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Chapter 2: Character Creation / Alignment

How to Use Alignment

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 25
Alignment in Starfinder is a descriptive tool meant to help describe a given character’s personality, rather than a straitjacket determining what someone can or can’t do. A good character can still do evil, and an evil character can do good. In some cases, a GM may decide that an action is drastic enough to result in a shift of alignment (see Changing Alignment below). More often, though, it simply reflects the fact that alignment is not absolute—no mortal character is perfectly good or evil, lawful or chaotic. Differing cultural practices and belief systems, combined with the fact that even people (or gods!) who share similar values rarely see eye to eye on everything, mean that an alignment can encompass a wide range of contradictory beliefs and actions. A character might be generally kind, generous, and law abiding, yet hold some belief or prejudice that other characters find abhorrent. Another character might decide that killing one innocent in order to save many is a sad but acceptable course of action. Whether these characters could be considered lawful good is left up to you and your gaming group—and as with all rules, the GM is the ultimate arbiter of what it means to be a given alignment.

In addition to its use for individual characters, alignment is also listed in stat blocks for creatures and races. The listed alignment doesn’t represent something hard-coded into a creature’s genes, but rather the most common alignment found in the species or society. With the exception of outsiders like angels or devils who are literally physical manifestations of certain alignments or ideologies, individuals of any species can be of any alignment, and under the right circumstances, an individual creature from a race normally described with one alignment may buck the trend and turn out to be quite different.

Alignment, like the moral philosophies it attempts to represent, is messy, uncertain, and culturally relative, but the ultimate goal of Starfinder is to have fun. If you don’t enjoy the interactions facilitated by the alignment system, feel free to ignore it altogether.

Changing Alignment

While certain forms of magic may operate differently depending on a character’s alignment, and gods rarely grants spells to worshipers whose alignments oppose their own, alignment in Starfinder is primarily a storytelling aid rather than a rule. If a GM feels a player’s actions aren’t reflecting his character’s chosen alignment, she should let him know—and if the divergence is extreme enough, she may allow or require the player to change his character’s alignment accordingly. Likewise, if a player wants to alter his character’s alignment to reflect shifts in his character, he should talk with his GM about making that change (though frequent changes likely represent a chaotic alignment).

Alignment Steps

Occasionally the rules dealing with alignment refer to “steps”— this means the number of alignment shifts between two alignments (as they appear on the Alignment diagram above). Note that diagonally adjacent alignments are separated by two “steps”; a lawful neutral character is one step away from a lawful good alignment and three steps from chaotic evil.