Chaotic Good Explained
Updated: Nov 26, 2022
Chaotic Good is a moral alignment from the Dungeons and Dragons verse. The other alignments are Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Lawful Neutral, True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, Chaotic Evil.
Chaotic Good is an alignment where a person will do whatever necessary to do the right thing. They don't live by laws and rules, and is an advocate for personal freedom for themselves and others.
The more I owned my behaviour and thinking pattern, I realised I belong in Chaotic Good. A lesson I taught my students was 'Always be yourself, unless you're an asshole. Then change.' So I made sure I checked with myself where my intentions come from. Am I too good? Am I evil in my actions and thoughts? What is my 'filter' when I 'be me'? I came to the conclusion that my filter is kindness. I believe in innate kindness, that people are innately kind, and that being nice and right might not be the solution if it's not based on kindness. I also realised I'm not a nice person all the time. I am sarcastic, blunt, sometimes unpredictable (but predictable in my bahaviour), but I'd never do anything out of spite or pure mean energy. I do get tend to get a bit mean when I'm angry and can say truths that hurt people's feelings, but I am working on it to check myself even when I'm angry.
Over the years, I realised this behaviour is very real. It's relatable as I'm not trying to be perfect to my students. They see the mistakes I've made, and they can see that I am still alive, that I'm happy, and that I still stand up for what I think is right.
A chaotic good character does what is necessary to bring about change for the better, disdains bureaucratic organizations that get in the way of social improvement, and places a high value on personal freedom, not only for oneself, but for others as well. Chaotic good characters usually intend to do the right thing, but their methods are generally disorganized and often out of sync with the rest of society. Examples of this alignment include copper dragons, many elves, and unicorns.
Alignment (dungeons & dragons) (2022) Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alignment_(Dungeons_%26_Dragons) (Accessed: November 19, 2022).
A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he's kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society.
Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit.
Chaotic good can be a dangerous alignment when it disrupts the order of society and punishes those who do well for themselves.
While creatures of this alignment view freedom and the randomness of actions as ultimate truths, they likewise place value on life and the welfare of each individual. Respect for individualism is also great. By promoting the philosophy of chaotic good, characters of this alignments seek to spread their values throughout the world. To the chaotic good individual, freedom and independence are as important to life and happiness. The ethos views this freedom as the only means by which each creature can achieve true satisfaction and happiness. Law, order, social forms, and anything else which tends to restrict or abridge individual freedom is wrong, and each individual is capable of achieving self-realization and prosperity through himself, herself, or itself. (1)
Chaotic good characters are strong individualists marked by a streak of kindness and benevolence. They believe in all the virtues of goodness and right, but they have little use for laws and regulations. They have no use for people who "try to push folk around and tell them what to do." Their actions are guided by their own moral compass which, although good, may not always be in perfect agreement with the rest of society. (2)
These characters are basically good, but tend to be selfish and maybe a bit greedy. They tend to hold personal freedom and welfare above anything else. The chaotic good dislikes confining laws, self-discipline, and they distrust authority. (3)
Chaotic goods believe that freedom is the only means by which each creature can achieve true satisfaction and happiness. Law, order, social forms, and anything else which tends to restrict individual freedom is wrong, and each individual is capable of achieving self-realization and prosperity through himself. These characters believe that life has no grand plan, but each creature's spirit is essentially noble and good. Each being must follow his own conscience. By performing good acts the individual can hope to alleviate the suffering and anguish of others, whether caused by random or structured acts. (4)
The chaotic good character has a "beatific" attitude toward existence. In this character's opinion, any laws, social structures, or other such hierarchies that restrict his freedom are abhorrent and to be done away with. The inviolable right of the individual to seek his own pleasures is one of the cornerstones of society; but, being good, the chaotic good being will not tread on others to get his own way, for he feels that every other creature has the right to the pursuit of pleasure as well. Friends of a chaotic good character will find him unreliable in the clutch only if he puts his own well-being ahead of that of his companions. Obviously, almost everyone has this tendency, but it is left up to this individual whether or not he values a friendship enough to risk self sacrifice. The chaotic good being would not, however, take action that could unnecessarily jeopardize the lives of other persons or creatures. Life is valuable, but without sufficient personal freedom it is demeaned. Life and freedom are the foundation of the universe. (5)
A chaotic good character will keep his word to those who are not evil and will lie only to evil-doers. He will never attack an unarmed foe and will never harm an innocent. He will not use torture to extract information or for pleasure, but he may "rough up" someone to get information. He will never kill for pleasure, only in self-defense or in the defense of others. A chaotic good character will never use poison. He will help those in need and he prefers to work alone, as he values his freedom. He does not respond well to higher authority, is distrustful of organizations, and will disregard the law in his fight against evil. He will never betray a family member, comrade, or friend. Chaotic good characters do not respect the concepts of self-discipline and honor, because they believe such concepts limit freedom to act. (6)
Here are some possible adjectives describing chaotic good characters: unpredictable, independent, free spirited, cheerful, optimistic, easy going, carefree, helpful, kind, merciful, respectful of personal liberties, and anarchic.
Well known chaotic good characters from film or literature include: Han Solo (Star Wars), Batman (DC Comics), Fred and George Weasley (Harry Potter), and Robin Hood.
Equivalent alignment in other game systems: Unprincipled (Palladium), Light Side (Star Wars), Good (Warhammer), Gallant (Alternity).
The Ten Chaotic Good Commandments
A list of Ten Commandments for a chaotic good religion may look like this:
1. You shall lie in the pursuit of goodness.
2. You shall not harm the innocent.
3. You shall not murder.
4. You shall help the needy.
5. You shall honor those who promote freedom and goodness.
6. You shall break the law in pursuit of goodness.
7. You shall not betray others.
8. You shall avenge the acts of evil-doers and enemies of freedom.
9. You shall not place duty above personal desire to do good.
10. You shall seek unlimited good for others and freedom in society.
Ten Chaotic Good Sins
Likewise, a chaotic good religion may list the following as sins. This list is given in the order of least severe infraction to most severe.
1. Failing to perform a random act of kindness when appropriate.
2. Failing to pursue a new form of pleasure.
3. Placing duty above personal desire.
4. Failing to assist allies or good beings in need.
5. Causing harm to an essentially good being.
6. Following a law when you feel that it unnecessarily restricts your freedom.
7. Turning down a chance to trick, cheat, or harm an evil being for personal gain.
8. Betraying an ally or friend for evil reason.
9. The murder of an innocent.
10. Aiding the servants of Order and Evil.
The Philosophy of Chaotic Good
Chaotic good is the philosophy that goodness is best achieved through the freedom of individuals to act independently. It is a philosophy of altruistic individualism. This philosophy holds that people should behave altruistically and that society exists for the sake of its individual members. Chaotic good can also be associated with preference utilitarianism, ethical altruism, altruistic hedonism, and various forms of existentialism.
Chaotic good philosophers generally maintain that there is metaphysical chaos in the multiverse and thus may support doctrines of indeterminism, casualism, tychism, and/or accidentalism. They may believe that fortune or chance determine all outcomes. They tend to be moral subjectivists, holding that values are expressions of emotions, attitudes, reactions, feelings, thoughts, wishes, and desires, and have no independent objective or external reality or reference in the real world.
The ideal government for this alignment is an minimalist state supporting a social order in which altruism is rewarded and radical egoism is punished. Chaotic good beings believe that the best way to advance benefit for all is by allowing the most freedom possible. Rehabilitative justice is used to reform criminals and evil-doers.
(1) Gygax, Gary. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide. TSR:1979. and Gygax, Gary. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook. TSR:1978.
(2) Cook, David "Zeb," et al. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, 2nd Edition Player's Handbook. TSR: 1989.
(3) Wujcik, Erick. Ninjas and Superspies. Palladium Books: 1994.
(4) Gygax, Gary, et al. Oriental Adventures. TSR:1985.
(5) Renaud, J.R. "Making law out of chaos." Dragon (#163). November 1990: 74-78.
(6) Parlagreco, Carl. "Another View of the Nine-Point Alignment Scheme." The Dragon (#26). June 1979: 23. and Wujcik, Erick. Ninjas and Superspies. Palladium Books: 1994.
Chaotic good (no date) The Alignment System - Chaotic Good. EasyDamus. Available at: http://easydamus.com/chaoticgood.html (Accessed: November 19, 2022).
Some of these attributes also appear in Sink the Pink's Manifesto for Misfits by Glyn Fussal (2022) in examples such as reclaiming the word 'misfit', live the life you want', 'build your utopia', 'the power of words', 'humour can be healing', 'run into fear', 'lean into your niche', and 'the true magic of community'.
Fussell, G. and Allen, L. (2022) Sink the pink's manifesto for misfits: Be different, be free, be you. London: White Lion Publishing.
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