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. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those others suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as he is to cross it. Chaotic neutral represents freedom from both society’s restrictions and a do-gooder’s zeal.
What does this mean to me?
There are 5 styles of Chaotic Neutral.
- true hedonist — they are interested in fulfilling their desires, and in pursuing their own interests. They have little to no respect for law and order, at best accepting it as a necessary evil that furthers these ends, at worst to the point they are prepared to commit acts that are immoral or outright criminal, avoiding a Neutral or Chaotic Evil alignment due to simply not being ruthless or malevolent enough. They are not evil because their desires are not especially evil (or they have too much of a conscience), but neither are they altruistic enough to be considered good, and they may hold both either in disdain or with indifference, feeling that to each their own, though most know better than to hang out with especially wicked types. At best, they are kind to friends, family or strangers if only because they find such behaviour personally satisfying; at worst, they are Jerkasses who don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves, and are indifferent or blind to the rights of others.
- anarchist or a libertarian, or perhaps something just plain bizarre. They are prepared to work within a group system in order to challenge an establishment system or further their cause, which can sometimes push them into Lawful Neutral territory if they become particularly devoted (or fanatical). In practice, this can be a very tricky Type to maintain without quickly devolving into some type of hypocrisy, as it is difficult if not impossible to change or abolish the system without infringing on somebody’s rights or desires and it is very likely that a new Status Quo will emerge, or rather that the old one will stay in place as these causes are rarely very successful (at least in Real Life). At best this type works towards the overthrowing of a genuinely corrupt or oppressive system and replacing it with something better, but at worst they can be lead into The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized or end up supporting a cause that actually makes things worse. They may also hold Chaotic Neutral itself as an ideal, seeing it as their duty to stir things up and make things less boring.
- Reble: As such, their beliefs tend to be shallow and they may find themselves in over their head, or be duped into The Man Is Sticking It to the Man. This sort tends to believe Cool People Rebel Against Authority, which conversely often makes them vulnerable to the influence of powerful personalities or particular fads that they believe no-one else is following. In effect, they have an issue or grudge against a particular authority practice or figure, or were simply aimless and adrift in their own lives, and use Chaotic Neutral as a cover to vent their frustrations or give themselves some direction. At best, this can be harmless or even lead to some beneficial Character Development, but at worst the character can fall under the sway of dangerous and evil people and perhaps become one themselves.
- overly cynical, and hold no allegiance to anyone and decide for themselves what is right or wrong, and whether or not they want to do anything about it. They are often the disillusioned types who once held onto an ideal or have lost their family or friends, and often belonged to a completely different alignment, but others were cynical from an early age, often (but not always) due to a bad childhood. They can be dragged into The Quest or bought for their services, and may battle the forces of evil if they come across them or they get in the way, but they lack conviction beyond basic self-interest, and if they still aspire to better themselves they are usually their own worst enemy. They are often loners, though they may have a handful of close family or friends, and tend to prize survival highly with wealth, luxury and power often being mainly (though not necessarily exclusively) a means of ensuring said-survival for good, assuming they are not self-destructive or suicidal. At their worst can be completely amoral and indifferent to other people getting hurt whether or not by their own hand, but they usually have the potential to still be good people.
- Literally insane, or close, these characters might actually behave like the Chaotic Stupid stereotype, or act by their own delusional logic that makes them unreliable, unpredictable and unstable. They are too caught up in their own little world or random whims to be either benevolent or malevolent. This can vary from a shallow joke character to deep characterisation, but the upshot in either case is that character’s actions don’t follow any sane logic. Just remember that the same does not apply to other kinds of Chaotic Neutral characters, nor does every insane character go here if they don’t otherwise fit the description.
Examples from media
- Captain Jack Sparrow
- The Plague in Hackers – an amoral mercenary hacker with an unusual philosophy
- Snake Plissken