Main Character Alignment Discussion

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06:59:06 PM Mar 30th 2015
Shouldn't this page be locked?
10:45:09 PM Mar 30th 2015
08:18:14 PM Mar 31st 2015
edited by Andyxdr
Well, it seems as though this page is highly controversial and well even adding fictional examples would involve the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgement.
01:56:09 AM Apr 1st 2015
Huh. Until it actually starts making problems, no locks will ensue, I think.
09:52:23 AM Apr 5th 2015
Alright never mind.
03:02:23 PM Jul 22nd 2013
Why are all the Character Alignment tropes subjective?
07:42:45 PM Nov 6th 2012
Just how controversial are Character Alignment tropes for Real Life examples and why?
02:53:44 PM May 15th 2012
edited by MagBas
Question: put non-canonical alignments in characters with a different canonical alignment is okay in the nine "individual interpretation of the alignment" pages? If the answer is "no", some examples must be deleted.
10:24:39 AM Nov 9th 2011
edited by doomsday524
You know, if you've spent any time with people in real estate, it's not an "evil" or even morally ambiguous action to kick a family out of their house for failing to pay their rent. It's part of the agreement to renting a house, and if they don't abide by that, they'd be the ones in the wrong for trying to mooch off of you like that and not holding up their part of the agreement. Showing them you aren't about to coddle them for freeloading off of you and there are consequences to not abiding by a contract they agreed to does not make you "heartless" or not a good person, any realistic person would do the same. It's not on subject, but I've noticed that's considered something morally ambiguous in the examples part of this page when it's just what you do if you're not an Extreme Doormat.
11:12:17 PM May 18th 2013
Spoken like a true Lawful Neutral. The Chaotic reply is that plenty of circumstances could justify allowing them to stay, and being kind is not the same as being an Extreme Doormat.
03:12:25 AM Jul 8th 2011
edited by VVK
Notwithstanding the debate above, and how it should be concluded, I think the below should not be on the page (and I removed it):

Always remember that the vast majority of characters in fiction are not tabletop game characters, and therefore lack a clearly-defined alignment by any of the standards below. Do not attempt to shoehorn characters into these alignments; characters should only be categorized under them when their alignments are clearly and explicitly stated in canon.

I'm fine with alignment being YMMV; however, this contradicts even that. It contradicts the statement on individual alignment articles that examples can go in the YMMV tab, because this is telling people not to do even that. Also, it's false. Just because a work is not written with certain criteria in mind doesn't mean something in it can't match those criteria unintentionally. Othwerwise we would have no tropes at all except when used intentionally.

Additionally, this bit of text implies indirectly that works that do use the alignment system have characters that have a clearly defined alignment by these criteria. This is unlikely to be the case. They may have clearly stated alignments, but that does mean they fit the criteria perfectly.

Of course, if you take the page The Great Character Alignment Debate too literally, you can't even use character alignments on YMMV pages (and maybe even the alignment pages), but since it is stated otherwise elsewhere, I don't think that's how it's meant.

Actually maybe it should just be changed. I'm going to do that, and I hope this works.
03:20:44 AM Jul 8th 2011
edited by VVK
Now it says:

Always remember that the vast majority of characters in fiction are not tabletop game characters, and therefore lack a canonical interpretation of alignment by the standards below. Characters should only be categorized under them when their alignments are clearly and explicitly stated in canon. As both the standards and especially character personalities are vague and complicated to interpret and lead to endless debate, the assignment of alignments to characters not stated to have them is considered strictly YMMV.

Perhaps someone will take issue with this, and it may not be the best wording, but for the reasons stated above, I maintain strongly that the old text was false and somewhat inconsistent with what was permitted elsewhere.
05:21:58 PM Jul 1st 2011
Why aren't there more parodied alignment examples?
05:16:25 PM Jun 28th 2012
08:25:13 AM Nov 7th 2012
Those aren't what I meant by "pardoy alignment".
09:54:44 AM Jan 14th 2011
I have some (hopefully reasonable) objections with the rule that unless Character Alignment is an element in universe, it should not be mentioned on the character pages.

This seems foolish, and here are my reasons why:

1. Character Alignment terms like Lawful Good and Neutral Evil are a generalization of the position of a character's moral compass, and having them listed would give a general picture of a character's general moral standards, which would be IMMENSELY helpful to people not used to the characters to get an idea whether they are Good/Neutral/Evil and whether they prefer Law/Neutrality/Chaos.

Not listing such a thing seems foolish because despite simplicity of the terms, they do a fairly good job describing a character's moral code in simple terms.

2. Character Alignment should NOT be a YMMV unless the character's alignment is so ambiguous IN UNIVERSE it cannot be accurately determined. For the most part, if the general scope of a character's actions follow a general moral pattern, then it can be listed with a reasonable amount of certainty with no serious need for debate (Ichigo from Bleach is a fairly uncontested Chaotic Good according to every Bleach fan I've ever talked to, and his actions in story reflect this alignment fairly explicitly both in and out of universe).

As for someone like Lelouch from Code Geass, this would be hard to classify, so the general term Broken Base currently used would be and is a wise choice since his core morality is so hotly contested in the fandom and even in universe.

3. Honestly, I want to know why it was decided that Character Alignment should not be used on character pages unless they are referenced in universe. While I can see a certain logic to such an idea, I personally feel said logic falls apart anytime the character in question has their morality brought up at any point, even in an indirect context, and sometimes, the general line of their actions is so explicit in its portrayal of a certain code of morality it seems ridiculous NOT to put down one of the CA terms on a character page for newcomers to a series who may have seen the scene(s) that depict the character out of context as an aid to better understand what said character's general morality is.

In short, I feel this policy needs to be reexamined and revised, as the current policy does not seem all that sensible.

If someone could convince me I am wrong, I would be willing to hear them out, but otherwise, I believe the current policy needs some revision.
10:45:40 AM Jan 15th 2011
It might accurately describe a moral code of the character but people have a very different definition of what constitute Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic and whilst I have no problem with the idea of Character alignment in and itself, in practice, if the author actually is very good at making complex characters using alignments, you should not be able to just simply be able to describe two different characters with the term(let's say) Chaotic Evil alone and thinking otherwise does not really make sense or in some cases even accurately.

Okay if someone said so and so was Chaotic Evil, what does that tell you about them?
11:59:15 AM Jan 15th 2011
edited by Rpgingmaster
Well, Chaotic Evil would be an evil with no particular ethos other than doing evil for (A) the hell of it (B) fun (C) because it opposes law, good, or both (D) a combination of A, B and C.

In short, it would probably be best to list two characters who are Chaotic Evil in different ways like this:

Character A Profile:

  • Chaotic Evil (Because he loves to be violent and cares nothing for the law that says he shouldn't in certain cases because its wrong)

Character B Profile:

  • Chaotic Evil (She finds pleasure in causing others pain, and she doesn't care in what manner she gets that pleasure as long as she gets to cause pain, morals or rules to the contrary be damned)

In essence, adding notes to the description like I displayed above should narrow down the ambiguity of the generic morality descriptor, and the other tropes in the profile can further round out the description of the character portrayal.
12:15:39 PM Jan 15th 2011
edited by KSonik
Except being chaotic Evil doesn't mean that you are a sadist. A Chaotic Evil character for example could be the egotistical, smug, arrogant narcisstic fighter that does as he wishes, being Evil because of petty reason(not sadism).

It could be the charming, suave, friendly and polite conman that doesn't care about law, order or other people feelings and will betray other people's trust in an nonviolent manner.

It could be the Villain who thinks he is a freedom fighting Chaotic Good character but actually is the main cause of suffering.

It could be the individualistic cynical mugger that genuinely believes that what they are doing is necessary for thei children's survival, despite contrary evidence.

All of these would be Chaotic Evil and yet all of theses does evil for oother than for the sake of doing evil or in opposition to Law and Goodness.

Actually, a better question would be, why should we use Character Alignment in a context that doesn't actually canonically use it? Is there any ppurpose other than amusement?
12:54:06 PM Jan 15th 2011
edited by Rpgingmaster
Actually, I would figure putting a Character Alignment in a character profile would just be information about them, much like putting Boisterous Bruiser or Genius Ditz would be a descriptor.

In fact, I must emphasize that you don't see trope terms blatantly spelled out in most works, but since we tropers use them to describe characters in a said works anyway, so why is it Character Alignment terms are the odd man out?

Yes, they ORIGINATED from Dungeons and Dragons, but they are at their base a generic descriptor for a certain shade of morality, which would be useful information in explaining some of their motivations as a character, so putting one (or more) Character Alignment terms in a description with added clarification tacked on if need be would give whoever reads the character profile a general overview of a character's moral compass, and the other tropes like Boisterous Bruiser or Knight Templar would emphasize in what respect said morality is applied.

Without the morality descriptor, describing a character as a Knight Templar doesn't explain if they are one for a good or evil cause. With a moral descriptor, we know the moral focus of their Knight Templar behavior, even if the reader of the description has never seen the work, so it can be a useful primer for what the character of a work stands for a newcomer to whatever fandom they are from.

P.S.- Good point on the Chaotic Evil response above, but if the character fancies themself a morality and the story and in universe characters reveal said morality is otherwise, a good clarification would go like so:

  • Chaotic Evil (He fancies himself a Chaotic Good freedom fighter against an evil empire, but his methods are so sadistic that even his allies feel he's a bloodthirsty monster compared to the ones they fight, and he also makes little secret of the fact that he is mostly fighting for the rebel cause because he wants an excuse to kill people)
01:29:41 PM Jan 15th 2011
edited by Rpgingmaster
Yes except he would be the Chaotic counterpart to Knight Templars

To K Sonik - Just fixed a minor typo in your original post.
08:42:21 AM Apr 28th 2011
03:36:00 AM Jul 8th 2011
I think one reason why character alignment is different enough from other tropes to be YMMV (if it is) is that most tropes are binary: something is an example or it isn't. (Of course it's not simple and strict like that, but that's not the point.) But character alignment is nine-pronged: You're either this, or that, or this... and none of the others. A character or other thing could be both of two tropes, even if they're very different from each other, with very few tropes being completely mutually exclusive. And, really, by the same logic, a character could be an example of more than one different character alignment if they acted like typical tropes. But they don't. They're supposed to be an overall, mutually exclusive classification. And that's the trouble.

This all said, I still had an issue with something related to this on the page; see the other discussion I started below.
11:20:03 PM Jul 17th 2011
As a guideline, Character Alignment is about majority actions. What does X character do most of the time? With Knight Templar example above, you could generally place such a character as Lawful Neutral or Lawful Evil based on his actions.

Also remember that the Law vs Chaos spectrum isn't purely about breaking or obeying laws. Its also a conflict of status quo (order) vs change (chaos). While good vs evil is morality, law vs chaos can also be assertained by looking at a character's personality traits. Certain personality tropes tend to be traits that are inherently associated with a lawful or chaotic character (though not always the case, it is common). Lawful characters are very structured, methodical, organized, etc. Examples: A blue oni of a Red Oni, Blue Oni dual, the Super Ego. (think white from Magic) Chaotic characters tend to be impulsive, act on a whim. (Think Red from Magic the Gathering). Examples: The red oni and the id. A Neutral character in this respect doesn't care either way about obeying/disobeying laws or about status quo vs change. What path he does in this respect is purely determined by what will better help them with their mission whether for good, evil, or simply survival.

YMMV seems to be the best place for this. I would also like to make the note that actual arguments about alignment in certain fandoms (to my knowledge the Sonic, Mega Man Zero, and Disgaea fandoms) on this site were actually very rare in part because placement was done by those with a deep understanding of the system. Much like Ichigo above, Sonic and Zero being Chaotic Good is a point that's pretty much uncontested within their respective fandoms.
07:26:46 PM Dec 26th 2010
I don't really get when we're allowed to put in Character Alignment on a page. Obviously, if it's not explicitly mentioned in-universe (for example, a work not set in the D&D universe), it doesn't go on the main page, but is it allowed on YMMV?
02:40:31 PM Dec 29th 2010
You might be able to put it in the YMMV page.
07:57:58 AM Dec 30th 2010
Yes, the YMMV pages seem to be where they go.
03:57:20 PM Mar 22nd 2011
Update: The Great Character Alignment Debate says they don't go on YMMV.

02:03:40 PM Oct 28th 2010
edited by KSonik
Removed the following

"Also, Chaotic Neutrals can, in fact, have some degree of care for morality however they are more flexible in their moral algorithms, willing to risk more to accomplish whatever they believe is 'right' - under this interpretation, V from V for Vendetta is Chaotic Neutral."

Not really. First of all, Chaotic Neutrals don't care about helping strangers even if it serves no self-interest because that would be Chaotic Good. Second of all, What do you mean by "willing to risk more to accomplish whatever they believe is 'right"? Do you mean as using evil means to achieve a good end, which by Dn D definition would put the character by the Chaotic Evil alignment?
02:35:50 PM May 27th 2013
Yes, really. That's the whole point of The Unfettered. They'll go to any lengths to accomplish their goals. But while their goals can be morally good, that doesn't make them good.

Good is a complex combination of what you do and why you do it.

Kill an evil wizard? Removing evil from the world, definitely a light shade of gray at the very least. But...

If someone risks their own life to kill an evil wizard to keep them from harming innocents, they're good.

If someone risks their own life to kill an evil wizard because he's done something they consider evil, and doesn't deliberately try to cause harm to people uninvolved in their personal vendetta, but doesn't try to keep them out of danger, either, they're neutral.
10:16:30 PM Oct 8th 2010
So what if a character tried to be good (i.e., change the world for the better), but whose actions are interpreted by others as evil? What if his/her actions have unintended consequences, either neutral or evil? This is how, for instance, politics and business often works in Real Life; where would you place these characters on this alignment scale? Or are these examples just too complicated for it since the notion of "good" and "evil" is kind of at odds with reality in the first place?
06:45:57 AM Oct 20th 2010
if they are willing to deliberately use evil means then by Dn D definitions they are evil, even if it is for an admirable goal.
03:00:34 PM Mar 22nd 2011
No, they are just very misguided. They may do evil things, but the alignment system is about why the character does something, not what they do.
11:19:07 AM Jul 2nd 2011
Then explain how King Kaius from Ebberon can be Lawful Evil.
07:33:58 AM Oct 8th 2010
Lawful good characters cannot be Well Intentioned Extremists as that would imply they jumped off the slippery slope.
05:03:43 PM Mar 19th 2011
That's technically not true. You see, the Alignments are all about personal beliefs. Thus, WIE's 'can' in fact be LG, 'IF' they play by the rules to the best of their ability, and do what they believe to be good and right.
11:18:32 AM Jul 2nd 2011
edited by KSonik
It is also about your actions and WIE by definition do evil towards a good end otherwise they are not really extremists.
05:59:15 PM Dec 14th 2011
edited by malonkey1
10:01:46 PM Aug 1st 2010
D&D 4E thread dedicated to the contentions that:

  1. Lawful Evil and Neutral Evil were merged into plain "Evil"
  2. That Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil are not The Same, but More of Good and Evil, respectively.

Does anybody have any citations to counter these two statements?
02:58:36 PM Mar 22nd 2011
Xena: Chaotic, in that she tends not to follow the rules of others unless she has to, and Good, in that she's, well, good
05:01:33 PM Jun 16th 2010
edited by Kayix
I've made up my own four-dimensional alignment system out of boredom. It goes like this:

dumb average intelligent

You make an alignment with the first letter of the alignment in each row, for example GOHA, for a Lawful Good character that protects the environment.
05:14:51 AM Jul 26th 2010
okay how about ECAI for a cunning Chaotic Evil character
05:01:21 PM Mar 19th 2011
edited by malonkey1
m'kay...I get the third axis, I suppose, but intelligence isn't really an alignment so much as an ability. You don't really get people "Fighting for the Cause of Dumbness".

The third axis makes sense, but the problem is that harmony and discipline can easily coexist. Just ask a Buddhist monk. It'd probably would be best replaced with the following:

Passive, symbolizing a preference for calm, passive action, such as civil disobedience, which is opposed by Aggressive, which stands for take-charge, kick-ass, "Let's-storm-the-castle-and-kick-the-living-daylights-out-of-the-king" actions, such as starting a civil war.
03:21:21 AM Jun 21st 2016
Can someone explain why this is such a hotbed?
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