A lawful neutral character acts as law, tradition, or a personal code directs her. Order and
organization are paramount. She may believe in personal order and live by a code or standard, or she may believe in order for all and favor a strong, organized government.
Lawful neutral means you are reliable and honorable without being a zealot.
What does this mean to me?
There are 4 styles of Lawful-Neutral
- Authority first and foremost — it is the context that matters more than the content; the rules matter because they give order to society more than they matter themselves. They might go so far as to believe (possibly correctly) that their superiors have the right to interpret or define the rules as they see fit. Such characters believe in My Country / My Master, Right or Wrong, though the average example is someone who obeys any figure of authority (say, a policeman) without question, possibly even with admiration. In more extreme cases, this can lead to Just Following Orders, and whether or not they slip into Knight Templar or Lawful Evil territory is a question of whether said authority is evil and is getting them to commit atrocities — however, Type 1’s still have moral lines they won’t cross, and if their ethics are pushed too far, they will disobey, and are not above holding their superiors to account if they are found to be corrupt or incompetent. This is what separates them from Lawful Stupid.
- Rules ahead of everything else — they will hold those above them to it as surely as they will those below, without regard to authority (unless said rules favour authority, of course), but will follow the rules to the letter. A Type 2 follows the content, not the context — they believe in these rules, with a passion, and will pretty much equate them with moral truth. In other words, they see themselves as Lawful Good, but fail to qualify because they or the rules they follow are not quite moral enough. More extreme cases might fall under Blue and Orange Morality, and they might run the risk of being bigots towards other cultures and codes of law. Essentially, this is those who do not justify the Law with arguments about there not being anything better, but those that argue that these Laws are the better, and may resist even legal attempts to change them. They are also the most likely to hold their superiors to account for failing to follow the rules, whether for heroic reasons or villainous ones. May or not may be Lawful Stupid.
- personal code, including those that have been organized by another — for example, a warrior code or a religious creed — or one they have constructed for themselves. They will obey this code rigidly and to the letter, and it will usually supersede (but make allowances for) any of the other types, but it (or their devotion to it) is too rigid for them to be considered Chaotic, even if it puts them at odds with the established system of law and order, while they lack the moral or immoral conviction to be considered Good or Evil. At their best, they will obey the spirit as well as the letter of their codes, or at least try to or recognize that they must, but at their worst, they can become a Principles Zealot or a Tautological Templar who puts their own code — and their own interpretation of said code — above all else.
- arises in a vacuum — they find themselves in a situation where neither Authority nor the Rules apply, such as an After the End scenario where law and order have broken down, and seek to establish order (or follow another who does). Typically, they will appeal to a preestablished system as the basis — murder is wrong because it used to be wrong, or because civilized societies are expected to have outlawed such acts. It can also occur where there is a sense of order, just not one that the character recognizes as valid, such as a Wretched Hive where the “order” comes from corruption and Might Makes Right, or more dubiously, a working society they deem to be chaotic or inferior. In these cases, they will probably appeal to their own rules or the rules of their own society or culture. At their best, they will bring a sense of structure and justice to a volatile situation, but at their worst, this type can slide into bigotry and tyranny, worsened by the fact that they are basically making the rules from scratch.
Examples from media
- Predators, who live by a strict honor code
- Peter Pan in Hook. (Pr-embracing his past)
- James Bond (Most movies)