CRB is a repository of all the creative things that float through my mind about the RPG Pathfinder. Two major features are random character generation and building characters based on the god they worship. Anything that seems like it adds to the creative aspects of the game will pop up from time to time, including location descriptions, adventure ideas and even short stories. CRB won't just be my own creativity, it will open the floor to anyone who has an idea sparked by what I present to you.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Path of Least Resistance

Alignment: one of the biggest sticking points in any D&D or Pathfinder game. Many other games choose to use a different morality system, if they use one at all, but alignment still takes hold in all the D&D iterations and offshoots. Personally I’m not against alignment; I find it useful in the game itselfbut then again I also play tons of games that don’t use alignment and like them just fine. For the remainder of this article I will assume our table has agreed on using alignment in the game.

Of all the alignments, Chaotic Neutral is probably the one that gets most GMs up in arms. Many players, though not all, use Chaotic Neutral as an excuse to do evil things without being Chaotic Evil. Even more play them as some kind of demented psychopath, equating chaotic with crazy. This can get mighty annoying very quickly to GMs and other players alike. It’s about as hated as players who try and bring Kender into the group, more disruptive than fun.

As a side note I actually like Kender, commence with the berating.

So let’s take a look at the Chaotic Neutral write up:

“A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn't strive to protect others' freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those others suffer). a chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as he is to cross it.

Chaotic neutral represents freedom from both society's restrictions and a do-gooder's zeal.”

I read this to mean, at the very least, that a chaotic neutral person does what is in his best interests most of the time. He may have a sudden pang of conscience or an overwhelming need for vengeance but for the most part he does whatever makes his life easiest. In general the easiest path to getting what you want without having to face being chased out of town is to be the a nice guy who mostly sticks to the rules. This is basically, nine times out of ten, the easiest way to further your own needs.

That says to me that in those nine times out of ten a Chaotic Neutral character will act in a Lawful Good manner. An argument could be made for Neutral Good I suppose but personally I think the path of least resistance is the path that is laid out more orderly than not. That, however, is only nine times out of ten. It’s that tenth time that makes the Chaotic Neutral character so volatile.

When the path of least resistance starts showing resistance, that is when the Chaotic Neutral character will do whatever it takes to get his way. I imagine that break a leg or smashing a skull to get results is nothing the Chaotic Neutral character is a stranger to, and in the face of too much resistance he will resort to these methods. He doesn’t care that it isn’t right, just that it’s effective.

And this is just opinion, but next time you consider playing a Chaotic Neutral character, take a long hard look at why you are playing it. Remember that brutal psychopaths are more along the lines of Chaotic Evil than Chaotic Neutral. Keep your character’s best interests in mind and follow the path of least resistance to get it. Whether that’s playing nice with the guard or smashing his head in will depend on how cooperative he is.

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