I've really been dying to sit down and do a REAL write up on alignment. But, everytime I start I realize that's time I could spend on my own material... George's Children... Vampire... King of Storms... Raavnia... campaign stuff... whatever.
While I think there are some useful nuggets to Alignment, I've never seen it presented in a well-thought out light. Certainly, the philosophical and ethical debates that take place about the alignments is great. But short of self-editing and self-regulation, the only class that suffers from a strict adherence to code of conduct ... is the paladin.
Even clerics aren't held to too high of a standard. Which actually makes sense, because the aim of most religions is to spread the word, not actually believe what you're selling... use any corrupt minister as an example of this.
But. I'm getting off topic.
Today's post is about how Nature is often regarding as NEUTRAL in the alignment diagram, when in actuality is it the most powerful Chaotic force in the world. Now, I understand that when you introduce DEMONS and UNDEAD into a game, pushing against the LAW of civilization, you force nature into the center... but nature can be GOOD fighting against undeath, but it cannot be NEUTRAL against the mankind's attempts to chop down every tree and mine every gem.
So. We can conclude, at the very least, that alignment is relative to the environment of the game. If the PCs never encounter a DEMON... or if demons could care less about trying to twist the sounds of trees, birds, and chipmunks, than Nature's role in the alignment wheel is perfunctory. Right?
It would seem, on the surface, that the original doctrine took this into account. Nature isn't involved in the war between good and evil, so it stays out of the way. Afterall, mankind is a parasite that needs to learn to live in accordance with nature. However, trees do not grow... neutrally. Animals do not forage in a place convenient for farmers. Lightning does not skip "nice towns."
Nature, at the very least is Chaotic Good... and at the very worst Chaotic Neutral. Nature has an agenda... and a will that is very strong. Nature cannot be ignored and thrust into the role of Switerland. It must be taken into account. And if CIVILIZATION and all its unnatural LAWS are the cornerstone of a gaming campaign, then the NATURAL LAWS of the forest and the plains must be at odds with those who would dig up stones and build walls from it.
Roleplaying environments where man must fight against the ugly side of nature (Princess Mononoke, an Inconvenient Truth) have just as much potential as campaigns where a Lich is about to release the power of an undead World Eater.