Want to know about the Lawful Good character alignment? You’re in the right place. This article explains the Lawful Good alignment, how to play it and lists character examples.
You’ll find Lawful Good traits, insults they might dish out to enemies, background ideas, quotes they’d love, how Lawful Good compares to other alignments, and loads more info too! Get to know the Lawful Good alignment!
Lawful Good definition
A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. She combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. She tells the truth, keeps her word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion.Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook 3.5 Edition, Chapter 6, Page 104-105
‘Lawful’ and ‘Good’
The Lawful Good alignment is a combination of two elements – Lawful and Good. The first part of the alignment, ‘Lawful’ describes the alignment’s ethics, their perspective on society and how it should function. The second part ‘Good’ describes their morals.
A Lawful character follows the rules, respects hierarchy and believes in power given by society. Lawful characters believe in honour, following traditions and being trustworthy. They have faith in societal rules because they are how you create a functioning society where everyone acts in the way you expect.
While they may sound noble, Lawful characters can be dogmatic and inflexible and blindly follow the rules even if they make no sense. They can harshly judge others that don’t follow the same rules and place their loyalty to the system above their loyalty to friends and family.
Good characters care about others and act in ways that help and benefit them. They protect the innocent, defend the weak, and go out of their way to help other people.
Lawful Good characters always do the right thing as expected by society. They always follow the rules, tell the truth and help people out. They like order, trust and believe in people in positions of power, and they aim to be an upstanding citizen.
Lawful Good characters believe in societal rules because they benefit everyone. If everyone followed their own rules there would be chaos and people may end up hurting each other.
Justice is really important to Lawful Good characters. If someone doesn’t follow the rules, they should be punished by the system. They are angry when people get away with breaking the rules.
They also believe that good behaviour and good deeds will be rewarded.
A Lawful Good character holds themselves to the same standards that they hold everyone else. They very rarely, if ever, break the rules. If they do break the rules they will feel extremely uncomfortable doing so.
If a Lawful Good character encounters a culture with a different belief to their own, they will not necessarily try to enforce their own values onto the people in that society. But it depends on what the laws are. If the laws are at odds with their alignment, the character might encourage citizens to ignore them, or even try to change the laws themselves.
For example, if a society allows slavery, the ‘good’ aspect of the Lawful Good alignment may override the ‘lawful’ element and cause the character to step in and free the slaves (even if it’s against local laws).
Lawful Good characters can have some downsides. They can be irritatingly inflexible and dogmatic in their beliefs. They can come across as arrogant and self-righteous. They may fail to understand why an individual would pursue their own freedom and interests over the greater good.
They can come across as overly dogmatic insisting that the doctrines and societal rules they follow are the only ‘right’ way to live.
They will not harm an innocent person even if they are suspected of doing wrong unless they have hard evidence that the individual is guilty of wrongdoing.
There will be times where the Lawful aspect and the Good aspect of their character come into conflict. For example, striking down the evil leader but allowing innocent civilians to be injured in the process would side on Law over Good. Saving the civilians but letting the bad guy get away would side with Good over Law.
If Lawful Good character regularly chooses to take the Lawful decision over the Good decision and innocent people suffer as a consequence, they can find themselves aligning more closely with Lawful Neutral or even Lawful Evil.
Lawful Good character examples
Edition 3.5 of the Dungeons and Dragons Player’s Handbook labels the Lawful Good alignment as “Crusader”. That means characters such as an honest and kind king, a hard-working serf or a noble knight are all traditional examples of Lawful Good characters.
In popular culture, the following fictional characters are examples of Lawful Good characters.
Lawful Good female character examples
- Turanga Leela (Futurama)
- Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)
- General Amaya (The Dragon Prince)
Lawful Good male character examples
- Superman (DC Comics)
- RoboCop (RoboCop)
- Captain America (Marvel)
Lawful Good traits
There are some traits that are usually associated with Lawful Good characters.
Lawful Good personal code
The personal code for a Lawful Good character might look something like this.
- I will protect the weak and defend the helpless.
- I will always act with honour.
- I will never betray those I am loyal to.
- I will respect authorities that seek to do good.
- I will not kill the innocent.
- I will not break the law.
- I will not steal.
- I will help enforce the law and order.
- I will spread good in the world.
- I will tell the truth.
Lawful Good character’s perfect world
In the Lawful Good character’s perfect world, these things would happen.
- Traditions are upheld.
- Lawbreakers and evildoers are brought to justice, regardless of their status.
- People get rewarded for their hard work, doing good and living by the rules.
- Everyone supports those less fortunate than themselves.
- Friends are always true and loyal to each other.
- Everyone is treated with dignity and kindness.
- Everyone works together to build communities and advance society.
- Those who have earned respect are given it.
- People always tell the truth.
- Everyone uses their talents and skills to benefit the world.
Lawful Good quotes
If a Lawful Good character has favourite quotes, they might be these!
I would prefer even to fail with honour than win by cheating.Sophocles
Human happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.George Washington
Honour is the reward of virtue.Cicero
Nobody can acquire honour by doing what is wrong.Thomas Jefferson
Law is order, and good law is good order.Aristotle
Lawful Good conflicts
Like any great character, a Lawful Good character will face tough choices while adventuring. What they choose to do will depend on whether they give more weight to the Lawful aspect or the Good aspect of their alignment.
They are still aligned with Lawful and Good, but internal conflict arises when they are forced into a situation where they need to choose which aspect takes precedence over the other.
Law before Good
In placing Law over Good, if they are placed in a situation which requires them to choose between taking down the leader of evil or saving the civilians, they will choose to take down the evil leader. They will do this in the name of the greater good.
Similarly, if the character has been ordered to arrest a person they know to be innocent and they follow through with the order and arrest them, they have sided with Law over Good.
Characters that regularly choose Law before Good could transition over into a Lawful Evil alignment because they are causing others to suffer in the name of Law.
Good before Law
In the same situation as above, a Good before Law character will choose to save the civilians and let evil leader escape, choosing to protect the lives of the innocent and taking up their Lawful fight another day.
In the example where the Lawful Good character has been ordered to arrest someone they know to be innocent, they may favour Good over Law and help the innocent person to evade arrest. They would then seek out evidence to bring the real guilty party to justice.
How to role-play a Lawful Good character
As you role-play, your alignment will guide the decisions you make in character.
You can take actions which don’t align with your character, but your character would not do so without any reflection on who they are. They may feel guilt, shame or reflect on the nature of who they are after acting in a way that isn’t in keeping with their alignment.
Taking several actions in a row that are against your character’s alignment can start an interesting character arc and can lead to a change of alignment for your character.
Actions aligned with a Lawful Good character
- Following the advice of a person a position of power who does good.
- Turning a family member or friend over to the authorities if they have committed a crime.
- Giving to beggars.
- Taking an arrow to the knee to protect an ally.
- Giving your last healing potion to an ally.
- Offering a fair price for an item in a shop.
- Persuading your party to turn in a valuable item found while adventuring which everyone knows belongs to someone else.
- Taking the first watch at night when everyone in your party is exhausted.
- Healing the sick even if they have an infectious disease.
- Defending civilians in a fight even if the odds are against you.
Actions partially aligned with a Lawful Good character
- Lying to a suspected criminal to get evidence of their crime after being ordered to investigate.
- Following orders to arrest a civilian when there is only a small amount of evidence against them.
- Allowing an enemy to escape so that you can save the civilians.
- Teaming up a member of the enemy’s faction to infiltrate their camp.
Actions not aligned with a Lawful Good character
- Using poison to kill an evildoer.
- Killing guards to escape capture.
- Throwing the first punch in a fight.
- Being disrespectful in social situations.
- Seeking to overthrow those in power that are doing good.
- Splitting the loot unfairly amongst your party.
- Leaving a contracted job unfinished after agreeing to complete it.
- Tricking a merchant into believing a low-value item is worth more.
- Fleeing from a fight.
- Committing mutiny or treason.
Lawful Good insults
You may be an upstanding citizen, but you can still get angry at other characters! Here are some insults a Lawful Good character might dish out.
- “You are proof that God has a sense of humour.”
- “People clap when they see you. Clap their hands over their eyes.”
- “In the land of the witless, you would be king.”
- “I’d prefer a battle of wits, but you appear unarmed.”
- “Your inferiority complex is fully justified.”
- “I’ve been called worse things by better people.”
- “I’m jealous of all the people who haven’t met you.”
- “It is impossible to underestimate you.”
- “You have delusions of adequacy.”
- “You would be out of your depth in a puddle.”
Example Lawful Good backgrounds
Something led your character to be the person they are today. These background examples might make sense for a Lawful Good character.
You come from a humble social rank, but you are destined for so much more. Already the people of your home village regard you as their champion, and your destiny calls you to stand against the tyrants and monsters that threaten the common folk everywhere.Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook 5th Edition, Page 131.
You spent years learning the lore of the multiverse. You scoured manuscripts, studied scrolls, and listened to the greatest experts on the subjects that interest you. Your efforts have made you a master in your fields of study.Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook 5th Edition, Page 137.
War has been your life for as long as you care to remember. You trained as a youth, studied the use of weapons and armor, learned basic survival techniques, including how to stay alive on the battlefield. You might have been part of a standing national army or a mercenary company, or perhaps a member of a local militia who rose to prominence during a recent war.Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook 5th Edition, Page 140.
The differences between Lawful Good and the other alignments
Lawful Good vs Neutral Good
The key difference between these two alignments is how they view Law and Order in society. For Lawful Good, they view the Law as something that is there to be followed to the letter to get good outcomes. Following the Law is always the right way to achieve Good and they won’t break it, even if they can do more Good by breaking it.
For a Neutral Good character, they will follow the Law if it truly is the best way to achieve Good. However, if they need to break the Law to achieve a better outcome for more people, then they will and they will feel no guilt or remorse in doing so. The top priority for a Neutral Good character is doing good and they don’t care which rules they break to do it.
For more detail on the Neutral Good alignment, check out my article.
Lawful Good vs Chaotic Good
Lawful Good characters and Chaotic Good characters differ in how they view Law and Order in society.
Chaotic Good characters believe that people should be free to decide what is the best way to do good in the world and that the Law shouldn’t dictate what that is. Above all else, Chaotic Good characters want to protect people’s freedom to choose.
Unlike Lawful Good characters, Chaotic Good characters don’t see much value in the Law. At best, Law aligns with the decisions a Good person would take anyway, and at its worst, it provides opportunities for Good people to be manipulated and abused by society’s systems and organizations.
Find out more about Chaotic Good in my Chaotic Good alignment article.
Lawful Good vs Lawful Neutral
Lawful Good and Lawful Neutral characters both uphold the Law and follow it to the letter however they do it with very different moral intentions.
A Lawful Good character upholds the law because they believe in its ability to achieve good in society. However, if they are forced into a situation where following the Law will not result in Good for people, the Lawful Good character may choose to side with Good and break the Law to do it.
A Lawful Neutral character will never break the Law in the name of Good or Evil. They simply enforce it without any moral judgement of their own. They believe that with well defined Law and Order, there is no need for individuals to bring in their own judgement on what is good or evil. The law is the law.
On very rare occasions a Lawful Neutral character may change the Law or break it if they can see a more effective Law at keeping society in order. But this will be logical, rather than an emotional or moral decision.
Take a closer look at Lawful Neutral in my article.
Lawful Good vs True Neutral
A Lawful Good character has two main codes to follow – upholding the Laws of society and striving to do Good. In contrast, a True Neutral character lives by their own rules. They are not driven to do Good or Evil and they will follow the Laws of society only if they suit them.
True Neutrals don’t prefer Law to Chaos or Good to Evil, instead they see them all as extreme positions which lead to negative consequences for individuals. Generally, a True Neutral will follow the rules and favour Good over Evil, but only because it makes their life easier and they may be rewarded for it, not because they are obliged to by their personal code.
Check out more on True Neutral in my article.
Lawful Good vs Chaotic Neutral
The main difference between Lawful Good and Chaotic Neutral is their perspective on Law and Order in society. The Lawful Good character upholds the Law because they believe it protects people and does good in society. The Chaotic Neutral character believes that Laws restrict individual freedom and they hate traditions, hierarchy and organisational power.
The Lawful Good character will strive to do good in society, but the Chaotic Neutral character is not driven by the same morals. They are only interested in doing what’s best for themselves. If that means that other people benefit from it, then great. If other people will suffer but the Chaotic Neutral character will come out on top with no negative consequences for themselves, also great.
For a closer look at the Chaotic Neutral alignment, see my article.
Lawful Good vs Lawful Evil
Lawful Good and Lawful Evil agree on one thing, that Laws like codes and traditions should be upheld. However, they believe they should be upheld for very different reasons. For the Lawful Good person, it’s because they believe that societal norms are there to encourage Good in society and that’s generally how they use them.
For Lawful Evil, their code is there to give them a moral right to do Evil. Kill people in the name of their code? Sure thing. It’s what their Law says they must do, it’s nothing personal.
Find out more info on the Lawful Evil alignment in my article.
Lawful Good vs Neutral Evil
There’s not a huge amount for Lawful Good and Neutral Evil to agree on. Neutral Evil characters are indifferent to Law, they will follow it if it suits them but will equally break it if doesn’t. They are only out for themselves.
The biggest thing Lawful Good and Neutral Evil differ on is their morals. A Neutral Evil character will do whatever they want to get the best outcome for themselves. If that means betraying, killing, stealing from others, they will do it. And they’ll feel no remorse either.
Delve into the details of Neutral Evil in my article.
Lawful Good vs Chaotic Evil
Lawful Good and Chaotic Evil are as opposite as you can get in the alignment system. Lawful Good characters believe in upholding order and achieving good. Chaotic Evil despises order, hierarchy and traditions and does whatever they want to do, no matter the cost to other people.
At their best Chaotic Evil characters are unpredictable, selfish and heartless. At their worst, Chaotic Evil characters seek to spread Evil and Chaos for their own sake and cause carnage and pain wherever they go.
For more on Chaotic Evil, take a look at my article.
How a Lawful Good character views other alignments
For a Lawful Good character, they view others through the lens of, “Do they follow a personal code to guide their decisions and do they want to do good in the world?”
A chart showing a Lawful Good’s perspective on other alignments might look like this.
Principled and kind
Unpredictable but kind
Unprincipled but kind
Principled but apathetic
Unpredictable and apathetic
Unprincipled and apathetic
Principled but cruel
Unpredictable and cruel
Unprincipled and cruel
Lawful Good FAQs
Can a Lawful Good character kill?
Because a Lawful Good character believes in an organized society, they would rather a person was convicted and brought to justice and reformed in the justice system, rather than being killed. To a Lawful Good character, life is to be protected wherever possible.
A Lawful Good character will generally avoid killing other characters unless it’s necessary.
However, when they are pushed into certain situations they will kill other characters to defend those they are loyal to and to protect the weak and innocent.
A Lawful Good character needs to be absolutely certain a person has committed an evil act to kill them. They will never take the life of an innocent person and they will never take the life of another character for fun or personal gain.
A Lawful Good character will not even want to start a fight with an unarmed opponent unless they are stepping in to stop them from causing harm to another person.
Does a paladin have to be Lawful Good?
Paladins are the poster child for the Lawful Good alignment. They are highly principled and follow the teachings of the oaths they have sworn and the rituals for any deity they worship. A Paladin’s ability to heal further supports their spreading of Good in the world.
In Dungeons & Dragons, Paladins were required to have a Lawful Good alignment until 3rd Edition but now they can be any alignment.
Can a rogue be Lawful Good?
Yes, a rogue can be Lawful Good. Whether their actions are considered to align with Lawful and Good all depends on the context of their actions.
Even though a rogue fights with stealth, can pick locks to break entry, and lies to others to get what they want, it is the motivation behind these actions that reveal the rogue’s true alignment. If they are doing these things because they are following the orders of a High Lord for a cause which brings about Good in the world, they can be considered Lawful Good.
Take the example of a spy gathering intelligence. They use subterfuge to collect information that can save the lives of innocent people. They are Lawful Good.
Conclusion – Lawful Good alignment
Playing a Lawful Good character is fun because you get to play as the classic hero. You live with honour and seek to do good in the world.
You may find yourself with tough decisions to make when you need to decide whether your allegiance to Law and Order is more important than your drive to do Good. But internal conflicts are something that makes playing a Lawful Good alignment interesting!
If you’re looking for a mini for your Lawful Good character, the one pictured at the top of this article is Sir Brannor the Crusader Captain by Reaper Miniatures, check him out at Amazon.
If you’ve already got your mini sorted but want some cool D&D stuff to make you feel epic when you play check out my favourite 13 accessories for players!