Episode #248 – My Brother Jeremy Comes on the Show to Discuss DnD Alignment of Thirteenth Hour and Rocketeer Characters!
This week, my brother Jeremy joins the show to discuss Dungeon Dragons alignments of characters in The Thirteenth Hour books and in The Rocketeer. Read more about Jeremy’s response about fantasy races and alignment here.
You can find these alignment charts around on the internet, and while some of those were probably done as fun or funny memes, the concept of figuring out a character’s alignment along good vs. evil, lawful vs. chaotic, and neutral vs. not helps to develop a character and make him or her more fleshed out and 3 dimensional in terms of psychological motivation, so it can be a useful tool for a writer, even if you’re not a DnD player.
Here are the ones we discussed as well as some unofficial archetypes (“knight, judge, etc”) I found for each online. You may disagree, as there’s a lot of subjectivity in what makes a character fit a certain alignment (Image made via this site: https://imgflip.com/memegenerator/73659174/Alignment-Chart), but that’s part of the fun of the discussion.
–Lawful Good – “The Knight” – like Jake, the unofficial leader of the Imperial Rangers in The Thirteenth Hour and Empty Hands. He is by-the-book, rule abiding, believes in the hierarchical structure of the military, and a stand up, straightforward guy who takes his job and unofficial leadership position seriously. Picture from Empty Hands.
–Lawful Neutral – “The Judge” – no picture from the book, but probably many of the Imperial Army soldiers might fall in this category. They are there to do a job, whether they agree with it or not. The Head General believes in maintaining the order and the rank hierarchy of the military. He believes in following protocol and in protecting his men and the military budget but is not above a little bribery from the King, who he does not especially respect but still follows (since its his job).
–Lawful Evil – “The Overlord” – King Darian is the narcissistic, spoiled monarch of Tartec that decides that he wants to live forever and creates a whole plan to send members of his military to the ends of the Earth so he can get what he wants. He wheedles, bribes, and complains his way into getting what he wants, and when that fails, he is not above threats and the wanton loss of life if it serves his own means. However, as the King, he does believe in law and order as a well a certain religious scrupulosity to serve social order. Picture from The Thirteenth Hour.
–Neutral Good – “The Hero” – Aurora is a kind, warm, good-hearted person who believes in following one’s dreams, even if they don’t necessarily align with societal norms. At the start of The Thirteenth Hour, she is a 19 year old, single female who never knew her parents (to her knowledge) and was raised in an orphanage, which provided a good chunk of stability and allowed her some shelter from societal norms for young women of her village (marriage, childbearing, homemaking – all of which she considers boring). Because of that or because she would have always been an independent thinker, ideas around what is expected, good, or bad, are somewhat subjective to her. Picture from The Thirteenth Hour.
–Neutral Neutral / True Neutral – “The Outsider” – there aren’t a lot of characters in The Thirteenth Hour that fit this alignment, though some of the animals in the story probably would fit, like sea serpents and dragons. They are separate from the whims and politics of mankind, and while they may attack, destroy, and kill, they are generally doing so since their territory has been invaded, the same way any animal might defend its turf. The dragon picture was from The Thirteenth Hour.
–Neutral Evil – “The Villain” – while the character Klax is a more sympathetic villain than he might have been, there’s no doubt he isn’t an especially nice person – he imprisons Logan and Aurora to fulfill his own desires, he is physically, verbally, and mentally abusive to both characters, and holds a long standing grudge against his biological brother, so the thirst for revenge, even at the expense to others, motivates a lot of his actions. Age has somewhat softened his resolve and hatred, and he does have some fairly well defined goals in mind, leading him to have some fairly liberal internal guidelines about what is acceptable vs. not. Picture from The Thirteenth Hour.
–Chaotic Good – “The Rebel” – while Logan could also fit in the neutral good category, he leans a little more heavily towards the chaotic side, since, like Aurora, societal norms and (some) laws seem subjective and relative to him. Like Aurora, he was raised mostly in an orphanage, which provided (ironically) a higher level of education that some of this peers, since both he and Aurora were never adopted. He spends what free time he has dreaming and thinking, and that, plus a naturally curious mind, means that to some degree, he marches to the beat of his own drummer. In Empty Hands, he aligns with the “void” element, suggesting that he tends to pull from the other elements (earth, water, wind, fire) intuitively and is not locked into one or another. Picture from The Thirteenth Hour.
–Chaotic Neutral – “The Nomad” – one of the Imperial Rangers in The Thirteenth Hour and Empty Hands, Aron, kind of fits this category. While he can have his moments (like when he comes up with a plan to row into the open water to distract an attacking sea serpent), he does not follow any particular vision or moral code for himself and tends to respond to whatever thought or urge passes through his mind. As a result, he is quite impulsive with a short attention span, so ideas (like the sea serpent plan), tend to fairly superficial. He enjoys gambling, though it’s a punishable felony in the military, but would probably do better if he could keep his pride in check. While naturally athletic, his fighting style has more flash than substance and can be unpredictable, which makes it hard for his teammates to be able to depend on him. Picture from Empty Hands.
–Chaotic Evil – “The Psychopath” – there really isn’t anyone in The Thirteenth Hour books that fit this alignment, as even Klax and Darian have their scruples.
Let’s try the same exercise with the characters from the Rocketeer universe.
This little animated .gif is, of course, from the point in the movie where the Rocketeer, not above a little self conscious vanity, asks how he looks. Peevy, not above a little blunt honesty, says “Like a hood ornament!” The Rocketeer blasts off for the first time, Peevy gets blown backwards into the hangar, and I get a name for this part of the podcast!
–Lawful Good – “The Knight” – pictured is agent Fitch, a FBI agent working to recover the stolen rocketpack for Howard Hughes, its inventor in the film. I debated who would best fit this category but figured that the police and FBI agents involved were doing what they thought was right (recovering stolen property, upholding the law), and mainly were antagonists to Cliff because he was essentially stealing / borrowing someone else’s property and refusing to give it back. While they’re seen as foils to the hero in the film, they’re upholding what they feel are societal norms. While they could slap many more charges on Cliff, in the end, they don’t, making them decent enough folks in my book.
–Lawful Neutral – “The Judge” – I wasn’t sure who exactly to put there but figured that like the G-men, the German stormtroopers were also just doing a job. While the individual soldiers may not have agreed with the mission, the German WW2 agenda, or the Nazi party line, they were following orders from a superior. It wasn’t their job to question whether it was right or wrong, and if asked to fight, that’s what they were supposed to do. Although Germans are usually put in the villainous category in WW2 movies made in former Allied countries, there were probably plenty who were just fighting for their country like anybody else but just happened to be on the losing side of history, which is obviously subjective depends of who writes it. The aircrew of the German zeppelin could also fit this alignment.
–Lawful Evil – “The Overlord” – Eddie Valentine, the crime boss in the film tasked with the “snatch ‘n grab” job of retrieving the rocketpack for actor Neville Sinclair fits this alignment. While he operates on the wrong side of the law, he tries to run his syndicate as a businessman, with his arms in the operations of a swank LA nightclub, the South Seas Club, and seems to be fair to his men. We also find out at the end of the film he has his own personal code – “I may not earn an honest buck, but I’m 100% American. I don’t work for no two-bit Nazi.”
–Neutral Good – “The Hero” – Jenny Blake is an aspiring actress in the film (Betty was her name in the comic, where instead of an actress, she was a glamour model like her namesake, Bettie Page). Like Aurora, she is an independent thinker and can take care of herself, though doing so may put her at odds with the establishment and/or convention. Although it ultimately isn’t a successful ruse, she uses guile to lure Neville Sinclair close enough to knock him out by hitting him with a flower pot, enabling her to sneak into his secret room, try to call for help, and snatch the rocket plans that Lothar had stolen from Peevy. Not exactly the actions of the truly lawful, but certainly not the actions of someone in the story “to just do a lot of screaming” (to paraphrase something Aurora said).
–Neutral Neutral / True Neutral – “The Outsider” – Howard Hughes, the Cirrus X-3’s creator, marches to the beat of his own drummer but is beholden to no one but himself, as he has the funds, skills, and resources to be able to cooperate at his own discretion, as he mentions to the military brass at one point. While he helps Cliff, you get the sense he is doing so for his own reasons. He may lean toward the good category at times, given his natural scientific curiosity and mistrust of government intervention (“your gentlemen in Washington want to turn anything that flies into a weapon!”), leading him to be protective of those working under him. There is a character in the comic called Jonas (an ode to the Shadow) who seems quite similar.
–Neutral Evil – “The Villain” – Lothar in the film, Neville Sinclair’s giant of a henchman, while just doing a job, seems to have some sadistic methods (breaking people in half, twisting them into pretzels). He’s a bit different in the comic book, but in the film, he seems cruel, putting him in the evil category. If you have any doubt, look at his expression when he encounters Cliff and Jenny (both unarmed) on top the zeppelin. He whips out a switchblade and cackles as only a bona fide villain would. He is, however, operating for a paycheck, and I somehow doubt he would care one way or another about the rocketpack if not being paid.
–Chaotic Good – “The Rebel” – like Logan, Cliff, is an inherently good-hearted person who sometimes gets in trouble inadvertently or bumbles his way through things. He is more hot headed in the comic book than in the film, but even there, spends much of the film evading the law. You get the sense that while he might not naturally be the kind of person who deliberately chooses to be the hero, he doesn’t hesitate to put himself in the line of fire to help other people if the situation calls for it. You also get the sense that if you were in his shoes, you’d be feeling a lot like him. He was one of my main influences for creating Logan’s personality in The Thirteenth Hour.
–Chaotic Neutral – “The Nomad” – in the comic book, Lothar is somewhat of a tragic figure. While he serves as a villain, he is doing so out of revenge. He doesn’t hesitate to break the law in his relentless pursuit of people who he thinks were involved in a past crime which turned him against the world. However, he seems to act mostly out of his own independent, free will, even if misguided, making him quite different from the movie version of his personality.
–Chaotic Evil – “The Psychopath” – I debated giving Neville Sinclair this alignment, but his actions in the latter part of the movie show his truer colors, and not only does he break multiple laws and societal conventions, but he is pretty unpredictable, turning suddenly on people he formally allied with. Not to mention he drugs Jenny and tries to take advantage of her, making him one of *those* Hollywood guys. Definitely evil.
Agree or disagree? Comment below if you are so inclined!
Stay tuned for more Rocketeer talk next week! Stay safe!
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