I've mentioned in All About Me In 20 Questions that I participate in e-wrestling, a hobby that involves a lot of writing. In wrestling, the tendency is to think of characters as either a face (good guy), a heel (villian) or a tweener (antihero).
But there was one e-fed that requested character alignments based on Palladium role playing games. I thought it was worth visiting because these alignments could describe many characters in the books we write and read. The alignments might be a good way to give characters more depth than simply whether the character would be called a hero, villian or antihero.
I've tweaked the alignments a bit from how the e-fed presented them, and because the alignments were based on Palladium, I figure these descriptions will be similar to the RPG. But here they are for consideration.
Principled: A principled character lives by a strict code of ethics. There is a definite right and wrong in the world for this character and they attempt to right those wrongs. There are certain lines they will not cross, though, and they will do all they can within that strict code to bring wrongdoers to justice.
Scrupulous: These characters know right and wrong and believe that those in the wrong should be brought to justice. But if the rules prevent this, they will bend the rules so that justice can be served. "Fight fire with fire" fits the mentality of these characters, although they may weigh the benefit versus the cost of bending a rule when making decisions.
Unprincipled: These characters understand that there are right and wrongs, but as long as they can stretch a few of the rules and don't get caught, they are fine with their actions. Their main concern is that the damage their actions cause isn't serious and that the repercussions don't have a long-term negative effect. Such characters will usually stay within a code but will bend it from time to time, more often than a scrupulous character.
Taoist: Whatever is fun or enjoyable is what is right. These characters seek out what they like and strive for that above everything else. They are not worried where something came from or how they got it, as long as they can have fun using it. If somebody doesn't understand the situation, they're missing out on something. Though they are likely to make fun of others and not understand why they would be upset, they do not seek to cause physical injury.
Anarchist: These characters see social norms as roadblocks toward achieving their goals. They may or may not be in it for themselves, and they don't necessarily care about their own interest above all others. But they constantly push the boundaries of what is considered acceptable to achieve the desired result.
Selfish: These characters will work within a system, but only if it benefits them personally. Rules only apply when they gain something from them; if they don't, they will be discarded. They are aware that their actions cause harm but they aren't bothered by them. The only thing that matters is how things can best serve themselves, not others around them.
Aberrant: One might call this "honor among thieves." Characters of this type have a code of ethics that governs their lives and they will abide by it. However, they will break laws society has in place because they realize that it's human nature to try to "get ahead." They also see that the nature of society is to sometimes ignore rule-breaking, so they see no harm in doing it.
Miscreant: These characters cause grief for kicks. They are the type that seems to enjoy making life miserable for other people. They may not cross certain lines, but those situations are few.
Diabolic: These characters are, simply put, evil. There is nothing they won't do to achieve their goals, whether it's backstabbing, trickery or injury. They do these things without guilt and they may not even have a natural goal in mind. They simply see the opportunity is there and they take it.
So what alignments do your characters fall under? Do these descriptions fit them? Or are there certain words you would use to describe them that don't appear on this list?