Want to know all about the Lawful Neutral alignment? You’re in the right place! This article explains the Lawful Neutral character alignment, how to play it, and lists character examples.
Read on for Lawful Neutral traits, character background ideas, how Chaotic Neutral compares to the other alignments, what their favourite quotes might be and insults they might give out!
Lawful Neutral definition
A lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition or a personal code directs her. Order and organization are paramount to her. She may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or she may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government. Ember, a monk who follows her discipline without being swayed either by the demands of those in need, or by the temptations of evil is, is lawful neutral.
Lawful neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot.Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook Edition 3.5 page 105.
‘Lawful’ and ‘Neutral’
The two aspects of the Lawful Neutral alignment describe different aspects of the character. The first word, ‘Lawful’ refers to the alignment’s perspective on how they think society should work. The second aspect, ‘Neutral’ indicates the alignment’s morals on the good and evil spectrum.
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.
Characters with neutral morals usually don’t go to the extremes of Evil characters and kill the innocent, nor will they go to the extremes of Good and take actions that harm themselves to help others.
The actions of Neutral characters are driven by their loyalties to others and to any codes they follow. If an action is in their best interest or aligns with those they are loyal to, they will take it.
While all characters may naturally change alignments through character development, it is especially common for Neutral characters to move to a Good or Evil alignment if the majority of their actions favour one moral alignment over the other.
A Lawful Neutral character behaves in a way that matches the organization, authority or traditions they follow. They live by this code and uphold it above all else, taking actions that are sometimes considered Good and sometimes considered Evil by others.
The Lawful Neutral character does not care about what others think of their actions, they only care about their actions being correct according to their code. But they do not preach their code to others and try to convert them.
Lawful Neutral characters like rules, order and organization. They follow these to the letter for their own sake. Moral decisions don’t come into the equation for them so even if they hurt others in carrying out their duty, they feel no guilt, remorse or anguish. It’s just business.
Because a Lawful Neutral character can be emotionless and merciless in following their laws it is easy for them to appear Lawful Evil. However, unlike Lawful Evil, they do not take pleasure in their actions, nor are they seeking to spread Evil in society.
The Lawful Neutral alignment can be bad when the character seeks to oppress others, eliminate anyone who is different and restrict all free will.
A Lawful Neutral character will kill others while defending their allies and will even use poison if ordered to use it on an enemy. In fact, they will follow any order given to them by a person in a position of power in the system of order that they follow.
When in society, a Lawful Neutral character will always act as is fitting for their role and position in society and expects others to do the same.
As an ally, a Lawful Neutral character is honest and trustworthy and will never betray their comrades.
Lawful Neutral character examples
The Lawful Neutral alignment is known as the “Judge” in the D&D Player’s Handbook Edition 3.5. Characters with a Lawful Neutral alignment are the kind of people who follow the code of the traditions, leaders or society they follow to the letter and don’t let their morals come into it. They may be devout followers of a religion or emotionless arms of the law who will do whatever it takes to see the law carried out.
Here are some examples of Lawful Neutral characters.
Lawful Neutral Female character examples
- Amanda Waller (DC Comics)
- Sisters of Battle (Warhammer 40k)
- Black Widow (Marvel Comics)
Lawful Neutral Male character examples
- Judge Dredd (Judge Dredd)
- Space Marines (Warhammer 40k)
- The Grim Reaper (Mythology)
Lawful Neutral traits
While the exact traits associated with Lawful Neutral characters vary from character to character, there are some traits that are commonly associated with Lawful Neutral alignments.
Lawful Neutral moral code
For a Lawful Neutral character, the codes of the traditions, organizations and individuals they follow are more important than their personal moral choices. In fact, to them, they may not make conscious moral choices at all. As a result, the actions they take will look like this.
- I will follow my personal code to the letter.
- I will respect any authority that is aligned with my code.
- I will not kill innocent people.
- I will not murder.
- I will follow the law.
- I will always tell the truth.
- I will not support criminals.
- I will keep my promises to my allies and family.
- I will always follow the orders of authorities I am loyal to.
- I will further order in society.
Lawful Neutral character’s perfect world
The perfect world according to a Lawful Neutral character might look like this.
- Everyone follows the same societal laws, traditions and codes.
- Everyone seeks to advance law and order in society.
- No one worries about making moral decisions because they are all decided by societal laws.
- Everyone is true to their word and never breaks a contract.
- Criminals are brought to justice by the state.
- People are respected as is appropriate for their position in society.
- Authority figures and authorities are respected and followed.
- People can pursue wealth, health and happiness however they choose so long as it doesn’t go against societal law.
- Individuals stand up to any attempt to spread chaos and disorder in society.
- Everyone alerts the authorities to criminal actions.
Lawful Neutral quotes
Follow the rules, or follow the fools.Tupac Shakur
The person who masters himself through self-control and discipline is ultimately undefeatable.Gautama Buddha
I am very proud to follow the rules of our company.Ingvar Kamprad
Loyalty isn’t grey, it’s black and white. You’re either loyal completely, or not loyal at all.Sharnay
Many people see discipline as the absence of freedom, when in fact it is the source of freedom.Stephen Covey
Lawful Neutral decisions
Like any adventurer, a Lawful Neutral character will come across situations that mean they need to make some tough decisions. Should they follow the orders to kill innocents because it’s what their leader instructed? Do they turn a blind eye to poor being arrested for not paying their taxes?
For a Lawful Neutral character, the most important thing in every situation is abiding by their codes and following them to the letter. Sometimes they will carry out actions that would be perceived by others as evil but they are not doing it with the desire to spread evil in the world. They will not take any pleasure in their action, nor feel any remorse for it.
To a Lawful Neutral character, the purpose of law and order is to create a functioning society and make it so that people don’t need to consult their morals when making decisions. They can remain objective.
As a result, a Lawful Neutral character’s actions are predictable. If you know the codes they adhere to, you will know what they will do in any given situation.
Where a Lawful Neutral character will have difficulty is where their codes don’t provide any guidance for a given situation. In these cases, they will use their rational and objective judgement to take an educated guess on what they would be expected to do. They will not refer to their conscience or their understanding of Good and Evil to inform their decision.
How to play a Lawful Neutral alignment
As you roleplay a Lawful Neutral character, your alignment will guide your actions. Some actions are more closely aligned with a Lawful Neutral character than others.
You can take actions that are not in keeping with your alignment but they may lead your character to begin questioning who they are. They might feel guilt, shame or annoyance at themselves for acting the way they did.
If you take several actions in a row that are not in keeping with your alignment, then it could be the start of an exciting character development arc which shows how your character shifted alignment.
Actions aligned with a Lawful Neutral character
- Follow the orders of anyone in a superior position of authority to you.
- Proudly attend a ceremony to receive a military honour for your service.
- Carrying out your daily rituals every single day without fail.
- Risking your life to fight a dragon because the authorities you follow ordered you to.
- Paying the asking price for a set of armour from a quartermaster.
- Listening to the advice from the head of your household.
- Going undercover after being ordered to infiltrate an enemy camp.
- Making a dangerous pilgrimage to complete a rite of passage.
- Standing as your monarch’s champion in a fight to the death.
- Remaining faithful to your spouse.
Actions not aligned with a Lawful Neutral character
- Going on a bloodthirsty rampage to avenge the murder of your sister.
- Accept a bribe from a group of criminals not to turn them over to the authorities.
- Betraying your allies to get a promotion.
- Giving all your gold to the homeless.
- Committing mutiny against your leaders.
- Breaking your pact with your guild after a heated argument.
- Deliberately starting a bar fight.
- Keeping most of the loot for yourself instead of sharing it equally among your allies.
- Falling asleep during your night watch.
- Insulting hosts who have provided you with food and shelter.
Lawful Neutral Insults
Lawful Neutral characters may not have any moral conflicts when carrying out orders, but they will dish out a good insult like anyone else.
- “How did you get here? Did someone leave your cage open?”
- “We can always tell when your lying, your lips move.”
- “Next time I see you, remind me not to talk to you.”
- “You’re so ugly, you made an onion cry.”
- “A sharp tongue is no indication of a sharp mind.”
- “Our greatest danger could be your stupidity.”
- “Hey, you have something on your chin. No, the third one down.”
- “Mirrors can’t talk, lucky for you, they can’t laugh either.”
- “Your intelligence is my common sense.”
- “Two wrongs don’t make a right and your parents have proven that.”
Lawful Neutral background ideas
Your Lawful Neutral character can have any background you want to give some insight into how they became the person they are today. To give you some ideas, here are three backgrounds from the Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook 5th Edition which fit really well with a Lawful Neutral character alignment.
You have spent your life in the service of a temple to a specific god or pantheon of gods. You act as an intermediary between the realm of the holy and the mortal world, performing sacred rites and offering sacrifices in order to conduct worshipers into the presence of the divine. You are not necessarily a cleric – performing sacred rites is not the same thing as channelling divine power.Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook, page 127.
You understand wealth, power and privilege. You carry a noble title, and your family owns land, collects taxes, and wields significant political influence. You might be a pampered aristocrat unfamiliar with work or discomfort, a former merchant just elevated to the nobility, or a disinherited scoundrel with a disproportionate sense of entitlement. Or you could be an honest, hard-working landowner who cares deeply about the people who live and work on your land, keenly aware of your responsibility to them.Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook, page 135.
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, page 140.
Lawful Neutral vs other alignments
Lawful Neutral vs Lawful Good
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.
For a closer look at Lawful Good, check out my Lawful Good article.
Lawful Neutral vs Neutral Good
These two alignments don’t have anything they agree on. The Lawful Neutral character believes that the law should be upheld to the letter without any moral judgement on their part. The Law is the law and it’s necessary to keep society functioning and people behaving appropriately.
The Neutral Good character believes that Law and Order is no better than Chaos for a functioning society, especially if law is used to restrict individual freedom. What matters more to a Neutral Good character is doing good, regardless of what the law says. They will uphold laws so long as they further the greater good, if they don’t they will disregard them.
For more information on the Neutral Good alignment, see my article.
Lawful Neutral vs Chaotic Good
While a Chaotic Good character’s actions are driven by their desire to do Good and to heck with the Law, a Lawful Neutral character is about as passionless as you can get.
A Lawful Neutral character only cares about enforcing order to the letter. They do it without any passion at all. The law is the law and it must be upheld. Who are they to judge what is good and evil?
Take a closer look at the Chaotic Good alignment in my article.
Lawful Neutral vs True Neutral
Lawful Neutral and True Neutral alignments don’t take sides over Good and Evil but for different reasons. For the Lawful Neutral character, it’s because the codes they follow provide all the guidance they need for making decisions. They use that, as opposed to their own conscience to make decisions.
For a True Neutral character, it’s because they prefer to take the most pragmatic decision in any given situation. For some True Neutral characters, it’s because they see extremes of law and chaos and good and evil as negative, so they take a balanced approach instead.
These two alignments disagree on their perspective of law and order. Lawful Neutral sees order as helping individuals and society to achieve more. For a True Neutral, they can see how order can help but also hinder society and individual freedoms. They will follow societal norms for an easy life and don’t care about upholding or rebelling against them.
Discover more about True Neutral in my article.
Lawful Neutral vs Chaotic Neutral
There’s one thing that Chaotic Neutral and Lawful Neutral can agree on – both see Good and Evil as something they shouldn’t concern themselves with. Where they differ though, is the reason why they think that way.
A Lawful Neutral character doesn’t concern themselves with Good and Evil because they don’t need to. All they need to do is abide by the laws, codes and traditions of whatever personal or external order they follow. If they do that, they are excused from any moral decisions. They are simply following orders, morality doesn’t come into it.
For a Chaotic Neutral, they hate laws and traditions because they restrict individual freedoms and that’s all they want – to be free. For a Chaotic Neutral character, the only way they can be truly free and pursue their own interests at all times is to be morally neutral.
To delve into the details of Chaotic Neutral, see my article.
Lawful Neutral vs Lawful Evil
Lawful Neutral and Lawful Evil characters both follow strict codes, traditions and laws but they are motivated to do so for different reasons. For a Lawful Neutral character, it’s because they believe that an ordered society provides equal treatment for everyone. For a Lawful Evil character, it’s because their order gives them opportunities to use power for themselves.
For both of them, breaking the oaths they have made is unthinkable. For a Lawful Neutral character, it’s because they break promises, lose reputation and status for doing so. For a Lawful Evil these same things apply, but it may also be that they have committed Evil acts in the name of their code and need it to protect them. The more Evil they commit, the harder it is to break or leave the order they follow.
Not all Lawful Evil characters are obsessed with spreading Evil. Some Lawful Evil characters might believe they are doing the right thing and are on the side of the good guys, regardless of the Evil acts they commit to spread their order. In contrast, no Lawful Neutral characters care about spreading Good or Evil. They simply follow their order and are not interested in moral plights.
For a closer look at the Lawful Evil alignment, check out my article.
Lawful Neutral vs Neutral Evil
Lawful Neutral characters and Neutral Evil characters are very different. For a Lawful Neutral character, they follow a personal code to guide every decision, whereas a Neutral Evil character follows no such code.
A Neutral Evil character might kill, steal, lie, cheat and other Evil things just for fun. They aren’t doing it in the name of a rebellion against law and order, they are just doing it because they want to and they can. They will just do whatever they can get away with to get what they want. If that means someone dies but they won’t get caught, then fine.
On the other hand, a Lawful Neutral character will pursue their own interests but will not go against their personal or societal code to get them. That generally means, not harming others!
Delve into the details of the Neutral Evil alignment in my article.
Lawful Neutral vs Chaotic Evil
Lawful Neutral and Chaotic Evil characters have nothing to agree on. They disagree on the nature of law and order. For Lawful Neutral, law and order help society to function, for Chaotic Evil order is something to be ignored completely with reckless abandon, or it’s a tool to be used to manipulate others.
A Chaotic Evil character is completely out for themselves. They will kill, lie, steal and cheat out of hatred, bloodlust or just for fun. They don’t even work well with others because they don’t keep promises and are disloyal. They can only be controlled with force.
For a Lawful Neutral character, their word is their bond and they will follow their order to the letter. Their personal needs are secondary to adhering to their code.
Find out more about the Chaotic Evil alignment in this article.
How Lawful Neutral views the other alignments
For a Lawful Neutral character, they are asking themselves this question when evaluating other characters, “Do they reliably follow a set of principles and are they objective when it comes to moral decisions?”
Principled but naive
Unpredictable and naive
Unprincipled and naive
Principled and objective
Unpredictable but objective
Unprincipled but objective
Principled but irrational
Unpredictable and irrational
Unprincipled and irrational
Conclusion – Lawful Neutral alignment
Playing a Lawful Neutral character is interesting because you can be honourable and dependable without pushing your opinions of good and evil, and law and order on others.
Lawful Neutral is great alignment to play as a stoic monk, a barbarian proud of their clan heritage, or a soldier maintaining peace in a city.
The miniature used in the picture at the top of this article is of Eadon Kline, check out his mini out on Amazon.
If you want some cool D&D stuff to make you feel epic when you play check out my favourite 13 accessories for players!