Lion of the Blogosphere

Question for those who played old-school D&D

Who would you rather have for a next door neighbor?

A. Someone who is lawful evil?
B. Someone who is chaotic good?


“islandmommy” writes:

Son is a hardcore d&d geek so I asked him. He says it’s really, really complicated but chaotic good is better. So can you tell us more about your d&d past?

This is highlighted because it’s the wrong answer, but it had me confused when I was a teenager. What was Gary Gygax thinking putting this philosophical “alignment” stuff into a game played by people who were mostly too young to get it? And because most of the players were, themselves, lawful in temperament (even though they probably didn’t realize it at the time), they dutifully followed the rules and insisted that every character have an alignment.

The answer to the question is that a lawful evil person would make a better neighbor because lawful people live quiet lives and keep their property well maintained. They have high conscientiousness and high future-time orientation.

A chaotic good person wouldn’t mug you or steal from you, but they throw loud parties, and during one of those parties one of their chaotic neutral friends might urinate on your lawn.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 30, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Posted in Nerdy stuff

27 Responses

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  1. Lawful evil, due to the regularity-but high THAC0 gear makes for good neighbors.


    December 30, 2012 at 2:30 PM

  2. Never played D&D but I know the terms. Lawful Evil –every– time.


    December 30, 2012 at 2:31 PM

  3. Revision: a high thac0 makes for good neighbors.


    December 30, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    • Is that a relative of ‘An armed society is a polite society’?

      I should point out that a high THAC0 means you tend to miss a lot, which would mean your neighbors feel OK attacking you…unless you’re using the meth equipment in your basement to cast Fireball…


      December 31, 2012 at 1:55 PM

  4. chaotic good – we already have a POTUS for lawful evil

    Lion of the Turambar

    December 30, 2012 at 2:59 PM

  5. Probably lawful evil. I assume that describes the mafia? As long as you stay on their good side, there are benefits to having them as neighbors.


    December 30, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    • Not according to Scorsese. He says there was a pervasive low-level fear of their caprice.

      Mike Eisenstadt

      December 30, 2012 at 5:50 PM

  6. Nitpick: If you want to be old-school, you should have asked, “Lawful or Chaotic?” This “Good” and “Evil” business only started with Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.

    I’m going to set aside my own further misgivings about alignment is hard to apply to real human beings, how the 4e alignment better illustrates human nature than 2e/3e, and assume the descriptions assigned in the 3.5e SRD.

    Under those assumptions, I’d prefer Mr Robin Hood to Mr Joseph Stalin. I wouldn’t like living next to either, though.


    December 30, 2012 at 3:43 PM

  7. It’s lawful evil for me too. It’s the alignment I always pick in D&D and it’s always nice to have some ally you can rely on.


    December 30, 2012 at 4:05 PM

  8. Son is a hardcore d&d geek so I asked him. He says it’s really, really complicated but chaotic good is better. So can you tell us more about your d&d past?


    December 30, 2012 at 4:41 PM

  9. A mix of both was he character Tony Soprano. As a mobster, was Lawful Evil. In essence, this meant that althogh he was a ruthless murderer, but you could count on him playing staight with you in business dealings as long as you acted in good faith with him.

    In contrast, Paulie Walnuts was chaotic evil. He would gratuitously screw over his protection racket customers (lawn care guys), or woudl implusively kill civilians in robbery (old woman in nursing home, waiter who complained about being stiffed).

    Christopher Moltesante was Neutral Evil. He treid to play it stright but his drug additiction and sensitive ego woudl sometimes get teh best of him.

    Going bakc to Tony Soprano, he was Lawful Evil with streaks of Chaotic Good. Those happened when he killed a made man who abused a stripper, and otehr similar occasions.

    I’d rather live next door to Lawful Evil for reasons other said. Chaotic Good types can turn on you unpredictably “in good intentions”.


    December 30, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    • Which shows why alignments don’t work on real people. 😉


      December 31, 2012 at 8:49 AM

  10. Additional question for D&D players:
    Have you ever had sex?
    Answer (100% of all respondents):



    December 30, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    • I’ve played D&D, and I have had sex. Of course, there was a 10-year hiatus between the two, so your point stands. 😉

      Since the game was popular, changing nerd demographics mean you probably could pick up a few porkers. A hot girl is unlikely.

      Particularly amusingly, the comic posted above has the guard looking very, very much like the 1st-ed Hobgoblin in the Monster Manual, so most likely there’s a little irony there too.


      December 31, 2012 at 8:46 AM

  11. Depends

    If the chaotic good is a hot chick, it just miiiiiight be worth it


    December 30, 2012 at 7:06 PM

  12. Lawful evil – turns you in to the Gestapo, because, hey, its the law

    Chaotic good – lets you and your family hide from Gestapo in their basement

    Evil drones are not your friends, and they don’t love their neighbors.

    not too late

    December 30, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    • I think I’d enjoy being in the Gestapo more than being stressed all day long by hiding people who didn’t leave the country soon enough.


      December 31, 2012 at 12:21 AM

      • Just a few more years and you’ll get to find out for real


        December 31, 2012 at 4:41 AM

      • Obviously we’re assuming you’re not in one of the groups the Gestapo is after here.

        Fun to kick down doors and beat up people in jackboots, no question, but you tended to get in trouble after the war. You have to figure out if the regime you’re joining has long-term legs, or you’ll end up in jail for war crimes. The Nazis weren’t going to win–good fighters, but simply too outnumbered–but it’s easy to see how people in, say, Poland might miss that at the time.


        December 31, 2012 at 8:48 AM

    Lawful Evil neighbors would tell their Neutral Evil friends when you are out of town, so they will rob your house.

  14. LE vs CG (as they used to say in the old days).

    In the world of D&D, a LE character is more likely to be in league with devils or some such unsavory plot.

    In the real world, you’re probably right 90% of the time. Since I’d argue most businesses (and, most conservatives would say, the government) are lawful evil, your average LE would be probably happy trying to slowly climb the ladder making his rivals look bad. CG will, as you say, throw parties on his lawn.

    Why did Gary Gygax stick that in there? He just liked to make up rules, obviously. D&D is the product of excess intelligence and a desire for order and the long Midwestern winter. If you’re not an outdoor person, you have endless stretches of time with nothing to do. It’s the same reason there are so many gamers in the military–most of the time you’re not at war and you’ve got a lot of time to kill.


    December 31, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    • Heck, even if you are an outdoors person, if you hate cold, you’re still stuck in the doors.

      Some Guy

      December 31, 2012 at 8:27 PM

  15. Moldbug goes on about D&D alignment, asking What if there’s no such thing as chaotic good?


    December 31, 2012 at 12:48 PM

  16. As a basic neighbor, the LE guy might be a better neighbor, but he will happily screw you over, sue you, call the cops on you for BS reasons, etc…

    The chaotic good guy might ruin the property values, but, c’mon, FUN!

    Some Guy

    December 31, 2012 at 8:29 PM

  17. The Lion (and some of his readership) prefers evil as long as it’s easy to get along with over good that is inconvenient. That is very telling about his worldview, and I mean that in the worst way possible.

    I don’t agree that chaotic good individuals would necessarily party on your lawn, anyway – that is a misunderstanding of “chaotic”. They’re not inconsiderate *jerks*. They are just individualistic.

    In the end, commenters are correct, of course, that the AD&D alignment system is terribly unrealistic. To me the most accurate thing about it was actually the way that alignment *change* correlated with loss of experience points, as described in the 2nd-edition Dungeon Master’s Guide. According to these rules, a character could change his alignment but if he did so, he had to accumulate much more experience to advance to the next level than he would have needed otherwise – because changing your alignment meant re-learning how to relate to the world you thought you knew. This should ring very true for anyone who has undergone a Real Life change in worldview or religion. It often takes *years* to un-learn your previous mental habits and knee-jerk reactions, for example.

    Samson J.

    December 31, 2012 at 9:17 PM

  18. I remember getting my DnD game. I opened the box and there was no game board and no pieces, only the rule book. I read it and it said you had to use your imagination. I thought wtf is this?


    January 1, 2013 at 5:05 AM

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