Your alignment shapes how you act in the world of ShadowGate. How you act - not what you do. Having a “cause” does not define your alignment, your alignment will simply direct how you further that cause.
Each humanoid race allows certain standard alignments. There is a chance during character creation that you may be allowed to pick a non-standard alignment, but you will be restricted in your choices for alignment by what race you choose. Each alignment imposes restrictions on how you character may or may not act. For example, good characters will never use some spells. Rationalization of the reasons is left to your character's discretion: evil characters may freely argue they are not doing harm and may be objectively right about their version of truth. Ultimate truth or its absence is defined only by your mutual interaction and roleplay.
However, ShadowGate provides several interpretations of alignments you are free to not follow. You may minimize unexpected tensions by following these guidelines or cause new conflicts by imagining your own, unique, path. In the end, alignment is just a thing on your character's score sheet and nobody but you can determine what it means.
The following alignments are available on ShadowGate:
|Lawful Good||The Crusader|
Lawful good alignment combines honor and compassion. A character of this alignment acts as a good person is expected or required to act. She combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. She tells the truth, keeps her word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished.
|Lawful Neutral||The Judge|
A lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition, or a personal code directs her. Order and organization are paramount to her. She may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or she may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government. A monk who follows her discipline without being swayed by the demands of those in need nor by the temptations of evil is lawful neutral. The common phrase for lawful neutral is “true lawful.” Lawful neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot.
|Lawful Evil||The Dominator|
A lawful evil villain methodically takes what he wants within the limits of his code of conduct without regard to whom it hurts. He cares about tradition, loyalty, and order, but not about freedom, dignity, or life. He plays by the rules, but without mercy or compassion. He is comfortable in a hierarchy and would like to rule, but he is willing to serve. He condemns others not according to their actions but according to race, homeland, or social rank. He is loath to break laws or promises. This reluctance is partly because of his nature and partly because he depends on order to protect himself from those who oppose him on moral grounds. Some lawful evil villains have particular taboos, such as not killing in cold blood (but having underlings do it) or not letting children come to harm (if it can be helped). They imagine that these compunctions put them above unprincipled villains. The scheming baron who expands his power and exploits his people is lawful evil. Some lawful evil people and creatures are committed to evil with a zeal like that of a crusader committed to good. Beyond being willing to hurt others for their own ends, they take pleasure in spreading evil as an end unto itself. They may also see doing evil as part of a duty to an evil deity or master. Lawful evil is sometimes call “diabolical” because devils are the epitome of lawful evil. Lawful evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents methodical, intentional, and frequently successful evil.
|Neutral Good||The Benefactor
A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. A cleric who helps others according to their needs is neutral good. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias toward or against order.
|True Neutral||The Undecided|
A neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. She doesn't feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs. evil or law vs. chaos. Most neutrality is a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil. After all, she would rather have good neighbors and rulers than evil ones. Still, she's not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way. A wizard who devotes herself to her art and is bored by the semantics of moral debate is neutral. Some neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run. True neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion.
|Neutral Evil||The Malefactor|
A neutral evil villain does whatever she can get away with. She is out for herself, pure and simple. She sheds no tears for those she kills, whether for profit, sport, or convenience. She has no love of order and holds no illusion that following laws, traditions or codes would make her any better or more noble. On the other hand, she doesn't have the restless nature or love of conflict that a chaotic evil villain has. The criminal who robs and murder to get what she wants is neutral evil. Some neutral evil villains hold up evil as an ideal, committing evil for its own sade. Most often, such villains are devoted to evil deities or secret societies. The common phrase for neutral evil is “true evil.” Neutral evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents pure evil without honor and without variation.
|Chaotic Good||The Rebel|
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. A ranger who waylays the evil baron's tax collectors is chaotic good. Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit.
|Chaotic Neutral||The Free Spirit|
A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn't strive to protect others' freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. The chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated by either good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A bard who wanders the land living by his wits is chaotic neutral. The common phrase for chaotic neutral is “true chaotic.” Remember that the chaotic neutral character may be unpredictible, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it. Chaotic neutral is the best alignment to be because it represents true freedom both from society's restrictions and from a do-gooder's zeal.
|Chaotic Evil||The Destroyer|
A chaotic evil character does whatever his greed, hatred, and lust for destruction drive him to do. He is hot-tempered, vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. If simply out for whatever he can get, he is ruthless and brutal. If he is committed to the spread of evil and chaos, he is even worse. Thankfully, his plans are haphazard, and any groups he joins or forms are poorly organized. Typically, chaotic evil people can only be made to work together by force, and their leader lasts only as long as he can thwart attempts to topple or assassinate him. The demented sorcerer pursuing mad schemes of vengeance and havoc is chaotic evil. Chaotic evil is sometimes called “demonic” because demons are the epitome of chaotic evil. Chaotic evil is the most dangerous alignment because it represents the destruction not only of beauty and life but of the order on which beauty and life depend.