Creating a Dungeons & Dragons character is about more than just stat blocks; it is about crafting a unique individual. A part of this is figuring out where the character stands morally, and this is where the alignment system comes into effect. Essentially, the alignment system simplifies the concept of morality into nine different subsections. The base sets are good, neutral, and evil, which are then divided into lawful, neutral, and chaotic. These are simple in concept, but one of them is very difficult to perfect.
Lawful Good should be one of the simplest alignments to maintain, but several complications often affect players. Lawful Good essentially means the character typically acts with compassion and honor and never deviates from their code. This is simple to play out, but difficult to make compelling or interesting. It also often hampers other members of the party, as the Lawful Good character must reprimand them for anything even slightly evil. That isn’t to say that it is impossible to play, but certain steps need to be considered to get the best result under such circumstances.
How to Write a Backstory for a Lawful Good D&D Character
Part of any character creation is creating a backstory and figuring out why they set out on an adventure and why they have joined a crew of other adventurers. The important thing to consider is how the character’s mindset may have sent them on their journey and how it will affect their choices during the proceedings. This simple addition can help to make the character compelling as well as give the player an interesting moral compass to work around.
The idea of a waning moral belief or a self-enforced belief can make a character more interesting to play. For instance, the character of Batman went through a tragic event that forced the ideal of not killing upon him. This is something that Batman has to work around and make considerations for. The player can take this concept, as well as a shifting morality, and have the events of the character’s past influence their decisions. For instance, a character might have lost a loved one to a killer and is hunting that killer but fears becoming like them. As such, a stiff moral belief is formed. This would be a concept that doesn’t lock them in, and they can fail, but it provides several role-playing options for the player.
How to Interact With the Party and the Story
Dungeons & Dragons is a game where a party of adventurers comes together and interacts in a detailed world. This can be complicated for Lawful Good characters because the world is chaotic, and the party rarely follows the rules laid down by society. Many players have the opinion that this means that Lawful Good characters limit the party’s options and cause conflict, but this doesn’t have to be the case, and it can work in the party’s favor. The important thing to realize is that good stories thrive on conflict and that having a variety of viewpoints can help the party find new and interesting solutions.
One interesting concept comes from the Nightwatch characters in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series — especially Commander Vimes. Vimes is a character with a lot of demons — some literal — and he knows that they are there. However, he uses these demons while viewing the law as an absolute necessity and enforcing it. Vimes is by no means nice to most criminals, but he is willing to bend the law to catch them. However, he will never break it. The player has morality, but they also have an end goal, and they need to figure out how those two can be intertwined and what leeway they allow themselves.
How to View Compassion as a Plot Device
One of the main aspects of a Lawful Good character is the idea of compassion for others, especially when compared to the other alignments. This is often contrasted with a tendency to obey authority. This can be an amazing plot device for a player to work around and one that could be great to watch. The player can have their character initially disagree with the party, but then, over time, realize that they need to open their mind and view the world differently. While it may initially be difficult for the other players, watching the character adapt and change will make the game more compelling.
Playing a Lawful Good character is certainly complex, but that just means there’s plenty there for players to sink their teeth into. While the alignment does not offer as much freedom as a neutral or even evil character, it can be more varied than people might think. The inclusion of different alignments is important to keeping the games dynamic and making the characters approach situations in varying ways, and Lawful Good can be an important part of that.
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