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    Default Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Are there compelling counterexamples of Lawful Good individuals (who are unambiguously Lawful Good) who aren't very positive or wholesome people to be around? I'm thinking through a character concept right now and would love some input.
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Nero Wolfe and Horace Rumpole come to mind. Nero Wolfe is a condescending misogynist and Rumpole is a smartass.

    To quote Psychoalpha in another thread:

    Some days I wish the sort of people prone to playing Paladins would understand that Good is what they're supposed to do, and Lawful is just how they're supposed to go about it.
    They don't have to be pollyanna, when push comes to shove they are good, and they follow rules about it.
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheYell View Post
    Nero Wolfe and Horace Rumpole come to mind. Nero Wolfe is a condescending misogynist and Rumpole is a smartass.
    I'd argue that most of the intelectual western detective archetypes, all the way back to Holmes, tend to be rather high-handed, arrogant, abrassive and have problems with addiction and prejudice. They aren't bad people and they do have friends, but the average person would find them hard to get along with. They are almost always LG.
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    I'd argue an abrasive or difficult to get along with type lawful good character isn't just possible but so common it's a cliche. If anything I'd view a wholesome nice lawful good as a bit of fresh air
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    deathseeker: this guy has nothing left to live for and will happily die defending an empty farm from a horde of goblins to prevent them plundering it

    apathic hedonist: this guy still follows all the rules he used to but it's become more of a ritual at this point rather then serving some purpose and he's indulging in whatever is allowed to

    zealot: this guy thinks not being evil isn't enough, you have to actively oppose it in order to be seen as good

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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    One axis of alignment is about morality. The other is about inner consistency.

    Neither is about personality.

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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    It's worth noting that Lawful really isn't particularly good. In fact, taken to extremes, Lawful is pretty much universally evil.

    I realise more extremes are pretty much universally evil, though.

    But I'd say that ... if you're actually Good - then by and large, you're never Lawful, at least not with any real dedication. Being Good means letting the small stuff slide. So my argument here is that you more or less cannot be Lawful Good. Maybe you can be (Lawful) Good. But ironclad insistance on Law and Order simply isn't compatible with Good.

    Edit: Add an IMO anywhere you like, if this post disagrees badly with you for any reason =)
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    A "lawful good" person can be downright horrible to be around, especially if they conflate "lawful" and "good", or if their idea of "good" is warped.
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    While a large portion of this depends on the writer, 3.5's Complete Scoundrel listed Batman as a Lawful Good scoundrel, and Batman actively TRIES to be unpleasant to be around, inasmuch as his gimmick is scaring the crap out of criminals and beating them up. Granted, you can place different interpretations of Batman on EVERY axis of the alignment chart, but I think that Batman's most consistent personality traits tend towards the anti-social side.
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Sam Vimes.

    Sam isn't a horrible person; he loves his wife, adores his kid, and takes care of his officers. But he's not a pleasant person to be around (unlike, say, Carrot Ironfoundersson). He can be curt and undiplomatic. He doesn't want to waste time with fools.

    But he believes in law and order as a means to help people. He thinks structures in society should serve society, not a small subsect of it. And he's aware that the law lays differently on a poor person's shoulders than a rich person's, and takes that into account.

    As for

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptain Keen
    It's worth noting that Lawful really isn't particularly good. In fact, taken to extremes, Lawful is pretty much universally evil.

    I realise more extremes are pretty much universally evil, though.

    But I'd say that ... if you're actually Good - then by and large, you're never Lawful, at least not with any real dedication. Being Good means letting the small stuff slide. So my argument here is that you more or less cannot be Lawful Good. Maybe you can be (Lawful) Good. But ironclad insistance on Law and Order simply isn't compatible with Good.
    That's not how it works. Lawful CAN lend itself to Evil, but Lawful, itself, is never evil. just as X is never Y.

    Yes, ironclad insistence on Law and Order isn't compatible with good in most cases, but Lawful Good is that Law and Order tempered with mercy. In a Lawful Good society, you will have the acknowledgement that there are cases where the law doesn't provide adequate mercy, and the law will be written to take that into account... the child who steals bread to eat in a LG society will have their home life looked at, and be given the care and attention needed to help them succeed inside society. The child who steals bread in a LN society will be given the appropriate sentence for their crime. In a LE society, what is deemed "appropriate" will inevitably enrich SOMEONE.

    Because, while it seems a tautology, Lawful Good cannot be Evil, because it is Good. If it ceases to be Good, it ceases to be Lawful Good, and becomes something else. It may still CALL itself Lawful Good, but, well, I can call myself a kid, and that was true at one point, but it's not true anymore.
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Sam Vimes is lawful good? He's neither lawful nor good.

    Carrot Ironfounderson and Michael Carpenter are both Lawful Good, and great examples of a traditional Paladin mindset.

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    There's a reason why Good Is Not Nice exists

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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    That's not how it works. Lawful CAN lend itself to Evil, but Lawful, itself, is never evil. just as X is never Y.

    Yes, ironclad insistence on Law and Order isn't compatible with good in most cases, but Lawful Good is that Law and Order tempered with mercy. In a Lawful Good society, you will have the acknowledgement that there are cases where the law doesn't provide adequate mercy, and the law will be written to take that into account... the child who steals bread to eat in a LG society will have their home life looked at, and be given the care and attention needed to help them succeed inside society. The child who steals bread in a LN society will be given the appropriate sentence for their crime. In a LE society, what is deemed "appropriate" will inevitably enrich SOMEONE.

    Because, while it seems a tautology, Lawful Good cannot be Evil, because it is Good. If it ceases to be Good, it ceases to be Lawful Good, and becomes something else. It may still CALL itself Lawful Good, but, well, I can call myself a kid, and that was true at one point, but it's not true anymore.
    No see .... that's not how it works. All alignments have dual components, Lawful and Good, in this case. So yes, Lawful Good means the Law and Order component has to be tempered by mercy - which is precisely what I'm saying. In essence, sure, a Good person can enjoy some law and order, no sweat. But if you're Good, you cannot be extremely Lawful - the two don't mix.

    And Lawful, by itself, is very close to supremely evil, if practiced in the extreme. It's every bit as evil as chaotic, but way better organised.

    Unsurprisingly, I also don't quite agree with your interpretations of LN and LE. But that's another discussion.

    Also, I believe Sam Vimes is quite definitely good. This is good: Do anything for the benefit of others, for no direct gain to yourself (and charity, voting and meaning well do not count). Sam Vimes goes through one veritable ****storm after another for the benefit of others. That he grumbles the whole way does little to change the fact that he's thoroughly good. I think he also feels that lawful behaviour, by and large, is preferable to the alternative.

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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    {{Scrubbed}} They may not be clean or reverent or humble or patient or kind.

    A Lawful Good character follows a supreme code of behavior. That may or may not mirror the lawbooks.
    A Lawful Good character in a LN jurisdiction will go beyond the written law to see justice done.
    A Lawful Good character in a LE jurisdiction will violate the written law to see justice done.

    A Lawful Good character seeks to be good consistently, applying his code to his behavior, instead of just using his best judgment in a given situation (NG) or being totally unprepared to discuss the nature of Good behavior in a hypothetical situation (CG).

    I cited Nero Wolfe as an example. Nero Wolfe is shown backing out of a case by mail, only to tear up the letter because the message wasn't honorable. He then goes to work (which he hates to do) to think up an honorable way out (solving the crime). A NG would have sent the letter and consoled himself that it was the best he could think of at the time. A CG wouldn't see the problem.
    Last edited by Mark Hall; 2019-09-01 at 11:24 AM.
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    Also, I believe Sam Vimes is quite definitely good. This is good: Do anything for the benefit of others, for no direct gain to yourself (and charity, voting and meaning well do not count). Sam Vimes goes through one veritable ****storm after another for the benefit of others. That he grumbles the whole way does little to change the fact that he's thoroughly good. I think he also feels that lawful behaviour, by and large, is preferable to the alternative.
    I agree that Sam Vimes is Lawful Good. In fact, his big struggle is between Law and Good--he has to suppress the Hall Monitor side of him, the part that believes in fiat justicia, ruat caelum. He does a pretty good job of it, but doesn't think he does. He clearly sees himself as not being very Good, and is not a nice person (especially if you're messing with the Law or the Good), but he's not evil under any sane meaning of that word. Heck, even his Assassin traps are humane rather than lethal or even directly harmful. He only hurts people when he absolutely needs to, and frequently puts himself through tons of crap to shield others from harm. That's big-G Good in my book. And Law is his defining characteristic. It may not be the law of the land, but it's certainly a dedication to order and structure.

    And even Corporal Ironfounderson isn't very nice (from the point of view of those whom he stares down). Evil people often see those pure good types as being nastier than the more shady good ones. Because they can't understand them at all. They come across (to the evil-doers) as being inhuman, at least to some degree.
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I agree that Sam Vimes is Lawful Good. In fact, his big struggle is between Law and Good-
    His struggle is between Lawful Evil and Chaotic Good. He usually lands somewhere in the middle.

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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Quote Originally Posted by EvilDMMk3 View Post
    I'd argue that most of the intellectual western detective archetypes, all the way back to Holmes, tend to be rather high-handed, arrogant, abrassive and have problems with addiction and prejudice. They aren't bad people and they do have friends, but the average person would find them hard to get along with. They are almost always LG.
    I mean I can applaud Good people not being all shining knights, but somehow one being prejudiced just leaves a bad taste in my mouth that just being a smartass, abrasive personalities or an alcoholic doesn't. there is understandable flaws and then there is things that I'm just not personally comfortable with.

    but yeah its possible to be Lawful Good but not a shining knight or whatever, you just have to ask yourself what flaws your comfortable with that you can work them in without outweighing the alignment, because if you do the flaw badly it overshadows the good they do and thus makes them not good at all. there is a bit of a balancing act to that, and the good has to significantly outweigh their flaw at the end of the day.

    as for examples, a Secret Agent or Spy For Heaven or other good organization is technically LG, they have discipline and rules and operations they strictly follow for the Good, but do some pretty shady things that some other LG would not do. their rules are rules of getting the job against evil done cleanly as they can, they have a meticulously planned cover story, they they do it all to make good wins, but a lying, sneaking secret agent who manipulates people, assassinates evil dictators and is probably a bit strict about making sure the operation goes correctly probably ain't entirely wholesome.
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    It's worth noting that Lawful really isn't particularly good. In fact, taken to extremes, Lawful is pretty much universally evil.

    I realise more extremes are pretty much universally evil, though.

    But I'd say that ... if you're actually Good - then by and large, you're never Lawful, at least not with any real dedication. Being Good means letting the small stuff slide. So my argument here is that you more or less cannot be Lawful Good. Maybe you can be (Lawful) Good. But ironclad insistance on Law and Order simply isn't compatible with Good.

    Edit: Add an IMO anywhere you like, if this post disagrees badly with you for any reason =)
    Well, that's exactly what a Chaotic Good person would say.

    To a Lawful Good character, being Lawful is how they hope to achieve Good - because they believe law and order is indispensable to Good goals. (Who but the law can protect the weak from the strong?) How well it works depends entirely on where the system of Law they have pledged themselves to stands on the Good-Evil scale. A Lawful Good character cannot follow an Evil set of laws; they will tend to choose a different authority - like a Paladin deciding to follow the cause of a deity of Good that has long been suppressed by the Evil rulers.
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    His struggle is between Lawful Evil and Chaotic Good. He usually lands somewhere in the middle.
    I don't know of any instances of him taking actions to enrich himself or gratify his own desires at the expense of others. In fact, he sacrifices himself strongly lots of times to protect others from harm even when they don't like him. I see no Lawful Evil in him at all. Even at his darkest, he was donating basically his entire salary to the widows and orphans of the watch (along with buying cheap alcohol and cheap shoes).

    All of his actions are guided by his own personal code of honor and justice, and he puts large emphasis on doing things properly. He works to encourage others to obey the law of the land and only goes around it when it's impossible to do his job. He also then accepts the consequences for doing so. His favorite title is Blackboard Monitor. He's got an "inner Watchman" strong enough to restrain a force of cosmic darkness (the Summoning Dark) to the point that he's never actually lost control to it. He's Lawful as all get out.

    Sure, he's a master cynic and anything but an authoritarian. He believes in the common man and self-organization, but he's also a force for order. He rebuilds the Watch into an effective organization, including training and filtering out those that don't agree. He's all about Social Order.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silfir View Post
    Well, that's exactly what a Chaotic Good person would say.
    Not really, it's what someone who realises what the extremes of law and chaos are would say.

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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    No see .... that's not how it works. All alignments have dual components, Lawful and Good, in this case. So yes, Lawful Good means the Law and Order component has to be tempered by mercy - which is precisely what I'm saying. In essence, sure, a Good person can enjoy some law and order, no sweat. But if you're Good, you cannot be extremely Lawful - the two don't mix.

    And Lawful, by itself, is very close to supremely evil, if practiced in the extreme. It's every bit as evil as chaotic, but way better organised.

    Unsurprisingly, I also don't quite agree with your interpretations of LN and LE. But that's another discussion.
    And Mount Celestia would disagree with you. As would Bytopia and Arcadia, for that matter... all places where Law and Good co-exist and mutually reinforce each other.

    A Lawful Good society is built around the idea that institutions support the greater good. They may not always be perfect for the specific good... there may be individuals who fall through the cracks... but society and its institutions are built to minimize those, and ensure good outcomes for everyone. It is not simply "law and order", though that will be part of it; it is the mutual reinforcement of each other. If the Law is not supporting the Good, then the Law must be examined so it supports the Good, because Law is how you do things, and Good is what you do.

    While the cosmology is today called "The Great Wheel", I think it is more accurate as it was originally conceived... a square. If you arrange things on a wheel, then Neutral Good winds up as a higher Good than Lawful or Chaotic Good, and Lawful Neutral winds up more Lawful than Lawful Good or Lawful Evil. I do not view this as true. Rather, Lawful Good is exactly as Lawful as Lawful Neutral and Lawful Evil, and exactly as good as Neutral Good and Chaotic Good; at any point on any plane, if you draw a straight line vertical and a straight line horizontal, everything on the Y is exactly as lawful or chaotic as everything else on that line, and everything on the X is exactly as good or evil. The Seven Heavens, the 9 Hells, the Abyss, and Olympus do not border on Neutrality; they have no truck with it.
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    And Mount Celestia would disagree with you. As would Bytopia and Arcadia, for that matter... all places where Law and Good co-exist and mutually reinforce each other.

    A Lawful Good society is built around the idea that institutions support the greater good. They may not always be perfect for the specific good... there may be individuals who fall through the cracks... but society and its institutions are built to minimize those, and ensure good outcomes for everyone. It is not simply "law and order", though that will be part of it; it is the mutual reinforcement of each other. If the Law is not supporting the Good, then the Law must be examined so it supports the Good, because Law is how you do things, and Good is what you do.

    While the cosmology is today called "The Great Wheel", I think it is more accurate as it was originally conceived... a square. If you arrange things on a wheel, then Neutral Good winds up as a higher Good than Lawful or Chaotic Good, and Lawful Neutral winds up more Lawful than Lawful Good or Lawful Evil. I do not view this as true. Rather, Lawful Good is exactly as Lawful as Lawful Neutral and Lawful Evil, and exactly as good as Neutral Good and Chaotic Good; at any point on any plane, if you draw a straight line vertical and a straight line horizontal, everything on the Y is exactly as lawful or chaotic as everything else on that line, and everything on the X is exactly as good or evil. The Seven Heavens, the 9 Hells, the Abyss, and Olympus do not border on Neutrality; they have no truck with it.
    Lawful Good and Chaotic Good CANNOT be as good as Neutral Good, they're going to sometimes put Law or Chaos ahead of good.
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    To them, Law (and Chaos) are means to the end - the end being Good - making the world a happier, nicer place. The average LG person is not particularly interested in "advancing the cause of Law".
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2019-09-01 at 11:43 AM.
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Lawful Good and Chaotic Good CANNOT be as good as Neutral Good, they're going to sometimes put Law or Chaos ahead of good.
    And so will Neutral Good.

    Neutral Good will see, at times, that supporting Chaos over Good NOW will lead to greater Good LATER.

    Or they'll make an error in judgement.

    Alignments are not Points in Space. They are Planes, and usually several planes. Lawful Good is three; Arcadia, Mount Celestia, and Bytopia. Someone who is Lawful Good might be inclined towards any of those three planes, and still be Lawful Good. Any point in Bytopia or Mount Celestia is more Good than any point in Arcadia; any point in Arcadia or Mount Celestia is more Lawful than any point in Bytopia. But Arcadia is not necessarily more Lawful than Celestia, or Bytopia more Good.
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    To them, Law (and Chaos) are means to the end - the end being Good - making the world a happier, nicer place. The average LG person is not particularly interested in "advancing the cause of Law".
    Then they're not Lawful Good, they're just Good.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    And so will Neutral Good.

    Neutral Good will see, at times, that supporting Chaos over Good NOW will lead to greater Good LATER.
    The motivations of a Neutral Good character and a Chaotic Good character at the same decision point will be different, however.

    At the end of the day, the Neutral good character probably just cares about do the right thing, avoiding hurting people, trying to help people, etc... while the Chaotic Good or Lawful Good character will forego doing those things sometimes because they'd have to sacrifice "freedom" or "order" to do so, and in each case they're balancing doing the right thing with their respective ideological priorities.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Or they'll make an error in judgement.
    Errors in judgement are orthogonal to the question. Every character can make errors in judgement.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    Alignments are not Points in Space. They are Planes, and usually several planes. Lawful Good is three; Arcadia, Mount Celestia, and Bytopia. Someone who is Lawful Good might be inclined towards any of those three planes, and still be Lawful Good. Any point in Bytopia or Mount Celestia is more Good than any point in Arcadia; any point in Arcadia or Mount Celestia is more Lawful than any point in Bytopia. But Arcadia is not necessarily more Lawful than Celestia, or Bytopia more Good.
    See other thread, I don't care about the afterlife or cosmology questions when it comes to the subject of Alignment and morality / Alignment vs morality. If someone's worried about how their actions affect their afterlife or cosmological impact, they've left the space of moral considerations behind.
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    Then they're not Lawful Good, they're just Good.

    As BoED points out, an Archon is vastly more able to stomach the Chaos of an Eladrin, than the Evil of a Devil. They are Good first, Lawful very much second.

    LG and CG characters can and do routinely cooperate toward Good ends. Adventuring parties frequently consist of Good characters of all alignments.
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptin Keen View Post
    No see .... that's not how it works. All alignments have dual components, Lawful and Good, in this case. So yes, Lawful Good means the Law and Order component has to be tempered by mercy - which is precisely what I'm saying. In essence, sure, a Good person can enjoy some law and order, no sweat. But if you're Good, you cannot be extremely Lawful - the two don't mix.
    So you can't be fully good if you are lawful, but you can be fully evil? So there is never a situation where an evil person looses out by following a treaty or reveals information by adhering to their commitment to the truth?

    This is just an inability to understand the difference between ethics and morality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    I mean I can applaud Good people not being all shining knights, but somehow one being prejudiced just leaves a bad taste in my mouth that just being a smartass, abrasive personalities or an alcoholic doesn't. there is understandable flaws and then there is things that I'm just not personally comfortable with.
    2 points, first prejudice is neither bigotry or discrimination, it just means to pre-judge a person. Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe were both written explicitly as misongonists, and they never learned (for crying out loud A Scandal on Bohemia where Sherlock loses because his oponent is "just" a woman is very early, and he still disrespects women for the rest of the stories)!

    2: Prejudice is born from the Lawful influence of the human mind, the desire to categorise and group. All X are Y. To Wolfe, women were flighty and irrational. To Holmes Germans were agressive and had no respect for the form of language over its function. To Vimes, well find me a group Vimes isn't prejudiced against, including coppers and humans.
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Pretty much a cop, btw, being LG, doesn't mean that the character can't be racist, misogynistic or a stick in the mud...
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    Default Re: Is a Lawful Good person always a positive, wholesome person to be around?

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    (Good coubterpoints on Sam Vimes)
    Honestly, i'm not sure why I commented. I consider trying to suss out alignment from actions, especially from fiction characters, to be bass-ackwards. Its really only useful as a player motivation, to be considered when making decisons on taking actions. Not as a yardstick to measure actions taken.

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