I've actually never played D&D before either. Unless one counts the Baldur's Gate series of computer games, which had a game system (loosely) based on second edition D&D (at least I think it was second edition).
I think that traditionally, the Good-to-Evil scale has been interpreted largely in terms of how one views one's actions towards other people. A good person believes in doing good, a neutral person believes in not doing harm, and an evil person has no restrictions. Thus, while a self-serving individual could not be considered 'good', he could be either neutral or evil, depending on how he goes about being self-serving. And likewise, someone who is not self-serving couldn't really be evil, but he could be neutral or good, depending on whether "not self-serving" means "has a heart to help other people" or simply "he serves something other than himself".
After reading the essays a little more thoroughly and thinking deep, philosophic thoughts, that's my interpretation of the whole 'alignment' thing in the context of self-serving.
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Post by Christian Soldier on Feb 20, 2013 15:00:21 GMT -5
That's true until you get to so called "Lawful" characterizations. A lawful good character will follow his moral and ethical compass regardless. And enforce it on others. Lawful neutral might refuse to take part in combat for either side, regardless of stakes. Lawful evil follows his own code regardless of how others perceive it. Interestingly, there is little difference between any of the Lawful alignments other than how the world views their moral/ethical code.
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Post by newburydave on Feb 21, 2013 11:22:55 GMT -5
Jeff Gerke in his book "Character development for the Plot first Novellist" recommends that we use the Meirs Briggs personality sorter tool to "Create" our characters.
He includes a reference section where the different personality types are characterized by their typical responses/actions to various scenario's.
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Yea for Jeff! And the Myers-Briggs. There's actually a free online tool, it's a short test that identifies the taker by Myers-Briggs type. When I have a half-baked character I really want to flesh out, I take the test AS the character in question. The results aren't always perfect (it's only 72 questions, instead of the 3 hour drama that is the full paper version of the Myers-Briggs), so sometimes you want to look up "neighboring" types to see if a description there fits a character better. (For real people, sometimes our mood or current thinking process will alter how we come out on the test. An INTP may have a crabby day, for example, and test out as an INTJ.)
Post by Bethany J. on Feb 22, 2013 15:18:25 GMT -5
Myers-Briggs is awesome for understanding your characters! I run all my main protagonists through that 72-question test, and the results are usually accurate and very helpful.
I'm always an INFJ.
Last Edit: Feb 22, 2013 15:19:43 GMT -5 by Bethany J.
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