The Orcs are Here! Quick, Somebody Call the . . . Guys?
Call me old fashioned but I miss the days when there were good guys and bad guys in our games. Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to launch into one of those foolish diatribes where I complain about all the young kids not understanding what it means to walk up a hill, in the snow, in fucking July, just to tell your teacher to fuck off for the summer.
What I'm complaining about is the way that so many of us are playing today where our players scribble evil or neutral in their alignment columns and then play the most lackluster and vanilla characters to ever be rolled up. I hear it in the live play podcasts and read it in the write-ups that appear on blogs and forums throughout this hobby. We're not being bold in how we play.
Look, if you want to play evil that's fucking great with me. Hell, I'll roll up a character and run right alongside you. But don't put the alignment down if the worst thing you're going to do is kill some poor corn gobbler on his way to church so that you can loot his body. Fuck, I can do that with Lawful Good and rock that shit so hard that the Dungeon Master will give me bonus experience points for playing my alignment to the hilt.
If you're going to be evil, then fucking be evil! Sacrifice babies, offer virgins to dark gods - and for the love of god - lie, cheat, and steal your way throughout the game world! Be a fucking villain that will get under your Dungeon Master's skin and have him trying his damnedest to stop you with posses and the very wrath of the gods if you go long enough!
The problem doesn't end with evil though. Just look at our good guys who traipse about games trying their damnedest to do what the bad guys are doing only they'd like to get away with it.
Why not be bold and try to be Ivanhoe? Why not try to be great like the Knights of the Round - who killed the shit out of everyone but had an honor system that made them something worth envying? Why not be something heroic that makes the game more than a bunch of jackasses wandering about the dungeon telling terrible renditions of Monty Python jokes?
Look I've listened and read so many accounts of these games and I can see that so many people are just muddling their way through because they either don't know how, or are afraid, to be bold in their alignment of choice. I'm telling you that if you want to play Chaotic Good get out there and be everything that choice means to you. Give away the Paladin's horse to the farmer who just lost his. Slaughter the Druid's pig companion to feed the village. Don't be a timid little thing that plays Chaotic Good the same way you played Lawful Evil and True Neutral!
When you pick your alignment and write those two words down on your sheet make them meaningful for you so that you're not just another forgettable character. Be bold and make that choice matter.