This post was last updated on April 2nd, 2023
Hello, fellow D&D roleplayers and welcome to another article of the series dedicated to D&D Alignments.
Today’s topic revolves around the Lawful Neutral alignment, which is one of the 9 alignments in Dungeons & Dragons that lead the actions of characters that prioritize order, tradition, and personal codes above all else.
In this article, I’ll explore this alignment in depth, discussing what it means, how it differs from other alignments, what kinds of characters and creatures typically embody this alignment and some good tips for players.
Whether you’re a seasoned D&D player or a newcomer to the game, this article will give you a deeper understanding of the alignment and how you could better play a Lawful Neutral character.
- What is Lawful Neutral in D&D?
- Beliefs and Behaviour of Characters and NPCs
- Characters Examples
- Background Ideas for NPCs or Characters
- How to Play a Lawful Neutral Character
- Examples of Lawful Neutral Character Actions
- Why Play a Lawful Neutral Character?
- Lawful Neutral vs. Other Alignments
- Lawful Neutral FAQs
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What is Lawful Neutral in D&D?
Lawful Neutral individuals act in accordance with law, tradition, or personal codes. Many monks and some wizards are lawful neutral.Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook Edition 5.0
In Dungeons & Dragons, Lawful Neutral is a character alignment that represents individuals who are primarily concerned with maintaining order and following the law, regardless of whether they believe the laws are right or not.
They believe that following the rules and maintaining a sense of structure is important for society to function properly. They are often seen as impartial and consistent in their actions, and may prioritize their duty or loyalty to an organization or authority over their personal beliefs or emotions.
Lawful neutral characters may also have a strong sense of discipline and may be very methodical in their approach to problem-solving. They tend to be reliable and dependable, and are often seen as trustworthy by others.
However, they may also be seen as rigid or inflexible, as they are often unwilling to compromise their principles or deviate from established procedures.
Beliefs and Behaviour of Characters and NPCs
Lawful Neutral characters follow a strict code of conduct and adhere to the laws of their society. They believe that a functioning society requires rules and order, and they respect hierarchy and authority. They value traditions, honour, and loyalty, and they believe in the power of societal rules to create a stable and prosperous community.
Such characters prioritize the greater good over personal gain, and they are willing to make sacrifices for the benefit of the community. They aren’t motivated by a sense of morality or justice, but rather by a sense of duty and obligation to their code. They aren’t inherently good or evil, but they can be either depending on the situation and their personal code.
Lawful Neutral NPCs can range from strict enforcers of the law to neutral arbiters who seek to maintain balance and order. They can be found in positions of authority, such as judges, bureaucrats, and military officers.
As they are often seen as reliable and trustworthy, and they can be valuable allies or formidable opponents.
In popular culture, there are many examples of Lawful Neutral characters. Here are a few of them:
|Boba Fett (Star Wars)
|A bounty hunter who is primarily concerned with fulfilling his contracts and following the rules of his profession. While he may not always agree with the actions of his employers or the Empire, he’s willing to follow their orders as long as they don’t conflict with his personal code of ethics.
|A British spy who is known for his professionalism and adherence to protocol. He’s dedicated to serving his country and following the orders of his superiors, even if it means putting himself in danger.
|Vincent Valentine (Final Fantasy VII)
|A character who is initially portrayed as a mysterious and not friendly gunslinger, known for his skill with firearms. Vincent is often seen as a reserved and introspective character who is focused on his own personal goals, but he’s also open to helping others if it aligns with his sense of duty.
Background Ideas for NPCs or Characters
- Law Enforcement Officer: a character who is a member of a local law enforcement agency, such as a town guard or city watch. They are dedicated to upholding the law and maintaining order and may be seen as strict or inflexible in their approach to enforcing the rules.
- Military Officer: a character who is a member of a military organization, such as a general or captain. They are disciplined and focused on achieving their mission objectives, and may be willing to make sacrifices in order to accomplish their goals.
- Religious Leader: a character who is a member of a religious organization, such as a priest or cleric. They are dedicated to following the tenets of their faith and may prioritize their duty to their deity over their personal beliefs or emotions.
- Mercenary: a character who is primarily motivated by money or other material rewards. They may be seen as morally ambiguous, but are still bound by their sense of duty to their employer.
- Spy or Intelligence Agent: a character who works for a government or other organization as a spy or intelligence agent. They are focused on gathering information and completing their missions and may be willing to bend the rules or take risks in order to accomplish their goals.
How to Play a Lawful Neutral Character
Alignment and Roleplaying Tips
It’s important to understand that these types of characters are deeply dedicated to following the laws and rules, even if they don’t agree with them, because they believe that order and structure are necessary for the functioning of society.
They aren’t concerned with good or evil, and they aren’t swayed by personal relationships or allegiances. They always make decisions based on the law and what’s best for the greater good, rather than personal gain or loyalty to one side or the other.
Maintaining balance and order in all things is something they always strive for and they may be willing to make sacrifices towards this balance, but only if it’s within the bounds of the law.
Although they follow laws and rules, they have a personal code of conduct that’s based on principles such as honour, duty, or loyalty. Sometimes their personal code conflicts with the law and this could lead to interesting outcomes.
Challenges and Opportunities
- Lack of emotional attachment: they may not have strong emotional attachments to other characters or causes, which can make it difficult to form meaningful relationships or alliances.
- Difficulty making moral decisions: a lawful neutral character is more concerned with following the law than with making moral decisions. This can make it difficult to navigate situations where the law conflicts with personal beliefs or values.
- Risk of being seen as cold or unfeeling: these characters may come across as cold or unfeeling, as they prioritize rules and order over personal connections or emotions.
- Complex decision-making: playing a lawful neutral character requires careful consideration of the law and its implications, which can lead to interesting and complex decision-making.
- Unique perspective: a lawful neutral character sees the world through a different lens than other characters, which can provide a unique perspective on events and situations.
- Roleplay opportunities: playing a lawful neutral character can provide opportunities for interesting roleplay, as the character navigates situations where the law conflicts with personal beliefs or values.
- Leadership potential: if you play such a character you may be seen as a natural leader, as this type of character prioritizes order and structure over personal gain or loyalty.
Examples of Lawful Neutral Character Actions
Actions they would do
- Following the law and maintaining order, even if they disagree with the law itself.
- Keeping their word because they value their promises and will do everything in their power to keep them.
- Executing orders from their superiors, even if they disagree with them.
- Protecting the innocent and upholding justice.
Actions they wouldn’t do
- Betraying someone they’ve made a promise to.
- Breaking the law unless it’s absolutely necessary.
- Acting impulsively or making decisions on a whim.
It is important to note that these actions are not set in stone, and LE characters can still surprise players and DMs with their decisions.
These actions could serve as a general guideline for players who are new to the game.
Why Play a Lawful Neutral Character?
Lawful Neutral characters are often seen as the most balanced and reasonable characters in D&D, as they are driven by a strict code of ethics and principles, but they aren’t necessarily good or evil.
If you’re considering playing a lawful neutral character, there are several benefits and potential drawbacks to keep in mind.
- Consistency: Lawful Neutral characters are consistent in their actions and beliefs. They follow a strict code of ethics and principles, which can make them reliable and trustworthy.
- Objective: Lawful Neutral characters are not swayed by emotions or personal biases, therefore they make decisions based on logic and reason, which can make them valuable members of any group.
- Adaptable: Lawful Neutral characters are adaptable and can work with a variety of other characters. They aren’t necessarily good or evil, so they can work with characters from either end of the spectrum.
- Rigid: Lawful Neutral characters can be rigid in their beliefs and actions, so they may be unwilling to compromise or bend their principles, which can lead to conflict with other characters.
- Unemotional: Lawful Neutral characters can be seen as unemotional or detached, therefore they may have trouble connecting with other characters on an emotional level.
- Limitations: Lawful Neutral characters may have limitations when it comes to certain actions or decisions because they are too bound by their code of ethics or principles.
Lawful Neutral vs. Other Alignments
Lawful Neutral vs Lawful Good
Lawful Good characters prioritize doing what is right and just, even if it means breaking the law. LN characters prioritize following the law or a personal code, even if it means doing something that might be considered morally questionable.
Lawful Neutral vs Neutral Good
Lawful Neutral characters prioritize following a personal code or the law without thinking about what should be morally right, while Neutral Good characters prioritize doing what is morally right and just, even if it means going against the law or a personal code.
Lawful Neutral vs Chaotic Good
Lawful Neutral characters tend to be more focused on following a personal code or the law, while Chaotic Good characters tend to be more focused on doing what is morally right and just, even if it means breaking the law or going against societal norms.
Lawful Neutral vs True Neutral
True Neutral characters prioritize balance and don’t necessarily lean towards any particular moral or ethical code. LN characters prioritize following the law or a personal code, even if it means going against what might be considered a “balanced” decision.
Lawful Neutral vs Chaotic Neutral
Chaotic Neutral characters prioritize their own personal freedom and don’t necessarily follow any laws or codes. Lawful Neutral characters prioritize following the law or a personal code, even if it means sacrificing some personal freedom.
Lawful Neutral vs Lawful Evil
Lawful Neutral characters prioritize following a personal code or the law over any larger sense of morality, while Lawful Evil characters prioritize their own personal gain and follow a strict code of conduct.
Lawful Neutral vs Neutral Evil
Neutral Evil characters prioritize their own personal gain and don’t necessarily follow any laws or codes. LN characters prioritize following the law or a personal code, even if it means sacrificing personal gain.
Lawful Neutral vs Chaotic Evil
Lawful Neutral characters prioritize following a personal code or the law over any larger sense of morality, while Chaotic Evil characters prioritize their own personal gain and have no regard for the law or any code of conduct.
Lawful Neutral FAQs
How do you roleplay a lawful neutral character?
To roleplay a lawful neutral character, you should focus on their adherence to laws and codes, and their impartiality in difficult situations. You can also explore their lack of empathy and their tendency to become rigid and inflexible.
Is lawful neutral a popular alignment choice?
Yes, because it provides a unique and interesting character archetype that can add depth and complexity to the game. Many players enjoy exploring the concept of a character who is bound by laws or codes, and that can be versatile and adaptable making this alignment a popular choice for players who want to explore different playstyles.
How does a lawful neutral character approach moral dilemmas?
A lawful neutral character would approach a moral dilemma by considering the laws or codes that govern the situation, rather than relying on their personal moral or ethical beliefs. They would ask themselves what the law or code requires of them in this situation and then act accordingly.
They may also consider the consequences of their actions and how they will affect the balance of order and chaos. A lawful neutral character is unlikely to take a stand on a moral issue unless it conflicts with their laws or codes. They are not necessarily good or evil, but they are focused on maintaining order and balance in their world.