Want to know all about the True Neutral (also called Neutral) alignment? You’re in the right place! This article explains the True Neutral character alignment, how to play it, and lists character examples.
You’ll find True Neutral traits, insults they might dish out, background ideas, quotes they’d love, how True Neutral compares to other alignments, and loads more info too! Get to know the True Neutral alignment.
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True Neutral definition
A neutral character does what seems to be a good idea. She doesn’t feel strongly one way or the other when it comes to good vs evil or law vs chaos. Most neutral characters exhibit a lack of conviction exhibit a lack of conviction or bias rather than a commitment to neutrality. Such a character thinks of good as better than evil – after all, she would rather have good neighbours and rulers than evil ones. Still, she’s not personally committed to upholding good in any abstract or universal way. Mialee, a wizard who devotes herself to her art and is bored by the semantics or moral debate, is neutral.
Some neutral characters, on the other hand, commit themselves philosophically to neutrality. They see good, evil, law, and chaos as prejudices and dangerous extremes. They advocate the middle way of neutrality as the best, most balanced road in the long run.
Neutral is the best alignment you can be because it means you act naturally, without prejudice or compulsion.Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook, Edition 3.5, page 105.
‘Neutral’ and ‘Neutral’
True Neutral is the alignment right in the centre of the nine grid alignment chart. It’s sometimes just called Neutral. If you follow the format of the other alignments, it’s Neutral Neutral. That sounds silly, but it’s helpful for understanding what this alignment is all about.
Each alignment has two main aspects. The first word Neutral, explains that alignment’s ethics and their perspective on order vs chaos in society and how it affects individuals. The second word in the alignment describes that alignment’s morals in terms of good vs evil.
The first ‘Neutral’
Sitting in the middle of the ethical axis, Neutral characters do not feel compelled to follow every rule and societal belief, nor do they feel the need to disrupt and rebel against everything. 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 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.
The second ‘Neutral’
Morally Neutral characters do not go to the extremes of Evil characters and eliminate the innocent, and likewise, they will not go to the extremes of Good and take actions that harm themselves to help others.
The actions of Neutral characters are driven by their loyalty to others and themselves. If an action is in their best interest or in the best interest of those to whom they are most loyal, 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.
True Neutral characters don’t like to take sides. They see Good, Evil, Order and Chaos as extreme perspectives and none of which are right. They are relative. What is considered Good in one situation and society, could be considered Evil in another.
Because of these beliefs, True Neutral characters are pragmatic and independent in their decisions and actions. Rather than choosing the path which they feel they should take according to society or laws, they can make up their own mind.
What they choose is likely to be driven by their own personal motivations. For example, they might be motivated by gaining knowledge of the arcana, becoming a master of the broadsword, or even in being a passive observer of life who minimizes their involvement in events.
These motivations mean that True Neutral character’s actions are not as unpredictable as some might assume. They don’t just move between all the alignments on the alignment chart. They won’t be Lawful Evil one minute and Chaotic Good the next! That would make for a very crazy character!
However, they may lean more towards one particular alignment for a while if their adventure takes them that way. For example, if they are supporting a party of Good characters trying to rid a region of a controlling ruler, their decisions will likely align with Neutral Good during that time. But once that goal is accomplished, they return to making True Neutral decisions again.
There will be times when a Neutral character has to make a choice between siding with Good or Evil, perhaps casting the deciding vote in a party. In these situations, they usually side with whichever decision they will gain the most from. 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 morals or ethics.
Neutral characters don’t believe in upholding the rules and laws of society, but nor do they feel the need to rebel against them. They will follow orders from people in authority, but only if it suits them. If that authority tries to get in their way, or is disrespectful, they will not follow them.
A True Neutral character takes a very balanced view of relationships. They will show respect to people who respect them, harm those who harm them, and be kind to those who show them kindness. This means they will help and defend their allies, and hinder and take out bad guys. If someone is in need and they don’t know them, a True Neutral character will weigh up if helping them is worth it or not. In their everyday life, they don’t get involved in the lives and business of people they don’t know.
Because a True Neutral character considers the immediate and long term circumstances of every situation in relation to their primary motivation, two True Neutral characters may act very differently in the same circumstances.
A True Neutral character may also change their minds if a situation changes. For example, they will usually keep their word, but if circumstances change and it’s better for them to break their promise then they will.
Likewise, they will not usually use poison, but they will do if they think it is the best action at the time. The same with betraying allies, they will, but only if lives are at stake.
In a physical encounter, True Neutral character will eliminate others but only to defend themselves or their allies. They will not go on a rampage because they don’t take pleasure in harming others and aren’t motivated to spread Evil. In fact, they will avoid promoting Good, Evil, Order or Chaos whenever possible and get annoyed by the zealots who do.
True Neutral characters may take pride in their independent thinking which allows them to make completely impartial decisions without feeling like they must act in a particular way.
On the negative side, True Neutral characters can come across as apathetic and indecisive. They can be frustrating to work with because they don’t want to commit to any side.
True Neutral character examples
In the Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook, the Neutral alignment is called ‘Undecided’. It’s easy to see why. While adventuring, the other party members will be making decisions based on their morals, or adherence to a code, or just for fun. But a Neutral character may just shrug and go along with the group, or stay out of the decision making altogether.
If they believe in maintaining the balance between good and evil and order and chose, a True Neutral character might argue in favour of the action which maintains harmony or creates a compromise between two sides.
True Neutral female character examples
- Aughra (The Dark Crystal)
- Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)
- Juliet (Romeo and Juliet)
True Neutral male character examples
- The Watcher (Marvel)
- Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly)
- Rincewind (The Discworld)
True Neutral traits
The exact personality traits will vary from character to character, even if they both have the same alignment. However, there are some traits that are commonly associated with True Neutral characters.
True Neutral personal code
While a True Neutral character takes a sceptical view of ethics and morals that doesn’t mean they don’t have any themselves. The personal code of a True Neutral character might be this.
- I will help others if there is something in it for me.
- I will not spread good, evil, order or chaos in the world.
- I will give respect to those who give respect to me.
- I will harm those who harm me.
- I will follow law and order unless breaking it is better for me and no-one will be hurt.
- I will rely on my own judgement rather than doctrines and morals.
- I will be loyal to my friends and family unless my life is at risk.
- I will eliminate others if my life or the lives my allies depend on it.
- I will keep my promises so long as it benefits me to do so.
- I will pursue my own interests over those of others.
True Neutral character’s perfect world
A True Neutral character’s ideal world might look like this.
- Everyone makes the best decisions for themselves.
- There is a government overseeing society however it is not corrupt and does not meddle in the day-to-day activities of people.
- Law breakers are brought to justice in a fair, non-corrupt system which treats everyone equally.
- Everyone is given the same level of respect they give to others.
- People are free to pursue their own interests.
- There are no zealots promoting good, evil, order or chaos.
- People generally respect their promises, but understand they can be broken for personal gain.
- Whenever someone does something nice for someone, that person does something nice in return.
- People in power do not use it to take advantage of others.
- Individuals are only hurt in extreme circumstances.
True Neutral quotes
If a True Neutral character has some favourite quotes, they might be these.
What you see depends on where you stand.Albert Einstein
I am not altogether on anybody’s side, because nobody is altogether on my side.Treebeard
It’s easy to stand in the crowd but it takes courage to stand alone.Mahatma Ghandi
Confidence is silent. Insecurities are loud.Don Corleone
Different shades of life make the painting more beautiful.Micheal Dolan
True Neutral decisions
As a True Neutral adventurer explores, they will come across situations where they need to decide what to do. Their alignment guides the decisions they make.
Given that a True Neutral character doesn’t follow Good, Evil, Order or Chaos, from the outside it may seem like it is hard to predict what a True Neutral character will do. But when you get to know a True Neutral character, they actually apply consistent logic to their decision making. You just need to know what drives them and how they think.
When they make a decision, a True Neutral character will always think about their primary driver first and then apply their personal beliefs and judgement.
For example, your character is returning from an errand for a wealthy merchant and you come across the entrance to a mine that has collapsed. You know that a group of bandits live in this mine. You can hear people yelling for help from inside. No one is around. The bandits can’t see you and haven’t heard your approach. Do you help them?
Whether you help or not depends on your character’s outlook. If your True Neutral character believes in balance in the universe, they may think that the mine collapsing is karma for the bandits causing so much harm to others. As a result, they will leave them. Or they may think that it is destiny that has sent them past the mine on this very day, and they will help the bandits.
A different True Neutral character who loves money might think they will get a generous reward for rescuing the bandits so they will help. Or they might think that taking hours digging them out just for the chance of a reward isn’t worth it. Especially because they are already on their way to complete an errand and get paid by the wealthy merchant.
Over the course of a campaign, the decisions your character makes will show a pattern and your party members will start to understand your character’s underlying motivations.
How to play a True Neutral character
As you roleplay your character, the actions they take will usually be in keeping with their alignment. There may be times their actions differ, but your character might feel strange afterwards. They might be angry at themselves, feel sad, or even reflect on who they are.
If your character consistently acts in a way that isn’t in keeping with their original alignment, it can be the start of a character development arc for them. Some great stories come out of these!
Whether an action is in keeping with your alignment will depend on the nuances of the situation, but as a guide, here are some examples of actions that are, and are not, aligned with True Neutral.
Actions aligned with a True Neutral character
- Causing harm to someone to extract information but taking no pleasure in it.
- Breaking a contract because you are offered a better deal elsewhere.
- Defending your allies.
- Revealing the secret location of your allies in exchange for your life.
- Accepting a mission from a corrupt government official for big rewards.
- Using poison on an individual that used poison on your best friend.
- Returning to your home town to defend your family.
- Refusing to make the deciding vote on a party decision.
- Helping the poor and needy in a city to gain the favour of someone strategically important to you.
- Ignoring the advice of your family because it goes against what you want.
Actions not aligned with a True Neutral character
- Putting your life at risk for people that you don’t know.
- Campaigning for your mother’s candidacy.
- Manipulating two people into arguing because you want to cause chaos.
- Being impolite to hosts who provide you with food and shelter.
- Striving to become the leader of a military faction so you can command others.
- Forcing other people to do what you want.
- Mistreating someone because of their race, class or social standing.
- Healing the sick even if you could get sick yourself.
- Starting a rebel uprising.
- Eliminating a tribe of people for fun.
True Neutral Insults
A True Neutral character will give as good as they get, so if someone insults them, they will throw one back!
- “Whatever is eating at you must feel sick.”
- “If you ran like your mouth you’d be in good shape.”
- “Don’t compare yourself with anyone else, you’ll always feel worse.”
- “I bet your brain feels as good as new, seeing as you’ve never used it.”
- “I’d like to help you out. Which way did you come in?”
- “If ignorance is bliss, you must be overjoyed.”
- “Talk to me. I could use the sleep.”
- “It won’t be the same without you. It will be better.”
- “You look tired. Have you been thinking?”
- “I could say nice things about you, but I’d rather tell the truth.”
True Neutral background ideas
What led your character to be the person they are today? It can be anything you like, so long as it makes sense. I think these backgrounds work really well for a True Neutral character.
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 127.
You grew up in the wilds, far from civilization and the comforts of town and technology. You’ve witnessed the migration of herds larger than forests, survived weather more extreme than any city-dweller could comprehend, and enjoyed the solitude of being the only thinking creature for miles in any direction. The wilds are in your blood, whether you were a nomad, an explorer, a recluse, a hunter-gatherer, or even a marauder. Even in places where you don’t know the specific features of the terrain, you know the ways of the wild.Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook 5th Edition, Page 136.
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.
True Neutral vs the other alignments
True Neutral vs Lawful Good
A Lawful Good character has two main codes to follow – upholding the Laws of society and striving to do Good in the world. To them, in an ordered society, people have the most opportunities 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, not because they are obliged to by their personal code.
For more on the Lawful Good alignment, check out my article.
True Neutral vs Neutral Good
These two alignments agree on something – that law and order are just two extremes in how society can function. Law can be controlling, but too much chaos and individual freedom can lead to societal breakdown.
For a True Neutral character, Good and Evil are also extremes on the moral compass. This means that they will make 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 that action is good for themselves or not.
Take a closer look at the Neutral Good alignment in my article.
True Neutral vs Chaotic Good
A Chaotic Good character will rely on their passion to protect people’s freedom and the drive to do Good to shape their decisions and actions. A True Neutral character, on the other hand, doesn’t have any strong feelings towards Order or Chaos, Good or Evil to guide them. Instead, they live by their own rules.
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 True Neutral character goes against societal rules they aren’t motivated to do so from a place of rebellion like a Chaotic Good character is. Instead, they will break the rules because it makes the most sense to them at the time.
For more on the Chaotic Good alignment, check out my article.
True Neutral vs Lawful Neutral
Lawful Neutral characters and True Neutral characters agree on their moral perspective. They both agree that extremes of Good and Evil are not the best thing.
For the Lawful Neutral character, it’s because they see law and order providing all the moral guidance they need. By following those codes, they don’t need to make moral decisions themselves. A Lawful Neutral character will follow their personal code to guide every decision they make.
True Neutral characters would rather rely on their own judgement to make decisions that are the best for themselves and their personal motivations. A Lawful Neutral character will pursue their own interests but will not go against their personal or societal code to get them.
Take a closer look at the Lawful Neutral alignment in my article.
True Neutral vs Chaotic Neutral
True Neutral characters and Chaotic Neutral characters are both pretty self-interested.
Where they differ is that a Chaotic Neutral character believes that a lawful society is open to people using their power for evil and it restricts individual freedoms. As a result, they will rebel against law and order when it furthers their own agenda. A True Neutral character, in contrast, will also pursue what they want and will occasionally break the rules, but not because they feel the need to rebel against order.
For more on the Chaotic Neutral alignment, read my article.
True Neutral vs Lawful Evil
There’s not a lot these two alignments agree on!
Lawful Evil characters follow the codes of their order for personal gain. They can use the law to manipulate others and gain power. They commit Evil acts but in the name of their order, not themselves.
In contrast, a True Neutral character doesn’t follow any strict code. They can be just as self-absorbed in pursuing their own wants, but they aren’t Evil. They won’t go around committing Evil acts just to get what they want.
Take a closer look at the Lawful Evil alignment in my article.
True Neutral vs Neutral Evil
These two alignments do have something in common. They will sometimes follow the rules, and sometimes break the rules depending on the situation. So long as it gets them the result they want, they are happy. But that’s where the similarities end.
A Neutral Evil character will play along with the rules, make friends and act like a law-abiding citizen to further their own Evil agenda. They will just as easily mislead, break promises, and harm innocents to get what they want.
A True Neutral character will play along with the rules just the same, but they will not generally go to Evil extremes when they break the rules. They aren’t out to cause harm to others and spread Evil like a Neutral Evil character is.
Neither of these alignments break laws and disrupt order because they have an agenda to change the system. They don’t care how society is structured. And they will both only break the rules when there is very little chance of them getting caught! They aren’t stupid.
To delve deeper into the Neutral Evil alignment, check out my article.
True Neutral vs Chaotic Evil
There’s not a huge amount for these two alignments to agree on!
True Neutral characters see Law and Order and Good and Evil as extreme perspectives which can all lead to negative consequences for individuals and society. So instead of following any doctrines or moral frameworks, they decide for themselves what to do in each situation.
In contrast, a Chaotic Evil character vehemently believes that chaos is better for their own freedom and they get pleasure from committing Evil acts and disrupting order. They don’t care about the freedoms of others, they want to control them. Seeing as laws often protect the weakest people in society, laws make it harder for a Chaotic Evil character to manipulate the weak and get away with it.
To take a more detailed look at Chaotic Evil, check out my article.
How True Neutral views the other alignments
A True Neutral character will judge the other alignments based on this question, “Do they take action pragmatically and are they realistic in the expected outcome of moral decisions?”
Authoritarian and idealistic
Pragmatic but idealistic
Disruptive and idealistic
Authoritarian but realistic
Pragmatic and realistic
Disruptive but realistic
Authoritarian and self-centred
Pragmatic but self-centred
Disruptive and self-centred
Conclusion – True Neutral alignment
Playing a True Neutral alignment is really fun because you can make decisions using your own judgement. You can do what’s best for you and what you think is the most important.
True Neutral is an ideal alignment for a wise old wizard who only appears at times of turmoil, an elven druid who strives to maintain the balance of nature, or a free-roamer who accepts jobs from anyone so long as they pay well.
The female elf druid holding the bird in the picture for this article is one of Nolzur’s Marvellous miniatures available on Amazon. I really enjoyed painting some freehand flowers on her cloak!
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