Want to know all about the Neutral Good character alignment? You’re in the right place! This article explains the Neutral Good character alignment, how to play it, and lists character examples!
In this article, you’ll find Neutral Good traits, insults they might dish out to enemies, background ideas, quotes they’d love, how Neutral Good compares to other character alignments, and loads more info too! Get to know the Neutral Good alignment.
Neutral Good Definition
A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Joznan, cleric who helps others according to their needs is neutral good. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order.Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook Edition 3.5
‘Neutral’ and ‘Good’
There are two main aspects to the Neutral Good alignment – ‘Neutral’ and ‘Good’. The ‘Neutral’ aspect refers to the perspective Neutral Good characters have on how society should be structured. The ‘Good’ aspect of the alignment describes that character’s morals.
‘Neutral’ sits between the ethical extremes of Lawful and Chaotic. Lawful characters being those that believe society functions most effectively with rules and order, while Chaotic characters believe that order stifles individual freedoms.
Neutral characters do not feel compelled to follow every rule and societal belief, nor do they feel the need to ignore or rebel against societal order. A Neutral character follows the rules that align with their own agenda, that are convenient to them, or they think are necessary.
Neutral characters will usually follow the rules because they generally lead to a better outcome for them. However, they can lie and break the rules if they believe the benefits to them outweigh the risks.
Characters with a Neutral alignment may see themselves as superior to Lawful and Chaotic aligned characters because in not taking sides, they are the only alignment with true freedom to decide.
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.
Neutral Good characters do their best to help others, but they do it because they want to, not because they have been told to by a person in authority or by society’s laws. They are governed and led by their own conscience. They are generally your regular ‘good’ person.
Neutral Good characters are in the middle of the ethical axis because they believe that some rules and order are useful in society to a point, but only when individuals are still generally free to do what they want on a daily basis. They are aware that too much order can oppress people’s freedoms, but likewise, that too much freedom can lead to societal collapse and people making decisions that negatively affect others.
While they will generally follow the rules and laws of society, Neutral Good characters do so because they lead to good outcomes, rather than because they feel obligated to by authority figures and institutions. If a person in authority tries to use their power to restrict the Neutral Good character’s freedom, they will not be happy and may rebel.
In a similar way, a Neutral Good character will lie, steal and cheat if the victim is Evil or to further the greater good.
A Neutral Good person will break the rules if they are doing it for the greater good and they will feel confident and justified in their actions.
Some Neutral Good characters do good as they go about their everyday lives, it’s just part of who they are.
Other Neutral Good characters are on a plight to do Good everywhere they go. Doing Good is all they care about and they will fly in the face of danger to accomplish it. Are bandits stealing your food from the harvest? I’ll take care of them! A gang is demanding the people pay a toll to pass over a local bridge? I’ll sort them out. You get the idea.
The drawback to these passionate Neutral Good characters is that they can care about upholding Good more than abiding by any laws, so they can adopt Chaotic Good behaviour and be unpredictable in some circumstances. (see my article on Chaotic Good for more on that alignment).
In terms of delivering killing blows and approaches to combat, a Neutral Good character will always to try to avoid non-fatal fights because they believe that life should be protected. They will try to calm down situations with talk, minimize casualties if they need to fight, or hit opponents in the leg or arm to spare their life. They will always be merciful if asked and would never poison a foe. However, if left with no choice they will take a life to defend themselves and others.
When working with others, a Neutral Good character is trustworthy and loyal to friends and allies. They are effective in a group, providing that group is seeking to do Good.
Neutral Good character examples
The Dungeons and Dragons Player’s Handbook 3.5 Edition calls the Neutral Good alignment the “Benefactor”. Those characters who: sacrifice themselves to help others, let their conscience be their guide when making decisions and break rules to accomplish a greater good.
The lists below offer some examples of Neutral Good characters.
Neutral Good female characters
- Kaylee Frye (Firefly)
- Princess Leia (Star Wars)
- Lisa Simpson (The Simpsons)
Neutral Good male characters
- Gandalf (The Lord of the Rings)
- Thor (The Avengers)
- Harry Potter (Harry Potter)
Neutral Good traits
Neutral Good characters can be vastly different, however, there are some traits which are often associated with them.
Neutral Good moral code
The moral code for a Neutral Good character might look like this.
- I will do good in the world.
- I will follow the law so long as it furthers good, but will break it for the greater good.
- I will help people in need.
- I will not murder innocent people.
- I will respect and support others who want to do good without being power hungry or oppressing individual freedoms.
- I will trust my conscience over that of the law.
- I will always stand up against evil.
- I will keep my word unless breaking it will do more good.
- I will not betray my friends and allies.
- I will protect the everyday freedom of others.
Neutral Good character’s perfect world
The perfect world for a Neutral Good character might look like this.
- Everyone is free to choose their own way to do good in the world.
- People are not beholden to authorities but will follow them if their aim is Good.
- Evil in society is brought to justice either by the government or by individuals.
- Society seeks to reform evildoers rather than eliminating them.
- People stand up for what is good, irrespective of what the law says.
- The people in positions of power do not abuse their positions.
- Everyone helps those in need.
- The Government maintains a peaceful order but doesn’t restrict individual freedoms.
- Friends and allies are loyal to each other.
- No-one is ever murdered.
Neutral Good quotes
If a Neutral Good character had some favourite quotes, they might be something like these!
The safety of the people shall be the highest law.Marcus Tullius Cicero
I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them, I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.Robert A. Heinlein
Always let your conscience be your guide.Jiminy Cricket, Disney’s Pinocchio
Never stop being a good person because of bad people.Anonymous
It is the greatest good to the greatest number of people, that is the measure of right and wrong.Jeremy Bentham
Neutral Good conflicts
As characters travel the world on their adventures, they will face tough choices. Should they trust the shady-looking person’s information? Will they go and rescue the alleged captured children even if they suspect it’s a trap?
For decisions like this, your character will refer to their alignment, their beliefs and value system. For character alignments like Lawful Good, they may find that the two aspects of their alignment come into conflict. Would Lawful Good follow the orders of their government even if it means doing evil?
However, Neutral Good characters are lucky that they don’t need to deal with this conflict. They will always, prioritize doing the most good whether it follows law or chaos. Doing good is always what matters the most.
Where a Neutral Good character may face difficulty making a decision is where there are no good options – whatever they decide, it will lead to a negative outcome for some people. They will also find it difficult to decide what to do when the outcomes are very uncertain.
Because doing good is the highest priority for a Neutral Good character, they need to be certain that they are doing the right thing in every situation. In one D&D campaign I played, there were three Lords competing to be the next High Lord. It was so difficult to know if any of the Lords had good intentions, so the party didn’t know who to trust and who to support.
How to roleplay a Neutral Good character
Your character’s alignment is a useful way to guide the decisions you make in character. Do you accept instructions from an officer willingly or begrudgingly? Will you side with the rebels to usurp a tyrant?
Occasionally, you may make a decision which doesn’t match your character’s alignment. But these decisions can cause your character to feel remorse or can start the beginning of a character development arc for them.
For example, as a Neutral Good character, if you regularly make decisions which side with Chaos to disrupt a government which is generally Good and allows citizens freedom, your character may become Chaotic Good. See my Chaotic Good article for more on this alignment.
The character arc that leads your character to change their alignment during a campaign can lead to some epic stories!
Actions aligned with a Neutral Good character
- Siding with a rebel group to overthrow an oppressive tyrant.
- Giving mercy to an opponent who asks for it.
- Attacking enemies in non-lethal positions like the leg or arm.
- Giving money and food to beggars.
- Travelling the world playing music to make people happy.
- Offering your final health potion to heal an ally.
- Casting a spell to distract some bandits while you sneak in and take back what they stole so you don’t need to fight them.
- Going undercover as an enemy so you can gather information on their plans.
- Defending the helpless till your last breath.
- Sharing out the loot equally amongst your allies.
Actions not aligned with a Neutral Good character
- Collecting taxes from starving citizens.
- Poisoning an enemy.
- Following orders that lead to evil outcomes.
- Arresting a person known to be innocent.
- Killing guards to escape imprisonment.
- Breaking a promise.
- Chasing a high-status position to have power over others.
- Lying and cheating for personal gain.
- Starting a fight without trying to resolve it peacefully first.
- Cheat at a game.
Neutral Good insults
You may be a Good person at heart, but even so, Neutral Good characters still get angry! Here are some insults you might give out when you’ve had enough!
- “If laughter is the best medicine, your face must be curing the world.”
- “Keep talking, someday you’ll say something smart.”
- “People say I have no taste, but I like you.”
- “If I throw a stick, will you leave?”
- “I like the way you try.”
- “If I ever said anything to offend you, it was intentional.”
- “In spite of what it did to you, do you love nature?”
- “You’ll never be half as funny as you look.”
- “A lot of people live and learn, you just live.”
- “Stop thinking everyone is your equal, you’re offending a lot of people.”
Example Neutral Good backgrounds
A character’s alignment has been influenced by their experiences so far. While your character can have any background you like, the ones below fit really well with a Neutral Good alignment.
You thrive in front of an audience. You know how to entrance them, entertain them, and even inspire them. Your poetics can stir the hearts of those who hear you, awakening grief or joy, laughter or anger. Your music raises their spirits or captures their sorrow. Your dance steps captivate, your humour cuts to the quick. Whatever techniques you use, your art is your life.Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook 5th Edition, Page 130
You lived in seclusion – either in a sheltered community such as a monastery, or entirely alone – for a formative part of your life. In your time apart from the clamor of society, you found quiet, solitude, and perhaps some of the answers you were looking for.Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook 5th Edition, Page 134
You grew up on the streets alone, orphaned, and poor. You had no one to watch over you or to provide for you, so you learned to provide for yourself. You fought fiercely over food and kept a constant watch out for other desperate souls who might steal from you. You slept on rooftops and in alleyways, exposed to the elements, and endured sickness without the advantage of medicine or a place to recuperate. You’ve survived despite all odds, and did so through cunning, strength, speed or some combination of each.Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook, 5th Edition, Page 141
The differences between Neutral Good and the other alignments
Neutral Good vs Lawful 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 on Lawful Good, see my Lawful Good alignment article.
Neutral Good vs Chaotic Good
Chaotic Good and Neutral Good characters agree on doing good in the world. They both care about the welfare of others and protecting the innocent and defending the weak.
Where these two alignments disagree is their perspective on Law and order in society. A Neutral Good character does not have strong views on whether Law or Chaos is better for society. Their main priority is doing Good whether that means working with society’s leaders or against them. They will work with them as an equal and not feel like they have to do everything they are ordered to.
In contrast, a Chaotic Good character will avoid working with any authorities and if they do happen to work together it’s because they coincidentally wanted to do the same thing.
If a Neutral Good character goes against societal rules they aren’t motivated to do so from a place of rebellion like a Chaotic Good character is. Instead, a Neutral Good character is motivated to break the rules because it will lead to a better outcome for the greater good.
To read more detail about the Chaotic Good alignment, see my article.
Neutral Good vs Lawful Neutral
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.
Take a closer look at Lawful Neutral in my article.
Neutral Good vs True Neutral
These two alignments agree on something – that law and order are just two extremes in how society can function. Law can be oppressive, but too much chaos and individual freedom can lead to societal breakdown.
A True Neutral character has a similar perspective on Good and Evil, they see them as extremes of the moral compass. A True Neutral character will take the best decision at the time, usually based on which offers them the most benefit or creates the least hassle.
In contrast, a Neutral Good character will always take the action which does the most Good, regardless of whether it delivers the best result for them personally.
Discover more about the True Neutral alignment in my article.
Neutral Good vs Chaotic Neutral
These two character alignments don’t agree ethically or morally.
The Neutral Good character will generally follow law and order unless they believe the law does not further the greater good. The Chaotic Neutral character believes that a lawful society is open to people abusing their power and it restricts individual freedoms. As a result, they will rebel against law and order when it furthers their own agenda.
A Chaotic Neutral character is only interested in doing what’s best for themselves. They don’t care if it’s considered Good or Evil in society. Whereas a Neutral Good character will always take the action that furthers Good.
For more detail on the Chaotic Neutral alignment, check out my article.
Neutral Good vs Lawful Evil
There’s nothing these two alignments agree on!
In every situation, the Neutral Good character makes the decision that furthers the greater good, even if that means breaking a law or two. In contrast, a Lawful Evil character will not generally break the rules of their code to do more Evil. By sticking to the boundaries of their code, Lawful Evil characters may use their code to justify their Evil actions. The more Evil actions they commit under their law, the more they will fight to uphold it.
Neutral Good characters are good people at their heart, while Lawful Evil characters don’t have a heart. Kill people in the name of their code? Sure thing. It’s what their Law says they must do, it’s nothing personal.
For more on the Lawful Evil alignment, see my article.
Neutral Good vs Neutral Evil
While they are very different morally, Neutral Good and Neutral Evil alignments do agree that law is no better than chaos. They both take the best decision in each situation. Where that differs however, is their intent.
A Neutral Good character will take the action that does the most good in the world, whereas, a Neutral Evil character will do what is best for themselves without a second thought for anyone else, or take the action that will spread as much Evil in the world as they can.
A Neutral Evil character will lie, cheat, steal and murder innocents to get what they want. They will even follow the rules if it will get them a good outcome! In comparison, a Neutral Good character will begrudgingly lie, cheat and steal if they can see it will benefit the greater good and they will never murder an innocent.
Delve into the details of Neutral Evil in my article.
Neutral Good vs Chaotic Evil
A Neutral Good character and Chaotic Evil character sometimes agree that chaos is better for individuals than law and order. But that is where the similarities end.
For a Chaotic Evil character, when society is run Chaotically they have more freedom to spread Evil. For a Neutral Good character, they will side with Chaos only when societal law isn’t the best option for the greater good in a particular situation.
Chaotic Evil characters are out for themselves above all else and they may be motivated to spread Evil for Evil’s sake. A Neutral Good character, however, wants to do good in the world above all else, even if it means making personal sacrifices to do so.
Take a closer look at Chaotic Evil in my article.
How a Neutral Good character views the other alignments
The top priority for a Neutral Good character is to make balanced, pragmatic decisions that allow individuals to make the best decisions that lead to the best outcome for the greater good.
A Neutral Good character may ask themselves this question of others, “Are they pragmatic and are they kind?”
A chart showing a Neutral Good’s perspective on the other alignments looks like this.
Overbearing but kind
Pragmatic and kind
Irresponsible but kind
Overbearing and apathetic
Pragmatic but apathetic
Irresponsible and apathetic
Overbearing and cruel
Pragmatic but cruel
Irresponsible and cruel
Neutral Good character alignment FAQs
Can paladins be Neutral Good?
Until Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition, paladins had to have a Lawful Good alignment. Now, they can be any alignment.
You could use the reasons why your paladin isn’t Lawful Good to create an interesting backstory for them.
Perhaps your paladin grew up far away from civilization and followed the code of their masters to the letter. But when they ventured into the wider world, they found that decisions weren’t always black and white. One day they were asked to capture a person they knew were innocent, so instead of capturing them, they helped them to escape instead.
This led them to question their perspectives on law and order.
Conclusion – Neutral Good alignment
The Neutral Good alignment can be the best alignment because you can make the decision in each situation that will do the most good in the world. You aren’t beholden to any authorities or laws, nor do you feel compelled to rebel against them just for fun.
You can play the all-round nice person, without pushing your ethical beliefs onto your allies.
Neutral Good can be a frustrating alignment for others if your character takes ages to make a decision because they are weighing up all the outcomes.
Neutral Good is a great alignment to play as for a travelling bard who just wants to make people happy, for a rough and ready street kid with a heart of gold, or for a hired-hand who will go where the good, honest work is.
The Tabaxi miniature pictured in this article (link to Amazon) I played as Sky, a Tabaxi Ranger in a recent D&D campaign. He started off having a Chaotic Neutral alignment but ended the campaign as Neutral Good.
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