[RPG] Chaotic Good and Fleeing Thugs: Yet Another Alignment Problem


I'll try to keep this short.

The Party of Five leaves The Tavern, following Quest NPC. Suddenly, they are jumped by three bugbears, which seem to have a beef with the Quest NPC. Quest NPC teleports away.

Bugbears attack The Party, which turns out to be a bad idea. Two are put down, the third runs.

As he flees, the Chaotic Good party member attacks him at range, with the intent of killing him. He justifies this with the belief that the bugbear was a threat to the innocent persons of the city.

Are CG's actions justified, or should he be shifted to Chaotic Neutral?

Best Answer

It was an act of good by D&D standards

D&D has a very black and white approach to morality. Killing an evil creature is an act of good because there is one less evil creature in the world. Had the bugbear surrendered and then been killed, it would then be a case of lawful vs chaotic as well (and is a good starting place to get the players to think about the other axis of their alignment)

It does of course depends on how tightly you play by the alignment rules. If you were running a game in which morals played a large part, it could of course be considered an evil act. After all, are you any better than the thug you just killed? What about the family he was trying to feed? But if you are playing that sort of game, the players need to be told up front that you are deviating from the norm.

Though there is another point work making: One action does not an alignment shift cause. Performing an act of evil is just that, a single action. While there are actions that are large enough to justify an alignment shift, generally speaking it is the sum of the characters actions that determine their alignment overall.

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