Trouble with Unaligned Players

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This is probably an old subject from 3.5
CN players using their alignment as reason for whatever act the DM deems of specific alignment.


But mainly I'm having a little trouble with a player that chose to be Unaligned(4E), which is fine by me, but he purposefully kills innocent NPCs for the sake of getting their items or wealth and then either:

- Justifies himself as being unaligned, thinking that gives him the right to do whatever he pleases.

or

- Gives the NPCs a warning that if they don't give him what he wants or stop doing whatever is annoying him he will kill them.


The later usually ends in another Dead NPC also since they can't help it if they are there for a purpose...


but as he character is developing... he seems to be turning evil in my eyes, yet the player justifies himself as "neutral" or Unaligned...

Am I wrong as a DM saying that his character is turning Evil? or maybe already is?

Or

Is he right in saying that by being unaligned gives him the right to do anything as long as it is "Justified" or something of the sort.?



(This might be a little biased but, I'd like opinions or maybe plausible solutions for this veritable ticking timebomb of a plot crisis.)

He is an Unaligned
Lvl 7 human wizard

that is "decrepit?" by his standards, and seeks power, but not along the lines of an ultimate spell, but rather to be rivaled as a god. (Possible Demigod Path)
If you're unaligned, you don't actively seek to harm others or wish them ill. But you also don't go out of your way to put yourself at risk without some hope for reward. You support law and order when doing so benefits you. You value your own freedom, without worrying too much about protecting the freedom of others.

That is the direct explaination of the unaligned alignment from the Player's Handbook. So if I were you, I would advise the player to take a closer look at the description, and if he doesn't start making some changes to not bully everyone he wants something out of, I would consider his character as turning evil.
I see your point, but I still don't see a hole in his case.

seeing as how he doesn't actively seek to harm people, but if they come accross him and... say annoy him, they most likely will die. NPCs at least.

Other than that when he's not killing them he just acts like one of those classic Wizard bad guys... thinking evil things(scheaming) out loud, being racist(in game). Basically I'm looking for a valid reason to tell him he's evil, so he'll play nice for a little while.

Thanks~
I have completely removed alignment from my game for that very reason. There's no more mechanical need for alignment anyways, and I don't need players using ambiguous alignments to justify various actions.

If I were ever to need to know a character's alignment for some in-game, mechanical reason, it doesn't matter what's written on their character sheet. I decide what their alignment is for the purpose of that moment, based on their actions, intents, and general behavior.

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

But mainly I'm having a little trouble with a player that chose to be Unaligned(4E), which is fine by me, but he purposefully kills innocent NPCs for the sake of getting their items

Have him try and kill the wrong guy, see where it goes.

- Justifies himself as being unaligned, thinking that gives him the right to do whatever he pleases.

or

- Gives the NPCs a warning that if they don't give him what he wants or stop doing whatever is annoying him he will kill them.

It is my right to claim what others possess.
Evil characters don’t necessarily go out of their way to hurt people, but they’re perfectly willing to take advantage of the weakness of others to acquire what they want.

Sounds alot like your player. He is literally mugging people "Gimme your stuff or you die" and that seems a wee evil.

Their could be an idea of him going chaotic evil depending on other aspects of his character:
I don’t care what I have to do to get what I want.
Chaotic evil characters have a complete disregard for others. Each believes he or she is the only being that matters and kills, steals, and betrays others to gain power. Their word is meaningless and their actions destructive. Their worldviews can be so warped that they destroy anything and anyone that doesn’t directly contribute to their interests.

The question should always be what he fits more likely as and its seems he is more evil then unaligned but other factors may change that.

The only way for him to murder like he is and stay unaligned would be if he was: Rather, they’ve chosen not to choose, either because they see the benefits of both good and evil or because they see themselves as above the concerns of morality. Problem is, from what is been said, he doesn't see the benefits of both good/evil and its hard to see the 'Gimme your stuff or die' as above morality.
I have completely removed alignment from my game for that very reason. There's no more mechanical need for alignment anyways, and I don't need players using ambiguous alignments to justify various actions.

If I were ever to need to know a character's alignment for some in-game, mechanical reason, it doesn't matter what's written on their character sheet. I decide what their alignment is for the purpose of that moment, based on their actions, intents, and general behavior.

Thank you, I think this actually is a great idea

I personally had implemented a 20point system

in which you started at neutral and good actions gave you posistive points (good up to 10) and negative points on evil acts(-10 to evil)
as for chaotic and lawful

set them as extremes...

but having no alignment seems more viable and i wouldnt have players complaining as to why i took points when they killed an obviously innocent NPC.





@ rentauri:

thanks, i like that first idea a lot aswell


(I know this seems like a DM help kinda thread but, i meant it explicitly to help out my PCs char development)

tnx everyone.
Chaotic Neutral in 3.5 wasn't the 'do anything' alignment like Unaligned in 4E is.

You were ethically aligned to Chaos and you were open to either a good or evil morality.

This is an anarchist. One that believes law is an unwanted and artificial construct to promote weaker entities over naturally selected stronger ones. In other words, Chaos allows the best to rise to whatever authority they can grab for however long they can hold it, While Law promotes a strict set of rules that disrupts this natural selection of the best and most fit to rule.

If you let your players play CN as crazy or worse, Unaligned you were to blame for their poor play.


Unaligned in 4E on the other hand is completely without function and defines itself by what it does not support which is a negative assertion.

Chaotic Neutral wasn't broken, Unaligned is.


BTW, Neutral was an alignment of balance. You saw a need for both Ethics and Moralities. It still isn't as broken as the cop-out alignment 'Unaligned'.
Chaotic Neutral in 3.5 wasn't the 'do anything' alignment like Unaligned in 4E is.

You were ethically aligned to Chaos and you were open to either a good or evil morality.

This is an anarchist. One that believes law is an unwanted and artificial construct to promote weaker entities over naturally selected stronger ones. In other words, Chaos allows the best to rise to whatever authority they can grab for however long they can hold it, While Law promotes a strict set of rules that disrupts this natural selection of the best and most fit to rule.

If you let your players play CN as crazy or worse, Unaligned you were to blame for their poor play.


Unaligned in 4E on the other hand is completely without function and defines itself by what it does not support which is a negative assertion.

Chaotic Neutral wasn't broken, Unaligned is.


BTW, Neutral was an alignment of balance. You saw a need for both Ethics and Moralities. It still isn't as broken as the cop-out alignment 'Unaligned'.

Oh that I know, we used to play 3.5EB
and the same player was a CN Rogue that basically justified every act as...hmmm... how can I put this...: "Because I can." at least as power ideals went, he never tried anything purely evil for the hell of it, was just mostly... eh... random? but upheld by the principle of ... "I'll take what is yours, because you're too weak to own it." or something along those lines.... but thats all off topic, sorry.


however I do Agree some people do take advantage of the new Unaligned 'alignment', pardon redundancy... if any.
Am I wrong as a DM saying that his character is turning Evil? or maybe already is?

Or

Is he right in saying that by being unaligned gives him the right to do anything as long as it is "Justified" or something of the sort.?

This is the same problem people had with CN in 3e.

People fail to understand that one of the defining attributes of evil people is their ability to come up with self serving justifications and rationalize their actions away.

If somebody annoys you and you decide to attack them, it isn't necessarily evil (but easily could be if you are too easily annoyed). But if you decide to attack somebody and then look for a reason to do so, it is evil.

4e unaligned goes further then 3e's neutral alignments in what you can do before your alignment shifts to evil. But from what you have said, this guy seems to have crossed the line.

Jay
Oh that I know, we used to play 3.5EB
and the same player was a CN Rogue that basically justified every act as...hmmm... how can I put this...: "Because I can." at least as power ideals went, he never tried anything purely evil for the hell of it, was just mostly... eh... random? but upheld by the principle of ... "I'll take what is yours, because you're too weak to own it." or something along those lines.... but thats all off topic, sorry.

Isn't that the definition of Chaotic Evil from 3.5?

A chaotic evil character does whatever his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is hot-tempered, vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. If he is simply out for whatever he can get, he is ruthless and brutal. If he is committed to the spread of evil and chaos, he is even worse. Thankfully, his plans are haphazard, and any groups he joins or forms are poorly organized. Typically, chaotic evil people can be made to work together only by force, and their leader lasts only as long as he can thwart attempts to topple or assassinate him.

Chaotic evil is sometimes called "demonic" because demons are the epitome of chaotic evil.

Chaotic evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents the destruction not only of beauty and life but also of the order on which beauty and life depend.

Yeah, your player sounds exactly like Chaotic Evil.

I had the same problem with a player about two years ago. He was a Chaotic Neutral Halfling Rogue who had no problem killing party members (that player's personal PK body count in my games alone is 2, it's higher with other DMs), stealing for innocent civilians, selling out the party, stealing from the party and trying to destroy the Maguffin (the soul of a dead paladin trapped in a staff) because she tried to talk him out of doing the things he did. That was his regular attitude during the game, and he would always justify it by saying that "Chaotic Neutral" was the "do anything I want alignment" and for awhile I went with it, since he made the game interesting. Then, he murdered a shop keeper because he was racist against halflings. Then, he stole the dead shopkeepr's stuff to placate the other party members (who were tired of him stealing from them). The final straw was, after a small town was hit by a magical disaster (directed by the Big Bad), he decided to steal what little cash remained in the town. I tallied things up, and realized he was much, much worse than the Neutral Evil Cleric of Nerull, and that guy had murdered people in front of the party (and, away from the party).

Finally, I stood up to him and told him he was full of crap. He didn't like it, but I persisted in telling him he was playing Chaotic Evil. The moral is to just stand up to your player. Set up an objective standard of good and evil and make sure your players know what it is, and make sure it's based on the alignment system you're using. If they start playing an evil character, tell them, and don't take their crap.

----------------
Now playing: Flogging Molly - Black Friday Rule
via FoxyTunes
I play an unaligned player in third edition I always played Neutral and really in the PHB I think it says something that works in your favor but is highly open to iterpertation. "You support law and order when doing so benefits you."

To me that says your overall a decent person but but you are not above doing something devious to achive a goal . Not to kill someone for getting anoying .

THis is from the discription of the evil Alignment discription.

"Evil characters use rules and order to maximize
personal gain. They don’t care whether laws hurt other
people. They support institutional structures that give
them power, even if that power comes at the expense
of others’ freedom. Slavery and rigid caste structures
are not only acceptable but desirable to evil characters,
as long as they are in a position to benefit from them."

That seems almost to be what he is doing.

This is from Chaotic Evil


"Chaotic evil characters have a complete disregard for
others. Each believes he or she is the only being that
matters and kills, steals, and betrays others to gain
power. Their word is meaningless and their actions
destructive. Their worldviews can be so warped that
they destroy anything and anyone that doesn’t directly
contribute to their interests."

All of this is ofcourse irrelivent because you high god DM in a game whare ANYTHING can happen.

If they are in a city maybe his reputation can start proceeding him through the trade routes. Maybe gaurds are alterted when he dose this by some magic? or maybe his deity(being unalinged) would see what he is doing as bad and alert the gaurds passively to punish him .

He seems to be getting arrogent about it so even in the wild bad things can happen to those who anger the gods. trees fall down and pin a leg or a passing Snake could just bite him and slither away .

these are all ways my dm uses to keep us from going overbord without even voicing it out of character unless we ask.
A Chaotic Neutral player will set fire to Waterdeep's courthouse.

A Chaotic Evil player will set fire to Waterdeep's judges.


The CN player does not seek to kill, to him the fire is a protest. If a judge got caught in the fire and seriously burned or even killed, well it was a regrettable side effect of a greater deed.

The CE player sees that a building can be rebuilt and actively seeks to kill the people backing law. Taking a life isn't even important enough to factor into his decisions.

Unaligned has none of these distinctions. It is the 'easy-going' alignment for people who can't be bothered with a deeper character.
A Chaotic Neutral player will set fire to Waterdeep's courthouse.

A Chaotic Evil player will set fire to Waterdeep's judges.

Am I the only one that sees CN as your average hippy/liberal. And I mean that in good way.

CN would smoke Pot

CN Would Download pirate music

CN would Fudge his taxes

CN is not some nut case. He just sees it as his right to do what he will as that shall be the whole of the law!
A Chaotic Neutral player will set fire to Waterdeep's courthouse.

A Chaotic Evil player will set fire to Waterdeep's judges.

The NN got him beat, he sets fire to himself.
Am I the only one that sees CN as your average hippy/liberal. And I mean that in good way.

CN would smoke Pot

CN Would Download pirate music

CN would Fudge his taxes

CN is some nut case. He just sees it as his right to do what he will as that shall be the whole of the law!

Strangely enough I would class this as CG.

Nothing all that evil here and no real attempt to force his belief in Chaos on others.

The NN got him beat, he sets fire to himself.

LOL:D
I use the new alignment scale in a very simplified way to avoid all "ambguity" that players will try to find and exploit.

Lawful good = So good that you would never do anything shady unless that one "gray" act was guaranteed to save many people.

For example, you woul only ever commit a crime like petty theft if you were pick pocketing a masively destructive weapon from someone you knew was going to use it for evil.

Good = you do things to try to help people for the sake of helping people, and you prefer not to stray into any morally gray activities though you would if the end could actually justiify the means.

For example, you kill the bad guys because that makes sure the innocent are safe.

Unaligned = you help people for profit, and don't mind if you have to "get your hands dirty" to accomplish this.

Example: you kill the bad guys because you negotiated a 5 gold per head bounty in exchange for saving the village.

Evil = you take advantage when you can, and only do things that will benefit you.

Example: you make a deal with the raiders so you profit greatly from pretending to protect the village, and use the villagers view of you as a hero to get free food, lodging, and minor equipment for as long as they allow.

Chaotic evil = you conquer, pillage, and strike fear wherever and when ever you can. You feel no need to earn anything, and instead demand it and enforce your demands with violence and other methods of force.

Example: you see raiders plaguing a village as an opportunity to enslave the village and build the raiders into an army under your command to conquer other nearby lands until you build a tyranical empire.

But then... I also mention when I start a game whether I want people playing their characters as a band of heroes, a group of anti-hero mecernaries, or as villains/evil masterminds.

ATTENTION:  If while reading my post you find yourself thinking "Either this guy is being sarcastic, or he is an idiot," do please assume that I am an idiot. It makes reading your replies more entertaining. If, however, you find yourself hoping that I am not being even remotely serious then you are very likely correct as I find irreverence and being ridiculous to be relaxing.

Unaligned means that you are not particularly Good and you are not particularly Evil. It means that although you won't generally go to extreme lengths to do good things, you *also* generally won't do evil things. And definitely not obviously evil things on a continuing basis.
It also does not mean you can do whatever you feel like, without having to face the consequences of your actions.

Regardless of what it says on your character sheet, evil acts are still evil.

Killing people because they annoyed you is evil.
Trying to extort gear and money from random npc's and then killing them because they won't give you their stuff is evil.
The character lacks all concern for the welfare of others. This is the hallmark of evil behavior.

Don't bother to discuss it with him, just tell him his character is evil.
And start making sure he ends up facing the consequences of his actions - killing npc's in a populated area will bring down whatever passes for militia/police/guards in the area, as well as turning the general populace against him and the rest of the party.

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There are reasons they call me Mad...

I have a couple questions/points that may help. First, are you allowing evil? I will agree with others that he does sound more evil than Unaligned to me, but I won't just add to the already lengthy discussion on that front. If that's true though, just have him be evil and let him play as he is. Alignment is mostly just a descriptor now anyway, even more than before. Now, if the issue here is that you said "no evil characters" and you see him as abusing that, that's a separate problem.
In that case, you can bring up that his behavior is, while potentially justifiable as Unaligned, still doing exactly what you wanted to avoid by not having evil characters. It's likely disruptive to the game and players. When you said "no evil", it was to avoid certain problems, and him finding a technical loophole really shouldn't invalidate your intentions for your own game. On top of all of this, I think most good characters wouldn't see any difference between him and most evil characters, and would in fact see him as more reprehensible than some of them. This means that his technical alignment helps neither with in world situations nor out of character ones, and is thus irrelevant. Basically, actions speak louder than alignments.
Really, whether he is unaligned or evil is irrelevant, since alignment no longer has any mechanical effects on the game. That said, you should probably tell him that he is now evil, as his actions are obviously evil.

In my game, there is no alignment, period. The best way to handle this is just like the real world, actions have consequences. Maybe someone reports him to the town watch. Maybe a band of adventuring heroes arrives in town to end his reign of terror. Whatever the case, most players learn their lessons after going through a few character sheets.
Owner and Proprietor of the House of Trolls. God of ownership and possession.
I have completely removed alignment from my game for that very reason. There's no more mechanical need for alignment anyways, and I don't need players using ambiguous alignments to justify various actions.

If I were ever to need to know a character's alignment for some in-game, mechanical reason, it doesn't matter what's written on their character sheet. I decide what their alignment is for the purpose of that moment, based on their actions, intents, and general behavior.

I tend to agree.

My advice:

Alignment is trouble when you have to tell a player that cold blooded murder is Evil. Starts all sorts of conflict you do not need.
So, ignore alignment as a player behavior guide, and instead, use it as a DM reactionary guide.

The dm can have a cleric's god hold back power.
The Dm can have an angry posse hunt down a murderous player character.

In essense, action reaction, instead of telling the player what to do.

But remember, the 'reactions' must be as fair and logical as possible.
The DM MUST be fair and impartial, at least as far as a troub lesome player allows this.
The bottom line is, are his actions disrupting your game? You said it was entertaining at first, but if the consequences of his actions are seriously hindering the other player characters, or he's more interested in slaughtering unarmed NPCs than in actually following the adventure you have planned, then you have every right to sit that player down and tell him to cut the crap. Regardless of the character's alignment, he is just a character; the player chooses how to behave, and it is the player who will have to face the consequences for his behaviour.
Warning Millitant-AntiAlignmentist ranting ahead

Killing people in simply because they have something he wants or because they annoy him?
Yep that's pretty evil, in both my book, modern society's and D&D's (actually I'd place that in wanton Chaotic Evil myself, warning or no-warning.)
In fact very few definitions of evil *wouldn't* include that sort of behaviour.
But then personally I'd consider many "Lawful Good" D&D characters pretty evil Bastards who I'd never wish to end up in the same room as.

Note the bit of unalignened that states
If you’re unaligned, you don’t actively seek to harm others or wish them ill. But you also don’t go out of your way to put yourself at risk without some hope for reward.

As for "does it matter if you declare his alignment to be evil"?

In 4E there only two Mechanical effects of Alignment, one is relating to Clerics having the same alignment as their patron deity (and no mechanical effects of "falling from grace), and the other footnote on the "Astral Whilwind" paragon power.
Even artefacts don't seem to care about the alignment you have on your character sheet, but rather whether your behaviour furthers it's goals whilst it is in your possession. This I consider a good thing.

I personally greatly dislike the "straightjacket" approach of alingment towards guiding roleplay (something thankfully that 3rd and 4E distanced themselves from) and rather than yell "THAT'S NOT YOUR CHARACTER'S ALIGNMENT!" and refuse his character from allowing him to do actions I'd rather either

1) Politely explain that you'd prefer his character not to behave like that as it's meant to be a "heroic" game and that it's making your job as DM more difficult.
I might have too much faith in the power of non-idiotic adults rationally talking things over however.

2) As with real-life and narrative themes of heroic fantasy, make sure that evil/psychopathic behaviour has consequences.

Society in general tends to take a dim view of murder. Medieval-esc societies also don't bother with "due-legal-process" and "fair trials"

Have him find out that said NPC he goes to butcher is alot tougher than he first appeared (though this could be a tad "Gottcha!" falicy). If NPC's are wandering around away from civilisation, chances are they're pretty frikkin' tough themselves. In a populated location getting away with murder shouldn't be the easiest of acts esp when ("innocent until proven guilty" isn't in the lexicon of local law enforcement).

If he goes around killing solitary merchants then it's likely that he'll get away with it... except possibly in the eyes of the Gods.

If metaphysically suitable for your world, have him appear in the omens and dreams of clerics and paladins of local churches. Have random mad-soothsayers scream oaths and curses upon him in public.
If he's paragon level or above, he might well draw flak from Angels as well. Turn to page. 17 of the Monster Manual and have a look at the ANGEL OF VENGEANCE. :P

If he has a Divine power source, he may have his patron deity ****** off at him, this generally isn't considered a good thing (even if here are no-longer any mechanical).
As a Human Wizard, this isn't exactly a high concern. In which case, see the above Angel of Vengeance instead. :P


EDIT: Damnit, Bill4747 said what I said but better... God damn you Bill4747!

Rules As Written are rules as they are written.

Rules as they are written might still be contradictory, incomplete, confusing or unbalanced.

The right interpretation of the rules is the one that works for you and your gaming group.

 

A DM's judgement is the final authority in the game.

But if the DM is not running the game for the enjoyment of their players, then why are they running it at all?

I've always used the rule of common sense when dictating alignments to my players. That being said most players confuse Chaotic Neutral and True Neutral with Chaotic Evil. (A chaotic evil character is the true "Free Spirit". You'll follow the rules...if they benefit you. You'll stay your blade...for a price")

To break it down:

Killing someone because they have murdered another (Lawful Good)
-You have good values, but the law supersedes those values. Even if you know someone will do harm to another, you may not act upon it because they've done nothing wrong in light of the law.
"In accordance with the law, you hereby are sentenced to death."

Lawful good can also be thought of as "Civil Order"

Killing someone because they will murder another (Good)
-You have good values and intentions, even if the law doesn't agree. You may be listed as a murderer, but you know your actions just.
"I will stop this madman, even if the police will not!"

Good can also be thought of as "Upholding Moral Values"

Choosing not to act, not caring, or remaining indifferent. (Unaligned)
-You have mostly good values, but you will seldomly uphold them. Even if another is murdered you may choose to stay out of the crossfire in fear for your safety. Or perhaps for a relation as to why the individual committed the murder.
"He murdered that person...but they did burn down his house."

Unaligned can also be thought of as "Indifference"

Killing someone because it nets personal gain (Evil)
-You mostly think for yourself, but your not totally beyond redemption. Vengeance, greed, and personal gain are your values, but you've been known to save a soul or two...for the right price.
"He owns the largest diamond in all the land and refuses to part with it. I've been reasonable, I given him multiple avenues and offered him hordes of gold...So I guess he'll have to part with his life instead of his precious diamond"

Evil can also be thought of as "Selfish" (Opposite to Good)

Killing someone because they're annoying (Chaotic Evil)
-Your self centered, and usually completely against society. You've been called a monster, murderer, and psychopath. You are without conscience.
"He still has the diamond? Kill him and his family for his insolence. Torch his home and buildings, and let all know the wrath of those who do not submit!"

Chaotic evil can also be thought of as "Anarchy" (Opposite to Lawful Good)


To answer your question, your player is:
Giving NPCs a warning that if they don't give him what he wants or stop doing whatever is annoying him he will kill them.
That is Chaotic Evil, but you might be able to play it off as just Evil, depends on the context and actual actions taken (Would his character follow through with the threats or are they just empty bluffs?). Its certainly not "unaligned". His player character has taken a stand, and its anything but indifference (unaligned).
Your definition of unaligned, while sufficient for most cases, fails to cover certain special cases, like those I imagine the Raven Queen and Corellon to hold. In the Raven Queen's case, alignment is irrelevant because she holds domain over members of all alignments, and is above them. In the case of Corellon, I see him as holding values other than objective Good and Evil to be the highest, such as Aesthetic values. This is, of course, only my interpretation, but the book does include a little blurb about 'choosing not to choose' for reasons such as these.
Your definition of unaligned, while sufficient for most cases, fails to cover certain special cases, like those I imagine the Raven Queen and Corellon to hold.

Being aware of what most people would do based on their individual ideology (or in context of the game: alignment) and basing your ultimate opinion on that would be unaligned. Although it doesn't fit the category of "indifference" - you still must use common sense and pick the category that makes the most sense.

Although on thinking of this further, I admit that such a course of action probably wouldn't dictate an alignment at all. If you were to think this way today outside of the game, you'd be what rhetoricians call an intelligent thinker, and this would hold little if any relation to a good/evil alignment.

So to that end I usually put "everything in between" as True Neutral (or in 4.0 - unaligned)
Anyone remember in first edition, when an Assassin could learn how to speak lawful good to fool a paladin?


Alignment languages for the Win!
The neat thing about this game is that the players' actions affect the game world. If, for example, an "unaligned" Wizard 7 were to rob an NPC, the exchange might go like this:

Wizard: "Friend" Elf, give me your enchanted orb; I have as much need for it as you have for your life.

Elf: This orb is mine. It has been in my family since before your family had a name. I'll not part with it.

*Wizard blasts Elf to bits and takes the orb*

*two Elven children come skipping in happily*

Children: Papa, are you going to read to us now?

*they see the ashes where Papa was, and the Wizard holding Papa's orb, and run away*

Time passes ...

The party goes into the Elven village of Treeville. They are happy and carefree ... until the party of Good adventurers meet them to bring the Wizard to justice. Just as a party of PC's is usually up to the challenge facing them, the Good NPC adventurers are very capable of subduing the "Unaligned" thief and murderer in a few rounds and deliver him to the Elven court for justice ...

Therein do we see that Unaligned + power =/= ability to kill any given NPC and steal from them without consequence. PC actions have effects in the game world. This isn't the DM responding with a heavy hand to spoil the player's fun. It is the game world responding logically and consistently to what happens therein.
Are we really that afraid to call things evil in today's world?

If you murder anyone short of in battle or in self defense, EVIL

If you steal from people - EVIL

How can someone say unaligned would support those actions, numbs my mind.
"I'll take what is yours, because you're too weak to own it."

That's chaotic evil. In fact, I'm pretty sure one of the editions used that statement as a specific example of chaotic evil. Taking what you can and killing anyone who tries to stop you is, by the definition of every edition since first, chaotic evil.

Unless you're running a campaign in which all of the players want to play a wandering gang of murdering raiders in the spirit of The Devil's Rejects, there's no room in a party (or really in any civilized society) for a player like that. Unless he's extremely clever about disposing of his victims, he shouldn't be able to walk into any town with a city watch, as news of rabid dogs like his character travels fast. People like that end up bleeding out in the middle of a dirt road somewhere.

If you want to keep the player but rein in his behavior in game, start running him out of towns or turning him away at city gates. No ruler wants to suffer visitors who leave trails of bodies, so let him wander around with loot he can't sell and gold he can't spend, and maybe his next character will at least be discrete. Let him live or die by his Nature skill rolls for a while and see how his next character feels about mugging NPCs willy nilly.
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
If you steal from people - EVIL

Depends on the reason why they steal said object.

Being unaligned(Chaotic neutral) isn't as easy to play as some thing.

Doing things simply for fun that doesn't really hurt anyone = chaotic neutral.
Doing the same while hurting someone = evil.

Is a NPC looking at your in a funny way? Or annoying you? Steal his hat, wear it inside out and parade it around town. That's chaotic neutral/unaligned.
If you want to keep the player but rein in his behavior in game, start running him out of towns or turning him away at city gates. No ruler wants to suffer visitors who leave trails of bodies, so let him wander around with loot he can't sell and gold he can't spend, and maybe his next character will at least be discrete.

More likely attacked on sight imo.
Maybe another adventuring group will come after that character.
A number of posts have done a good job of handling the alignment problem in this case, and I don't have a lot to add to them.

I will say though that another part of the problem is the fact that Unaligned isn't just about actions or views, it's about specifically not choosing the side of good or evil. You can't just BE Evil. From what I've read, no matter how evil your views or actions, you're not technically Evil unless you specifically agree to serve the ways of Evil.

Alignment now strikes me as less about your character and more about which team you play for. You can do evil things and still not join the Evil team.

That's probably largely a matter of intrepretation, but I go with it.

But, the character seems to be quite disruptive to the game, and shouldn't be allowed to continue in such a manner without in-game consequences as previously suggested. I don't, however, think there's really any reason to force an alignment change.

For the record...I have an innate and distinct distaste for ethics and morality, in either direction of each axis to any degree. I do understand though that functional societies require a certain degree of specific cooperational behaviors, and adhere to that. I'm a pragmatist.
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Ok, so I read the actions of the troubling player. I'll go ahead and freely state that I think he's evil. Not just from the descriptions of alignment, but also by using common sense and my own moral judgment - what he's doing is wrong in almost any culture (except maybe Drow society).

ANYWAY, I occasionally run demo games of D&D and when players join my game I often don't know them at all. One of my tools is a hand-out that states VERY CLEARLY that I run a HEROIC game. One in which the characters, even rogues and thieves are HEROES in some way. I don't tolerate blatant acts of moral decay and evil. Players are asked to behave in a heroic manner and not murder for profit or battle to the death with their fellow players because "they got annoyed" (weak excuse by the way, tell any court that and you'll get the chair). Characters may threaten, bully, steal, and commit various crimes to achieve their goals or even attack each other, but ONLY when the story calls for it and the actions are not blatantly disruptive to the game. Murderous "unaligned" character that are supposedly "anti-heroes" are just not welcome. Be as cold, calculating, callous, and hard edged loner-ish as you want...just don't be evil because it ruins the fun for me, and when the DM's not having fun, he has a hard time making it fun for others.
(except maybe Drow society)

In 3.x there was only one real law in drow society: don't get caught.
(weak excuse by the way, tell any court that and you'll get the chair)

Except that a lot of countries don't have the death penalty anymore.
I will say though that another part of the problem is the fact that Unaligned isn't just about actions or views, it's about specifically not choosing the side of good or evil. You can't just BE Evil. From what I've read, no matter how evil your views or actions, you're not technically Evil unless you specifically agree to serve the ways of Evil.

The differance between the alignment lies in the reason behind your actions.
A LG paladin would agree to clear a nest of *insert vile monster* because its a good thing to do.
An Unaligned warlock would agree to it because its fun, because of the reward, or for both reasons.
While an evil cleric would agree because it'd further his own power, or at least, more so than killing the innocent would.

The action is, at the base level, the same. Only the reason/motivation differs.

Being CE doesn't mean that you'll kill at every opportunity. It is bland, boring and the other party members should dissuade/persuade the CE member from killing someone.
I would not put up with this as a DM.

Unaligned specifically mentions that you have basically chosen to 'not choose' in the cause of good or evil.

A PC that constantly bullies, even murders NPCs is choosing to act evil.

Whether on paper or not, the in game play style is evil.
He is acting evil. Plain and simple. CN never gave people the license to be evil nor did unaligned.
The guy's doing this because he thinks he can get away with it.

Seriously, "Be careful, if you don't give me what I want, I'll kill you!" isn't 'a fair warning', it's 'a threat', and playing that penny ante 'I'm neutral so I'm just protecting the balance by mugging people!' nonsense is just showing disrespect to you and the game.

My suggestion is to just have NPCs not have anything the guy wants. That hapless peasant was broke, that rich merchant was carrying glass gems, that 'magic sword' wasn't. Take away the reward for being a jackass, in other words. If he's still killing for the lulz of it, tell him straight up to knock it off or he's out of the group.

I'm all for roleplaying, but if someone can't enjoy playing a character unless the character's a sociopath, fella's got issues, plain and simple. If he just wants to set stuff on fire, well, there are plenty of video games that offer that sort of entertainment-D&D's a team sport, which means sometimes giving up immediate gratification so that the rest of the group can do something besides clean up your mess.
Shouldn't it be Unaligned Characters? Players don't have alignments.

That said, Vile and Exalted make good baselines, maybe with adjustments. There are a lot of books and contradictions between them.

I like Vile's Lying isn't always evil if the cause is good and you are very careful view. More than the suggestions in later books (Exalted, champions of Ruin) that its always evil.

Neutral in 2nd ed was a bit too narrow: too much "balance" to the extent that you'd fight for both sides.

3rd ed neutral was precursor of Unaligned: people whio don't strongly behave in a Good or Evil fashion fitted.

Point to remember: Neutral and Unaligned aren't just those who aren't strongly either. They can also be used for those who will be ruthless in what they see as a good cause. How ruthless is the tricky part: where the line is drawn. Fits well for many darker heroes. Past a certain point, usually DM's discretion, no amount of heroism can make up for seriously evil behaviour. (Fiendish Codex 2 stressed that afterlife destination was heavily dependant on evil deeds, which outweigh good ones)

The Punisher is a trademark Evil Hero. Elric. And maybe others.
The guy's doing this because he thinks he can get away with it.

Seriously, "Be careful, if you don't give me what I want, I'll kill you!" isn't 'a fair warning', it's 'a threat', and playing that penny ante 'I'm neutral so I'm just protecting the balance by mugging people!' nonsense is just showing disrespect to you and the game.

My suggestion is to just have NPCs not have anything the guy wants. That hapless peasant was broke, that rich merchant was carrying glass gems, that 'magic sword' wasn't. Take away the reward for being a jackass, in other words. If he's still killing for the lulz of it, tell him straight up to knock it off or he's out of the group.

I'm all for roleplaying, but if someone can't enjoy playing a character unless the character's a sociopath, fella's got issues, plain and simple. If he just wants to set stuff on fire, well, there are plenty of video games that offer that sort of entertainment-D&D's a team sport, which means sometimes giving up immediate gratification so that the rest of the group can do something besides clean up your mess.



When I see the word Unaligned, my mind immediately goes to the Malazan series. Unaligned characters in the books were heroes. Sure they were gruff, hard-hearted and merciless in battle (and very gruesome). But they were never murderers or blatant thieves.

This player the OP talks about needs a serious kick in the groin. The DM needs a kick in the arse. I mostly blame DMs for not taking control of THEIR game.
This is Heroic Fantasy, after all. That said, the Hero can be extremely dangerous to be around "No worse fate could befall your people that to fall into the hands of a Hero" Dune.

Good heroes actively go out of their way to avoid doing evil things "because we're not them"

Unaligned heroes might have a little less self control when being mistreated, but that doesn't mean they would mistreat others without very good reasons.

Evil Heroes might do heroic deeds, but use very evil methods, like Elric.

Point to remember is an Evil character isn't free of virtues: but they might restrict such behaviour to their close friends or relatives. Savage Species had a section that stressed Evil characters can still be compassionate or self-sacrificing, just rarely, and to very few.
Not to get into another thick soupy arguement, i'll try to keep this comment as atheistic as possible.

We see good and evil as poles. The poles that, since old times, have used religion to dictate fgood versus evil.

"Follow god [insert name here] be good".
"Don't follow god [ insert name here] be evil/bad!"

THis player is unaligned, meaning he has no moral compass to guide him to good or evil..he sort of 'sits on the fence'.
then each of his actions should reflect this. THis is not his license to flip flop to both sides of the fence whenever he feels like it.

Using the above historical explanation.....I have a simple solution.

Within your game, do you have a God of Murder? A god of Greed?
Or a single god with both of these within their portfolio? Make the god/godess Evil aligned..and slowly move his alignment towards this god, as seeing how all these actions are giving power to this dark god/godess, i'm sure the player will want to know his wanton disregard for life and responsibility for his actions...will have repercussions.
i'm sure the player will want to know his wanton disregard for life and responsibility for his actions...will have repercussions.

Like a kick in the groin.

I am a strong proponent for this course of action.
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