The Thinking Mans Lawful Good

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Lawful Good.  It's the stuff of heroics, knighthood, and the chivalric code.  Traditionally it was inseperable from the almighty Paladin.  Unfortunately, I don't think I have ever seen Lawful Good portrayed by a player character in a way that could be described as anything but Lawful Stupid.  We all know the subversion, even if we haven't seen it in action.  The character that uses the LG on his character sheet as a blank check to bully the townsfolk, or worse, to persecute and attack other PCs for stepping outside the bounds of his limited ideal of law and good.  The most egregious example of this kind of PC, in my opinion, is the Lawful Good character who takes his or her alignment to mean that they are the obvious leader of the group, their ultimate moral authority, and they make ridiculous command decisions that any competent combat-leader would deem suicidal.

With this profile, I have attempted to paint the Lawful Good character in a more favorable and compassionate light, while still maintaining a logical perspective on the nature of morality, crime, reform, and how best to help those who need it.  Most Lawful Good subdivide their alignment into those who punish the wicked, and those who assist the victims.  This character takes both of those important measures and applies the same logic to both, and what's more, recognizes a third crucial aspect of her belief system that is often left out in the cold.

As per usual, I wait with eager anticipation to read your reactions, comments, and criticisms.

Please enjoy the Thinking Mans Lawful Good!


The Thinking Mans Lawful Good
We live in a diverse world.  There are multitudes of personalities, opinions, cultures, societies, and ideologies.  Conflicts arise on a daily basis, bloodshed is almost as regular as the setting of the sun, and when war darkens our doorstep all manner of horrors come crawling out of the woodwork.  I’ve been there.  I’ve been through the atrocities of existence.  Yet, considering all I know and everything I’ve seen, I still believe in the human spirit.  I have faith in our ability to heal, and to forgive, even if we do not forget.  I believe that each of us is defined by how we treat one another.  We all have a place, a role in our given societies.  When we choose to shirk that place, shirk that role… when we choose to ignore the consequences of treating others with respect, we need to be guided by example back into the fold.  We need to be shown genuine leadership, and be given respect and a forthright appeal to come back to the world of decency in spite of the darkness in our hearts. 

That is what everything boils down to:  respect.  Reform is a word that gets bandied about by a lot of people with very narrow scope and little concept of what it really means.  We cannot force penance.  We cannot compel them to drink the water to which we have led.  We can, however, show them respect.  We can demonstrate a higher standard of life and living.  We can show them the lives they have forever altered by their actions.  We can help them to understand why they made the choices they did, and how it adversely affected both them and the people they hurt.  Is it manipulative?  Is it a guilt-trip?  Maybe, but only those who are guilty can be made to feel guilty.  Without respect, we are beholden only to the letter of the law, and we lose sight of the spirit of the same. 


Many people assume, because of my station, because of the responsibilities of my order that I do what I do only to protect myself.  That power is the endgame.  Those people don’t understand.  They don’t know.  Strip away my rank, and destroy my title.  Invalidate the vows I have made.  Burn the parchment upon which my oath was signed in blood.  Dissolve the sisterhood to whom I have sworn eternal allegiance, and melt my sword and armor into slag.  The position of authority does not change the fundamental truths about who I am.  I do what I do, not out of a lust for power, but for love of life; for love itself.  I am what I am because when a man loses a son to a monster, either wild or civilized, that man needs compassion and respect.  I am what I am because when that monster is found, when the time comes to bring it to justice, either by court or by steel, that creature needs compassion and respect.  And, most importantly, when the people wonder how such an abysmal deed could have been perpetrated under my watch, when the people need someone to blame, when they need to direct their anger and despair at someone or something?  They need someone to bear the brunt of their anguish.  They need me to weather the storm for them.


I do so without reservation or deception.  I do so with pity and humility.  I do so with honor and charity.  I do so with compassion and respect.  I do so with love and decency.  I do so for the good of all mankind.  This I swear before God that I will uphold the virtues of my chapter and stand in reverence of the holy judgment of my Mother Superior.  Amen.

I'm actually looking forward to D&D Next. I think that every edition had some really awesome qualities, and every edition has truly awful design flaws. I don't expect Next to be any different, but if WotC is actively trying to incorporate the good bits into one unified whole, then I do expect it to be worth playing.
 Mehganoflaskjosihdetcerea

(My mind exploded with the influx of uncontrolled awesomeness and therefore cannot form coherent sentences. I'll communicate telepathically.)

The good is there. The lawful is there. The stupid is not there. Yes yes yes yes. You, good sir, have truly incorporated the THINKING into these most wondrous takes on the alignments.

Ya know, when you do all the alignments, you can probably compile them into one super-duper Thinking Mans Alignment thread. If there's anything I've seen that's positively BEGGING for a CharDev sticky, it's these alignments. Just saying.

Lawful Evil! Lawful Evil!

Your friendly neighborhood Revenant Minotaur Half-Blooded Dragonborn Fighter Hybrid Barbarian Multiclassing into Warlord

IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1223957875/Scorecards/Landscape.png)

These are truly amazing! What about general Good?
General Good and general Evil will be addressed when I tackle Neutral Good and Neutral Evil, respectively.  I'm using the nine-cell alignment grid when I write these, and the original system (Lawful, Neutral, Chaotic) and the 4th Edition system (LG, G, N, E, CE) don't exactly fit neatly into that, but when NG, NE, and True Neutral Thinking Men are penned, I'll do my best to draw parallels in my opening remarks.

Lawful Evil coming soon. 
I'm actually looking forward to D&D Next. I think that every edition had some really awesome qualities, and every edition has truly awful design flaws. I don't expect Next to be any different, but if WotC is actively trying to incorporate the good bits into one unified whole, then I do expect it to be worth playing.
My question about Lawful Good is always wondering where the 'law' comes from upon which a character is based. If you were raised in a society that treated women as lesser citizens and no one ever offered the possibility for something different, you would be Lawful Good in following those tenants. In fact you would be praised for rooting out groups that stood opposed to this ideal.

I get what Lawful Good is supposed to be, but without giving a character appropriate motivation for flying in the face of established law and the basic premise of good, said character makes little sense.

I think this is what a lot of players neglect. An exposition and motivation for why your character either supports or opposes the edicts handed down. If your character opposes things, but has no definition for why, they become unlawfully aligned.
That's a fair assessment.  This has been a point of contention among D&D players since the games inception (I would assume, having been born in the 80's).

One way to simplify the question of what is and is not Lawful, or Chaotic, in a way that transcends cultural differences, is to say that Law, Neutrality, and Chaos vary in terms of what they see.

Chaotic individuals tend to think in terms of smallest-to-largest.  When deciding what to do, they tend to start with themselves and their comrades, then their community, and then the big picture (maybe).

Neutral individuals tend to see their immediate area first, working out how best to change, benefit, or utilize the people and resources in their community.  They can go either way (regarding personal or big-picture matters) after that.

Lawful individuals tend to realize the grand scheme first, employing sweeping systems that many, if not most, could appreciate (ie, mutual respect, order).  Then, they turn their attention to the local level, then themselves.  Good characters arrive at self-reflection last out of selflessness, Evil characters might never arrive if they believe they are incapable of flaw or fault.

Admittedly, this is a gross over-simplification of the matter, but it's interesting to play with the language and motivations nonetheless. 
I'm actually looking forward to D&D Next. I think that every edition had some really awesome qualities, and every edition has truly awful design flaws. I don't expect Next to be any different, but if WotC is actively trying to incorporate the good bits into one unified whole, then I do expect it to be worth playing.
My question about Lawful Good is always wondering where the 'law' comes from upon which a character is based. If you were raised in a society that treated women as lesser citizens and no one ever offered the possibility for something different, you would be Lawful Good in following those tenants. In fact you would be praised for rooting out groups that stood opposed to this ideal.

I get what Lawful Good is supposed to be, but without giving a character appropriate motivation for flying in the face of established law and the basic premise of good, said character makes little sense.

I think this is what a lot of players neglect. An exposition and motivation for why your character either supports or opposes the edicts handed down. If your character opposes things, but has no definition for why, they become unlawfully aligned.



Equality is a funny statement. Are men and women to be treated the same? "treated women as lesser citizens", is usually an external point of view - a value added judgement.

Even the phrase a woman is to walk two steps behind the man. Does not mean that the woman is not to be treated with dignity or that the woman is not the one who wears the pants in the family - in private.

However, in societies were we look at women as being treated inferior, comes the question in what way. For example a woman who is treated poorly reflects on the men of the society. Honor for example stems from the ability to levy justice against those harmed in such a way.

Also most societies have the principal of public/private mores.

A lawful good approaching is respecting laws and traditions, even when they rub against the grain of your own sensibilities. A non-Lawful good approach is through re-education of the "savages", of not understanding and acceptance.

To frame this in a way to understand:

I play in a pathfinder campaign a slave. I play a character who has been bred as a slave. There is no further existance outside of that. She's considered, and she considers herself to be a valuable possession. Her social status is fixed.

Elevating herself to being a peer, means that her master is debasing himself.

In addition, her master has absolute control over her life. However, there are aspects of this social contract which are not to be stepped over. A master's strength is how he treats his slaves. His wealth stems from his treatment. So mis-treating his slaves indicates a social paucity.

I see it like horse breeding, you don't sleep with your horses and the more successful they are the better the horses that they have in their stable. Anything else indicates mental instability and wickedness.

Going back to the second paragraph. I do not see Lawful Good as being the lone cowboy who rides into town to dispense "saddle justice".  Even though, he does have strong tenents which guide his hand, they are his and not the society's he has just ridden in.

Good and evil are external modifiers. To use my character as an example, elevating her to the position of "peer" may be considered all lawful and good (with the expectation of gratitude at the end - a western moral concept), but from her perspective it's chaotic and evil. The societal mechanisms of reciprocty being eroded to the free-for-all. She also loses her social protections and mores. She now has to make societal decisions that she has never in her life had to make.

-Chrystal


That which does not kill me, makes me stranger.