What does "Chaotic" mean?

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Andy Collins posted the following:

WotC_Andy;13827931 wrote:
Don't look back; something might be gaining on you.

My own particular something, in this case, happens to be Chris Perkins, whose blog views are slowly but surely gaining on my own.

I blame his willingness to drop hints about 4E while I rely on folksy anecdotes about my life and the comics I'm reading.

Well, two can play at that game, Mr. Perkins.

Do you think you know what the word Chaotic means?

Really?

Are you sure?

Care to place a wager...

;)

While he's not giving much of a hint, this suggests they're planning on reconceiving what alignment means. Well, if he wants to generate discussion, let's give it to him.

What do I think "Chaotic" means? I see it as referring to an individualism/reductionism. I don't think of Chaos as implying a lack of structure, but rather than any structure is a direct consequence of the individual parts each doing their own thing. Take care of the pieces and the whole will follow. Individual atoms do their own thing, and whole objects are a consequence of the behavior of atoms. Individual people do their own thing, and society is the result.

To contrast this, I think of Law as not merely the presence of structure, but as the view that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. The whole (whether a state or anything else) has its own essence. The properties of the whole determine what the parts are like and how they relate. According to Law, individual people are nothing, do not have an identity, independently of the state/society that are in. The individual cells of an organism differentiate because of the needs of the whole organism, which is more than just a collection of cells.

That's how Law and Chaos make sense to me. And no, Andy, I will not place a wager. Since you didn't really give any hints about the matter, I'm not going to assume that the 4e design team is drawing upon the history of philosophy and science. (That's right, I did not just make up the examples of atoms and cells/organisms. There have also been some who thought wholes determine what individual atoms do, and that cells do their own thing and that the organism is just a byproduct of that. Law/Chaos each would have their own interpretations of the same things.)

I hope this doesn't degenerate into a typical alignment thread. I'm just interested in seeing what some people think Chaos means. If there's enough discussion, maybe Andy will drop a few more hints....
Well I have no doubts that this topic strikes home at the fact that the Dev team has said that the concepts of Alignment will change in both it's structural content and its uses in the system. Personally I'd like to see a switch to something more like WW Storyteller systems uses in the Nature/Demeanor department, which was done in small part with the PHB2 and personality traits... except I want it to replace Alignment completely... morality is relative at it's core so making a rules system to encompass it is a losing proposition from the get-go.

All that aside though Chaos and Law are not actually diametrically opposed. Law in it's D&D context is applying to the use of Order as a structural cosmic force. The true relation between the implied Law and Chaos is distilled down into Stasis Vs. Entropy. Or in layman's terms it's all about balance vs imbalance. Neither is inherently moral, and both are required to define the other making the pair codependent, and the utter lack of one or the other paradoxical.

What this implies in game terms is that your character either tends to seek balance in themselves and their environment (and perhaps the environment of others) or it seeks to upset those balances. The degree to which either is achieved or even sought after, and the resulting moral implications of those actions which result in balance or imbalance is the founding core of the C-N-L alignment spectrum.

Thus for the purpose of the game the implied meaning of "Chaos" means to be or cause imbalanced or seek to be so. Classic examples are easy to draw from, such as Hera's temper and capriciousness, or the aspect of the Morrigue in her representation as the Goddess of War. The lesser degree of example is the junkie that's simply looking to get his next fix at any cost what-so ever, or the self-proclaimed political anarchist who seeks the dissolution of the governmental system.

The important concept here is that balance is a very loose term, and at a very basic level instinct has a tendency to push us to seek beyond balance and into things such as gluttony, sloth, and greed. Of coarse then there's lemmings, in which nature makes me laugh with it's idea of balancing out the population... but hey, you win some you lose some, Balance. Heh.


--KS
What do I think "Chaotic" means?

ughh...the fact that he's asking means DnD will probably be keeping the lame alignment system.

I think Chaotic means two players, playing a paladin and a priest can argue for hours about whether a certain act is/was/will be lawful, good, lawful and good, or neither. Which ends in me saying that their god doesn't care about that dren.
I simply feel that chaotic character does not adhere to the confines of law unless it helps them in a certain situation.
Chaotic Good - steal some bread to feed a starving kid
Chaotic Neutral - steal some bread to feed him/herself and maybe feed the kid
Chaotic Evil - steal the bread, stab the breadmaker, and stab the kid as a witness
Lawful is a rule for everyone.
Chaotic is a rule for each one.
For a dynamical system to be classified as chaotic, it must have the following properties:
  • It must be sensitive to initial conditions;
  • It must be topologically mixing;
  • Its periodic orbits must be dense.

Sorry, but somebody had to say this.:D
ughh...the fact that he's asking means DnD will probably be keeping the lame alignment system.

Well, they've already said that they would. But not with the mechanical effects.

Sorry, but somebody had to say this.:D

Of course. I'm just glad it didn't have to be me. ;)
Andy Collins posted the following:

While he's not giving much of a hint, this suggests they're planning on reconceiving what alignment means. Well, if he wants to generate discussion, let's give it to him.

One thing D&D alignment has always lacked is a real distinction between those that are something and those that believe in something. It is possible to be chaotic without believing in chaos, and to believe in chaos without being chaotic.

A person that is chaotic is someone who is unstable and erratic. Given to making major decisions on whim and changing goals, plans and methods at random intervals.

Being chaotic does not mean being evil or dishonorable, a chaotic person is just as likely to help a beggar as kick him out of the way. But don't expect a chaotic person to act the same way to the next beggar. Depending on the person and the situation, chaotic people may keep a promise. But they don't like making such promises and they often have odd views of constitutes keeping it.

A person that believes in chaos believes in individuality, personal decisions and personal responsibility. They enjoy random events and unpredictable behavior. To those that believe in chaos, only in facing randomness can we define ourselves. People that believe in chaos believe that strong laws prevent people from developing on their own.

People that believe in chaos believe in freedom. Those that believe in chaotic good believe that the greatest good is served by making everybody free to do anything that doesn't harm others. Chaotic neutral believes in freedom as a principle on it's own. If some people want to use that freedom to do good or do evil, that is their choice. Those that believe in chaotic evil believe in the right to get stuff by any means, that all law gets in the way in the end.

Hopefully the 4e rules can make the meanings of the alignments clearer. The 3e writeup was heavily weighted towards good vs evil and continued the common problem of equating lawful and good to a certain extent.

I always like the D&D system compared to most other games systems, because it tries to be a comprehensive breakdown. Most games settle for listing common moral systems without any systematic organization. This is often more practical in the game, and is perfectly fine for a game where universal conflict between moral groups is not common. But in D&D most campaigns have such an element at some level. Conflicts between good and evil and/or law and chaos plus balance as a principle of morality make for a complex system open to many odd alliances and moral questions.

Jay
I think I am a bit less metaphysical in thinking than some. I basically see Law / Chaos as being one part of the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator. Law is the Judging type, Chaos is the Perceiving type.
Sticking it to the man.
Chaotic as an alignment:
Individualistic, independant, ignores what society expects if that goes against the individual's own beliefs. Ignores laws that aren't relevant or, in the individual's opinion, don't have any worthwhile reason to exist. Doesn't like to stick to a particular routine. Can have a strong code of conduct, but it is all based on personal beliefs and not the expectations of others. Tends to be impulsive, tends toward action. Sometimes gets easily bored. Allegiances, if any, are generally to specific people.

Classical Greek and Irish heroes were chaotic.


Lawful:
Prefers organization, plans ahead, believes that everything has its place. Tends to conform to what other people expect of their chosen role. Likes to know who's in charge, obeys laws, even the pointless ones. Codes of conduct are rigid, common, and generally take into account what the culture considers to be useful virtues. Likes routine and dislikes impulsive action. Tends to expect other people to behave, and is quite willing to impose rules on others. Very much "mission oriented". Can be extremely patient. Allegiances are to specific organizations or positions, not generally to individuals.


Those are my takes on Lawful and Chaotic. YMMV.
morality is relative at it's core

I have seen this sentiment expressed on the D&D boards quite a bit, over time. It is just not true. There are artificial morals, and true morals. Example: Your society says, if you are a man with long hair; you are a sinner. That's an artificial moral.

A true moral would be: A lazy slacker plays the summer away, he does not put in a field. Now come winter, he is in trouble his barn has no produce. Now his neighbor has worked all summer long. his barn is full. The slacker kills his neighbor, and takes the food. The lazy one has shown true immoral behavior.

Basically, if you do something to someone, that you would truly hate having done to yourself, it is probably, truly immoral. Whereas if it is a societal Taboo it is likely not. Though many laws of society also reflect true morality.

I got no ideas on the chaotic thing.
I have seen this sentiment expressed on the D&D boards quite a bit, over time. It is just not true. There are artificial morals, and true morals.

So you claim, but what if one person claims something is a "true moral," and another denies it? How do you decide which one is right? Ultimately, you have to choose according to your own inherently subjective standards, which is why morality is ultimately relative.

--------

Anyway, someone who is Chaotic prefers individualism to structured organizations. They distrust people who try to put constraints on their autonomy, they have little regard for official hierarchies and rules, they do not feel comfortable being a cog in anyone's machine, etc. Also, in a way similar to the way a Lawful person can be a stick-in-the-mud getting tied up with bureaucracy and useless rules, or might sacrifice personal happiness out of duty or obedience, a Chaotic person may choose to go it alone even when he could work with a group for his own benefit, or may rebel almost out of habit even when it causes him trouble or pain. A Chaotic person may distance himself from allies when things get a little too tightly knit just to prove he's still autonomous - think Han Solo periodically making a big snit out of needing to go off on his own all the time, and acting like he's about to walk out after just one more mission.

A Chaotic Good person most likely generalizes that what makes him happy will also lead to the general happiness and come to the conclusion that people are happiest when they are free.
Since this is the first time I've heard any official talk of alignment in 4 E, let me take this oppurtunity to go on a screed about alignment in general. My problem is that I write a lot of stuff, and I read a lot of Shakespeare. A character in good fiction often fully encompasses and surpasses each and everyone of the 9 alignments. What the hell was King Lear? If MacBeth didn't start out so good, then his corruption and downfall would not have been a tragedy. In fact, I'd say that the driving force behind most great storries is the shifting of the moral character of the protagonists.

So with all of these ideas floating in my head, you can imagine me when it is time to select an alignment for my character. I almost always already know what my character's ethical and ideological make up is and even have a general concept of how he or she will change as the story progresses. The tricky part is cramming it all into an Alignment.

I'll use one of my favorite characters as an example. Stephius DiBran was my first Ebberon character. He was a human swashbuckler, and in most regards he was chaotic neutral. He roamed the lands, drinking, carousing, wrecklessly dueling, lieing, seducing, but all the while pursuing his goal of stealing and pilloting his own airship... even if he had to bring down a few governments in the process. However, because Stephius was so egomaniacle, it was important to him that he felt heroic. He was always vowwing to slay this evil or correct that injustice, but often it was just posturing. However sometimes he did walk the walk, and not just to appease the good characters in the group. Whenever Stephius did something good, it reinforced his heroic self-image, and helped him forget about his vices. So some times for entire sessions he seemed to behave, more or less, as a good character. But his intentions were base and fickle. The one area in which Stephius was actually altruistic was friendship. He had no problem betraying most people, and his word was worthless, although mentioning either of those thing to him could result in a duel. However, once in a while he would decide that someone was actually his friend, and from there, he would not betray their interest (although he still might mislead them for their own good.) Note that these loyalties were always to males, as he viewed all women as inferior play things to be manipulated.

So I think you can see my problem with choosing an alignment. Ultimately I just pick one and play my character the way I intended and this works. I still feel wierd about it and depending on the DM, this can cause some disputes.

However, I understand the function of alignment. Many inexperienced, hack-n-slash, or ass-hat players need some sort of frame work to help them behave consistently. Many DM's need some sort of concrete rules for what a character's range of behaviour is so that they can predict and guide the campaign as it moves along. Although, truth be told, they don't give the DM a lot of authority to enforce alignment. To illustrate the hollowness of alignment as a control mechanism I give you a short play:
DM: Your character wouldn't eat that baby, you're Lawful Good.
Munchkin: What do you mean? It's my character and I'll determine his actions. He doesn't think that allowing a child to grow up in such a savage part of the world is just, and he thinks wasting good nutrients is abhorrent with all of the starving children and Kolbolds in the world. And besides, I don't think this thorp falls within the legal jurisdiction of any particular kingdom, so it is perfectly lawful.
DM: No you can't eat the baby... I'll... um... dock your experience.
Munchkin: Um, hello... it specifically states in th DMG that you should never dock experience points to punish someone.
Other Player: Yeah if you can't even follow the basic guidlines set forth in the DMG, then you are inherrently a bad DM.
DM: Fine... but I'm gonna send in a wandering paladin to stop you, and the gods are going to punish you with lightning bolts.
Munchkin: Hey what's that sucking noise?
Other Player: It must be all of the suspension of disbelief leaving the room.
DM: (Exsasperated) Fine! Just eat the damn baby!
Munchkin: Woohoo! California Cheeseburger! I've foiled the DM once again!

So I guess my point (if I have one) is that Alignment needs to be radically altered and hopefully even replaced with a new and less stifling system. Everyone has a different idea of what each allignment means, and usually the interpretations that get put in the books are some of the dumbest. So I sincerely hope that we don't just see some new designer re-explain what all of the old allignments mean to him and call it a fresh new system. And apologies if I went way off topic.
I have seen this sentiment expressed on the D&D boards quite a bit, over time. It is just not true. There are artificial morals, and true morals. Example: Your society says, if you are a man with long hair; you are a sinner. That's an artificial moral.

So you claim, but what if one person claims something is a "true moral," and another denies it? How do you decide which one is right? Ultimately, you have to choose according to your own inherently subjective standards, which is why morality is ultimately relative.

Because it's very easy for this to degenerate into a flamewar (I'm not suggesting you two were flaming, just that the topic is volatile), I'd like to point out that this is off topic for this thread. Let's please talk about our hopes and expectations for alignment in 4e, and not discuss moral theory. Thanks.
I'll use one of my favorite characters as an example. Stephius DiBran was my first Ebberon character. He was a human swashbuckler, and in most regards he was chaotic neutral. He roamed the lands, drinking, carousing, wrecklessly dueling, lieing, seducing, but all the while pursuing his goal of stealing and pilloting his own airship... even if he had to bring down a few governments in the process. However, because Stephius was so egomaniacle, it was important to him that he felt heroic. He was always vowwing to slay this evil or correct that injustice, but often it was just posturing. However sometimes he did walk the walk, and not just to appease the good characters in the group. Whenever Stephius did something good, it reinforced his heroic self-image, and helped him forget about his vices. So some times for entire sessions he seemed to behave, more or less, as a good character. But his intentions were base and fickle. The one area in which Stephius was actually altruistic was friendship. He had no problem betraying most people, and his word was worthless, although mentioning either of those thing to him could result in a duel. However, once in a while he would decide that someone was actually his friend, and from there, he would not betray their interest (although he still might mislead them for their own good.) Note that these loyalties were always to males, as he viewed all women as inferior play things to be manipulated.

Sounds like a good example of chaotic neutral to chaotic neutral-evil, possibly chaotic evil. It would depend on how much he is willing to hurt others for his gain and how far he goes in looking for his gain.

Alignments are not meant to be straight jackets and people without clerical investment don't have to conform to their alignment perfectly. This is doubly true of chaotic neutral, people of that alignment are rarely concerned with balancing good and evil but instead wander back and forth seemingly at random.

Plus, characters do change alignment as they grow. There might be a price to pay, as old friends and allies leave you, and even more if you are a cleric and move outside the range your religion allows. But over the course of their career, characters should evolve and in many cases that could mean a shift of alignment.

Jay
I have seen this sentiment expressed on the D&D boards quite a bit, over time. It is just not true. There are artificial morals, and true morals. Example: Your society says, if you are a man with long hair; you are a sinner. That's an artificial moral.

A true moral would be: A lazy slacker plays the summer away, he does not put in a field. Now come winter, he is in trouble his barn has no produce. Now his neighbor has worked all summer long. his barn is full. The slacker kills his neighbor, and takes the food. The lazy one has shown true immoral behavior.

Basically, if you do something to someone, that you would truly hate having done to yourself, it is probably, truly immoral. Whereas if it is a societal Taboo it is likely not. Though many laws of society also reflect true morality.

I got no ideas on the chaotic thing.

I have to say I disagree completely. Morality is a uniquely human characteristic (although recently chimps have been shown to demonstrate altruism) and as such it does not exist outside of humanities ethos. If morality was a universal constant and a non-relative then it would exist independent of humanity.

What IS true is that there is behavior that we are generally inclined to follow because it leads to better survivability in social groups. The fact that morality can be reflected in so many shades of grays and maybes in the human experience is rather conclusive IMO that it's relative. The fact that you demonstrate using one individuals' point of view to categorize morality for others by personal projection of preferences is utterly relative.

If you wish to establish morality as non-relative you need to use stand-alone definitive examples. I appreciate your diversity in opinion though, as every coin has more than one side.


-- KS
To follow up that last post I think that you cannot discuss the potential effects and uses of alignment WITHOUT discussing the idea of morality as at least HALF of the commonly used alignment system is based on the classic G-N-E spectrum of morality. You cannot, in essence, have a discussion about a moral derivitive while at the same time ignoring the source. That being said It's obvious that morality is a touchy subject so we should at least attempt to relate any discussion of morals directly back to the Alignment mechanic, which in the last post I utterly failed to do. Thus to compensate:

Alignment should not be a rule. It should be a general indicator, or guideline to be used in determining social compatibilities or vague preferences. I believe this is where 4E is going and I applaud WotC's handling of this sacred cow if this is indeed the case. In addendum to this I believe spells and affects that are used in this system should be reworked to be non-alignment based... no more Detect Evil for Paladin's and the like. If you want protection from demons and elementals then make spells that do that sort of thing based on Type/Sub-type. I also think that alignment should not be a focal point for deities, as I vastly prefer the use of portfolios as is done in FR and it makes more sense IMO to war between deities over the access and control of a portfolio than "Because I'm Good and your Evil".


-- KS
Chaotic means "never having to say you're sorry!"

Couldn't resist.
Being chaotic means wanting 4th dimention cthuloid horrors to tear the barriers of reality asunder and throw the waking world into a constant state of nightmarish malformed flux. In slightly smaller doses it goes under the guise of following your own rules. But the next time you see a wild ranger with a devil-may-care attitude, you punch him in the face and let him know right where his attitude leads. Don't believe the lies - in D&D Dagon and Robin Hood play for the same team!
I look at chaos verses law as a matter of how you look at morality.

For example a lawful person does things based upon what he has been told to do throughout his life. Things are more black and white, he doesn't need to think too hard about cutting off the thief's hand because he was raised that, that was how it's done. He has strict views on how to handle specific situations with rules, laws and taboos. As long as he the situation falls into one of these, he can make a decision quickly and will stand by them whether it makes sense or not. If a lawful person was raised to believe that one should not lie and it is without honor they'll be hard to convince to lie. The advantage of being lawful is that once a person gets to know you, whether you are good or evil, they can trust you to follow your ideals as close as possible. This makes it so that there is no doubt why you did something. His biggest fault is that sometimes the rules need to be broken and he might be caught like a deer in head lights taking his friend with him. His biggest asset is, once he's convinced a course of action is the right one, he'll follow it through till the end, come hell or high water.

A chaotic person is just the opposite, everything is subjective with him, he does things more on intuition and based upon as much information as he can find. He's less likely to look at something and always follow a specific course. He's more adaptive than the lawful person, but at the same time can be a bit less trustworthy as a result. He's also easier to convince to follow alternate solutions to a problem, which means he's likely to to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. His biggest fault is, he's a bit of a maverick, he may start of following the plan, but if he thinks he sees an opening to accomplish things easier or take a short cut, there's a good chance he'll take it, and everyone can get stuck up in the aftermath if his impulsive choice was the wrong one. His biggest advantage is, he can adapt to almost any situation and will be less likely to hold the group back with stubborn intractability.
Do you think you know what the word Chaotic means?

Really?

Are you sure?

Care to place a wager...

He's probably talking about the development of the Wizard class.
To follow up that last post I think that you cannot discuss the potential effects and uses of alignment WITHOUT discussing the idea of morality as at least HALF of the commonly used alignment system is based on the classic G-N-E spectrum of morality. You cannot, in essence, have a discussion about a moral derivitive while at the same time ignoring the source.

Fair enough. I was just wanting to avoid any potential flames, especially because I know I've been sucked into them in the past. But I still find alignment interesting, hence this thread.

Also, I appreciate that you pointed out the following:

That being said It's obvious that morality is a touchy subject so we should at least attempt to relate any discussion of morals directly back to the Alignment mechanic

This is the sort of thing I want.

On that note, I just had an interesting thought. All this stuff on the relativity of morality... I wonder if they're trying to make alignment relative in the game. Perhaps a character can be Chaotic in one context, and in another context the same character acting in the same manner might be Lawful. A barbarian following his tribe's traditions can be considered Lawful in his tribe, yet Chaotic in a city. I'm not sure how they'd implement this in a way that wasn't too complicated, but it could be a possibility.
I look at chaos verses law as a matter of how you look at morality.

You have an interesting take here. But as I read your examples, I can see how they would apply to Chaotic Good and Lawful Good. How would you describe it with Evil alignments?
So I guess my point (if I have one) is that Alignment needs to be radically altered and hopefully even replaced with a new and less stifling system. Everyone has a different idea of what each allignment means, and usually the interpretations that get put in the books are some of the dumbest. So I sincerely hope that we don't just see some new designer re-explain what all of the old allignments mean to him and call it a fresh new system. And apologies if I went way off topic.

I think the alignment rules should be
"The DM is the ultimate judge on whether or not an action is Good, evil, lawful, or chaotic." honestly, they could fill the entire PHB with "what is (insert alignment)" and it still couldn't possibly fill in all of the blanks, so just giving the DM the authority to determine it for his/her world ad hoc, is the best way to do it
The essential theme song- Get a little bit a fluff da' fluff, get a little bit a fluff da' fluff! (ooh yeah) Repeat Unless noted otherwise every thing I post is my opinion, and probably should be taken as tongue in cheek any way.
I've always seen chaotic as "individualistic" and lawful as "gregarious" but just a second quality defining factor of your ethic. I'd like to see the alignment system more in the way of 2E in which what really cared was if you were good or evil, and being chaotic or lawful was more a matter of taste than a solid rule.

Asides, I´m seriously annoyed at the overproliferance of axiomatic/chaotic effects, objects, etc in 3.x

I'd prefer it just be the old good "good vs evil" theme or the everfun twist "let's make those goodies suffer"
Don't look back; something might be gaining on you.

My own particular something, in this case, happens to be Chris Perkins, whose blog views are slowly but surely gaining on my own.

I blame his willingness to drop hints about 4E while I rely on folksy anecdotes about my life and the comics I'm reading.

Well, two can play at that game, Mr. Perkins.

Do you think you know what the word Chaotic means?

Really?

Are you sure?

Care to place a wager...

I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I think what Andy is saying to Mr. Perkins is that in order to catch up to him in number of posts he isn't going to just post 'about my life and the comics I'm reading', but about any random thing he can come up with. Andy may plan on showing Mr. Perkins the meaning of chaotic by posting in such a manner.

But don't let that stop the discussion - carry on...
The Piazza A renaissance of the Old Worlds. Where any setting can be explored, any rules system discussed, and any combination of the two brought to life.
Oy vay. Philosophers smarter than you or I have wrangled for centuries with the question of whether or not morality is relative. We're not going to convince anyone of anything on a D&D game board, and trying will get tempers raised. Suffice it to say that I find it annoying when one treats either relativism or objectivism as "obvious", and recommend that the matter be dropped.

It's irrelevant to the discussion, anyway. Even if morality is completely imaginary in the real world, in core D&D, as in most of the source materials it draws upon, alignment is emphatically not. Good and Evil are very real forces in the typical fantasy world, and to avoid discussion of their quite tangible effects seems to cheapen the experience.

Now, Law and Chaos? Not so obvious. Zelazny and Moorcock certainly use them, but from what I can gather (I'm not a big fan of either author) they're more relativistic surrogates for Good and Evil than forces that exist in addition to the two. Think of it this way: how do you describe the alignment of squeaky-clean paladin types if you acknowledge the possibility that their zeal for doing what they perceive to be right could lead them into an antagonistic role in the context of a story? Say that they're "lawful" rather than "good", of course. There's also the notion that the "right" attitude with respect to Law and Chaos is in the middle, that balance is desirable. If you examine the ideas of objective Good and Evil, on the other hand, you'll find that the idea of balance between them really makes no sense. What's desirable, at least for the average mortal, is not balance but rather Good, triumphant and invincible; that's what Good means. So these two axes look like they have very different qualities; they're more two different perspectives of looking at morality than two different but connected aspects of morality.

With this in mind, consider my prediction for 4E alignment to be a divorcing of the Law/Chaos axis from the Good/Evil axis. You can still have the famous "12th level lawful good paladin", but if you were to rephrase the description you'd find that he's now a "12th level paladin who's lawful and good" rather than a "12th level paladin who's lawful good" - his lawfulness and his goodness are no longer so closely related.
I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I think what Andy is saying to Mr. Perkins is that in order to catch up to him in number of posts he isn't going to just post 'about my life and the comics I'm reading', but about any random thing he can come up with. Andy may plan on showing Mr. Perkins the meaning of chaotic by posting in such a manner.

But don't let that stop the discussion - carry on...

Hahah, that may very well be the case. No matter.

With this in mind, consider my prediction for 4E alignment to be a divorcing of the Law/Chaos axis from the Good/Evil axis. You can still have the famous "12th level lawful good paladin", but if you were to rephrase the description you'd find that he's now a "12th level paladin who's lawful and good" rather than a "12th level paladin who's lawful good" - his lawfulness and his goodness are no longer so closely related.

Could you explain what you mean in more detail? Perhaps an example of each, with the differences highlighted?
You have an interesting take here. But as I read your examples, I can see how they would apply to Chaotic Good and Lawful Good. How would you describe it with Evil alignments?

Lawful evil and chaotic evil fit in quite fine, when you consider that they have a different morality than you.

Both a chaotic evil and lawful evil both want to get what's best for themselves regardless of the wellbeing of others. The difference is how they go about doing it. A lawful evil person will have very specific things that he believes will best work and will follow them to the letter. He may be honorable and keep his word because without your word being any good no one will trust you and you'll shame yourself and your family which hurts your pride.

A chaotic evil person, is out for number one and the only thing predictable about him is that the interest he has is his own.

Eh, it's complicated and kind of hard to explain.

Chaos and Law are basically different in how you approach a problem.

If you rely upon tradition, rules, regulations, laws, a well defined moral code, ect to make most of your major decisions you are lawful.

If you rely upon your ability to adapt to the situation at hand and are open to finding new ways to solve the major problems in your life, you are chaotic.
It is the nature of chaos that nobody knows what it means.
Chaos and Law are basically different in how you approach a problem.

Ah. Yes, that's a common way of interpreting them.
Andy Collins posted the following:

Originally Posted by WotC_Andy
Don't look back; something might be gaining on you.

My own particular something, in this case, happens to be Chris Perkins, whose blog views are slowly but surely gaining on my own.

I blame his willingness to drop hints about 4E while I rely on folksy anecdotes about my life and the comics I'm reading.

Well, two can play at that game, Mr. Perkins.

Do you think you know what the word Chaotic means?

Really?

Are you sure?

Care to place a wager...




While he's not giving much of a hint, this suggests they're planning on reconceiving what alignment means. Well, if he wants to generate discussion, let's give it to him.

What do I think "Chaotic" means? [snip] I'm just interested in seeing what some people think Chaos means. If there's enough discussion, maybe Andy will drop a few more hints....

I'll tell you what I think he means. He means Chaos is going to refer to the risks a character is willing to take. Basically, take the barbarian as an example. She takes a big risk every time she rages. She is risking that she will run out of hit points by the end of the encounter when her bonus Con wears off, and pretty much automatically die. I think we're going to see a lot more of this when the designers start making Chaotic spells, feats, powers, and maybe even whole classes.

Basically, Chaotic characters are willing to risk a lot for a huge gain. They make bigger wagers. We have already seen some discussion of this with regard to some of the D&D Miniatures lines.

I guess this means, conversely, that Lawful characters are going to be more conservative, and go for the sure thing.

This idea is not new to the whole alignment issue, but it is something that hasn't been as much focused on in 3rd edition "chaotic" game mechanics. I'll say it would certainly be interesting to see Chaos built on game theory, so I will reserve judgment, but at the same time I do think that Chaos is much more than just your behaviour with regard to how much you are typically willing to risk.

Still, it was hard in 3rd edition to think of abilities, spells, and feats that reflected "chaos is your outlook toward group organization."

It remains to be seen how far the 4th edition development team wants to take this whole "alignment as betting behaviour" thing. Maybe you can actually make action point wagers, and a chaotic alignment could let you make bigger bets?

Also, the problem with major betting is that sometimes you lose, and when you lose in D&D, that often means something sucky like fatigue, or death. The bigger the wager, the less fun the negative outcome is. Thus, such a system might provoke players into tending toward the middle ground between law and chaos.

But anyways, that was just conjecture.
I can't really define "Chaotic" as a D&D term without defining the alignment matrix as I see it.

In simplest terms Chaotic means - "The Rights of the Individual are more important than the needs of the State (Group, Religion, Party, Ethos, what-have-you)."

Lawful means - "The needs of the State (Group, Religion, Collective) are more important than the Rights of the Individual."

Good means - "Life has value"

Evil means - "Life does not have value"

Lawful Good - The people serve the State for the betterment of them all.
Chaotic Good - The State allows the people to seek their own best interests, provided they bring no harm to other members of the state.
Lawful Evil - I am the state and everyone serves me.
Chaotic Evil - everyone, I'll do what I want.
I like the idea of Chaos as individualism with Law as conformism or comunalism. That would make Vimes Chaotic Good while Reg Shoe would be Lawful Good. Makes perfect sense to me.
I can't really define "Chaotic" as a D&D term without defining the alignment matrix as I see it.

In simplest terms Chaotic means - "The Rights of the Individual are more important than the needs of the State (Group, Religion, Party, Ethos, what-have-you)."

Lawful means - "The needs of the State (Group, Religion, Collective) are more important than the Rights of the Individual."

Good means - "Life has value"

Evil means - "Life does not have value"

Lawful Good - The people serve the State for the betterment of them all.
Chaotic Good - The State allows the people to seek their own best interests, provided they bring no harm to other members of the state.
Lawful Evil - I am the state and everyone serves me.
Chaotic Evil - everyone, I'll do what I want.

I agree with you entirerly.
I'll tell you what I think he means. He means Chaos is going to refer to the risks a character is willing to take. Basically, take the barbarian as an example. She takes a big risk every time she rages. She is risking that she will run out of hit points by the end of the encounter when her bonus Con wears off, and pretty much automatically die. I think we're going to see a lot more of this when the designers start making Chaotic spells, feats, powers, and maybe even whole classes.

Basically, Chaotic characters are willing to risk a lot for a huge gain. They make bigger wagers. We have already seen some discussion of this with regard to some of the D&D Miniatures lines.

I guess this means, conversely, that Lawful characters are going to be more conservative, and go for the sure thing.

This idea is not new to the whole alignment issue, but it is something that hasn't been as much focused on in 3rd edition "chaotic" game mechanics. I'll say it would certainly be interesting to see Chaos built on game theory, so I will reserve judgment, but at the same time I do think that Chaos is much more than just your behaviour with regard to how much you are typically willing to risk.

Still, it was hard in 3rd edition to think of abilities, spells, and feats that reflected "chaos is your outlook toward group organization."

It remains to be seen how far the 4th edition development team wants to take this whole "alignment as betting behaviour" thing. Maybe you can actually make action point wagers, and a chaotic alignment could let you make bigger bets?

Also, the problem with major betting is that sometimes you lose, and when you lose in D&D, that often means something sucky like fatigue, or death. The bigger the wager, the less fun the negative outcome is. Thus, such a system might provoke players into tending toward the middle ground between law and chaos.

But anyways, that was just conjecture.

A very interesting take that could make for a fun game. But I do believe they've said that alignment will not have any mechanical effects in 4e.
I can't really define "Chaotic" as a D&D term without defining the alignment matrix as I see it.

In simplest terms Chaotic means - "The Rights of the Individual are more important than the needs of the State (Group, Religion, Party, Ethos, what-have-you)."

Lawful means - "The needs of the State (Group, Religion, Collective) are more important than the Rights of the Individual."

Good means - "Life has value"

Evil means - "Life does not have value"

Lawful Good - The people serve the State for the betterment of them all.
Chaotic Good - The State allows the people to seek their own best interests, provided they bring no harm to other members of the state.
Lawful Evil - I am the state and everyone serves me.
Chaotic Evil - everyone, I'll do what I want.

Largely what I was describing in the first post of this thread, except that I didn't discuss Good/Evil, and I expanded Law/Chaos to more than just political issues. I embedded the political stances in a larger metaphysical world-view. Neutrality would be the view that both wholes and parts have relevant properties that may interact. Or, neutrality could simply be not caring one way or the other on this issue.

Incidentally, I would define Good/Evil slightly differently. I'd say that Good is altruism and Evil is selfishness. I'd see Neutrality here as not being selfish, but also not feeling the need to run out and save the world.
Lawful people would try to define what chaotic means.
Chaotic people woudn't.
Chaos isn't "Me First." "Me First" is more of an Evil thing.

Chaos isn't a "random" thing of "I'll do what I feel like" either.

Chaos is a lot more "Let's just play it by ear, every situation is different."

Chaos is a lot of "I have friends that I trust," but almost never "There are organizations I'm loyal to." A Chaotic character might trust an Organization's Leader, but that loyalty wouldn't transend to the Organization itself.

A Chaotic Cleric serves the Deity and not the Church. A Paladin probably can't distinguish the difference between the Deity and the Church.
Chaos is a lot more "Let's just play it by ear, every situation is different."

Chaos is a lot of "I have friends that I trust," but almost never "There are organizations I'm loyal to." A Chaotic character might trust an Organization's Leader, but that loyalty wouldn't transend to the Organization itself.

A Chaotic Cleric serves the Deity and not the Church. A Paladin probably can't distinguish the difference between the Deity and the Church.

That sounds more like Int > 12, Wis > 12. And not AL = CX