Wuxia alignments

Wuxia characters have some form of alignment. If you are familiar with Dungeons & Dragons, you’ll know the DnD character alignments that are used to determine how a character thinks and behaves.

Alignments

  • Good - does good deeds
  • Neutral - strikes a balance and does neither good nor evil
  • Evil - inherently evil
  • Chaotic - bends the law and principles when necessary
  • Lawful - abides by the law and principles

These can apply to the wuxia world as well. Though they tend to behave more as orthodox and unorthodox rather than behaving lawfully or unlawfully. The essence of xia is to act beyond the bounds of law and even take law into their own hands where needed. Law isn’t well enforced hence xia became the enforcer.

Lawful good characters do things the right way as expected by society.

Neutral good characters do good within their means.

Chaotic good characters do good without regards for rules or laws. They readily bend the rules or break the law to do good.

Lawful neutral characters follow the law, their principles or customs piously, and thus their actions are dictated likewise. Examples are Shaolin monks or Daoist priests.

True neutral characters don’t take side and stay away from conflicts.

Chaotic neutral characters choose their actions without regards for rules or laws, but they stay away from interfering between doing good or evil.

Lawful evil characters do evil deeds but do so within the limits of the law. Their actions might be immoral or go against traditions and customs, but they don’t break the law.

Neutral evil characters are evil but they weigh their actions and choices, choosing to do what benefits them.

Chaotic evil characters are violent criminals that will do anything to achieve their evil ends.

Do these alignments work in a wuxia setting?
What kind of character alignments would famous wuxia characters have?

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I think we can fit this into the wuxia world, but it would probably need some tweaks. Not everyone in the wuxia setting is a xia, hence there are still people who are lawful. Even some members of the jianghu might have to toe the line due to their societal standings or reputation.

Taking law into their own hands is still considered lawful. Serving justice by breaking the law would be considered chaotic. How shall we list the characters? Do we go by the various books or just lump the whole JY universe into one?

So Dongfang Bubai would be chaotic evil? I like that.

Yue Buqun would be neutral evil? Or lawful? Not sure how the law applies in that era.

Linghu Chong is the typical chaotic good. Same goes for Ren Yingying. Xiang Wentian? Fenghuang?

Ren Woxing would be another chaotic evil. Zuo Lengchan. Lin Pingzhi.

I don’t see many characters that would be neutral. They are mostly good or evil.

Seems to be inherent of wuxia series. Or rather, Jin Yong’s novels. You get a better mix in other wuxia worlds.

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yeah Jin Yong was a little too much black or white. But he did play on how evil weren’t actually evil. Like the Jiangnan freaks, Ren Yingying etc. Those are good people in unorthodox factions. Or publicly regarded as evil factions. Not so much for their alignment. Maybe an act of fate. Born into the wrong side of society.

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There’s a sense of chivalry that makes most of the heroes do good, or at least appear to do good. The commoners are the ones who would be neutral. And you have people who are evil because of their wealth or power. Seems to be the typical tropes.

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It is, but it would be more interesting if people have their own moral dilemmas, even the commoners. That makes it more realistic, less bland and a lot more fun a setting to be in.

How about a chivalry rating? They might be evil but they appear to be chivalric? Or perhaps a reputation rating instead?

Yue Buqun is not Neutral Good?

He was evil. He did evil deeds.

Any examples of a neutral character? I can’t think of any off the top of my head.