Lawful Ain’t Good

lawfulaintgood-coverLawful Ain’t Good
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In most editions of the roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons, there are nine “alignments” a character may choose between, roughly aligning to that character’s moral compass. For better or worse, this system has influenced untold thousands of players, at the table and beyond.

Herein we reproduce two essays to further our understanding of this system: “The Nine Alignments” and “Lawful Ain’t Good.”

The first, an anonymous essay from a long-extinct corner of the internet, is arguably the most complete understanding of the nine alignment system. The second, first published by Anarcho-Geek Review, makes the bold claim that there are only eight alignments. Lawful Good, as it argues, is an oxymoron.

In the wider scheme of things, this doesn’t matter at all. But for those of us who grew up imagining ourselves as warriors and witches, slaying dragons and evil kings, the alignment system is one of the cornerstones of our ethical understandings. For us, the incongruity between Law and Good is vital to our understanding of the world.

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