So you want to be a Hero?
While strict in their prosecution of law and order, characters of lawful good alignment follow these precepts to improve the common weal. Certain freedoms must, of course, be sacrificed in order to bring order; but truth is of highest value, and life and beauty of great importance. The benefits of this society are to be brought to all. Creatures of lawful good alignment view the cosmos with varying degrees of lawfulness or desire for good. The are convinced that order and law are absolutely necessary to assure good, and that good is best defined as whatever brings the most benefit to the greater number of decent, thinking creatures and the least woe to the rest.
Characters of this alignment believe that an orderly, strong society with a well-organized government can work to make life better for the majority of the people. To ensure the quality of life, laws must be created and obeyed. When people respect the laws and try to help one another, society as a whole prospers. These characters strive for those things that will bring the greatest benefit to the most people and cause the least harm.
These characters have a strong moral character. Truth, honor, and the welfare of others is all-important. They are convinced that order and laws are absolutely necessary to assure that goodness prevails. Lawful good beings will not want to lie or cheat anyone, good or evil. They will not stand for treachery and will not let obviously dishonorable people use their own honor against them, if they can help it. They will obey the laws and customs of the area that they are in, but will attempt to find legal loopholes to disobey a law which is clearly evil or unjust.
Lawful good characters are group and order oriented, and will cooperate with authority in all cases to promote the common weal. Not all lawful good beings view the cosmos with an equal desire for lawfulness and goodness, so there is no such thing as a perfectly balanced “lawful good” attitude (nor a perfectly balanced attitude for any other alignment, for that matter). In general, however, a lawful good character promotes the ideals and rights of the majority over those of the individual (and this includes himself as well as others) and upholds the rights of the weak and oppressed members of society, who should be allowed to reap society’s benefits with equanimity. The lawful good being feels this is the best way that all members of society can enjoy the rights of existence together. Life is important to the lawful good being, but life is not exclusive of order, and vice versa.
Lawful good can appear to be a difficult alignment to uphold, but it must be remembered that lawful good characters are not necessarily naive or unrealistic. At the heart of a lawful good alignment is the belief in a system of laws that promotes the welfare of all members of a society, ensures their safety, and guarantees justice. So long as the laws are just and applied fairly to all people, it doesn’t matter to the lawful good character whether they originate from a democracy or a dictator. Though all lawful good systems adhere to the same general principles, specific laws may be different. One society may allow a wife to have two husbands, another may enforce strict monogamy. Gambling may be tolerated in one system, forbidden in another. A lawful good character respects the laws of other lawful good cultures and will not seek to impose his own values on their citizens.
However, a lawful good character will not honor a law that runs contrary to his alignment. A government may believe that unregulated gambling provides a harmless diversion, but a lawful good character may determine that the policy has resulted in devastating poverty and despair. In this character’s mind, the government is guilty of a lawless act by promoting an exploitative and destructive enterprise. In response, he may encourage citizens to refrain from gambling, or he may work to change the law. Particularly abhorrent practices, such as slavery and torture, may force the lawful good character to take direct action. It doesn’t matter if these practices are culturally acceptable or sanctioned by well-meaning officials. The lawful good character’s sense of justice compels him to intervene and alleviate as much suffering as he can. Note, though, that time constraints, inadequate resources, and other commitments may limit his involvement. While a lawful good character might wish for a cultural revolution in a society that tolerates cannibalism, he may have to content himself with rescuing a few victims before circumstances force him to leave the area.
When will a lawful good character take a life? A lawful good being kills whenever necessary to promote the greater good, or to protect himself, his companions, or anyone whom he’s vowed to defend. In times of war, he strikes down the enemies of his nation. He does not interfere with a legal execution, so long as the punishment fits the crime. Otherwise, a lawful good character avoids killing whenever possible. He does not kill a person who is merely suspected of a crime, nor does this character necessarily kill someone he perceives to be a threat unless he has tangible evidence or certain knowledge of evildoing. He never kills for treasure or personal gain. He never knowingly kills an innocent being. * In the case of a race of creatures Deemed to Evil, the Lawful Good Character should have no compunction ending the life of creatures of that race.*
A lawful good character will keep his word if he gives it and will never lie. He will never attack an unarmed foe and will never harm an innocent. He will not use torture to extract information or for pleasure. He will never kill for pleasure, only in self-defense or in the defense of others. A lawful good character will never use poison. He will help those in need and he prefers to work with others. He responds well to higher authority, is trustful of organizations, and will always follow the law. He will never betray a family member, comrade, or friend (though he will attempt to bring an immoral or law-breaking friend to justice, in order to rehabilitate that person). Lawful good characters respect the concepts of self-discipline and honor.
Here are some possible adjectives describing lawful good characters: friendly, courteous, sensitive to the feelings of others, scrupulous, honorable, trustworthy, reliable, helpful, loyal, and respectful of “life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.”