Just in case anyone had forgotten, alignments are still stupid and valueless.
We get along in daily life just fine without alignments. We know that ISIS are a pretty bad lot, and we don't need a know alignment spell for that. Thing is, nothing is as simple as an alignment makes it out to be. They don't think they're evil. They think they're good, and we're evil. They're not, like a demon, out to cause suffering - they're out to *right wrongs* and *fight evildoers* and *do god's work*. They're the *good guys* - to them.
Contrast that with something unambiguous, like a demon. It lives to cause suffering, sow confusion, turn brother against brother. It feeds on discord and disharmony. It has one goal: harm. It is *evil*. But that's not an alignment, that's its *nature*.
Was Donald Rumsfeld chaotic evil? He certainly seems like it, but a
more probable explanation than the apparent one (he just wants to cause
mayhem and suffering) is that he's on a deeply misguided quest to help
himself and his friends and maybe his country. So, is he lawful good? Chaotic good?
He's not evil or good or
lawful or chaotic - he's just a person, like anyone else.
Sure, you could assign an alignment to him, argue your case, and I
could assign another one, and argue my case, and at the end of the day -
how has that helped us understand him? How does that help us in any
Assigning an alignment to Rumsfeld doesn't help us at all.
Another example: was Gaddafi chaotic evil? He did some twisted shit, to
be sure, but he also eradicated homelessness in Libya, fought for the
rights of women and blacks (elements of society traditionally crushed
underfoot in North African/Arab/Muslim society), worked to reduce income
inequality, sought pan-Arab and then pan-African solidarity - creating
the African Union. He worked within the law when it suited him, and
outside the law when it suited him. Sometimes he did good, sometimes he
Was he Chaotic Good? Was he Lawful Evil? You could make a convincing
case for both. You could make a strong case for Chaotic Neutral.
The point is, the alignment system doesn't actually work. Everybody
is all of the alignments some of the time. We're people, we're complex.
We can't be reduced to a two-axis chart.
I should hope your PCs and NPCs are the same.