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D&D Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic, Good, Evil
Glossary Entries: Alignment in Dungeons & Dragons
Related: Alignment, Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral, Lawful Evil, Character Creation, Role-Playing
Classification: Game Term
In Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), Lawful refers to one of the two components of a character's alignment that represents their moral compass and personal code. Characters who are Lawful believe in order, structure, reliability, and typically adhere to a set of rules or a code of conduct. This does not necessarily mean adherence to laws of a specific society, but rather to their own, consistently held system of ethics.
A Lawful character can be Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral, or Lawful Evil depending on the other part of their alignment.
Related: Alignment, Chaotic Good, Chaotic Neutral, Chaotic Evil, Character Creation, Role-Playing
Classification: Game Term
In D&D, Chaotic refers to one of the two components of a character's alignment that indicates a general disdain for rules, order, or traditions. Characters with a Chaotic alignment value freedom and individuality above all else. They do not necessarily always act in random or unpredictable ways, but they typically resist being controlled or constrained.
A Chaotic character can be Chaotic Good, Chaotic Neutral, or Chaotic Evil depending on the other part of their alignment.
Related: Alignment, True Neutral, Lawful Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, Neutral Good, Neutral Evil, Character Creation, Role-Playing
Classification: Game Term
Neutral is a term used in D&D to describe a component of a character's alignment that falls between Lawful and Chaotic or Good and Evil. It represents a middle ground, indifference, or a lack of commitment to either side.
In the ethical axis (Lawful-Neutral-Chaotic), Neutral characters tend to avoid taking sides, valuing balance or seeing both order and chaos as equally important. In the moral axis (Good-Neutral-Evil), Neutral characters can be largely self-interested or aim to maintain a balance between altruism and selfishness.
Related: Alignment, Lawful Good, Chaotic Good, Neutral Good, Character Creation, Role-Playing
Classification: Game Term
In D&D, Good is one of the components of a character's alignment, referring to their moral compass. Good characters typically act altruistically, making sacrifices to help others, and generally strive to do what they believe to be right.
A Good character can be Lawful Good, Neutral Good, or Chaotic Good depending on the other part of their alignment.
Related: Alignment, Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, Chaotic Evil, Character Creation, Role-Playing
Classification: Game Term
Evil, in the context of D&D alignment, represents characters who are selfish, harm others to get what they want, and have little regard for the rights of others. This does not necessarily mean the character is a villain, but they are more likely to harm others in pursuit of their goals.
An Evil character can be Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, or Chaotic Evil depending on the other part of their alignment.
Understanding D&D Alignments: Character Behaviour and Practical Examples
The alignment system in Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) serves as a broad compass guiding a character's behavior, attitudes, and beliefs. Each alignment represents a specific combination of two factors: the ethical axis (Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic) and the moral axis (Good, Evil, and Neutral). This results in nine distinct alignments. Let's delve into each, offering practical examples of what these alignments may look like in gameplay.
Lawful Good Characters
Characters of the Lawful Good alignment often act out of a sense of justice and order. They typically abide by a personal code, always aiming to do the right thing and uphold the law. A typical character of this alignment is a devoted paladin who adheres strictly to the tenets of their order, protecting the innocent and punishing the wicked.
Neutral Good Characters
Neutral Good characters aim to do the right thing and work towards the greater good, but without being bound by a strict rule or personal freedom. They are pragmatic and choose the path that results in the most good, regardless of whether it aligns with law or chaos. A healer who assists anyone in need, regardless of their affiliation, would be a typical Neutral Good character.
Chaotic Good Characters
Chaotic Good characters value individual freedom and have a good heart. They believe in doing what's right but are not afraid to break rules or defy conventions to achieve it. A rebellious hero who defies a tyrannical authority to help the poor is a typical Chaotic Good character.
Lawful Neutral Characters
Lawful Neutral characters adhere to a personal code or the rule of legitimate authority, irrespective of whether it leads to a good or evil outcome. Their main focus is order and structure. A city guard enforcing the laws without prejudice, even when the laws might seem unfair, exemplifies a Lawful Neutral character.
True Neutral Characters
A True Neutral character is driven by balance, avoiding taking actions that might favour one side over the other (Good vs Evil, Law vs Chaos). This doesn't mean they are indifferent, but they believe in maintaining equilibrium. A druid striving to maintain the balance between nature and civilization embodies a True Neutral alignment.
Chaotic Neutral Characters
Chaotic Neutral characters are free spirits, primarily concerned with their own freedom and interests. They resist laws and restrictions but don't inherently swing towards good or evil. A wandering rogue who values personal freedom and acts primarily out of self-interest would be a typical Chaotic Neutral character.
Lawful Evil Characters
Lawful Evil characters follow a strict code, but primarily for personal gain or to impose their will on others. They can adhere to a society's laws if it suits their purposes. An ambitious noble who manipulates the law to increase his social rank and power would be a Lawful Evil character.
Neutral Evil Characters
Neutral Evil characters are primarily self-interested, with little regard for law, chaos, good, or evil beyond what will benefit them. A mercenary who performs any job, irrespective of the moral implications, as long as the price is right, would be a typical Neutral Evil character.
Chaotic Evil Characters
Chaotic Evil characters embody the principle of individualism in its darkest form, prioritizing personal freedom and power, even if it means using violence and causing harm. They are often out for their own gain and may resort to arbitrary violence. An outlaw who revels in causing chaos and destruction for their personal satisfaction or gain is a Chaotic Evil character.
Remember, alignment should serve as a guide rather than a strict rule. It helps to set characters’ main personality indicators, but real personalities – and thus characters – can be far more complex. Always ensure that alignment choices serve the narrative, the character's growth, and most importantly, the enjoyment of the game.
Practical Examples of Alignment Behaviour
Lawful Good: Gold Dragon Paladin
Gold Dragons, as lawful good creatures in the Dungeons & Dragons game, exemplify justice and order. Suppose you're playing a Gold Dragonborn Paladin. Your character hates evil and disorder, consistently upholding their personal code. When faced with a decision, they would always choose the most righteous course, even if it's not the easiest path. They are seen as "good guys" and, guided by their alignment, often become the moral compass of the party.
Neutral Good: Human Cleric
Neutral Good characters strive to do the right thing, but aren't strictly bound by order or personal freedom. For example, a human cleric serving a neutral good deity may provide healing and support regardless of a person's alignment or affiliations, choosing the course of action that results in the better outcome for all. They're the mediators, often calming chaotic behavior or pacifying rigid lawful characters.
Chaotic Good: Elven Ranger
Your character is an Elven Ranger, the epitome of a free spirit. As a chaotic good character, they act with the best intentions but don't feel bound by laws or rules. For example, they might break into the dungeon master's lawful evil villain's fortress to free innocent prisoners, driven by their own agenda for justice.
Lawful Neutral: Dwarf Artificer
A Dwarf Artificer could be an example of a lawful neutral character. They have a strong personal code of conduct related to their craft and innovation. They respect the structure and order, even if the outcome isn't always the "good" decision. In their view, a well-functioning machine is the most important thing.
True Neutral: Copper Dragon Druid
Copper Dragons, inherently neutral, value balance in all things. A Copper Dragonborn Druid might strive to maintain equilibrium between nature and civilization, intervening only when one side threatens to overpower the other. They may come across as neutral or indifferent people, but their actions often prevent extreme outcomes.
Chaotic Neutral: Halfling Rogue
A Halfling Rogue, valuing their own freedom above all, embodies the chaotic neutral alignment. They might pickpocket an arrogant noble not for personal gain, but simply because they thought it was a good idea at the moment. They're unpredictable, making them the wild cards of any party.
Lawful Evil: Blue Dragon Warlock
Blue Dragons, as lawful evil creatures, make for intriguing characters. A Blue Dragonborn Warlock might serve an evil deity, using their power to further their own ambitions. They abide by their own code, not for the common good, but to gain control or power, even if it means doing "bad things".
Neutral Evil: Drow Assassin
A Drow Assassin might follow the neutral evil alignment. They are driven by their own interests, even if achieving them means assassinating in cold blood. They don't revel in causing chaos like chaotic evil characters nor do they respect laws and orders. They merely use whatever means necessary to accomplish their goals.
Chaotic Evil: Goblin Barbarian
A Goblin Barbarian, chaotic evil by nature, seeks to spread chaos and destruction. They are driven by their whims, often leading to arbitrary violence and pure evil actions. The chaotic evil alignment might be daunting to role-play but can create memorable villains or complex anti-heroes.
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