So… You’ve decided you might be neutral or How to look cool by sitting on the fence

Can’t decide? Why bother trying? Be neutral.

Everyone pestering you to pick a side? Stay neutral. Take your half of the road in the middle. Sure everyone will tell you of the nobility of this or the glory of that or the freedom of one thing or stability of another but really what’s in it for YOU?? It just sounds like a good way to make a commitment you will later regret. Be flexible. That is unless you’d rather not.

Magic

Who ever heard of a spell of “uncommitted’s bane”? or a “sword of indifferent slaying”? Picking sides will only get you into trouble because somebody, somewhere, has come up with some way to hurt you for doing it. If you feel compelled to pick a side just pick one. These’s no point in making yourself vulnerable to two kinds of spell. Don’t forget if you pick a side all of a sudden the clerics and paladins are all up in your business. Wanna keep hidden, secret or just unnoticed? Just remember there’s no “detect apathy” spell.

Neutrality not just for the undecided anymore

Didn’t imagine you could stay out of all the politics of alignment and still be self righteous about it? Well don’t worry, you can. The Druids have turned not picking a side into practically a religion. Ask one of these tree huggers to help your cause and you will get an earful of how they are “True”neutral. Basically this means they don’t give a damn about anything but their grove and nature and maintaining balance and on and on. That is, right up until the day you walking into their woody, wood, woods with an ax looking for a source of lumber. That’s the day you’ll find that this true neutral fellow has picked a side and it sure ain’t yours.

Their ain’t no strings on me

There’s a lot of freedom in not caring about the proper way to act or be or be seen to be. Do what suits you when it suits you. Wanna rescue the princess? Sure, why not, you were bored and the harvest isn’t for another three weeks. There’s money in it right? Grave robbing? They’re dead, they won’t care. It’s okay, you don’t make a habit of this sort of thing. You’ve always been the most law abiding citizen in the county when the sheriff was around. Of course that never stopped you from the poaching the occasional rabbit when the stew pot was empty. There’s no need to follow rules that don’t suit you even rules that say not to follow rules.

Diplomacy, why can’t we all just get along?

The problem about picking a side is that all of a sudden there’s a whole group of people, critters and beings from who knows where, who won’t like you for it. If you are good, along comes some evil creature whose only goal is to screw up your life by tempting you into being evil. Boy then you are in for it. On the other hand, if you are evil, groups of “goody two-shoes” will start showing up looking to either put a sword through you or reform you.

Of course if you just stopping being evil or good that is never enough. Someone will feel they have to either utterly corrupt you or set you on the straight and narrow. Of course, those who think a life of order is just the thing are always trying to get the lawless to apply for a licence for this or that while the wildlings and their chaotic ways are looking to throw off the yolk of oppression. Oh, Lords of Indifference, who needs the aggravation?

The profit of staying out of it

Don’t get dragged into a war fighting for ideology. Stay out of it. Want to sell things to both sides? Can’t do that if you align yourself with some ideology. Be everyone’s friend and make money doing it. You might even make some coin negotiating a treaty. Wouldn’t that be nice?

The best time to be seen on the battle field is right after it’s over and you can go collect all the goodies left on the field. You’ll be much better off not getting killed but rather getting there just in time to grab that “greatsword of other guy slaying” that the winning side couldn’t pick up because it would burn their hand if they tried. Roll that cart home and sell that thing for a couple of thousand gold and retire.

And remember…

All things in moderation, even moderation. Stay safe.

So… You’ve Decided to be Evil. A Beginners Guide to Being Bad.

You’ve thought it over and you’ve come to the conclusion that evil is the way to go.

Congratulations, you are on your way to making the world a better place, for you. While it might seem like being evil should be the easiest way to get everything you want there are a few things to remember as you make your way to untold riches and your enemies come to dread your name.

Friends

None. You have no friends. At best you have acquaintances with whom you cooperate. No one can be trusted. Only the most gullible and stupid would trust you. Associates are like anything else, they are either a benefit or a hazard. If they are a hazard it is best to remove the hazard as quickly as possible by whatever means necessary. If they are a benefit you should maximize their benefit to you, again, by any means necessary. Deception, extortion, and mutual benefit can help you. It is often best to have associates you have known for a long time. The advantage: they are predictable. This predictability makes it easier to manipulate them into giving you what you want.

Enemies

Everyone. At least, everyone is potentially your enemy. Everyone wants the same as you, wealth and power. If you have it they will want a piece of it. If you don’t have it, either they have it and don’t want to give it to you or they don’t have it and want it and you are in the way. It’s important to be able to distract your enemies. Set them against one another, lest they gang up on you. Appear too timid and solicitous to threaten the strong and too powerful and merciless for the weak to challenge you. Remember, guile and treachery are your stepping stones to a better future.

Trust

Trust is for the weak. No one with any sense can be trusted to do anything but look after their own self interest. Make sure that everyone around you has their self-interest aligned with yours. Damaging information can be used to keep others in line as long as killing you does not become the best way to keep such a secret, secret. Assassination brokers can insure that in the case of your untimely demise the guilty party is made to suffer often in ways that will increase the reputation of such firms and attract new clients. Beware the stupid and the righteous. These creatures will often act with no regard to their own self interest or the consequences of their actions. Better yet manipulate these beings into going after your enemies. Remember, Don’t get caught.

Fear

Fear is an important tool to have in your arsenal. It keeps those around you from betraying you. Fear keeps your allies in line and your enemies at bay. It can be used to motivate someone into actions that will result in their almost certain death because they are too afraid to do otherwise. Be aware that your enemies will try to use fear against you. It is often useful to feign fear to convince your enemy that they have you cowed. Bear in mind too that others may likely be doing the same and pretending to be cowed by you. Find these pretenders and make examples of them to better instill fear in the rest. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total oblivion.

Money

Loot, Treasure, Money, Cash. Power brings the gold not the other way around. Having a great horde of wealth only makes you a target for those who want to take it. The power to get money when money makes things more expedient is what’s important. Constantly having to demand and take things is tedious and creates a situation where allies have little to gain from dealing with you. Instead take money from your enemies then use it to make your allies more willing to appease you and give you what you want. Always be willing to demonstrate to those around you that you are able to use wealth to cause those who displease you to suffer. Never place all of your wealth in one place. The best things in life are free, as long as the owner of those things is not in the way.

Betrayal

Betrayal is a sword that cuts both ways. If you come to be known as someone who betrays your associates, others will be suspicious of you and non-cooperative. On the other hand if you are never the betrayer you will always be the betrayed. Betrayal is a science that seeks to find the most perfect moment to withdraw support for your former ally in order to enrich yourself. The best betrayers do it in such a way that the victim does not even know he was betrayed; believes someone else did the betraying; better still the victim is allowed to betray you and in so doing is undone by his own hand. This last option is tricky but has the added benefit of making you seem the more reliable choice to others.

Revenge

Revenge is a dish best server cold. Never rush to vengeance. Whether unexpected or dreaded, revenge is best when done with care and planning. Occasionally opportunities arise allowing you have revenge right away but nothing in life can match the joy of watching your carefully laid plans blossoming in perfect and tormenting ways. Revenge is a sort of poetry that pleases you by slowly creating agony in those who have so foolishly interfered with your plans, like a fine wine slowly sipped from the skull of your enemy.

Take these points to heart, the world will open up for you, like an oyster with a great pearl ready to be plucked away. Just make sure it doesn’t open for someone else first.