An anonymous made a good point in the comments yesterday. Sometimes in an RPG we, as players, immediately know our character. I’m the Diplomat; I’m the Curious Cat; I’m the Big Dummy.
Other times though our characters are more ethereal, we aren’t sure what our character would do in a given situation. What if your alignment was the result of a short questionnaire? Unfortunately I don’t think the general population would take the time to let a questionnaire tell them what their character’s personality was. Most gamers I know would reverse engineer the survey and just pick what they wanted anyway.
So what are the criteria?
Doesn’t affect the characters mechanically.
Doesn’t use convolutable terms like law, good, chaos, etc.
Helps players define what their character’s actions would be vs. what their actions would be.
How about Reckless vs. Conservative
I think this is very appropriate considering the western genre. Many western characters can be graded on how reckless or careful they are.
And because I think it’s clever White Hat vs. Black Hat
I think this would be a good way to do it, but it could potentially have the same problems as good vs. evil