawful selfish- she's extremely concerned with self-aggrandizement, and does so through following the rules and exceeding expectations. More concerned with doing well to make herself out to be the perfect pilot rather than doing well for the betterment of mankind.
  • October 20, 2009
    Raw Power
    Bump
  • October 20, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    A subtrope of Mr Vice Guy.
  • October 20, 2009
    South Glider
    Selfish Good, Robert Hawkins of Jericho seems shifty, and was partially responsible for nuclear attacks and though he is manipulative he is really trying to establish himself in the community for the safety of his family.
  • October 20, 2009
    jason taylor
    Jayne Cobb is selfish neutral.

    Smeagol is chaotic selfish.
  • November 23, 2009
    fishsicles
    Rolling Updates are now in effect, once per day. I expect to launch in 48 hours.
  • November 23, 2009
    Earnest
    See also Pragmatic Villainy, Its All About Me, and certain glossy interpretations of an Ubermensch.

  • November 23, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Somewhat related: It's implied that "Good" Cole in In FAMOUS is only good so he doesn't have the whole city trying to kill him.
  • November 23, 2009
    jason taylor
    Actually aren't all of the Fireflys Selfish Good except for Jayne(who isn't Good) and Book(who is nobly Walking The Earth) ? They are all there for their own purposes.
  • November 23, 2009
    jason taylor
    As a side note River may have needed more protection then it seems. I think the taking a level toward the end might be best justified by a change in condition. In any case she was to erratic and needed an amygdela built for two to protect her from herself.
  • November 23, 2009
    Edgukator
    Would selfish good cover Captain Amazing from Mystery Men? He is the ultimate good guy in the city, but arranges for the release of Casanova Frankenstein to keep his sponsors happy.

  • November 24, 2009
    onFyre
    Depending on how you play the game, Link from The Legend Of Zelda can be Selfish Good, and the player in{{ Fable}} will probably be one or more.
  • November 24, 2009
    Frodo Goofball CoTV

    Lawful Selfish

    Neutral Selfish:

    • Lyranna from Beastmaster II might count
      Jackie: "Aren't you on Arklon's side?"
      Lyranna: "I'm on my own side"

    Chaotic Selfish

  • November 24, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    I'm assuming Wario from Wario Ware and Wario Land might somewhat come under one of these, his motives are entirely self gain either way (aka, monetary greed).
  • November 24, 2009
    Roland
    I think Good Cole is a genuinely decent guy,

    As for examples:

    Ciaphas Cain wavers between Selfish Good and Selfish Neutral. A genuinely decent guy (despite what he'll tell you to the contrary), he nonetheless is usually trying to save his own skin before any altruistic sacrifices.
  • November 24, 2009
    Bisected8
    With the Order Of The Stick example, Belkar's had Character Development or more accuratly realised how useful it would be to fake it) and become more Selfish Good to take advantage of what being good brings.

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