The Thinking Mans Chaotic Evil

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Following my recent devolpment of tThinking Mans Chaotic Neutral, I decided to continue the project by exploring Chaotic Evil.  This is an alignment usually reserved for serial killers, rampaging barbarian hordes, and truly whacked-out montrosities.  But, what does it really mean to be Chaotic Evil?  Is it a complete disregard for life?  A hatred of the world and everything in it?  A primal bloodlust to be sated at every opportunity?  It can be, certainly, but from a more practical perspective, I feel that Chaotic Evil can be described as the sort who will survive the worst life tries to throw at them, and they cross almost any line to do it.  For him, he doesn't go out of his way to spread mayhem, but he doesn't disregard the option when circumstance conspires against him.

I present the Thinking Mans Chaotic Evil, in the form of the improvisational manipulator.  As before, I welcome your comments and criticisms.

The Thinking Mans Chaotic Evil

The world is a hard-luck kind of place.  Survival from one day to the next, for some people, is taken care of for them.  They have a good, vigilant force of protectors watching over them as they sleep, and they have a routine they follow religiously that either keeps them out of harms way or waves a red flag when that routine is broken.  Then there are people like me.  I don’t have the luxury of dedicated police looking in on me.  I don’t get to have that routine to keep my days occupied.  For me, survival is a day-by-day, minute-by-minute crapshoot.  Survival is hard enough, so why wouldn’t I bring loaded dice to the game?


 


Life never gave me a chance, really.  I was born into a world of “No.”  No, you can’t eat today.  No, you can’t sleep here.  No, you can’t come in from the cold.  No… no, your son is in a better place.  When you’re hungry, tired, and shivering, and no matter how badly you’re hurting, the world doesn’t really care how much you just want to hear “Yes.”  The only way to make it through, I learned, is to make your own “Yes’s.”  When my stomach is growling, I take food.  When I’m wet and frozen to my bones, I find a coat.  When a healer, a supposed “man of faith,” tells me there’s nothing he can do for me and mine, I don’t give him any option but one: find a way.


 


People get this crazy notion like I’m a menace to their little world.  The thing is, though, I don’t go out of my way to screw with them.  I don’t wake up every morning and think, “Oh, what a beautiful day!  There are birds chirping, the sun is shining, and everyone has a smile on their face!  How can I destroy it ALL?!”  I’m no sadist, I’m a realist, and the sad reality is that if I don’t stand up for myself and actively try to improve my lot, this miserable world and the people in it will go out of their way to destroy me.  Sometimes that means taking something that doesn’t belong to me.  On rare occasions, I have to find a way around someone, and if they refuse to move, then yeah, sure, I’ll find a way through them.  For the record, I can’t remember the last time I met someone I couldn’t incentivize to get out of my way.


 


While we’re on the subject, I’ve had my run-ins with John Q. Law, to be sure.  They can’t understand how someone like me can find anyone to get along with.  They simply don’t understand that I just don’t care who I run with.  Why should I care?  If they don’t take issue with me, why should I take issue with them?  Smart or dumb, as long as they’re not a snitch and don’t have a stick up their bum, I’ll find any port in a storm.  The more people you surround yourself with, the easier it is to get lost in them.  The more people you can ingratiate yourself with, the better protected you become.  The more folks that start to like you, the more they start to act like you.  In fact, you’d be surprised how little it takes to get an otherwise upstanding member of society to start seeing things from my perspective:


 


“You know, Tommy, he’s just going to keep lying to us.”

“Tommy, just put a little pressure on him, he’ll cave.”

“Oh, come on, Tommy, what’s a little blood compared to the lives he’s thrown away?”

“Tommy… Tom.  Listen to me now, Tom.  We can’t just let him walk away.  He’ll tell everyone what you did to him.  He’ll jeopardize everything we’ve been trying to do.  He has the cuts to prove it.  You have to finish this, Tom.  You have to protect yourself.  You just have to keep cutting…”


"...that's right..."


“You and me, Tom, we’re in this together now.”


...yeah, until I say we're not.

I'm actually looking forward to D&D Next. I think that every edition had some really awesome qualities, and every edition has truly awful design flaws. I don't expect Next to be any different, but if WotC is actively trying to incorporate the good bits into one unified whole, then I do expect it to be worth playing.
Amazing!

This is so cool. I never thought of chaotic evil in that way before. It makes me want to run out, create a bunch of CE characters, and play some DnD!

.... and I'll do whatever it takes to do so. For you see... I have to create my own Yes's in this world.

Incredible job, man. Keep it up.

Your friendly neighborhood Revenant Minotaur Half-Blooded Dragonborn Fighter Hybrid Barbarian Multiclassing into Warlord

IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1223957875/Scorecards/Landscape.png)

I appreciate your adulation!  Thank you!

However, with the Thinking Mans Chaotic Neutral, I was afraid I had veered into True Neutral territory.  With this write-up, I'm even more concerned than I was before that I have encroached too much on Neutral Evils demense.

Maybe I'm right, and I didn't hit the nail on the head with this.  Or maybe truly well-sculpted characters are better pronounced through their subtleties as opposed to their more glaring overtures.

I wouldn't mind some clarification and more directed feedback.  I think it would help a lot for future Thinking Mans projects.
I'm actually looking forward to D&D Next. I think that every edition had some really awesome qualities, and every edition has truly awful design flaws. I don't expect Next to be any different, but if WotC is actively trying to incorporate the good bits into one unified whole, then I do expect it to be worth playing.
Alright.

You say that he doesn't go out of his way to cause mayhem, but always regards it as an option when presented with an obstacle. Perhaps to help distinguish the line between CE and NE, this CE guy considers it as the first route to go, always. Maybe he's tired of being hurt and in order to create "Yes's", he's figured out that the only unversal thing that everyone listens to is pain and destruction. No one will ignore him when he punches them -- or even their family -- in the face, right? I think your third paragraph goes in this direction quite nicely.

Also, you describe how he takes what he wants. That is very CE to me, and is shown nicely.

The only thing that seems kind of out of place is that manipulation thing. This, I feel, is kind of blurry... It feels very lawful to me. I feel that the CE character wouldn't even be talking in the first place. He would clock that guy in the face, and if Tommy didn't agree with that course of action... Well, then, Tommy would become a problem. and problems have to be eliminated.

Sorry that my first post lacked constructive feedback. Awesome things get me excited quite easily.

Your friendly neighborhood Revenant Minotaur Half-Blooded Dragonborn Fighter Hybrid Barbarian Multiclassing into Warlord

IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1223957875/Scorecards/Landscape.png)

Sorry it took me so long to get back to this thread.  The mobile forums up and disappeared on me, and I'm lazy about turning on my computer.

While I was writing TMCE, I thought that maybe the manipulation might have been just a bit too far outside the scope of what I was thinking.   Evil is a very hard concept to wrap my head around, and I would say that it's hard for most people to comprehend on a philosophical level.  That may be why so many evil characters tend to be played as moustache-twirling caricatures, as opposed to real people with serious pain and a level of psychological torment that informs their world-view.  Most evil people don't see themselves as evil.  They may not necessarily believe that what they do is right, but they don't self-identify as evil.

Murder and torture are easily identifiable as evil.  Struggling with the decision to let one friend die to protect yourself?  We're putting some distance between Evil and wrong, and getting closer to survival.  Purposely smothering a crying baby to ensure a whole group of people isn't discovered and butchered?  Yeah, it's evil, but it's also the right thing to do (arguably).  That's where I think evil, as an option, needs to develop toward.  Evil characters as the members of the party willing to do the unconscionable, truly despicable acts to safeguard their continued well-being.

Thank you for reading these, by the way!  I'm really glad you're enjoying them, and I'm even more excited that they are providing you with some inspiration.  Next up, I think I may try to tackle Lawful Neutral (another underused alignment of the Old Guard). 
I'm actually looking forward to D&D Next. I think that every edition had some really awesome qualities, and every edition has truly awful design flaws. I don't expect Next to be any different, but if WotC is actively trying to incorporate the good bits into one unified whole, then I do expect it to be worth playing.
Where can one draw the line between chaiotic neutral and chaotic evil? I always thought that chaiotic evil WAS  "let's blow everything up", while chaotic neutral was "if it becomes an obstacle, i'll blow anything up."
Am i mistaken? 
Where can one draw the line between chaiotic neutral and chaotic evil? I always thought that chaiotic evil WAS  "let's blow everything up", while chaotic neutral was "if it becomes an obstacle, i'll blow anything up."
Am i mistaken? 



As a rusty (crusty?) old school  role player I have often felt alignments were outdated and obsolete. But if you need them, in the chaotic neutral vs chaotic evil comparison try breaking the personality traits up along the axes.

Nevermind the justifications. Anyone can rationalize anything to the willing (uncritical) audience (Themselves mainly). Think more about motivations.

Chaotic people tend to be impulsive vs calculating. That isn't to say they can't calculate but it isn't their comfort zone. They tend to go with their intuition and let luck play a part in their decisions.

Morally Neutral characters tend to be self centered balanced somewhere between Altruism and Maliciousness.

Does it mean that  a chaotic neutral person can't blow something up if it will directly harm someone? No. But if they identify with that person (family, friend, someone they admire) they aren't likely to want to do it. And since chaotics tend to do what they want more often than not they probably won't.

Chaotic Evils on the other hand care little for anyone outside of themselves and even if they admire someone their more negative emotions are predominant. That guy they admire may also cause jealousy or other hurt feelings. "He was always a little too smug for my liking...If he gets hurt serves him right!" That isn't to say CEs can't be loyal but it isn't natural to them.

I tend to think of the 9 alignments as pools in which people swim around finding their individuality. A particular person might be mostly true neutral but be largely inclined towards CE for example. Their complexity allows them to remain TN but given pressures in the right direction they might decide to do something decidedly CE because of the influences in their life.

Think of the man who beats his wife and then regrets it instantly. CE moment..true neutral response.

Imho flexibility is more desirable when defining alignment based behavior than rigid thinking. In that sense it is very possible for a CE person with good or better IQ (INT/WIS) to reason first even if they go with their gut decision in the end. They could very well be manipulative (acting as corruptive influences instead of immediate dire threats). Not every impulse is going to be flashy and brutal. Motivation and opportunity play large parts in this.

It is possible that this description bleeds into Neutral Evil territory on the classic Alignment grid but as I said, flexibility is more desirable at least in RPGs.

Winter.Wolf (ugh at this new forum with the ridiculous double login)

I think it always comes back to this arguement; should alignments decide actions? Or should actions determine alignment? I think that alignment should be relitive, and that the actions that a charecter does determines his alignment, rather than vice versa. "Should charecters be dynamic or static?" is another question that comes to mind. I personally think that charecters should grow and prosper as the campaign goes on, or turn into a worse and worse person. Either way, I find dynamic characters much more interesting to roleplay, and watch played as a DM.
I think that the alignment should decide the actions. Otherwise, you get characters who do things willy-nilly because nothing is restricting them from doing whatever. In fact, alignment could allow for greater roleplaying since you have to find a way to work with the group while still adhering to your principles/beliefs.

Alignment could still change, of course, but it would be a long process that would require a good roleplaying reason for it to happen.

Your friendly neighborhood Revenant Minotaur Half-Blooded Dragonborn Fighter Hybrid Barbarian Multiclassing into Warlord

IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1223957875/Scorecards/Landscape.png)

Justfication is an easy method. There is the phrase "He intended to" to justify the pre-emptive action of violence.

The way I see Chaotic Evil is that all the tools are on the table.  Benevolence and Malevolence equally. The character will do whatever is to survive, grow and prosper. Moral boundaries don't exist.

I think it would be important to look in the Monster's compendium and see what monsters are defined as chaotic evil and also lawful good. This gives a good idea of what are defined as being chaotic evil.

 
That which does not kill me, makes me stranger.
Sometimes you stand amazed regarding some alignments. Take these examples:

The evil campaign where towns were taken care of; provided with food, schools would be raised and hospitals etc. This caused high enough birth rates that this team could take some children at a certain age, to be sold as slaves or as payment for one demonic pact or another...

Or would one rather group up with this lawful good team. That, upon finding undead near a town decides the whole town might be tainted and thus has to be purged. No survivors.

Which team would you rather meet in your real life?

Myself, I sometimes think that good vs evil is not always the question. Lawful vs Chaotic tends to cause more headaches to wrap the mind around. Chaotic Evil, to me, is indeed the tendency to take care of oneself first and foremost. If it helps me to help another, then sure, I'll help. But if it costs me more than it will eventually deliver, don't knock on my door.

One could argue if neutral does actually exist?
Nice work, I'll have to look up your other Thinking Man's threads.

That said, I think you did veer fairly heavily into NE. While every character tends to justify their decisions to themselves, the actual nature of the justification can be pretty revealing. Lawful characters are very oriented on logic and chain of effect so the justification usually runs along the lines of 'x happened in the past, thus I now do this" or "to accomplish x, I must first do y". "It sucks, but this is how it is" is also a lawful line of logic because it applies an absolute and then adheres to it.

Chaotics tend to ignore past/future thinking because they live in the moment, Can't change the past, can't control the future, so they take each situation as it comes. At their best they are spontaneous, creative, and infinitely adaptable. At worst they fail to learn from mistakes, attempt unrealistic or dangerous actions, and fail to prepare or follow through on anything. 

So for CE, I see it mostly as someone who feels that there are no rules. He does whatever he wants and doesn't even bother to justify it beyond "I felt like it". Everything in the world is his to use or destroy as he sees fit, people included. He doesn't wake up and decide to burn everything for fun  (well, usually...), he just doesn't feel any real empathy for other people and thus sees little need for restraint when anything gets in his way (or annoys him, or he gets bored, ect). Consequences rarely have much impact on his thought process. From the petty klepto misanthrope to the rampaging demon it's mostly just a matter of scale. The original story of the ring of invisibility references this as a morality tale. When a man no longer fears the consequences of his actions then his heart quickly turns to evil (or shows that it was evil all along).
                 I think one of most frustrating things when deciding alighnment is how your character acts towards party members as opposed to strangers and villians. My Chaotic Evil Vryloka Warlock  is literally unable to get through a single town without killing somone and drinking their blood. However when role-playing he has a strong bond with his party members and may use basic attacks after being trolled or just for fun but will always try to help them no matter what situation.

     I.E. This quest, a party member was reawkened as a vampire (the ultimate monstrosity in the eyes of vryloka) and my characters first reaction was to cut the arm of the nearest gnome and throw them together so the new vampire can feed.

As for  Drumar's comment on the two party's I'm going to say the answer lies in not what they do, but their base motivation. The first group wanted to sell children for slaves which is evil, and they have a highly thought-out plan on how to do it so it's lawful evil. The seconds main goal was to cure the undead plauge which is good, and then chaotic good because they went to the extremes to kill the whole town to prevent infections to other ones.
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